Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Worlds Best Holidays

Australia is fairly new at Halloween celebrations. Here, people either love it, or hate it. People who hate it are very vocal on the "It's an American holiday", "Don't teach your kids to talk to strangers" and mostly "It's an American holiday!!! waaaaaaaa"

As you can probably tell, I'm for celebrating Halloween. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm for celebrating anything. After all, I bought a birthday cake the other day and insisted we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Andy's imaginary friends, the Aristocats. Chris was so embarrassed and a bit disgusted, but I felt like birthday cake, and I felt weird eating it without the singing and candle blowing- so we partied.

Tonight, being All- Hallows-Eve we didn't go trick or treating, but stayed at home and put a big "Trick or Treaters Welcome Here" sign out the front. The boys had a blast. They were sitting at the door waiting for the trick or treaters, and they weren't disappointed. Andy's favourite was of course, the wonderful Spiderman. Joey liked (or was a bit scared of) the monster, Chris's favourite was the Mum next door in her pyjamas (Good on you Mum!) and mine was a zombie Doctor with some great special effect blood.

My favourite holiday, of course, is my birthday... jokes, Christmas! I'd have the tree up in November, if people didn't think it was weird. I love Christmas carols, and candy canes and Santa. I love the conversations, which always seem more animated and cheerful at Christmas. I love people wishing me a Merry Christmas. I love door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles. These are a few of my favourite things!

Ok Alisha, too much Halloween chocolate for you tonight.

I was recently chatting with a few of my favourite Facebook friends (sadly this is the only medium we actually chat because we're all so hectic and busy) who also celebrate holidays not traditionally Australian, like the Fourth of July, and one family are going to celebrate all the American holidays!

Now, I'm not saying that Australians should forego their Aussie holidays, but there is something special about the way American (well at least in the movies) celebrate. Parades, and house decorations, family get togethers and fireworks. Seems like a wonderful idea to me. So, I think we either start making our own holidays more special, and/or add some holidays in there.

The first one I propose we add in, is Thanksgiving. This sounds like a legitimately awesome holiday. Family, fire, turkey, thankfulness. I don't want it the week before Christmas though. I'm proposing we have it in Winter, around July. What would suit you? I'm thinking about the 14th? It's about the time we need a bit of a holiday in Winter so we can experience that full and a bit smug feeling emanating from those Northern Hemisphere-ians.

Now comes the tricky part, what holiday do you want to add to our Aussie calendar?  Why? What date? If you're not Aussie, what's your favourite holiday? Tell me all about it! Either comment here, or if you prefer, like our Facebook page, and comment over there. Would also love some Facebook shares, if you're that way inclined.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Not So Handy Lishie.

I've really made myself laugh today. I think it's important that I'm laughing, because if not, I'd be crying.

The Girls (Chooks and Duck) haven't got much shade where they now live, and it looks similar to the desert, but less land mass. So, below is my inspiration for a lovely pergola for them. I got the idea here. Isn't it lovely. On the site, the have a simpler form with only three long struts and I thought I'd give it a go... in miniature.

So that's what I did. Except really poorly. I didn't want to cut anything... because I don't know where the saw is in my hubby's shed so I used the off cuts from our pallet fence. It's such an eye saw and I know that he's going to laugh his head off when he sees it.

Chris is all about methodical and quality craftsmanship. I'm all about banging it together and measure nothing.  Needless to say, this will be rebuilt.

See the flat-leaf grass next to the pool? That took longer to dig up than the pergola took to make. I have blisters on my hands and I broke my pink thongs (flip-flops for you Americans). But, it's worth it because they love it.

It's starting to not look so barren.

The square things toward the back of the pen, are going to be planted with grasses and some barley. It's got avery wire over the top, so they can nip at the tips, but leave the roots intact. My uncle did this for his turkeys and they love it.

Pallet Fence

This is another saw it on Pinterest post.

The chickens were enclosed in their little desert/wasteland area by a couple of old pallets fashioned in a tepee lean-to thing and an old gate from Mum and Dads farm that was carefully lent up onto them. It was a pain in the backside to get in and out, and most of the time, they escaped and proceeded to rip up my tomatoes and crap on my patio.

So, Chris set about fixing it, with my beloved pallets. He even made a gate with a latch and a self closer. Yay Chris. <3

He made this with
2.5 pallets broken down and all nails removed
1 length (3m) of 90mm wooden fence posts cut to 1m lengths
6 masonry bolt things
3 U shaped brackets to hold the posts up
6 massive bolts to fasten the U brackets to the timber
Lots of galvanised screws for outdoor use
1 latch mechanism
Some chicken wire (for the gate so they could see out a bit better)
and an automatic closer (which was given to us)

The entire job cost about $30.

If you're drilling into concrete use a masonry drill bit and a rotary drill (not a hammer drill like some recommend).  

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Duck's in the Dog House

Today was the perfect Spring day to go and play outside. Andy, Joey and I decided to revamp the old dog house, that is now the duck house.

Dad and Kurt made the dog house, which is a fairly simple construction, out of some ply board, construction timber and screws. It's raised so it's less likely to get bugs and damp in it. The duck, having legs a *little* shorted than a dog, a ramp was needed, and a change of bedding from old carpet to some hay.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Monday, 15 October 2012

Mum's Fan Pin-spiration

Mum and I share a Pinterest account. I don't think I've mentioned it before. She is such a good Pinner. We have a bit of an issue when people don't check their Pins and both HATE that bicarb soda and vinegar = helium post... so much so, we have to she has to comment on it when we see it.

So, she asked me to Pin her creativity for her. I'm very proud of her efforts.

She revamped her ceiling fan!

What You'll Need

A pretty crappy ceiling fan that's already installed.
Screwdriver (to dismantle and re-mantle- is that even a word?)
Spray on Primer
Spray on Paint for metal (or plastic if you have a plastic fan)
3 sheets of 30cm x 30cm scrapbook paper
PVA glue
Sponge applicator- You can use a pre-made one, OR get a thick sponge and cut it on a diagonal and just use it (it's what Mum did).
A credit card


1) Remove the blades and give a really good clean. Use some sugar soap or dish washing liquid to make sure there is no grease on the blades and the mount. Use your own discretion when cleaning the motor... water and electricity don't mix. Then lightly sand and wipe again to remove dust.

2) Wait for it to dry completely and spray one or two coats of primer on the blades. To paint the motor and hangy-down-bit, use an old cardboard box with a slit in it, to make sure your ceiling doesn't get covered in paint. You might need an extra pair of hands here.

3) When completely dry, give a light sand and wipe. Wait for the water to dry. Spray on the paint in a couple of light coats to avoid drips. Hang to dry.

4) Mark on the fan where you want your paper.  Mix 3 part PVA glue with 1 water in a jar and give it a good shake. VERY QUICKLY apply the glue mix to the back of the paper and on the fan blade, and wrap the paper around the blade and smooth with a sponge and then a credit card. Wipe away the excess glue with a damp cloth. If you make a mistake and rip the paper (like Mum did) get a permanent marker and touch up the rips.

5) Wait half an hour for the glue to dry and then using you sponge apply thin layers of PVA glue mix waiting to dry between each layer.

6) When you're happy with the result, put your fan blades back up and admire your work.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Guest Blog: Welcome My Mum!

This blog is by my Mum. She's been crocheting a lot since the conception of the twins, and has made some beautiful hats, sleeping bags, nappy covers and headbands. You can see all that she has made here.

But, this guest blog is probably the most practical thing she's made for the twins, and she created the pattern on her own!

We're new to writing patterns so if you need something re-explained or clarified, then please comment and we'll get back to you.


You will need: 

A 9mm crochet hook.
3 balls of really chunky 8ply wool (we used red to match the pram)

and some basic knowledge of the techniques

Double crochet - DC
Single crochet- SC
Chain - Chain
Slip Stitch- SS
No Foundation Method 
and the Turning Chain Method for moving up rows. = TM

We made this pattern by measuring up a woollen underlay that we already had.

The measurements can easily be altered to fit your specific pram, but I'm fairly sure it should fit most prams and strollers.

The entire size of the underlay is 27 cm wide and 70 cm long.

Mum did a tension square and for her, 27 cm = 28 stitches. You may need more or less stitches depending on the thickness of your wool and needle. So, please alter your pattern to fit the cm measurements, NOT the stitches.


1) Use the no foundation method, featured in the link above, to begin. This will be result in a nice and straight bottom of the underlay- do this until it reaches 27 cm (28 stitches approx).
2) Turn using the Turning Chain Method and DC to the end. DO NOT use the normal chain method or your pram cover edging will be wonky. Repeat until you reach 6 cm long.
3) On the row that's 6 cm long, work out the middle. Your aim is to make a hole in the centre to put the clip through. SC 11, chain 6, SC 11. Turn using TM.
4) SC 11, SS 6, SC 11. TM
5) Continue DC & TM until 12 cm long.
6) On the 12 cm row, repeat step 3 and 4.
7) Continue DC & TM until you reach 56 cm long.
8) Now you're making the arm strap holes- You want them to be positioned for your pram, so you could measure it. We used SC 4, SS 6, SC 8, SS 6, SC 4. TM.
9) Then, SC 4, Chain 6, SC 8, Chain 6, SC 4, TM.
10) Now DC until you reach 70 cm long.

To finish. 

Choose your own pretty edging around the pram cover, or just single crochet the edge to neaten it up and make it look finished.

We hope you enjoyed the pattern for the pram cover. If you like it, be sure to leave a comment! If you make it, PLEASE link us to your work.

If you want to share other crochet patterns or pieces you've made, join us on Pinterest!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Great Fun For Kids

Andy and Joey have both taken a keen interest in helping in the Garden. Andy loves planting and watering, and mostly, Joey loves digging and destroying. We recently planted some tomatoes which are coming along nicely.  The trellis is the original gate from Mum and Dad's farm.

I saw and idea somewhere, but I cant remember where, to make seedling trays out of recycled paper, so I thought I'd make it up as I went along and this is how it happened. 

We planted Snow Peas and some little flower I cant remember the name of. I'm such a green thumb. 

Thursday, 25th October, 2012. 

Well, our little seedlings are ready to be put into the ground near our tomatoes! Andy and I like the idea of having a salad garden, like on Pepper Pig! OINK! 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Little Garden Make Over

We had a couple of dirt "gardens" that were attached to the exterior of the house, under the patio, and on either side of our laundry door. I initially wanted to plant them up, but I was worried that termites would see it as an open house invitation, not to mention damp issues that could arise.  

So, we went for a trip to Masters and got some inspiration.

We found three ripped bags of stones, that were discounted from $8 a bag to $3 a bag so we grabbed them and one more, and transformed a bit of a dumping ground, to a nice little feature.

The project cost us $17 because we already had weed mat from building the sandpit.

The little wishing well was made for us by my Uncle Mick to use at our wedding. We lent it to my sister-in-law for her wedding and has since been in the shed. It needs a bit of a make-over, but that's another story.  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Drip Drop POP!

Chris sells plumbing supplies as a profession, and he's quite good at what he does. When we were looking at homes to buy, each one had it's fitting faults, and he discussed them with me... at length... We also discussed... at length... what he would love to put into his own house. Quality products that increase a homes value, both aesthetically and profitably.

The house we bought, like most of the other houses had cheap, plastic fittings, and this would just not do.

He chose these taps, and even installed them himself, which was pretty awesome if you ask me. I love the cross handles, which have a feeling of old-fashioned charm mixed with sleek modern lines. But the thing I love most of all are the goose-neck faucets. The one in the laundry especially screams up-your-self-ness. It's so large and beautiful, and I've often just made a trip to the laundry just to glimpse at the taps.

So, here are some before and afters. Sorry about the poor quality pics, my camera batteries were flat, so I just used my mobile... won't be doing that again.

Would you look at that goose-neck! Isn't it amazing!? 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Getting Rid of Winter Surplus

Today the boys are at Kindy, and the twins are playing happily on a rug outside, so I thought I'd be crafty.

Here in sunny Queensland (Australia) Winter weather is leaving us and it's warming up. While I'm looking forward to the boys first experience at a Slip'n'Slide and reaping rewards from our veggie garden to use in delicious salads, I'm not looking forward to the heat. I know that last Summer, I got sick of storing things like split peas which I only use in soups, and porridge which I only like in Winter and threw them out.

This year, I was determined not to.

Lately the boys have been balancing anything and everything on their heads, from drink bottles to teddies. I remember when I was little, my Nanny had a few little square bean bags that my brothers and I loved. I told Andy about these just the other day, and then I had a brain wave.

Split Pea Bags

These are just little bags filled with the dried split peas that they can use to practice catching, throwing and of course, balancing.

What I Used. 

A4 sheets of felt
Sewing machine and cotton 
2/3 of a bag of dried green split peas 
A jug (I used a gravy boat) 
cookie cutters 


1) Cut the felt into quarters.

2) Get some cookie cutters, or play dough cutters and trace the shape onto a piece of felt and cut out. Sew onto one felt quarter. 

3) With the picture in the middle (so you cant see it) sew two pieces of felt along three sides leaving an opening at one end to fill the bag. 

4) Turn the bag the right way out and reinforce the bag by sewing along the three sides that you've already sewn. 

5) Fill the jug with peas, and pour into the bag. I filled mine up to about 3/4s full. 

6) Sew the end closed and turn and resew the line so it's extra strong. 

I'm intending on making more of these... but... my tiny machine broke! OH NO! *insert appropriate sad face*

EDIT: The boys loved playing with them when they got home from Kindy.

The next thing that I wanted to clear out was porridge. I had about 1/2 a bag of quick cook oats in the pantry that I really didn't want to waste. On one of my favourite recipe blogs The Southern Lady Cooks posted a recipe perfect for this task. Now, I'm not too keen on the name but I made some "Cow Pattie" Cookies - which I'm now calling "He-who-must-not-be-named" Cookies. Just popping off on a tangent here... but I've just finished the sixth book in the Harry Potter series and I'm a blubbering mess.

My recipe is as follows.


1 cup white sugar
150g  butter
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 Tbls cocoa
1/4 cup Carnation Light and Creamy Evaporated Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups Quick Cooking Oats, uncooked


1) In a saucepan, mix sugar, butter and milk. Bring to the boil and let boil for one minute. 
2) Take off the heat and mix in all other ingredients. 
3) Wait for the mixture to cool slightly and then form into round balls and flatten slightly. Place on waxed paper. 
4) Leave to cool.
This recipe makes about 21 Tablespoon sized biscuits.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Re-purposed, Reused & Recycled

This blog is dedicated to the Pinterest Board Recycle-Repurposed-Reuse <3 

 I had some curtains I was considering getting rid of. They were a bit sentimental though. Mum bought them for Andy's nursery, before we knew Andy was a lad. I love the colour and the design, and I love that they have featured in the nursery of not only Andy, but Joey and the twins.

So... like a good Pinner, I didn't throw them out or give them away, but I stored them in the cupboard for just in case.

The next event that makes this blog what it is, was a hard rubbish day (curb side collection of stuff). I pilfered a little wooden coffee table, that had a bit of a broken shelf. With a couple of new screws and some liquid nails, good as new... but not that pretty.

I thought about making a little seat for the toy room, but with the amount of toys in there, a seat was just going to be something that was going to take up valuable floor space.

Instead, I decided that I would still make a seat, but use it at our entrance to store some shoes underneath, and a place to sit to put them on.

This is how it all happened.

Things I used

Recycled coffee table
White primer
Yellow semi gloss paint
A small paint brush
1 new pillow ($7)
Recycled curtains
Heavy duty stapler

1) I fixed the shelf underneath and gave it a light sand to remove most of the varnish that remained.
2) Prime the paint with a water based primer.
3) I had some left over yellow paint, so I painted 3 coats of semi gloss water based paint, letting it dry between coats.
4) Next, I cut the pillow casing and took out the stuffing. I spread the stuffing out over the chair and had a small over hang on each side, about an inch.
5) I got Mum to hold the fabric taught and then I tacked one staple on each side to hold the fabric in place.
6) Then we flipped the table/chair over and stapled along one end, and then the other end. HOT TIP- cut the fabric with about 2cms then you would normally need, and fold the fabric under creating a little hem. Staple on the hem, and you wont see any fraying.
7) To do the corners, I used this method.
8) Trim the last of the fabric and turn over!


I really enjoyed doing this project! Stay tuned as I create a sewing table out of an old chest of draws!