Friday, 28 November 2014

Fabric scrap wreath.

To everyone in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! Here in Australia we don't celebrate thanksgiving so our next holiday is Christmas and I've already started getting into the Christmas spirit with some fun crafts.

I went to these beautiful markets with some friends on the weekend and was in awe of a gorgeous wreath made of scrap fabrics for $120. I really wanted a nice wreath for our front door but didn't have any money to splurge on one but was inspired to try and work out how to make a scrap fabric wreath of my own.
To make this wreath you will need:
a wire coathanger
fabric scraps in colours of your choice (I also used some lace)
a short length of ribbon
fake leaves*
2 fake birds*
fake holly/pinecones*
a glue gun
 *I didn't end up having to purchase any items but these could be bought from your local craft store or you could personalise your wreath using whatever you wish.

1. Cut your fabric scraps to similar lengths- I just kept cutting more until I had enough for the whole wreath. I also used pieces of lace which were so quick to cut up.
2. Twist your coat hanger to make a circle shape and tie the fabric scraps around the outside.
3.Work out an arrangement you are happy with using fake leaves/birds/holly etc. Once happy use a glue gun to stick down the pieces in place.

As a finishing touch I removed some of the berries from some plastic holly I had and now I think it's just right. I am very happy with the end result and think these would also make lovely gifts.

This wreath is super quick to make- it was done in one Henry sleep (app 1 hour).
And there you have it- a freebie wreath that looks fantastic on our front door. Bring on Christmas!
Lisa x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Working with a floral lounge.

After searching for months for a lounge for our front room (referred to as the library) I was struggling to find one. Every time I found an old fashioned style lounge for sale within my budget, when I inquired someone also beat me to it! I was sick of searching and then...I got lucky. My mother-in-law offered one they had in their 'junk room' that they didn't use.  I just love it's shape and style and it also happens to be quite comfortable.The pattern is quite an intense pattern but I'm kind of a fan. However I always like couches with cushions and throws since they make them feel more welcoming and comfortable. After searching the net for hours attempting to find information on how to style a couch with a strong pattern, I was a little stumped. Emily Henderson (I just love her style) did a great video on styling a plain couch by mixing patterns and her rule of thumb was no more than two patterns and three colours.

Since I already had one such intense pattern and three shades of brown on the couch, I stuck to the browns...not my typical colour choices said the girl who loves yellow, black, white and grey. While brown patterns are interesting, I do feel I'll be saving up for some reupholstery in the future. I also have high hopes for a larger rug for the room so all the furniture can fit on it, some built in shelving and new lighting.

I ended up deciding on using two brown cushions to give the couch some extra comfort. I went for different textures (one silky and one fluffy) to make the couch feel more homely and layered. I'm always searching for affordable cushions- the silk one was from a garage sale and had a border of beading around the outside which I removed, while the fluffy one was from kmart.

I feel like I can now use the front room as there's enough seating for a group of people. We had a small church discussion group at our house last week and we could comfortably fit 13 people in the front room (bringing in some chairs from other rooms too). Finally a rarely used room is getting some use which is so important to me- what's the use of having a nice home if it's not filled with people and shared? Also it happens to be quite far away from our room (aka where Henry sleeps) so we can be a bit more noisy in there. Win!

If you have any suggestions for other items to style on the couch or how you think I should reupholster it, I'd love to hear your ideas.

Lisa x

Friday, 31 October 2014

Living with less

I continually feel challenged by the amount of 'stuff' I accumulate. Now we have a bigger house, we just seem to be getting more and more to fill it up. I find clutter oppressive. It makes large rooms feel crowded and provides endless extra items to clean. Since Henry was born, the enormity of items needed for a baby has also overwhelmed me. A solution for this has been setting up a playroom where all Henry's things go (as the nursery is small and really just a sleeping, changing room. Although right now it is just a changing room as Henry sleeps in our room. With frequent night feeding our bedroom seems to be the best place for him. My husband jokes that really every room in the house is now Henry's as his cradle and feeding chair fill our bedroom, his bathtub, towels and bath toys take over the laundry, he has his own playroom and nursery and still there is often a play mat and toys strewn round the lounge room. It's kind of true that our house screams new parents (hopefully not in the messy way) but having all these areas set up has made being a stay at home mum easier. 

Anyway as you can clearly understand- adding more baby stuff to our home means just a bit too much stuff. For the last 40 days I've been getting rid of a bag a day of clutter from our home (some days it's a few bags and other days none but in total 40 bags+ a few bits of furniture etc.) By bags I am referring to your typical sized shopping bag... I wouldn't have made it if I'd used garbage baths. It's been extremely liberating and I've grown to be quite ruthless. My wardrobe was hacked to pieces as I came to terms with my new 'mummy curves' and the craft room was stripped back to those items I love as the realisation that my days of endless crafting in my holidays were over for a while. 

I still have a huge penchant for thrifting and my bargain loving self got giddy last weekend about 'the garage sale trail' happening all over Australia. I made up a map, secured a thrifting buddy and most importantly got husband babysitting with a large supply of pumped milk prepared for him. However as I've gotten rid of so much, I made sure I was very restrained and sought only the most special treasures. Above: The little cane planter and faux apples were perfect to add a touch of green to the library. I was given that beautiful vase by Mum after she found it on a trip interstate and now it no longer sits empty.

I also picked up some very cheap second hand clothes for Henry. I just adore these prints (especially the gnome and mushrooms one) and as I pack away more and more clothes that he has outgrown, I feel that good quality secondhand items are the way to go- there's no use spending too much on clothes he outgrows so quickly- but I still want to dress my little man in cute stuff. In my opinion I could put him in anything and he'd still look gorgeous but indeed I am bias.I also picked up Mr Beethoven as who doesn't look a head statue...I am sure plenty of people but I happen to be someone who does. I think this statue will look lovely on a shelf in the library/front room.

I now have a bag permanently in the front hall solely for items I no longer want/need and will continue to fill it and donate each bag when it's full and while I'll forever struggle to drive past a  little cardboard sign announcing a garage sale, I am not coming home with anything unless it has a clear purpose, place and is just lovely.
Lisa x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Put it in a photo book.

Okay so if there's something to know about me, I'm kind of obsessed with organising things and taking photographs. It's no surprise really that I have really gotten into photo books lately as they combine the best of both- ending up with organised photos. I love having photos on view and to be able to look back through special times and with so many cheap and easy websites out there you can make a photobooks for around $5 + postage...what beats cheaply organising photos??

I thought I'd share today a few photo book ideas that I have made recently. They are special to me and I love having these neatly recorded snapshots of early motherhood.

A photo book all about your pregnancy
I initially was skeptical about remembering how I looked during my pregnancy as I got bad fluid retention and swelled up like a balloon but it was such a special time in my life. A photo book allowed me to combine the few photographs I'd taken to make something of a little substance. In retrospect I probably should have taken more photos but I felt like a giant balloon, rather than someone sporting a cute bump. Thankfully once Henry was born, the swelling decreased significantly. I choose a beautiful quote for the back cover and filled the book with bump photos, ultrasounds, snaps from our babymoon, the baby shower and photos of the nursery.
A photo book about your baby's first days in hospital and at home
Another photo book I was very keen to make was inspired by pinterest and was a book documenting Henry's time in hospital and first few visitors when we got home. It was a wonderful way to record all the love around him when he was born and also a place to record some special messages we received that otherwise may have just got lost in the sea of messages kept on my phone. I look forward to when Henry is a bit older and we can read through this book together and look at the pictures.

 A photo book of professional photographs
We also got some professional photographs taken at the hospital when Henry was born and these have been wonderful for photo books as I've made photo books for Grandpa for Father's Day and also Grandma's birthday using these images. He was only 2 days old at the time so it's wonderful to remember what he looked like all teeny tiny and new. I also made a little book for myself with all the pictures altogether (one of the pages is pictured at the start of this post).

This self confessed journaling addict also admits to owning a few baby books and I thought I'd share the two I choose for any readers out there seeking looking for present ideas or journals for yourself.

This was a gift from Mum and has been so useful for recording and storing special early photographs and information that would easily be forgotten. Pages include topics like 'my first visitors', 'what my parents remember about my first weeks' and special memories of each months.
The journal loving side of me got a tiny bit giddy with this cute little journal. It is such a nice way to record each day and is broken up into sections about feeding, sleeping and changing as well as an area to record the baby's mood. If you miss a day it is fine as you just enter each date that you enter information (not that I've actually missed a day since I bought the journal ) and there is also a section at the back for monthly highlights. 

Between these two books I think I've got things recorded well. I look forward to when Henry is bigger and we can go through his baby books together- I know I loved looking back at my baby book when I was little and also in the lead up to Henry's birth wondering what my little munchkin was going to be like! The journal is really just for me but the days blurr together and it's a nice way to remember the little joys of motherhood (and challenges) and maybe compare those early days if a future bub comes along.

For now who knows how many more photo books I'll end up making- watch out Grandparents and Great Grandparents at Christmas time!
Lisa x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Homemade baby mobile.

I headed out to a crafternoon on the weekend which gave me that time I'd been craving to get a few little projects started- a few hours of just plain Lisa time.I had some sewn mice and wanted to turn them into a cute mobile for Henry as he just loves lying on his back and staring up. I thought this mobile would be the perfect colours for the playroom and add an extra playful touch.
You will need:
Embroidery hoops- 2 different sizes (I used some hoops made for tri chem paints that I picked up for free at a garage sale a while back), wool (I chose to use red and navy but if you wanted your mobile could just be one colour), scissors, a needle and some little animals (or other objects) for your mobile.

This DIY project is really so easy that any level of crafting skill could make this.Begin by wrapping the wool tightly around the hoop without leaving any gaps. Repeat this with the second hoop.
The next part is a tiny bit trickier as the perfectionist in me had to redo this part about five times before I was happy. I began by measuring and cutting three equal lengths of red wool and attaching them (spaced roughly evenly apart) to the red hoop and blue hoop using simple knots.I then cut three lengths of the red wool and spaced them evenly around the blue hoop. To help me with making sure every section was equal I hung the mobile from the baby gym and adjusted the lengths until I was satisfied with how flat the hoops were sitting.
I sewed my mice onto lengths of blue wool and then hung them around the hoops with a mice on a ball in the centre. I choose to vary the lengths of the wool holding the mice slightly and when I was happy with the length, I tied a knot. To ensure the knots don't come undone and fall on Henry as he stares up, I used a little bit of glue from the glue gun to make sure the knots weren't coming undone anytime soon. I put a hook in the ceiling and added extra wool to attach the mobile to the hook.
Henry seriously loves looking up at his mobile and looks up and laughs each time I knock the mice to make them move. I'm a pretty big fan of this cheap and easy mobile.
Lisa x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Starry starry wall.

The playroom is progressing more and more. It's such a nice peaceful room to lie in with Henry and, because of the veranda around the outside of the room, it stays constantly cool despite the temperatures rising to 37 degrees already...and it's still Spring here. I loving having a space to put all the little toys and baby bits collected in the last few months. It feels nice to be able to put your feet up at the end of a long day and not have a lounge room cluttered with baby toys.  It's a nice orderly room that will be able to evolve with each passing year.  But for now, let's talk about the star wall.
There are two windows in the playroom and also bi-fold doors that open up into the main hallway. The walls are white and freshly painted but I wanted to just make them a little more exciting - in a simple and not over the top way. Although I adore wallpaper it's just a bit too pricey and permanent so I thought I'd opt for good old wall stickers. I look through many wall decal websites but I always keep getting drawn back to 'walls need love' for their simple and good quality wall decals. They also have the best prices but shipping is a bit of a pain...ah, you lucky readers who live in the US. Through using a discount coupon I managed to get a set of star decals to me for $16 which was pleasing to the pocket.
Then it was only a matter of sticking them on the wall... perfectly! Yes, this process took it's sweet time and involved the help of my handy Dad but I feel like getting the spacing and direction of the stars in order has made a fun new wall in the playroom that I am most happy with.
My tip would be to spend the time roughly positioning the stars with blue tac until you know the layout you want. Then we used a spirit level and string to make the lines straight and piece of wood with markings on it (of the measurements we had chosen) to make sure the spacing was even. For a more detailed explanation of the process, check out this post about adding gold spot wall decals in the half bathroom.

This is a project that requires some patience but I think it's worth it for the end result. I can't wait to show you the finished room soon.
Lisa x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

and almost two months later...

Life looks so different now compared to three months ago- I've spent many hours cuddling, kissing, rocking and feeding the little baby attached to those adorable feet. I've let my little corner of the web go for a short time but now I am finally settling into a bit of a routine and getting chances to do a few new projects while Henry naps. As soon as Spring started (here in Australia) and I felt I little bit of warmth, I wanted to clear the excess stuff that had been building up in our home and reassess the way we've set out our house now that I am a stay at home mum for the time being. There is just something soothing about waking up in a clean organised house and not having any junk or useless objects around cluttering up space- the more excess stuff the more cleaning needed.
After searching the web for ideas to motivate me to declutter, I stumbled across the 40 bags in 40 days. While this challenge was a few months back, I've taken it on myself and so far I'm 7 bags and 7 days in. I've also been purposely seeking charities and donation places to take these goods and doing a bit of tossing as well. Our home already feels much cleaner and organised.
Although my last post was about setting up the guest room, we had my sister in law and her bub stay for just under two weeks and after that I realised the space would be better used as a play space (joining on with the lounge room). I then moved the guest room to another room- combining it with my craft/office room which is really just a space to hold everything I have quite worked out what to do with. Let's be honest, kid's spaces are super fun and since we spend lots of time reading (already, I know, I'm a teacher), listening to music, lying under the play gym, practising tummy time and sitting in the swing- I like having a dedicated space to keep all these things organised and house the toys that Henry will grow into in the future. Being a Junior Primary teacher for the last four years has meant I have many toys that Henry won't be using for years.
I've attempted a mood board below of a few things I'd like to incorporate into the space that can remain as constants while the toys evolve.

 1 / 2 / 3  / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
For storage an expedit (know known as kallax in Ikea) is great as it allows toys to be on show and accessible or grouped together in boxes. I already have one I purchased second hand last year which is perfect. After looking around I've become a bit smitten with the Skip Hop range of storage boxes as they're just so cute and a bit more fun that a plain box. It's always good to have some soft surfaces to play on and a sheepskin rug is perfect for that as well as Skip Hop play spots. I recently got a free faux sheepskin rug from a deceased estate and my sister in law gave their old set of play spots which are perfect for the space. The walls need a bit of excitement as I'm leaving them white. I love these star decals from walls need love and a search of Etsy led me to these cute artworks. I'm also hoping to do some DIY projects in the room.
Here's a little sneak peek of how it's coming together...
Time to go fill another bag for today- 8 days down :-)
Lisa x