11 October 2011

The Painted Tree

I found this tree (no longer alive) earlier this year in my garden.  It was cowering behind the sauna in full shade, which probably explains why it was dead - lack of sunlight.  It was my intention at the time to imbed the plant into a pot using plaster of paris and then paint it up - all for easter - a sort of Easter Tree (think Christmas but with different ornaments).


I have only just now managed to finish plastering and painting the project, so if it wants to make an appearance as an Easter Tree that will have to wait until next year.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on this spot for how it will be embellished for Christmas - oh yes  that's right, Christmas.

Only 74 days to go!!


What are you counting down for at the moment?

07 October 2011

Water Falls Again

Coming from a largish family (one of five children) I have nieces and nephews in abundance.  I even have three great nephews!!

One of my said nieces turned 18 in August and to mark the occasion I made for her this card - designed in the waterfall style.  This time instead of operating the card by pulling it downwards, I decided to try pulling it out from the side.  I am quite happy with the end result.

At the risk of sounding parsimonious, the beauty of the Waterfall card is that small pieces of unused scrap booking paper can be utilised in the actual waterfall.  The squares usually measure 5cm x 5cm.



Decorative eyelets can also be a feature of the cards.  Here purple spades have been used to anchor the base of the waterfall.

A purple present has also been used to hold the ribbons in place.  As well as being decorative, this also serves a practical purpose.  The eyelet reinforces the card and stops it from tearing when the card is being pulled.
Whilst you cannot embellish the waterfall squares themselves - they can "catch" if there is too much bulk on the card - you can decorate the actual card with whatever you like.  Obviously my niece is called Emily.



In hindsight, I should have used blue cardboard for the base of my waterfall, instead of the white - it makes the card look a little bit stark.

My family, who were all present at the birthday celebrations were most impressed with my creation.



What have you "impressed" the neighbours with lately?

30 September 2011

Spring has Sprung

We have been blessed with the most beautiful spring time days recently, just in time for the school holidays.  As yet I have not had the pleasure of enjoying my garden in spring time - we moved here in February this year - and so I have been wandering around each week marvelling at all the blooms coming forward to share with us their delightful scents and wonderous colours.

Close Up of an Azalea

Below is a photo of the Azalea shrub from which the flower originated.  Unfortunately the photograph (or probably camera) doesn't do it justice.  The bush is located alongside our sauna, otherwise known as the Lizard House - so named by Tom Paper.

We actually use the sauna to store all our toys for the swimming pool.  I assume the lizards just use it for parties.


PS I began writing this post last weekend.  The weather has "turned" in a big way since then.  Storms, rain and wind are all now the order of the day.

21 September 2011

Charming Mini Books

One of my favourite gifts for someone special is the Mini Book.  A zigzag-style album full of photo memories, journalling, quotes and embellishments.

The front cover has been embellished with a "memories" rub-on and some pink flower jewels.

We recently farewelled one of our students who has moved to Hong Kong, possibly for the next couple of years.

Oops, a box of medication found its way into the shot!!

I asked all the Grade Two children in her class to pass on to me a "goodbye and good-luck" message to include in her Mini Book.  I then surfed the school photo network to come up with a selection of photos of her from her very first day of school until the most recently ones taken this year.

The photos contained in the book have not been displayed.

Her current teacher also wrote a special message on the back of this tag from the whole class and the school.


She also arranged for a Signature Bear to be passed around to her school friends on which they recorded special messages of farewell.



I especially love the way children just say things as they are - no dressing up.  They are refreshingly honest, maybe that's why I spend so much time around them.  There is no rubbish to sift through when you're dealing with them, no hidden agenda.



I have actually been in the same classroom as Jessica since prep, so I was especially sorry to see her go.  However, it also meant that I have a lot of fond memories of her and so making the book was always going to be a labour of love.


And why not finish with a waterfall?

Farewell Jessica.  We hope to see your smiling face back at our school in two years time.









Do you have a favourite project that you love to repeat as a gift?

19 July 2011

I'm a Little Teapot

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea." ~ Anonymous

Don't you just love that quote?  Such comfort food.

Can you pick which one is made of papier?

I spent a lot of time putting together this image of a teapot.  I joined together many rectangles and ovals - I suppose using the Gazelle Funtime software to create your own images is a little bit like drawing, where you initially represent your subject using lots of basic shapes.  After I had the very basic shapes, which I then pulled out of shape and welded together I created a teapot!  With a lid!


"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me".  ~ C S Lewis

16 July 2011

Last Day of the Holidays

I thought I would celebrate the last official day of the school holidays (Friday) with a pyjama day.  Dallying around the place in my "jim-jams" eating, reading and watching dvd's.

But oh, the sun finally came out and beckoned me out of my pyjamas and out of doors.  So, into the kitchen I ventured and made a feast for us to graze from for the remainder of the day.

Pasta Salad, Bread Dipped in Saffron Orange Oil with Dukkah,
Feta and Tomato Salad with hot Garlic Croutons


I just can't wait to be shot of this cold, wet, miserable weather.

13 July 2011

Devils in Disguise

They are the vandals of the bird kingdom.  Beautiful to look at, but it's all downhill after that.  As they flash by my floor-to-ceiling windows catching the meagre winter light, I actually think that brilliant white kites have been let loose in the sky.  Enter the Sulfur crested cockatoo.  Named so, I think, not for their bright yellow crest - which is the colour of sulphur - but more so because of the smell that sulphur gives off and its resemblance to the character of the bird (rotten).
Eyeing off fresh tasty treats from my herb garden.

All in all there were 27 of them!!


They retreated to the safety of loftier heights.
There they were all arranged in their sentry-like stance leering over my newly-planted herbs from the safety of the rooftop.  Needless to say I ran outside and (after photographing them) began waving my arms and yelling like a banshee, to which they all took off in terrified (read nonchalant) flight and resettled themselves from a higher vantage point.

So far my herbs have remained intact - but I remain vigilant.

Not so lucky my neighbours protea shrub - which is just beginning to sprout its giant spring blooms.  Yesterday I returned from a morning of running errands only to see the footpath and surrounding lawn littered with the detritus of the protea.  I really did think that vandals had taken a baseball bat to the tree - not that such things happen around here - but the amount of damage was remarkable.

When I looked closer in the surrounding trees what should I see but the black cousin of the Sulphur crested cockatoo, the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo.  I have lived in this part of Melbourne for twenty years now and I have never seen these devils before.  I wonder what recent freak of nature has sent these ne'er-do-wells of the skies scurrying to this end of Melbourne?  Probably habitat destruction.

"On closer internet inspection it turns out that they are native to this area," she reported sheepishly.  Perhaps we are the marauding invaders and they are merely exacting their revenge?



Do you have any wildlife in your garden that you would like to change?

12 July 2011

A Wise Old Owl Sat on an Oak

The more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard.

Part of my daily working life involves working alongside a wonderful lady by the name of Bev.  She knows everything about how the place works.  She is the oracle.  I have so much to learn from her, not just the cogs of the machine, but how to be patient and more caring to people.  With Bev as my benchmark, I fear I have a long way to go!

Happy Birthday to you Bev!!
Bev is celebrating her birthday tomorrow.  I gave her this card just before the school holidays commenced and would like to wish her all the best for her day.

The body, wings and hat were all cut out on the Gazelle Die Cutter.  The eyes and nose were cut out using a variety of punches that I own.  The best thing about using the Funtime software that came with the Gazelle, is that I can resize my images to any size I want - making them incrementally smaller and larger.


To whom do you look for guidance?

14 May 2011

Industrious Spiders

What with all the talk and debate over recent years on "engineering" the perfect human being through DNA advancements, I came up with the following scenario.

Stay with me on this one . . . .   .
Take the gene in a spider, the one that makes it so interminably productive that it begins (almost immediately) to spin a new web once we have removed its most recent creation, and place that particular gene in a human's genetic makeup for the time that they are a teenager.  Voila!!



Ethics aside, send me a lifeline and tell me that this is in the pipeline?

29 April 2011

Sticky Cinnamon Scrolls - Soul Food

Tom Papier recently had a "hankering" for Sticky Cinnamon Scrolls.  We trolled the web for a suitable recipe and came up with the following creation.  I say "we" but in actual fact Tom pretty much did all of the work himself.

Cinnamon Scrolls  - unadorned and filled with choc chips

We found a recipe on Taste.Com for Hot Cross Buns that we could use as a starting point.  We omitted all the dried fruit and added during and after the process a syrupy concoction of sugar, water and cinnamon.  It was a great excuse for licking our fingers afterwards!!


What's your food of comfort?

28 April 2011

Gifts of the Unexpected

I sometimes feel that the most beautiful gift, whether it be material or intangible, is one that is given when you're not expecting it.  Either your not expecting a gift or favour from that particular person, or you're not anticipating anything at that particular time of the year.

A hug from someone, because they love you and haven't told you for a while.

A card from a dear friend, reminding you that they are always there to lend a hand, when things are not going according to the big plan of "life".

"Thank you" for the thankyou
Thank you Kerry and Nic for the gift of chocolate eggs and the "handmade" cracker.  It was kind of you to think of me at a time when you would have had many such gifts to hand out to others.  I can see that you have put a lot of time into making the cracker and I really appreciate the gesture.



Who has surprised you recently with a Gift of the Unexpected?

27 April 2011

Last Entry in The War of the Rabbits

Now Dad is getting involved.  Yes, I've actually got three children - didn't you know?

Two squat Rabbits

How does the "man" in your life upset the equilibrium you painstakingly assemble each day?

26 April 2011

25 April 2011

The War of the Rabbits

You Take the High Road, and I'll Take the Low Road - and so it begins . . . .

Every Easter I try and decorate the home, not to the same extent (read madness) as I do for Christmas, so that it takes on something of a festive feel for this time of the year.

Several years ago I bought for Sally Cakes and Tom Papier a pair of Rabbits (actually I buy them a rabbit for Easter each year) that had metal legs.  These particular creatures, with their metal legs, allow one to make same Rabbits tall, short or something in between.

Here Tom Rabbit is shorter than Sally Rabbit
This has now begun something of an added Easter tradition in our household.  As well as collecting the hunting eggs on Easter Sunday morning, put out by the beautifully, svelte and attractive Easter Bunny herself, my children take much mirth in "agitating" one another with a new pastime.

Over the ensuing days/weeks (depending on how long I keep the home decorated for Easter), my children rejoice in making their sibling's Rabbit as short as possible, whilst keeping their own as tall as possible.   You will notice from the above photograph that poor "Old Tom" is not just stunted in the legs, but his ears "do hang low"!!

Last year it reached completely new "heights" when they started putting their own rabbit onto higher ground.  First the window sill, then the display table and then on top of the drapes.  It all culminated in the winning rabbit being placed in a hollow in the ceiling, created by a recently removed air conditioning system.  Dirty rabbit, but winning placement.


Please tell me that I'm not the only parent of children with manic traits!!

28 March 2011

Happy Birthday Tanya

Had a bit of a "surf" around the net looking for hints on how to make a Japanese lady using punch art.  This has opened up a new world for me.  There are so many blogs, u-tube videos and various posts all willing to share and help us make the most wonderful gifts and cards.  I would just like to throw out to cyber space a very big thank you to everyone who makes their ideas available to all of us.

Birthday Card and Takeaway Container (full of sweeties)


For Tanya, our Japanese teacher at the school, I wish you a wonderful day - you would probably rather be somewhere else I'm guessing?!!


Given the chance, what would you like spend your ultimate birthday doing?

11 January 2011

Slushies

"We have discovered another purpose for the icecream machine!!" she shouts from the rooftops.  Another kitchen toy that I have amongst my cooking appliance repertoire.



Take some left over lemonade or other various softdrinks left to flatten in the refrigerator, add some cordial and water, put into the machine and voila - in 35 minutes you have your very own slushie.  Great for those unbearably hot afternoons we get in late summer here.  We even added some tropical juice to the brew in the photo you see above for extra tang.

Great for getting rid of those soft drinks that no one wants anymore.



Do you have a pile of leftovers that you won't immediately throw away?

05 January 2011

Harvest Time

What you may very well ask is that sad little collection of, what is it? berries?

Blueberries from my very own garden.
Yes, and I might add, with chest pushed out very proudly, from my very own plant that I have been coaxing along in the warmish climate that is Melbourne.  I have been willing the bush to produce its bounty this year and with great results.  Each morning for the past 10 days, I have wandered outside and collected a small handful of FRESH blueberries to enjoy with my breakfast.  Just mine, no one elses, because just like the Little Red Hen in this household, very little interest is taken in my pursuits until the time of food reckoning. 

So am I sharing my beautiful bounty of blueberries you ask?  "No, not I!!"



Do you have any favourites that you keep in the cupboard away from the kids?

Goodbye to Another Christmas

Even though we didn't host a large Christmas lunch or dinner affair this year, we still prepared our dining table in a festive style for the month of December.  I'm a little late with my postings at the moment and am using the holidays to try and catch up with all my posts that have been residing in the cyber-wings.


Each guest received a 'chinese take away container" with treats inside.
Whilst we did not host any large occasions, we did however have one very special event.  This is the table prepared in readiness for an annual luncheon we hosted for our very dear friend Karlene.  She always manages to make time for us in her busy schedule and we look forward to her fun and hilarity each year.

Wherever you spent your time this Christmas, I do hope that it was with the people dearest to your heart and that you had a wonderful time that built on the many happy memories of Christmas you already have.

Thank you for visitng my blog during 2010 and posting your comments - I appreciate each and everyone of them.

Papier and Cakes

Rubbed with Spice

Back on track with the Life in a Jar theme.

Sorry about the blur - we've lost the recharger for the camera!!

This jar is full of a Spice Rub mix that I got from the Martha Stewart web site.  When I prepared this mixture I kept aside a small amount to try out at home.  It tastes delicious.  We added it to some chicken drumsticks and also potato wedges which we roasted in the oven along with some pineapple and apple chunks.

Yummy and easy to prepare.  Just add oil and mix!!  This is definitely being added to the family cookbook.



Do you have a family favourite meal that you can all enjoy?