Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

So...Christmas did not end up quite as we had expected this year!  I ended up with a tummy bug on Christmas Eve so spent the next day at home by myself while Chris took the kids out.  I was even too sick to watch the kids open their presents which I was really sad about.  Luckily no one else got it and we were able to celebrate a belated Christmas the next day.

We started some new Christmas traditions this year which meant a really lovely lead up to Christmas.  It started with our Advent stick on the first day of December.  Every night just before bedtime we would take it in turns to open one of the papers, light our candles and read a story from 'The light in the lantern'.  

On Christmas Eve, we went outside to sprinkle our reindeer food on the driveway (packets of oats with some glitter mixed in) and we put some food out for Santa under the Christmas tree - he got some chocolates and milk this year.  The kids loved running around to sprinkle the reindeer food. 

The kids were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning and find that Santa had left presents for them under the tree.  Jacob was so excited to have his own set of vintage Thomas the Tank Engine books!  Esme and Gideon were just excited about everything. 

The most exciting thing of all was that Santa brought them a cubby.  He left it on the driveway in pieces so when they went out to check if their reindeer food had been eaten they discovered it.  They were literally screaming in excitement.  In the lead up to Christmas Jacob had been talking about wanting Santa to bring a cubby with a red slide (we hadn't said anything to the kids about what they might be getting for Christmas).  Funnily enough, that's exactly what he brought ;)  Stay tuned for more photos of the cubby house being put up! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Advent Stick

Recently I attended a Christmas workshop at my childrens' school to learn how to make an Advent stick.  An Advent stick is basically an Advent calendar but instead of pockets, items are wrapped in tissue paper and tied to a stick.  All the items are either objects from nature or things that have been handmade (no chocolates in sight on this calendar!) Each week of Advent corresponds to a different world, as per Steiner traditions.  Week 1 is the mineral world.  Week 2 is the plant world.  Week 3 is the animal world.  Week 4 is the human world.  I had such a lovely couple of evenings crafting with some beautiful women and enjoyed putting lots of love into all the handmade things for the kids. It was a little harder than I expected to tie all the items onto the stick but with the help of my (ever-suffering) husband we were able to do it. Here's some photos of what was on our Advent Stick.

Day 1: Beeswax candle in  holder and verse about the first week of Advent
Day 2: Shells
Day 3: Chalk
Day 4: Painted stones
Day 5:Beaded Christmas ornament
Day 6: Bath crystals
Day 7: Glass stones
Day 8: Beeswax candle in  holder and verse about the second week of Advent
Day 9: Gumnut Christmas Ornament
Day 10 : Seeds
Day 11: Handstitched Holly decoration
Day 12: Dried Rose petals
Day 13: Felted acorn gnome
Day 14: Bulbs
Day 15: Beeswax candle in  holder and verse about the third week of Advent
Day 16: Finger knitted snail
Day 17: Feather
Day 18: Origami Crane
Day 19: Sea shell turtle
Day 20: Coral
Day 21: Hand stitched dove
Day 22: Beeswax candle in holder and verse about fourth week of Advent
Day 23:Silk Angel
Day 24: A verse I wrote for the kids

The kids had a lovely time taking it in turns to open each parcel.  I'm looking forward to creating another one for them next year! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Handmade Christmas Ornament for 2013

I have resolved to start a new tradition of making a new Christmas Ornament each year for our tree.  I love the idea of making something special each year and hope that in years to come I will be able to look back and see all these special things I made. 

This year's ornament is a peace dove made from this pattern.  It looks relatively simple but a lot of time and love went in to making it!  I'm planning on making some more to gift in different colours. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Strawberry Santas (the dairy-free version!)

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free

I've seen photos of these strawberry Santas going around a lot lately.  They look  really great.  The only problem is that the ones I've seen are made with whipped cream and Jacob can't have dairy.  So we came up with our own solution - cashew nut cream!  I've posted my recipe for cashew nut cream before.  It makes a great filling for strawberry Santas.  You will need to add slightly less coconut milk to this recipe though to make these.  The cashew nut cream needs to be a pipe-able consistency otherwise they will just collapse.

20 strawberries
2 quantities cashew nut cream (with slightly less coconut milk) 
a handful of black chia seeds

Slice off the leafy end of the strawberry so the strawberries sit flat.
Then slice off the tip to make a hat. 
Put your cashew nut cream into a piping bag and pipe swirls on the top of the strawberry base. Replace hat.
Add a dollop of cashew nut cream to the top of the hat and down the Santa's front. 
Add two chia seeds to each Santa for eyes (we actually used flaxseeds as we didn't have black chia seeds!)


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pants, pants, and more pants!

I've been having a bit of a pants making 'frenzy' at the moment.  In the last couple of months I have made 6 pairs of pants, most of them being in the last two week!.  I have a couple of friends with babies coming soon so I wanted to make some matching sets for their new additions.  Anyway, here's a snapshot of what I've made...

Some apple pants for Esme
Back view

Some velvety owl pants for Esme

I am really loving the 'big butt pants' pattern at the moment.  Pattern can be found here.

0-3 month old velvety owl pants
Back view

6-12 month old Hungry Caterpillar pants
Back view
6-12 month old owl pants

Back view

12-18 month old Hungry Caterpillar pants

Back view

I've been busy working on the matching tops this week too - I'm hoping to pop those up here too when they're finished.  It's been school holidays here the last few weeks so I'm enjoying the opportunity to get a bit of sewing done without having to rush around picking up and dropping off kids! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creativity at work!

I love watching my kids play.  Especially when they are really using their imagination and creativity.  It can often take a while for them to get into this sort of play.  Lazy days at home on school holidays can often induce the kind of play where they can use their creativity.  They can often go a day or more playing with the same things, just using their imagination to create different uses for their 'toys'.  I'm sure I've written before about my dislike of cheap, generic toys so I won't bore you again.  Suffice to say, I don't like that they all have the same look and feel and that they break easily.  I prefer my kids to have fewer but good quality wooden toys.  Or things from nature that don't cost anything!  Although we are not purists in this respect - we do still own some plastic play things ;)

 The play 'scene' - natural objects, plastic and wooden toys combine to make a creative space
About 6 months ago I put together some baskets of things from nature which has turned out to be the best thing I ever did.  We have a basket each of shells, pinecones and river stones.  There is also a basket of tree blocks that my brother-in-law made.  They are always out for the kids to play with and often when they set up a 'scene' for play they will include these objects.  Shells become a 'beach', tree blocks and pinecones become a 'forest' and stones become a 'river'.  It's amazing how they incorporate all these everyday objects into their play and I think they've become the most played with toys out of everything.  I'm looking forward to adding some more things to our collection.  Play clothes are next on the list (once muslin finally comes back into stock at my local fabric store!)

More of the play 'scene'
I think it is important to let kids use their imaginations and creativity more widely and to give them the time to do so.  We always seem to be rushing around and taking our kids to different activities without giving them time to just 'be'.  I know for us, we are usually so busy during the school term that it takes the first week of the holidays for the kids to wind down and start playing together creatively (I seem to spend the first week of the school holidays yelling at them!) I'm looking forward to the rest of the school holidays and seeing what my kids create next! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New carrier!

I'm very excited about my special new carrier (please excuse the not so great photo of me!)  This is my custom made Olives and Applesauce carrier.  It was made using a Girasol snow rainbow diamond weave woven wrap.  With Gideon getting bigger and still wanting to be carried often, a toddler sized carrier was well overdue.  The Ergo just wasn't comfortable enough for us anymore.  As soon as I put it on I knew it was perfect.  Gideon snuggled right in and fell asleep instantly - always a sign of a good carrier ;)  It was rather a long wait to get this carrier made and cost a fair bit of money but I'm so glad I did.  And it's very appropriate that it's made with a rainbow wrap seeing Gideon is my 'rainbow' baby. 

I made an 'eye spy' bag!

I happened across some pictures of 'eye spy' bags on the internet many months ago.  Ever since then I've been meaning to come up with a pattern to make one of my own.  I finally got around to it the other day.  It took a bit of experimenting (including almost finishing one before I realised that the plastic was too thick to topstitch through!)  but I'm very happy with how this one has turned out.  There's a layer of plastic on the front and the back so it is surface washable (very important in our house as everything seems to get grubby from little hands!) 

The idea behind 'eye-spy' bags is that kids have to look in the window and move the rice around inside to find 'trinkets' which can be easy or hard depending on the size of each trinket!  There's a laminated list attached to a ribbon on the bag that tells the kids what to find.  I made it in the hopes that the kids would use it in the car on long trips but it didn't quite work that way.  They were very interested in doing it when I first made it but then ended up losing interest before our 5 hour trip to Hotham!!

Anzac Biscuits

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free

1 cup blanched almond flour
1 cup GF rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line 2 trays with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl combine your almond meal, coconut, rapadura, cinnamon and oats.
Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup in a small saucepan.
Combine the bicarb and water then add to the coconut oil and golden syrup.
Add the frothy mix to your dry mix and combine it well.
With wet hands, shape small balls of the dough.
Place them onto the tray and press down to flatten them a little.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Original recipe from this blog but I have made some alterations in my version.  

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