Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - keeping it real

I have tired several times to write a post about this year. But I am really stuck. Its like a bloggers block or something.

What I really want to do is be honest and say, 2011 you sucked. Good bye. (please read on I promise its not all whinging and gloom)....

But I know thats not really fair. Because theres has been a lot of GOOD stuff in amongst the tough stuff this year. Its just all the GOOD stuff is making me really homesick and emotional as well!

So Im keeping it real. Im not going to gloss over it with pretend happiness and joy. Im just going to say it how it is.

2011 has been a year of monumental change for our family. And we all know change can be tough. And really sometimes I dont care if it will make me stronger. I am like a toddler having a tantrum. I do not WANT to do it! okay!

So what has 2011 taught me....

21 things I learnt in 2011....

1. The Queensland floods were scary. Floods are scary. Earthquakes are scary. Watching what the people of Christchurch have been through this year has broken my heart.
2. When there are disasters, people are AMAZING! People are generous of heart, spirit and body. Incredible.
3. Cutting out sugar makes me lose weight... or maybe it is cutting our gluten, dairy, egg and sugar???
4. Shoes are not compulsory in New Zealand. Even for teachers. I likey..and I forgot!
5. I have met a bunch of bloggers this year and they rock. Many of them have become very significant friends in my life.
6. Just because you want to return to live in your homeland, does not mean there will be jobs.
7. Moving internationally is draining. Moving internationally twice in one year...well that is just madness.
8. Having my baby start school was really emotional. Nobody tells you how quiet it will be without her.
9. My kids are INCREDIBLE. I tell you. They are AMAZING.
10. I had a breast lump removed as well as a Gastroscopy at the same time, and the gastroscopy was more painful afterwards. Who would have thought?? (*edited to add: having a breast lump removed is not painfree believe me...just wasn't expecting to be so sore from the gastroscopy!)
11. I  learnt to crochet this year.
12. I now have two autoimmune diseases, it seems my body doesn't like itself very much. It's kind of like my kids fighting, I wish my body would just get over it and play nice.
13. People are incredible.
14. We have made too many trips to the hospital this year..
15. I love to crochet.
16. It is hard to forgive.
17. I turned 40 and said I didn't want a party. I lied.
18. I can do being alone and not lonely
19. I was 40 the first time I rode in an ambulance. But for my daughter, not me.
20. I can live without a telephone line. Seriously. (just my mobile and internet ,no home line for almost one year)
21. I haven't had a cold/flu for exactly one WHOLE year!! woohoo!! (and no immunisation for me!) and Im going to share my (not so secret) secret in future posts!

A few of my favourite pics of the year.....


and just in case you missed it..bloggers rock. Thanks to everyone who visits my little blog. I have recently ticked over 200 followers and I am incredibly grateful. Thanks for your comments, love and support.

Thank you to all those bloggers who contributed to the Softies for Christchurch, your generosity and kindness were incredible and humbling.

All the best to everyone for the New year. I am sure 2012 is going to be INCREDIBLE!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas snippets

We've had a very quiet Christmas this year ...

Christmas eve lunch with my cousins...  Mass on Christmas eve with another performance of the Christmas play... gingerbread house making....

A quiet Christmas day opening presents, taking naps, skyping family and singing Happy Birthday to hubby (yes he's a Christmas day baby)

Can you believe Christmas has been and gone already this year???

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Meri Kirihimete

image from here
A very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

May your day be filled with love and blessings.

We are looking forward to a very quiet Christmas Day as our little family of 5 with lots of present unwrapping, playing with new toys, eating our favourite foods and celebrating Daddy's birthday too!!

We had lunch with the cousins today, Mass this evening with the kids performing in the Christmas Story, and now the relaxing has started.


xx


Friday, December 23, 2011

The stockings were hung.... just in the nick of time

I am just finishing up making my kids some temporary Christmas stockings... using old wool blankets, doilies and sheets... and a little bit of crocheting and embroidery.

I actually love them, they are so imperfect and so scruffy!! A little bit rustic and soft and 'worn'.




The kids LOVE them... and that's all that matters...

The kids heirloom stockings I made them (painstaking, expensive, many hours of love..) are in our container in NZ (long story) ...  this is the first year in the last 6 that I haven't run classes for friends to make stockings.

Right, onto the next task.

x

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kris Kringle Swap

I also took part in the Kris Kringle swap hosted by The Haby Goddess.

Here is is the gorgeous knitted Christmas bunting I received from Julie at Little Woolie

Beautiful Christmas Bunting!!! love it!

I would show you what I sent...but DOH! forgot to take a picture!

Op Shop Swap

Ive been participating in quite a few swaps in the past couple of months.

This one was an Op shop swap organised by Jody over here

My partner for the swap was the op-shop extraordinaire Vic from Punky and Me.

The rules of the swap were

1x item found at an op shop
1x handmade item
1x christmas item

Well, when my box arrived I was blown away!!!
a gorgeous Johnson jam dish and spoon

A beautiful Nativity scene advent calendar, complete with cute little pictures behind each door, CUTE!!!

A beautiful sewing basket!! with a lovely patchworked cover and doily!!
and inside!!! with gorgeous thrifted doilies!

A beautiful Christmas brooch, which I have been wearing non-stop  - I love brooches!

some cute little jams... which unfortunately leaked through the box :(

and this cute Christmas card!

Thanks for a great swap Vic!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Loving : The True Spirit of Christmas

Today the true spirit of Christmas alighted upon my heart.

It seems to have had trouble finding me this year.  And it seems I was looking for it in all the wrong places.

It isn't at the mall, with all those half-crazed, trolley laden big spenders.
It isn't in our Christmas tree and decorations we are missing (they are still in NZ).
I couldn't even find it when I made and sent out a bundle of Christmas decorations.
I feel it a little bit when I listen to Christmas carols.

But here's a little story of how the spirit of Christmas found me....

My children have been involved in a play of the Christmas story, through our school and the school parish.  They have had only two practices and today did their first performance at an Aged Care facility.

I was so very proud of my eldest daughter. She was a narrator and did an exceptional job.
For a child who has struggled with reading, to read a very long script aloud, in front of people, what an achievement!



My youngest daughter was a precious little angel... the only angel with a line and she rocked it! So cute in her squeaky little 6 year old voice "why is this night so special?"


My son was very grumpy that he thought he was a lowly shepherd, without any lines.....


But little does he know, he was the one who touched my heart....

After the play the children went to visit with the residents and it was so beautiful.

The smile on their faces, young and old. It was magical and so precious.

And then the moment, when the true meaning of Christmas really struck me.

One interaction. One photo. One boy and one special elderly lady.

A 'Merry Christmas' and the reaching out of a hand. The holding of hands. Young and old, strangers. Sharing together a beautiful moment.



This photo evokes so many emotions in me. I get choked up everytime I look at it.

Because, to me, this is the true spirit of Christmas.  The reaching out to others. The embracing of our differences. The accepting of strangers.

In our house, we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus. He is the reason for the season!
The person who taught us these things.
How easy is it to forget that in the madness of a consumer driven Christmas.

How blessed and priviledged are my children and I, to take part in a such a special event.

Linking up with my beautiful friend Kristy

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things Im Loving... Happy Mail

This week Im loving happy mail....

Over the past few weeks the delivery people from Australia Post have been paying a lot of visits to our house!!!

I love happy mail in the post! Its so exciting. From birthday presents for Miss E (and with goodies inside for her mummy!) to Christmas parcels, lovely thoughtful gifts from friends, and lots of Swaps!!!

I received this lovely parcel from some of my gorgeous IRL bloggy friends in Whangarei...

Thanks Becky, Kristy and Simone, you girls made my day!!

gorgeous crocheted coasters from Paisley Jade, love the colour!
amazing patchworked coasters from Simone, sooooo needed here!

a gorgeous canvas from Becky, hand embroidered and beads, buttons! my fave colours and totally cool!


Another day, another parcel... a swap from Cat in Canada

Teatowels, yummy tea, maple syrup, goodies!
Thanks Cat!! My kids devoured the chocolate goodies!

A lovely prize arrived from the very clever Dee of Deeconstruction

how gorgeous is that Australian tablecloth!!!
Im also loving the first week of summer holidays... we've been kicking back and taking it slow. Lots of DVDs (its raining), playing with Miss E's birthday presents, visiting the library, playing with friends and last night, pizza and a night time swim with friends.

Will be back with three AMAZING swaps I took part in!

And thank you everyone for your lovely comments on my post yesterday about the Crobot I made!! I can't believe how many hits it has had... wow!

Joining in with the lovely Paisley Jade

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

My creative Crobot Space

There's lots of creating going on here at the moment and I've been busting to share with you my latest crochet creation....

I borrowed a GREAT book from the library called Crobots and made this little cutie...

I've got a few more almost finished... cos they are so cute I can't stop making them!

And here's the book
Crobots: 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make

You can also find the pattern for the little cutie I made here

Now Im off to break open some more pens and take the springs out of them....

Check out some more creative spaces here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baking Party



Our littlest Miss turned 6 last week and try as I might I could not talk her out of a party.

No pressure or anything, I had 4 days to prepare the whole thing. CRAZY LADY!!!

So after much Pinterest perusing she decided she wanted to have a baking party.

Invites:
Decorations consisted of bunting (every party needs bunting - we have about 15 different lengths of it now!)
and because it was a baking party.... a long string of cupcake bunting (thanks to my friend Tracey for helping me out with it)
The table:
because it was straight after school I did popcorn and little cupcakes for the girls to eat when they arrived (loving the cupcake stands from KMart and the little wine glasses 50c each at the Oppy, for pink lemonade)
I made each of the girls an apron to wear when they arrived at the party (and it was their take home gift as well). Co-operation wasn't very high on the list for the party goers so I was unable to get a photo of all the girls together in their aprons - but if you have a look at the bunting - those are the fabrics I used.
The girls first task was to make pizza. I made the dough and they put the toppings on that they wanted.

While the pizza cooked they made fruit skewers (oops, no photos)

And then decorated cookies

The only game we played was pass the parcel
Then it was present opening time while one of the Mum's who is super creative and generous did face painting for the girls

Oh and of course there was CAKE!!

And rainbow cake inside... again :)
The birthday girl had a blast...

her Mummy has sworn off parties now... especially last minute ones...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello..

Hello.... tap.. tap.. is there anyone there??? I would forgive you if you'd up and left, I've been such a slack blogger lately.  All caught up again in that will I?, won't I ?gig....

Nasty 'Mr Comparison' paid a visit and I have been pushing down insecurities like a whack-a-mole.

It's not as if I don't have anything to blog about.. plenty of blog fodder.

So, hey, here I am again and its December!! eek.

So what has been happening in these parts??

My kids have finished school and officially been on holidays since Friday at midday.. although one of them started her holidays early after a bad asthma attack on Wednesday night and a trip to the hospital. Boy was that scary.

We had a birthday party for my youngest last week... and I made ANOTHER rainbow cake...must blog about it.


Ive been receiving heaps of HAPPY mail... wow, real mail is one way to make this girl feel LOVED!! Lots to blog about there!

We've been to 50 Christmas end of year things at school, my kids have eaten 200 candy canes each and I've provided 36 plates of food... well not really, but it sure feels like it!


Ive been squeezing in some visits to the op shops and found some great scores!

And I've been crafting up a storm, seriously! about time too.

Please lovely followers come back tomorrow and regular programming will resume ...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Acts of Christmas Ornament Giving

While wallowing in homesickness today, I have been thinking back over the past year and the many challenges we have faced in our family.  Its been a crap year. Seriously.


Santa its been a crap year!! (and this is actually ME as a baby circa 1971)

BUT, I am well aware that our life is pretty spectacular compared to some.

Through daily life and blogging I hear so many stories of so many people much worse off than us.

So I've decided to do a little giving at this time of year, with a message of love and peace and I'm calling it the Random Acts of Christmas Ornament Giving.

a decoration made by Miss K last year


I have been making 30 handmade Christmas ornaments this weekend and I will be sending them out to 30 people who have touched my life this year, in whatever way  - however big or small.

People who have inspired me with their strength, those who have taken on challenges placed before them.
People who I don't even know in real life but their stories are on my heart.
People who have shown me the blessing of a beautiful friendship.
People who have challenged me, criticised me (eek thats a tough one.. I might have to forgive them - *gulp*).



I hear my kids running around the house singing at the top 'Happy Birthday Jesus, Happy Birthday Jesus, Happy Birthday Jesus, Thank you for being my friend each day, Thank you for being my friend'

And it reminds me, Jesus is the reason for the season! A gift for all of us. Without his birth there would be no Christmas, whether you are a believer or not.

I want to spread a message of hope and love. To those who have shown me love, those who have hurt me and those who don't even know me.

I am going to change my perspective and change my heart.