Saturday, December 24, 2011

biscuits for christmas

 today I made some biscuits in pretty shapes from the Ready-Steady-Spaghetti- book.  It has lots of nice quick recipes for meals and sweet treats.

Then melted chocolate and sandwiched them together with a stick in the middle, like a lolly pop. 

 In the book the chocolate was very prettily stranded across the biscuits, not so on my biscuits, but I am sure they will still taste nice.
And I made cake for the trifle for pudding tomorrow, when I took the cakes out of the tins they had these nice shapes on them.
Happy Christmas to you all for tomorow, and to all those in Christchurch who have suffered another earthquake.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

deck furniture

My husband has continued on the furniture making for the deck by making a modular sofa to fit in the corner.  I have been procrastinating about making covers for it over the weekend, mainly because I didn't really know what I was doing.  We managed to get some "end of roll" marine outdoor fabric and some marine foam to put on the seating, which is why the fabric is slightly groovy, but I like it's "kiwi caravan awning style", it reminds me of our old 1970's little caravan that we had for a couple of years.   Any way I can now visualise a summer of lounging on here sipping cocktails in the sunshine, unless of course the children want attention, or feeding, or other such things.  There are still more things required to make it look properly homely but we are getting there slowly.  
and below some inspirational photos

Sunday, December 18, 2011

diy wrapping paper 2

I ran out of wrapping paper last night so this morning I thought I should do some more.  This was mainly taken from some of Tim-Biskups paintings I found in a book this one is Weirdo deluxe.  I just like a lot of his images.
 and below a mixture of the birds and clouds and polish flowers and some more hearts, I do like hearts.

 the girls took over from painting for me, I find relinquishing control very hard, but reasoned to myself that it was only wrapping paper which would be ripped off presents and have a short life so it didn't matter too much if it wasn't perfect.  breath deeply and walk away.

tried to go for old style colours which doesn't show up so well on here, they are a bit dirgier in real life.  I like it.

teeny tiny dollies

My nine year old daughter has been asking me to make her a tiny little doll for a long time now, and I finally got around to doing it the other day.  I drew a basic pattern out of paper and then cut it out and embroidered a basic face.  I put the pin in so you could see the size.  It was a bit tricky for me to make something so small and to work out how to do it.  With the limbs so thin it is impossible to turn them back the right way once they are sewed up, so I had to sew the top of the arms and head, and the outside of the legs on the machine, and then sew the other sides up by hand turning the seems in and over sewing.  all very fiddly, trying to do it nicely.
On turning this one the right way around I realised that the top of its head was a bit on the short side (below).  so I started again.
And I made two of them so they would have a playmate and could swap clothes.  (below) all sewed up and waiting for some hair.  Poor photo due to me trying to take it on my husbands ipod and videoing it instead of still photo.

 Above and below, with pink bob and blond locks and dresses, although the pink one is see-through.  clothing also a challenge for me as so small, seams get bulky and minor size alterations can make a huge difference.  trying to use fabric that is thin and wont fray and so wont need hemming. I also decorated a matchbox to make a little bed for them.  Magazine cut-outs and old lace. and they have a little mattress, pink on one side and cool old bit of tea-towel on the other.

I have decided they will be for christmas so a surprise as she doesn't know I've made them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DIY christmas wrapping paper

The kids and I have been doing a bit of Christmas shopping today and so I thought I should decorate some paper to wrap the presents in.  We have big rolls of brown paper and big rolls of news print that hang around getting in the way generally but do come in useful.  so I used the news print and a vivid marker pen to start off with.  THe designs come from my sketch book, polish flowers, japanese clouds, folk birds and hearts.
and then I added a bit of colour with some acrylic paint.

 The design got closer together as I went along.
 And then I wrapped some presents and put them under the tree.
We have had some heavy rain this week leading to landslides and peoples having homes and gardens filled with mud.  Lots of homes have been red stickered (I think this means they are no good any more) which is so sad.   We live in the sunniest town in NZ, an easy mild-mannered sort of place, it has all been a bit of a shock.  We are untouched by it but my daughters friend had mud fill the garden up to three feet high, some houses are practically covered and over the hill the main highway has slipped off the hill, photos at stuff nz.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

courtyard garden ideas

We'd be hard-pressed to call it a courtyard garden at the moment, but that is the picture I have in my mind.  This was a nice vege garden for a year and then it all went a bit lairy.  It's not quite sunny enough for a lot of veges so we will move them somewhere else, and we want to build a pizza oven and have some nice seating etc.  We will try to use what we have in the way of building materials,  there are bits and pieces around the place that would work,  but try to avoid the crazy paving thing
Yes, it is shameful.
So I got some books out the library to give us some inspiration.
 the gardens of provence are rather grand and large and beautiful

 This size is a bit more like it, some lovely ideas

Sunday, December 11, 2011

home-made eco christmas tree tutorial.

I have finally managed to finish the tree.  It has taken a while as its construction time has been broken up with taking the girls to the pool, christmas shopping, and possibly other stuff that I can't remember. It is bamboo and has taken on many aspects of images searched over the internet in previous post.  I possibly would have made it like this anyway, but it is hard to say.
 (above) working it out as I go along, and attractive shots of the garage floor, which is actually visible now it has had a tidy up.  I will attempt to write down the process in a coherent manner, if you don't understand it let me know and I will try to remedy this.
1. cut bamboo pole for central trunk.  (I got my husband to cut them using a circular saw as bamboo will split if I use my sectres or loppers)
2.   cut lateral branches, work out width of bottom of tree and top of tree and graduate lengths of branches inbetween.  I used 30 laterals (see picture below)
3.  I measured out evenly 30 holes on the trunk of tree, working from between where the top branch and the bottom branch begin.  I placed each hole slightly around the trunk from the previous one so that the branches are well dispersed. Drill through from one side to the other.
4.  drill 2 holes side by side on the centre of each lateral branch.(the distance between the holes is relative to how thick the central trunk is 
(above) bit more like it.  My 9 year old was decidedly unimpressed at this point, and who could blame her?  My 12 year old said "You could just be normal" (she is nearly a teenager)
5.  Using wire, push length about 20cms/4.5inches through trunk holes and then each end through each hole in lateral branch and wrap around branch.  Start at bottom and work way up to top branch.  
 Hooray!  I ran out of wire last night, which was a good thing as the wire we had was a bit thick and hard to bend around.  New wire was quick and easy, my husband drilled a large hole in a macrocarpa sleeper to stand the tree in.  
 It's mimimalist appearance actually worked quite well with our colourful over the top decorations.  The paper chinese lanterns were an experiment by Nine Year Old and at first looked a bit dodge, but I think they work well now it's all finished.
 Its like an explosian went through the pink sparkley decoration department.  I like it.

Need something a bit bigger and shinier for the top of the tree, but that can soon be remedied.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eco alternatives to the christmas tree

In England I was the proud owner of a fake white six foot christmas tree. I rather loved it, but we couldn't fit it in the container when we moved over.  Last year we had some magnolia branches which were twisty and pretty but cumbersome. So this year we decided that we would make a christmas tree out of some driftwood that had been in the garage for quite some time.  We then realised that I had finally thrown it out when we had the last skip.  Ho hum.  So we then decided that we could use some bamboo that had been hanging around in the garage for, also, quite some time.  A lot of bamboo can be harvested from two small patches of bamboo and it just hangs around waiting to be useful.  We have used it for curtain poles, and I tried to make a lattice fence, but it was time consuming  and pretty bad.
So I have been looking for ideas for bamboo christmas trees.  On my quest I also came across many eco trees which are quite groovey, so I thought they deserved an airing on my blog too.
This tree is a bit large for our needs, but it is a cool idea and bamboo.  We will need tinsel and sparkley things on our tree though
another bamboo tree at 100 christmas trees. It's a rather nice traditional shape.
there are some really great eco-trees at inspiration green.  It is rather bonfire-nighty, but I do like it.
this is glass water bottles found on ecofriend in montreal.  It is really so pretty, especially with the lighting on it.
nice and minimal at silvercocoon.
the name of this one is rather sweet possibilitrees.
and I think this is just marvelous, shopping trolleys made into a tree. And I have just noticed the monstrous baubles hanging off it.  I want some of those, I feel a ballon papier mache bauble project coming on.
Well, there is some food for thought, my husband thinks he will be making it, but he is a "Bah Humbug"  about christmas and decorating so I am not sure he is to be let loose on such a project.  He is however in control of the big noisy saws so he may be needed.