I was blown away to find that my little blog is featured on Real Living Magazine's "Blogs We Love" list... right under one of my personal fave blogs: sfgirlbybay. And how flattered was I to read this: "Australian artist Lisa Tilse is a Martha Stewart in the making!" Gee, thanks Real Living! Now that's a great way to end the year!
I am very excited to have won the Birdie Know-it-all contest with my Paper Christmas Wreath Tutorial. I just had an email from the lovely Gisele with the news. What a great Christmas present! Click here to see the announcement and the long list of wonderful prizes.
I really am siging off now... at least until next week. Happy Holidays.
Lisa : )
I'm back! I did say I'd post before New Year if I had something that I just had to share with you... and this is just the thing. Katie emailed me these pictures of her lovely paper Christmas wreath. As always, I'm thrilled to receive emails about the wreaths you've made from my tutorial.
Katie said (shared with her permission):
Your tutorial was perfect, I had much success with the paper wreath project. And best of all, all of the supplies were lying around my house. My head is swimming with color and paper ideas for more, and recipients who would LOVE this!!! Can't thank you enough.
Thanks for sharing the photos Katie. I love the colours you used - your wreath looks great.
Goodbye again 'til 09.
With wrapping, cooking, organising, working, child minding, as well as all the usual stuff to be done, I am going to sign off tonight until the new year.
I want to sincerely thank you all for visiting, reading and commenting on my blog. I really appreciate each of you who visit and revisit me here. Also a huge thanks to all the other bloggers who've linked to my tutorials or posts, or added my blog to their blogrolls. I'm really flattered and humbled to be included.
I wish you a safe and happy holiday period. Celebrate and appreciate those you love and all that you have. Dream big and take joy in the small things.
Signing off for now. And unless there's something that I just have to share with you I'll see you in 2009!
I'm excited to have another beautiful Christmas Wreath to share with you... this one was made by Amy. She emailed me saying (shared with Amy's permission):
I wanted to write and thank you for the paper wreath tutorial and show you a photo of my finished wreath!
I found the tutorial easy to follow and appreciated all the photos. I didn't have a red ribbon on hand so just made binding from some red Ikea material I had at home. I used one piece of wrapping paper from Kikki K (about $4) which has the red design on one side and the white on the other, so as I went I just flipped the paper over according to which side I though should come next. I made the leaves about 10cm long and was able to cut about 64 from the one sheet of wrapping paper. I didn't need to use them all.
I'm really pleased with the finished product, so many thanks again!
Thanks Amy for sharing the photo and your resourceful tips. Your wreath looks fantastic and I'm glad to hear you found the tutorial easy to follow.
Christmas came early this week when my mobile phone carrier offered me an iPhone on a cheaper monthly plan than I was on previously, and with more free calls included. I have been lusting after an iPhone since they were released here mid-year, but had filed the idea under 'things I love, but can't afford'.
I *heart* my iphone! It's soo beautifully designed and the apple functionality and user interface are brilliant. It's a designer's dream... well, my dream at least!
I hate that having a mobile phone means I can be contacted by anyone, anytime and that still holds true, so I'm not intending to be checking my emails every minute of the day while I'm out either. But it's good to know that when I'm away from home for an extended period I do have that option.
I never carry a diary around with me, which can at times be a bit of a pain when trying to plan things. Now I can sync my calendar from my Mac at home with my phone. I love my desk diary and nothing electronic will ever replace writing in it, but I will use the ical on my Mac and iPhone for meetings and appointments. My many 'to do' lists, as well as all meetings etc, will still remain as handwritten entries in my diary.
I downloaded my funky 'big love' wallpaper from... somewhere, and I can't find the link anymore! if you know the source please let me now and I'll credit it here. And these other fab wallpapers are from the fantastic collection at Poolga, here.
"Happy Friday!" she said, iPhone in hand.
We had a big day out yesterday... no, not the Big Day Out, just the kind you have when you have kids...
We stopped by Beautiful on the Inside - the fab design/lifestyle store in Bourke Street Surry Hills. This little jewel of a space is full of home accessories, furniture, lighting, fashion and personal accessories- all by local and international designers. It's a must visit destination for design lovers. I love the Christmas camel on the window.
Then it was on to Object Gallery, also on Bourke Street. Object Gallery is the Australian centre for craft and design. The light flooded gallery has continually changing exhibitions and Collect, the in-house shop sells a great collection of work by Australia's best designer-makers.
Then we met up with Julia and her daughter Chloe and we wandered through Hyde park on our way to Bodhi for vegetarian yum cha lunch. Bodhi is an outdoor eatery tucked behind St Mary's Cathedral and the Cook and Phillip Pool. It took a loooong time to get our drinks, but It's a good place to dine with kids because of the the relaxed atmosphere, big open spaces and adjacent park for them to run wild in.
David Jones' Christmas windows are the destination for Sydney kids, so that was our next stop.
The girls couldn't wait any longer for the visit to Santa we'd been promising all day, so we paid him a visit in David Jones. The queue was fairly long but it was worth it. Santa was a gorgeous, kind and sweet, softly spoken old man... just as he should be.
After another romp around Hyde Park, we caught the bus back home totally exhausted after our big day out.
Sorry about the dodgy photos on this post... not sure what happened there. if I have the time and energy I'll try to do something about it.
Melbourne artist Laura Di Florio creates these rich atmospheric pieces using photography and print making techniques. Multiple transparent images are layered with perspex and glass and stacked together to form beautiful rich haunting images. The soft atmospheric quality of Laura's work reminds me of the gorgeous paintings of Francesa Raft, which I wrote about here.
Oh how much do I love these Electric Mavis Luminare by Melbourne artist Gregory Bonasara! What a gorgeous repurposing of vintage tea cups. The juxtaposition of the contmporary streamlined fixture with the curvy and ornate cups is perfect. And I just adore the way the colours and patterns are brought to life by the light.
Gregory's website describes these beauties:
Made from recycled pre loved tea cups and saucers Electric Mavis is a cheeky take on discarded domestic crockery. With minimal modification, these fine porcelain objects are transformed from op shop clutter or potential landfill into chic contemporary light fittings using one low voltage halogen bulb. Electric Mavis is stylish, feminine and the bloom is definitely not off her rose.
Reiko Kaneko's quirky Christmas baubles are guaranteed to make you smile. Reiko is an English/Japanese artist who's humourous but elegant fine bone china baubles feature creatures that gaze back at you. Wouldn't it look great to have a tree covered in these? But imagine how confused your pets would be. Love them!
Visit Reiko's online shop here.
Elizabeth Bower makes stunning jewellery... it's no secret amongst my friends that I love Elizabeth's pieces. Elizabeth and I became friends when she was teaching a jewellery making course I took quite a few years ago. She now lives in New York (I'm so envious!) and is having a massive sale of remaining pieces on her website, with up to 70% off. All prices are in Australian dollars - so if you live in the US it will be bargain central. If I could find a way to justify it I would buy myself a little Christmas present. Have a look here, you won't be disappointed!
I do. So many children have eczema and allergies these days. As the parent of one of those children of course I do everything I can to try to help. This includes eliminating Roxy's contact with anything that's chemical-based, like soap, shampoo, washing detergents. Of course there are products we can use, but they are quite limited... she even reacts to plain old Sorbelene. I also make sure she only wears cotton clothes, and unfortunately for her, we also have to restrict her diet.
I am on the mailing list of a wonderful website called Kumfy Kids, which is run by New Zealand mum Rebekka Plane. Kumfy Kids makes the most beautiful quality 100% organic cotton sleepsuits, baby wraps and accessories. Even if your child isn't prone to eczema or allergies organic cotton is a wonderful thing to wrap or dress them in. Kumfy Kids also sells various organic skin care ranges for children and our can't-live-without product: Tubigrip bandages. We are forever having to put wet dressings on Roxy's arms and legs and Tubigrips are fantastic. Instead of wrapping her in miles of bandages which need to be secured, the Tubigrip is a stretchy tube which you cut to the required length.
The Kumfy Kids website has a great resource page with helpful websites listed as well as parent support forums and other like-minded places to shop.
In Rebekka's latest newsletter she announced a fantastic last minute Christmas deal, and she has allowed me to share it with you. Kumfy Kids has 35% off everything in the store until midnight Wednesday 17th December. Just enter the code: "christmas" into the coupon section of the order form. (You must have at least one non-sale item in your cart to get the discount). Rebekka is very knowledgeable a helpful and her service is fast. I can't recommend her website highly enough.
Go to Kumfy Kids here.
I am not affiliated with Kumfy Kids, and don't know Rebekka personally... I'm just a very happy customer wanting to spread the word!
Roxy was given the most breathtakingly beautiful book for her birthday, called The Water Babies. This 2008 publication is a contemporary retelling of the original children's story by Charles Kingsley which was first published in 1863.
As chance has it I have a mid-century edition of the book in my collection of vintage children's books. The book doesn't have a publication date, but the inside cover has a February 1955 inscription on it. The story is retold by Arthur Groom and illustrated by Waring.
I have to admit that I haven't attempted to read either of the copies of the book - for now I can't get past the beautiful visuals.
The 2008 Water Babies book is visually stunning with magical underwater photography by Zena Holloway, complimented and enhanced by the detailed illustrations of Heidi Taylor and gorgeous typography.
Enraptured with Zena Holloway's dream-like underwater photos, I went looking for more about her and found her website. Zena's gallery of images shows her editorial and advertising portfolio as well as her Water Babies work.
Visit Zena Holloway's website here - if you're not already gob smacked by the beauty of her work you will be when you see the detail and intensity of colour in the enlarged images on her site.
You can find the official Water Babies' site here, where you can buy Zena's limited edition prints.
All book images taken by me from personal copies of
The Water Babies books.
All other images from Zena Holloway.
I was thrilled last night to receive an email from Joelle, showing me photos of the gorgeous paper Christmas wreaths and advent calendar she'd made from my tutorials. Thanks so much for sharing these photos Joelle - you did and amazing job! Your email made my day.
You can see my paper wreath tutorial here and the advent calendar tutorial here.
The lovely Amanda at Swish and Swanky invited me to participate in her Christmas series where she has interviewed some of her favourite bloggers. I'm very flattered to be included!
You can check out my interview here and see some photos of my Christmas preparations. The photos include this one of the tree topper star that belonged to my parents since they were first married. The star obviously has a lot of sentimental value for me, and I'll pass it on to Roxy with the intention of it becoming a family heirloom.
I mentioned last week (here) that we had a garden party for Roxy's 5th birthday and I thought I'd share some more photos and ideas with you. For decorations I made fabulous tissue paper pom poms from Martha Stewart, via my friend Nathalie (the children's party queen), and paper doilies. The pom poms are so easy to make and they look fantastic. The doily decorations idea came from Real Living magazine. If I was decorating for a more swanky affair I would have sewn the doilies together like Real Living suggests, but instead Roxy and I made them together using my trusty stapler. I used the decorations both inside and outside, together with white butterflies which I hung from the umbrella. The food tables were covered with pieces of patterned oil cloth and there were festive straws and cocktail umbrellas in the drink cups.
The food I made included brown rice sushi and nigiri, ham sandwiches on turkish bread, watermelon and grapes, plain popcorn, fairy bread (cut in the shape of flowers with a smartie in the centre), frozen bananas and ice cream sandwiches. You can see my directions for making frozen bananas here. The idea for the ice cream sandwiches came from an old Donna Hay magazine - they are a big hit and have always been on the menu at Roxy's parties. They are easy to make and both kids and adults seem to love them. I use Chocolate Wheaten biscuits, but they'd be delicious with choc chip cookies, as long as they aren't soft or crumbly. All you do is scoop the slightly softened ice cream on top of a biscuit and then put another biscuit on top, squishing it down. With a knife scrape away any excess ice cream from the sides.
I bought the birthday cake from Babycakes. I am confident cooking practically anything except for cakes. I just don't have the knack and always seem to overcook them. Babycakes make the most delicious creations ever. Their signature cake, Strawberry Mud cake with Strawberry ganache, is to die for. Roxy wanted chocolate cake so I could only suggest Strawberry so many times before I agreed... mind you, their chocolate cake is the best I've ever tasted, and it was Roxy's party after all! To decorate it I made a 5 the same size as the cake on my computer, printed it out and made a stencil. The night before the party I placed the stencil over the cake and sprinkled icing sugar through a sieve onto the cake. When I removed the stencil there was a big white 5 on the cake, over which I wrote 'Roxy' in smarties. Unfortunately we had a power failure for a few hours early the next morning... the cake sweated and absorbed most of the '5'. The end result was a barely there, spotty looking disaster. Oh well...
My big tip for kid's parties is: get some help! For the last 2 years I have enlisted the help of the teenage daughters of a friend. They have been fantastic and the children love 'the big girls'. Last year Roxy had a fairy party and the little girls thought Emma and Laura were real fairies. Too sweet. Emma and Laura run the games and give out prizes, read stories, and generally entertain the kids. Everyone enjoys themselves, the girls earn some money, and it takes some pressure off me.
I did face painting for the children (Roxy wanted to be a 'snowflake fairy') using the most fabulous kit by Klutz - see it here. The kit includes a book of easy to follow step-by-step instructions with great illustrations and photos. Especially impressive and easy are rainbows created using a sponge provided in the kit. It's really not as hard as you might think and it's a sure fire hit with the kids. I bought the Klutz kit from Borders in Sydney.
For party favours I bought fruit rainbows from Sticky. They are fantastic - they're quite big, they look great, taste sensational and are made from 100% fruit with no additives, preservatives, colours, sulphide... nothing but fruit. Roxy made little thank you notes which we attached to the rainbows with mini pegs.
All in all the children had a great afternoon, and Roxy had a ball. (She doesn't look too happy in the photos, but she gets a bit shy when anyone else takes her photo). It was a long day - after being up at the crack of dawn, the last guests left after 9pm - and we all slept well that night. I've been told by friends who've been there done that, that the size of the parties generally decrease after 5. I do love organising everything and entertaining people at home, but that sounds good to me!
Hi friends, I'm just popping in to tell you that I'm going to take the rest of the week off from blogging. I am in serious need of some 'mental health days' and have huge personal stuff happening this week (which I previously mentioned here). But I'll be back refreshed and ready to spend time with you on Monday 15th December.
I hope you have a great week, see you on the 15th.
Here it is Monday morning and I'm completely unprepared for blogging. Yesterday we had a birthday party for Roxy and had 24 children (with an average age of 5, but ranging from 14mnths to 9 years old) and about 35 adults here. It's not Roxy's birthday until next month, but she wanted to have her party during preschool time rather than in the holidays. Am I crazy?!... here it is a few weeks until Christmas and I agreed to have a birthday party in our back garden.
Of course Roxy was awake at 5am, so I was making sushi by 5.30 and icing cup cakes at 7am. The last guests left after 9pm so it was a big day for all of us. We were in bed asleep about 20 minutes later.
So please forgive me for not being on top of things this morning.
I got to take a few photos before the guests arrived, and will share some more (and some party ideas) another day when I get photos from friends. In the meantime, here is a favourite and yummy treat which is (almost) completely healthy.
If you haven't tried them, frozen bananas are delicious. (I just took the bananas out of the freezer for this photo - I didn't leave them on the table with the other party food. They need to be served directly from the freezer.)
Cut ripe but not too soft bananas into thirds and carefully insert an ice block stick 3/4 of the way into the banana, being careful not to push it through the sides. Dip the ends into sprinkles and place the bananas on an baking tray covered in plastic wrap. When the tray is full cover in plastic wrap and freeze. They are delicious without the sprinkles too, or you can dip the bananas in melted chocolate and then roll them in nuts. Sooo good! Make sure you check that none of the children have a nut allergy first. Frozen bananas are a hit with adults as well as children, and they are handy to have in the freezer as a healthy treat (without sprinkles or chocolate!). Roxy loves them even though she hates bananas. : )
The Unicorn Diaries was featured on decor8 last week, and ever since then I have been unable to stop myself staring wide mouthed at the beauty of it all: the images; words; and the soft and innocent feel of the entire blog. I really wanted to share it with you, even though I hesitated for a long time because Holly wrote about it just last week. But I have been so spellbound by The Unicorn Diaries that it really had to be my "I *Heart* Fridays" installment this week.
Elicit gasps and sighs.
I *heart* The Unicorn Diaries.