Saturday, June 13, 2009

A scrapping money box tutorial and a celebratory canvas

How do you do pocket money in your family?

In ours, the girls get $5 every fortnight BUT $2 of that is enforced budgeting. It is put aside as "present money". That may seem a strange thing to budget for but I don't see the point of saying "Okay kids, it's my birthday coming up, here's $20 of my money to go and buy me a present."
Also, I'm all for teaching that it's the thought that counts and they don't have to spend a lot of money to show they care. Otherwise they'd have grandiose ideas for what they'd want to buy and expect Mitch and I to fork out for it. This way they might have $5 saved up and they'd have see what they could buy for the amount they have, rather than the other way around. When I was a kid, our pocket money was pitiful (sorry, Mum and Dad, put it's true). We got whatever grade we were in at school, times by 10c per fortnight. So in Grade 5 I'd get 50c etc.

BUT however this was a good thing. We learned that it wasn't about the excellent presents that you gave or recieved, it was learning about the good feeling that you got when you gave someone something, anything, and also about recieving, when you knew that a sibling sacrificed their whole fortnight's pay to buy you that packet of Fruit Tingles (a favourite present of mine, you got more in the packet than in a packet of lifesavers AND it was 3c cheaper - see I put a lot of thought into it - and, okay, I admit I still have those frugal tendancies :D).

Anyway back to the topic at hand. Ella had 2 piggy banks, by way of birthday presents, in which to divide and store her money. Rosie, however, had none, and couldn't see why I said "no" to buying her some really cute ones for "only" $20 that she had seen.

When I found these empty cream of tartar containers in the pantry, the potential straight away hit me, although Rosie was horrified by the idea of using these as money boxes. But of course I intended to do some prettying-up first.

I got out my stash of scrapbooking paper and odds and ends that don't see the light of day often enough, and with instructions that the boxes had to have purple on them, chose some of this for my equipment.

First I traced around the container as I rolled it along, to get the size,

and cut out a pice of floral paper which I glued on with craft PVA. Using the first piece for a template, I cut out a piece of spotty paper and likewise glued it on, overlapping the first. On the two different containers, I swapped the order in which they were positioned.

I then proceeded to decorate them using a torn paper strip and purple ribbon which was actually the hanger straps from a new shirt I bought yesterday.
I used 'S' stickers on one for 'Spending'

and on the other I cut out some plastic 'Ps' for 'Present'.

The plastic was from some tags that a parent had donated a whole boxful of for collage and I'd kept a few as I knew they'd come in handy one day. I then painted over all of the paper with more glue to help preserve it and cut a coin hole in the plastic top.

Rosie is very happy with them.
(And there's another successful lesson in 'make-do with what you have'.)
Also this week, I was asked to paint a canvas for a colleague's 21st birthday party as a momento which everyone could sign. I had previosly done one for another colleague's bridal shower, which had their initials entwined with vines and "May your love bloom and grow forever" in the center. As Amy is a shoe afficiado of course I had to put one on, which just happened to look like Cinderellas shoe so I gave the whole canvas a fairytale theme.

Here's some details.

She loved it even though everyone unfortunately signed on the front instead of the back. (It was designed to have that choice, but I personally wouldn't want to have a picture hanging on my wall that everyone's scrawled over.) I've now got an order for a friend's 25th wedding anniversary celebration which is coming up, and someone else has expressed interest so I might have a little side business in the works.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Letter to a Kindred Spirit

Today I recieved this email.
My name is E. I found you on my friend Marcia Meehan's blog "Bees in the Antipodes". Marcia is an amazing person and I am blessed to know her. Of course we've never met face to face, because I live in the USA in the state of Mississippi. Even though you are 31 and I am 61, you are a kindred spirit. I can't tell you how alike you and I are. I love old time crafts and learning about how to knit, sew, crochet...I just love to learn.

I grew up in the country in Alabama and know a little about old time skills, ie. gardening, sewing, knitting, crocheting... Right now, I'm trying to get a movable chicken coop made so I can have a couple of laying hens. Supermarket eggs can't compare to fresh. There's a real difference.
I like the rug you made. I just read about cutting old tee shirts and making rugs out of them. My grandmother had braided rag rugs that she had made.Well, anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed reading your blog and listening to the music. (Also my kind of music).

Keep up the creative work. What would life be without the thrill of making something ourselves, or the thrill of discovering something new in nature or a new skill or new friends.

Life is a wonderful adventure if we never lose our childlike wonder.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others. Knowledge is nothing unless it's shared.
I wish you well.

Dear E,

Thank you for your lovely email. It really made my day. It's nice to know I can make a little difference in someone's life. Sometimes I question whether its worth having a blog as especially lately, I seem to have little time to update it, and I know it's vain, but I don't have that many people looking at it or commenting. But it's connecting with people like you that make it worthwhile and I guess even if I didn't "make any friends" online, I'd still feel the urge to share and connect.

I know that I can be a bit different from most people around me and always have been with my love of old things and old ways.

Sometimes it's a bit hard being true to myself when I'm surrounded by people at work and in society in general that place such an emphasis on modern tastes and accumulating bigger and better things. I'm sure they think of me as a bit strange and daggy, especially when compared to others my age, and sometimes in weaker moments, I feel ashamed of my little rundown home and unconventional decorating. But the stronger side of me embraces my uniqueness and tries to remember that I not only embrace this lifestyle because its a reflection of who I am but its also a choice that I conciously make as a reaction to the modern lifestyle.

I want to teach my children that they don't need "things" to make them happy in life,
that an hour spent outside in the yard,

or reading

or drawing or playing games can bring them joy,
that their imagination can build castles where there are none,

that it's being with people and the memories that are made, or in being happy and content in being alone, that can bring true satisfaction in life, which the latest toy or fashionable house doesn't truly fill. These can be nice (we've just had to replace our old microwave and phone out of necessity and I admit that I love my new toys BUT its also nice to know that because we aren't extravagent in our lifestyle and spending that there is always money there to do those things when we need to, without having to get them on credit.)

I like the old-fashioned life because people worked harder but lived more simply and it was easier to find and appreciate the real blessings in life, to know what you really needed to be happy. I love Little House on the Prairie and how excited they got because Pa built them a door or made a fireplace so Ma didn't have to cook outside anymore.

It is why I love living in the country. It's going to the shops and having the time to notice the bird poking its head out of the hedge,

it's hearing the geese honk over at the ponds,

its having a main street of shops that you stroll up and down rather than losing your way in a giant, busy shopping centre,

it's driving 5 mins out of town and being surrounded by green hills.

I love the fact that the shops are closed here on a Sunday. I love the fact that my butcher knows who I am and cuts meat up specifically for me. I love the fact that when the girls play with their friends, it's doing things like catching yabbies at the dam or exploring the paddocks, avoiding the cows and the kangaroos, or dressing up

or playing Blind Man's Bluff.

So thank you for the affirmation. It's nice to not feel alone and its given me the lift I needed when I was feeling a little flat. Writing that has helped me reaffirm what I want in my life and the next time I feel down or embarressed about the peeling paint and cobwebs in my life, hopefully I'll remember it, and that while it's nice to have a fancy house, if it stayed unpainted and unpolished it doesn't really matter
because we're lucky to have a comfortable roof over our heads,

food on the table

and laughter inside.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cute DINNERTIME recipe book

In April, I made a recipe book for meals to match my cute recipe book that I posted about here. I made one for myself and my two sisters. My younger sister's and my books have a darker colour scheme (the first picture in each set)but I made a lighter, more pastel one for my eldest sister. I divided it into 5 sections.....
(I struggled with making something looking like pasta, until Ella suggested pasta in a jar...Thanks Ella)

Light meals
(for things like homemade pizza, quiche, fajitas...all those meals that are good for summer)

Warming Dishes
(casseroles and yummy winter food)

Meat Dishes
(for marinated meat, roasts etc)

and Soups and Side Dishes which is pretty self-explanatory.

I've yet to make the fabric covers but I was going to label it Dinnertime Favourites rather than Sweet Favourites.

Get to know me

  • I love the smell of cinnamon and vanilla.
  • My favourite flowers are daisies.
  • My favourite trees are pine trees.
  • I always like to have the bickie jar full and a cake on the cake stand. I know...not that healthy, but so good to look at.
  • Autumn is my favourite month, although I do wish we had more of a change of colours up here in Queensland.
  • I love Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder. They started my love affair with "old-fashioned" stuff.
  • I'm a boots and jeans kind of girl, but also love vintage skirts and dresses.
  • I like sewing and am in love with quilts at the moment.
  • I love reading. (I have a weakness for archeological thrillers and historical romances, but not Mills and Boon-type ones.)
  • I love old houses with character. No new estate houses for me. (Sorry Rosie.)
  • I love vintage/cottage/farmhouse decorating and pretty pinks and blues, with a splash of red for colour.
  • Polka dots can make me sigh with delight.
  • I have 4 chooks. They are MY pets. Another tick on my dream-come-true chart.
  • I don't eat dessert much any more. I'm not dieting, I just don't want it. (Does that mean I'm growing up if I say no to an icecream cone?)
  • I'll still always say yes to chocolate though!
  • I like to sit on the front stairs in the sun, to drink my morning cup of tea, while I contemplate what to do in the garden.
  • I've got the gardening bug again recently. It comes and goes with the weather. I'm envisioning cottage flowers in pink, blue and white to go with my green picket fence.