Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I {Heart} Whangarei

The Whangarei Town Basin has always been a favourite place to go. The playground has got to be one of the best around town. The shops are awesome down there. The cafes and restaurants all really good.

Fairly recently in preparation for the Rugby World Cup the Town Basin became the Hub of Whangarei and got a big makeover. The bus station was moved there, new stores and art galleries were opened.  The old bridge was turned into a Canopy Market. The waterfront walk got new pathways and sculptures and it just looks so amazing.

We have been spending quite a bit of time down there lately. The kids enjoy riding their bikes along the walkways and Holly is allowed down there on her lead. The playground is always a hit with my kids too.

I sure love the Town Basin, and I sure Love my home town Whangarei too!!

So how many new places have you been in your home town lately?!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Better Scrapbooking February Challenges

Great prizes up for grabs!! We are really trying to get more people involved so tell your scrappy friends and neighbours!! Come on over and get busy at the Better Scrapbooking Community!!

Layout Challenge: Copy this months Layout Guide
Use this layout guide to create your layout.  Either copy it exactly or let it inspire you.

Photo Challenge:  Favourite Holiday photo
Share with us your favourite holiday photo from this summer.  The way the weather has been it might even be a photo in the snow.

Colour Challenge:  Create a layout, card or other project using this months colour combination.

Have fun and I look forward to seeing all your creations in the Gallery soon!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Garden Toadstools

Inspired by Pinterest HERE ......

I saw these and fell in love with them. I just recently found some wooden bowls hiding in my garage! Isn't it amazing what you can find if you have a clean out!! 

Last year we got a massive grapefruit tree taken out of the backyard. The tree was chopped up into firewood so I grabbed a few logs and nailed the wooden bowls onto the grapefruit logs. There was one big one and 4 little ones.
Then I got the kids to work ....

First they painted (orange of course!)

They did about 4 coats before it was orange enough for our liking.

Then they added the spots

Hmmm how many spots do toadstools have anyway???

And then we let them dry. We finished them over a day.

The finished product looked awesome! The kids and I were VERY happy with them. 

The problem of how they were going to stick into the ground securely was solved with drilled holes, liquid nails and wooden garden stakes. I put one stake in each of the small ones and 3 in the big one and then pressed them into the ground.

They are pretty sturdy and look awesome! This is the bones of the fairy garden corner I am in the process of making .. any suggestions of what to plant I'm all ears!!!

Check out how I inspired my friend Jennie to make some toadstools HERE. They are such a cute and easy little project!! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Art Journal

So I think you have heard me talk about Art Night right? Well if not I'll give you a brief run down ...
These awesome ladies, Ruth & Janine, come around to my place once a week (usually a Wednesday) and we craft. Well that is the goal, sometimes we just eat and chat!!
Anyhow ...
Ruth is an amazing Art Journalist. She is AMAZING! She started up this Art Journal page on Facebook  called Just Journal and has been doing step-by-step Art Journal page how to every week and I have been really enjoying it.
So I thought I'd share with you my pages. There have been 4 so far but since I have yet to take a photo of #4 I will just share the first 3 with you.

The journalling prompt for page #1 was the new year 2012 and we had to choose a word. My word of the year is LIVE!

The next prompt was to choose a quote or poem. Mine said ....

"Courage does not always Roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow"

Prompt #3 was to say how we had incorporated our word into our week

Ruth is doing a fantastic job of teaching us lots of different techniques and tips and throwing me right out of my comfort zone with different materials and mediums. It's great fun! Not only that but her journal prompts are awesome.

Can't wait to see what is in store for us this week!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet Holly

Something Jason and I had talked about for a long time was when we had a house of our own we would buy a puppy. Jason was a major Boxer Dog fan. He had one in USA but she got stolen as a puppy. He had always wanted to replace her. I had been talking with Riley over the last little while about how when we bought our own house we would look into getting a puppy.
I have never owned a dog, never lived in a house where there was one so I decided to do a lot of research before I seriously looked into getting a dog. I researched, asked questions etc for quite some time. Just before Christmas I decided to go in and talk to the SPCA about our options and what they thought would be best for us.
We talked about how big the yard was, how active our family is, the fact that I would be a first time dog owner etc etc and then they showed me around and showed me these four little Labrador x puppies that they thought would be suitable for our family. Well of course I fell in love!! After a few adjustments to the back yard and a couple of visits to our house from the SPCA we bought our new family member home the week before Christmas!

She is adorable! And very naughty! But she is a puppy so I expect naughtiness! We named her Holly because she is a Christmas puppy. We started puppy school last week and fingers crossed I can teach her how to be a good girl!! She sure is growing like a weed, which reminds me that I need to take more photos!!

I think having a puppy was like having a new born baby again, I am sleeping better now but at the beginning man'o'man she was up so often at night! She is learning heaps, she loves going on walks and in the car. The kids ADORE her and she follows me like a shadow. Our cats, Bailey and Phoebe, pretend she isn't here, until she gets a bit close. Bailey actually chased her today, but in saying that he is still bigger than her at the moment!!!

I am very much looking forward to watching Holly grow and I know she is going to be a wonderful member of our family!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Charmed Life Challenge *update*

Way back in September I started the Charmed Life Challenge. A list of charming things to do to make my life feel better.
So here's what I've done .....

#2 Put something beautiful on a blank bit of wall you see everyday .... My baby girl made these pics at Kindergarten (see all about it HERE) and I love love love them sooo much I had to get frames for them and hang them in her room!

#24 Hold a Baby ... My old neighbour's in Pukekohe, Sue & Brendon, had a baby so we went to visit awww she was sooo cute and I got to have cuddles ALL afternoon, got me clucking like a hen, Riley was totally in love with the beautiful little Pacey, I couldn't get over her hair!

#10 take care of a nagging life admin item ... This is the dumping box of mail and kids artwork that had been collecting up over a few months!! I Finally sorted the boxed and filed everything away! Felt sooo good to get done it!

#1.Give something broken a new life ... It wasn't exactly broken, but it was a bit rusty and I certainly gave it a new life ...

#19 Buy Flowers for your Home ... I wish I could do this every week!! I LOVE flowers, even better would be if someone else bought them for me hehehehehe

#4 Send a thank you note, for anything ... I sent one of these to My Uncle and one to a friend ... My Uncle told me it made him cry! Nawwww!!

#20 Make a recipe from a fruit, vegetable, meat or fish you've never cooked before ... over Christmas I made HEAPS of new dishes I had never made before, some were a major success some not so much!

I am hoping to get a lot more of the challenges done this year. I am going to try do one a week so wish me luck!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

House Decorating Post #1 ~ Living Room

It was VERY exciting to begin the decorating/renovating of my house the week after Christmas. My Aunt came up from Auckland to help me out for a week and boy did she teach me a lot!! We painted and sanded, and filled, and bogged and did stuff I have never done before!! It was hard and fun and after 4 weeks I have almost finished the living room!!

So here are the before pics ....

The Fireplace

Opposite the fireplace, behind the couch is a feature wall kinda a dark browny/greyish colour.

You all know about my orange obsession so I picked up a few paint samples and played around with colours and ended up with two Dulux Colours of NZ colours. The first one I chose was called Rangataua and the 2nd colour was called Kauri Cliffs half.

We washed and sanded walls, skirting, door frames, scotia, windows & frames. We painted and wallpapered. There were 5 different pots of paint and several different rollers! With drop cloths, tools, paint, sandpaper etc etc etc everywhere it was chaos!

So here are the after photos .....

There are still some window fittings that need to go back on. I am planning on giving the fireplace hearth a makeover. The telephone table and my storage chest are also going to be fancied up a bit, so watch this space for more decorating/renovating to come!!! But at least my living room is livable again!!

Better Scrapbooking December Scrap Pack

I know this is SUPER late! Sorry!!!

We got an interesting range of Christmas Papers by a NZ company called Pavlova Papers. I must admit using these papers were a challenge as I wouldn't have picked them out myself, but I'm always up for a challenge and here is what I made ......

Sweet Tooth
This photo was taken when we took Riley to his very first School Gala. It was the Red Beach School Gala in Whangaparaoa at the end of 2008. Riley would have been almost 4. He was so excited when he saw the stall with the girls selling their lollie necklaces, we couldn't resist to get him one! He was good and saved some for the next day too!

Smile For Santa
Christmas 2010. The Rising Stars Drama group here in Whangarei made this AMAZING Santa's Grotto. We went along of course! They had games and activities and of course Santa! Riley and Abbey had a blast doing all the other things and then walking through the amazing grotto was awesome! But when we got to Santa Abbey was the only one who would have her picture with Him!! Oh well better luck next time Riley!

Every year ever since Riley was a baby I have taken a Christmas photo of Riley & then Riley & Abbey and made our Christmas cards with the picture on the front. This photo was our Christmas photo  for 2010. There was even a special appearance from Bear!! Bear is Abbey's special teddy she has had since she was a baby and carries around everywhere!

Christmas Love
Another Christmas 2010 photo. The kids made the awesome hand print wreath and gave it to my Mum. I just LOVE this photo of the two of them in the wreath. Gee my kids are cute!

Inspired HERE by Pinterest I made this Christmas ball ornaments. Not as sparkly as the original, might need to jazz them up a little next time!

I also made a Garland with some of the scrap pack leftovers ....

Go check out how I made these, and what the other design team members did with the scrap pack HERE

I hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest

I am really addicted to Pinterest.  I can spend hours browsing through the amazing ideas and beautiful things. Today on Pinterest I have 53 Boards and 2979 pins. It sounds pretty crazy! But I love it!!

Follow Me on Pinterest

And although I haven't done half as much as I want I have actually made things that I have been inspired by through Pinterest! So here is an update on what I have made .....

Inspired by THIS, I made this for the playroom ...

I have plans to paint it all pretty but I am undecided on the colours so might wait until I renovate the playroom and make it all matching!

Inspired by THIS I made this ...

I haven't decided if I want to paint the brown board white yet, I think I will leave it until I renovate the Craft Room, make it matching! (hmmm seems to be a renovating theme going on here!)

Inspired by THIS, I made this for my Mum for Christmas (sorry about the bad picture)

The original was made on wood, my one was done on a canvas

Inspired by THIS, I made these ...

For Christmas Day I decided to try out a few new recipes. I am always happy to find new yummy foods!!

there is:
Squid Dogs, Blooming Onion Bread, 7 Layer Dip, Autumn Chopped Salad, Cranberry Bliss Bars, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Lamb Kebabs & Crack Bread

Since I am slowly renovating/redecorating my house I am hoping that I will be able to make use of my pins a lot more!

Are you a Pinterest Junkie? Join our group on Facebook HERE and share your Pinterest inspired things!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Letter 2011

I usually pop a Christmas letter in our Christmas Cards every year to let everyone know what we have been up to over the last year. Last Christmas I didn't write a letter. Not much happened I really wanted to write about but I did do a blog post about my year HERE I decided instead of a Christmas letter I would go back and do another "Year that Was" post instead, saving the environment anyway right, not having to print out the letters!

Our 2011 Christmas cards made by Riley & Abbey

 So here is my 2011 .....

January was a real crafting month for me. I was doing stuff for Crafty Tart via their FaceBook page and I also started on the Better Scrapbooking Design Team. Here a few of my Favourite crafty projects of the month:
The Boredom Box
Love Letters
Homemade Whiteboard Monthly Planner
Grandad's Shadow Box
 Of course only having been without Jason for 8months I was still struggling with living without him HERE School Holidays were fun, we did loads of cool stuff, the kids and I.

February was another crafty month (in my house I would hope that EVERY month was crafty!) It also marked another one of those firsts without Jason, this one was his Birthday. The kids and I went to the Whangarei Falls and released 8 helium Balloons up to Heaven for Jase's Birthday. 8 Balloons for the 8 years we had been together. I met some AMAZING Blogging ladies who I can now call good friends. I started my I {Heart} Whangarei list. Another devastating earthquake hit Christchurch, sadly many lives were lost. I also discovered that I am not the only one obsessed with Orange!!

Riley turned 6! His first Birthday without his Dad. It was NZ Book Month. I stepped out of my zone and made a pretty cool canvas. I started the 30 Day Photo Project. I continued to struggle without Jase. My scrapbooking was published in the first NZ Paper Chase magazine.

I let go of something I had been holding onto since Jase died, and continued to use my blog to express my sense of loss without him here for 11 months. ANZAC Day is in April. I went to the Koninginnedag Festival, which is ALL about the orange! We visited  the Sky Tower in the holidays.

May marked the one year anniversary of Jason's Death. And May is NZ Music Month!

It was my Birthday! I got lots of Orange Goodies. Abbey's Kindergarten celebrated Matariki. I finished a project from Riley's 5th Birthday!  I discovered the Better After blog. I also got to help my good friend Hilary with her Scrap It Simple stand at SENZ!

It was Abbey's 4th Birthday! I discovered miniature food. Harry Potter came to an End *sniff sniff* I discovered Pinterest.

I found the 30 Day Mum Challenge.  We had a BIG Kiwi Mummy Bloggers meet up.  Abbey's Kindergarten had a Cultural Day.  I got surrounded by boxes because I became a first HOME OWNER!!!

I got the keys to my new house!  I went for a holiday to Christchurch for a Scrapbooking Retreat.  I started the Charmed Life Challenge. And had to say goodbye to my very dear bloggy friend Leonie.

I didn't blog much from this point to the rest of the year .. opps! But I was inspired by pinterest and was loving my HOME. Riley broke his arm and Abbey's Kindergarten had an awesome fundraising Art Auction. It wasn't blogged about but we also had Halloween in our new place.

Bad blogging month! But I can tell you one of my good friends, Nadia, renewed her wedding vows. My Art Night buddies, Ruth, Janine & I had a stall at Art Beat, a big Artisans Market here in Whangarei. Riley started playing Cricket for his school team, and LOVES it!

Wow I didn't even blog in December! It was a busy month! Preparing for Christmas and doing Christmasey things like seeing Good mate Juanita's band live at the Christmas at the Park!! Having the Coroners Inquest into Jason's death was hard just before Christmas. We also got a new family member, Holly the Christmas puppy!

What a year!!!
2010 was a year of heartbreak, sleepwalking and numbness
2011 was a year of surviving
2012 will be the year I begin to LIVE again.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year I will be seeing you all again REAL soon!!