Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessed Christmas all!

Blessed Christmas to friends, family and all my readers!

Here is a Christmas prayer for you all:

May this year be one that you will have just the right amounts of love, tears and laughter to ensure that your days are interesting and never boring. May the things you create always result better than you imagined and may you continue to bless others with your creations, whatever they may be.

May tolerance reign and patience triumph.
May love conquer and grace abound.

God bless you!

See you in the new year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A dress or two in a jiffy

The holiday season is truly at our front door. Most of us are scrambling to sew the last few stitches on our handmade gifts. I've got a neat and quick tutorial for a dress that will take you from cloth to completed dress in about half an hour.

I am talking about that tutorial I promised in this previous post for the pretty little dresses Amelia and Emily were wearing.

How to make a dress during this silly season.

1. Rush to cloth shop to buy pre-smocked material. Beware there are so many choices. Be steadfast and pick one that jumps out at you and escape the shop before you get distracted by other potential craft projects that you really don't have time for.

2. Instead of struggling with a wriggly toddler, measure off one of her dresses.

3. Remember to add 1/2" seam allowance. Because I don't have a serger or a overlocker, I often sew french seams to ensure a neat finish. This is how you do it.

Sew the wrong sides together.

Snip off excess fabric at the raw edge. Press seam open and then press seam again with right side of the fabric together.

Sew another seam encasing the previous seam within this one.

4. For bottom hem, turn under 1/4". Press and then turn another 1/4", press and top stitch. I added a decorative stitch at the bottom hem for some interest.

5. Cut lengths of material to sew ties for the dress. As I was making a halter sundress, I cut two lengths of material and made two strips as ties and attached them to the top of the dress.

4. Add some buttons, if time permits.

AND voila, done! To save time, create two dresses at once for efficiency and double the cuteness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

all you need is some openness and creativity

This post is for all those who work in the conservation of built heritage and the often feeling of frustration and loss.

Check this one out! The Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus in Philadelphia's Navy Yard designed by . The completed work saw four dilapidated buildings turned into these really light filled spaces full of creative energy. Notice the bright industrial yellow!

This is another to add to that list that you show people with little imagination for large open warehouse/powerhouse type spaces.

All images below from Arch Daily.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WARNING: blog post not suitable for vegetarians

We had this really yummy dinner the other night with fresh fish. When I mean fresh, I mean fresh. Like alive-just-before-going-into-the-frying-pan fresh.

So after finishing our dinner, the kids went to look at the restaurant's aquarium where they kept the fish meant for the table. We pointed out and explained which fish we just had for dinner and the kids were fine and in fact, said "yummy!"

While Zach was still watching the tank with catfish, a man from behind the aquarium wall caught one out of the tank and swiftly killed it. Zach exclaimed, "Oh shit! I thought they were pets!" He explained that he had thought the fish in the other tanks were for eating and the tank with the catfish were pets.

Poor thing!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Extraordinary Mondays - the day he loves her the least

You'll have to forgive me if I don't prattle on today. I'm still exhausted. This weekend has been a marathon for the whole "village." Correction, these past three weeks have been a marathon. The preparation for the bridal shower, the lead up to the wedding, the putting together of the bride's survival pack, the wedding itself and then the next day almost mandatory family gathering of both families.

'Nough said. Picture time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The ring bearer

Introducing the ring bearer for Tina's wedding:

Preparations are underway. There is a production line at her house to finish off all things "wedding". I've got a painting underway to dress her living room wall in time for the wedding photographer. How many more sleeps? FOUR!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Extraordinary Mondays - Duties of a Matron of Honour

What a weekend! The weather was lovely (instead of the yucky hot weather we had all week) and the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and some ladies of Perth were cooking up a storm!

All for Tina, the bride-to-be, and her high tea bridal shower. It was held at the Old Tea Pavilion at King's Park and the ladies came as instructed, dressed to the nines and armed with food, LOADS of yummy food, and recipes for Tina.

Here's how it went in pictures.

The bride-to-be, Tina.

The extraordinary scrumptious food!

To crown it all, the gorgeous Dolly Varden cake Tina made.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's that mad time of year

It's that crazy time of year again. You know, the end of year crazy.

This year has been compounded by a wedding. As matron-of-honour (please please let me still fit in the dress!), I am throwing the bride-to-be a bridal shower high tea. I've spent much of my waking kid-free hours sewing and making stuff. It would have been a much grander craftier affair had the following not occurred:

1. Amelia developed tonsillitis.
2. Shelf from cupboard I was moving fell on my toe resulting in god-almighty cry, blood, almost passing out, nausea from shock, swelling, bruising and hobbling.
3. Zach developed tonsillitis.

All in that order.

So, bridal shower is now much less of a crafty affair. I've made the colour coordinated cloth napkins (all 50 of them, mitered corner and all. I used the tutorial here) but just can't bring myself to doing the next step which was to embroider a quote on it. I have the tea cups but have lost the strength to continue on with the water slide decal. It's amazing how much a sore toe can impact on every aspect of your life! Big BUMMER! But I'm sure the high tea will be fun which is important. I did make the mandatory hen's night veil. Full of tulle, flowers and feathers. I'll show pics later once the celebrations are over.

I did want to share with you the matching dresses I made for Amelia and her cousin, Emily. These dresses are really easy peasy with the smocked material you can get in your textile supply shops. I'll put together a tutorial soon.

Enjoy the rest of November and try not to stare at the unshaven men around. Support Movember.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Following in daddy's footsteps

Zach went with Khoa to work yesterday and pretty much stole the hearts of those who met him.

Khoa tells me that Zach noticed the name label on his door and sounded out "K" "H" "O" "A", "D" "O", realized that it was his daddy's name and asked why his name was on the door. Khoa explained that it was to tell others who sits in the room. Zach then exclaimed that he has to write his name on the door so that people will know he was in the room too! He even wrote his name in capital letters (he usually writes it in lower case) to mirror his daddy's name.

He was so excited about it and had his daddy take a picture to send to me. How gorgeous!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Extraordinary Mondays - 20-20 vision

Thank God for the health system here in Western Australia. At the routine eye and ear check for four year olds at school, the nurse picked up that Zach had pretty bad eye sight. We got a referral to see a pediatric opthamologist who confirmed that Zach had astigmatism and would need glasses.

Zach was really excited about the prospect of wearing glasses and asked if the opthamologist sold them (despite the fact that I had already told him we had to go to a shop) as he wanted them NOW.

Anyway, he got himself two pairs, a red pair and a black pair. He has shown much responsibility towards the glasses which is refreshing.

His grandparents are cut that he has to wear them. I quickly got over that fact fairly early on when the nurse informed us. I'm really enjoying how he looks with his glasses and absolutely adds to his "intelligent" quotient, don't you think?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm a HAPPY girl!!

Let me introduce you to my new Panasonic DMC-LX5! I can't wait to show you what it can do. I just had a quick play and I'm so impressed. I guess I would be impressed since my last camera was more than four years old.

After being camera-less for more than half a year, I'm a happy girl! My husband sure knows how to pamper me.

The sign of love that spans over four decades

This is the representation of a love that reaches across four decades. This is what dad prepared for breakfast yesterday for mom on her birthday.

The Chinese have a tradition where you have a bowl of soupy noodles with an egg on your birthday. It is meant to be a symbol of longevity.

Well, it wasn't really a bowl of soupy noodles and not really the right kind of noodles either but the symbol is understood.

Truly, it is the little things that make up a love that is enduring.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Extraordinary Mondays - beginnings of commitments

I had a wonderfully full weekend. Nothing like such a weekend to make me want to not go back to work.

Saturday was filled with bridal shower prep work. I spent pretty much the whole of Saturday making invites for my sis-in-law's, the baker extraordinaire Tina, bridal shower. Invites no 1 are done and ready to be posted. I'm not entirely pleased with the invites and I'm actually glad I can't show it to you. But I did like what did with the envelopes. That I can show you:

Step 1: take a simple non-expensive envelope. I bought these at an office supply superstore.

Step 2: buy a patterned clear stamp and an ink pad that isn't too different in tone and colour. I picked platinum.

Step 3: stamp the back of the envelope. Taking care to match the edges (if your stamp pattern is such) so that you get a continuous pattern. And voilĂ ! Envelopes that look great and didn't cost the world!

I have more to do for the shower but unfortunately can't disclose it as the rest of the celebrations are kinda a surprise! Will definitely share when all done.

Hope you had a great weekend too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's ironic...

... when life gets busy and there is heaps to write about but there just isn't enough hours in the day or night to pen it all. So here are some of the things we have been up to:

Watching eye candy, aka fire fighters, in the office car park dousing out a bin fire.

Riding on a camel at the Perth Royal Show.

Marveling at the beauty of plum blossoms in anticipation of it's sweet juicy fruit.

Being constantly amazed at Zach's mathematical skills. He did the following sum correctly: 23+2!

And his sense of composition and ability to tell a story through a drawing has improved tremendously.

Observing the brotherly love.

Being pleasantly surprised by Amelia's paintings. This is her rainbow and waterfall.

How was your September? I'll be painting soon so keep an eye out for the works in progress and of course the finished pieces.

Have a great spring/autumn day wherever you are!
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