Monday, 22 December 2014

December (… so far)

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It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas around here and it seems as if some Christmas traditions are beginning to develop. Each year we do things like go strawberry picking and and make gingerbread together (both real and for decorative purposes only – the decorative ones being made of felt). We also watched Isabelle’s Preschool Nativity play (with a realisation for me that she wont be in it next year – she turns 5 next November!!) We also had fish and chips at the park and the kid’s had a photo with Santa on Saturday. Santa seems to get around, because the very next day, they saw the man in the red suit again at “Super” Nana’s (Andrew’s Nana’s) Christmas party at her retirement village. It was such a sweet party – all the (mostly great) Grandparents had bought all the children gifts and Santa handed them out to them all. I have never seen Noah move so fast when he heard his name called. They also had a ‘Mr Whippy’ type ice cream truck come and give everyone ice creams!

Of course, December was also the month of Mr Noah’s 6th birthday and we enjoyed a visit from my Mum and step Dad. There was no big party this year – we simply had too much on, but perhaps next year we will!

The second realisation I had while watching Isabelle’s Nativity play was to wonder what it was like to be Mary, mother of Jesus. I have been thinking about my birth stories recently (the first two are here and Pipi’s is here) and through the lens of motherhood I have new thoughts about the Christmas Story … I mean, how stressful would that have been … on the verge of giving birth but having to travel to another town not knowing where you were going to give birth … only to end up in a manger! (Talk about throwing the birth plan out the window!) (And of course, that doesn’t even get into the unexpected pregnancy or the fact that she was carrying the Saviour of the world!) Mary must have really had to trust in God!

I’m finding that as my children get older I need to rely on Him more and more. It’s not something usually evident in my blog posts (or these happy photos) as I like to use this blog to focus on the positive of this sometimes arduous parenting journey – but parenting is a tough gig and not something I can do on my own. Case in point was an interesting outing this morning. I was at a busy supermarket with the kids. The older two were fighting and Pipi sitting in the trolley, pulled my top towards her as if going in for a hug. Instead I got a mouthful of luncheon sausage (thanks lady at the deli!) spat right down my top, and quite a few sideways glances from other shoppers! De-lightful! … And then I had to go to the post shop! Yay! (I just kept saying in my head… ‘It’s a teaching moment, it’s a teaching moment!’)

My prayer for 2015 is that I will be able to live out Proverbs 3:5 more closely:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
  in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight”

Merry Christmas everyone and wishing you a happy and blessed 2015!

Jen x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fleur : a handmade doll

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Recently I have enjoyed a little foray into doll making. The reason for this little dabble was Lisa from Big Little's call for pattern testers. If it had been anything else I probably would have resisted the call. These last couple of months have just been too busy. But, I saw Lisa’s photos and I was captivated – Fleur was beautiful!

When I got the email saying I’d been accepted as a tester I was excited yet a tad nervous; particularly about get the embroidered face (and especially the eyes) right!

But having pattern tested for Lisa before, I knew I was in good hands. And I was right – in this pattern Lisa guides you through a step by step process to achieve the end result. She includes lots of helpful tips and tricks and useful photos to help you along the way.

If you are thinking of giving this pattern a go, but are a little concerned about whether you have the adequate skills required, I think this description from Lisa (in her initial tester call) is helpful and accurate:


“She is suitable for someone who has used a sewing machine before and is willing to pay careful attention to details such as lining things up perfectly and taking the time to enjoy making her.  Embroidery experience is not required as everything is covered in the tutorial.  She is not a whip-it-up-in-an-evening project, although there are lots of elements which can be done in a spare fifteen minutes here and there so she does come together nicely.”

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Or, as I would say – give it a go! You wont just make a doll you’ll make an heirloom and you’ll learn some awesome new skills along the way. I, personally really enjoyed stretching myself a bit and am really happy with my end result. As you can see so is Isabelle! (It looks like I’m going to have to make another doll, because this one is heading to a dear wee girl turning one soon).


Thanks Lisa for letting me test this beautiful pattern… and make sure you pick up your own copy here. This PDF pattern has just been released and to celebrate that Lisa is offering at with a special discount of  15% off until Saturday 20 Dec with code FLEUR15.  Go on, add doll maker to your list of skills :) ... Or perhaps buy the pattern for a crafty friend for Christmas?

I’m joining in with the Big Little Blog hop – make sure you check out everyone else’s interpretation of this awesome pattern. Here's the line up:

Wed   Jenny @ Mend and Make New (Hey, that's me!)
          Kara @ Kara McMurray
Thu   Aimee @ Small Steps Big Noises
Fri     Leanne @ Paper Moon
          Sarah @ Squiggling About
Sat     Christine @ Beanniequilts
Sat    Imogen @ Imogen Eve

Also, Aimee has made a second doll and is donating it to a deserving child for Christmas! (How awesome is that?!) If you know of deserving child then you can nominate them here.

Also Joining in with Show & Tell and Sew & Show

Jen x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Friday Faves (Pineapples)

So… a while back (cough, cough…pretty much at the beginning of this year) I started a ‘thing’ here on this little ‘ol blog… that I like to call ‘Friday Faves’ … but you can’t really call it ‘a thing’ if you do it once but never do it again, right?

Here’s what I said the last time (and the only time) I did a ‘Friday Faves’ feature …

“I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog. It’s not an original idea, but I keep seeing things on the internet that I want to share with you. So instead of spamming your facebook feed all the time .. with ‘look at this’ , ‘check this out’; I’ve decided to make a new ‘Friday Faves’ feature. I can’t promise that it will happen every Friday, but I can promise that it will be on (some) Fridays and it will be fabulous.”

Well I guess that’s not totally incorrect because since this is the second instalment, that qualifies as some Fridays, right?

I also mentioned in that post, that I’d like ‘Friday Faves’ to have an emphasis on accessible and affordable items as well as handmade and kiwi businesses. (Because there’s nothing worse than finding just what you want on Pinterest only to discover that it costs an arm and a leg… and it doesn’t ship to little old NZ.) I think I’ve achieved a bit of that, this time …

But first, the pretty pictures…

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ONE: Ceramic Pineapple Jar from Kmart (Spotlight also sell a similar product too)

TWO: FREE Pineapple Print download by Maiko Nagao!

THREE: Pineapple dress by Minti

FOUR: DIY FREE printable pineapple wrapping paper from Whimsey Box

FIVE: Pineapple Heads - Natural hairstyling and skin care products for kids

SIX:  It wouldn’t be a true (Kiwi) pineapple round-up without featuring ‘Pineapple Lumps’ – found at a local dairy or supermarket near you… and (in my opinion) best served straight from the freezer!

The list includes 2 freebies, awesome aye? And why pineapple’s did you ask? Well, obviously you missed this post!

Have you spotted any pineapples recently? Or watermelons – they seem to be a bit of in thing too!

Jen x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

November …

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From looking at these photos, you’d be forgiven for thinking that November was ‘the month of Isabelle!’ – well since her birthday fell in the middle of that month, and she’s inherited her Mother’s tendency to enjoy her own birthday for as long as possibly … November pretty much was the month of Isabelle. It also was the month of visiting family, visits to the hot pools, lots of icecreams and moustaches and a Baby Shower (see Isabelle’s toast moustache above!) Oh, and a market and our wedding (11th) anniversary!

We enjoyed a lovely visit from my Mum when it was Isabelle’s birthday and the following week we enjoyed a lovely few days with the 2 clowns below – Poppa and Granny Lynn … who felt the need to cool off from the hot Hawkes Bay sun with a water fight! (Yes, that’s what they’re doing below!)

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So far, December is feeling like the month of end of year breakups and Noah’s birthday and Christmas of course! I’m hoping January will be a nice relaxing time!

I hope you are enjoying a lovely December too!

Jenny x

Monday, 1 December 2014

A Cot Quilt & a Baby Shower

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A couple of weekend’s ago I jointly hosted a baby shower for my Sister-in-law, Natasha. Despite the guest of honour not feeling particularly great on the day, I think everything went pretty well – thanks to beautiful weather and a lot of hard work on the part of my fellow host-ee, Jordan. (Honestly check out pretty much all the decorations, cupcakes and chocolate moustaches below – that was all Jordan!)

Tash is having a little boy so the theme was ‘lil’ man’ – hence the moustache overload (conveniently though the date of the party conveniently fell in Mo-vember!)

Co-incidently, and as fate would have it I stumbled upon an unused packet of moustache (‘munchstache’) cookie cutters at the op shop about a week before the party and I also got pretty excited by the fact that I finally had a reason to attempt the famous Paisley Jade Moustache Cake! Yuss!

So you’re wondering about the quilt pictured above? Well it feels like a while that I’ve had a chance to sew baby boy things, so I decided to make Natasha and Toby’s wee boy a cot quilt. I followed this easy cross quilt tutorial/ template from For the Love of George. It came together pretty quickly and although I bought a couple of fat quarters from By the Yard especially for this project, I also managed to use up a couple of scraps from other projects such as Pipi's hexi quilt and her sleep sack. There really is something quite satisfying about using up scraps isn’t there? (And I like that this little boy will have a bit of fabric that is also in his cousin’s quilt too!)

Anyway, here are some pics of the party as promised … mainly of food!

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I can’t wait until we get to meet this little boy!

Jen x