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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Girls Birthday Party - Pt four

This is the last post in my series of DIY Birthday party posts celebrating the sixth birthday of my little girl. I really hope you have found inspiration in my posts to create your own floral themed girls birthday party. I hope that I was able to show that children's birthday parties do not have to be stressful, expensive or (my least favorite thing) tacky.

Please feel free to visit my other posts around this celebration:

Part 1 - Party decorations and the cake
Part 2 - Invitation designs and free downloads
Part 3 - Party activities and free downloads

As a part of each birthday celebration I try to make something to give that is completely handmade. It's not all about the plastic and the made in China toys in our house. 

This year I decided she could really use a new winter coat. When she was little my friend Claire made her a winter coat out of recycled blanket which lasted her for years. The blanket material means that the garment is long wearing and so very warm, a must in a Tasmanian winter.

I used a pattern from the 1978 Children's Wardrobe book written by Ann Ladbury and Designs by Sally Tuffin. I found this book in pristine condition, all patterns uncut and a bevy of simple designs that can be transformed for today's fashions. I used the traditional Duffle Coat pattern and cut the pattern from a beautiful cream woolen blanket and the hood lining was a fantastic shirt I picked up in an Op shop and saved for just a project like this. I left the blanket edge as a feature on the pockets and along the bottom of the coat.

The photos I have taken for this post were completed on the Olympus OM-D E-M10. I was very fortunate to be offered the loan of this camera as a part of the Voices of 2014 program. I will be trialling this camera for a two more months so expect to see some more photos coming from this little beauty.

The photos above have very limited 'after editing' applied so you can see the quality I am getting from this compact, yet professional camera. I left the photos 'clean' in this series so that you can get a true idea of what to expect from the camera in its most raw form.

In the next posts I will be exploring the cameras more technical features such as the intriguing Wifi transfer and remote capabilities, and the interesting Art Filters that are conveniently already a part of the camera functions.

I am a fan of the compact nature of this camera, it is very easy to carry around with you in your handbag, yet still has the performance capabilities of any normal DSLR. I could imagine that anyone from a world traveler, a professional photographer or a photo snappy mother would be happy to have this camera easy to hand without the bulk of carrying around a normal sized DSLR camera.

The past week or two I have been spent learning the features of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 so I can't wait to take my new skills further in the next posts I complete. I have been teaching photography this year to high school and college students and I have trialled quite a few different brands of cameras however this is my first experience with the Olympus brand. So far I have not been disappointed and I hope that I can adequately share with you the features of the Olympus camera. If you are in the market for a new camera then please keep an eye on my next few posts.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

DIY Girls Birthday Party - Pt Three

For the third part in this DIY floral themed girls birthday party series I am going to share with you some activities to do during the party.

We had the normal birthday party games like pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and a minty lolly wrapper game I re-invented from a car trip game to a party game.

My girl is very into craft and making so I thought I would attempt some actual craft activities during the festivities. I wasn't sure how the kids would take to it as its not really a 'usual party doing'. I didn't force the kids to partake in the making but just set up a table with the craft on it to the side of the main area. 
Unbelievably some of the kids made the things and most of the others at least had a go at drawing. I am not sure if it was because the party was mostly attended by girls, if there was a lack of sugar consumed or with the availability of quieter activities I feel that the party was surprisingly calm and gentle. My girl does not like being in big loud groups or frantic activities. I often find her shunning those times when I pick her up at after school care. Perhaps she just chose a group of children to attend the party that are much like her.

In the craft area I set up paper, pencils, scissors, printouts (below) and paper brads all ready for the action.

I had been pinning printables for a while and thought this was a fantastic opportunity to finally print some out. The printables are all free and would have been better printed on some stiffer card rather than the generic A4 paper I used.

The first printable is from Playful learning and the  fox and deer are part of a table top theater set.

The second printable is available from Appracadabra Printables and even though I printed these mainly for the strong man there are a few others in this set which are just as lovely.

The third printable was less for the kids and more for adding extra party decorations, however you could use them where ever you like. These beautiful water colour birds  would look amazing hanging amongst the ceiling flowers and are available from Rebecca's Misc.

Unfortunatly I ran out of time to cut these felt flowers but I feel that if you were looking for another flower based activity I would have totally tried this one out. It would have been great for all the children to make their own flower head band inspired by the parties floral theme. You can find two versions of this activity one here and another here. 

The best thing about these activities is that there is no messy glue or paint to control, no children sent home with ruined clothes and no resentful parents. All the actives could be completed by the six years old's with minimal help from an adult. What more could you ask for?

Other girls party ideas are contained in these posts:

Part 1 - Decoration and table ideas
Part 2 - Invitation designs

Friday, July 11, 2014

DIY Girls Birthday Party - Pt Two

In my first DIY floral girls birthday party post I showed you some cheap decorating ideas for the party table. In this second part of the DIY girls floral birthday party post I thought I would share with you the invitations I made up in the same modern floral theme.

I was lucky to come across this very generous free printable from The Creative Monster in a beautiful floral illustrated picture that fitted my ideas perfectly. You should have a look at her other freebies where you will also find the PDF version of the full pictures above - she is very generous with her designs.

I created the invitations for a 6th birthday party in Illustrator. I have included single versions of the heart and floral circle motif just incase you want to replace the number on the invitations I pre-created with a different number or make up your own version inspired by the ones above.

You will need to fill in your own details on the invite - for example on the front cover You are invited to (insert child's name here) and the party details after the when, where, time, and RSVP.

All the fonts I used in this project are also free to download on line. The fonts I used are as follows:
The A4 version, above, I used by printing out the template, cutting up the separate squares and placed on some blank cards then securing them with some washi tape and glue. The long version, I imagine, could be placed on some white card and glued on. I used the long version as a electronic invitation to send to those that the post would not make it to.

I hope this helps someone out. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the links above. In my next post I will be showing you some free printables and craft ideas I used in the party itself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DIY Girls Birthday Party - Pt One

Today is my little girls 6th Birthday. On the weekend we had her first official birthday party. Now that she is at school I have found it increasingly difficult to escape the pressure of organising a proper birthday party. 

I decided on a "Flower" themed event. It was girly but I was trying to avoid the 'tacky' that often comes with kids birthday events.

I thought I might share with you some ideas I had when creating the flower themed 6th birthday party over a few posts. I am going to start with the room where all the cake and eating would be done.
Firstly I made some flower garlands to hang from the ceiling. I bought $2 worth of tissue paper in a multiple of colours and spent about an hour making up a variety of tissue flowers. I didn't use any particular tutorials but if you google tissue paper flower tutorials there are a multitude out there. 
Once I had my flowers made up I used some white string and a needle to thread them together. In between the tissue flowers I filled the string with some fabric flowers and some craft pom-poms. I left gaps between all the additions and mixed up all the colours. I was really happy with the effect once I had stick taped them draping randomly from the ceiling. It was pretty, delicate, modern and defiantly not tacky.

To dress the table I used a vintage white floral tablecloth from my stash. On top of that I placed a vintage white lap table with a pretty floral motif painted on it. I scrounged around the house and collected all of my plastic (yes plastic) flowers that I could and placed them on the table to make the rest of the decorations.

I don't normally like using paper party wear but I decided to use paper cups, napkins and hats. I mixed up spots, stripes and colours. Clean up was easier and to be quiet honest I didn't really trust six year old's with my good thrifted floral china.

The cake - I am almost too embarrassed to tell you about the cake - but I guess I am going to use the excuse that I am pregnant, working full time and literally had zero time after work that week to find time to make one myself. In other words I totally cheated. 

The little girl asked for a chocolate cake so from the local supermarket I bought two mud cakes, some cream, pitted cherries, pre-made icing and some sugar flower decorations. I whipped the cream, smooshed the cherries and placed them between the two cakes. I whipped the icing around the cake and placed the decorations on top. It literally took me 20 minutes to prepare the cake. I am a cheater but I am also totally proud that I could pull off a cake without paying someone else to do it for me.

In my next post I will share with you the invitations and a free printout for you to use. If you are a busy Mum (like I am) then I don't think it hurts anyone to share beautiful ideas to make all of our lives easier.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pre Natal Depression

Obligotory bump picture
Everyone that knows me knows that I don't 'do' pregnancy well. All this bullcrap about glowing and pregnancy 'being an amazing experience' is one of the biggest myths that women tell each other. 

When it comes to talking about pregnancy I relate more to people that talk more like This or This and the woman that wrote this post could possibly be my soul sister.

Whist I do believe some women could possibly enjoy being pregnant I will not lie to myself and the world around me that I am one of those people.

I am grateful that we are pregnant. After my husbands illness it was something we did not know if   we got to experience again. However I really resent that I have  to be the one to do all the hard work. Nine (ten if we are truthful) months is a long time.

Usually I am a very active person. I do four things at once and have 100 projects on the go. Being tired, feeling like crap 24/7, not being able to bend, drink alcohol, and eat normal food really impacts on my quality of life. I get to lose my job that I studied 10 years at Uni for and the most certain part of my future is going to the osteopath to get my back put back in once the trauma is over.

I have an alien living inside me and upon exiting me, like the a-fore mentioned movie,  I will endure a 2hr sleep pattern , extra skin and blubber, leaky boobs and many of the other joys of child bearing.

I hope to be able to leave the house without baby spew on me in the first six months and have at least attempted the house work at some stage in that period.

I don't get pregnancy cravings. I have never had a braxton hick. My hormones don't go crazy out of control and I often wonder if these things are yet another myth created by women.... perhaps I am unusual.

I do get turned off food, either because of the smell or the repercussions of a night of extreme heart burn ending in a spew. Foods I am avoiding at the moment are:

*Fried Food
*Tuna (anyone eating tuna)
*Promite (Savory toast spreads in general)
*Tomato Soup
*Carrot Cake
*Stews with a tomato base or with a fatty bit of meat involved
*Banana (fruit, bread, anything)
*Creamy foods

I am on antibiotics due to a secondary infection after having the flu and only being allowed to take hard core drugs like Panadol. My gall bladder aches but I have managed to avoid an actual attack since the diagnosis. I am beginning to feel tired again. I have put on very limited weight so far as I believe the stairs at my place of work are keeping me active. However I feel that, like the last pregnancy, the weight gain will come once I start breast feeding.
Yes I am whinging. No I do not feel guilty. It is how I feel.
I can not wait till the baby is born and I can at least share the responsibility/pains/joys of raising the child with my Husband. I intend to try my very hardest to be easier on myself and enjoy my last baby. I have stopped worrying about work and the future. I will not stress about the large pile of unfolded washing and dishes sitting on the sink. I will not listen to any stories of perfect mothering techniques or guilt from not going back to work soon enough/staying at home long enough from anyone. I will mother my last baby how I feel is best. I will leave the hospital and get home as soon as I am able. I will parent in a more natural manner and not listen to people who tell me the correct methods of breast feeding, sleep techniques and other hocus-pocus ideals of a life that doesn't actually exist. I will not engage with a new mothers group that does not allow people to be less than perfect.
I am older. Wiser.
Perhaps I will share with you my story of my first birth and labour. It will be a brutally honest story that could potentially turn people off getting pregnant at all. Perhaps I wont share it, we will see.
The truth of child bearing and child raising is far from the ideal that most people tend to hold themselves to. I feel it is a truth that needs sharing more than it does. Child rearing is not for everyone and the endless amount of stars that have to align for a woman to become a mother means that it is not something that everyone gets to (or wants to) experience.
We need to stop being so hard on ourselves and share in the many and unique experiences that women endure, even if that does mean being brutally honest sometimes.
It is not all 'rose coloured glasses' in my world, and you know what? That's OK too.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Handmade Art Book

"And in and out of weeks and almost over a year" ...."Be Still"
                                                     - Words featured in this book

I made another accordion shaped handmade book. I love these hand made art zines, you can design two panorama art works and then fold it up into a lovely little book shape.

The first one can be found here.

It has two sides and the brief was to create two collages - with words as the feature on one side and pictures on the other.

Used: Collage, Fine liner, Coffee Stain, Paint chips, Old book pages, Old music sheets, National Geographic, Washi Tape, Tissue paper, Type writer, Hessian on covered ends, Gesso.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Organic Ceramics

In spite of an awful week at "Can't-tie-my-shoes-R-Us" and "Side-scrap-your-car-against-another" I have decided to post from my sick bed some lovely photos of a few pieces I made at school recently. Yes... lets try not to think about the awfulness that has happened and focus on the good stuff.

The benefit of teaching art at a school is the access to the the big stuff, like kilns. I made these circular ceramic pieces as a demonstration into pressing natural foliage into clay and the effect of wiped off glaze left in the fired indents. Although the 'tween' students were decidedly unimpressed I ended up with some lovely things to take home.

The larger, thicker pieces I had intentions of turning into a ceramic bunting but I think I may hang them outside in the garden.

Two of pieces I made were smaller and flatter with the intention of turning them into necklace dongles.

I would love to have my own kiln and ceramics studio at home but if I catered for every hobby I had an interest in I fear that there would be no room left in my house to sleep. It was nice to have the opportunity to play with the clay again. Hopefully in the future I get an opportunity after the baby is born once more.

'Scuse me - I need to find another pack of tissues and the vapor rub.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

DIY Ethnic Kimono Jacket

I found this apricot square a while ago. It has a beautiful embroidered mandala in the center and the cutest little multi-coloured pom-poms around its edges.. Unfortunately it was not big enough to turn into a Kimono style jacket. I took the piece of fabric into spotlight trying to match something to increase the size...with no luck.

So the square of fabric sat for a while in the Woman Cave and placed back in the stash after I could not find a solution.

Being in full time employment means that my thrifting has been limited. however on one such fabulous occasion I stumbled across the long black table runner and knew instantly that I could make it work.

I followed the basic Kimono making instructions again:

If you read my last DIY Kimono post you might have read that I had trouble with hemming the edges around the neck line because of the curve. With this version I hemmed the top of the fabric prior to joining the shoulder seams and had great success. This would only work if you were not making the Kimono out of a single piece of fabric or you are willing to cut it in half to create shoulder seams in the process.

This Kimono inspired jacket fits better than the first as I think it has a skinnier shape. I use one of my homemade inkle loom straps to tie it up and it looks divine.

It is really one of easiest and most versatile patterns known to (wo)man. Please have a go and don't forget to show me your results.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tasmanian Autumn

The light here is still beautiful. The crispness of the mornings are striking and the changing of the seasons are something special. I love living in this part of the world sometimes.

I haven't been able to blog as I felt extremely ranty and negative.
My job was advertised in the paper and it all feels very real that I have to leave there at some point. I have such mixed feelings about the whole thing. I have enjoyed this term a lot more and I am loving the challenge of setting up the photography program for the school and the research that comes with setting in-depth questions for the senior college students. However I am getting more tired as the weeks go on, bending without grunting is out of the question and I feel that my tummy is starting to get that dragging heavy feeling.

The dreaded budget was announced and it upset me extremely to think about all my friends (especially single mothers and arts worker friends) who will be greatly affected by it. It upset me that so many on social media do not seem to care about the plight of others. All I want to do is shout," I told you so!" at those that voted for the sneering, winking, environment denying, power abusing contradictory little man. Instead I have had a few blurted status's and tried to not let it upset me as much as possible. Worldly things, such as this, effect me so much and are the reason I stopped watching nightly news programs.
I have started taking Vitamin D again to get me over the slump.

I went for my Glucose test for my pregnancy and felt ill as all the smoke smelling people came into to get their own tests completed. That night my gall bladder was extremely painful but I did not have an attack thank goodness.

We got a new little girl cow. Her Dad is a Murry Grey and I think she is beautiful.

I treated myself to a new 50mm lens for my Cannon camera. I am adjusting to using a lens that does not zoom in and out. I am liking the effect but think it will be sometime till my head gets use to it all.

How did your week go? Share with me some of your positive news.....

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Round up

This week:

+The weather went in one giant big leap from summer to winter (completely bypassing autumn), it was a bit of a shock to the system. There is something about the morning light this time of the year that makes me run around like a mad woman trying to capture it before work (consequently making me late for work).

 +I returned back to school for my second term of being a teacher. I had a good chat to myself over the holidays and have fresh plans about my teaching practice and real expectation of my students. I feel happy and confident. I started implementing my new statergies in the first lessons with much less stress to myself and confidently been supported in my ideas by a training day that we attended on our first day back on campus. 

+I attended my first senior college ball, managing to wear sheer tights and high heels for the entire time. Truly a miracle for this ever growing body. I am shattered that I forgot to document the moment with a selfie.

+I sold one of my caravans and I am looking at selling the other vintage one soon. With the new baby only 17 weeks away I feel that my free time will once again be cut short and the caravans need to go to a new home where they can be cared for and looked after in a proper way. I was desperately sad to see the first one go but know its for the best. The husband is thrilled to be rid of them. I had to make him stay inside so I could get the correct price for it as I am sure that he would have given them away for free if I turned my back at the wrong time. I will look at getting a vintage caravan of my very own when time becomes a little less precious to me in a couple of years. It's time to be realistic about time.

+I have managed to collect another 12 garbage bags full of 'stuff' to be returned to Vinnie's. I am feeling cleansed once more and prepared to go into the new term with a clear head space.

+The capert layers put new carpet in the bedroom. It is all fancy, charcoal in colour and so soft to walk on. So grateful. Next on the bedroom makeover list is the curtains.

+My crafting included two new skirts - one for me one for the little girl. Both skirts include hidden pockets and the cutest animal fabric ever known to man. On the knitting project - It is still a 'slow craft' made even slower when I realised, a fair way through my pattern, that I had completed the pattern backwards. After many rows were unwound I succeed in tackling the pattern with greater confidence on the second attempt. Two thumbs up to myself for managing to succeed in not throwing it across the room and giving up.

How did your week go?