Friday, March 30, 2012

My pretty little Easter bunnies

Further to my rant last week about Easter bonnet parades, I had the pleasure of watching my eldest daughter in her parade today. This is her creation:

The hat was a $2 purchase from a local Op Shop. She cut up an egg carton, cut the edges in zig zags to look 'cracked', painted them brown and stuck green and pink shredded paper inside the cups- pink for the easter eggs and green for the bunnies and chickens.

The birdhouse was a leftover from a craft book from last Easter and the ribbon was a couple of dollars from Woolworths.

My job was to handle the hot glue gun, but she designed and directed the whole thing.

She was disappointed that she didn't win a prize, but she was really pleased with her hat!

And I wasn't disappointed at all!! I loved watching her walk around the stage knowing that this was her very own creation. And there was enough chocolate going around today at school to soothe her (she's her mother's daughter ;)

Love Gubby xo

PS The little sisters had to be involved too, so I just stuck some bits on a hat for Beth. Her only real requirement was that it had actual chocolate on it (Penny is mid-egg, thus the screwy face ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

All the leaves are brown...

This afternoon Rob and I were watching our littlest jump on the trampoline in our front yard, when he looked up and noticed that the leaves of the trees were starting to turn brown. When Francesca was little she used the term 'the trees have been autumned'- its one of those little kid sayings that still brings a smile to my face every time I see Autumn setting in.

And in honour of the Autumning of the world, I thought I would showcase my latest piece of artwork.

Beth keeps bringing home paintings from kinder. Some are filed away in the collection I keep for each of the girls, some are sent to Nannies and Mas and aunts and uncles and friends. Some are put on display... for a little while.

She recently brought home a large sheet of colour:

I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I wanted it on display somewhere. I was thinking of a mosaic or similar... and then a good friend reminded me of the frame that was sitting in the hall cupboard:

It was in the cupboard when we moved into the house and, its safe to say, it was not going to be on display as it was ;)

So I mixed a little drawing of my own with a little of Beth's artwork and created a little Autumn artwork for our house!

Have you displayed your kids artwork at home? Or found a creative way to amend it for display? Would love to see/hear about your combined creations.

Love Gubby xo

Friday, March 23, 2012

Easter bonnet parades... a modern day sham?!

My daughter is in grade 2 and so this will be our 3rd Easter bonnet parade.

As a crafty, I have SO many ideas for the kind of bonnet I would like to make- the internet is full of amazingly creative ideas for the kind of bonnet one can make, materials one can use and looks one can achieve.

But I try very hard to remember that my girl has ideas of her own. This is another wonderful activity for her to direct. Its relatively simple, has no life or death consequences, but allows her to work her creative muscles, direct a small project and then display her work in public.

I also understand that my job as 'Mum' is to develop lifelong independence. If I make all her choices and do all her things now, how will she learn what she dis/likes, what she is and is not capable of, what works and what doesn't??

And so I have (painfully) left it entirely to her (my only involvement has been sourcing goods and holding 2 things together so she can staple them herself... lop-sided, of course :P)

I must say, I am really disappointed that the prizes seem to go to the bonnets that are most obviously made by the mums.... NOT the kids. I am all for Mums being involved, but perhaps we should have a bonnet parade for Mums, so the kids can have this one back!

Do you struggle keeping your hands off your kids' projects too?

I hope many more mums will join me this year in allowing their kids the opportunity to create and display something that is their own making :)

Yours in indignation,
Gubby xo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All your cords in one basket!

Do you, like me, have all your power cords and chargers in one big box or basket? All tangled together? Unable to determine when one cord ends and another begins?

It's so frustrating! Especially when you're running out the door for a night or two away with your hubby and you realise you need a charger for your phone... and it takes you 20 minutes to find and untangle it.

Well, I found the best solution. Its pretty and practical. I love creating order. It makes me happy. It makes me even happier when it also looks great and I can make it myself for very minimal (if any) cost!

It started life as a very plain cardboard box. Any box that fits the space you want to store your cords will do- as long as it has flaps to close it. If its a large box, you might want to get some more cardboard to create more compartments- but my nice little square box lent itself beautifully to 9 even compartments.

Cut off the flaps. Mark into 3 even sections and cut about half way into the flaps at marked points (if you have a larger box or wish to use extra card to create more compartments, you will need to measure, mark and cut so that the pieces fit together- see below).

Start with one set of flaps (either the length or width of the box) and place with cuts up. Insert the other set of flaps, matching the cuts you have made (this time facing down). If they don't fit make the cuts a little wider. If they sit up too far make the cuts a little longer so they can reach all the way to the bottom of the box.

Then take out the card pieces and decorate the inserts and the external box. I had some wonderfully colourful papers in my collection, so it was easy to make it look great (you could also use fabric- a thick fabric would give this great support if your box will get a lot of regular use). I found a cute frame image online and used that for the big front label and the labels inside. The small interior labels were actually sized to fit the adhesive mailing labels that I always have at home. So I just had to print them onto the labels, cut them out, peel and stick!

So now, my obsessive tendancies are alleviated for a little while longer and I have a great and easy way to get to power cords and cables whenever I need them (and I used ONLY stuff I already had at home).

Do you have a favourite storage idea when it comes to all your wires? I would love to hear your tips for making sense of the cable jungle!

Love Gubby xo

You can view the original tutorial at the AMAZING 'i {heart} organizing' blog:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A bounty of buttons

I have a jar of buttons.
Its not a Vegemite jar.
Its not even a jam jar.
Its a large coffee jar full of buttons.

And I love it!
I love my jar of buttons.
Every colour, shape, size.

Its beautiful.
I love to look at it.
I love shaking it around when I need to find one that I need.
I love running my fingers through them and pinching that tiny little orange one against the side of the jar in an attempt to seperate it and get it out of the jar.
And sometimes, when things get desperate, I love pouring them onto the table so I can find one. I love the sound of them pouring out.

Better than my buttons in a jar are my buttons on display. I use them to embellish cards, as the centre of flowers and now on sewing projects.

I found the perfect project for Easter that allows me to put a bunch of buttons on display.

How cute is this? My 7 year old is desperate to make one of her own- I'll be sure to post a pic when she's all done :)

And best of all, the frame was a couple of dollars at the local op shop!

Love Gubby xo

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stay-at-home-mum- not a job for the weak-hearted!

Late 2011 I made a BIG decision. One I never thought I would make. A decision that scared the life out of me, but that I believed to be important enough to sacrifice my own security for... I decided to resign from my part-time job to be at home full time with my 3 young daughters.

My parenting journey has been one full of drama and excitement- post-natal depression; life-threatening ectopic pregnancy; 3 caesareans and another life and death surgery just for good measure; unplanned pregnancy.

I have not enjoyed being a mum.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids. I think they are pretty awesome as far as kids go- bright, hilarious, inquisitive, beautiful, creative, confident, loving... But the job sucks- bad hours, shocking pay, unresponsive patrons, no sick leave, just to name a few.

I expected that as they grew up they would need me less, but actually found that as they get older they are actually MORE aware of what I am not around for. They want Mum to come and do reading at school, kinder duty, choir practice, Christmas concerts and the numerous and various activities they have on.

I also realised recently that in the past 4 years I went back to work when baby number 2 was 8 months old, fell pregnant with my (unplanned) 3rd child, finished work in time for number 3's arrival, went back to work when she was 6 months old, changed jobs a year later and juggled 3 young kids and work 2 days a week.

I know 2 days doesn't sound that much, but juggling timetables, time away from home when I could be doing cleaning, cooking etc; and the mental seperation required when you have more than 1 job was taking its toll on me, hubby and my kids.

So we made the call that I would resign from paid employment to give myself full-time to my job here at Casa de Norris ;)

I was seriously concerned about not having that time out. Time to go to the toilet on my own. Stimulation, conversation, change of scenery. What if I enjoyed my time with my kids only because I knew I could have time away from them... and now I wouldn't get that time?

But you know what? I am really enjoying myself. Today I was a complete Stepford mum- dressed neatly, shopped for fresh fruit & veg, cut up fruit & veg, baked cakes, prepared dinner, picked up a friend's daughter from kinder, entertained my best friend for the day, oversaw the handyman doing some small maintenance jobs around the house and had the chance to support my husband in some important experiences and decisions.

Days like today are not every day. But they sure feel good when they happen.

Each day I feel a little more confident in my abilities as a mum and more importantly as Mum to these precious little creatures God has put in my care. A good day reminds of why I gave up work and keeps me motivated when the bad days come.

I hope that I can continue to make this a comfortable and nurturing home for my family... and for every person that enters these walls.

I hope today was a good day for you, wherever you are in your life journey.

Love Gubby xo

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pin doctor

So, as you know, after many years of firmly refusing to venture away from paper crafts, I developed a recent and fairly serious obsession with sewing.

On the plus side, there are an endless number of new projects available to me now that I can handle fabric, as well as paper. On the downside, craft stores only used to hold 50% worth of temptation for me. Now when I go to Spotlight, the WHOLE store is a source of temptation. And its worse than just the fabrics themselves as I have not had much time to stock up on fun sewing tools and gadgets, so there's so many things I NEED to look at and consider.

One thing I have been working without is a pin cushion. I bought my pins on a plastic wheel and have been just placing them onto the table beside me as I sew and then carefully putting them back into the wheel when I am done.

Its time consuming and... to be honest, not very pretty! And what better use for my new sewing skills, than to make myself a tool to make my sewing easier.

This one I made for myself, using some Amy Butler remnants I had from a previous project. I love it- its big and colourful- pretty and practical- my 2 favourite things :)

When I took up sewing, my amazingly talented mother-in-law let my rifle through her old stash- she doesn't do much craft these days, but is very capable! She showed me the pin cushion she made when she was in primary school (and the history student in me was super excited :) that was really too small to be practical. So I determined to make her a replacement (the little turtle pin cushion will hang around for posterity, but a new larger pin cushion was needed for practicality).

 And then when I showed my sister-in-law she looked impressed so I thought perhaps she would like one too.

(the tutorial is available at Better Homes & Gardens)

I had also seen a really adorable pin cushion idea, using a frame. I picked up a frame for $1 at the local op shop and put together this one for my other super-talented sister in law. This is much more her style and I was really pleased at how it turned out. This one is fun too, cause you can use it lying flat or prop it up with the stand at the back- just like a photo frame !(tutorial at Spin Cushion)

I am so enjoying the ability to make myself pretty things. I love being able to see something online and have a pretty good go at making it.

Hope your weekend has been as productive as mine.

Love Gubby xo

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A little something I whipped up!

I have recently had a few friends bemoan the loss of their crafting 'mojo'. Its always so sad when you have time and projects to do, but no impetus to do them.

I have not had this problem of late. In fact, I find myself just sitting down for a few minutes to 'whip something up' simply because I have a few moments to kill before I have to get dinner, pick up the girls from school, put the washing out (insert home-making/parenting task here)...

I went out one evening last week, picked up some fabric at Spotlight on my way out and when I got home at 9:30pm, I used the fabric I had purchased to make an hair clip board for my girls, before I went to bed!

 I had decorated a couple of small tins for the girls' hair clips and hair ties. They looked really pretty and compact. The problem is that when kids can't see what they have, they find a way to make it easier to see... ie they tip ALL the items out of the tins onto the dresser and leave them there for the cleaning fairy (and, no, we don't have a cleaning fairy... its actually just me... I know, you're stunned, right?!?)

So with a donated frame from a friend, a small piece of fabric and some ribbons, I put together a pretty board to make it easier for all of us to see what my girls actually have.

Firstly, wrap the fabric around a solid piece of cardboard.
* Don't use the back of the frame, as you will want this piece to hold the fabric/ribbons in place. (sorry about the misleading photo- I started folding the fabric and then realised it was the wrong piece, but forgot to retake the photo)
*You could use the glass from the frame, but I am not sure if that would put holes in your fabric.
*This frame had a plastic insert so I was able to use that to wrap the fabric around.

Use a very strong glue- hot glue gun is a good option- to stick the fabric to your board.

Measure your ribbons, allowing a generous overlap, so there's plenty of ribbon to afix to the back of the board. Use glue to stick the ribbons to the back of board.

Push the board into the frame, with the ribbons facing the front of the frame- it might be a little squishy, but that will also help hold the fabric and ribbons in place- especially when the board is in daily use as it is in our house!

Press the back of the frame in and secure firmly. 

I knew we had a lot of hair clips, but seeing them on the board confirmed my suspicions. This frame is an 11" x 14" frame, just to give you an idea of just how many hair accessories we have in this house. This does not include headbands, hair ties and flowers!!

I also came across a few hair clips that had fallen apart and sorted those out with the hot glue gun too.

Its amazing what you can achieve when your mojo is present!!

Love Gubby xo

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The reason for the season

I have recently discovered (and become a fan of) subway art.

They look so effective and are a great way of communicating a message... but in a pretty way :)

For those who don't know what 'subway art' is, its basically a collection of words/phrases in various font styles/sizes/colours that you can use for decoration (see my Valentines Day post for a subway art printable).

This one appeared on Pinterest and immediately caught my eye. I wanted something for Easter that a) wasn't too pink, b) contained no reference to the Easter bunny and c) looked good!

And so this piece now adorns our entrance way- a reminder for all our visitors that Jesus is the reason we get to gorge ourselves on chocolate some time in March/April/May each year! I like the emphasis on HOPE, as hope and new life are the themes we emphasise when talking to our kids about Easter.

My littlest will celebrate her birthday on Easter Monday this year- so am looking forward to planning a birthday/Easter celebration with all our friends. It is fitting that my precious little 'surprise' baby is born at this time of year- as hope and new life are the characteristics she brought with her when she landed in our family almost 3 years ago :)

Love Gubby xo

*oops* Completely forgot to credit 'Antsi-pants' blog for her beautiful subway artwork. There are 3 colour schemes to choose from :)