Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 30 and 31 Blogtoberfest - Wordless Wednesday (and Tuesday)


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29 Blogtoberfest - Sometime Models

Sometimes I ask my children to model things that I make, like these fabric headbands I've been making for my upcoming markets. Sometimes they cooperate....

And sometimes they don't...

Yep, made me smile too. Cyndy Pin It

Day 28 Blogtoberfest - To Market To Market

My next market is in 2 weeks, so Sunday was all about market prep. One of my best sellers at markets are my bibs in various Australiana fabrics (mostly vintage, but sometimes new). Here's a new one. The fabric looks linen like, but is cotton and features some well loved Melbourne icons.

Don't worry my Sydney sider friends. There's a fabric for you too:) I've even made enough to put a few of each in my shops (Etsy and Madeit), so look for listings later this week:) Cyndy Pin It

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 26 and 27 Blogtoberfest - Nobody puts baby in a corner

[Picture via Akimbo]

The events of yesterday and today are symbolic of a big change on the horizon. Yesterday littlest attended her first Prep transition session and today I sold much of the "baby" stuff we have collected over the last 4 years at a local baby and children's market. That's right, there are no more babies in this house!

In all fairness, I thought this moment had come five years ago, when middle was getting ready to enter Prep and then came littlest. But I am pretty sure (read I am waaaay too old to have another child) it's for real this time.

Part of me is excited and part of me is a bit sad. Littlest has been my shadow for the last 4 years, but it's time for us both to be a little more independent. I am sure she will be fine, and me, I will probably be fine too:) Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25 Blogtoberfest - My Creative Space

Even though I had a million other things to do (read should be doing) this week I indulged in a bit of Christmas crafting.
I shared a sneak peek earlier, but now I've done more and taken pics in better light:) They are Australian animal shaped Christmas ornaments!

This is an idea that's been in my head for 3 years. How do I know its been 3 years? Well, I had the idea right before we last went to the US and that was 3 years ago this Christmas. You see, I thought my idea might make a nice project for the children, something they could give Grandma, Auntie etc....

Only the project never happened, too much going on, children weren't interested. Honestly I don't remember why, I just know the idea never came to fruition.

So skip to this past Sunday. Looking for something to keep middle busy. We are going overseas again, so I thought they might make good presents (sound familiar). This time middle was interested so project was a go, despite a million other things I should have been doing.

I found the shapes many moons ago at Kaisercraft, some traditional Christmas shapes and some Australian animal shapes. It was the Australian animal shapes I was most interested in. In my quest for creating Australian themed craft activities I thought the idea of combining Australian animal shapes and Christmas themed papers was genius. Well, in my head at least. That is until now:)

I painted the edges, cut and glued the paper on both sides and voila, Christmas ornaments. Simple, no? And now that I have made them, yes, I do believe they are genius:) I even went out and got more shapes to make:)

I hope you are bringing genius ideas to fruition in your creative space:) For more spaces and inspiration this week, be sure to check out My Creative Spaces. Cyndy

PS Be sure to also check out the My Creative Space challenge for November! Pin It

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 23 and 24 Blogtoberfest - Wordless Wednesday (and Tuesday:)

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22 Blogtoberfest - Lorikeets and Cockatoos, Oh My!

There was quite a racket in my backyard yesterday; that can only mean one thing, the birds were here.

We get two noisy visitors to our backyard from time to time: rainbow lorikeets and cockatoos (white and black). While both birds are common to our part of Australia, they are not common to me. I grew up in the United States. Common birds to me are robins, cardinals, and blue jays. Lorikeets and cockatoos are something I would expect to see in a pet store or zoo.

As a result, I get excited when they show up in my back yard and have their conversations. Yes, my kids think I am a bit crazy. Yesterdays visitors were lorikeets. There were a handful of them squawking up a storm in the almond tree. The cats and I watched them for about an hour:) Cyndy Pin It

Day 21 Blogtoberfest - A Koala Christmas

Not that I don't have enough to do, but today I decided to work on a few Christmas ornaments (that's right, I said the dreaded C word).
I've had the idea for this ornament in my head for about 3 years. And a simple idea it is: Australian wooden animal shapes covered with Christmas themed papers.

I still need to punch the hole at the top and add ribbon, but hopefully you get the idea:)

Originally I thought the children could make these for my family who live overseas. They still could, if I hadn't used all the Australian animal shapes:)

Have you started any Christmas projects or gifts for friends or relatives yet? Cyndy Pin It

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 20 Blogtoberfest - Toy Heaven

Saturday was the annual Toy Library Toy Sale. The toy library sells your toys and takes a commission. Lots of toys at bargain prices. It's like going to an op shop full of toys. My children love this sale and look forward to it every year, both as sellers and as buyers (they are allowed to keep the proceeds from any of their toys that sell, it's a great incentive to get rid of toys:).

I joined my local toy library after my youngest was born. If your not familiar with the concept, think traditional library, but with children's toys instead of books. If you have a toy library in your community I highly recommend becoming a member and if you don't have one, think about starting one. My children look forward to going regularly (even the big kids like to go every once in a while:). And who could blame them, what's not to like about new toys to play with:) Cyndy Pin It

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 19 Blogtoberfest - All I really want to do is make and life is getting in the way
[picture via moxiedoll]

The last 48 hours have flown by. They have been jammed packed with activities (e.g. book club, netball, haircut, school council) and as I look at the next couple of weeks I am starting to panic. All I want to do is make, but life keeps getting in the way.

It seems like everything is crammed into Term 4. Ballet concerts, birthday parties, getting ready for Christmas, dentist appointments, eye doctor appointments, lots of school sports. And two markets, hence my need for making.

I will have to be incredibly disciplined in the coming weeks; no relaxing if I am going to get everything done that needs to get done. your term 4 starting to feel the same way? Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day18 Blogtoberfest - My Creative Space

This week I have been working on a few of my felt Australian biscuits and cakes. I did a special order of Iced Vo Vo and Hundreds and Thousands biscuits so I need to make some more. I find it easier to make them in batches of about 6 - you sort of get a rhythm going. Both biscuits have a lot of detail stitches (can you say hundreds and thousands of french knots?), but at least they are colourful:)

As I have started each batch, I have made some small changes to the design or the how I am making them. I've decided to try cutting the Iced Vo Vo biscuit shape after sewing on the "jam and icing". In the past, I've done the cutting before.

And I have decided to change the colourway slightly on my Hundreds and Thousands biscuits (thanks IG friends for weighing in, you can follow me here ). I am going with brighter colours than I have been using.

Do you make changes to things you make regularly? Do your designs evolve the more you make them?

I hope things are evolving in your creative space this week:) To see what other have been up to, or for inspiration be sure to visit My Creative Space. Cyndy Pin It

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17 Blogtoberfest - Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16 Blogtoberfest - Blinky Bill Fabric

Blinky Bill has made his appearance on the blog before here and here, but this has to be my favourite. This is a 100% cotton fabric from the 1980's. I got it recently via Etsy. Ironically the seller lived nearby!

This weekend I cut into it. Yes, it was hard to do, but I can't wait to show you what I am making:) Cyndy

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 12, 13, 14, 15 Blogtoberfest - Falling off the Wagon

OK, I knew it would happen at some point. You guessed it, I fell off the Blogtoberfest wagon. And I was doing so well; eleven posts in eleven days, that's the most posts by me ever in a month!

The wagon falling began on day 12 (Friday).  I thought I could catch up on day 13 (Saturday), but by then it was day 14 (Sunday) and now, well now it's day 15 (Monday).

So like anyone who falls off the wagon, I am acknowledging that I fell off and getting back on. Do I have a good reason for falling off? Not really, just choices about how to spend my time over the last couple of days. I spent Friday dealing with two crisis:

1) getting new tires. I got a flat tire earlier in the week, so I needed to replace it, but I really needed to replace all 4 tires, I had just been avoiding it due to the cost.

2) getting a new TV. Our very old pre-flat screen era TV (yes, it really is as deep as it is wide) finally went kapooey on Thursday morning, I could only take the silence for 36 hours. Yes, I am weak:)

I spent Saturday and Sunday preparing for several upcoming events: the toy sale for our local toy library (getting rid of unneeded toys), the local baby and children's market (getting rid of unneeded baby stuff, since the baby is now 4 years old) and two craft markets in November (making new stock).

And that's real life. Falling off the wagon and getting back on:) Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 Blogtoberfest - My Creative Space

Have you ever been afraid to make something? I have. I have embroidered many Australian native flowers, but for some reason I have been intimidated by the idea of embroidering a waratah. I am not sure why. Maybe because its big? Maybe because it has lots of texture? Maybe because it's red?

Honestly, I have no idea why, but I've been scared so I haven't.  And then a funny thing happened, last week some beautiful photographs of real and sketched versions of waratahs showed up in my instagram feed. I knew when I saw them I needed to bite the bullet and try one. So I did:

There are layers of stitches and a lot of them, so its taking me a while. And while not done yet, I can already see some things I would do differently when I make another one.

Yes, I can already tell I will make another one. You see, it turns out it's not as hard as I thought it would be to embroider one:)

Hope your not feeling intimidated or scared to make something in your creative space:) And don't forget to check out My Creative Space for more inspiration. Cyndy Pin It

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10 Blogtoberfest - Wordless Wednesday

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Day 9 Blogtoberfest - Ready for Halloween

The Halloween decorations are up! A friend stopped by yesterday and as she peered through the front door into the rest of the house she commented "you really do Halloween, don't you?"

We don't, really. If we lived in the US what we do would be considered pretty mild, but here in Australia Halloween is still not the norm, so that makes us unusual:)

I suppose we have my American roots to thank for that. It's one of several American "holidays" I celebrate/commemorate in some way with the children to help them stay connected to their American heritage:)

And hey, next to Christmas, it probably has the best decorations.These are just a few of ours. There is something in every room in the house. Some of it bought, some of it found, some of it made. The best part, of course, is that the kids love it:)

Do you celebrate Halloween in any way? Cyndy

PS PicMonkey has LOTS of fun Halloween themed photo editing tools this year. And I mean LOTS, so if Halloween (or just spooky, creepy) is your kind of thing, be sure to check them out. Pin It

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 8 Blogtoberfest - Keeping it in the Family (Chicken Paprikash Recipe)

For dinner on Sunday I made chicken paprikash. It's a Hungarian dish: chicken and dumplings in a paprika and sour cream sauce.

I've been eating this dish since I can remember.  My great grandma made it, my grandma made it, my mother makes it and now I make it. Its the one dish that all three of my children unequivocally love.

As I was standing at the stove I had a bit of a moment. My great grandmother and grandmother are no longer here so only my mother and I are left to make this dish (I've never known my sister to make it). If I wasn't here would my children know how to make it?

So I called my oldest (age 11) into the kitchen and said to him "Do you know how to make chicken paprikash?"And he replied "sorta." So I made him tell me the ingredients and the steps for making it.

As he shared what he knew, I found myself adding details here and there, sharing the small differences between how my great grandma, grandma, mother and I made/make it and some tips I have picked up over the years in making it.

When we had finished talking through the recipe, my oldest asked why I had wanted to know. And I told him that it was a dish that was important to our family (part of our heritage and traditions) and I wanted to make sure that we were keeping it in the family; that he and his sisters would be able to make it for their families. He told me not to worry:)  Cyndy

Chicken Paprikash
  • 1 kg chicken legs and thighs with the skin on
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes diced
  • 2-3 heaping tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • water
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup sour cream
  • green pepper (capsicum) slice thinly
Pull some of the skin off the chicken and brown with chopped onions. After about 5 minutes remove chicken skin and add chicken pieces (most with skin still on) and brown chicken.

Once chicken has been browned, add water to just cover chicken pieces, paprika, salt, diced tomatoes and simmer gently with the lid on for 50-60 minutes or until chicken begins to fall off the bones.

Remove chicken pieces from broth. In a glass or small bowl mix flour and some of the broth. Keeping adding broth until a smooth and silky texture is achieved. Add this back into the broth and stir until well incorporated. Make sure there are no lumps.

Next place the sour cream in the glass or small bowl and add some of the broth. Keep adding broth until a smooth silky texture is achieved. Add this back into the broth and stir until well incorporated. Make sure there are no lumps.

Add the chicken pieces back into the broth. Add the dumplings and simmer until warm all the way through. Just before serving add some green pepper slices.
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
Place flour in a bowl. Add salt and mix together. Make a well and crack the egg into well. Mix egg into flour using a fork. When you have achieved a crumbly mixture add 1 Tablespoon of water. Continue to mix using fork. Switch to using your hands to mix/knead the dough and add water in small amounts until mixture begins to form a ball.

Dough should be well mixed and begin to appear slightly shiny. Drop small pieces of the dough into boiling water (I use a small spoon or you can use a knife to cut off small pieces) and remove when they float to the surface (this should take about 30-45 seconds). Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place directly into the Chicken Paprikash or place into a covered bowl to add them later.

Note: I generally make 2-3 batches of dumplings for the Chicken Paprikash recipe above. I make the dumplings in small batches as I have found that the dough does not come out well mixed or with the right texture when I make it in larger batches.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 7 Blogtoberfest - Paper Buntings and Garlands

Pretty much every time I am in an op shop I bring home a book (or two or three:). Sometimes for the story, but mostly for the illustrations.

Many books are hidden works of art, particularly children's books. Many are also damaged. Despite the damage I figure something can be done with them. Magnets, brooches and cards are just a few of the things I have made with illustrations from books. And bunting and garlands, of course:)

I have several in progress right now including a 1970's version of Blinky Bill bunting:

And a Bananas in Pajamas garland:

Now I will admit, it is hard to cut into a book, even a damaged book, but in the long run I figure it's better to cut and create something that will be used then for the book to end up pulped or in a landfill.

Have you ever used illustrations from books? What have you made? Cyndy Pin It

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6 Blogtoberfest - Real Life Mountains

This is my kitchen floor; mountains of dirty laundry. It's the result of a week without a washing machine and a household of three children. There are definitely less piles as I end the day, but more to do tomorrow.

Welcome to real life:) Cyndy Pin It

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5 Blogtoberfest - Flannel Flower Pin Cushions in Progress

I love flannel flowers. I love the white and green colour combination and I love the different textures.

When I was playing around with the idea of pin cushions using my wool embroidery of Australian native flowers, it's no surprise that my first one featured a flannel flower. Unfortunately I didn't like how the pin cushion turned out (the round shape didn't work for me), so I kept it for myself and moved onto other flowers.

Since then I have made a number of pin cushions (square in shape, much nicer in my opinion) featuring bottle brush, gum flowers, Geraldton wax flowers and eremaea, but no flannel flowers until now. I made one similar to my very first one and then a different second one.

Same flower, but definitely two different looks. Which one do you like better? Cyndy

PS In case you hadn't noticed I decided to do this crazy thing called Blogtoberfest, an annual blogging festival hosted this year by I Saw You Dancing, where you challenge yourself to blog every day for 31 days.

When I first started blogging I set a goal of 2 posts a week, but since March I have averaged 1 post per week. I thought I needed a bit of a kick in the pants and I have found making public commitments makes me more accountable. And looky see, with this post I am already 1 post more this month than my average:)

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4 Blogtoberfest - My Creative Space

I am one of those people who likes to keep busy, so I always carry a project I can work on in my purse. Although it's the school holidays, the children have had an hour and twenty minutes of swimming lessons each morning, so I have been working on finishing up some felt strawberries and blueberries.

I might have also finished a lamington...

or tim tam or two:)

Hope you are getting lots done in your creative space this week, little or big:) To see what others have been up to be sure to vist My Creative Space. Cyndy Pin It
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