Trying my hand at something new….

Dawn Lewis is a crafty figure that I have found alot of inspiration in over the past 12 months or so.  One thing that popped up on my newsfeed was that she was working on a pixel quilt that featured the old school Mario Bros.  I loved it.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.

Quilting is something that has never interested me at all but there was something about this quilt that was calling me.  I have two of my four brothers that are very into computer games and all that geeky stuff so I knew that one of them would love it.  After thinking and dreaming about this quilt for weeks I contacted Dawn for more information on the pattern and the complexity of it.  Her words to me was go for it. Maybe try one panel first and if I don’t like it I could always make it into a cushion cover.  Well, I didn’t listen.  I went out bought all the different colours and sat down cutting out the inch and a half squares.

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Each panel has 324 inch and a half squares.  The pattern for anyone interested can been seen on the cuttopieces.blogspot.com.  My quilt design did not include all of the panels featured here.  I substituted some for other patterns I found when I googled Mario Brothers quilts.  Mario Brothers on old school Nintendo was the first computer game that my family owned when I was a kid.  Some of the characters spoke to me more than others hence my reason to change them up. Once my squares were cut it was time to get underway and start putting them together…..

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This was a big project so this is square one….more to come.

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I’m back….

Ugh…Morning Sickness! Whoever decided that was the best name for it was lucky to only have it in the morning.  I have to admit I was pretty lucky with my previous three pregnancies and the sickness was pretty mild but this one has made up for them all. Morning sickness has now passed and it has turned into crafting mojo.

I love crafty stuff but with two children under two, I spent a lot of time thinking and even dreaming about what I want to create but not actually getting it out of my head.  I am now well and truly into the second trimester and my ideas are now getting out of my head.

I have been doing the Scrap TV card swaps run by Dawn Lewis (see Scrap TV on Facebook for this months swap) for about a year now but just making standard cards.  With my new found mojo I am now getting more creative.  Stepping out of the standard comfort zone I found myself stuck in and making more wild designs.  My most recent swap cards were to the theme of “Circle”.  Somewhere on your card you had to include something with a circle.  This could be patterned paper, punched shapes or stamps.  I decided to go with punched shapes, bright colours and something that is very in at the moment….stitching. Now that the swaps a done, I can share my finished product.

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Announcing number three

We recently announced that we are expecting out third child. I wanted to do the usual photo announcement to let everyone know.

With the announcement of our second, we had our daughter sitting with the iPad on her lap displaying a photo of the scan. She was only about seven months old and happily sat smiling.

This time I wanted to include both children. I trawled trusty Pinterest for inspiration. It looked easy enough. I then thought, right I’m ready to do this.

On a day that was relatively morning sickness free, I set up a makeshift studio on the back deck where the light is really good for taking photos. I set the kids down then started with the stupid thing that all mums do….”Smile. Look at mummy.! Over here. Sit down. Smile.” I kid you not, about 150 photos later, I gave up. Whatever I had, was it. I was over it. I would have to make do.

Let me tell you it is hard to get two kids to co operate for the split second it takes to take a photo as well as keep your cool and not let the urge to throw up get the better of you. I can only imagine what my neighbours were thinking as they were digging about in their garden on the other side of the back fence. I’m sure they already think I’m crazy and this would have cemented that thought.

I am marking this exercise as a partial Pinterest fail. I did get a few that were ok but nothing that screams at me as awesome. Not a complete fail but not a success either.

Here are a few of the fails….

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And here is the announcements we went with. The second was sent to family. It turned out to be a bit cryptic for some so, I went with something more obvious for social media announcement so I wouldn’t have to answer a million questions.

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My advice for anyone attempting this…have two people to help, be patient and DON’T have high expectations. It makes for a better story in the end and shows the kids personalities.

Here’s another fail…look how happy they look.

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Three things to keep a mum from losing her mind

This post is about being a mum and some of the things that I have learnt in the past nearly two years. Not the things like how to get a toddler to eat their vegetables or how to teach a newborn to self settle but three things that will help your sanity just a little bit. A bit of background on me, I am currently a mother of two, one twenty month old and one seven month old. No we are not crazy nor do we not own a Tv, our family has been in the control of the fertility gods. We had to wait until they decided to help us out in the form of one very good doctor but that’s for a different time.

Here goes in no particular order….

Number one – It’s as hard as you make it. This is something I didn’t realise until I had baby number 2. One thing I remember when we announced we were having number 2 is everyone saying “It’s going to be hard work.” Really? NO!? How can two small people with minds of their own be hard work? “It’ll be fine.” I would respond. I have to admit towards the end of my pregnancy I did have a mini melt down in my mind (I was not going to show my weakness to anyone who was already judging me). It was then that I realised I had two options, let it get the better of me or pull myself together and get on with it. I chose to pull myself together and just expected the worst. If things were a mess then things were a mess. I think expecting the worst made it easier when number two actually arrived. It didn’t even come close to what the worst was that I could imagine. It was actually easier. I had done the hard yards with baby one. There were no surprises. I wasn’t worrying if number two was getting enough milk or he was too warm.  I wasn’t constantly googling or reading rubbish. One, I didn’t have time for this and two, I didn’t care what some doctor thought was right.  I had learnt from number one if any of these things were happening the baby would let me know. I didn’t have to worry. Plus I realised that the majority of these doctors writing these books only had one child.  Yes, they stopped at one.  Did they know something everyone else didn’t?  It was at that point I decided that they did not have enough experience to tell me how to raise my children.

Number two – Its okay not to have a prize home. When I became a full time stay at home mum when number 1 was born I had this idea that everyone expected that my home should be spotless. I did manage this by busting my arse for a whole year. But when number 2 arrived…I just couldn’t keep up. It started to get me down. I must be a failure as a mother and wife if I cannot keep a spotless house. Then one day I was talking to my mum and she lifted a weight off my shoulders. “It doesn’t have to be spotless, it just has to be clean and tidy.” There is a difference? Yes, there is. “Don’t you remember our house when you were a kid?” she asked. I did. It was always clean. She was constantly mopping, doing washing and making cups of tea. “It was like a bombsite. There was always stuff everywhere.” She answered herself. What!? That’s not what I remember. “That’s it. Your children don’t care about how your house looks just what you are doing. Make sure your floors are clean and they have clean clothes to wear and the rest won’t matter.” This was my light bulb moment. I was staying at home to care for my children not maintain a museum. The next week a friend was over and I was explaining my “light bulb moment”. Oh, she said, I thought it was your husband that expected you to keep a clean house?” What?! Had I given her that impression? I had. My continual ramblings…”Sorry the house isn’t clean. Don’t judge me.” She thought that he expected that of me when it was just me expecting it of me.

That leads me to number three…Kids don’t care. They don’t care if your hair is brushed or what you are wearing. Just as they don’t care if your house is clean they don’t care if you stay home everyday. This was another thing that my mum made me realise while I was worrying unnecessarily. It was the third day in a row we had been at home. I was still trying to find a regular routine with two kids. My mental state was fine, what I mean was I had no “cabin fever” that I had heard many other mums talk about. But I did feel for number one playing with her same toys for the third day in a row. After telling mum about how I felt her words to me were… “Children do not need to go out. They just need to play. They don’t need “toddler time”. I responded…”Yeah but it’s nice to go out. Isn’t it?” Her response was, “Yes, but not every day. Don’t stress yourself out with it. If you don’t go out you don’t go out.” Obvious but true. Kids care about if you will make time for them. If you will sit on the floor and do puzzles or throw a ball. Kids care if you are present. So from that moment being present became my priority. Let’s go make play dough.

Another Pinterest Project…Inital hooks

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Another Pinterest project that I recently finished was Letter wall hooks for the kids to hang their dressing gowns on. This was an easy one the hardest thing is deciding colours and patterned papers. For my daughters Christening I had already decorated a letter to sit on the table next to her cake so it was good to find another use for this rather than just sitting on her very full “special” shelf in her room.  I just had to add the hook and hang it.

Here is the idea from Pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203365739398641491/

To put this one together I purchased a pre cut Kaisercraft letters in the required initial.  These are also available at stores like Spotlight, Bunnings and I have even seen them in some dollar stores.  These are available in different sizes and sometimes different fonts.  Once you have your letters its now the hard part…choosing paper. It’s down to personal taste this one.  I used scrapbooking paper.  It’s nice and thick plus I have a fair bit of it hoarded.

Once you have chosen your paper, trace your letter onto the paper.  You can do this on the reverse side of the paper if you like but I just used a pencil and erased the lines before sticking it to my letter.  Then choose a paint colour that will compliment your chosen paper.  I just used Acrylic paint.  Paint the sides of the letter.  You don’t have to be neat.  One side will be attached to the wall and the other will be covered with the paper.  While this is drying, cut out your traced letter from your paper. Glue your cut out letter to the front of your letter. For a bit of shine and to seal it all I added a layer of Modge Podge over the whole letter front and sides.

Finally add your hook.   I wanted to use vintage style hooks to fit with the style of our house.  I couldn’t find any that I liked at the hardware store so I ordered cheap ones of eBay.   At a dollar a hook you can’t go wrong right!? Well, it did make finding a screw to fit the shape of the hook a bit hard.  In the end, I used long gold nails and clipped off the long bit from the back.   It does the job and looks pretty good I think.  To fix these to the wall I just used 3M tape that you usually use to stick the hooks to the wall.  My kids are currently sharing a room so I wanted the hook to be relocatable once they can go into their separate rooms downstairs.

 Another easy project done. 

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Guest Canvas…inspired by Pinterest

I have to admit I am a bit of a Pinterest addict.  I think its because it’s a visual medium.  I like that you don’t have to think about what you are looking at.  If you don’t like something you just keep scrolling.  If you do like something or think it will come in handy later, you just Pin it and add it to your collection of boards.  That’s it. You don’t have to do anything right there in that moment because it will always be there later for you to come back to.

I always go to Pinterest for inspiration when I am looking for ideas.  It has everything you can imagine. I have thousands of ideas pinned for future reference.  I am happy to admit that I don’t just pin and never come back.  I regularly revisit the ideas that I have pinned and attempt to create my own master pieces from my pins. If you would like to have a look at all my pins look me up….krisy5.

This post is about one of my recent successful Pinterest projects.  For my daughters Christening last year, I painted a canvas that looked like a tree and everyone stamped their fingerprints as the leaves. It turned out great but it was a bit messy on the day.  Plus a lot of people were hesitant to stick their fingers on an ink pad.  I have no idea why?! (I had wet ones ready to clean it off.) This is it…

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So, this year when it came to  my sons’ Christening I wanted to do a canvas too but not with finger prints.  Queue Pinterest.  These are the two Pinterest ideas that I really liked and used as my inspiration.

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On the day of the Christening it was a lot easier.  My brothers girl friend kindly went around and asked everyone to write their name on a pre cut circle.  No ink, no wet ones and no one hesitated.  It was important for me that the guest write their own name so as to record the individual hand writings. 

Then a month after the Christening, I finally got around to making the canvas. I used the hot air balloon idea teamed up with the balloons.  I completely hand drew the basket then painted the background and the basket and glued on the name circles.  One thing that I didn’t plan was what was going to go in the basket.  At first I thought that I would leave it empty but it looked strange. So, I put the project away and thought I will come back to it when I work out what I was going to do.

By chance, the next week I was at my local fabric shop and as I was walking out the iron on patches caught my eye.  There was a little dog in a pocket.  It was perfect. Just as I was thinking it’s a shame it is not a lion (my son’s name is Leo) and there it was. A Lion poking out of a pink pocket behind the dog one.  It was perfect.  I took it home, cut the pink pocket off and stuck it to my canvas.  It was like I painted the basket to fit the lion.  This was a complete fluke but perfect.  A tip for anyone who wants to do something like this, I would recommend a bit of planning because the chances of finding something to fit a hand drawn basket again is definately slim to NONE!

 Add a few fluffy cloud stickers I scored on an online garage site and some thickers….Done!  This is the finished canvas.  I am really happy with the way it turned out.  Success!

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Another thing about Pinterest that I love is the Pinterest fails.  Go and Google it.  You will laugh.  Even my husband, (who knows nothing about Pinterest except that I am often trawling it while he is sitting on the opposite couch yelling at the football on Tv on a Friday night) really enjoys the fails.  This is our favourite and we often bring it up at random times and laugh.  I think its the teeth that just make it.

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Here goes nothing…..PUBLISH

A bit of back ground and my aim. This year I turned 31.  I am no longer in the category 30 or under.  What I mean is 30 is just the last year of the 20’s right.  Its the end of the 20’s decade. Just as 20 is the end of the teens.  Anyways, I decided that because 31 sees me in the next stage of my life, I wanted to document it in a way that I haven’t done before.  I wanted to record something about me. Yes, I wanted to include all the things that make me me…kids, husband, parenting, crafting but I wanted to look back after I turn 32 and say yep that was me. Plus if it turned out any good I might continue it in the following years.

So with that in mind, a few weeks before my birthday which happened to be on the 31 March (another reason 31 seemed an Ideal place to start), I sat and wrote a list.  A list of things I wanted to do in the year I was 31.  The list included things like…document me, be happy, be a great mum, have another baby and start a blog.   I guess looking back at my list, its like a New Years Resolution list but starting in March.  I am determined though, not to fail unlike many New Years Resolutions I promised to stick to and didn’t.

I love taking photos so why not use this to document me.  Don’t get the idea that I am a Professional Photographer. I am far from a professional.  This is my photography style…Yes, I own a DSLR camera and more than one lens. I also have a point and click Olympus camera in the kids nappy bag that I carry around everywhere. I like to pose my children as well as taking natural photos but I like to keep editing minimal.  I really don’t like over processed pictures. I have only done one course on “How to get more from your camera”, I still have the cheat cards in my camera bag but have not looked at them since the moment I left that Course. (Maybe that’s something else I can add to the list of what I want to do this year.) The truth is,  I like things to be easy.  Editing is a lot of work.  I was given an Iphone 5c for my birthday and now that is my go to camera. I have a few editing apps that help me adjust the light and straighten wonky images but thats it really. Now that I have established my photography style as…. lazy, lets get back to what I am getting at…Documenting me.  I want to take photos that represent me and where I am at. Not necessarily photos of me but photos of things that make me, me.  I was going Project Life – ME.  Project Life is a style of Scrapbooking made popular by Becky Higgins, ( www.beckyhiggins.com).  It is a easy, fuss free style of scrapbooking.  So, on the day that I decided I was going to document me I decided I was going to call it “This is me @31”. I went and purchased a new album cover and started an Instagram #krisys31 and drafted my list of things I wanted to include.  This is what my ideas looked like at that stage.  My ideas come together on my phone as it is portable and I can record things while feeding the baby or supervising outside toddler play, so I feel that this snapshot really sums it up.

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Since starting my “This is me @ 31” album, I have discovered there are a few people tackling this style of life appreciation.  One in particular that I now follow and enjoy reading is Give a Girl a Blogs – Kellie Winnell (kelliewinnell.typepad.com).

 Actually, documenting me was not the first thing on the list.  Starting a blog was the first thing on my list.  I thought I had a few weeks I could get organised and start it on my birthday then I would begin my blogging life at 31.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I love reading blogs, I love getting glimpses into the lives of people with interest I share so I wanted to share me and my experiences.  Easy.  Nope.  No where near as easy as it seemed.  Where do I start, how do I start, what do you write in your first post? 

I spend the next few months thinking about it…and I mean thinking.  I was even dreaming about it. I was reading posts, emailing my favourite bloggers about where to go and how to start.  The message they all gave me.  Just Start.  Write your first post and hit Publish.  Once you’ve started you’ll be hooked.  So, here I am almost the end of July and I am going to do it.  Better late than never. Finally…I am going to hit Publish.