Friday, December 31, 2010


I apologise for being absent lately, it's been busy, it's been beachy, it's been snuggly, it's been cleaning out and cleaning up, it's been catching up, it's been hanging with my two darling boys, friends, family, visitors, it's been all the things that this time of year is famous for.

Special thoughts to our servicemen and women so far from their homes and those closest to their hearts. Also special thoughts to those trying to get their flooded homes back in order, and bracing for more ill weather to come.

I am on holidays at the moment and not sure when I will be back, but I wanted to say hi, I want to wish you all a wonderful New Years Eve, I want to wish you all the very best of health for 2011, I want to wish you much making, and time for YOU, I want to wish you snuggles and cuddles, I want to wish you love and laughter for every day, I want to wish you all the things you need for a happy home, I want to wish you all that makes you content and fills up your hearts.

Joyce. xx

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Santa's little helper here is still wrapping, making, sewing, baking, tagging, melting stuff, singing, and loving each and every minute of the season. The adrenaline has kicked in to keep up with the late nights and early mornings of preparations, but she would not change it for the richest of riches in all the lands.

To you and those you hold dearest to your heart, I wish you a wonderful Christmas - may the joy of the season be with you not just for Christmas Day, but every day.

Thank you for your wonderful friendship through blogging. Thank you for your laughter, thank you for your comments and encouragement, thank you for sharing bits of you. Thank you for laughing at me and with me. I am honoured to have the pleasure of getting to know you all.

Have a wonderful Christmas at your place.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

. . . . And the stockings they were hung by the chimney with care. . . .

We don't have a chimney, but I do like that line from 'The Night Before Christmas'. I still have my huge, hard cover story book from when I was a little thing that I read to my boys each year too.

So onto today, four sleeps til Santa at our place. I had grand plans - hugely grand plans of being at home, a little baking, a little cleaning, you know, the all important little preparations that happen four sleeps before Christmas Day. *ahem* none of the above ended up happening at our place today.

Before I begin, I will give you a picture of our family at Christmas. We don't do lists of 'stuff we want', we don't buy for each other, we don't fill trolleys in a frantic state of panic just because. Santa does the children and maybe something small for Pappa and Mumma, but that is all. To be quite honest, I like it this way, I like to be able to enjoy the season of gifting, the season of loving, the season of cooking and baking all sorts of delish sweets the season of sharing and basically just 'hanging out together on long summer lazy days'. Pappa isn't into all the commercial rubbish either, even less than me. I am the one that does the tree and the lights, I love doing all the decorations with the kids, I love the carols - the louder the better, I love the Santa photo. Pappa comes for the ride, but slowly I have been noticing the last two years, he is a little more eager to partake of this wonderfully magical season that I love so much.

Yesterday evening he surprised me yet again when he come out with 'Do we have Christmas stockings?'

Me - 'ummm, no, no we don't - you aren't into that. I was going to make the boys one each years ago, but haven't gotten round to making them.' (yes, yes, I know, naughty, naughty Mumma!)

Him - 'oh well I might buy us some then.'

Me - *feeling rather feint right now from shock and horror* 'No! What are you going to buy them for!! I can make some, gosh, don't go buying them, that's crazy!' *recovered from shock and horror, already contemplating something to make*

Him - 'Don't go to any trouble - it's ok I was just asking.'

Me - 'Consider it done.' *Instantly thinking woo hoo I need to go shopping for fabric. Oh and I need some inspiration for a wrapping idea for some home made goodies to gift to his Mum and Dad.*

You are thinking Spotlight or another fabricy type store aren't you? Hmmmm No! Then come shopping with me to the op-shop this morning. Yep, first thing out the door to the op-shops, quick sticks boys we have work to do. Can you believe it, op-shop one we walked into there was in the tub, a huge roll of Christmas red cotton fabric. 10mtrs for the total sum of $2.00. Next to it were two lots of 1mtrs of Christmas fabrics they were $4.00 each so I grabbed them. I think they are quilting fabric, they are lovely and thick and cottony. Just perfecto. This op-shop also had other treasures of bias binding, satin ribbons, fat quarters, lovely pillowcases, and a bucket of army men plus a fire truck that was a torch. (the last two treasured items were discovered by my boys - they were delighted at the bargains they found). Oh and I did end up finding some lovely inspiration for gifting my homemade goodies, but you will have to wait for that post to come.

Home again, home again, jigety jig.

As you can see, I won't be going into the production of Christmas stockings anytime soon, but you know what, they are fully lined and apparently they are ok. *giggle*

Pappa has me rather excited now, wondering if I will be getting a surprise this Christmas. I do love surprises that's for sure, especially of the present kind, because it's just so rare. Maybe he has tickets for an afternoon of sleeping, or a home made gift voucher for a head massage. Oh I know, he is going to fill my stocking with vanilla candles, choccies and bath bombs and a mixed tape of our fave songs from when we were 'young'. I know, I am a simple little thing, but it doesn't take much to get me excited.

How has your day been today?
What have you been up to at your place?
Did you get a little shock of the nice kind too?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Multi-saving, savings.

Time saving,
Tree saving,
Money saving,
Space saving,
Landfill saving,
and the occasional little smile while attending to jobs.

We have gone through all the school books and craft that have come home for the year. Oh my gosh, my two have a rather large collection of books, journals, and artwork. It's difficult for me to part with it, but I just cannot keep it all. I have resume binders that I keep special pieces of artwork, we use some for wrapping paper, we use some to post away. I have decided to keep their kindy books, but from then on we just keep their journals and story books. I so love to read back over their writing and see where their imagination takes them or how they retell a book studied in class in their own words/pictures. Each year I do try to cull a bit from the previous year, and this seems to work - sort of - just a little bit. (not really Joyce!)

Anyways, some of their books that we have decided to part with still had some unused pages in the back and so I have made notepads, phone message pads, to do lists, and shopping lists.

They are a little crude looking, but they will still provide rather useful. Some of the fronts are covered with some artwork, others with writing, and through each of them there are bits of handwriting from pages not quite filled up, so that while I am checking my shopping list at the markets, I can savour a little of my boys writing or a cute little maths equation written in their little hand. (I am not a fan of doing groceries and being out and about doing 'chores' so this will totally brighten my jobs list.) Can you see the cover to the bottom right? This was done by my youngest in a little exercise book I gave him when his big brother started school. He used to so seriously hold his little pencil and 'write' letters to people. When I found this book I just had to use one of these pages as a cover. I don't mind using these pages, because they are all well over a year old, and now I have room to store 2010's 'great works'.

Those poor trees worked very hard to become paper for school books, there was a lot of energy involved in making them school books. We did pay for the books through the school fees after all, and my wastepaper shopping lists from last year are running very low of stock.

What do you do with your childrens school books/artworks and journals? Can you bring yourself to part with them? Do you recycle unused pages, do you make coasters or laminate pretty artworks for placemats? I would love to know how you do end of year school bits.

Have a lovely day at your place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bitsa Joyce

Work is finished for another term, school is out, study books have been hidden - for now.

It's time to get busy!

home made bling for our Christmas tree. . . .

home made rocky road for gifting . . . .

cupcakes for us . . . .

wrapped by Joyce . . . .

rum balls for gifting and rum balls for us . . . .

birthday card making, cause you know, there are still birthdays being had at Christmas time . . . .

and lovely crochet whilst singing very loudly to carols, snuggled down on blankets and pillows in our lounge room.
(I so wish I could sing for real, just imagine being in a choir, being able to create that spine chilling tingle through your audience simply through your vocal chords. *sigh*)

What are your bitsa's this weekend?

Have a lovely 6 sleeps to go at your place (7 if you are still in Saturday).

P.S. my little project is coming along despite not having mentioned it recently. It's rather a silly time of year to begin such a venture, but like Elvis sings, 'It's now or never'.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Upcycled or Recycled?

After reading the meanings of recycled and upcycled, I am quite sure this next item is upcycled. We have certainly improved on the crappy junk mail brochure that was with the hundred thousand other junk mail brochures that have come through our letterbox these last few weeks. I tell you our letter box looks a bit like Santa's jolly belly some afternoons. It costs nothing at all to make these other than your children's time.

Would like to say a huge thanks to Ana from i made it so, who sparked the inspiration for this lovely idea. Hers is much, much prettier and Christmassy than ours, and she has added lovely little diary notes of things they are doing along the way. Thank you Ana for sharing this lovely idea.

In regards to craft at our house, it has to be a little bit messy, it has to be cutting and pasting, it has to be lots of colour and minimal fuss, and most of all, it has to be quick. Much to my own disappointment, as I love me a bit of craft, actually I love me a lifetime of makin' stuff.

So not wanting to pull out a heap of craft items for a only a few minutes and then me having to pack it all away again, we just pulled out all the christmas brochures, and some wrapping paper from my youngest' recent birthday gifts, and put this little countdown together.

It really did only take a few minutes to put together. They love it, because they made it, and because they know how many sleeps there are to go. It's hanging at their level on a kitchen cupboard door, right where they walk past throughout the day, and already they are in the habit of swinging it as they pass and counting the numbers.

I am visiting other blogs the next few days to find lovely recycling and upcycling ideas. I will share them with you, because I want you to see these lovely blogs and lovely talented people for yourself as well.

What have you been upcycling or recycling at your place lately? Let me know, so I can share your blog with everyone too.

Have a lovely day at your place.

Monday, December 13, 2010

When A Child Is Born

Happy Birthday to my darling little Min today.

My baby turned 6 at 6.34am this morning. I will never forget him being born, I will never forget that feeling of touching his soft little head as he was being born from my body. I will never forget the feeling to push. I will never forget the agonising, burning pain, ripping through my body and celebrating it, knowing the honour of being this little childs Mumma. I would do it all again in a snap. It was worth every moment. I remember feeling through the strongest contractions it was like it was happening to someone else and I was watching it all happen from beside the bed.

I will never forget his wet, naked little body was laid on my naked body. Skin to skin, everything around me vanished, it was just he and I. Two little dark eyes squinted open in the light, black wells of velvet where I drowned, falling, falling, into those eyes, and six years later, they are still as dark as the day he was born. Still they capture me just as on that first day.

I hope I haven't been too 'gross' but I use my blog as a journal and these are the thoughts I have at this moment. Each of my boys birthdays I have a 'tug' feeling inside my chest. It's not so much a tight feeling, but just a tug. I cannot explain the love I have for them, it goes beyond words, as I am sure Mummas everywhere feel the same.

I feel very blessed and honoured to be given the opportunity to be the Mumma to these two beautiful, cheeky boys.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with love that you cannot find the words?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jump, Joyce, Jump!!

oh dear. . . . where do I begin. . . . I have a little secret, well it's not so much a secret, but I have something 'in the works' that I have not muttered to a single soul. *sigh* Not even to my bosom friend. *sigh* It's not bad, it's not illegal, it's not earth shattering and no humans nor animals were harmed in the process.

. . . . so why can't I just come out and say it? Why do I mull, and quiver, and shiver, and shake. . . . simply because I don't think it will work. I don't think I will succeed, I think I will be laughed at, I think the feedback may be rather negative and honestly - I don't think I can handle that, even tho, inside at the very back of my head, I hear a voice over and over saying, 'you silly girl'.

I am typing this now, so that I can look back one day and one of the following options will apply.

1. If I go ahead with this that -

1a - if it fails, I will be a silly girl, and really should listen to the inside of my head.

1b - if it works, I will be astounded, and really should listen to the inside of my head, cause it could be saying I am being silly for worrying and balking.

1c - if it fails or if it works, I have given it a go and either way I have succeeded as opposed to not even taking up the challenge at all which would be rather lame, and seriously what is life all about if I sit in a corner and do nothing.

2. If I don't go ahead with this -

2a - I will NEVER KNOW.

2b - see '2a' above.

2c - refer '2a'.

You are the first to even have a hint that something is on my mind, that something has been drawn up, measured, calculated, drafted, sewn, ribboned, tried for size, redesigned, resewn, and been given the accepted nod of approval to continue.

Wish me luck that I find the courage to stand by my little idea and come forward. I promise to keep you posted.

Thank you for letting me get this anxiousness out of my fingers and into the keyboard, even tho I haven't been totally forthcoming with all information, *b-kerk* (chicken noise) it does feel better even admitting this far.

I think I like option 1c. That is the advice I would give someone else. I just need to Jump!

Have a lovely week at your place, and tell me, do you get scared to jump sometimes, and do you regret that you haven't made that jump and missed an opportunity in the past? I would love to know.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Really IS Summer

Our first frangapani flower for the season. Welcome to our garden beautiful little feast to the eyes. I love to wander my garden, I love the changes, so much going on all at once above the ground and below the ground.

I have been to work today, it's been hot. I collected my boys from school this afternoon, it was hot there too. I am glad they didn't get the bus today, it's far too hot. Even breathing was hot. Under the shade of a tree was still hot, it was just hot.

We come home and opened up the house, the beautiful sea breeze that catches through our open doors and windows has just totally transformed my drippy, droopy, tired, and hotness to refreshed and cool, and ready to get into it again. Thank you sea breeze, we love you. I do not wish to move from this house, I do not wish to move even one block away to miss on this fabulous breeze, straight off the ocean, straight into our little home, straight onto our skin, and up our noses and into our lungs to cool us down.

The sky is changing this last half hour, the breeze has picked up and I think I am going to have to get myself off the computer very soon, I can smell it, and I can feel it, oh doesn't the skin prickle when a storm is near. We haven't had a decent cleansing storm for quite a while, it will be good to have one after today. I just hope those clouds don't keep going out to sea, which so often happens.

I hope you are able to catch a cooling breeze or perhaps you are in a different season to us, and you are reaching for that crochet rug to snuggle the evening away in. Wherever you are, I hope you have a lovely weekend at your place.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Ahhhhhh, it's lovely to sit down for a breather. How has your day been? I hope you have had lots of fun. I have, well actually hang on, no, it didn't start out as a fun day, but come 8.30am when I said hello to a girlfriend in the car park of school and kissed my two little 'darlings' goodbye til 3pm, THEN at that moment did my day improve. lol my two little monkeys were at odds with each other this morning, and it drove me crazy!

It's ok, it's all normal, it's all part of being Mum. I have two very tired little boys, who are very much over school for the year. I really do not blame them at all, they still have homework this week, it's only very light homework, however, I have decided after Monday and Tuesday attempts, that we are going to close the homework books. I am not even sending them to school with their homework books.

They did have a good day though, they caught up with their friends, they were apart from each other, then after school we went straight to circus gym where they are in different groups as well, so that by the time we were all home and together again, they were back to being my two beautiful little boys.

I am glad they had a good day, because as I told you, my day improved, and I ended up having a wonderful day too.

I went to work after school drop off, and filled my ears with children singing and jingling bells to Christmas music. So beautiful are the voices of children in song. Then I come home, donned the apron and . . . . .

made 48 cupcakes - yes, waaaaaaayyyyyyy too many, as there are only 24 children in my littles ones class. (But that means I have some to take to work tomorrow, and Dad and big brother also get to munch out). It's his birthday on Monday, he will be six, oh my gosh, my baby will be turning 6 at 6.30am on Monday morning. *sigh* Anyways, the children share cupcakes with their classmates on their birthday. I am sending his tomorrow instead of Monday as he has a picnic day for end of year on Monday. He is feeling rather very special having his end of kindy break up picnic day ON HIS BIRTHDAY. I did have to ruin his fun when I told him that no, it wasn't organised BECAUSE it is your birthday, it just happens to be on the same day. 'oh'. Yeah, Mummy spoils everything! Well I am only being honest.

I also, between batches of cupcakes, traced and cut out these lovely car shapes, I am going to turn them into beep, beep, bunting. He loves cars, trucks, you know, boy stuff. I promise to share the finished, hanging bunting.

I also cut out some fabric, I am making teacher gifts, and well you remember when I said about starting my new years resolution????? *ahem* I broke it, *cough* yup, I broke my new years resolution even before the new year, oh light bulb moment, so does that meant it doesn't count. oh my gosh, I believe that to be correcto! Well there you go! It doesn't count after all, and besides I know you are on my side, cause Spotlight sent me a voucher and they made me do it. **mmmmwwwwwwha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha** (evil laugh). So ok the two fabrics on the left are actually for me. They will be made into skirts, because you know, I don't have enough skirts at all (!!) Yes, that second fabric does have apples on it and yes, I will be making that very fabric into a skirt for moi! Stayed tuned, they don't call it the silly season for nothing, 'xcept in my case, it's not just a single season.

I am unable to reveal the identities of the other fabrics, other than to say, can you do me a favour and cross your fingers that it works out like the picture inside my head?

Hokey pokey, I am out of here now, pitstop is over, this little jelly bean has work to do and pronto. The paper doilies are calling me.

Have a lovely weekend at your place.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How To Make Coconut Ice

I know it's Christmassy when the coconut ice is in the fridge, I am not sure why this deliciously sweet little treat is so Christmassy, but I am certainly not going to start asking any questions. . . . . . . . . . anyhow, tis rude to speak whilst eating !

So go on, get your apron on, and make yourself some of this lovely Christmas goodness.

Here's how -

3 1/2 cups icing-sugar
2 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 drops pink food colouring (or more depending on the shade of pinkness you are after)

- Line base and sides of slice tray with baking paper.
- Sift icing sugar into large bowl.
- Stir in coconut, condensed milk and vanilla essence, mixing until all ingredients are well combined.
- Using hands or flat bladed knife spread half of the mixture evenly into the tray.
- Drop colouring into remainder of mixture and kneed/mix in well.
- Press evenly over the top of first white layer in tray.
- Cover and place in the fridge to set.
- Cut into small squares, or cut into long bars that can be prettily wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon for gift giving.

Got this recipe from my Mum. Thanks Mum. xx

Do you have a special Christmassy recipe from your Mum that you like to make each year? I would love to know what it is and perhaps if you are allowed to share the recipe on your blog and let me know, I could make it too.

Have a lovely day at your place.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How To Make A Sticky Note Coat

I am so honoured to be part of such a wonderfully generous blog community, surrounded by rather very talented people, who are constantly sharing their creations and giving tutorials on how to make so many wonderful items, without asking for payment of any kind.

I have used many patterns, cooked many delish meals, and all I have done is credit them when I mention what I have made through my own little blog, steering the few followers that I have onto these other hugely talented people, that just make me go 'oohhhhh' and 'ahhhhhhh' .

I would like to say thank you to all of them who inspire me to create.

In return, here is a little thank you tutorial share from me - it's not new, it's not all that exciting, but it's fun to make and looks pretty in a gift parcel. The bonus part is that every teacher I know uses them, has them on their desk, and next to the phone, puts them on books, flaps them out of their diary/calendar. It's not invented by me at all. I am not sure where they stemmed from, but I do know they are rather quite popular and I have been making and giving them as teacher gifts I think the last two years now. This year will be no exception, again I am making these little goodies to go into their gift parcels as a thank you for being so dedicated in their very important role towards the education of our little ones.

I call them The Sticky Note Coat.

Firstly I am guessing most 'general' sticky notes are the same size (7.6cms x 7.6cms), assuming so, you need to cut your main piece of card 8cms x 18cms. Be sure to check your patterns are running the direction you want them to finish in.

Then cut yourself a contrasting insert piece of card 7cms x 7cms. If you have a rounded corner punch, you can tidy the edges or do this by hand. Alternatively, you can leave the corners square.

Cut yourself 2 x pieces of satin ribbon to 19cms long. If you are using wider ribbon, then cut it longer for a more luxurious bow. (Organza ribbon looks so pretty on these little coats, all gauzy and romantic with a big thick bow.)

Measuring your main piece of card, mark with pencil at 8.5cms and 9.5cms.

Score and fold along these 2 lines, then erase the pencil markings.

Your 'coat' now looks like this.

Double sided tape to the top and bottom of your sticky note pad.

Attach one piece of satin ribbon to the BOTTOM of your sticky note pad.

Adhere sticky note pad to the inside back of the 'coat'.

Attach double sided tape to the top and bottom of your insert piece.

Attach the other piece of satin ribbon to the TOP of your insert piece, making sure you have it the correct way around for patterned papers.

Adhere this to the inside top of the 'coat'.

Your sticky note coat is now complete.

Tie a bow in your satin ribbon, and taa-daa, your sticky note pad is all dressed up.

You can do anything you like to these little covers, fabrics, buttons, stamping, glitter, bling, doilies, lace, whatever takes your fancy.

You can even attach a cutie little gel pen, all you need to do is cut your main card to measure 12cms x 21 cms long. Cut your inserts to cover the ribbon ends to fit.

The little pen holder is made from sturdy cardstock, and depending on the pen, you will need to cut about 4cms x 2cms. Fold in the two ends and arch the middle as in the photo. Using double sided tape adhere the flattened turned in ends to the inside base.

You can even stick a magnet on the back for the fridge.

If you make one, I would love to see it, just let me know and post it to your blog so we can check it out too.

Have a lovely week at your place.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Have You Been Up To Lately?

Other than the usual Mum stuff, student stuff, volunteer stuff, and work stuff, it's been busy at our place lately. There has been crafting, swimming, enjoying meals with friends, board games, sewing, birthday parties, birthday drinkies, dancing, a jewellery party, meetings,

gardening in the rain,

a little reading, (p.s. this is on tv tonight too, and I am so excited)

a lovely room on our road trip south for a weekend to celebrate my Pop's 90th birthday - what a totally awesome weekend we had.

checking out of stunning stalactites and stalagmites in Wombeyan Caves

a rather strange emotional 'tug' on the heart as we drove out of Goulburn,

getting a thrill as I watch my boys decorate the Christmas tree, and the fun they have helping each other, (the chosen theme they settled on is purple, blue and orange for this year),

some gifting being made,

and taking a few moments to enjoy the rain that seems to be very much here to stay for the long haul. Not that I mind, I mean there really isn't much that can be done about the rain, so it's nice to enjoy it while we have it me thinks. Besides who has ever had fun stomping in empty puddles?

Have a lovely week at your place.
Tell me, what have you been up to lately?