Thursday, 30 August 2012

Silver Jubilee Party Inspiration

Lately I've been wasting a fair bit of headspace brainstorming ideas for my Silver Jubilee party. Rather than keep it all to myself, I thought I would share the sources of my great inspiration.

I love the idea of making my own labels for the tea bags! I first saw it on The Pretty Blog when they were getting all excited about the Royal Wedding. I could put a silver crown/tiara on them perhaps. It would be so simple to make, too!

I'm usually not a huge fan of bunting, but I really like the way Style Me Pretty tied it into the tree. I have since changed my perspective. Using pretty ribbons to attach bunting to a tree is totally cute! This suits my vision of a picnic tea party as well.

While I have a vintage theme in mind for the party, I would dearly love to play croquet or some other old-school sport. Perhaps bocce? I don't want to go all Mad Hatter's Tea Party though, I don't think. I am pinning this for another time, though. How great are these Alice in Wonderland inspired croquet sets from KreationsParties on Etsy?

I keep joking about monogrammed plates. I wonder if I really should do it for a laugh and put my own face on one. The thought is tempting!

I am feeling really energised now! How exciting it will be!

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Party Concept: Silver Jubilee

In a few short months, I will be turning 25. I don't often organise parties for my birthday. I'd rather leave the washing up to someone else, so we often just go out for dinner.

 This time around, though, I was thinking of having a bit of a tea party picnic. In fact, I'm planning on throwing a silver jubilee party!

My mind has been spinning out with loads of ideas for tea cups, nibblies, monogrammed plates and pretty picnic blankets (more on that in a later post!)

But today, I decided to try making some cupcakes. I just bought a mini cupcake tray and I tested it out with a simple vanilla cupcake recipe from a Women's Weekly book.

Oh my goodness...the mixture took like two minutes to whip up in the Thermomix! It makes cooking a breeze when you realise you've cut your preparation time in half or less.

They came up pretty well. I tested out a butter icing recipe too. It tasted delicious. I loved the colour too. I was a little disappointed with the piping container. It is a new Tupperware one, and all the icing seemed to get stuck in the edges. It's only the first time I have used it, so perhaps I will find it easier to use next time.

Also, my piping technique clearly needs work! I can blame the container a little bit, because there were a bunch of air bubbles. But really, I think it was me. Oh well, I will just have to practise and make some more!

I can't wait to try some other recipes in the lead up to the party! I'll be sure to share them as I play around.

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Perry the Platypus Costume

I am, by no means, an excellent sewer. Not yet. My sewing usually consists of me using the machine to make up bits and pieces. I usually get annoyed at myself for cutting corners and dodging things like finishing off the edges of the fabric. I get frustrated easily.

So it was a brilliant shock that my costume for the school social turned out to be pretty good!

The theme for the night was 'Superheroes and Villains.' I kind of stretched that theme a little to come up with my outfit. So many kids were really creative too. We had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Zena Warrior Princess, Buzz Lightyear, Tarzan and Jane and Darth Vader.

So how did I come to be dressed as a blue duck-looking thing? My husband and I love tuning in to the kids cartoon Phineas and Ferb, so it seemed like a fun idea to dress up as Perry the Platypus. I went looking online and found a hat on eBay. 'Awesome,' I thought, 'Now where to get the jumpsuit from?'

Yes. I had to sew it. A men's jumpsuit pattern and couple of metres of fabric later, I was all set. I needed some help from my lovely friends Fiona and Claire, but in the end I worked it all out. Just in time for the event, too!

I paired it with my Converse hi-tops, a platypus (carboard/fabric) 'tail' and my husband's Akubra hat. I needed that to complete the look.

It did get a little bit warm on the night with all the dancing. But the onesie has made an excellent set of Pyjamas since! So toasty warm!

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Teacher Style: Green Florals and Mustard

 A little while ago I mentioned how much I love seems to have worked its way into outfit after outfit this year!

It was a cold, dreary day on Friday when we took these photos. The splash of colour made me feel a little more chipper.

Jacket: Op Shop, T-Shirt: Op Shop (Sportsgirl ), Dress: Handmade  by my Mum,  Boots: Spendless

This week I read a post from Veronika at Tick Tock Vintage about teacher style. My favourite tip was about wearing sensible shoes. That is one rule I always abide by. There's nothing worse than traipsing all around the school ground with sore feet and blisters! The boots I was wearing this day were both warm and comfy.

Thanks to Georgia for taking the wonderful shots again!

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Sample Quilt: New techniques (Part 2)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the sample quilt I am working on (labouring intensively on...) I forgot to mention last time that we are being taught to hand piece and hand quilt. So this quilt could be continuing for quite a while!

I'm going to share the remaining blocks with you today. The quilt has nine blocks in the end, so there are four more you haven't seen yet. Please forgive me if I can't remember the names of the blocks. I will learn with time!

The next block I completed was this pinwheel one. I loved the fabrics I used on this one. It was fairly simple to do in the end and I was beginning to feel a little more confident in my skills.

The Dresden Plate was a block I was familiar with. My Nana had cushions with this pattern when I was a kid. I loved them and used to spend a lot of time matching the patterns. I was really please with the way this one turned out, even if it is a little uneven in parts. If I could change anything about this one, I would take out that red fabric. It just stands out too much I think.

Then we were on to paper piecing! Wow, this technique was actually really fun to do. I think paper piecing is also called 'English piecing'. My first go was on this Grandma's Garden block.

Still using the paper piecing method, I moved on to these diamonds. Again, I still have a fair bit of practice before I am a superstar quilter, but I am still pleased with my efforts. I love the Autumn colours on this one.

Soon I will post a bit of an update to show you my progress in the quilting stage. It is coming together and it is all a bit exciting!

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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Signs of Spring

As much as it pains me to say, I am very much like my father. For years I endured his stories about local history and his childhood. He's a fan of the phrase, 'Did you know?' He loves to talk about politics and the way the world works.

And now I am noticing I do the same thing.

I've decided to embrace it, even though my husband laughs at me all the time. Just last week I was the butt of his jokes when I commented that the cows down the road must be lacking certain minerals in their diet because they had started to strip the bark from all the trees.

This week, I am noticing the start of Spring. I can hear my Dad clearly telling me that the first signs of Spring are the flowering of the Cootamundra Wattle ("also known as the Acacia Baileyana, Sarah") and the Happy Wanderer. This week I have noticed both are in full bloom.

I was torn between calling Dad just so we could share a conversation about it, or simply keeping it to myself. I started wondering whether next I would grow a beard and tell children, "The night before frost, you'll notice all the plants look like they're white. See? Look at those wattles. Mark my words, there'll be a frost tomorrow morning."

And because I don't really like the idea of becoming a modern day, Australian Yoda, I am just going to share this information with you lovely people.

Do you ever find yourself spouting off wise advice and proverbs from your elders? I see boys at school making 'Dad' jokes all the time. I guess we all do it!

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What I Wore: Polka Dots and Pink

I have been eagerly awaiting the start of Spring. It's not far off now! The weather man has been promising me sun, and finally yesterday I got it.

What better way to celebrate than to wear a pretty dress and bare your legs? I needed to get some vitamin D, so my legs were out, ready to soak up some rays.

Cardigan: Big W, Dress: 7 Angels, Socks: Target, Shoes: Diana Ferrari, Sunglasses: Miss Shop

I have been hunting for a pair of socks with lace trimmings. I still haven't found any I love. This makes me a little sad. Having said that, these pink socks were a load of fun!

I felt like a little kid. I spent part of the day tearing around the school yard (with teenage kids giving me looks  as if I were a circus clown. Either that or I had loo roll stuck to my foot.)

The school yard provided a cute setting for the photos. What you don't see is that I have terrible balance. Seriously, I could not hold that pose for long! My friend Georgia (who took the photos) and I were having a good laugh. Thanks, Georgia!

I hope it's sunny, wherever you are.

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sarah to prune

This is the start of a feature I'm going to call 'Sarah learns...' It will be all about the new things I learn how to do.

To start me off, my sweet friend Claire has taught me the basics of pruning. The trees at my house are really overgrown (well, not now!) I have a few fruit trees around the house and this is our first winter here. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do some pruning!

The tools we used were:
  • secateurs
  • loppers
  • a saw
Claire told me some basics, and then I got to start out on my grapevine. It was so overgrown that it had actually managed to get over the other side of the pear tree! After this, we moved on to the pear tree.

Here are some of the steps we took:
  • All dead wood and diseased wood was removed
  • We removed branches with fruiting buds from the middle (they couldn't get sun) We were trying for a 'vase' shape.
  • Branches were thinned out where there were too many little branches and they were crossed over
  • We also trimmed back some branches by 2/3 to promote new growth.
Some diseased wood. This got the chop.

Aside from asking Claire way too many questions, I got some extra tips from the BBC Gardening website.

Mack was having a ball. Each time she chopped off a branch, Claire would throw it to the dog. He loved it.

 This is what the tree looked like afterwards. Because we chopped so much, we left the top bits, even though they are pretty high up.

Looking back, I can see the grass is really long! That's on the to-do list.

Happy pruning!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Superhero inspiration

Next week is the annual school social event. The theme is Superheroes and Villains. I'm the teacher who helps out the Student Representative Council (SRC) so I have been in need of some inspiration for the event. I've been searching around the Internet for some cool ideas for costumes and decorations. Today I thought I'd share a few cool ideas I found.

What would a superhero be without a cape? Stephen and Natalie from Life [Made] Simple have posted an easy tutorial on how to make a cape. I love that they have personalised it, making their own superhero.

For an easy costume, I thought Cutesy Crafts had the right idea. Why not use a mask? Looking at these ones, it's easy to spot old favourites such as The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman and Batman. You could whip one up within an hour or less. That's my kind of costume!

We wanted to create a Gotham City vibe, so we are going to try making our own bat signal. There are a few tutorials on Youtube, but we are going to try cutting out a black bat shape with card and then use a spotlight. Stay tuned to see if it worked well.

Other things we will be trying are using glow sticks inside of balloons and creating 'Bam' and 'Pow' style signs for on the walls.

Just thinking about all of these ideas makes me so pumped and excited about the social! It will be great!

Soon I will post about the night, and about my particular involved a wee bit of sewing and so far it looks awesome.

Time to go save the world...!