Category Archives: Projects

Not Just Your Ordinary Trip to the Park…..


A little while ago I wrote about one of the ways I try to ‘mix up’ our trips to the park.  You can read that post here.

Today I thought I would write about another way I keep my 4 year-old entertained, engaged and learning, while having fun at the park – photo taking.

I often have my camera on hand when we head to the park.  Instead of having an album of pictures, taken from my perspective of the kids, it is nice to give my 4-year-old a ‘photography project’.

Children's Photography Project

Not only does my son have heaps of fun snapping pictures, the whole thing can be a learning opportunity if I choose the right photography project.  Some projects he has photographed include….

  • living things
  • non-living things
  • items of a particular colour/size/ shape
  • items with a particular purpose (transport/entertainment)

The other day at the park we decide to go into neighbouring bushland for a walk. I asked my 4-year-old to photograph things that he had never seen before. Here is some of what he found….

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project


Surprisingly, he is quite a good photographer.  There is only the odd one that turns out like this – when he is a little excited.

Children's Photography Project

So, what do I do with these pictures you may ask? Well, I will pick out a few of the better ones to make a layout for my Project Life album.  I also plan to create a collage of all the pictures on A4 paper.  I want these to accompany the story of the bush walk which I will type while Master O dictates. Master O is quite keen to tell his Kindergarten teacher about his adventure, so this illustrated story will be perfect for Show and Tell.

I highly recommend letting your young ones get creative with the camera. If you don’t want to risk damaging your camera or camera phone, consider buying the old school disposable cameras.  Happy snapping !


A Weekend in the Garden


The other day I posted an update on the creation of our woodfired pizza oven and hanging herb garden.  You can read that article here.

Woodfired Pizza Oven

Hanging Herb Garden

Last weekend we also completed a few other biggish jobs about the garden which I thought I would share with you.

With the arrival of a puppy to the household (and to help with his toilet training) we thought it best to forgo the ‘no mow’ stretch we had at the back of the house for some lawn. It once looked like this.


Now it looks like this.




It was a huge task.  Firstly the rhoeo border had to go as Murphy, the dog, loved pulling them out. Sections that survived his culling were flattened as he loved to run through it.  Next we had to move cubic metre after metre of stones and replace it with soil.  Once the whole thing was leveled, then we could lay the turf.  Hopefully the dog appreciates the time and effort everyone put in for him!

Instead of wasting the stones  and the pavers from this section of the yard, we decided to use them to top up the stones down one side of the house and put in a path.  Here is a picture of our finished job, still drying from the wash down.



Again this was a big and annoying job.  As the side of our house is angled every which way and there were obstacles to avoid, it was difficult to work out the line of best fit for the pavers.  We had string lines set up all over the place.

Some smaller jobs also got completed around the yard including a touch up coat of paint on the pizza oven.  I repotted and replaced a few of my herbs, including my parsley, which was gobbled up by the resident possum.  Hubby also hung a heater in the patio area so that we can sit out and enjoy the pizza oven and not freeze in the cooler weather.

It was nice to spend the weekend outdoors, even if it was dirty and back breaking work at times.  With these tasks completed, hopefully the whole family – but especially the dog – can enjoy the garden even more.


Project Life Nook


A little while back I wrote about starting up a Project Life album.  You can read that post here.  I was hesitant as to how committed I would be to the whole process, but I have found it so much fun and an easy creative outlet for time-poor me.

Once I realised just how much I liked it, I had to ‘organise’ myself and the project.  I set out to create a little Project Life  work station for myself.

In my study makeover, I had created more than enough bench space to dedicate to my Project Life materials. You can read about the study/craft room makeover here.

Study / Craft Room

On a shopping trip to Kmart I came across their new range of office supplies, that just happened to be in red polka dots, like my Project Life album.

Project Life

I picked up a set of tabbed folders that are perfect to hold layout ideas, kids’ art work, brochures and other nick nacks that I want to include in my album. I had a vertical file going unused, perfect for storing the folders in an easy-to-see manner.

Project Life Organisation

Project Life Organisation

I also scored a binder of cute sticky notes in various sizes.  I use these to make a note of dates, journal ideas or lists of photos to be inserted when I am yet to complete my layout.

Project Life Organisation

Finally, I grabbed a set of two boxes.  The smaller one fits my journaling cards, the larger one holds my favourite journaling pens, stamps and processed photos.

Project Life Organisation

Project Life Organisation

So here it is, all stowed on my craft bench….

Project Life Organisation

If I couldn’t make all my Project Life ‘stuff’  look neat, pretty and coordinated there is no way I would allow it to remain ‘on show’.  Keeping it visible is important to me, it reminds me of my goal to keep a better record of our lives and makes it easier to do so.

The big bonus to organising myself and making it look pretty is that it only cost me $8. Cha Ching!



Activity Packs – Keeping the Kids Busy and Learning at the Same Time.


My 4-year-old is a very busy boy. He likes to be on the go all the time.  To avoid him getting into mischief if boredom hits, I have always carried a variety of activities and toys with us.

As school is fast approaching for him, I thought it would be good to create a few educational activity packs to play with.  I got the inspiration for the content from a visit to his new school.  So many great activities were going on in the prep classes.

Here is what I have created:

Sight Words

This activity helps children not only recognise letters but become familiar with sight words.

You can find printable lists and flash cards with sight words all over the net.  I used these ones from our state government website as they are written in the cursive font taught in Queensland schools. I printed each sight word onto coloured A5 paper and laminated them to create flash cards.  As there are 100 sight words, I have started with only printing 20.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

I then purchased a heap of cheap wooden pegs and using a marker, printed the letters from each sight word onto the pegs.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

I broke these 2o sight words up into 4 activities and placed them into large ziplock bags.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

To play, Master O must peg the correct letter to each sight word flash card until he has created each word. The action of pegging the letter to the flash card helps develop his fine motor skills.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Colour Matching and Fine Motor Training

This activity helps children learn colours, their spelling, as well as develop their fine motor skills.

I cut out various coloured card and laminated them to create flash cards.  I printed each colour’s name on the card in permanent pen.

Activity Packs - Colours & Fine Motor Skills

I picked up a bag of coloured match sticks, a container to hold them in and a pair of small  tongs from a variety store.

To play, Master O must pick up the matchsticks from the container and place them on the correct coloured flash card.  If I want to make things more difficult for him, I set up a stopwatch so he has to race the clock.  If he is feeling nimble, Master O can also use the tongs to place the matchsticks in patterns.

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

Master O thinks these activities are lots of fun and I love that they keep both his mind and body active. I have put together a few other activity packs, including some for my 18 month old that I will share with you soon.

Have a great day.

Starting Project Life


A few years back I tried, desperately, to scrapbook.  I love taking photos, I love making things look pretty but I just couldn’t find the time or patience to really get into it.  I then stumbled across Project Life – an easy but still creative way to memory keep.   I ummed and ahhed at committing and decided to first see if I could just keep a hard copy album with just a few favourite photos from each week of 2012.  Unfortunately, I sailed through to mid February and then the rest of the year’s photos are sitting in a folder on a printing website.  

It was a persuasive friend, who had just stumbled on Project Life last week that convinced me to commit and really give it a go.  She too was worried about whether the enthusiasm would last but together we have vowed to keep each other on track.  

So I have jumped in headfirst.  I have bought an album, some page protectors and a Project Life Cherry Core Kit.  I promptly uploaded my chosen photos from this year to a printing website and I am waiting for them to be delivered.  I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Elements and taught myself, painfully, how to do a few simple edits of my photos. And today I am starting my journaling.

Project Life

I have out my pretty pens, my planner, family calendar and phone calendar, ready to piece together the year thus far.  I worry that it will be a big job, but I hope the enthusiasm I have now will motivate me to get up to date.  Then the hope is that with just a little time each week or so, I will be able to see the year out with a complete Project Life album.  The ultimate dream is to be so motivated as to go back and complete a Project Life album for last year.  We will see.

If you scrapbook or use Project Life and write about it, I would love to read your blog.  Leave me a link to your blog in the comments.

Have a great day.


Under the Sea Sensory Tub


Yesterday I told you about the ‘Under the Sea’ theme I began with my kids and our great seaside dessert.  Today we had a bit of wet and messy fun investigating our sensory tub.

Children learn best when they engage their whole body and this tactile activity is especially stimulating.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

I filled a tub with water, some water beads and a variety of plastic sea animals, shells and pebbles.  The boys put on waterproof smocks and I let them go for it.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was a great activity for both my 1-year-old and 4-year-old.  Master O helped his little brother by naming the different animals as he played with them.  As they explored, we talked about  what we knew about the animals and identified a few things we wanted to learn about their habits.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was our first proper sensory tub and I think the kids and I are hooked.   They got a little wet, despite the smocks, but I guess that is part of the fun.  It is certainly cheap fun.  It didn’t cost anything as I just gathered items we had sitting around the house.



Valentine’s Day Art Gift


Our part of the world here in Brisbane, Australia has been hit in the last few days by the wildest weather.  Luckily we escaped any major issues.  For some they have lost everything with the resulting floods, and my heart goes out to them.

Thankfully the weather fell over a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day.  It meant people could cancel non-urgent travel and spend it out of the path of the cyclonic weather.  We stayed indoors, watched movies  and thankfully completed some long-standing projects.

I was able to get very organised and complete my Valentine’s Day present for the hubby.  Today, I thought I would share it with you as it such a simple and effective Valentine’s Day project, that you too might want to make one for your other half for V-Day.

So firstly, I thought I would show you the inspiration for my artwork:

Nine Heart Vintage Map by Not on the High Street

I fell in love with this bespoke artwork by Not on the High Street.  It so beautifully records those places of significance in your relationship.  I really wanted one but because the concept was so simple, I thought I would save myself the $400 price tag and make my own.

I already had a great large square frame and hanging spot that was yet to fulfill its true destiny.  I had bought the frame from Ikea to help lighten our entrance (you can read about that post here), but I hadn’t found the right artwork to frame inside it.  Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Really, could this project have got any easier to start?!

After some googling and some cropping, I printed 9 maps on photo paper.  Some of the places I chose for my artwork included: where we met, got married, honeymooned, traveled, bought our first home and where our children were born.

I cut these out using a heart template I printed off the net.

Valentine's Day Art

I stuck the hearts using double-sided tape to a piece of blue scrapbooking paper.  I chose this colour as it ties in nicely with the colour of the feature wall in our hallway.

Valentine's Day Art

I mounted this in the frame and voila it was ready to hang.

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

It looks great and I really don’t want to take it down until Valentine’s Day.  I think it might just have to be an early present.


Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Happy 2013 – New Year Resolutions


Happy New Year! I am back on the blogging scene after a holiday break.  I hope you all rang in the new year in style.  Me, I did it in my pjs, fast asleep. A bit pathetic really.

I love this time of the year.  I love the fresh start and hope that each new year brings.  I don’t normally jump on the New Year’s resolutions bandwagon, however  this year I have decided to set in place a few goals which I thought I would share with you.

Use my Organiser  

Over the last few years my use of an organiser has been pathetic.  Somehow I muddled through, but I am keen for a clearer mind this year.

In the past I have created my own organiser, however,  I didn’t love my format. I wasn’t really prepared to spend the time to perfect,  print and compile an organiser for this year.  Instead, after reading some great reviews on the Inner B Mum Organiser, I purchased one.

Inner B Mum Organiser

I love the colour.  That in itself should inspire me to use it.

Prepare for the day ahead

Do you ever go to start your day only to realise the outfit you wanted to wear is unwashed and the kids have no ironed clothes to wear?  There is no fresh bread to make school lunches, or clean lunch boxes to put them in for that matter?  The kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it and there is no way you will have time to rectify it before you must step out for the day?  I have.  A little too often for my liking in 2012.  This year I am going to implement a concrete morning and before bed routine to ensure a smooth running day.  I’ve been mulling over what and when for a few days now and have tried out a few ideas.  I am ready to launch a ‘full attack’ so I will share this with you soon.

Exercise – ‘Me Time’

Just about everyone has a lose weight or exercise resolution and I am no different.  I like the way I feel when I have started off the day with an early morning walk.  I love that the streets are quiet and I can think, reflect and dream for 30 minutes or so.  The alarm is set for 5.30 am each morning and I am making myself go, even if I have had next to no sleep.

Eat Cleanly

Last year I really made an effort to strip as many preservatives and colours out of the family’s diet as I could.  With the amazing Thermomix on my side, the task has been quite easy.  This year I want to also cut back on some other nasties, caffeine, alcohol and SUGAR.

I have been stripping as much sugar as possible from our diets after reading these books,

Sweet Poison

I Quit Sugar

Before the holiday season and the sugar-laiden sweets tempting us back to the dark side, I think we were all feeling better for kicking our sugar habits.  I really want to give this a real go in 2013.

So there you have it – my resolutions.  I’d love to hear yours.

Carnival Party Decorations


Yesterday, I shared with you the carnival party I threw for my two little boys.  You can read about it here.  Today, I thought I would share some of the decorations I used to create the carnival atmosphere and point you in the direction of some great online resources for your carnival/circus themed events.

I first got the idea for a carnival party from the Klapper Cirkus range of kid’s toys at Ikea.  We had the circus tent set up in the front yard.


And I had a selection of ringmaster and jester hats and  clown hand puppets for the kids to play with. You can view these online here.


I also had a selection of different sized Ikea Nyttja  frames which I filled with free, carnival-inspired printables from Pink Zebra Lounge.  There were some great food ones.  I loved the hot dogs one for our food buffet and the lemonade one for our drinks table.


Ikea also inspired me with their candy striped Christmas wrapping paper.  I used it most importantly as an easy clean tablecloth for the kid’s table.  To add a bit of height and interest to the dessert table’s focal point, the ferris wheel cupcake holder, I covered a box in this wrapping paper for the wheel to sit on.  You can see I also did this for the water urn in the picture above.

I used cardboard bunting to decorate the front fence and above the food table.  I printed the boy’s names on some of the bunting in a carnival style font.  You can download a gazillion different carnival font for free to make your signs and invitations.  One of the better sites is Font Space.

If you are in Australia, you can pick up this bunting in most variety shops these days, along with a whole host of matching decorations and tableware for your carnival parties.

I created my own backdrop for the dessert table with some fabric I bought on sale at my local haberdashery.  I just bought a length of light, narrow timber from my local hardware, luckily it was the same length as my table.  I used a staple gun to attach the material along the length and fishing line to hang it from my window that sat behind the table.  You could create your own backdrop in a similar manner, or try covering a painting canvas or foam sheets which you can then prop up on the table.  I was happy to buy material as I have a use for it after the event, but for a less expensive option, buy some wrapping paper to do this.

I purchased invitations, gift boxes and the like before I came across a fantastic site for free printables.  Catch My Party has a whole range of circus party printables including banners, water bottle and chocolate bar wrappers.  I printed this great sign and my food labels for the table.


Pumpkin Petunia also has a range of cute free circus printables.  I am thinking that this thank you card will get used by me.


There is a massive range of carnival/circus printables available for purchase online on sites like Etsy.  Most are affordable and adorable, giving your party a real cohesive feel.  Some of my favourites you can find here and here.

I had such fun putting together this party.  If you take the time to do a little internet surfing, you will fall in love with the idea of a carnival/circus party just like I did.  The inspiration out there is endless and I wish I could have jammed more ideas into this little party.



Study and Craft Room Creation


For a small and relatively new house, ours seems to undergo an awful lot of change and renovation.  It feels like there is always a project on the go, or is that because it takes us forever to complete something?

Last year we decided to convert our very under-used study into a playroom/office to help clear some of the toys from the living areas.   You can get more details about that here and here, but these are a few pics of what it used to look like.


It was a great idea and it worked quite well until maternity leave meant I had more time for blogging and crafting.   I needed more desk space and we all needed more storage space.

Taking the bull by the horns, the kid’s rooms were rearranged to include the toy storage that once lived in the playroom.  I then spent a long time looking at pictures for inspiration and eventually came up with a plan for the room.  It was going to be clean and quite simple with oodles of bench space.

I had a few cabinet makers come out to quote the job and what I wanted was going to cost between $6000-$10,000.  That pricing was ridiculous.  I think the job was too small for them and they were quoting to make it worth their while.

Not one to give up or pay too much for anything, I started to work out a solution.  I sourced all my own materials, bought flat pack storage and got a builder to install what I couldn’t do myself.

I ended up with almost exactly what I wanted for a fraction of the cost.

Tomorrow, I will show you what we did.  But for the moment take a look at this pic from after the builder left.