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.