23.7.11

THIS SATURDAY I'M GRATEFUL...

...for a day of catchup and recuperation at home while Mr FGB and his Mum take the kids to the snow for the day.  Before Mr FGB's change in work situation earlier this year, a few hours on my own, let alone a whole day, was unheard of!  I am not taking this day for granted.  This change has meant a dramatic drop in work hours for a few years, and while this may be difficult financially, the benefits are enormous.  

I am grateful that last weekend, while spending a few days at our favourite beachside destination, I got to spend some one-on-one time with each of my kids.  


"Running for our lives" on the beach, collecting 'pink' seaweed, chasing seagulls, getting wet & sandy and building sandcastles with two year old Frog.


Walking on the golf course collecting piles of pinecones for the fire and future projects,  spotting some confused blossom in the middle of winter and running from the rain with an almost 4 year old Bear.


Flying kites, collecting driftwood and trying to spot a Hooded Plover, while disagreeing over it's correct pronunciation, with 7 year old Goose. 


Then time as a family playing Yahtzee and Twister, eating popcorn and MasterChef style dishes.
In our ridiculously busy lives, these times away are all the more savoured.

It's the small things.

This Saturday, as always, I am truly grateful for my lot.

For more gratefuls, head over here.




P.S. I'd be remiss not to say how grateful we are for our wonderful friends who let us use their holiday use so regularly.  Or for how grateful I am for my sister Lou who did some last minute babysitting for us last night way past her bedtime.  Above and beyond the call of duty - thank you.

P.P.S.  I am also rewinding this post today over with Multiple Mum at Weekend Rewind...

21.7.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS... part two

When I was in my late teens/early twenties I went through a stage of giving homemade gifts to everyone.   Tie-dyed underwear and socks, fish printed t-shirts (using real fish) and pickled chillies may not have been everybodies first choice of gift.*  Since then I've made the odd handmade gift here and there to people that I think might appreciate it... mainly to babies (they don't seem to mind).


Since I started this blog a little over a year ago, I've been inspired to re-kickstart the giving of handmade gifts.  This time I'd like to think that I'm a little more on the money with gifts that might be a little more appealing.


Part two - Reversible Headbands

When Goose and I started searching for ideas for gifts to make for her friends birthdays, we found these reversible headbands on Catherine's blog** (along with other great ideas that were not within my ability but might be in yours) and I gave them a go.  I have made quite a few more since then.  Two headbands for the price of one!  A little addictive and they actually stay in Frog's hair.  Once again, this project can be made in about 15 mins and using scraps.  I made these with scraps from one of Granny's quilts and from a favorite shirt of Goose's that she ruined with house paint (grrrrr).



 If you'd like to give these headbands a go, head over here.  You may just get lost for an hour like I did with all of her brilliant tutorials.  I think this one could also be a great quick and simple handmade gift for girls.

I have also come across some simple fabric headband tutorials herehere.

I'm joining in today with Our Creative Spaces.  So much inspiration.. I could be lost for hours again...




* I kid you not, I actually made lots and lots of these - the fish printing was a particular favorite...
** Catherine has a gorgeous handmade giveaway on her blog right now..

19.7.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS... part one

This is the first installment, as promised, in a little series of posts of quick and simple, yet stylish handmade gifts for girls that even a beginner sewer like me can make.  So quick in fact that you can make most of them in about 5 - 20 minutes, therefore making them the perfect last minute, whipup the night before, gift for those of us who may or may not be 100% organised!  


Part one - Fabric Knotted necklaces.

 I made the two in the photo above for my two girls.  As you only need a very thin strip of fabric, you can get away with purchasing just a 10cm strip of fabric, use leftover scraps, or even recycle old or thrifted clothes!  The necklace on the left, was made using one of Goose's old skirts.  You can thrift an old beaded necklace, or just use marbles.  In mine, I used 20mm wooden beads purchased at Spotlight.


Serendipitously, I discovered a new blog this week who happend to have a tutorial ready made for these necklaces, just as I had made them.  Thanks Amy for saving me the trouble!

So, if you'd like to give these a try, head over here for an excellent tutorial.

Or, if you'd like to try a bracelet, using the same method, head over here.


Stay tuned for more simple handmade gifts for girls over the next couple of weeks.   Thanks so much to those of you who have forwarded me links of things that you or others have made that I might like to try - keep them coming!



* Please excuse the blurry photos - although she loved the posing (a little too much for my liking!) she would not keep still!  One day I will get myself a fancy pancy SLR, but for now I will continue dreaming...

16.7.11

DIY MAGNETIC DOLLS

Inspired by party preparation over here a while back, I thought I'd share a fun idea that was quite the craze at our house last year - magnetic dolls!

All you need to do is print some paper dolls onto magnetic paper*. Cut them out** and pop them in a tin for a gift or travel toy, or straight onto the fridge.

Paper dolls can be found in many places on the net.
Nicole has posted about some gorgeous free vintage printable paper dolls which would be ideal!

I went one step different from this and asked my talented sister (whose drawings are on my blog header and side bar) to draw me some gorgeous little black and white paper dolls. We printed them onto magnetic paper, cut them out and gave them as a gift along with coloured textas for the child to color in themselves.

If you type in 'printable paper dolls' into etsy.com, you can purchase some for a minimal amount, even this one, designed especially for magnets and which also comes with a page that you can color in just like these!




* I purchased mine at Officeworks - Avery brand. It is very thin, so easily goes through your printer and cuts easily with regular scissors. Alternatively, magnetic sheeting is also available online in thicker sheets. You can print onto regular paper, stick onto magnetic sheet and cut out in the same way. Magnet is stronger, but it is also tougher to cut out. You'll need a simple & basic image to do this.

** When cutting, you just ignore the little tabs on the paper dolls.

14.7.11

Bitten by the Sewing Bug


I am really excited that I have finally discovered the joy of sewing! Completely inspired by so many of my bloggy friends - it has opened up a whole new world!

Admittedly, I purchased the sewing machine (from ALDI, no less) for the purpose of sewing on cards & paper, but recently have started trying out a few quick and simple projects. The kind that can be completed in a night. That way I get that lovely satisfied feeling of job completed and I'm actually working within my skill level - absolute beginner who had to remember the basics from when I did sewing in high  school 20 years ago.

Along with a new love for sewing, I have reclaimed my love of giving handmade gifts! Mainly so that I have a reason to sew!

I found the perfect pressie for boys turning 4 when Bear had a run on birthdays last month - they all received rice/bean bags and a drawstring bag.  Easy to make and were all very well received!

In searching for some simple gifts for Goose & I to make for her friends, girls turning 8, I came across some fantastic ideas which we've been making. I'll share those ideas, along with some tutorials and links, as soon as I get a chance to take some photos of them!

I know lots of you who read this blog are sewers...any ideas for quick and simple projects for a beginner like me??

I'm off to check out the new home of 'my creative space' to be inspired!

12.7.11

A KITE PARTY

Yesterday was a very windy day here in Melbourne. Perfect for kite flying!
Perfect for a kite themed birthday party for my gorgeously cheeky 3 year old nephew!


Delicious kite cupcakes made by none other than the highly talented Cathie!

The hit of the party - cones full of popcorn, or were they clouds?

The kite and cloud scrapbooking paper was a great find to easily bring the theme together. I'm a big fan of named drinks. Saves money and rubbish and kids like to take them home too. Also makes a healthy drink seem a little more fun. Lou had lots of healthy and fun party food available with falafel or beef burgers, egg & bacon pies, savoury rolls, sausage rolls, mini blueberry muffins, popcorn, fruit salad & yoghurt cups. Followed by a simple kite cake made, as per usual, by the birthday boy's Dad!

The kids decorated their own kites with stickers, textas and ribbons as a party activity*, then at the end of the party those who were interested trekked down to the park and flew our kites! For handmade kites - they were fantastic! The wind just picked them up with ease and even Frog (below, aged 2) could do it all on her own.


We all had such a fun day - thanks Lou!

For more DIY party ideas, head over here.


* Lou got her kite making kits on the internet. Hopefully she'll read this post and put in the comments where she got them from, but she did say the same ones were available all over the web.

9.7.11

SCHOOL HOLIDAY ARSENAL

School holidays bring with them a more flexible pace of life without the school run and other various regular activities. On the other hand, there is less time to blog and one needs to find more ways to keep kids occupied.

Apart from a trip to the zoo, a day at the snow and a weekend away at a friend's beachhouse, these holidays I'm trying for one activity out of the house each day (to save the 'climbing the walls syndrome') whether it be a playdate with friends, a trip to the library or a trip to the airport to say goodbye to Granny, and the rest of the time at home. I find my kids are so busy during the term that they yearn for unstructured time at home and so does their Mum! Personally I'm a fan of letting kids just play and find their own fun. My kids are quite good at doing that, but I like to have "distractions" in my arsenal if the need arises.

The internet is full of gems if you know where to look ...

- Of course you'll find quite a few simple, yet super cool, ideas and links to other great sites right here on Frog Goose & Bear.

- Here is a fantastic list of 'boredom busters' over at MiniEco.

- We have been enjoying the brilliant 'Action Packs' from WhipUp. They are well worth the $5 in my opinion. The idea is that kids, aged 7 and up, can do it independently with little supervision or younger kids can do it with some help. I am a huge fan! The Chai tea concoctions in the photos above are straight from the "Sew & Tea" edition.

- Goose has become a little obsessed with this season's masterchef and she has been allowed to stay up later during the holidays to watch. When I gave her this fun 'easiest ever choc chip slice' recipe - she told me to step out of the kitchen as she was doing it all on her own, which she did! A new era has begun.

What are your school holiday tips?


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