Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Beading

Thought I'd do some last minute crafting before the big day, it's ever so close now!
I've been meaning to make my little Christmas tree earrings for a while now(by that I mean years!). The inspiration for them was when I saw a singer in a Christmas carol concert wearing something similar and even though I've never really beaded before, I knew I was going to make them. It took me ages to figure out how I was going to join it all up and to do so neatly but about an hour and a half later I finally got the better of those miniscule beads!

I'm planning to wear mine on Christmas day when we visit our family friends, I'll have to hunt through my wardrobe for a matching dress, something red shall do nicely.

Please tell me I'm not the only one planning their Christmas day outfit?!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Wishing Tree

Last year I didn't exactly have the perfect Christmas but I'm sure many had a much harder day and at least I received presents, lovely ones for which I'm very grateful for. There are lots of families out there who are really struggling and can barely afford basic necessities let alone presents so for the past couple of years I've been joining in with one of the nearby department store's(Kmart) Wishing Tree Appeal where they ask for Christmas presents in the form of gift cards or actual goods. The Salvation Army charity will then hand the gifts out to local families in need. I really enjoy participating in the appeal as it combines my love of shopping with my other love of donating to charities. The previous two years I donated toys that would be suitable for little girls(whom I have a soft spot for) so this year I wanted to give something for the older kids who usually miss out. The Salvation Army said they wanted things such as sport equipment, board games and Cd's for teens and tweens so I decided to opt for an Australian "Here And Now" version of Monopoly which was quite cheap at $36, usually they'd be $60 upwards. I thought the game would be appropriate as poor families would be likely not to own a game of Monopoly which has to be one of the best board games out plus it's a unisex presents and can be a two player game which is handy if they aren't many people in the family.

I think next year I'd like to give multiple gifts and especially one suitable for an adult so I'd better start saving. I'd urge everyone to donate a small or large gift to these Wishing Tree appeals as most large department stores are participating in them and this year there's been a huge plummet in donations due to the global financial crisis. People are able to donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal until 24th of December so you still have time left.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Virtual Christmas Shopping

It's officially the Silly Season and while many of you may be busily rushing around for Christmas presents I'm quite relaxed as much of my Christmas shopping has been done online this year. With my discovering of Paypal, and how easy and safe it is to shop online, I have become quite addicted to it! Not only because you can find unique Christmas presents but sometimes you can really snap up a bargain even with the postage included.

For my Dad, I've purchased a upside down tomato planter and strawberry planter for a snatch at only $15 each, as opposed to the $60 each you pay for the ones advertised on the television.

(credit: Bostonfixed)

(credit: Harriet Carter)

If you find a good few online department-style stores then you can definitely grab some bargains, I bought both the planters at Catch Of The Day where they sell heavily discounted products, one of the reasons being because they buy in bulk, but there is a 'catch'; they only sell a handful of products each day but it's definitely worth the daily checking, and to make it easier you can sign up to their mailing list or follow them on twitter.

My mum, is an unbelievably picky present receiver, and lets just say last year's presents weren't received well(She really didn't need a whole new set of large,heavy plates that we'd never use). She likes things to be practical yet she has all the practical she already needs and most gifts aren't exactly practical. She doesn't really have any hobbies so I can't give her any associated presents. She doesn't find time to read books so there's goes the most practical present out. She also has really sensitive skin so there's no point buying her beauty products or jewellery. Luckily you can find almost anything on the internet so I came up with the following:

-A copy of the 'latest' Ten Tenors CD, she had actually requested I buy her this early on in the year and there was no way I was going to forget.

(credit: Miamenewtimes)

-A fabric flower bracelet(the third one down), it's something pretty and since it's made out of fabric it shouldn't(I'm crossing my fingers with this one) irritate her skin.

(credit: Tinyhaus)

- An adorable card from an adorable little company, Bell & Boo and even with postage from UK it only cost $8! Plenty of fancy cards I see at my newsagents cost more than that and this way I'm supporting independent/handmade sellers.

(credit: Belle & Boo)

- An organic gardening book, called The Organic Garden(original, huh?). Now I know I said she didn't read but she actually did ask for a gardening book and I was running out of ideas.

(credit: Biome)

- I was going to get her these keyboard wrists rests as I thought it's something practical that she didn't yet have but just my luck, they contained flax seed which is illegal to import into Australia so they were seized and destroyed by customs. The seller was really understandable about it all and since it was mainly her fault she gave me a full refund including the postage, at her own expense.

(credit: ComfyCreations)

For a friend who didn't know what she wanted for Christmas(and who I'm hoping doesn't read this as I haven't given it to her just yet) and is a bit quirky and likes her animals I got her a 'toy grabber' necklace from Etsy. Aint' it cute?

(credit: Mariska)

Anyone else been doing virtual Christmas shopping?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Princess Portal

(credit: Princess Portal)

I stumbled upon an amazing site today, probably the most inspirational one I have come across as yet, Princess Portal. It is basically a lengthy how-to guide for being a 'Princess'. The blog's author Skye(who is also from my city, Perth!) discusses how being a Princess is a way of life and not all glitz and glamour but behaving in a beautiful way, how you would expect a fairytale princess to be, being the best you can be and doing so in a graceful and feminine manner. Skye, with the help of her readers developed a Princess Code which I think embodies the very basics of a Princess way of life. It definitely deserves to be printed out and stuck onto my whiteboard. It's times like these where I wish I had a typewriter so I could do the code justice and elegantly hand-type it out on patterned scrapbook paper, in true Princess fashion.

The Princess Code shows that you can and should treat yourself once in a while, you are a Princess after all.

"A Princess has the right to spend her funds on beautiful things she does not need because beauty in itself is priceless."

But also shows that being a Princess is about being a good person to not only yourself but to those around you.

"A Princess treats others how she would like to be treated, as royalty, and is always willing to help them."

My favourite part of the code would have to be the following:

"A Princess should be given fresh flowers everyday, even if she has to give them to herself."

I shall most definitely be adopting that one, if only to pick flowers for myself each morning.

(credit: Princess Portal)

As a symbol of my adoption of the Princess Code I have included the Princess Code banner to the side of the page, which also links to the site.

The content of the site is absolutely amazing, Skye writes about almost every single angle of incorporating Princess-ness into one's everyday lifestyle, in such depth and detail that you can't go wrong. For about 5 posts a week, Skye wrote ever so well, to be able to write like she does on all manner of interesting topics, so frequently. When I read 'self-help' articles I like to be given useful practical advice so that I may take something away from what I have read and Skye managed to do this with almost all her 'Princess Lessons' giving readers unique and clear ways of practising the art of being a Princess. There are many articles/websites/books out there about being positive and improving yourself but none have touched me so deep as Skye's interpretation of being a Princess. I think the main difference between her site and any other self-help information there is out there, is that she gives you an analogy of what being your best actually looks like, a Princess, making the goal more visible. Plus the philosophy tapped into my feminine and self-indulgent side, which is always good ;)

(credit: Princess Portal)

It's amazing to think that this 'castle' actually exists

Unfortunately Skye abandoned Princess Portal for her own personal blog, The Lost Princess which I don't think is nearly as good but has some beautiful photography nonetheless. To lessen my disappointment of the site's end I have decided to look at it as if the articles are one big self-help book, something you can look back on for reference and practical advice but at the same time you know it will never be updated, it is a simply a guide.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Summer To-do List

Since this year’s summer holidays are going to be the longest one yet at more than 2 months long, rather than spending it on the internet(ok, I’ll be doing that anyway) I want to be productive while still having a holiday at home. And being the list-lover that I am I just had to compile a checklist of all the things I wanted to accomplish over Summer. Hopefully I can cross at least one thing off my list each week.

Sew a piece of clothing

Learn to touch type

Read Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Read Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Re-learn the piano

Crochet a heart garland

Make Christmas tree earrings

Write a song

Write an essay

Read the first Harry Potter book

Finish my travel journal for when I visited China

Complete a puzzle

Write an article For Snippets

Print all the photos on my computer

Hopefully I can cross at least one thing off my list each week and I shall let you all know of my progress. I will most likely add to the list as well. Ok, I’m off to read Jasper Jones in preparation for my English literature class in ’10.

Anyone else with end of year plans?

P.S. A big thankyou to Seli for awarding me the Awesome Blogger award, it is highly appreciated!

Monday, November 16, 2009


The blog shall be on a short hiatus over the next week or so due to a lot of the following. I'm literally counting down the days till my exams are over.

I've added labels(or tags as some people call them) to my all my posts and a little cloud of the labels at the bottom down the left hand side of my blog so you can easily look through certain sub-topics. I've also changed the 'top five blogs I ♥' so make sure to check them out, there's an interesting mix(Not that the previous blogs are any less interesting though).

In other blog news I've received the following blog award from Janice

Three(!) bloggers awarded me this one. (Toongen, BB & Cat)

And this lovely one was from Blaize

Thanks guys! I'm going to be a bit of a rebel and break the rules, I won't be filling out the 7 things about myself and I'm not going to be sending the awards out to 7 people. Instead I shall award the Kreativ Blogger award to one blog(as I believe awards are very special and should be handed out sparingly) and that is Kerri & Eva!

Quick Bento before I leave you all: chicken, avocado, cucumber and snow pea sprouts on cape seed bread with a couple of cherry tomatoes on the side. All in a collapsible sandwich bento box, which has vents out the sides so that your sandwich doesn't go all soggy.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Un-Christmas Christmas cards

School broke up really early this year due to the exams but I didn't want to abandon my yearly tradition of giving out Christmas cards and a little extra gift to go with it. As per usual of me I left it to the last minute but I did have some idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted the cards to be eco friendly and made out of recycled newspaper. I realised though I couldn't just make them out of newspaper otherwise they'd be much too flimsy. So instead I mounted pictures from a festival guide on the back of cardboard shoeboxes and cut out a bauble shape in the corners of the card, to detract slightly from the text/images on the newspaper.

The cards were still a bit plain and not hugely Christmas-y so a bit of gold and white paint sparingly swiped along the edges made them more to my liking.

Then to finish them off I wrote the greeting and inner message in some calligraphy-style felt pens that I nabbed off my mother(which was NOT easy can I tell you).

My cards weren't largely Christmas themed but since I handed them out so early, not even in December I think that suited well plus my friends enjoyed the quirkiness of them(I hope!). I'm attempting to make this an eco Christmas and I'd say it's going well so far; handmade cards out of newspaper and cardboard and may I add that I even picked out all of the tiny little paper scraps from the mess I produced and put them in the recycling bin.

The little gift I added were these handmade friendship bracelets/anklets that I found in this new little boutique in my local shopping centre, Tree Of Life. I'd previously seen their products advertised in magazines so it's great to be able to finally buy them. They sell all these beautiful home wares made in India. They also sell all these beautiful handmade dresses in to-die-for fabrics. I'll show you a picture later of the one I bought. I'm really glad they're adding great little shops like it to shopping centres, I am so sick of all these rubbishy chain stores that essentially sell the same things year and year out.

I shall hopefully have a tutorial for the cards posted up closer to Christmas on the Cut Out & Keep crafting site.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy November!

There weather is definitely heating up over here but all the flowers in our garden have started to come out including these lovely little blue ones(no idea what they're called). Unfortunately for some that means hay fever season but luckily for me my immune system is like a brick wall, nothing can hurt me.

2009 seems to have flown by! And Christmas is right round the corner, I'll really be able to enjoy it this year as school will be finished by November 25th for me so I'll have all of December ot really embrace and enjoy the season.

Thought I'd get a new desktop background to celebrate the new month, a cheeky little blythe doll to keep watch over me.

I was in the mood for baking the other day so I decided to make some wholemeal fruit scones. They tasted much better than any of the ones you find in the bakeries or cafes, plain white flour ones that are just really stodgy and not particularly good for you. Mine had a lovely crunch on the outside and a real 'homey' taste to them plus they're healthy too with hardly any butter or sugar.

Have a lovely November all!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween everybody!

(Don't you just wish you had these as YOUR Halloween costumes?!)

Well it won't be Halloween just yet for you Americans, it feels strange how Australia almost lives in the 'future'. I was sceptic we'd actually have any trick or treaters visit this year but we bought three packets of lollies just in case and good thing we did as that almost wasn't enough! We had three sets of kids come trick or treating, the second group was 6 little kids all dressed up in fancy costumes, two were Michael Jackson which I thought was very sweet. They were so excited when I gave each of them their chocolates and lollies. There was one tiny little boy with them and as the others ran off to the next house I gave him an extra two lollies, and told him not to tell the others ;) Apparently in America you're only allowed to give out wrapped sweets but the rules aren't so strict here so I didn't think the kids would mind having some 'exposed' gummy worms. I've also heard in America you can't gives kids apples as people have slipped razor blades in them! Honestly, why does someone always have to ruin these things?! But on the other hand, Halloween is supposed to be all about the unhealthy, cavity-prone, sickly sweetened candy; not boring old apples.

Anyway, I saw the group of 6 little boys come back down our little cul-de-sac once they finished trick or treating the other houses and we still had candy left so I ran out and asked them if they each wanted one more piece of chocolate, a big "YES!!" came the reply and they all ran up to our front door again. Seriously, you should have seen their faces!

Later we had to drive over to my dad's house and on our way home we got a lovely surprise, a nice big splatter of egg across the windscreen. We stopped the car and tried to look to see who threw it but the nasty people who did it were probably long gone. The least they could have done was say "Trick or treat?". We most definitely would have opted for the "treat" option. But on a more serious note, it was extremely dangerous; it was very dark, very sudden and splattered across the windscreen making it hard to see. Plus it looked pretty revolting.

Thank goodness Halloween only comes once every year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Art Of The Boo

I recently had my third article published in the online magazine Snippets! I seem to do articles on how to DO things, rather than about things. Rather ironic considering I'm a huge procrastinator. But I guess it makes sense, I write/talk about things but actually following through with them is the hard part. In the latest issue which was a horror theme I decided to write about a new Halloween craze that's starting to grow in America and it's called Booing. Have a read of my article so you know what an earth I'm going on about. To briefly explain it I would describe it as "...a cross between a Knock-and-Run and a Secret Santa." I originally heard about Booing from several blogs and decided to do a little bit of my own research on it. I think it is a fabulous way for people who are too old/too shy to trick or treat, to be able to participate in Halloween as it is anonymous. It's also just another great way to celebrate Halloween and since the holiday isn't really celebrated that much here in Australia, I think it's a perfect way to inject a bit of spookyness into the neighbourhood. And lastly, it's a great way to be a part of the community(even though it is anonymous) as you feel connected and it's a great way to give back/say thanks.

I decided to actually take heed of what my article was about and went Booing myself, the other day. It was a bit close to Halloween and I should have done it earlier but 'better late than never'. I packed up two felt bags that I bought for $2.50 each at a discount store, with some different flavoured freddos and gummy snakes(I hope my recipients enjoyed them, I don't eat sweets myself so I was a bit unsure of what to buy). I also added some halloween stickers and a witch's nose to each one. I taped the Booing poem to the outside and popped an "I've been booed" sign in with the gifts. I originally wanted to go Booing at night but I seemed to have forgotten about my fear of the dark and almost wet myself when I went outside. So instead I went around 4pm the next day. I had to keep walking around for ages to find a street where no-one was checking their mail, riding scooters or arriving home from work though. Once I eventually did find two available houses and left the goodie bags on the doormats, I sprinted off just incase I was spotted. Now all that's left is to wait and see if anyone else passes on ... the art of the Boo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Swap Meet

The past weekend was definitely a long one but the most enjoyable weekend that I've had in a long time. For some time the mum and I had been wanting to sell our old 'junk' at a swap meet. A pile had been gradually growing over the past year in the games room, compiled of old items we no longer wanted/used. It was mostly pre-loved(but well-kept, might I add) toys from when my brother and I were wee bubs, there were also a couple of housewares such as a blender and sandwich press but a large component of the pile was 'ugly' gifts. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but honestly I have no use for a hideous metal dog shaped bookend(that item didn't sell) or a wire tree decoration with dyed sapphire leaves. The great thing about a swap meet is that you get rid of your 'junk', someone else gets a 'treasure' plus at the same time the customer is getting a bargain and you're getting a bit of extra cash on the side.

Saturday evening was spent sorting through the swap meet pile, deciding what prices to sell things for, what boxes should they go in and what was just so bad that it had to simply be thrown away. There was a lot of the latter. By the time it was all packed into the car, it was about 11:30pm. We'd been told by a family friend that we'd have to wake up at 4am in order to get to the swap meet which was held in an underground car park by 5am to get a good spot in the queue. Well, I reluctantly awoke a 4am and got myself ready. We headed on down to the shopping centre and had to wait in our cars in a line until 5:30am when they'd start letting the sellers in to set up. It was 5:45am when they finally started to let people go through and some nasty young lady decided to cut the queue instead of waiting her turn like the rest of us and everyone started honking their horns at her. It wasn't exactly a relaxed environment. We waited for another half an hour in our cars, not sure if we were allowed in or what. Mum decided to get out of the car and ask one of the officials what was going on. Apparently they were all full up and he was sending people home! All that effort and lack of sleep for nothing! And there weren't even that many people who'd gotten in!

We couldn't just go home after all that so we decided to take a chance and see if another outdoor swap meet was on, but it was usually only held once a month so we really were taking a chance. As we travelled down the highway I noticed some other cars that were full to the brim with 'junk'. It seems we weren't the only ones who'd been driven away from the underground swap meet and were hoping that the outdoor one would be on. We arrived with a warm welcome at the outdoor oval/park and the swap meet WAS on. Apparently it's open every weekend until Christmas!

Well anyway, we had a lovely day. Lots of lovely people, warm sunny weather(although it was quite windy so we were constantly on the lookout to make sure none of our stuff was blown away)and good food. We sold more than half of our stuff(which was a lot more compared to some of the other sellers) and all the big items went. We made $124 altogether which wasn't so bad. I loved how all the children were using their pocket money to buy items and were being very scrupulous with it. One little girl was deliberating whether or not to buy the Kelly Club treehouse we were selling for $5 or buy 2 smaller items, as she only had $5 altogether. We decided to give it to her for $4 so she could buy something else,she seemed very pleased. :) I collected all the money from customers in my lovely bright Teletubbies waist bag(I'm surprised it still fits!), while my mum sported a Wallace & Gromit one! Unfortunately I didn't really look around at the other sellers 'treasures' as I was too tired but I'm sure we'll go take a look around another Sunday morning.

While we were selling I spotted this old book amongst our sellables, There's A Mouse About The House. It was one of my favourite books from when I was little. It comes with a little cardboard mouse that slips through the slits in each page of the book, as if the mouse is travelling through the house. I couldn't bear to sell it(and it was heavily taped up from wear and tear so I doubt it would have appealed to buyers) so I whipped it out of the box and put it back in the car. Some things you just can't let go of. Am I right?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Pretty Little Package

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and this parcel I received in the mail last week was no exception. Such an eco-friendly/nature vibe to it. And indeed it was, a birthday gift from Aunt & Uncle all the way over in England from this aussie online shop Biome where they sell nothing but stuff that's good for Mother Earth, pretty much an eco department store online.

Inside the beautiful parcel, that I could hardly bare to open was a stunning little teardrop necklace that will go with pretty much anything and....wait for it... is made from 100% recycled materials! Amazing! (I wonder if they'd recycle it if I put it in the recycling bin....not that I ever would part with it!) Even the little pouch it came in is made from certified organic cotton with a bamboo and soysilk yarn drawstring. Fancy!

Just been having a nosy round the site and these are some of my favourite items:

A solar powered mobile phone charger

Recycled paper pens

A stainless steel food thermos (keeps food hot for 5 hours!)

Stainless steel water bottle (won't leach hardmful chemicals into your water like plastic bottles do)

Last but not least, a bangle made from old knitting needles melted together!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Miss Shop

I had a really lovely birthday this year. I received some DVDs and Cds as a well as a scooter(!). When I was younger I had a scooter but it was a really big and bulky one with rubber tyres that I was much too embarrassed to use as everyone else had these fancy little slimline ones with tiny wheels. Eventually we sold my old ones as I think there was a hole in one of the tyres(and the fact it was barely touched). And well now I'm older and much more grown up so I think I'm ready to handle the responsibilities of owning my own scooter and acting like a child once again. Who can blame me for wanting a more interesting way to exercise?!

Mum took me into the city for the day to go clothes shopping. I've been wanting to check out the MissShop section of Myer for some time. Now I'm usually a chain-store girl and clothes from Target will do for me but deep down I've always adored and desperately wanted the expensive designer items in the magazines and it was my birthday so I thought I may as well check some out. I was not disappointed. We walked into this section called the Basement which was this beautiful little grotto decorated with all this amazing vintage furniture and home wares and had these beautiful spray painted graphics on the walls- I fell in love with one that was an enchanted tree that they had sprayed around one of the columns with all the leaves and branches splaying onto the ceiling. Here's some photos I sneakily took while I was there.

I wish I had taken more but I was worried they'd tell me off for taking photos in there as I have a friend who has a job at McDonald's and she was telling me once how some lady was going round and taking photos of everything inside the store(seriously odd) and they had to send here away as you weren't allowed to take pictures in there.

I couldn't leave the Basement without buying something, the clothes were just so beautiful. I was in heaven, it was the kind of clothes one could only dream about and I even spotted clothes I'd seen in magazines before. They also had these handbags that were in the shape of old fashioned telephones but at $60 they were a tad expensive for what they were. I ended up buying this Victorian-like denim dress plus an adorable Paddington style red coat which I'm in love with and it is so darn comfy with its silky lining. And I snapped up this printed t-shirt, which reminds me of pictures from the Little Golden Books range, for only $7.50! It was originally $30, is that a bargain or what?!