Monday, 31 October 2011

happy halloween...

bat eyes

devil eyes

thank you to those who came to 'the party'... their great-grandmother gifted the projector torches, their auntie the masks, and nanna made the delivery...

while there was not trick-or-treating, or any lollies at all, there was an impromptue party in their room {with the blinds down} and torches with scary shadows projected onto the walls, much giggling, and an array of masks that are still attached to their faces*.

an understated, aussie version, for sure...

* there was a pumpkin face too, but I didn't get a shot of that one.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

trials & tribulations

up do

Daisy and I have an ongoing 'battle' :: she likes to wear her hair down, and I'm fine with that. BUT {and it's a big one} she has the knottiest hair, in that we brush it {tears and all} and within five minutes, the wind has ruffled it, she's mussed it on a chair, or she's merely moved and ... it's full of knots again. They are not just little knots either, it matts! she ends up with the entire back of her head, including the part at her nape, in dreads...

None of this would be so bad, except that she also has the ... most sensitive scalp. Every time I brush her hair, no matter if I use de-tangler, hold it at the roots with my other hand, or try to be really gentle, we {both} have red faces, tears, and screaming. It really is quite unpleasant.

I've tried to get her to wear her hair up, but even if I put it up {amidst more tears, red faces, and screaming} she is soon to take it out again, and dispose of the hair-tie... or she'll leave it in until she gets dropped off at kinder, then rip out the hair-tie.

I've pretty much given up, other than suggesting to her that she would get less knots if she wore her hair up.

So you can imagine my surprise this morning when she came to me, hair-tie in hand, and asked me to put her hair up... and there it has stayed, in a beautiful, messy {but not knotty} pony tail.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

THE fairy party....

fairies welcome



fairy games

food time

birthday girl

fairy dust


free play

It all started with the invitations, and included a long enough lead time to really get caught up in the idea. The hired help* said that I could do as much, or as little as I desired. The fairy would entertain the {18} children for an hour-and-a-half, and the fairy's helper would prepare and serve all of the food, including the {supplied} cake, then they would clean up the mess.

I wanted the party to feel magical, so the decorating was where I put in most of my energy. The early weeks were spent online gathering ideas, then the school holidays were spent perusing the internet for supplies. The week before the party was spent tying up the loose ends, and awaiting the goodies to stock the party bags {they never arrived}. The day before was spent spit-polishing our home. The day itself was uber-relaxed and went off without a hitch. The after-math... we'll talk later.

So shall I fill in some of the nitty-gritty details?... if anyone is at all interested.

The first step was to make some magical flooring. After a little thought, I decided that it would be unreasonable to make a whimsical quilt in time for the party {mostly because I don't quilt}; but I've had the idea of making an artificial grass meadow for a long time {probably 18 months as it would be perfect on the concrete of our balcony, out the front of the cubby house} so I bought a couple of meters of the {cheapest} artificial grass from my favourite hardware, a few fake flowers {hydrangeas?} from spotlight, and a hot glue gun.

I cut the 'grass' into a more organic shape, then attached the individual flowers in a 'meadow-like' way. It was a pleasant way to spend some of the grand-final.

I also made some toadstool cushions using the foam from our old couch, but two was as far as that went...


Next I wanted some ambience for the ceiling, something colourful that would bring it into the awareness of the 5 and under crowd. I've seen these martha stewart tissue pom-poms around, and thought they would be the ideal solution. To buy them though, would have cost me a small fortune, so instead I spent my pennies on a bulk purchase of tissue paper and got folding. I used the directions from here, but used pipe-cleaners instead of the florist wire... and {after a little practice} they worked out rather nicely.

The 'fairy cage' was made from a packet of black pipe-cleaners {total price $2} and was supposed to house a fairy, but alas we were unable to catch one in the weeks leading up to the party...

The garland was made using a butterfly punch and a 1 3/4" circle punch, and some scrapbook paper {spotlight again}, then sewn together on the sewing machine. Fast and very pretty....

marshmallow + chocolate = toadstools

When I realised {on friday} that the party bag fillers {vials of fairy dust and fairy bracelets and a fairy ring} weren't going to make it {I ordered them online on the fifth!} I decided to make another {mega} batch of marshmallow toadstools... but this time I took some photos so that I could share them here. They are easy to make, but definitely time consuming. I made about 50 in a few hours, however only 25 of those had the dots done.

The process is this :: melt some white chocolate in a small bowl :: once melted and smooth, add the chocolate food dye {chefmaster candy color red} and mix until consistent :: place the large coles marshmellows on a wooden skewer, then dip and rotate in chocolate :: let excess drip off, then stand in fridge until set :: once all of the tops are set, place them upside down in an egg tray :: dip a white pascal marshmallow in melted white chocolate and attach to base :: place in fridge to set :: once holding together firmly, add the dots of {melted} white chocolate using the blunt end of a wooden skewer :: enjoy!

I used some to decorate the room, and the rest were added to the party bags...

There were other details that I did to make the day extra special, like the custom made chalkboard on the arch out front, and the balloons lining the way in... but mostly the magic all came together in the end because there were 18 awestruck little fairies, and a very talented fairy, who came and made a little Daisy girls day so very special.

It was great, and fun, and now I'm heading off for a little lie down and a well earned rest...

1. if there is anything I have forgotten, or anything else that you want to know, just drop me a comment...
2. * I almost forgot!! the hired help was Pixie Mischief ~ you can find them here...

Monday, 10 October 2011

some doings



so many greys!

I've been doing. Lots.

I've painted my entry and hallway {finally} :: I've bought some beautiful ranunculus to brighten a few corners of my home :: I've made meters and meters of pretty garland :: I've made a custom chalkboard to house a special message :: I've tried to buy some grey paint, but realised that there are many {many} different greys :: I've settled on Milton Moon {I think!} :: I've put together a new guinea pig hutch :: I've done other stuff too :: what a busy weekend.

Friday, 7 October 2011

in the garden :: snow peas

snow peas

first harvest

straight from the vine

My winter garden hasn't been as high on my priority list this year, too many other responsibilities to take care of, I guess... but, I did find the time to plant half a bed of garlic, and another full bed of legumes. The broad beans {although not as large as last year} are absolutely covered in flowers. A good sign. The telegraph peas are leggy {as opposed to bushy} and are not looking very promising for a good crop...

instead, lets talk about the snow peas. Now they are gorgeous, I planted a LOT of seed along the bottom on a climbing frame {of sorts} and after a few months of them struggling along the ground, I realised that they weren't going to climb the frame on their own, so I spent some time carefully tying them to the string lines. From that point they have flourished, and it wasn't long until the flowers began to appear.

I took a peek at them last week and was pleasantly surprised to find snow peas all over the place. Even better?!?... the kids {especially the eldest one} are happy to eat them straight off the vine {and for vegetable adverse kids such as my own, this make this mama very, very happy!}

Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy a few weeks of fresh, home grown, snow peas.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

making jam

cumquat jam

I made cumquat jam earlier this year, about five jars. Since then, I've been eagerly awaiting the next crop on the tree, and finally it appeared...




breaking the seal

finally, enjoying.

The whole process took me much longer than I would care to admit. First I found the time to harvest as much as I could from the tree {and not to get too freaked out by the occasional spider on a leaf}. The cumquats then sat in their basket for the better part of a week, before I spent two days {it didn't actually take the whole two days, but I could only slot in a few minutes here and there while looking after 2-3 children} thinly slicing the cumquats while saving the seeds and pith.

The actually making for the jam*, the cooking part, only took a few hours... I had a kilo of sliced rind, so I just guessed the sugar and water {i think} I used 2 kilos of sugar and 2 liters of water {but I may be remembering incorrectly} ... Either way, it finally set beautifully.

The easy part was bottling it in my {new} dozen ball jars, and eventually I got around to making a fresh loaf so that I could enjoy some lashings of butter topped with my homemade cumquat jam.

* the recipe is here if you are so inclined.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

parcels in the post


party bottles

Isn't it nice to get a pretty parcel in the post... especially when it arrives in one piece! I've been wanting a glass dome cloche for a while now, and I found the perfect one online from The Little Big Company. I couldn't resist some pretty mini-milk bottles for any upcoming event either.