Friday, May 25, 2012

What a treat!

I love getting mail, anything but bills that is.  So it was fantastic to get home earlier in the week and find a parcel in the letterbox!  I had mentioned in my last post how I had been the lucky winner of Barbina's fantastic giveaway ..... well this parcel was from her, all the way from Germany.  Do you want to see what was inside?
My eyes went straight to the most stunning Malabrigo wool!!  I don't know how you managed to part with this Barbina - it's so beautiful!!!  I don't think this is a very easy wool to find in New Zealand, maybe at the more specialty shops, but this is the first time I've actually touched it.  I've ooohed and aaahed over it on many blogs - so you can imagine how fabulous it is to now have some of my own.  Now I have to have a good think about what to make with it as it's so special.  Any suggestions?
 Look at all those lovely shades of blue and green.
 Each time I turned it over there was another pretty mix of colours.   I love it - thank you so much!
There was also the most intricate wee beaded dolphin.  You can't quite tell how little it is in this picture but trust me, it would have been very tricky to make.
I thought that was a more than generous gift - but Barbina had also included gifts for Mr 7 and Miss 5!  When I saw these I got a lump in my throat - that was just the most thoughtful thing to do, you wonderful woman!

So when the children got home from school, I explained that this parcel had come all the way from the other side of the world.  They couldn't quite comprehend why someone they didn't know had sent them a gift but they sure were pleased to accept them.  I haven't seen playmobil since I was tiny when my aunty sent some to us from the UK.  My children have never seen it before - so you can imagine what a treat this was for them.
 Mr 7's contained a skateboarder.  He told Barbina is his thank you, that it looks just like him!
Miss 5's was Cleopatra and she thought it was amazing, especially being able to take the gold bangles on and off.  Both were taken to school the next morning to show their respective teachers then popped safely into my bag for them to see again after school.
I was sooooooooo happy yesterday to finally pick up my crochet hook after nearly 3 weeks.  Just when I thought all the drama of the previous weeks was over, then I went and got sick.  Aaargh.  But now that I'm starting to feel better I was absolutely desperate to get my hook out.  It was really lovely to make myself sit down for an hour and start something new. And I knew exactly what that something new was going to be.  The fabulous Annaboo has put together the most amazing tutorial for here monk/doll/cat pattern and is doing it as a crochet-a-long.  If you haven't already discovered her stunning blog you must head over there immediately!  She has clearly put a lot of time and effort into showing us how to make these little cuties.  I'd never tried anything like this because they looked so difficult and I can be a bit blonde with new patterns and always manage to make at least two mistakes the first time around.  But look, one head complete!!!  Mine is going to be a cat - I think.
Woohoo - now my head has a body and lovely long legs.  I can't wait for the next tutorial instalment so my wee cat can get some arms.   This is a lovely pattern - and I am looking forward to making some more soon.
I mentioned just before that I can be a bit blonde sometimes, well it reminded me of this photo.  It is of me and my little brother (who is now a 6 foot giant compared to me) in our matching outfits.  Mum if you are reading this, am I right in thinking you made our gorgeous shirts?  I absolutely love the fact that despite our different heights, his waistband is just about as high as mine!!!  Too cute.  I like to remind myself that I was a natural blonde once upon a time!!  This photo has been all around the world with me, safely tucked into my wallet.
Righto - I'm off now to do some baking for the weekend.  I have wanted one of these cookie stamps for months now so the time had come for me to actually do something about it!  It is a bit bigger than I had expected but the kids are thrilled with that - the bigger the better in their eyes.

Have a fabulous weekend!  The weather has just changed here in the last few minutes so I think I might just have to light the fire before I bake biscuits.  Brrrr.

See you soon,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wow - it's been a while!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I did a post.  Life has been incredibly crazy here over the last few weeks so I had to prioritise things - which meant computer time was almost nil.  But I'm back now and have lots of catching up to do.  Before I start - I just want to say a huge thank you for all the lovely comments I received for my tea cosy tutorial.  It's been fantastic hearing from everyone who has made one!  And a big hello to all my new followers - it's fabulous to have you here! 

Remember this wee tea cosy?  Well it's been on a bit of a journey recently. Sue from Five Course Garden contacted me earlier in the year to tell me about an upcoming A&P Show in Southland that had a craft section.  I decided to enter my cosy in the crochet section and Sue took it with her on her trip to Invercargill.  Now I live at the bottom of the North Island in Wellington, Invercargill is at the bottom of the South Island - I've never even been there, but my tea cosy has!  I have always been the kind of girl who got the 'taking part is more important than winning' ribbons at athletics days when I was younger so I never received many certificates - unlike my very sporty little brother.  So I'm chuffed to bits to get a little certificate for my cosy.  Such fun!  A huge thanks to Sue for giving up precious suitcase space for my teapot and cosy!  I should also warn you that visiting Sue's blog will have you running to the kitchen to have a go at her beautiful recipes.  Mmmm those Portugese custard tarts .....
I haven't touched my crochet hook for a whole week and I am soooooo looking forward to getting it out today.  I only have a few more squares to go and my huge blanket will be done.  Here is it laid out on my spare bed.  It looks fabulous and oh so cosy.  Doesn't it look fantastic with Karen's lovely cushion in the background that I won on her giveaway?  I have to confess that my promise to sew in all the ends as I went has been well and truly broken.  I started well but after the first ten squares, I got lazy.  So now I have that huge job to do.  I will make a new promise however.  I promise to tidy all the ends before I do the very last square.  That way once that last square is added - the job will be done.  Nothing worse than finishing all your crochet then having to wait days and days to show anyone while you finish up with the enormous amount of ends!! 

Today is a huge, huge day.  Today my baby started school.  It doesn't seem real - even though she is completely ready for it.  So it's goodbye Miss 4, hello Miss 5!!  The whole family went to school this morning to settle her into her new class.  There are only two pupils to start with but many more are due to start next week.  Mr 7 isn't so sure he wants his little sister at the same school but I'm sure he'll get used to the idea in no time at all.  

We had her party on Saturday and it was a 'crafternoon tea party'.  Eleven littlies decorating hair clips and t-shirts.  Lots of fun, lots of laughter and lots of totally unhealthy party food.  Surprisingly the fruit kebabs I had made were mostly left untouched, but the fairy bread was a total hit.  You just can't beat white bread with 100s and 1000s on it!!  Delicious.

Miss 5 had asked for a cake that had a daddy cake, a mummy cake and a baby cake stacked up.  It turned out really well and had all the small folk screaming out for a particular coloured flower on their slice.   My gorgeous girl insisted that she could make the flowers out of fondant so I showed her how to do it.  After a few examples I was told I didn't need to be in the kitchen and that she could do it herself.  And indeed she did!  I placed them on the cake but she did everything else.  She has a lot of patience, unlike her mother!
Here's a pic of her party table just as we were starting to load it up with treats.  A tower of chocolate topped meringues was in the middle, pink plates with pretty doilies (I do love a nice doily!), and more of that lovely fairy bread.  Is fairy bread a New Zealand thing or do you have it for parties in your part of the world?  I found this pretty fabric at Spotlight and turned it into a tablecloth.  But every time I look at it I keep seeing other things I could make with it instead!
The children decorated their own t-shirts to take home.  We used a kit that contained special paper and crayons, then my husband did a fab job ironing them on to the t-shirts.  Lots of jewelled hair clips were made too, which were then tucked away into a pink drawstring bag to take home.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a photo of the little bags - they were so sweet.
We spent the following afternoon building the Lego that she had received in her amazing stash of pressies.  I have always been a Lego fan, and my son has always loved it, but this new girls Lego is really, really gorgeous.  This is Miss 5 building the cafe, complete with oven, pies, milk shakes and cash register.  I can see mummy is going to have a lot of fun with this too!
Just a few other pretty things to share with you before I go.  I have started collecting this Malvern china since finding a plate and a cup in an op shop last year.  I've never spent more than $12 on any single piece so I was thrilled to bits to buy these 6 pieces for $20 on Trade Me.  All I really wanted was the milk jug so it was a bonus to get the other pieces too.  I can't wait to have a girly tea party soon so I can use them.
Paisley fabric that I used as Miss 5's tablecloth.  I think it would make fantastic pjs, or sheets, or a duvet cover, or a roman blind ..... I just love it!
We finally decided on new curtain fabric for our living and dining area and they arrived last week.  I am totally in love with them and the way it has changed the room.  A big bonus was receiving a huge amount of off-cut fabric to play with!!  This bit is a bit crushed as I've had it in my handbag trying to match it up with cushions and rugs.
I found this pretty tunic top recently and after walking away from it in the shop, I went back the next day as it went on sale - brilliant timing.  I usually wear plain blocks of colour so it was a real wardrobe shake up to wear bright pink roses!  I felt so girly and cheerful.
Last new thing to show you .... we had to get a new light fitting for our spare room (my craft room) and my husband spotted this one.  He thought it would be perfect to have a ball of string type shade in a craft room and he was right.  It looks great and the light shines through it in a really amazing way.
I was so surprised to receive an email from Barbina saying I'd won her giveaway!  After a truly rotten week - it was just the news I needed to lift my spirits.  Thank you so very much - you can't begin to know what perfect timing it was to get such lovely news.  I am sooooo lucky - thank you!

A big thank you to Rebecca and Lily for your lovely blog awards - you made my day.

Well that's all from me - have a fabulous week and I'll see you again soon.  I have to go and take the shortbread out of the oven - it is what my wee girl asked for as her after school treat.  I still can't believe I don't have a pre-schooler anymore ....