Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Daily: Dec 26

Luckily for us Boxing Day was absolutely stunning!  We'd organised a bike ride with Janice and Tony (Mike's Mum and her husband).  They've got a Harley trike and they both really enjoy getting out and about.

Just prior to Christmas I'd bought a food magazine... Nourish... that advertised Blueberry Corner over near Whakatane so we decided to make that our destination.

It was a gorgeous day for a ride and the lakes looked spectacular.  There were people there with their boats and jet skis and I really enjoyed seeing the paddle boarders go for it!

When we reached Blueberry Corner we had a drink in their outdoor picnic area.  I really liked the cool retro cup and saucer my hot chocolate came in.

Since they didn't have a full cafe we decided to head somewhere else for lunch... and just up the road we stumbled across the Whitehouse Cafe... we had a lovely lunch although the Moroccan lamb burger wasn't as spicy as we'd been expecting.

After lunch Janice and Tony headed back to Tauranga and we headed back to Rotorua.  Mike had a project going through his head and he used the time on the bike to think how he was going to get it done.  By the time we got home he had it all worked out and this is what he made:

 Planter boxes made from old pallets

Michael spent the rest of the day taking old pallets apart and reusing them to make herb boxes for the deck.  I especially like the first one he made... maybe it was the blue colour! 

Toby and Dougal weren't a lot of help but once they were made Dougal realised that they'd make an excellent hiding place for him!

For my creative pieces I've gone for super simple.  The date stars ended with '25' so I decided to just die cut the rest of the numbers using Tim Holtz' Chip Block die.  I added a few cork stars and the 'Oh What Fun' is from Heidi Swapp's ephemera pack.

Since we went out for lunch and coffees I chose a coffee cup file from the Silhouette shop and just added a cork star to the finished piece.

It definitely feels like Christmas is over now... we've still got the tree up but I suspect we'll take it down in the next couple of days.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your days are joyful and relaxing xx

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December Daily: Dec 25

Christmas Day this year was completely different to our usual family get-togethers.  This year it was just us, the boys and Krystal.  We had such a relaxing day... we ate... we talked... we played games... we watched a movie... and we laughed together.

Michael and I got woken up by the boys opening their Santa stockings... totally missed the photo op because they ripped into their presents before I was ready with the camera!  Toby got a couple of his favourite treats... chicken and bacon biscuits, and duck tenders... meanwhile Dougal was in 7th heaven with some new glitter!

Michael went around to Krystal's and when they arrived we had present opening.  Toby did really well this year... he got me some of my favourite Ferrero Rocher chocolates and he got Daddy a ceramic R2D2 cookie jar full of cookies!

Michael bought me a lovely rustic wooden box that opens up to reveal a standing mirror (you can see it at the front of the table) and I got him the coffee plunger he was coveting... he loves it and is using it daily!

After presents, Krystal and I got busy in the kitchen.  We made the blueberry and lemon curd trifle that Mike requested... and we also put the leg of lamb which we smothered in cranberry jelly and fresh rosemary into the oven.  Then we got onto making our first course... Canadian lobsters, prawns and panko crumbed scallops... soooo delicious!

After the first course we cleared the table and had a few games of Rummikub.  It's been our favourite family game since the girls were at primary school.  While we played we had some cheese and crackers... it is Christmas after all!

While we watched a movie together we got all the vegetables into the oven to roast.  By the time the movie finished the smells coming from the kitchen were incredible!  Krystal and I made a quick gravy and then lunch was served.  Totally delicious although I didn't get a photo!

After the roast Michael took himself off for a little nap and Krystal and I watched a girly movie... and then we thought we might just have some brandy snaps... so we whipped some cream and got them ready.  Dougal got busy helping himself... he tried to say he didn't but the silly boy had cream on his nose... it's a dead giveaway!

Since Michael was asleep we scoffed them ourselves... besides, Michael isn't a huge fan of brandy snaps.  When he woke up he was ready for the requested trifle and it went down a treat!  So delicious and I'll definitely make it again.

So that was our Christmas.  We did catch up with Roxanne and Mikayla via phone and they were both having a lovely day.  Maybe one year we'll have all our girls at home for Christmas!

For the creative pieces I kept it pretty simple.  I die cut the '25' using a Tim Holtz die and the holly was cut from another Tim Holtz die.  The tag in the lower pocket was too pretty not to use so I attached it to the white embossed card with a jewel brad... super simple.

And there you have it... Christmas Day 2015 done and dusted!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December Daily: Dec 24

Christmas Eve was certainly one of creativity in our household!  Michael is really good at turning my ideas into a reality.  I had a couple of old printers trays that I thought might be good for housing all those little things like jump rings, brads, eyelets, trinkets etc.  The idea was a good one BUT you need somewhere to store it... somewhere that's easily accessible and somewhere that's not going to require moving lots of things to get to it.

I told Mike my idea and let him think about it and he came up with a brilliant plan!  Attach them to the underside of my big work table on rollers!  Now they can slide out to reveal all the little sections and I can find exactly what I want... and then as soon as I'm done I simply roll the printers tray back under my table again... it's the perfect solution!

Meanwhile Dougal thought HE had the perfect storage idea for the printers trays... according to him they're be the ideal spot to keep little treats for him and Toby!  I DO see his point... but it's not a happening thing!

Since Michael had been having a whole lot of luck on Trade Me I decided that I'd give it a go too.  We'd taken the dining table downstairs to my art studio so I had a look to see if there was anything on Trade Me to replace it with and I found a beautiful oak table along with four matching chairs.  Better still I got it for a bargain price!  We went and picked it up on Christmas Eve and it fits perfectly into the dining area and it adds so much character... I really, really like it!

Toby's 'spare' teddy met a dismal fate on Christmas Eve.  He has 'his' teddy which he does unspeakable things to (if you know what I mean)... quite often when there's people visiting or else while Mike and I are trying to eat our dinner!  He also has a 'spare' teddy which he's taken pretty much no notice of for months and months but on Christmas Eve morning he must have decided that he didn't want his 'spare' teddy anymore and within a few short minutes poor teddy had NO FACE!  There was stuffing all over the backyard and teddy got very, very dirty.  I have no idea why... but he isn't ready to let teddy go just yet and he has continued to de-stuff him for the past couple of days!

While all the de-stuffing was going on I was busy in my art studio making a 3D Santa Boot and I love how it turned out.  The pattern is from the Silhouette store and cost a mere $1.50 but it was a fabulous pattern to work with.  Around the top of the boot there are 30 tufts which needed white brads... but I didn't have any white brads... so I used silver brads... wiped the tops in my Perfect Medium ink pad... dipped them into white embossing powder... and heated them with the heat gun... ta da... white brads!

I followed the instructions step by step and only made one little modification which was around the lacing pieces and I'm thrilled with the final result!  Here's a better look:

For my creative pieces on this page I made some more tufts but slightly smaller... and another few white brads along with the date star.  The second piece was cut using my Cameo and I think it looks pretty cute.

So now you know what we were up to just before Christmas!

Thanks for visiting xx

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December Daily: Dec 23

My peace and quiet is currently being shattered by the sound of the circular saw and the hammer... yes Michael is up to another project again!  This afternoon he 'acquired' several old pallets and he's now busy making me herb planter boxes.  They do look pretty good and I know they're going to be useful!

On Wednesday Dougal was trying very hard to be in my good books... either that or he was buttering me up for his big ask!  From the moment he woke up he went on and on about going to see the 'twinkly lights'.  He'd seen the map for the lights on Daddy's phone and he wanted to go and see them.

Somehow he managed to talk Daddy into going to Bunnings and Mitre 10... I imagine it was quite easy actually... and when they came home Dougal proudly presented me with a beautiful peace lily.  I've got it in my tall pot plant stand in the art studio and it's perfect.

Michael has been on a mission to do lots of little jobs lately and one that he decided to do was get rid of all my old pots.  He thought that since I hadn't used them for so long that I mustn't want them and before I knew it they were listed on Trade Me.  In the end he got $40 for the pots which was actually pretty good and still a bargain for the buyers!

For dinner Michael decided he wanted to cook.  He's been working on cooking the perfect steak and he's pretty much got it worked out now.  He did steaks, onions, mash and then he made a mushroom sauce... so divine!

After dinner we took the boys and went around to pick up Krystal and look at the lights.  Dougal sat up on Krystal's knee so that he could see out the window easier and the lights really were beautiful.  It really was 'merry and bright' and some people have made an awesome effort to decorate their homes for the holidays.

For today's creative pieces I headed back into my stash again.  I used another Christmas bird along with a cork star and the date star for the top piece.

For the bottom piece I stamped a Bo Bunny stamp I've had for a long time.  This Santa is really lovely and almost always stamps perfectly.  All I added was a wax seal... remember using those???

I hope you're all enjoying the festive season and managing to spend some time relaxing with family and friends.  Stay safe and enjoy xx

December Daily: Dec 22

My boys are all feeling the post-Christmas tiredness and all three of them are still in bed!  Meanwhile it's lovely and quiet for me LOL

On Tuesday it was Mike's last night of work... he's got almost two weeks off and we're looking forward to spending a bit of time together... although knowing Mike there will be plenty of little 'projects' he wants to do!

So back to Tuesday... there were little packages arriving in the mail and on the courier this week and Dougal did manage to open one before we had a chance to stop him.  Turns out it was a really pretty summer scarf that Michael bought for me.  Dougal got himself all wrapped up in it and it did look very pretty but one small boy does not need any more things that don't belong to him!  Thankfully the scarf was a 'just because' present and not a Christmas gift!

Michael has been buying bigger things on Trade Me too!  He scored a really great coffee table for our lounge... complete with a drawer for putting all the various remotes into.  It has a couple of scuff marks on the top and one leg but he also got it for 10% of the actual cost... you can't complain about that!

Since the new coffee table fits in with the TV cabinet in the lounge we had to move my HUGE coffee table to the family room but it actually works there really well.  Even better... I was able to get out my table runner, crackers and stars so the family room looks really festive now.

Tuesday was also a lovely hot day... the perfect kind of day for washing Toby... not that Toby thought so!  He really doesn't love having a bath but he is pretty compliant.  Here's how the bath routine works:
  • I get the warm water running through the shower attachment and into the bucket
  • Next an old towel goes down into the bath... stops the slipping and sliding effect
  • Then Toby actually jumps into the bath and onto the towel at which point the tail goes down!
  • I lather him up with his special soap and talk quietly to him while giving him a good massage and he puts his ears down and closes his eyes
  • Then the shower attachment gets used to thoroughly rinse the soap off
  • Out comes Toby's special 'pink Bratz' towel and he jumps out of the bath onto another old towel
  • I give him a bit of a rub down and wrap his body in the Bratz towel 
  • Toby gets maneuvered outside wrapped in the towel without being allowed to shake inside!
  • Door gets shut... Toby howls and cries to come in... Mumma goes to clean up the bathroom!
Michael has started to call Toby 'Eeyore' because he just looks so sad when he's having a bath... but he LOVES it when he's all dried off and he's allowed back in again.  It must FEEL a lot better with all the loose hair gone too!

For my creative pieces I used an old piece of dictionary paper that I'd coloured with distress stains.  I layered on a holly stamp and heat embossed it with silver.  Then I added a small piece of Christmas ephemera from my stash along with the date star.

For the lower piece I die cut a small reindeer from silver glitter cardstock, layered it onto black cardstock and then added a cork star... simple!

So that was our Tuesday :)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Well it's Christmas morning in our household!  Santa has been to visit the boys and they are very happy with their presents... Toby got a couple of different puppy treats and Dougal got... yes you guessed it... GLITTER!

We're having Christmas at home this year and Krystal is coming over a bit later to spend the day with us.  I found a good deal on seafood so we're having scallops, prawns and Canadian lobsters for our first course.

Michael requested a leg of lamb so I've got that ready to go in the oven a bit later with rosemary, cranberries, roasted vegetables and gravy.

He also requested a 'lemon and blueberry trifle' for dessert and Krystal requested brandy snaps so there are definitely some sweet treats on the menu.

To Roxanne and Mikayla... we miss you and hope you have a wonderful Christmas Day.  Stay safe and have some fun!

And to all my blogging friends... Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you... I hope your Christmas is filled with love, laughter and much happiness. xx

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December Daily: Dec 21

By Monday morning Mike's eye was really driving him crazy so we went down to the doctors as soon as they opened.  It turns out that the wee speck was sitting right over the cornea and the doctor wasn't prepared to try and remove it so he made an appointment for Mike at the eye clinic later in the day.

Meanwhile, Dougal thought that Daddy was getting far too much attention and sympathy!  Dougal much prefers it when he's the center of attention!  So what's a small puppy to do??? He 'invented' his own sore eye!  He moaned... he cried for 'eye medicine'... he wanted to go to the eye clinic too.  Then I noticed that it was quiet... a little TOO quiet... and where was Dougal???  Helping himself to some of Daddy's Optrex eye wash! 

In the end it turned out that what Dougal really wanted was some cuddles and attention.  I made a big fuss of him... gave him a few cuddles and read him a story and he was quite happy to carry on playing for the rest of the afternoon.

Late afternoon, Michael and I headed down to the eye clinic and the specialist was able to remove the 'foreign object' from Michael's eye.  He had a bit of antiseptic cream to apply but she said she'd managed to remove it without damaging his eye... what a relief!

In between all the dramas at home I actually managed to make some 'Reindeer Noses' treats and present labels for the kids.  I've wanted to make the 'noses' packets for a few years now and just always seemed to run out of time so I was thrilled to actually get them done.  I even managed to get them sent to my sister and they arrived the very next day... fantastic!

For the creative pieces on this page I kept it really simple.  The top piece was made with a cardstock embellishment from my stash along with the date star.  The bottom pocket contains a stamped and heat embossed Christmas tree which I cut out and then I added some cork stars to finish it off.

It's so close to Christmas now... I can feel the excitement in the air... and the boys are SUPER excited that Santa is coming tonight!

December Daily: Dec 20

Sunday ended up being quite an eventful day!  We spent some time in the morning doing stuff around the house and then I decided to make a quick 'pizza bread' for lunch.  I swear that my boys can all hear when I open the pantry or the fridge and they all come running to see what I'm up to!

I'd barely got the lunch started before Michael was looking over my shoulder, Toby was at my feet and Dougal was sitting on the stove watching!  They must run around with empty bellies the whole time... either that or they all have worms LOL

In the afternoon Mike and Toby got busy in the backyard scraping the top of the driveway.  The only problem was that Toby really wasn't helpful at all... in fact he starting attacking the shovel each time Mike tried to use it.  At one point Toby actually nipped Mike's foot!!!  There must be something about that shovel because he's fine with the spade.

Mike wanted pizza for dinner... even though we'd had pizza bread for lunch.  He's quite a creature of habit really, so on  Sunday night I made him a meatlovers pizza with bacon, salami and frankfurters and then added a few mushrooms... really delicious!

After dinner we settled down to watch some TV but Michael's eye was starting to really bother him.  He had a little speck of something in it and after much rubbing (which I told him not to do!) we went to the supermarket and bought some Optrex eye wash.

Unfortunately, the eye wash didn't work and his eye was really annoying him so we did a quite trip down to A&E.  There were heaps of people there and it looked like it was going to take several hours to get seen so Mike decided that we'd just go home and he'd go to the doctors in the morning.

For my creative pieces today I used a few more stamps that I've found while going through containers in my art studio.  The top piece is part of a Tim Holtz stamp and one of my favourite Christmas images.  I teamed it up with a poinsettia and the date star.

For the other pocket I did some heat embossing in the both silver and white and then layered it with some patterned paper... very easy but quite effective.

So that was our Sunday :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Daily: Dec 19

On Saturday morning Mike and I headed into town to do a bit of Christmas shopping.  When we got home I started wrapping the presents and getting them all labelled.  When I was almost finished the phone rang and I had a bit of a chat with one of my girlfriends.  After I'd hung up I headed back into the lounge to hear muffled talking and a strange 'flicking' sound.  It turned out that Dougal thought he'd help me wrap the last present but the sticky tape was TOO sticky and he got it stuck over his mouth.  He tried again and got it stuck over his nose.  Then he tried a third time and got it stuck on his paw so he was trying to 'flick' it off!

I couldn't help but laugh at his troubles... he was flicking his paws over and over and the tape just wasn't coming off.  He was very quiet though because his mouth was almost muzzled with the sticky tape and his voice was very muffled.  When I managed to stop laughing I got him all unstuck and he was much happier.

On Saturday afternoon, Mike and Toby headed out into the garden with the line trimmer to tidy up all the edges.  Toby loves to 'help' Daddy but as soon as the noises start so does the barking.  He prances around all over the place and it's a wonder he hasn't been hurt!

Late Saturday afternoon Mike and I headed over to Tauranga for Mike's work function.  We met up with Mark and Rattaya and the other employees and had a fabulous Indian meal together.  It was a really nice way to celebrate a year of hard work and a growing business.

Meanwhile, Dougal decided that if Daddy and I were going to a party then he was going to have a party at home without us.  Krystal had come around to puppy sit for us but Dougal is a sneaky wee thing and he managed to steal the last bottle of cider out of our fridge.  He had a bit of a headache when we got home along with the hiccups... hopefully that will teach him a lesson!

For the creative pieces on this page I did some more cutting on the Cameo.  I quite like the tree tag in the top pocket.  I added a few rhinestones and a leaf along with the date star.

For the bottom piece I decided to add a number collage because the boys keep asking 'how many sleeps until Santa comes'?  Apparently I don't give them the right answers because they have several sleeps a day and by their counting he should have been here last Tuesday!

It's fun and games in our house that's for sure!

December Daily: Dec 18

December 18th was our last school day for 2015.  The school officially closed at 12pm and by 12.30 we were all ready to head into town for our staff lunch. 

We've had some really hot days lately and I even got slightly pink on one of my shoulders at the kids Christmas party.  I decided to put on some sunscreen for the last day just to make sure I didn't get burnt and Dougal helped himself to some as well.  Apparently his skin gets 'tender' when he's in the sun for too long!  Pfft... that boy spends so much of his time asleep inside that I don't think he'd ever get a chance to get burnt!  However, being a responsible Mumma, I let him spray 'just a little' on and he said it was very nice. 

Now back to the lunch... we went to the Pig & Whistle and they did a beautiful array of platters for our lunch... lots of delicious nibbles and finger food. 

The only problem with hiring somewhere in town to have a function is finding a car park.  I managed to find a 60 minute car park and couldn't find anything else so I grabbed it.  Unfortunately, when I got back to the car I had a $15 ticket... them's the breaks I guess!

For my creative pieces on this page I got busy with my Cameo.  I die cut the Santa hat and then cut the sun and glasses using the Cameo... lots of fiddly little sun rays but I DO like the effect!

For the bottom piece I die cut a very intricate little tree that I used in a card making class a few years ago.  I added a few cork stars to finish off and I quite like how it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Daily: Dec 17

I've been trying to get my pages finished all day today and I kept getting interrupted by all of my boys LOL
  • Michael is at home tonight with an incredibly sore eye and he needed an urgent visit to the eye clinic... major drama!
  • Toby has been barking at Daddy while he's been trying to dig in the backyard... major drama!
  • Dougal is complaining that his eye is 'sore' too and that he NEEDS some urgent medical attention and cuddles... major drama!
In between all the 'boy dramas' I've finally been able to get my pages finished so it's time to share them.  Due to confidentiality I've 'mushed' (is that a word???) the faces of any kids in the photos... so you're eyes aren't deceiving you if you think some of the faces look a bit fuzzy.

December 17th was of course the kids Christmas party at school... and when I say 'kids' they range in age from 5 to 21!  Krystal and I put all the cupcakes in the car boot to take to school in the morning and Dougal made sure they were all there.  He also pleaded and begged to come to school with me for the party but unfortunately for him there is a very strict rule about four-legged boys attending this school so he had to stay at home with Toby.

Mike arrived next door to the school just before 11am and got changed into his Santa suit... he wasn't keen on wearing the Santa suit all the way from home in case he got 'mugged and mauled' LOL

The kids were super excited to see Santa arrive and lots of them liked the motorbike... actually several of the teachers liked the motorbike as well!  We had a Christmas angel to help Santa hand out all the presents and one of the big kids got Santa up for a dance!  There was a wee surprise for Santa too... one of the older kids is completely obsessed with Health and Safety and he was quite vocal about the fact that Santa was NOT wearing his helmet when he arrived and he gave Santa a big telling off!  He even suggested that Santa might get a BIG FINE!!  So there!!!

For the creative pieces on this page I used another stamp that I found in my stash... never been used but I think I bought it last year.  I heat embossed the stamped image with silver powder, added some die cut star border and the date star.

For the lower pocket I made a Christmas owl using my Stampin Up punch that I bought several years ago and then never used!  I die cut a little branch for the owl to sit on and then added a stamped sentiment to the circle... could be a sun or a moon!

Since I had so many photos of the party I decided to do a second page using some of my favourite photos.  Cathy and Ron (both teachers) were very interested in Mike's Harley.  There was much oohing and aahing and they were thrilled to be 'allowed' to sit on the bike.  In fact Cathy, our Christmas angel was even allowed to start the bike!

Apart from being a motorbike enthusiast, Ron is also a very good bubble maker.  He has developed his own special bubble making recipe and some of the bubbles he had going at the party were enormous!  Even though I've only been working at Kea St Specialist School for a short time I've actually known Ron for years... he was MY teacher when I was just 10 years old and living at Ruakaka in Northland.  It's been quite cool getting to know him as a colleague and he's actually as nice as I remember him being.

After Santa left we had another visitor to the party... Shrek arrived!  He brought his wife, Fiona, with him as well and I got quite a few photos of him with various kids... and then with some of the 'big kids' like my friend Nina and the Christmas angel!

For the creative pieces on this page I used the owl punch again but made a reindeer instead!  I heat embossed another Christmas stamp onto some 'blackboard tags' I found in a bag of goodies.  For the lower piece I used a crystal swirl and added a poinsettia flower and crystal brad... super simple but I love the sparkly effect.

So that was our Christmas party... lots of fun and laughs and the perfect way to celebrate the end of the school year!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Daily: Dec 16

I'm steadily catching up with my December Daily!  We had quite a busy day last Wednesday.  I wasn't 'officially' at work but I did have to go in to sort out a few things for the kids party.  We also had to pick up a very special costume in town.

Several weeks ago Michael was asked if he could please dress up as Santa for the kids Christmas party... and Michael agreed to do it.  He even agreed to arrive on the Harley... Santa was very modern this year!  When we went into town we picked up the Santa costume and brought it home.  We decided to hide it from the boys and just carry on as usual.

I got busy down in my art studio using my new quilt die which I am really, really liking!  I was busy working on one of the quilts when Toby and Dougal came rushing in to tell me that 'somone' was at our house and I HAD to come and look RIGHT NOW!  I was pretty sure I knew what was going on... Yes, Michael had tried on the suit and the boys had spotted him.  They were very keen to know if Daddy had any presents for them... they're just going to have to wait for Christmas!

On Wednesday night Krystal came around to help me ice all the cupcakes.  We decided to use up all my Christmas sprinkles so we mixed them all together in a small bowl and there was enough for almost all of them.  Dougal put himself in charge of 'quality control' which basically meant that he made sure Krystal put the same amount of icing onto every single cupcake... he's very bossy for a small boy!

When Michael arrived home from night shift he knew there would be four cupcakes for him on the bench because we'd talked on the phone earlier in the evening.  Unfortunately, Dougal got in first and when Daddy asked Dougal what had happened to his cupcakes he tried to say that Toby had eaten them!  Daddy wasn't fooled though because Toby was sound asleep on his bed and Dougal had icing all around his mouth... naughty, naughty boy!

For my creative pieces I've been busy die cutting again.  The little reindeer was made from the recycled wrapping from a Christmas cracker from our staff lunch on Friday.  I glued the wrapping to some thin chipboard before die cutting to give it a bit more substance and then I added the date star and the poinsettia flower.

The lower pocket was made with another die cut piece... this time I stamped the leaves and swirls onto a piece of Prima packaging... go me with the recycling!   After I stamped and heat embossed the swirls/leaves I die cut them and added another poinsettia flower.  It still 'needed' something so I die cut the word 'joy' from some glitter cardstock and added it to the rest of the card and it looks great.

In my next installment I'll be able to share some of the 320 photos I took during our Christmas party xx

December Daily: Dec 15

On Tuesday we were all quite fascinated at school with the workmen putting up scaffolding around the big hall next door.  At one stage we counted nearly 25 men all walking around on the roof and the scaffolding and not a safety harness in sight!

On Tuesday night it was time to start making 80 cupcakes for the kids Christmas party.  Krystal finished work at 7pm and she came around to give me a hand.  Dougal was very keen to 'help' with the baking and he read the recipe out to us over and over making sure we put all the ingredients in and that we mixed every batch properly.

There were times when he got so close to the mixer that he was practically IN the bowl!  Later that night he was complaining that he had a little bit of sugar, butter and egg stuck to his fur!!  Of course there's no good telling him that he needs to sit back further because it goes in one ear and out the other!

We baked all the cupcakes in batches of 12 and we were keeping a running total to make sure we had enough.  Dougal was very 'helpful' with the counting but his numbers kept changing.  We'd bake a batch of 12 cupcakes but the numbers would only go up by 11!  I think he may have been scoffing the odd cupcake and not telling us... as a matter of fact he DID look a little full by the time we pulled the last cupcakes out of the oven at 11.30pm!  Thank goodness I had Krystal's help!

Toby also kept us company while we did the baking.  He's been really loving the lights on the tree this year and quite often will lie down by the tree at night just watching them.

For my creative pieces I did a little recycling... the Merry Christmas vanilla spice circle is actually from the front of my vanilla oil fragrance packaging.  I cut it out with a 2" circle punch, distressed the edges and added some ink.  I also added a lovely jewel brad snowflake from my stash along with the date star.

The creative piece at the bottom of the page is from a Christmas bingo card photo that I used to make ATC's (artist trading cards) a few years ago.  I've been finding all sorts of things in my stash of goodies that have been just right to add to my December Daily album.

Thanks for visiting again xx

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December Daily: Dec 14

Monday was the start of our final week of school for the year.  The classroom I was working in were creating their Christmas tree paintings using fat glue sticks as their 'brushes'... really effective and the results were awesome.

Michael bought Toby a brand new bone and it was ENORMOUS!  Toby spent most of the day gnawing away on his bone and when I came home from school he barely acknowledged me before carrying on with his chomping!

While Mike and I were at Vetro on the weekend we came across a new foodie magazine with recipes in it.  There was a recipe for Mexican chocolate chilli cookies so I decided to give it a go.  The recipe was super simple... especially with the food mixer.

Dougal was ever-watchful while I did my baking.  He watched me tip each ingredient into the bowl and was very excited to see it all come together.  When I was finished mixing he used his 'especially good' manners to ask if he could please lick the egg beaters.  He loves the beater on the kitchen mixer because it's so much bigger than the regular ones.  To be honest, I let Dougal lick the beaters knowing that he probably wouldn't like the chilli... which meant he wouldn't be eating the chocolate either!

I did have a good laugh when I saw this sign... and it would put me in the 'great mum' category!

The cookies turned out extremely well... and best of all they lasted more than just 24 hours!  They're crisp and cracked on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.  They definitely taste chocolatey but there's a little 'kick' in there too.  They're especially nice warm with vanilla ice cream!

For my creative pieces I used the word 'joy' from Heidi Swapp's pack along with some ribbon I had in my stash, a large jewel brad and the star date.  The other creative piece was made using a piece of patterned paper from Pink Paislee's Christmas collection a few years ago.  I die cut some silver stars to adorn it and it has a lovely sparkle to it.

I hope you're all having a fab day xx

December Daily: Dec 13

Yay!  The school year is finally done and dusted and today is the first day of my summer holidays... I have so many creative things I want to accomplish in my studio over the next few weeks but in the meantime it's time for a bit more December Daily.

Last Sunday Mike came up with the idea of putting our spare TV on a shelf in my art studio so that I can watch all my creative videos on a big screen.  When I realised that I would be able to watch my Creative Chemistry classes that I still haven't completed I was beyond excited!

Michael found an old shelf that used to be in Krystal's old bedroom and he cut it down to size.  Then Mr Dougal decided that he would really like to be the one to paint it.  I told him that I would take a photo to make it 'look' like he was painting it but that Daddy would do the actual painting... can you imagine the mess Dougal would have made in my studio???

Meanwhile, Toby was outside playing in the backyard and then I suddenly noticed that he'd gone very quiet.  I caught him coming back down the concrete wall where he was investigating whether or not he could get around the pot plants... thankfully he can't but his little excuse about just 'observing' didn't wash with me!

We've got two driveways at our house... it's not as flash as it might seem though.  We mostly use the driveway that goes to the kitchen door and the other driveway gives us access to the backyard... great for when we're doing firewood or gardening! Over the years I've let the grass grow over the driveway and just mowed it but Michael has other plans.  He's going to convert the driveway back to stone starting with taking the top layer of dirt and dead grass off and getting rid of it.  It's a HUGE job!

By late afternoon Mike had had enough of doing the driveway and the painting on the shelf and table were dry.  Michael decided to move our dining room table downstairs and paint it to match in with the rest of the room.  It now provides a home for the printer, laptop and Cameo... everything is really coming together!

For the creative pieces I did some cutting on the Cameo for the Christmas tree and then added a small cork star to the pot and the date star to the top.  For the second piece I die cut the word Noel and then stamped and heat embossed the holly branch onto some patterned paper and used the matching die to cut it out.

So that was our day last Sunday... very domesticated LOL

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December Daily: Dec 12

We spent most of Saturday at home.  Michael got busy putting new brake pads on one of the cars and Dougal kept an eye on him... from a safe distance so that he didn't get dirty!  He wanted to know what Mike was doing each step of the way and since they were right outside my art studio I got to hear the running commentary.  Sometimes Mike really does have a LOT of patience!

When Mum came over on Friday night she brought some homemade Florentine biscuits for us.  She'd never made them before and they turned out pretty nice.  Mum and I shared one on Friday night because they're quite rich.  In the morning Michael asked me who had made the 'delicious treats' in the fridge... and my answer was... How many did you eat???  Quick as a flash Michael said... More than one but less than all of them!  Turns out that he'd 'generously' left three for me.

And while we're on the subject of delicious treats... I bought a bucket of the new salted caramel flavour of Christmas Cookies.  Those cookie buckets have been a part of our festivities since the girls were little.  I thought I'd hidden the bucket quite well until Mike and I heard a commotion going on in the family room.  We caught Dougal AND Toby trying to get into the cookies... thankfully Toby has no thumbs and Dougal's teeth aren't strong enough so they couldn't get into them... what a shame!!

On Saturday night we were supposed to be going out for Mike's work function but a small case of food poisoning (not ours) foiled the plans... such a pain!  Since we'd planned on eating out I decided to do something special at home and I had my first attempt at making mussels in Thai broth... it wasn't too bad but the broth needs a few tweaks so that it's like the one at Brew.  Mike really enjoyed it though and it felt quite special sitting down to the mussels with crusty bread and a bottle of sparkling grape juice.  It's the simple pleasures of sharing a meal that makes life worthwhile. 

For my creative pieces I stamped a Tim Holtz Christmas ticket and combined it with a poinsettia and crystal brad along with the star date.  For the bottom piece I used the 'negative' space of a deer cut on the Cameo.  I especially like the embossed white card showing through... looks very cool!

So that was Saturday... thanks for stopping by again xx

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Daily: Dec 11 and a fun event

On Friday I had a pretty busy day.  I started off working at Base School for the morning and then headed out to Owhata for the rest of the afternoon.  It's been quite good getting to know all the different kids, teacher aides and teachers at the school.

After school I had an appointment to get a manicure and Dougal begged me to come along.  I really enjoy having my nails done and it's a lovely bit of pampering at the end of a busy couple of weeks.  Dougal was very attentive to what was going on and made little comments about how his nails could 'use a little trim'.  I told him that Daddy would do them just like he does Toby's but that wasn't good enough for Dougal.  He went on... and on... and on about his nails needing a 'buff and polish' and in the end Aleisha said she'd do them for him... Dougal certainly knows how to get his own way!  Lots of people get 'mani pedis' but Dougal gets a 'pedi pedi'!

While we were having our nails done Aleisha's son was washing her car... I jokingly said I'd pay him $5 to wash my car and quick as a flash he got stuck into it!  By the time my nails were done my car looked fabulous!

Then it was time to get home because Mum had arranged to come over and go out for dinner with me.  When she arrived she gave me a gorgeous Christmas card.  In fact I'd seen it a couple of weeks earlier and commented that I really liked it... little did I know that she'd made it for us anyway!

Mum got to have her first look at the art studio and she was very impressed with what Michael has achieved.  It is definitely my favourite part of our home at the moment!  We decided to have a glass of cider before heading out and we had a great catch up.  Then we headed out to Brew since I was keen to have the mussels in Thai broth again.  We were really lucky to get a table but it must have been our night because they had a little corner table that was just perfect for us.  I had the mussels and Mum got a chicken satay pasta which was also yummy... I know cause I sneaked a little bit from her plate LOL

After dinner we went to Lady Jane's Ice Cream Parlour and got ourselves a little dessert cone each and we went across the road to the park.  What a lovely way to end our meal.

As we were heading home I told Mum that there was Carols by Candlelight on at Kuirau Park and we decided to go and join in.  When we arrived I heard a little snuffling going on in the car and couldn't quite figure out where it was coming from.  Mum heard it too and when we got the blanket out of the back of the car it revealed one small stowaway! 

It's a good job we didn't know Dougal was there earlier because we would have turned around and taken him home again... but since we were already out we decided to let him join us for some festive singing.  Everyone was in a wonderful mood and there were loads of people without it feeling crowded.  We bought ourselves a couple of candles and found a space on the grass.

Dougal kept asking when he could light his candle but with daylight savings we had to wait until almost 9pm before it was dark enough to make it worthwhile.  We had such a lovely night and not long after we got home it actually started to rain so we were most definitely pretty lucky!

Dougal was so excited that he got to hold his own candle that he forgot to sing!  He sat up with a huge grin on his face and kept looking at his candle... sometimes it's the little things that really make life worthwhile!

For the creative pieces on the first page I used a small photo of a fisherman Santa complete with a net and starfish walking stick... and then I simply added the date star.  For the lower piece on the first page I made a little white poinsettia and then added some small green stars to an offcut of patterned paper.

On the Carols insert I added some music printed on vellum along with the die cut words 'Christmas twinkle' cut from glitter cardstock.  For the piece in the lower pocket I cut a Tim Holtz lantern and added some holly.

It really is starting to feel like Christmas now xx

December Daily: Dec 10

Last Thursday I came downstairs to my art studio intending to get started on the cover for my album... it's actually STILL waiting for me to do!  When I came inside I saw that 'someone' had been playing on my table and they'd left me a message about Toby being the naughty one... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Dougal was involved!  My only real gripe is that he used my 'Y' to make his words!!!

Later on in the day Mike got busy putting my potplants up on top of the rock wall.  It's looking really awesome now that it's been cleaned up.  We have discovered that Toby has worked out that he can walk up the top of the wall as well hence the need to put some sort of blockade up, otherwise he could simply walk up the rock wall... past the gate... and over the other side!

With all the cleaning up Mike has been doing in the backyard he decided he need to get a big metal drum to turn into an incinerator.  He got one the other day and brought it home.  Toby watched while Daddy made holes in the sides of the drum and he is most intrigued.  Now he just needs to wait until Mike actually lights it!

By the end of the day Dougal must have been feeling a bit guilty about his adventures on my art table because he got busy in the kitchen and did all of the dishes for me.  He's actually quite sweet most of the time... he's just very inquisitive and nosy!

For my creative pieces today I cut a stylised tree on my Cameo and then added the date star to the top of the tree.  My other piece was made using a Tim Holtz die and some more Grungeboard.  After die cutting the toy soldier I coloured him using Distress Markers... super easy but it looks quite cool.

Next up is last Friday which was a super busy and eventful day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Daily: Dec 9

Here's what happened last Wednesday... it was my rostered day off work so I got up early and headed down to my art studio... the lighting is wonderful in there first thing in the morning.

A little while later I came upstairs and asked one small puppy if he would help me with the rubbish.  There's no good asking Toby because he always pulls out the "I've got no thumbs" excuse!  Dougal said he was happy to help me and then he promptly disappeared!  I figured I might as well get on with it myself.  Just after I had sealed up the rubbish bag Dougal arrived back in the kitchen... with a PEG on his nose!  Apparently the rubbish was too smelly for him and he 'couldn't breathe'!  He's such a little drama queen!!!

Later on in the morning I got some photos of the boys in my art studio.  They love hanging out in here with me.  Sometimes they lie on the mink blanket but when it's especially hot they lie on the concrete floor and it's very nice on their bellies apparently.

Toby is also spending more time outside now that I'm in my art studio.  He will come and wander inside to have a look at what I'm doing and then he goes back outside and lies in the sun... it's all such hard work for him really.  LOL

When Michael woke up he came downstairs and installed my new shelves and they're wonderful.  I really like the edging on them and now I've got my vintage cameras displayed.  Dougal quite likes the lower shelf because he can see everything that's going on without getting in my way.

For my arty pieces I used some goodies that I found in my Christmas stash.  The 'Live' bingo card and poinsettia are leftovers from a layout kit I did a few years ago.  The 'Einstein Santa' was also from a couple of years ago when I made some ATC's (Artist Trading Cards).

That's all from me today... Krystal is coming over soon to help me make 80 cupcakes for the Kea St kids Christmas party on Thursday.  We're going to make them tonight so that the mixer doesn't wake up Michael in the morning... and yes you did read that right... 80 cupcakes!

December Daily: Dec 8

Today I've got my December 8th page to share with you.  Hard to believe this was only a week ago  because so much has happened since then!

While I was at work last Tuesday Michael got a call to say the new shelves for my art studio had arrived.  We ordered them a couple of weeks ago and I was super looking forward to getting them so that I could display some more of my things.  Dougal climbed straight into the box and he was mightily disappointed to find that there was nothing for him... Michael said he whimpered about things 'not being fair' for the rest of the morning!  Luckily for me... and unluckily for the boys... Daddy is quite immune to whimpering!  Most of the time he just stands their mimicking them which usually makes everyone laugh!

Meanwhile, Michael also got busy wrapping his Christmas shopping.  We NEVER have presents under the tree this early in December because there's just too much temptation for them to get 'tampered' with!  Of course I had to check out who all the various parcels were for and now I know why they're under the tree... all five are for ME!!!  I suspect that Michael is trying to tempt me into touching the parcels and trying to guess what's inside but I'm not going to cave in!

After school I came home to grab my library books to take back and Dougal very nicely asked if he could come with me.  He was all chatty in the car and telling me what he and Toby and Michael had been up to during the day... although he did leave out the whimpering and sulking bit!  When we got to the library he headed off to the kiddies section and selected a pile of Christmas books.  By the time I came looking for him he was all set up in one of the window seats having a wonderful time.

Later on I got a call from Krystal to see if I'd like to join her at McDonalds for dinner.  I hardly ever go there so it was a real treat... and a lovely way to catch up and chat without little ears listening in on our conversation!

For my arty pieces today I used some stamps that I found during some sorting out.  I especially love the one in the bottom piece since it actually had the 8th date on it.  I even did a little inking on today's pieces.

So that was our day... lots of little bits and pieces... after all, that's what life is all about isn't it?

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Daily: Dec 7

Yes I'm back again... and this time I have a Dougal story!

Last Monday, I came home from school to find Toby outside like normal but there was no sign of my other wee boy!  Toby hadn't seen him and he wasn't in the family room or any of the bedrooms.  Then I spotted the coffee table pushed right into the corner of the lounge... and WHO was sitting ON the table but that little rat bag Dougal!  Before he realised that I had seen him I grabbed my camera and got a photo of what he was doing.

The mailman had delivered me an invitation to the Pak,n,Save Christmas party and Dougal had simply crossed my name out and inserted his and Toby's names instead!  What he forgot of course is that puppies are not allowed at the supermarket so he was right out of luck!!

Along with the mailman leaving invitations, the courier man also left a parcel at home which Dougal tried to snatch for himself.  He kept insisting that it was for HIM but knowing that Michael has been buying things on Trade Me I rather thought that it might be something for Daddy instead of Dougal!  Turns out I was right and they were actually a pair of sunglasses for Michael to wear on the motorbike.  Poor Dougal had his sneaky plans foiled again!

Toby seemed to be a bit naughty today when I caught him playing with a Christmas bauble!  It wasn't until I got a good look at it that I realised it was one of the dented ones and that Michael had actually given it to him to play with.  I hope Toby doesn't take a liking to sparkly baubles and start taking them from the tree!

I had a little bit of luck today too.  While I was at AJ's emporium I spotted some cool little Christmas boxes.  It's the perfect size for sitting on my art table and I can put all my bits and pieces for working on my December Daily album in it and it keeps everything neat and tidy.

And now for my little 2x4 pieces of creativity.  The top one is another 'quilt' made using pieces left over from the one I made for the 6th.  It's the complete reverse with the pattern in the frame and the quilted pieces in the white.  Really liking that quilt die!

As for the other piece... I found some grungeboard stars in my baskets of goodies.  I haven't used grungeboard in ages so I got out some pewter paint and gave them a bit of background and then I heat embossed with poly sparkle over the top.  Really simple but it looks lovely in my album.

So there you have it... just another day in our December lives.  Thanks for stopping by xx

December Daily: My album so far

Having HUGE problems with Windows Live Writer at the moment... it won't connect up to my blog account... seems to be something to do with a new Google setting that's been put in place... GRRR!  Rant over... back to blogging!

This weekend I spent LOTS of creative time in my art studio.  Actually Mike spent quite a lot of time in there too moving things around… putting up a new shelf and painting a table for me.

During all my creative time I got lots of photos printed off and made lots of the 2x4 pieces of creativity for my album.  I also got the printer/scanner set up and it scans a full page of my album absolutely perfectly… so today I thought I’d share with you my album so far.

First up is the title page which you might have seen in an earlier post: 

Apart from the two pieces in the centre of the title page, I’m using just one embossing folder throughout my album.  I really love the pattern and even though it’s got a few snowflakes in it I’m loving the swirly pattern enough to ignore them.

It’s from Couture Creations and it’s called Snow Storm.  The embossing folder measures 5x7 so I can get several pieces cut from one piece of embossed cardstock too… that’s always a bonus!

Dec 1: I hadn’t quite got myself into ‘photo taking’ mode yet so I only had two photos for the 1st of December.  In the end I did lots of die cutting and embossing to complete this page… plus I used a couple of pieces from the ephemera pack by Heidi Swapp.

 Dec 2: I did a little die cutting with glitter cardstock for my deer and added a Tim Holtz trinket around it’s neck.  For the other 2x4 piece I made a replica of the girl on my Christmas cards… which reminds me that I still haven’t actually posted any cards yet

Dec 3: More die cutting again… the ‘tree’ die was a freebie from a magazine… had it for a while now and never used it.  The little poinsettia flowers are from another die set but they were super cute on the tree.  The deer in the other 2x4 piece was cut using my Cameo and then I added a poinsettia flower and leaves… super easy but very effective with the simple colour scheme.

Dec 4: I had fun with this page!  A couple of months ago I bought a Fuse tool and it was still sitting in it’s packaging so I got it out… heated it up and made myself a ‘shaker pocket’ using another deer cut with my Cameo and some little star confetti.  I love how it turned out!

In the other 2x4 piece I used some black cardstock and them heat embossed a couple of my Christmas stamps.  It’s ages since I’ve done heat embossing but it’s still just as magical watching the embossing powder melt as it always was!

Dec 5: The date pocket is the back of the shaker card from the 4th.  I put the date stars back to back and since the deer was cut from black cardstock it looks good from both sides.

The other pocket was made using a die cut word from the Tim Holtz Christmas word set and the Santa is from Heidi Swapp’s pack.

Dec 6: I had so much fun with the 2x4 pockets on this page.  The poinsettia flowers were made using a stamp and die set.  I stamped and heat embossed the flowers using silver and then die cut them… so happy with how they turned out.  I’ve had the dies for a few years now and used them once or twice:

Spellbinders Layered Poinsettia:

Last year I bought the stamp set that matches it… but never actually got around to using it so it’s another ‘new’ thing for me to use!

Heartfelt Creations "Petite Poinsettia PreCut Set (HCPC 3415)

There’s a real technique to getting the die cutting just right but once you get it figured out it’s fantastic… and super speedy!

 The other 2x4 pocket was created using a ‘new’ die… it’s called Quilt Square Cover Up and it’s one of the nicest dies I’ve used.

I used some of the papers from the Kaiser Silver Bells paper pad so that it matched in with the photo of the card I made.  Now I’ll have to make a card using the whole die instead of just half of it!

I’ve got lots more ‘Dougal stories’ to share so I’ll be back later with the next instalment!  Thanks for visiting and if you have any tips on how to get my Windows Live Writer connected up to my blog again I'd really appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December Daily: Dec 6

I’ve been having a little catch up today and getting photos printed.  I’m loving how my album is coming along!

Sunday was a lovely day… I spent some time in my art studio putting finishing touches on some projects including making a non-traditional Christmas card.  I really love the whole red, green, traditional theme of Christmas but this year I spotted Kaiser’s Silver Bells collection and loved it!

The pad is mostly done in pinks and blues and there’s even some varnished papers in it like the one I used for the girls skirt:

non traditional_1

By mid-morning Michael was ready to help me with the Christmas tree.  This will be our first Christmas together and we’re really looking forward to all the festivities.  We got the tree up and I showed him how to ‘fluff’ the branches to make it all look full and bushy. 

Then came the lights… all 700 of them!  It took us a bit of time but we got there in the end.  While Michael and I were having a quick break Toby came running into the kitchen to tell on Dougal.  Apparently he was IN the Christmas tree looking at the lights.  Toby’s usually pretty honest so I went for a look and sure enough there was Dougal with most of his body in the tree!

tree bomb_1

Sometimes he really is quite naughty!  After we did a little growl he was much better behaved and then he sat with Toby and watched us decorate the family room with all our wonderful Christmas decorations.  It’s definitely starting to look like Christmas around here!

christmas tree_1

By mid afternoon we were done and dusted so we decided to head over to Tauranga for a bike ride.  Toby knows that he is staying home when he sees all our bike gear but Dougal hasn’t had that experience yet and he was quite insistent on coming… he even tried to ‘borrow’ my helmet:


Unfortunately for Dougal it was two against one and we left him at home with Toby.  Maybe we really will have to invest in a side car one day!

I hope you’re all enjoying the lead up to Christmas as much as I am xx

December Daily: Dec 5

Saturday turned out to be quite a busy day around here.  The boys and I got up early and were in the art studio just after 6am.  I’m so pleased that I keep my camera close by because I managed to get a really nice photo of Toby sitting just outside the French doors.


If you saw my blog post on Saturday you will know that I spent a bit of time organising my word dies and that system is working out great for me!

Michael bought a new phone for the art studio as well.  He got all the wiring done and the phone is crystal clear!  Dougal thought the new phone was pretty cool too… although I’m hoping I won’t have a horrendous phone bill from him calling Santa!

dougal on phone_1

While we were out doing our jobs in town we called into the new Countdown supermarket and Mike got all starry-eyed about the seafood bar.  It didn’t take him long to request a seafood chowder for dinner either!

When we got home Mike spent a bit of time in the garden and then he climbed up on the brick wall again and decided to wash it down. There was water, dirt and weeds flying everywhere and he was quite happy making a mess. 


Meanwhile, I was inside making the requested seafood chowder followed by my caramel croissant bread and butter pudding… yes that was another request!

Michael finally finished washing down the wall just after 7pm but the dinner was well worth waiting for!

seafood chowder_1

So that was our Saturday!