32. Vintage Wool Blanket with Buttons

It may be heading towards spring in the southern hemisphere but judging from the weather over the last two days it's not too late for this lovely wool blanket. I first saw something like this in Amanda Soule's book Hand Made Home.

Time: An afternoon
Cost: Under $20


1 Vintage 100% wool blanket from a thrift store. Mine was $3 from Vinnie's.
1 Recycled wool jumper
Vintage buttons
Embroidery thread
Darning needle

Here we go...

I used a stained and outgrown merino top of my daughters for this project.

Cut out shapes from your woollen jumper. I used small squares but you could do flowers, circles, or stars.

Once you have a pile of little shapes select your buttons and thread.

I found this bag of embroidery thread at an op shop recently for $4. Bargain! I decided to keep my blanket quite simple so I used cream thread and white/cream buttons.

Once you have your buttons selected start sewing them on with one of your shapes in between the button and the blanket.  A random design is easiest and best.

Once you've covered your blanket you can edge it with blanket stitch as I've done with cream wool, or sew some bias binding around the outside.

The great thing about this blanket is that you can cover any stains or holes with the buttons. So if you see a lovely woollen blanket that has a mark on it don't discount it, with clever placement of some buttons you can hide any imperfections.

I'm using mine as something warm and cosy for watching tv and reading but one of these in bright colours would look great on a kids bed. You can use wool felt instead of recycling a woollen jumper if you don't have one handy that you're willing to cut up.

Happy crafting!

Make, Bake, and Grow

What a hot week we've had. Friday was steamy hot, over 30 degrees, and boy did we feel it. It seemed impossible that the weather reports predicting rain and cold for the weekend could be true.  Up until last night I really didn't believe that Sydney would rain on my outdoor birthday party for Ben. Surely this couldn't be.

This morning we woke up to the sound of the guttering dripping with the nights rainfall. An inside party it would have to be.

This was to be Ben's first ever birthday party and no matter what the weather chose to do, we were going to make it a special day.

So many things! These are some of my favourites.

Felt monsters to give to each party guest

Fruit Monster

Paper toy monsters for decorations


Ben's Monster Cake made by daddy


Well.. not much happened in the garden today. It was pouring down. 

Our party ended up being a lovely, simple, fun day. We played some of the classic party games and the kids had a wonderful time. For full details of our Monster Party see born again creations - parties for pennies.

Hope everyone had a lovely Sunday!

Urban Adventurers

Sometimes, out of the blue, I get a hankering for an adventure.

In my previous life (before my little ones arrived) whenever I felt that familiar itch to see something new I would reach for a Lonely Planet guide or check out what airfare specials were looking really good. These days I need to look a little closer to home, at least in the short term.

This morning we awoke to another beautiful spring day. My daughter (who must have her sleep) managed one of her two or three sleep in's a year, and we needed to be out for the day as J was home sleeping off last night's night-shift. The stars were aligned. Today was indeed a day for venturing out.

Over breakfast I declared today a no school, no housework, no errands day. Today we were going into Sydney on our own urban adventure.

After two train rides we walked up the stairs of the underground station to a bright and busy city day.  Hyde Park is our favourite stop to eat and play before we start the serious business of exploring the city. Today we unpacked the supplies I brought from home and supplemented them with some treats from a cafe across the road.

The kids were the photographers today. Jemima and I taught Ben how to use the camera and they took turns taking pictures all over the place. Ben enjoyed it so much that I think I'll try and find a suitable camera for him for his birthday.  All of the photos in this post were taken by the kids.

After lunch it was onwards to the Australia Museum or the 'Dinosaur Museum' as our kids call it. The kids took over the camera and away we went. Dinosaur skeletons and fossils are a real love of Ben's so this place is an extra special spot for him.

After a couple of hours of dinosaurs and a big play in the kids space area it was time to take my tired adventurers home.

Memory Songs

This morning the kids and I were listening to Simon and Garfunkel as we ate our breakfast. As the song began the kids started giggling and moving to the music. Ben's spoon became a drum stick. Jemima starting moving her shoulders up, then down, in her shy kind of way.  I wondered if they would remember this sunny spring morning, the way we laughed at each other's silly dancing, and maybe even associate the music with those memories in years to come.

For me Simon and Garfunkel will always take me back to the summer of 2002, many, many, miles away in Cambodia.  We were travelling by bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and it was early morning.  It had been raining and as the sun bore down steam began to rise from the rich red dirt. Children ran out from their houses to see the foreigners on the bus and as they ran steam danced around their ankles. The rice fields were so green. Not a dark forest green like we were used to in New Zealand, but a bright frog green that was so fresh it made me catch my breath.

Jeremy and I sat towards the front of the bus and opened the windows as wide as they would go.  I tried to see everything, all at once. The old man with his trouser legs rolled up, wading through a pond of lotus blossoms as pink as a Barbie convertible. The women carrying impossibly large loads of sticks on their backs. The motorcycle piled high with baskets of live chickens. Two young girls giggling at us from behind their palms. The smoky smell of breakfast being cooked on coals.

As we drove we listened to a tape the driver played of Cambodian music. After a couple of hours we asked him if he would play one of our tapes (yes - we had cassette tapes then!). I rifled through my backpack and pulled out the first one my fingers touched. It was Paul Simon's Greatest Hits.  The driver looked bemused as the music started up. Two German girls began to laugh and clap along. Jeremy and I smiled and looked out at the passing villages and fields, not wanting to miss a moment.

And now, probably for the rest of my days, whenever I hear Slip Slidin' Away, I will be right back in Cambodia bumping along a dirt road with a warm breeze on my face and the thrill of unknown adventures ahead of me.

The ability to transport us is one of the true gifts that music offers us. I'm thankful that I have many more Memory Songs like this one.

What are your Memory Songs?

Make, Bake, and Grow

Sunday again and it's our day to make, bake, and grow.

Since I started this tradition a few months ago I've come to really look forward to it. It's nice to know that at the end of a busy week is a day for the simplest of things.


This is a little summer top that I made for J out of a vintage cot/crib sheet that I picked up for $1 at a thrift store. It's actually a 3 year old size dress that I modified by making the armholes bigger and putting ties at the back instead of a zip.

You can see the back in this photo. I used the existing folded over hem on the sheet for the ties which meant I didn't need to sew them and turn them out (which I hate).


My friend Bel and I have a running joke about this cake. We're both baking for gluten, egg, and dairy free diets and this cake recipe is so fool proof that it's always on the menu.  Whenever we have afternoon tea at each other's house we always say, "I've made The Cake".

If you're baking for someone with intolerances or allergies then this is your new go-to recipe.

1 C GF flour
1C coconut
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp "No Egg" egg replacer (can omit if necessary)
1 C fruit - tinned berries work well as does stewed apple, apricots, pears, or even orange juice
1/4 - 1/2 C soy or rice milk to moisten

Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 50 - 60 mins.


I recycled these cardboard tubes from the toilet paper and tin foil and cut them down to use as seedling pots. The kids planted out the first Sunflower seeds of the season this morning. When they grow a bit we'll pop them into the garden.

I hope you're having a relaxing day wherever you are!

Spring Evening

Oh what a beautiful day we've just had.  The sun was hot and the wind was warm and after the sun set it was nothing short of balmy. We all spent the day outside today enjoying the sudden change of season.

We had friends over for dinner to celebrate my birthday last week and it was the perfect evening to eat outdoors.

It's after 9pm and still over 20 degrees. Summer is on its way!

31. Kids Vintage Picnic Mat

When I was a kid there was nothing I enjoyed better than reading in a comfortable spot outdoors. I loved the fresh air and the dappled light on the page of my book.  I still love reading outside and happily so do my two children.

This picnic mat is made from a vintage 'teddy bears picnic' sheet and a flannel backed tablecloth. The tablecloth is a cheap way to keep the fabric from getting wet and dirty.

It's perfect for those spontaneous picnic lunches or a trip to the park.

Time: 30 - 60 minutes
Cost: Under $10


1 cot/crib size vintage sheet, or single size sheet cut to size. Mine was $2 from a thift store.
1 rectangle shape flannel backed tablecloth - around $6 from craft or homeware stores
Thread, scissors, and sewing machine

Here we go...

Lay your tablecloth right side down and smooth out any wrinkles. Lay out your vintage sheet on top right side up.

Pin together around the edge and a couple of times in the middle to hold it all in place.

Stitch around the edges using straight stitch.

Trim the excess tablecloth fabric from around the edge.

Using an edging/overlock or zig zag stitch sew around the edges making sure you sew through both the vintage top sheet and the tablecloth underneath.

Happy crafting everyone!

What's Happening?

What's happening at your place this morning?

Ben playing with Maori 'Russian Dolls' 

Vegas the Bengal cat probably won't move from here for the next 2 hours

Ben asked me if we could do something creative this morning so we decided
to paint some jungle animals.

Elephant on a cheap canvas. He picked up a
Camelia flower on the way to the front door and painted that up the top.

The view from my living room. There's a lot of work to be done out there!

After moving last week we're left with boxes like this to unpack. I can't face it.


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