Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A gluten-free Christmas can be Merry too!

Have been baking up a storm this week in preparation for a week of pre-Christmas hosting and entertaining and visiting!

My Mum's famous Walnut kipferls, gingerbread, banana bread, shortbread and some gluten-free goodies, for when my body tells me I have had enough wheat (but perhaps have some tolerance left for sugar ;)

This morning we had friends come to visit and served up a table of yumminess. As well as great company and lovely gifts, we enjoyed some decadent food too:

Other than strong hands for kneading, you don't need great skill to make a pretty sweet. This coconut ice was easy to make, but looks so impressive.

I call these 'grown up chocolate crackles', cause in place of cocoa and copha, these rice bubbles are held together by significant quantities of chocolate, butter and a hint of golden syrup... yum!

And my final gluten-free victory is my ever-successful triple choc brownies. I just replace the flour with a gluten-free from the supermarket, and because its already such a wet mixture (plenty of butter, chocolate and egg) it doesn't suffer the dryness or crumbliness than gluten-free flour can sometimes bring with it!

Just wanted to share some of my cooking adventures with you.

Love Gubby xo

PS The coconut ice and chocolate crackles were taken from Donna Hay: kids issue (annual 7)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who cares for the carers?

I love Christmas! I think that's pretty clear from the huge number of posts I have written regarding every aspect of my Christmas preparations.

Other than the tree, the decorations, the handmade craft, the cooking, the presents, the parties and the public holidays, Christmas is also a great time to acknowledge the important people in your life and let them know how special they are to you.

Every week I send my two littlest girls to the most wonderful childcare centre in the world. The staff are amazing- they don't just supervise my children, they care for them, nurture them and love them. They are encouraging, supportive and caring. They pass on funny stories about the things the girls do during the day and we laugh together about the things we know about the girls.
I am so grateful to have such wonderful care for the girls. To feel confident that when I go to work, they are in such good hands.

So I have decorated some tins and cooked my Mum's special walnut kipferls. I made up a card with the recipe and a special note from the family to say thanks.

I used a variety of Kaisercraft papers to decorate the tins and used the Stampin Up bauble punch to make shapes to add some dimension, as well as cutting some of the shapes by hand.

I have made one for each of the carers in the centre- its a small centre and the girls know all of the staff, even the ones who aren't their primary carers there. When we go in the mornings, and when they play outside they are supervised by carers from each of the rooms, so its like a big family there and we wanted to say thanks to all of the staff, cause they each contribute to the lovely environment there.

How fortunate we are to have so many wonderful people in our lives, contributing to our family to different ways.

Love Gubby xo

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A wooly situation

Well, I decided this year that I would wrap my gifts in brown paper with some coloured twine. But I left my twine-buying a little late and couldn't get my hands on the colours I wanted.
But, in a moment of pure genius, I bought some coloured wool from K-mart for $3 a ball and the effect is really effective.

My Christmas decorations are pink/purple/blue, so I purchased a pink/purple ball, one with different shades of blue and one in green.

So, that's my Christmas craft for today.
Love Gubby xo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For all the little boys and girls

Just finished the little pressies for Francesca's classmates.
There are 11 girls and 14 boys, so we wanted to make something simple, but still a but handmade.

I had some clear baubles left over from last Christmas, but not enough. But with some help from my wonderful friends at Pack It In we made some cute little gifts for each of the kids.

Girls got a bauble with a candy flower ring and the boys got a little bag filled with green, red and white chocolate balls. Each one decorated with a little Christmas message.

Francesca helped me fill them and chose who would get which colour- and changed her mind 100 times, of course ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In good company

Well, today I got to hang out with around a dozen of Melbourne's most talented... and lovely... artisans.

At The Handmade Show in Oakleigh I had the chance to meet these amazing stallholders:

I purchased a few things (would have been a LOT more if I'd made more money ;)

Picked up a writing set for a friend and a special Christmas card for the hubby from my new favourite stationary designer at RedLetterStudio. Samone is seriously talented and designs all her own stuff. Its beautifully designed, made and packaged. I wanted 1 of everything... and will eventually stock up on all my favourites including this beautiful writing set and this adorable little cupcake notepad:

Must go and sort through my booty,
Love Gubby xo

Friday, December 10, 2010

A nice day for an outing...

Come and visit me at The Handmade Show today. A gorgeous craft market.

I will be there from 10am til 3:30pm at the Oakleigh RSL on Saturday 11th December. Come along for a browse, pick up some gorgeous last-minute Christmas presents.

Hope to see you there.

Love Gubby xo

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Handmade Show

Come and visit me on Saturday at the Handmade Show in Oakleigh for their first Christmas market.

"The Handmade Show is a community minded makers market held at the Oakleigh / Carnegie RSL in Victoria, where crafters and artisans showcase and sell their wares."

I will be there from 10am til 3:30pm at the Oakleigh RSL on Saturday 11th December. Come along for a browse, pick up some gorgeous last-minute Christmas presents.

Or check out some of the gorgeous creations that will be on sale at this gorgeous showcase of stallholders

I myself am in love with RedLetterStudio and don't be at all surprised if you receive one of these gorgeous writing sets from me this Christmas!

With every Christmas card I write....

"May your dreams be merry and bright and may all your Christmas' be white."

Well, Christmas in Australia is not white, but the trees on my pretty Christmas cards are white.
I made these in July with my wonderful friend Adele Khoo from Stampin Bliss.

I have set myself up for the writing of the cards- envelopes (labeled), return address labels (from Vistaprint), handmade cards and notecards- with our 'family newsletter' printed on the back.

I love writing my Christmas cards. And I love sending out cards that I have made myself, with love and creativity!

Everything about Christmas is so lovely and pretty and fun!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Its beginning to look a lot.... more pink!

We have finally put up our Christmas tree. Last year we bought a new tree and decorations for the first time since we were married- I chose the pink/purple/teal combo- we have 3 girls, why not just give in to the pink?!?

So here's the loungeroom:

And here are our 4 different types of Christmas tree- all to theme, of course ;)

I have also put up the gorgeous nativity that my Mum bought for us when Francesca was younger. She wanted something that was cute for the kids, but nice enough for Mummy to want to put up in her loungeroom for Christmas.

And now begins the process of reminding my daughters of what Christmas is all about...

"That God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Wishing you all the best for the festive season,
Love Gubby xo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Super Francesca

My biggest baby turned 6 in November. Much to her mother's delight, she chose a 'superhero' theme; a nice break from the pink that defines my life :P

And with the help of wonderful friends and family it was an absolutely perfect day and a wonderful party.

Decorations were red, blue and silver- very super hero- and my hubby placed all of our dolls houses etc in the entrance, so guests had to 'leap a tall building' to get into the party!
Everyone went to great effort to get into the party mood. My sisters and Momo were Zap, Kapow and Boink and did a great job of playing the villians for the day.
As you can see, the kids had such a wonderful time chasing and being chased by Zap- the world's most dramatic bad-guy!
My littlest Super Girl. Doesn't she make your heart melt?!

And here's my middle-sized Super Girl. Her super power is the ability to eat more than any human who has ever lived!

How many aunty/niece combos do you think have such an awesome photo in their collection?!
I was really disappointed with the cake- but she's 6- she loved everything about the day and the kids will eat any cake, especially if its chocolate

Goodie bags included some green 'kryptonite' candy, a small water gun for fighting grime, a couple of glow bracelets, some 'kapow' candy and some galactic popping candy
And here she is... my beautiful big girl. I love the way this photo captures her so brilliantly.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In memory...

Today Francesca has a 'free/casual clothes' day at school to help raise money for the family of her little schoolmate Mohamed who died last week. He drowned in the neighbours pool and is the eldest of 3. His family only immigrated to Australia this year.

He was a sweet, funny little kid. His mother, Rania, is a lovely lady and I can only imagine her heartache.

Please remember Mohamed's family in your thoughts and prayers!

Cupcake canvas trio

I had a commission recently to make a canvas for the little girl my mum looks after. She's 8 or 9 and is the only girl with 2 brothers. Mum wanted something a little special for her, so I went shopping.

I came across a very new Kaisercraft paper at Scrappy Hollow that had just come out. It has the usual range of gorgeous papers in coordinating colours and patterns, as well as a lovely thick, glittered paper with cupcakes. I just love a paper I can cut and layer.

Check out the Candy Lane collection.

This is the result. I was really happy and Mum said Millie was thrilled too :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Made with love

In October and November, my husband's extended family celebrate many many birthdays. 8 birthdays in 8 weeks to be precise. This year I decided I would like to hand make some of the gifts for my sisters in law.

Beginning with some kits from Kaisercraft. This one was for my sister-in-law, Lisa. She's a graphic designer, so i wanted something for her desk!

 Cover the kit in paper- these are also Kaisercraft: Peachy Keen. I love this set. There are matching rub-ons and some really cute pearl stickers. 


And edges painted

I also made a set of drawers for my other sister-in-law, Paige. Could be used for craft storage, jewellery, make-up. A really compact set but the drawers are quite roomy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

By request

I have had quite a few custom orders for canvases lately. I LOVE the challenge of finding just the right paper and embellishments for a special little person.

Here are 2 that were ordered from me last week. One sister loves fairies and the other was into flowers and butterflies.

The hardest thing about custom pieces is worrying that the customer won't love them. When you put your heart into something, its a real worry. But I am finding it easier than I thought to take feedback from my customers- its usually just a change in font or the colour of a ribbon or flower- so my ego can handle that :)

I have sent these photos to make sure they are right and the customer is happy. Now I can't wait to give them to her!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flower power

I have been having fun recently making cards with pretty flowers on them- made from a round scallop punch.

So here are the step by step instructions to make one of your own.

You'll need some paper (preferably double-sided), an emery board or distressing tool, some small scissors, double sided-tape and mounting tape or glue dots, and some buttons or brads for embellishment.

Punch out 2, 3 or 4 scallop circles, using different colours and patterns from the paper. Then distress the edges (the side of the flower that will be facing up).

Using a fine pair of scissors, cut in between the scallops- either single or double width.

Then fold the 'petals' up, pinching them with your fingers- this gives the flower dimension.

Finally, stick the layers together.

And you have a lovely addition to a card... or make a whole garden of flowers for a card or off-the-page project.


Love Gubby xo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cardigan? Ma-digan!!

Its so wonderful to be surrounded by talented people.
My mum is a knitter. She does beautiful work knitting for my girls.
She is our 'Ma' so when she made Beth and Francesca each a very special cardigan last year, we dubbed them the 'Ma-digan'

I get comments about the Madigan all the time and luckily Ma decided to knit them all a new one this year. She is still working on Francesca's one (yellow) and I don't have a photo of Penny in hers yet, but here's Beth in her latest- with matching beanie! Isn't she adorable?? And don't you love the pose??

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Look at me! Look at me!

Isn't my new banner so pretty??

My wonderful friend, Crystal Devenish, is a graphic designer and designed all my marketing stuff- business cards, letter heads, banners etc. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful and talented friends :)

Just wanted to share the joy :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Home again, home again... jiggity jig

I had a great time at the market yesterday. Learnt a lot and made some decisions about changes I'll make for next time!

Friday, May 7, 2010

To market, to market...

Tomorrow morning I have my first market to sell my personalised canvas art.
The market is at Tunstall Square Baptist Church in Donvale from 9am-1pm on Saturday 8th May- so come along if you have time and are around.

My wonderful, wonderful friend, Crystal, designed my new logo (will update my blog with the new logo soon) and printed my new business cards and letter heads:

Don't they look amazing?! I just love the simple, hand-written logo, but of course Crystal added all the little touches that take it from text to a real logo and brand- thank-you, wonderful friend :)

I have chosen a set of 3 canvases for boys and 4 for girls. I think it will be easier to prepare for markets and other sales if I have a limited number of designs.

I have chosen zoo animals, cars and robots for boys and ducks, pretty dresses, fairies and babushkas for the girls.

I have also created my first order form- in case I sell all of the pre-made canvases or people have specific requests.

Wish me luck- I'll let you know how I go when I get back.

Love Gubby xo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Penny 1st Birthday Barnyard Bash

On Friday my baby turned 1. We celebrated on the weekend with family and friends at the Norris Farm (aka our house in Doncaster ;)

I made use of a stock image for the invites. Crystal added the text, Adele printed them for me- so lucky to have such talented and useful friends :)

Tri brought baby chicks and hay from her parent's farm to add to the farmyard feel and there were plenty of 'farmers' to help out with the animals (read: children ;)

I have been planning this party for a long time. I realised that it was the last birthday party that's really all about me- even by her 2nd birthday Penny will have preferences and opinions ;)

I had so much fun planning foods and decorations to fit with the theme; chocolate and coconut 'haystacks', farm fresh chocolate easter eggs, popcorn and oat biccies ' straight from the fields', pigs in a blanket... I even cut the fairy bread out with farm animal cookie cutters!

But my efforts pale into insignificance next to my incredible sister and her perfect cupcakes.

Seriously? How amazing is she?? She stayed up late the night before the party to make them and was such a huge help getting everything ready on the day!

For the kids I put together party 'buckets' rather than party bags. The buckets were on sale at Riot art and I filled them with farm-themed books and stickers; egg cups; sippah straws; pony biscuits and Peggy Pig lollies (from Coles, of all places :) They look fantastic all on the table together and probably only cost me around $5-6 each to put together (thanks to the shopping efforts of my good friend, Jemimah)

For the grown-ups I made Limited Edition 'Penelope Norris' chocolate bars. I used the same stock image for the wrappers. They looked great all stacked up in the box!

It was a fantastic day. I was so pleased to be able to make such a special day for my baby girl.