Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hello old friend

Well it has been quite a while since my last post. Hmm, what to share with you.....
perhaps some random bits of my life from the last few months.

Unexpected Company
During the month of September, the Canberra region (where we live) was inundated with owls, mostly Barn owls like this chap. Due to the high rainfall, mice have moved from the west to our region and have been followed by the owls. The ranger who came to take our visitor to be checked over by a vet said that Mr Owl was probably being harassed by Currawongs when he slammed headfirst into our glass sliding door.

After a wee nap he was inspected and found to be in good health and was presently returned to the wild. What a lovely and unexpected visit!

Clowning Around
I highly recommend giving children face paints or crayons and letting them apply it by themselves using a mirror.
Not only does it allow them to become familiar with their own face, but they are able to control their own transformation into a different character or animal. Ms. B was so proud of herself! These are Lyra brand crayons which I highly recommend.
Dog day is over
One tired little dog at the end of a rowdy Summer day outdoors :)

Cinnamon & Sugar
Last Christmas I came across a lovely blog whose author collected antique cookie moulds.
I remember seeing some gorgeous owl cookies that were so delightful I could just imagine giving them as special gifts. Well in November 2011 I managed to track down a supplier for the replica mould for those exact cookies. It is called Baroque Owl and you can find it along with many other beautifully crafted replica moulds (molds) at House on the Hill.
I used the gingerbread recipe in the free recipe booklet that comes with the mould. But as we have no molasses in Australia I used treacle.
To add a touch of decadence to our cookies, the kids used edible gold food paint from Style Emporium to highlight details.

Freshly pressed cookies prior to baking

Ms. B gilding our baked Baroque Owl cookies 

Paper glorious paper
In November I was lucky enough to attend the 2011 Bookbinders Gathering in Canberra.
The conference brought together around 80 people, some seasoned masters of book binding and others novice book crafters (like me!) and everyone in between. 
It was a delight to have so much knowledge and enthusiasm in one room for 2 whole days. See Erika's post if you'd like to know more.
One of the beautiful and varied stalls at the conference was piled with the most deliciously printed and embossed paper you can imagine. I seriously regretted my earlier choice to limit the amount of cash I took along (so I wouldn't spend too much).
Luckily I came to my senses and was fully equipped to shop the next day. These handmade and handprinted papers are just a few of my purchases from the weekend.

 Stash pile to functional style

One of the things I found time to do during the frantic lead up to Christmas was to make some little fabric baskets out of my ever growing pile fabrics too cute not to buy at least a fat quarter of.
With a little paper folding I created a simple template that fit into an A4 sized piece of paper and began cutting up my 
treasures that are too small to make much else with.

Fairies at the bottom of my garden

Every time I get the garden hose out (or vacuum, sewing machine or anything else conspicuous!) one of my little ones says "Can I do it Mum?". Now I don't mind them using the hose or the vacuum but let's face it, you always need to do the job again properly afterwards so it doesn't really help much in the end. But the main thing is that those little helpers feel as though they are contributing to family life, and we definitely all want that to continue! Here's one of my helpers watering the poppies (papaver somniferum - for baking with) in our veggie patch.

 Welsh Blanket swatches from Spoonflower
 The complete colour range - I'm happy with all but Urchin (purple) colourway which is too hard to read.

My favourite three colourways - Coral, Herring Gull and  Traditional