Saturday, 12 October 2013


I've just popped in to let you know that I'm guest posting over on Clairey Hewitt today on the subject of Frocktober.

Click over to have a read and see the vintage dress I made!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

unleash creative

When a dream calls your name loud enough you follow it. You follow it to the peaks of treacherous mountains, across seemingly bottomless bodies of water and through the driest of sandy deserts.

A dream has been calling my name for some time now. Yet the timing has never seemed right. That is until recently. 

Personal situations and circumstances along with the amazing support and words of encouragement from loved ones has lead me to finally launch a project that is very close to my heart and one that I'm extremely passionate about. 

At the start of this week I officially launched the website for Unleash Creative, a series of full-day creative workshops to get people thinking outside the square, get their creative juices gushing and push the boundaries.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

DIY: piñata wrapping paper

Here's an easy and fun way to wrap a birthday gift... make your own piñata gift wrap!

Here's what you need:

  • tissue paper in different colours
  • scissors (I used herb chopping scissors with multiple blades, but you can use plain scissors)
  • glue stick
  • kids kraft paper or butchers paper

Monday, 5 August 2013

5 ways to use felt pom poms

pom-pom (also spelled pom-ponpompom or pompon) is a loose, fluffy, decorative ball or tuft of fibrous material. Pom-poms may come in many colors, sizes, and varieties and are made from a wide array of materials, including woolcottonpaperplastic, and occasionally feathers
source: wikipedia

But you knew that already, right!?

If your house is anything like mine, then you'll have more bags of lollypop sticks, wooden clothes pegs, glitter, tissue paper and felt pom poms than you know what to do with. You might have supplies left over from a creative project, or you may have purchased them with the intention of making something with them but instead they've just sat unused taunting you all this time.

I'm slowly making my way through my craft supplies and coming up with new ways to use them. Today, I've come up with 5 colourful ways to use up your felt pom poms.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

make a paper garland using cupcake wrappers, straws and tissue paper

There's nothing wrong with store-bought paper garlands, but I'm all about custom, unique and one of a kind. I also think that being known for being creative amongst my group of friends, there's a level of expectation that I will make most things from scratch myself.

So when I was planning the decorations for my daughter's recent first birthday party, I started making tissue paper flowers. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with them, but I knew that they would have a place within the overall confetti theme.

But it wasn't until I found some jumbo length straws in a two dollar shop that I got an idea. An idea for a fantastic straw and paper garland.  Here's how to make a paper garland in 5 simple (colourful) steps...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

how to make festive cake stands

Here's a fun little DIY from my daughter's recent first birthday party.  As part of her confetti themed party I wanted to have some food displayed on colourful elevated stands. I didn't want to buy something specifically for the party, so I set out to make something unique (and budget-conscious). Here's how I did it and how you can do it too...

Monday, 22 July 2013

5 ways to decorate envelopes

Since starting the Creative Pen Pals project, I've immersed myself in all things snail mail. Because let's be honest, one of the greatest joys of receiving a penned letter is the initial reaction you have when you realise that there's an adorned beauty in amongst the bills.

Something I've found though, is that if you only have a couple of pen pals, the letter-writing kits which come in packs of 10 or 20 certainly start to become less exciting and more *groan* "there's that stationery again".

Don't get me wrong, I love me a cute printed letterhead, but I also love the uniqueness of receiving something that has been customised or is one of a kind. So it got me thinking. How can I easily create some lovely, colourful stationery that can be customised using the same technique but different supplies?

So I've come up with 5 ways that you can embellish standard envelopes (nothing fancy, just plain old envelopes from an office supplies store) with supplies from your craft stash. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

festive party ideas on a budget: theming

Setting a theme for a party or special occasion is important for a few reasons. It enables you to:

  • select decorations that will compliment each other 
  • stay on track when selecting items and planning the overall day 
  • set a menu to match your theme

Please don't be daunted by the task of deciding on a theme. You don't have to go over the top (if you don't want to) and simple ideas such as choosing a colour or pattern such as dots or stripes will help you pull everything together in next to no time. Sticking with a basic theme means it's easier to customise party basics such as plastic cups, cutlery, napkins etc.

Of course if you want to be a little more elaborate and pick a mad hatter style party, then that's great too, but you must be prepared for the challenge, and the work involved.

Below is an example of a theme, menu and decorations that I'm sharing from my daughters' recent first birthday party to provide some inspiration.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

festive party ideas on a budget

My littlest one turned one on the weekend.  For a week leading up to her birthday, I was making lots of decorations and preparing for her party on Sunday, using every spare minute possible to cut, paint, glue, stick and create.

We didn't have a budget in mind, but as it was only a small party being hosted at our house, I didn't want to spend too much money. And if I can make it myself, then you know I will always accept the creative challenge.

The theme I decided on was 'confetti' which made it easy to customise the decor and to create a lot of things from scratch using paint and stickers along with some cheap supplies. It made the entire theming colourful, whimsical and fun.

Over the course of the next week I'm going to share with you the menu, decorations and ideas so that you can create your own confetti themed kids (or grown-up) party on a budget or find inspiration in everyday objects to DIY your own do.

You'll be amazed at how easy (and cheap) it is to create a colourful setting that'll have your guests swooning.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

handmade nursery

It's been a while in the making, but I've finally taken photos of my daughter's room, to share just how easy it is to create a sweet handmade nursery for a baby on a low budget.

Most of the items which I made were created using existing supplies which I already had on hand. Scraps of patterned paper make festive bunting, fabric scraps turn into cushions and recover an old lamp and felt pom poms float on thread or can be glued to just about any surface.

Let your imagination, with the help of Pinterest, transform existing objects into something new to adorn your little ones' room.

With touches of crocheted, embroidered, quilted and stitched objects, your growing bundle is going to appreciate the textures, patterns and colours of the visual feast you have provided them.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

read it: *bespoke* magazine

If you're reading this, then chances are you subscribe to a few creative blogs. But do you always read them? I know I don't or can't always dedicate the time to sit down each day and read my fave blogs.

Magazines both of the physical and digital kind are a great go-to when I need some inspiration or a diversion from chores. They are digestible morsels of curated information, inspiration and beauty. They're easy to read and you can skim over any articles that don't interest you to find ones which are more your flavour.  Mmm, flavour.

There are quite a few crafty magazines out there, but a personal favourite of mine is *bespoke* zine. Why? Well it's produced in Australia and contributed to by the handmade community. People that you may know and interact with on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. All there sharing their tips with you, the reader!

It's packed with tutorials from clever crafters, insights and tips from successful indie business owners, stories to help you start out your own handmade business, recipes (mmm food), links to shops selling handmade, and a butt-load of inspiration.

The cover of each issue is illustrated by a different illustrator, graphic designer or artist. So as you can see it really is a collaboration of creative proportions.  

Now if this sounds like a magazine you'd be interested in, you might want to help out by pre-ordering a bumper issue that the editors are trying to get off the ground.  In order to print a huge 100-page Winter edition, the eds of *bespoke* are calling out for people to get behind them and pre-order before May 31st. Show your support for handmade and creative. Jump over and pre-order now!

The lovely editors at *bespoke* have offered up a 12 month (3 issues) digital subscription worth $25 for one of you to win! 

All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment on this post answering either one of these questions:

Have you read *bespoke*? 
What's your favourite creative magazine?

the small print
Value of digital subscription is $25
Digital subscription is for one year or three issues of *bespoke* magazine
Issue 10 will be out July 31st, Issue 11 is released Nov 30 and Issue 12 will be early next year
Entries close Friday 31st of May at 8pm. 
I will draw a winner randomly through

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

creative supplies offer

envelope tin $6
The past couple of weeks I've been quiet as a mouse over here because I've been working away at matching up the almost-200 creative pen pals which have signed up for the snail mail exchange.

This week I'm sending out pen pal information emails, so if you're eagerly awaiting news of who you've been matched up with, please have faith that an email is on its way.

Today I'm just popping in quickly with a lovely offer from Angie at the Shop Creative store. 
paper stickers $5.50
To help you get started (or add to) your letter writing kit, or to just simply stock up on some creative supplies, Shop Creative have offered a 10% discount on your purchase until 24 May 2013. Simply use the code CREATEPENPAL at checkout for the discount to be applied. Please note the discount does not apply to shipping charges and can't be used in conjunction with any other offer.

arimail stripe washi tape $3.50
So pop over, see if something takes your fancy and get ready for news of your pen pal(s)!

Thanks for your patience and understanding that I am a one-woman-show (with a young family) and not a machine!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

5 creative uses for your DYMO label maker

It may come as no surprise that I'm an appreciator of stationery and office-related tools and accessories. However, anyone who steps into my craft studio would be forgiven for thinking I was moonlighting in office administration. I like to be organised and I like the challenge of using seemingly boring and conventional items in a variety of creative and unconventional ways.

So I was rather excited to be set a challenge on how to use a DYMO label maker creatively. Sure, you can use it to add labels to index tabs in ring binders and the like, but I have come up with some other ways in which you can get creative mileage out of your label maker at home.

ONE: organise your craft tools 

I have sets of drawers throughout my craft studio. It's the only way I can stay semi on top of where things are stashed. Plus drawers can put a pretty face on the mess that might lay within.

It's all about the pretty face. Especially if you're anything like me and regularly do a craft "dump and run" when cooking and other domestic duties call.

So, why not make things even easier by creating labels for your drawers.

TWO: give your notebooks names
I like a good notebook. I have one for "ideas", one for scribbling in, another for art journalling, one for sticking random memorabilia into and a few more with to-do lists and equally as random stuff in them.

I do my best to remember which is for what, but now I have my handy-dandy friend to help me give them all names.

Use some contrasting washi tape as a base for your clear plastic labels. It will add a bit of fun and element of colour.

THREE: magnetic meal planner
Over the years I've tried various methods to staying on top of planning dinners for the week. The fridge is the obvious communal place for family members to have their input on what will be consumed for the week.

Print out labels for each day of the week along with each dish that's in your dinner repertoire. Stick the labels onto unwanted large flat advertising magnets (eg "Jim's Plumbing") and trim them down to the size of the label.

Stick them onto your fridge and each week, planning out dinners (and grocery shopping) will be a breeze!

FOUR: jars need names too
A few years ago, in a bid to be more grown-up, I started making my kitchen more functional. After several trips to Ikea, I had lots of lovely, some fancy and many functional things to make our home work better for us.

I bought jars. Lots of jars. I started filling the jars. I arranged them all in a pretty line. I forgot what was in some of said jars. I labelled jars. I now know what is in my pretty jars.

I realise "sprinkles" don't really need to be identified, but I couldn't very well leave them nameless.

FIVE: visual cues
Upon the suggestion of an instagram friend, I recently started a vision board. I chopped up magazines and collected lovely pictures and phrases of how I'd like my life to shape itself.

I started glueing all of my gathered items onto a large piece of poster card. But there were some obvious words missing which could not be found in my magazines.

I adjusted text heights and formats before printing labels with key words to add to my vision board.

You could do the same with scrapbooking. It's much quicker and economical than printing a page, cutting and then glueing. Especially if you only need a few words.

Here's some nifty facts about the DYMO LetraTag which I've used in these projects:

  • The labels come in paper, plastic, metallic and iron-on finishes in a range of colours (depending on the type of label).
  • It has the capabilities to print onto two lines
  • There are five font sizes
  • You can add borders around text
  • It is super easy to use 

Do you own a label maker? If so, have I inspired you to dust it off and use it creatively? What will you use it for?

Don't own a label maker? Well then, this is your lucky day. The folks over at Newell Rubbermaid have been very generous to give me a DYMO LetraTag to giveaway to one of my readers along with refill tapes.

Would you like to win? Read ahead for details...


  1. Entrants MUST be Australian residents. 
  2. To enter simply leave a comment on this post. It can be anything. You can tell me what you'd like to use the label maker for. Or whatever you'd like to say is fine.
  3. Entries open Wednesday 1 May 2013 and close Friday 3 May 2013. 
  4. I will randomly select a winner on Saturday 4 May 2013. Winner will be notified by email.
  5. The prize is a DYMO LetraTag LT-100H along with two refills with a RRP of AUD$69

Thursday, 25 April 2013

how to be a great pen pal

I'm so excited to tell you that to date we've had over 90 sign-ups for the creative pen pals project. If you haven't signed-up yet, but would like to join us for this awesome snail-mail revolution, you have until end of day Friday to do so.

Since launching this initiative, I've been giving a lot of thought to what, how much and how often I'll be writing to my pen pal as well as how to write interestingly and keep the letter-writing going. As it is becoming a bit of a lost art, I thought I'd cover off a few key areas about being a great pen pal.

What should I write in my first (introductory) letter?
You'll want to get to know a little bit about your pen pal and they will want to learn about you too! Start off your first couple of letters with information that includes where you're from, how old you are, if you have children, what you like to do in your spare time, where you work etc.

Tell them your story. Tell them who you are and you'll find that your pen pal will open up to you more.

"Tell them who YOU are"

How often should I write?
Well, this is really going to depend on how quickly your pen pal writes back to you.

As a general rule, I wouldn't leave responding to a letter more than two weeks if it's someone in the same country as you and one week if they're an international pen-friend. But ultimately if you respond within a week (and factor in mail delivery times), then it will be 1-2 weeks before you get a response.

The quicker you and your pen pal write (and more importantly, SEND) letters to each other, the sooner you'll be running to the letter box in anticipation of receiving pretty mail.

"you'll be running to the letter box in anticipation of receiving pretty mail"

What should I write about?
Let's start with what NOT to write about. Religion, politics and other similar strong views should be kept out of this type of communication. You don't want to risk offending your mail-mate.

Once you've gotten the introductions out of the way, you should be able to find common topics that interest you both. That shouldn't be too difficult if you've joined the Creative Pen Pals project as you will be matched up with someone who has similar interests as you.

It's nice to write about yourself, but don't forget to ask questions about your pen pal. That way it will keep the letter-writing and responding going rather than having to find new topics to start off your letters with - but that is ok to do too.

"Don't forget to ask questions about your pen pal"

How much should I write?
Don't feel as though you have to write a short novel each time you write. If you are feeling pressured by time and don't have enough time to write as much as you'd like, then just write a page and tell your pen pal what's currently taking up your time.  They'll appreciate a short response much more than no response!

When you have time on your side, you can sit down and write a few pages. Keep in mind that the reading part should be as enjoyable as the writing part. If you know that your pen pal is currently time-poor, they're probably not going to have time to read 10 pages of what you got up to on the weekend.

"They'll appreciate a short response much more than no response!"

Lastly, capture that feeling of opening your letterbox and finding a gorgeous, colourful and wordy treat that's NOT a bill. Now replicate that and make sure you are really proud of what you send out. Add a little personality to your envelope with some stickers, stamps or doodles. No doubt your pen pal will squeal with delight when they receive it. Check out this post for some inspiration.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

how to create a letter-writing kit

In anticipation of the Creative Pen Pals project kicking-off (have you signed-up yet?), I thought it'd be exciting to start compiling a letter-writing kit for the many letters we're about to exchange. 
And obviously Mel from One Crafty Mumma had the same idea. If you follow Mel on Instagram, then you might have seen her posting about her new stationery supplies. So, I asked Mel to give us some tips on pulling together a letter-writing kit. And here's are her pearls of wisdom (thanks Mel!).

Eep! I'm feeling so happy and excited to be taking part in this wonderful snail mail swap and for the last few weeks I've been busy creating myself a letter writing kit.  For me, gathering and selecting pretty items to use for my letter writing is {almost} as much fun as receiving and sending mail. 
I love having nice supplies on hand for letter writing and keeping them together in the one spot so they're ready to grab when needed.  The lovely Magdalena asked if I'd like to share my letter writing kit with you all, so here I am!

It's not essential, but I like to keep all of my supplies together and at the moment I'm using one of two things for that - a fabric wrap {shown above} that holds cards, envelopes, a cute pen, mini tags and stamps.  I received the wrap in a swap a couple of years ago {super lovely!} and it's been so well used.  The pattern is a freebie from Soulemama's blog, so you can make one too!  HERE is the linky for it.  My other storage item is a shoe box!  Nothing fancy, just an ordinary shoe box to hold my other bits and pieces.

Now for the fun bit - what to keep in your writing kit!  Oh, there's so much goodness to include - and I'm sure way more wonderful things that I haven't thought to add yet.  Here's a list of my 'must have' supplies:
  • Pretty writing paper - there's so much available online {try Etsy, Ebay, stationery stores} but there are also lots of other options too: make & print your own or pretty up some lined paper with nice stamps, washi tape or stickers.
  • Washi/decorative tape - I'm such a fan and I love sealing envelopes with my tape or adding a tiny piece to the top of my letters.
  • Pen - I keep a nice one in my letter wrap because there's nothing worse than writing a letter with a dodgy pen ;)
  • Plain shipping tags - there are SO many cute things to do with a shipping tag and they're nice to add extra notes or a quote onto and include with your letter.  I'm going to be sharing a mini tutorial over on my blog for this very soon!
  • Stickers - super nice to pop on an envelope or letter.

  • {A few of my favourite letter writing stationery sets}
  • String/yarn/thread - Perfect for holding folded letters together inside an envelope and also cute to tie around packages that you might be sending.
  • Postage stamps - Keeping a few of these on hand means you can write and post on the go!

  • Rubber stamps - My favourite one is a date stamp, but word & graphic stamps are also nice to use on letters and envelopes.

Apart from the supplies that I've mentioned above, you can also start reusing bits and pieces that you might have received in the mail or come across in your travels.  All of those goodies in the above photo were rescued from packages or mail that arrived in my mail box last week - they'll be wonderful to use on upcoming letters and envelopes.
So, there you go!  I hope you have as much fun putting together your supply kit as I did.  Thank you for reading and happy snail mail writing.

Thanks for those great tips Mel and for writing this guest post. I'm rushing off to start pulling together my letter-writing kit right now!  
And another reminder that sign-ups for the Creative Pen Pals project close THIS Friday!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

hottie challenge 2013

my finished hot water bottle cover
for the hottie challenge in 2011
You may or may not remember a little thing called the hottie challenge back in 2011. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a little blurb from CurlyPops' blog...

"The aim of the challenge is to make a hottie cover, which will be exhibited in the gallery space at Open Drawer Art Textiles and Learning Centre from Friday July 5th, with a grand opening on Sunday July 7th from 2-4PM. 

The finished hotties are donated to the Margaret Pratt Foundation, so that they may be sold to raise funds."

It's a fun project that anyone can join in on. This year again, Cam is coordinating a group entry. Last time there were 63 of us and overall just under $4,000 was raised for he Margaret Pratt Foundation.

So if it's something you think you'd like to participate in, head over to Cam's blog and sign up.  Your finished hot water bottle cover must be finished and received by Cam by Friday 21st of June, so there's a bit of time for you to create something - functional or otherwise!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

creative pen pals [sign up!]

Many of you who read this blog would know that I'm a big fan of paper-anything. The memories that one associates with a ticket stub, a get-well card, a scrapbook kept from primary school or a letter from a long-time-passed pen pal are what makes us, us.

The power to incite memories are held within these otherwise irrelevant items which to a passer-by hold no value at all. But to each and every one of us, these little things we've collected throughout our lives are priceless.

I think that in a strange way the fact that paper is so easily destructible makes it all the more precious and special to me. It's a fragile material that we use everyday. Yet, not looked after it can be completely worthless. That just adds to its complexity. It's readily available, taken for granted, important and useless all at the same time.

With so much of our lives being spent digitally, the art of writing a good old fashion letter and dropping it in a post box is sadly a forgotten art to many of us. It's one of life's simple little things that should be embraced if at the very least to feed and nourish your creative soul. It's just like baking bread. Ever tried it? Well you should. Such a simple little task which can provide much more pleasure than picking up a loaf full of numbers and preservatives from your local grocer.

When I was a young girl I had a pen friend in Canada. She was the same age as me. We had both met in Greece where we lived for 8 months. Joanna and her mother moved to Canada whilst my mum and I moved to Australia. We wrote to each other for years. Then we lost touch. I don't know where she lives anymore, nor can I find her online. I miss having a pen friend.

A couple of days ago we watched Max and Mary and I felt so inspired afterwards that I wanted to start writing to people. People across the other side of the world. But maybe not quite as randomly selected as Mary's pen friend came about.

So with this, I thought others might like to join me in embracing life's little pleasures. Would you like a creative pen pal too? 

Maybe you're interested in learning about how others live, where they live, what they do for fun, what their favourite creative hobby is? 

Maybe you've never experienced receiving a hand-written letter in the mail adorned with cute doodles or stickers? 

Maybe you want an excuse to start using all that cute stationery you've been hoarding?

Maybe you'd like to occasionally swap little parcels of favourite local treats, magazines or craft supplies with your pen pal?

Or maybe you're just lonely and would like the chance to form a long-distance friendship with a like-minded creative someone? That's ok too.

If you'd like to join me and others in a bit of creative pen pal goodness, then send me an email with the following details (please write "creative pen pals" in the subject): 

  1. your full name 
  2. postal address 
  3. creative interests (what are your favourite crafts) 
  4. if you'd like to be matched up with more than one pen pal
  5. any other info which you think is relevant

I will then match you up with someone from another country who shares similar creative interests and send you both an email with each others' details.

Some important minor details
I will only share your postal address with your designated pen pal(s). It will not be given out to anyone else. You will be copied on the email to your pen pal.

Let's play nice please - in providing your address, you are agreeing to having someone who you do not know, write to you - that's what having a pen pal is all about. I will not be held liable for any potential outcomes that may involve harassment or other unsavoury situations. Feel free to use a PO box address if you are concerned!

Sign-ups close Friday 26th April. I will match up all requests and send out pen pal information week commencing Monday 29th April.

Spread the word - the more people who sign up, the more people we'll be connecting on an international level. And that's more people writing to each other! In pen! In real life! If you're on Twitter or Instagram use the hashtag #creativepenpals to share the love - feel free to use the above image!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

happy easter

Whether you celebrate it quietly or in an eggstra special way, I hope your Easter is a safe, happy and creative one filled with lots of family, friends and joy.

Monday, 25 March 2013

creative shopping on a budget

photo by Nicole Tattersall
It's fair to say that I'm a bargain hunter. I love the thrill of a good hunt. Knowing that I've gotten a bargain makes my day. Not because I'm a cheapskate, but because I like to make our current single-income dollar stretch as far as possible. 

Once you reach "family" status, you are no longer free to just spend your hard-earned dollars on yourself. There's not much treating oneself to little luxuries and indulgences anymore. Not often anyway. There's more (picky) mouths to feed, bums to clothe and entertainment which would have never registered on your radar were it not for the addition of children in your life.

So I direct you back to the point of this story... Creative Shopping. Yes. We all need a little of this in our lives to help us balance our books AND so that we too can have some little luxuries from time to time. So here are three methods of shopping to get you thinking (and spending) more creatively.

There's online shopping. There are definite and obvious benefits to spending your dollars online. Online retailers overheads are marginal in comparison to brick-and-mortar stores, hence they pass on the savings to you, the shopper.  But with online shopping comes to daunting questions - will it fit when it arrives? Sure, you can return it. Most online retailers have fair return policies. But could you really be bothered with all of that?  That one completely depends on your patience and urgency.

Thrifting, Op-shopping, second hand store scavenging, flea market fossicking (whatever you prefer to call it) is a personal favourite of mine. Again, for me it's all about the hunt.  However, not knowing what you're going to find is both a pro and a con. One day you could visit 3 stores and not find a thing and the next day you find 3 things in one store. But the second-hand prices are worth the hunt unless you are looking for something very specific.

Factory Outlets are a treasure-hunters delight. They are full of current and recent trends, styles and overstocks. You can find things for a fraction of the recommended retail price within a retail environment which allows you to try things on, pick them up, touch, feel and smell them. You can find out if your favourite retailers have stand-alone outlets, or you can head to an outlet centre which houses many clothing, footwear, homewares and various other retail outlet.

I was recently invited to visit Uni Hill Factory Outlets to experience what they have on offer.  As part of a morning of events we were challenged to pull together a complete outfit with a time frame of 30 minutes.  Firstly, let me tell you how much fun it is to spend imaginary money.  No financial restraints, not that you need to concern yourself with that when you're outlet shopping, and all style inhibitions go out the window. You have a clear head and you don't second-guess yourself.  Plus there's no buyers-remorse!

I had such a fun time pulling together an outfit with my shopping challenge partner Nicole that I'm going to return to the centre to purchase a couple of the pieces we found including shoes from Tony Bianco and scarf and jeans from Jeanswest

Inspiration comes from all places, so hopefully I've inspired you to be a little more creative with your next shopping expedition and maybe even venture outside of your routine shopping destinations. 

Do you have a creative shopping tip?

Friday, 25 January 2013

preserving your kids memories

I had to think of another title for this post as I didn't want people to get turned away at reading the word "scrapbooking".  I totally get the connotations that the word is associated with. 

I am a scrapbooker from way-back. I'm talking old-school. Think early nineties. When I was still in primary school. I kept scrapbooks of stuff from school, camps I went on and places I visited. I still have them to this day. I cherish them.

I still enjoy scrapbooking things to this day, but I'm not your traditional scrapbooker who follows 12x12 layouts or one who purchases coordinating, seasonal kits. Nope. Not me. I'm a closet hoarder of anything paper-related which I like to cut, paste, staple and tape to make into my own embellishments. It's much more personal and unique than anything you could ever get in the shops.

I have made albums of our overseas trips which are like little pieces of artwork in book-form. They are great reminders of the adventures we've been on and a real treat to look through. But that's a whole other post for another time.

I want my kidlets to enjoy looking back on all the things they've seen, achieved, done and experienced. So last year, my son and I sat down and started a scrapbook filled with things that he's done. Mostly places we've been over the school holidays. He enjoys craft time with me as it's a way for us to bond and the scrapbook will serve as a great reminder of the adventures we've had together.

Scrapbooking can be an expensive habit, but it needn't be. Follow this simple little guide and you'll have a handy kit at the ready to record your children's' adventures too.

Handy supplies
My suggestion is to create a little scrapbook kit for the kids to have as their own. That way, they won't be touching (or losing) your supplies and will be more inclined to be proud of it. Grab an old shoebox and let the kids go crazy decoupaging it with some magazine cutouts or stickers. Use alphabet stickers to label it 'John's Scrapbooking Supplies Kit'. Then once it's finished, fill it with the following supplies. 

  • scrapbook - this doesn't need to be anything fancy. It can be an exercise book, ring-bound notebook or a school-type scrapbook. You're only limited by your imagination. Try Typo for some cute options.
  • scissors - get a pair that your kids can use comfortably. Faber-Castell do a great pair of kiddie scissors that are safe and easy for little hands to use
  • glue stick - make sure to use a quality glue stick like UHU, otherwise you risk having things fall out of the scrapbook over time
  • double sided tape or foam - some things are easier to stick down with double sided tape or foam. You can find some inexpensive tape in shops such as Kaisercraft
  • pens - encourage your kids to write a few words to go with each entry. This is great in the case of my 7 year old who hates writing. Pick up some cheap and cheerful coloured pens from Smiggle or Target
  • stickers - I'm yet to meet a kid who doesn't love sticking stickers to everything. Get them a few rolls of washi tape or some simple sticker sheets to embellish their pages. Typo is great for this.


  • Collect lots of maps, brochures, menus, entry tickets/stubs, postcards, souvenir coins (you know from those penny machines) and any other memorabilia from places you visit
  • Take heaps of photos and get your kids to select a couple to include on each page. Print them on your home printer or head to your local photo lab to have them printed for you
  • Have your kids make a list of things from the trip they remember such as "fave animal of the day", "top 5 things to do at X", "highlight of the day" and include their handwritten notes where possible (get them to write on a separate piece of paper first if they're not confident writing straight into their scrapbook)
  • Try to get the kids to record in their scrapbook as soon as possible after the event so that things are not lost or forgotten 
  • Use leftover brochures or printed materials to cut up and decorate the pages. The kids can make a collage or just use single images as stickers or embellishments
  • Use double-sided foam tape or dots to stick bulkier and non-flat things such as the souvenir coins to the pages
  • For younger kids you can even collect leaves to stick in with their photos (they should be pressed flat and allowed to dry before being stuck into scrapbooks). Over time they can look at all the different types, colours and shapes of leaves they've collected from all the different places they've been.
  • Make sure to include the date on the pages somewhere so that they can remember when they had their adventures.

Now let them have some fun with all their supplies and watch as they create their own memories.

Note: we recently had the pleasure of visiting Phillip Island to write a review for  Little Melbourne. The photos in this post are from my kiddo's scrapbook from that trip. If you're interested, you can read our review over here.

Monday, 14 January 2013

make this: deer head necklace organiser

I was recently invited to check out the newly opened Kaisercraft store at Uni Hill Factory Outlet. And frankly, how could I say no; Kaisercraft is one of my fave paper-craft brands. I already own a hefty supply of their stamps, papers, rub-ons and stickers which I regularly use in various craft projects.

If you're lucky enough to be within close proximity to this Kaisercraft store, I urge you to make a visit as you won't be disappointed. Upon entering the store, I was pulled in three separate directions; where I wanted to look, where my mister was looking and where my son was looking.  All three of us had found stacks of great supplies within minutes of entering. Each person with their own clear favourites (yes, we are a creative family).

My heart was racing. I was in paper heaven.  I tell no lie when I say that we had to leave the store to have a bite to eat and a whip around the other shops before returning to keep shopping in Kaisercraft. I had to have a breather as there was so much to choose from it was so difficult to make a selection. And lucky we went for a whip around the other stores as I picked up some cute washi tape from Typo and spied a pair of nautical inspired Keds wedges (shoes for those of you unfamiliar with the brand Keds) which are now on my must-have list.

So after some welcome distraction by other stores, it was back to Kaisercraft. There was so much to choose from and it was difficult to decide what to take home with me, but I finally settled on a fantastic deer head which I'd been looking at for a while. Obviously that's not all I brought home, but more on that later.

Oh, I have to mention, if you're a bargain shopper like me then you'll be happy to know that there are also plenty of clearance bins to choose from with items starting as low as 50c.

Although I do delight in the occasional scrapbooking session, I'm also a "beyond the page" kinda gal, so my mind was wandering as to how I could make this delightful deer head a functional piece too. With the antlers as inspiration, I decided to turn this raw beauty into a necklace organiser.  And here's how I did it in 10 simple steps.

1. Lay out all your pieces so that you know how much paper you're going to need and if you can double up any of your pieces on one page.

NOTE: I covered all of the head pieces (minus the antlers) in vintage magazine pages. I painted the two antler pieces in different colours. The mount (which the head is attached to) has been covered in 12x12 paper and the edges have been painted.

2. If you have specific prints, patterns or areas of the paper you want to be visible, line them up by holding the paper over the MDF piece and hold it up near a window so you can see the shape through the paper.

3. Glue your selected paper to one side of each piece of MDF and let it completely dry before proceeding to the other side. TIP: make sure you smooth out the paper after applying glue to your MDF piece. When gluing, remember that less is more. The more glue you use, the more bubbles you'll get in your paper - especially if it's thin.

4. Run your finger over the ridge of each shape so that you get a slight crease. It will make it easier to tear the paper away from the shape. It doesn't have to be perfect; you just want to remove as much of the excess paper as possible. Do this step before gluing paper to the other side. Repeat.

5. Using some sandpaper or an emery board, file the edges of all pieces so that the excess paper is filed away leaving you with nice neat edges.  If you are confident in using a power tool you could sand or buff off the paper using a Dremel or similar small power tool which comes with multiple attachment heads.

6. I used two different colours to paint the antlers. Two coats each, letting dry in between coats.

7. For the mount, I used a single 12x12 page from the 'Class of '87' range. Using a paint brush, spread the glue over the entire surface and stick the paper down.  Smooth it down and place it under a heavy large book to ensure it dries flat. Once dry, repeat the process as you did in step 4.

8. Paint the edges of the mount so that you cover all of the visible MDF, but be careful not to paint over the paper! If you're worried about this step, then I suggest painting the edges BEFORE you glue down your paper.

9. Paint your antler pieces. I chose to paint them in two different colours.  

10. Assemble all of the pieces, making sure they are pushed in and down all the way. I did not use any glue to hold the pieces together as the added layers of paper ensure a snug fit. Add a hook to the back, hang and admire!

If you're so inclined, you could cover one side of all MDF pieces in one type of paper or paint colour and do something different on the reverse so that you can flip the pieces over for a seasonal change!

Materials I used for this project:
Kaisercraft Dimensional Deer Head
Kaisercraft Class of '87 12x12 paper in 'Science Project'
Kaisercraft Paint in 'Spearmint' and 'Lime'
Vintage magazine pages
UHU craft glue

Now it's time for a little giveaway
Since I had so much fun shopping at the Uni Hill Factory Outlet store, I wanted to share some of the love.  Thanks to the lovely folks at Kaisercraft, I've got a little pack of goodies for one lucky person to win.  To enter this competition simply leave me a comment on this post making sure to include your email address (so I can contact you if you're the winner).  I'll randomly draw a winner on Friday the 18th of January 2013 at 8pm (Australian daylight savings time) - so you have until then to enter. 
Please note entry is open to Australian residents only.

Thanks to the lovely folks at Kaisercraft for giving me a gift voucher to spend at their Uni Hill Factory Outlet store in exchange for an unbiased post.


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