Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh What A Year!

2012 has been an amazing year! Though I am very excited to what 2013 has to bring.  I am on holidays at the moment visiting my sister so it has been a little quiet around these parts.  But I saw this little meme over at Rainbow Tatt and thought it would be a nice way to end the year.

My biggest and best achievement of the year!

1 - What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Got pregnant, had a baby and learnt how to become a mother.

2 - Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I achieved some and not others (more on that in another post) but I am pretty happy with what I did achieve considering most of my focus this year was on Imogen.

3 - Did anyone close to you give birth?
Apart from myself a work friend had a little boy, a girl I used to work with had a little girl and my sister in law had twins.  Plus a few blog friends had their own little bundles of joy too.

4 - Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank god!

5 - What countries/states did you visit?
We went to Woolgoolga, NSW to celebrate the anniversary of my dad's family moving to Australia 40 years ago.  We also went to Melbourne in March for my sister's birthday and we are also here now visiting.

6 - What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A better idea of what I want to be in life and the focus and determination to start working towards it.

7 - What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 9th - the day I had Imnogen.

8 - What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Growing and giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

9 - What was your biggest failure?
Being too stubborn and allowing petty people to get the better of me and my emotions.

10 - Did you suffer illness or injury?
Morning sickness! It was horrible.

11 - What was the best thing you bought?
Corey's coffee machine I bought him for Christmas.  He has wanted one for so long and I was so excited it was hard to keep it a secret till Christmas morning.

12 - Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The celebrities that were involved in the recent ad campaign aiming to make America tighten their gun laws and all those American's who are speaking out to try and make the necessary changes to avoid another devastating incident like the Sandy Hook massacre.

13 - Whose behaviour was appalling?
I must agree with Rah on this point and go with the NRA in regards to their reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre.  But also on a personal note there are a few people who I have been pretty appalled with in my life this year.  I just will never understand the way some people treat their family and friends.  

14 - Where did most of your money go?
Into getting ready for our life with Imogen.

15 - What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having a baby and starting my new life as a mum.

16 - What song will always remind you of 2012?
Gangnam Style! You can't escape that damn song. They even played it at the Christmas Carols.

17 - Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? probably equal.

18 - What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sewing for myself. I have so many things I want to make in 2013.

19 - What do you wish you’d done less of?
Shopping - I need to learn to curb my spending habits especially now I am on maternity leave.

20 - How did you spend Christmas?
Lunch at the beach with my family and the night with Corey's family at his sister's house.

21 - What was your favourite TV program?
Revenge was amazing at the start of the year and I got sucked into Grimm at the end of the year.

22 - Did you make a friend with anyone that you didn’t know this time last year?
I have made a few new blog friends and I also met a great group of mum's through antenatal classes and the health clinic who I meet with on a weekly basis.

23 - What was the best book you read?
The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

24 - What was your greatest musical discovery?
I am a bit in love with Cher Lloyd at the moment.  Especially this song.

25 - What did you want and get?
A healthy baby and a new sewing machine.

26 - What did you want and not get?
A new car. Totally not needed as my car is perfectly fine but I have a crush on a bigger better car.

27 - What was your favourite film of this year?
The Dark Knight Rises and the last Twilight movie.

28 - What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 25 this year and my birthday was Corey's first day back at work after having Imogen so it was an interesting day.  My parents came over in the evening and brought us dinner and cake which was awesome!

29 - What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Losing the baby weight! I wish I was one of those celebrities who the weight magically falls off without even lifting a finger ;-)

30 - How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Comfortable and expanding! Anything that fit my growing belly and was still comfortable.

31 - What kept you sane?
My family!

32 - Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tom Hardy - except when he was Bane cause that was just freaky!

33 - What political issue stirred you the most?
The gun debate in America and the horrendous mayor elections results on the Gold Coast.  

34 - Who did you miss?
Hayley & Kieran.

35 - Who was the best new person you met?
My mummy group friends. They help me to realise that I am not going crazy when I over think everything to do with Imogen.  Apparently all us first time mums do that.

36 - Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012
Everything good in life takes hard work but it will all be worth it in the end so just stick in there.

37 - Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
In the sunlight or the rain brightest nights or darkest days
I'll always feel the same way yeah whatever road you may be on
know you're never too far gone
my love is there wherever you may be
just remember that you'll always be my baby
be my baby
You'll always be my baby by Sara Evans
I hope you all have an amazing new years even tonight.  I will be back with more next week after our holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mum's Christmas Present

Scallop Tote Bag

I have been wanting to share this bag with you guys since the minute I finished it. I am so in love with that I may need to steal it back from mum ;-) This is one of only 2 presents that I made for Christmas this year. But considering how long it took me to get this finished I would have had to start in June to get more presents done.
scallop tote bagscallop tote bag

I used this tutorial by See Kate Sew for the basis of the bag. I used her measurements to cut the main bag pieces, lining and handle. For the scallops I didn't use her template but rather traced around a cup on the wrong side of a piece of fabric. I then used this chalk line as my guide and sewed along it before trimming and turning my scallops right side out. I found this gave me a rounder finish on my scallops and I could make them a little bigger.

Scallop Tote Bag

I also didn't use her sewing instructions because I was too impatient to read the tutorial before jumping into the sewing. I just winged it but it turned out pretty good so I am happy. I love the colours in this bag. I may have to grab some more fabric to make myself one otherwise I really will want to steal this back.

The other gift I made this Christmas was to whip up a couple of this necklaces for my niece who is accessories obsessed. Did you make any gifts this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

1st Family Christmas

I just want to wish you all a very merry christmas! I hope you all enjoy today with your families and friends wherever you are and however you may be celebrating. Remember Christmas is a time for giving, for hugging those you love and for celebrating the beautiful lives that we live. So from my family to yours have a very merry christmas and a wonderful new year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cookie Mix Jars

Cookie Mix JarsDo you need a last minute gift for a friend or colleague?  Do you have someone on your Christmas list that loves to bake or who would like to learn how to bake?  Why not make them a cookie mix jar!

Cookie Mix Jars
These are so easy to put together and look really impressive!  I used the measurements given in this post  by Bakerella.  I was hoping to find Christmas coloured mnm's but I couldn't.  I ended up using these orange and white mnm's that are jaffa flavoured.  I think they look quite good but probably a bit more Halloweeny then Christmasy.  Oh well!

Cookie Mix Jars

I found the jars I used in Kmart.  They are about 1 litre and the perfect size for this mix.  I topped them off with some scrap fabric and some ribbon that was leftover from Imogen's christmas outfit.  I think these make quite cute little gifts and I would love to receive one myself.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Pudding Whoopie Pies

I have wanted to make whoopie pies for so long and have finally whipped some up.  One of the girls I used to work with used to make them all the time and they were delicious.  We had some family over for dinner last night so it was the perfect chance to make them.

Christmas Pudding Whoopie Pies

Being Christmas I just couldn't resist making them look like Christmas puddings.  This is so easy to do! I used this chocolate whoopie pie recipe and their pictures as inspiration.

Christmas Pudding Whoopie Pies

I did my puddings a little different to the instructions given with the recipe.  I used a flower cookie cutter to cut out white fondant tops.  I then rolled some red fondant into berries and cut slice of a green jube for my leaves.  These are so quick and easy to make and would be the perfect treat to take along to Christmas lunch.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Doily Pom Pom Tutorial

I had so much fun wrapping my presents this year and one of my favourite presents is this one that I wrapped for my nephew Laken.  I was so in love with the doily pom pom that I did the exact same on his twin sister's present too.  I thought it might be fun to share how I made this in case anyone out there is still looking for ideas to wrap those last minute presents.

Pom Pom Tutorial

You'll need:
6 doilies per pom pom
sticky tape

Pom Pom Tutorial

1 - stick a doily flat onto your wrapped present.

2 - Fold a doily in half and then in half again to create a quarter circle.  Do this with the remaining 5 doilies.

3 - place a small amount of sticky tape on the corner of one folded doily and tape in the center of the flat doily so the rounded edges aline.  Repeat with 3 more doilies to create a circle.

4 - Tape your last doily into the centre of the pom pom.  Bend this doily so that it stands up and fluff it out into a standing position.

5 - Fluff the folded doilies around the edges to fill in the gaps.  You may need to get right into the folded corner of the doily to make it stick out.

Pom Pom Tutorial

There you have it!  Simply and easy but they look so gorgeous.  Let me know if you give them a go.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Imogen's Christmas Outfit

I couldn't resist making Miss Imogen an outfit to wear on Christmas Day.  I also couldn't resist making a tutu.  I'm not sure how long it will last on the day because it is quite puffy but as long as she wears it long enough for some photos I'll be happy.

Imogen's Christmas Outfit

There are a million tutorials on the internet for these types of tutus.  All you need to do is google no sew tutu and you will find heaps.  They are super quick and easy to make.  The most time consuming part was cutting the strips of tulle.
Imogen's Christmas Outfit

The onesie was nice and easy too.  Just a few bits of ribbon sewn on with a silver star button on top.  Voila, instant Christmas tree onesie!  I figure this is christmasy enough that when she gets over the tutu she is still in theme.  I also have a my first christmas onesie for her to put on if she throws up on this one.  I have all bases covered, lol.

Imogen's Christmas Outfit

I am hoping this is the start of a tradition of making Miss Imogen a new outfit each Christmas.  There is nothing better than a brand new dress on Christmas day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Calendar Activities

I have been having lots of fun doing my advent calendar activities this year.  There are a few that we have not done yet and still lots more to come.  Apparently a few videos I thought we owned we don't so we didn't end up watching them on the day I put them on.  But if they are on tv before Christmas we will be watching them for sure!  But I thought it would be nice to share some of the activities we have done.  If you are on instagram you would have already seen these pics.

advent activities 

Make Marshmallows!  These were delicious and surprisingly easy.

Go to Christmas Carols.  Imogen got to wear her adorable elf shirt that she was given by the darling Movie Mazz.

Put up the Christmas Decorations.  These are obviously in no particular order because this was the first activity we did for the month.

Make a gingerbread house.  I was lazy this year and used a kit from Aldi.  I have made my own the last two years and I am hoping next year I will have time to again.

Go to myer and buy new Christmas decorations.  I used to work at myer and loved their Christmas decorations and Christmas section so I wanted to take Imogen there and buy decorations.  I basically waved decorations in front of her and bought the ones she laughed at.

Make Imogen's santa sack.  This was a super simply project so I didn't bother posting it.  I bought some retro Christmas fabric from Spotlight and sewed it along the bottom and side.  Then I made a channel and used some red bias binding for a tie. Simple & quick!

Go get santa photos.  This was hilarious! Imogen was not impressed at all but on the plus side she didn't cry.  The minute we took her off santa and put her back in her stroller though she started cracking out the smiles and giggles.  Cheeky little monkey!

Wrap presents.  I had a bit fun this year wrapping our presents in brown paper, red ribbon and doilies.  I  actually made a super cute little pom pom with doilies that I want to share in more detail this week.  Stay tuned for that!

Write Christmas cards.  

Buy a new Christmas cd.  This year I bought Glee.  I really wanted Michael Buble but I couldn't find it the day we were at the shop.  Hopefully next year!

Make Polar Express Hot Chocolate.  This is delicious!!! Seriously guys make this hot chocolate and why not chuck some homemade marshmallows in there to top it off.  Recipe here.

Make Christmas Decorations.  These were super fun to make and easy too!  I am hoping to make Christmas decorations each year with Imogen so our tree will slowly be taken over by handmade decorations.

So that's it so far.  We still have a few more to do this week.  I can't wait for Christmas though. It is my favourite day of the year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

And the stockings were hung....

By the kitchen with care?  Not as exciting as hanging them by the chimney but it'll have to do.

Christmas Stockings

This year I decided to make us all stockings to hang.  I have decided that we are going to start our own little family tradition where we get new pajamas to open on Christmas Eve.  When I wrap them I am going to pop them into the stockings.  I remember when I was a kid we used to get a present from our Pop & Carolyn to open on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas so I wanted to do that for Imogen too.
Christmas Stockings

I used this pattern via Purlbee.  I made the stockings a while ago and they sat on my sewing desk for quite a while before I tackled the embroidery.  Embroidery is not exactly my strong suit so I was a little wary to get started on it.  I eventually did though and although they look a little, shall we say, rustic I am happy with how they turned out.

Christmas Stockings

So that's one more item off the Christmas to do list.  Only a couple more items left now.  I am hoping to make a couple of small presents but not sure if I will get them finished in time.  One I definitely will but the other two are maybes.  I also need to get started on Imogen's Christmas outfit but that will be nice and quick to make.  Hopefully I will be able to share that with you soon.

Christmas Stockings

I am so excited the weekend is finally here.  We are having a very festive weekend this weekend.  Tonight we are off to White Christmas at Movie World, tomorrow we are going to go and get Imogen's Santa photo and then tomorrow night we are going to check out the Christmas lights in our area.  But the most exciting part of the weekend is that my sister is arriving Sunday night and she will be here until Boxing Day.  I can't wait to see her!

Homemade Marshmallows

One of my advent calendar activities for this week was to make marshmallows.  I was a little bit nervous about making them because I had it in my head that they were going to be super difficult.  I have wanted to make them for ages but I was always too scared to tackle it.

Homemade Marshmallows

I am so glad I finally tackled this cooking goal because they are really delicious.  They are quite gooey which I though was because I made them so thick but mum said it's probably because of how hot it is at the moment.  I am going to try making these again in winter and see if they set a bit firmer.  But I quite like them gooey.

Homemade Marshmallows

So I made Corey hot chocolate on Monday night using this recipe and when I was making the marshmallows he asked me why I didn't make the marshmallows first so he could put them in his hot chocolate.  Clearly I didn't think about that when I was assigning the advent tasks to dates.  Oh well! Next time.

Homemade Marshmallows

Now in the spirit of full disclosure I must admit not all the marshmallows turned out as cute little hearts. This one took me 15 minutes to get out of the cookie cutter because it stuck to it.  Even though I dipped it in icing sugar first it still stuck.  So the rest of the marshmallows ended up looking like this....

Homemade Marshmallows 

Homemade Marshmallows via Donna Hay Kids Magazine

3 1/2 tablespoons gelatine
1 cup boiling water
3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups liquid glucose
2/3 cup water (extra)
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cornflour

Place gelatine and boiling water in the bowl of an electric mixer and set aside.  Place the sugar, glucose and extra water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and boil without stirring until soft-ball stage on a sugar thermometer.  

With the mixer running at a high speed, slowly add the hot syrup to the gelatine mixture.  Add the vanilla and beat for 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and fluffy.  Pour into two 20cm square tines lined with non stick baking paper.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Sieve together icing sugar and cornflour.  Turn the marshmallow out onto a surface lightly dusted with a little of the icing sugar and cornflour mixture.  Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter dipped in icing sugar mixture to cut out shapes.  Marshmallows should be stored in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crisp Coconut Cookies

Yesterday I went and visited my work mates and since I knew they had been having a few busy weeks I thought they could do with a sweet treat.  I had a flick through my cookbooks to find something that I could cook with the ingredients in the cupboard.  I had coconut leftover from when I made the sushi cake.  Since I can't eat coconut I thought this was probably the only opportunity I would get to use it.  I saved a few for Corey and he loved them.  They last about 5 minutes before he inhaled them.  They also made the house smell amazing!

Coconut Crisp Biscuits

Crisp Coconut Biscuits from Beautiful Biscuits by Australian Women's Weekly

125g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups sr flour
pinch salt
1 cup coconut
extra sugar

Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg.  Add sifted flour, salt and coconut.

Roll into balls and press flat between your hands.  Dip top side in extra sugar.

Place on a greased oven tray (allow for spreading).  Bake in moderate hot oven 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes about 40.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rainbow Granny Stripe Blanket

Granny Rainbow Blanket 

I have wanted to make a granny stripe blanket for ages.  I have seen so many great ones around the blogosphere and always wanted to make a rainbow striped one.  Although every time I went to make it there would be a colour that I was missing so it kept getting delayed.

Pattern: Granny Stripe Blanket by Attic 24 
Yarn: Mix of colours from the stash
Hook: 4mm
Ravelry Page:

Granny Rainbow Blanket

Finally I cast on at the start of November.  It has taken me just over a month to complete this blanket but finally it is finished.  I have had it sitting in my project basket and every time I sat down to watch tv I would crochet a few rows.  So it was slow going but it was nice to have a project that didn't need to be finished to a deadline.  Also I am really bad at sitting still so I like to be doing something while watching tv.

Granny Rainbow Blanket

I am not too sure what I am going to do with this blanket.  I cast it on without a person in mind.  I might keep it to use for Imogen but she has quite a few blankets already.  My cousin's girlfriend is having a baby in February but they are having a boy.  Is a rainbow blanket too girly for a boy?  It will probably just end up going into the gift box till a suitable recipient pops up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

70s Summer Dress

A little while ago I did a swap with the lovely Reana Louise and she sent me a gorgeous 1970s dress pattern and some lovely orange fabric.  Well I finally got around to making the dress and I am in love.  It is going to be perfect for this hot summer we are in for on the Gold Coast.

1970s orange dress 1970s orange dress

The pattern that I had was a size smaller than I required so I did some dodgy grading to make it fit.  I have never graded a pattern before and since this dress has such basic pattern pieces I decided to just wing it.  Luckily for me it turned out perfectly.

1970s orange dress 1970s orange dress

I also made a minor alternation to the waist of the dress.  Instead of doing a tie waist I did a simple elastic waist.  I did this by sewing thin elastic straight onto the dress and stretching it as I sewed it on.  This way I can wear a belt with it.  I also raised the waist slightly from where it was on the original dress.  I am pretty happy with how this dress turned out.  I wore it this past weekend and it was super comfortable.  There may need to be another one added to the wardrobe to get me through summer.  I am thinking a cool tribal print or maybe a nice kelly green colour to wear with a gold belt and flats.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2 Months

Imogen 2 Months

Yesterday Miss Imogen was 2 months old.  I honestly can't believe she has been here for two months already.  The time is flying by!  Especially with Christmas just around the corner it feels like the days are just disappearing.  We truly are very lucky with our little munchkin.  She is pretty happy and cheery 90% of the time.  She usually sleeps very well during the day but when we are out she likes to be a part of things so she fights sleep.  She is a social butterfly!  She has also been sleeping through the night for the past two weeks.  She goes to bed at 7pm and I feed her at 10pm and she has consistently been sleeping through till 6:30am-7am.  It's been a godsend.  It is amazing how much more normal you feel when you get a full nights sleep.  The funniest part of this past month is that she has started to "talk" and giggle and smile.  When she is in her bouncer she has full on conversations with the animals that hang on it.  It's so funny to watch. I wish I knew what was going on in her little mind.

I am really excited for Imogen's first Christmas.  This weekend we are going to attempt to get photos with santa.  Fingers crossed that she doesn't freak out too much.  I may have to just jump in the photo with her.  We are also hopefully going to head out to see the Christmas lights this weekend but it depends on the weather.

Have you been to get santa photos yet?  How did your little ones go?