Easter is always a busy time in this house, and this year was no different.

Decorating eggs has been part of our Easter tradition for years, so my daughter and I spent Good Friday blowing and decorating to our hearts content.

In the past we have opted to display our creations in a nice bowl, but ever since I spotted an egg tree on www.marthastewart.com a few years ago I have been lusting after something similar. So, after deciding that this was to be the year I got one organised I went surfing the net for inspiration, and found this little beauty at www.taradennis.com.au

Isn’t it gorgeous?

So off I went shopping for what I needed to make it, couldn’t find the type of pot I had in mind…and did some very rushed wild guessing at dimensions and spacing and wound up with this:

So for this year at least (I am known for changing my mind you see) this is my egg tree!

We have generally played around with dyeing eggs in the past, but I wasn’t able to track down any dye this year, so we decided to paint the eggs instead. I don’t think I’ll be bothering with dye ever again, since this was so much quicker and without all the mess!

We were rather rushed for time and my little helper got bored after the first 5 or 6, but I think they turned out reasonably well for a first painting effort anyway.

Methinks she was far too keen to make use of her very recently restored computer privileges to be overly thrilled by egg-painting, but she is a fabulous egg-blower. Perhaps those saxophone lessons are coming in handy for something!

If you are wondering about her hair-do, this was something I came up with when she was four years old and decided to cut her own hair…TO THE SCALP!  Not wanting to be seen in public with a partially bald child I had to do some problem solving and this hairstyle was the result. I bring it out every now and then because it looks pretty impressive for something so very simple.

If you want a hint on the quickest and easiest way to blow eggs, you might want in invest in one of these little wonders:

This is the Fiskars craft drill and it makes short work of drilling the holes in your egg shells without the masses of breakage that other methods seem to be prone to. I bought mine in a moment of temporary insanity without any real purpose in mind, but now it has paid for itself in egg breakage alone. See husband…there was method in my madness after all!

Saturday I spent with a paintbrush in my hand once again, but this time on little faces! A friend roped me in to do face painting at “Adelaide’s Biggest Easter Egg Hunt” so I spent the day wiping chocolate from messy little faces, negotiating determined little people away from faces I couldn’t hope to capture (Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker and Princess Fiona for example) and repeating the words “ok hold still sweetie” until it turned into a chant. Not something I’d be prepared to do for a living, but I had some wonderful laughs and my arm could probably be twisted if they need some help next year I suspect!

After face-painting for 5 1/2 hours, I got home and threw together three of these:

which looked pretty cute as table centres for our BBQ lunch on Easter Sunday…then I organised an Easter clue hunt for four children before collapsing in bed.

Today I am taking a well-earned break, and plan to spend the afternoon relaxing and making the most of the last day of the Easter weekend, before the school holidays begin in earnest tomorrow.

Hope your Easter was wonderful!

What girl wouldn’t want one of these for their birthday?

Ok well, most of them I guess!  For me though, I have been wanting one of these babies for 7 years, so this is a dream come true. In actuality my birthday is well over a month away but I thought I’d grab one before prices started going up due to the economic downturn, and do some of the spending that Kevin Rudd says will save us. No-one can accuse me of not being patriotic!

What is it?  This is the Wacom Bamboo Fun Graphics Tablet, which attaches to your computer and enables you to choose between using a mouse or a pen. Graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop utilise the pressure sensitive capabilities of the pen so that you can draw, paint, edit and navigate with utter precision. I still love my mouse for browsing the internet and basic computing, but the pen is a superb little tool for more artistic pursuits.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Damn I love technology!

We have had a long weekend here, with a day off to celebrate Adelaide cup day. We did nothing of the sort of course (being completely uninterested in horse racing), and spent it relaxing, crafting, catching up on some movie watching and generally enjoying having nothing urgent to do.

There is an advertisement running on TV here at the moment which poses the question “why can’t you spend the whole weekend in your pyjamas?” to which my daughter usually replies “yeah, why can’t we Mum?” So we did…sort of. We decided that we would make Sunday a PJ day, kicked it off with pancakes for breakfast, and spent the day with a couple of friends watching movies and relaxing. Bliss!

Of course me being me, I had to find something to do with my hands, so I rustled up a couple of small quilts. Now before anyone bites my head off, I know I am no quilter. I am all for a quick result with little or no reason to unpick anything, and these quilts appeal to my love of simplicity and colour AND they take less than 4 hours each to make.

Here is the one I made for my son:

…and this one for my nephew when he is sleeping here:

My daughter’s is in the pipeline…perhaps it will come quicker if she tidies her room more often? We’ll see.

I made three quilts last winter, one for each of the children and this one for myself:

It spends most the time hanging off the back of my couch, but is the perfect lap blanket size on cold evenings. According to my children though, they are too big and too puffy, so they do more time brought into service as floor coverings.  Neither child seems to have a problem with mine when I am using it…so go figure!

Click here for a “how-to” on these, they really are a lot of fun to put together and with winter headed our way, this is the perfect time to get started.

My baby turned 6 this week, and I just cannot believe how quickly those years flew by!  My daughter and I spent the day of his birthday making cupcakes for him, and those who know him will not be surprised by the theme we chose….fish!  His obsession began with Finding Nemo, and now any fish is guaranteed to bring a smile to that gorgeous (no bias of course) face of his.

Here is the result:

As to what he thought of them…a picture is worth a thousand words I think!

Now I need to think about what to do for my daughter’s birthday at the end of this month…and get my head around the fact that 10 years have passed since I first laid eyes on my baby girl.  It seriously goes by way too fast.

My friend Catherine and I have been spending some quality time together in the last few weeks tackling a craft project inspired by a christmas banner Catherine saw at Wind Lost.

Yes, I know it’s only February…but you know how it is when the Christmas rush is upon you and all those little projects you planned to tackle fly on out the window in favour of more essential tasks?

Well now we can’t be blamed for contributing to it, and in fact, you might see your way clear to thanking us for getting you started nice and early🙂

We had so much fun making two variations for Catherine (here) that we decided to make a third one for me and photograph the steps for a how-to project.

So here are some instructions for a Freshwater Pearl Garland, and some beautiful Christmas Tags to spell out your sentiment of choice.

The instructions are downloadable in PDF format so you can save them to your PC and tackle them whenever the Christmas spirit attacks fills you.


The Garland

The Tags


The gorgeous Catherine over at Simply Natural has tagged me in a blogspot game, where you are supposed to show photos of where you blog, and say a few things about your space.

So here goes…

The view from the doorway:

My desk:

Finances are always tight in this household, hence the budget fixtures. I am always trying to find a balance between what I like, what is practical and what I can afford, and I find it really difficult. The built in cupboards that make up my desk and the lower part of the storage cupboard next to it are actually (shhh) Bunnings kitchen cupboards. They come flat packed and you put them together in whatever configuration you choose. Easy! Not what I would choose if I had money growing on trees mind you…but they do the job.

The top of the storage cupboard was custom made by my father to fit my craft supplies, photo albums and organised chaos.

On the desk is more budget storage…

This is the neatest this room has ever been, and now that I have visible proof that it can be this tidy, I can now go back to wallowing in the perpetual disarray that seems to be the norm around here.

My craft table…

The table itself was an Ikea bargain because it was the last in stock and had a small dent on the top. What I love most about it is that it is extendable, which means that I can fit up to 4 scrapbooking friends around it should the mood strike me, plus I can craft to my heart’s content and either watch the family room television, or put a dvd on the computer. Can you see why I spend so much time in this room?

Underneath the table are my filing units, which I have pushed together. The black and white cover hides their spectacular unattractiveness, but I am planning to replace this with an off-white cover at some point. It works well as a ‘privacy panel’ for the table, so I guess that means that if I should get the urge to craft “knicker-less” my modesty will remain intact.😉

On the other side of the room is my favourite piece of furniture, the little blue cupboard. It was originally made for me by my father and was a change table for my children when they were little. When I get around to it, I am planning to paint it white (again) and shabby it up slightly. It has served many purposes in it’s lifespan, but now it houses all of my sewing equipment and fabrics.

So that’s my little haven.

The other part of this game is tagging five other bloggers and letting them know by commenting on their respective blogs.

I don’t know a lot of bloggers, and I am such a slack blogger myself that I have not gathered any regular readers, so how about this…If you are reading this and you have yet to participate in this game, consider yourself tagged. Just leave a comment letting me know so I can go visit your blog and check out your space🙂

What to get the critically ill blokey-bloke who needs some cheering up but doesn’t care for flowers? This was the question plaguing me and inspired this:

Yep…a fishing bouquet! Made with fishing floats, sinkers, de-hooked lures, netting, swivels and a whole lot of wire.

Not one flower to be seen, but nevertheless, a rather eye-catching colourful arrangement to brighten up any hospital room I think!

I thought it would give my Dad a laugh and help cheer him up, but instead he cried with emotion. However the nursing staff and other visitors thought it was fantastic with one nurse declaring it “the best thing she has ever seen” in all her years of nursing, and it is at least working well as a conversation starter in his ward.

I’m half thinking of going into business, after all…how much fun would it be to put these together on a regular basis?!?

Here’s the card I made to go with the “floral” arrangement…

Inside reads “so get well and go get ’em!” Dad cried again when he read it, but I’m pretty sure he liked it.

Do you think something like this would appeal to the men in your life?

Well, after the whilrlwind that was Christmas around here…things got even busier when my father was rushed to hospital with an infected gall-bladder and spent the next 8 days in intensive care fighting for his life. Now he is out of intensive care I can breathe again (I seem to forget to breathe when I am stressed) and can show off my completed car pictures.

(Drumroll) …and here they are…

I ended up changing the frames entirely, going for all white frames and mats, and I made my own background paper by printing “zoom ZOOM zoom” in various fonts on a light grey page. Now I am happy and they look ever so cool in my son’s bedroom.

Now I just need to find the time in between hospital visits, child minding (while my sister visits my father), getting the children back to school and catching up on the all the housework I have gotten behind on…to fix whatever went wrong with my blog while I was away. Somehow I have managed to lose all the items down the right hand side including my links, so I have some more problems to fix.

A belated Happy New Year to all who drop past…hope you have had a smoother start to the year than we have!

Since I have just survived yet another Garage sale, and since it is all I have been thinking about this week, I thought I’d mention a few of the things I have learned in the last few years…


  1. Gather items to be sold well in advance and make sure everything is clean.

    Dust/dirt = discounted or disregarded!

  2. Bag up items with small pieces in clear plastic press-seal bags so that people can easily see what they are getting without opening the bags.

  3. Bag up items that are likely to get dirty…soft toys and clothing are much more likely to sell if they are in plastic bags because they look clean and well looked after.

  4. Position tables so that the garage sale area is clearly separate, and to limit access to your home.

  5. Spread items out as much as possible, and place big ticket items in the most visible positions. Resist the urge to use any furniture for sale to display smaller items, because people like to see what they are getting, and it makes it less obvious that the item is for sale.

  6. Group similar items, but make sure that toys are at child-height, and put them all over the place. This way, no matter what their parents stop to look at, there are toys nearby to tempt them.

  7. Buy removable labels so that they come off easily afterwards. You may not care about the labels on the goods you manage to sell, but prising cheap labels off things you don’t can be torturous.

  8. Price everything clearly. As a guide to price…think about the absolute lowest amount you would be prepared to take for something, and then double it. The professional buyers generally offer you half for everything, and this way you can negotiate your way to more of a profit.

  9. State on price tag if electrical items are working or not, to save you answering that question repeatedly. Include instruction manuals and any cables or peripherals in a clear plastic bag taped to the item. If you are selling any Televisions or radios…have them plugged in and turned on so that people can see they work.

  10. Have plenty of change ready, and keep it in a pouch or something ON YOUR PERSON. This might seem obvious, but I have witnessed thieves at work trying to distract the seller so that their accomplice can relieve them of cash.

  11. Lock the doors to your house, and put anything out of sight that is not for sale. We have had people wandering around the back of our house, peering through windows inside…and even opening our toolshed. People may ask to use your toilet too, so be prepared with how you want to field that question, and if you choose to allow it, make sure you have someone inside keeping an eye on things.

  12. If possible, try to choose a time of year when people are likely to be out and about. We have always done considerably better on sunny days, and if it is raining people just don’t bother getting out of their cars.

  13. Advertise – it’s worth it. Just a short ad in the most popular paper stating the date and time, the street and suburb and a short description of the types of items for sale eg. furniture, toys, household goods etc. DON’T INCLUDE THE HOUSE NUMBER! This will ensure that you won’t be woken by people banging on your door in the early hours of the morning. Vultures will start circling early anyway, so if you can hold the garage sale behind a garage door that can be opened at the last minute…do so. We had ten cars outside our house as soon as they saw my husband head out with the signs, so be ready!


  1. Gather medium sized empty boxes to be used as signage, and enough bricks to place one in each.

  2. Print out a map of your area working out which street corners will require signs. Start from the nearest major arterial roads and work towards your home.

  3. Print 3 types of signs:

  4. Make the lettering as large as possible, and remember that you can print text larger than 72pt! I often see signs like that around here, so for those people who don’t know…in Microsoft Word and most other text editing programs you can choose the size you require by simply typing over the font size in the selection box.

  5. Stick one of each to each box so that all the arrows face in the same direction. This ensures that you can get away with one sign at each intersection, doing the job of three.

  6. Have the map, boxes and bricks ready in a car, and have a friend drive around just before the start of the garage sale placing them. Start from the furthest and place the one outside your home last.


  1. Have help on hand to deal with the inital rush, and to help you move things around as the day progresses.

  2. Don’t be bullied by the professionals who will try to bamboozle you by talking fast, adding things up for you, badgering you for the best prices and then rounding down further when it comes time to hand over the cash. Take your time and ask them to wait if there are others waiting to pay you, so that you have time to add it up properly.

  3. If you would rather give the items away to charity at the end of the day rather than let them go ridiculously cheaply to the hard-nosed professionals…say no. You will feel better for it.

  4. Periodically lighten your cash load, putting it in a safe place inside your house, so that you don’t have to shuffle through large amounts of money when giving change. It is less tempting for would-be thieves this way too.

  5. Move things around as the day progresses, and put larger items where they are visible from the road.

  6. Drop prices as the day goes on. The professional buyers are generally early birds, and casual buyers don’t tend to negotiate prices, so rather than miss out on sales…lower them as you feel necessary.

  7. Offer discounts for multiple purchases…eg. books. Group them by price, and then offer something like “$2.00 each or 10 for $15.00”

  8. Send your helper out to collect the signs at the end of the day…you can flatten the boxes and use them again next time or re-cycle them. Don’t be a scumbag and leave them there for someone else to deal with!

  9. If you have the storage space, you can keep whatever is left over for next time, but I prefer to box up the nicer items and give them to charity. Anything else, goes into the trash.

  10. Have fun! You meet all sorts of people, and there is always a giggle to be had at the antics of some of them, and lots of nice neighbours to get to know…so make the most of it.

Now I know I should be Christmas shopping, but while I am fiddling with Christmas decorations I am at least thinking about what I want to get for people (some of the time at least!)

Here’s what I have achieved so far:

I’ve put up the Christmas stockings that my sister made for us a few years ago. She is determined to re-do them at some point because apparently they are seriously flawed…but I love them and refuse to let her touch them.

I bought these holly branches to pull apart and use in my wreath, but liked them so much I have just thrown them into a vase instead..

I have been running all over the place trying to find a small ladder to hang our advent stockings from without success, and wound up making my own…

I made the stockings from felt and beads a few years ago, but plan to replace them with something a little less…um…red & green, as soon as I come up with something I like better. Here’s a closer look at the “soon to be extinct” version…

And, I finally settled on the frame method of displaying Christmas cards. I tried to find an old chunky frame but had no luck (again!) so I pulled apart a picture I used to have in the playroom, painted & shabbied it up, attached string lines…and now just need to decide whether to just have the cards resting on the string, or get some tiny wooden pegs to attach them with.

My poor front door is wreath-less until I can decide on this year’s creation…so there is still scope for Christmas shopping procrastination while I consider my options.