Saturday, 31 December 2011

Project Life Organisation - My Little Nook

As I discussed yesterday in my post here, Step 1 in my road to scrapbooking success in 2012 has been to create myself a dedicated space for my scrapbooking.  I have not spent a cent to create this area, I just got a little creative with what I already had!

Project Life - 2012

I started doing Project Life last year.  I was so excited when my kit arrived in the mail (from Canada, as NZ was all sold out!) and immediately set up my album for 2011.  As I haven't really done much scrapbooking before, it was a great place to get started, as everything was included, along with plenty of online inspiration from all of the bloggers who do Project Life! 

Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year - 2012!

I am all ready for the New Year...  I set up a little display on my entry table to welcome the new year into our home!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Gift with Handmade Touch - Joy Frames

I first saw this awesome idea on the Eighteen 25 blog, here.  I loved the simplicity of the idea, and I also love that it can be something that is switched out on a different holidays and celebrations throughout the year.  So, I decided that this would be my handmade gift for 2011. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My Brown and Gold Christmas Theme - 2011

Today I am going to share my brown and gold Christmas theme for 2011! 

I love to surround us with the spirit of Christmas, so that we cherish each and every day of this special time of year.  Whether is be the flashing lights, a sparkly tree or a simple decoration that holds a special memory, the essence of Christmas is truly held in your heart, and all of these decorations that adorn our home are just a reminder of how lucky we are to be blessed with health, hope and happiness.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

My Homemade Christmas Cards - 2011

This year I decided to make my own Christmas cards.  I have never done card-making before, so I started planning really early, to ensure that it didn't turn into a massive project that was more of a headache than a pleasure!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Cafe Cassadiva - Mini Quiches

This is one of our family's favourite recipes.  I think back to many parties, picnics and moving days where these Mini Quiches have really hit the spot!  It is also a great way to get rid of your excess Christmas ham, or if it isn't Christmas time, I always keep some diced bacon in the freezer so that I can make these without having to leave the house...

Friday, 16 December 2011

My Brown & Gold Christmas Theme - 2007

I have had requests to share my Christmas decorating with you, but I haven't had a chance to take the photos yet.  So, I found these photos from Christmas 2007, and thought I would share them with you in the meantime!

I had the brown and gold theme back then too, which has definitely made me realise that next year I need to try something new!  But it looks so pretty, that I thought I would share....

The Tree

A Little After Dinner Christmas Treat

When I am having a party, or even sometimes if I am having a few people for dinner, I try to organise the after-dinner coffee/tea prior to the event. 

Christmas Cooking - Tiny Teddy Sleighs

This is a really fun cooking activity to do with the kiddies!  I do not take credit for thinking of this idea - as per usual, I have just copied an idea that I have seen elsewhere :)

A Very Special Christmas Gift for Someone Who Likes Pegs!

I just have to share this awesome gift that my beautiful friends gave me last night...

Monday, 12 December 2011

My Christmas Gift Wrapping 2011 (Brown, Gold & White)

For the last few years, I have had brown and gold as my Christmas theme.  This year, I decided to add white into the mix, as my gift wrapping has basically been the same for the past few years, and I wanted a change!

Christmas Cooking - Strawberry Santa Hats

Aren't these the cutest little Santa hats you have ever seen?!  I was delighted when my cousin brought some along to our family Christmas party last week - I haven't seen anything like them before!  So, I couldn't wait to have the chance to re-create some of my own...

How to Make Paper Bag Christmas Stockings

This is a step-by-step guide of how to make these gorgeous paper bag stockings.  It is an inexpensive gift idea, which is really simple to put together!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Salt and Pepper Grinder Tips

Salt and pepper are a great way to season just about any food.  With a little loving care, you can ensure that your salt and pepper grinders last for many, many years.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Picnic or Camping Lunch Tip - Hot Dogs

Today I have a super-easy lunch idea for people on the run.  I can't remember where I heard this idea, but it was many years ago now, and has certainly satisfied our lunch hunger on many camping trips, picnics or days out and about.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Shopping with Woolies Online

Woolies online grocery shopping would have to be the best invention ever!  Working full time makes it extremely difficult to do grocery shopping in non-peak times, so I always seem to find myself battling the crowds at the supermarket at 5 o'clock in rush time, or on my weekend - when I wish I was outside enjoying myself like everyone else.  I also know that some of my friends who have young children have given it a try, and are delighted that they can re-stock their pantry without taking the 'tribe' anywhere at all.

A little while back I decided to give online grocery shopping a try, and I will admit that I am hooked!  First things first - why Woolies?  Well, I guess you are either a Coles person or a Woolies person - my family are Woolies people, so that is why I go with Woolies :)  I don't have a Woolies in my little suburb, only IGA down the road, or Coles on the other side of a neighbouring estate.  So to say that having Woolies groceries delivered to my door for as little as $3 excites me, would have to be an understatement!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

DIY Home Decor - Placemat Wall Art

This is a quicky, easy idea that I came up with many years ago now.  I wanted to decorate my house, but money was tight, so I had to be creative!

I decided to make my own artwork by gluing cork-backed placemats onto painted sheets of MDF - a really easy thing to do (with the help of my handy hubby), which have hung proudly in my home for the past few years.  I don't have step-by-step pictures, as I did it so long ago, but hopefully with my instructions and the measurements provided, you can have a go at making some yourself, if you like the idea!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My Christmas List 2011

We all know that Christmas is coming!  And you must have been living under a rock if you didn't know that I just LOVE Christmas!  It is such a special time of year, filled with sharing fun times with family and friends, eating delicious food, drinking yummy drinks, admiring stunning and shiny decorations and exchanging gifts as a symbol of ongoing friendship and love.  

It is about this time of year that my family and I exchange our Christmas 'wishlist'.  We all love surprises, but there is also a place for receiving gifts of things that you have secretly hoping for all year :)  Exchanging Christmas lists with my family is certainly not presumptuous... we all love the gift of giving, and welcome suggestions from each other, as we are guaranteed to please if we stick to the list! I know that the process of thinking of, buying and wrapping gifts for my loved ones gives me so much joy, as I just love to spoil the special people in my life.

Monday, 24 October 2011

How To Keep Brown Sugar Soft

I think I have found the solution to this age-old dilemma! 

There is nothing worse that going to the pantry for some brown sugar, only to find (even despite being stored in air-tight Tupperware container) that the sugar is hard, and I need to somehow scrape out enough for the recipe that I am trying to make, as it is stuck together in big hard clumps...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pink Tea Party Decorations

Today I thought I would share with you some really simple decorations I used for a little Pink Tea Party that I had with some girlfriends recently...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Organising Camping Supplies

To follow on from my Camping Checklist post, I thought I would discuss how I organise our camping gear.  We have some boxes dedicated to housing our camping gear.  We have kitchen utensils that stay packed in these boxes, items we have acquired over the years.  Lots of the items were my Granny's, such as pots and pans, knives, cutlery, etc.  We also have lots of items we purchased cheaply over the years, such as a strainer, measuring cup, cutting boards, can opener, etc.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

My Ultimate Camping Checklist

I recently had a lovely week-long holiday with my husband at Bargara Beach, near Bundaberg in Queensland.  We both love camping, and while we are used to the remoteness of beach camping on Moreton Island, we do appreciate the facilities when we do camp in caravan parks.  The running water and electricity sure do make things easier.  But the downside of this type of camping is that you are surrounded by other campers.  No matter what type of camping that you do, it is important to be prepared and pack sensibly.  That is why I created the ultimate Camping Checklist, which you can download here.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A Tea Towel A Day

For many years, I have been in the habit of laying out a clean tea towel each night, so that I am greeted in the morning by a crisp, fresh tea towel for my kitchen duties.  I believe that this is a great habit, as by doing this, I know that when I wipe my hands or kitchen utensils with a tea towel, that they are going to be dried clean, and not having germs or bacteria passed onto them.  When I have a baking day, I obviously use more than one tea towel, but the general rule in my house is 'A Tea Towel A Day'. 

As you all know, I heart matching things!  That is why I have a few piles of tea towels that I rotate throughout the month, which are sorted according to their colour...

I have these red and white tea towels:

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Storing Rubbish Bags

I feel like I blog about rubbish an awful lot!  But rubbish just seems to breed in my house, and by having routines and systems in place, it helps to keep on top of it...  My 'I Love Rubbish Day' post (which you can read about here) is in the top 10 of my most-read posts - that tells me that it is a fact of daily life and everyone wants to know how to make it easier :)

My tip today is to make sure that you keep spare rubbish bags in the rooms of the 'busiest' bins.  I have already shown you my kitchen storage solution for my scented garbage bags (which you can read about here).

My bathroom is definitely next on the list for the room with the most rubbish.  I only have a small bin in my ensuite, so I find I have to change the rubbish liner at least once a week.  Like with any routine job, we tend to procrastinate doing it if it involves multiple steps.  For me, this used to involve (1) getting a replacement bag (recycled fruit/veg bag) from the kitchen, (2) walking to the ensuite, (3) taking out the old bag, (4) putting in the new bag and (5) walking outside to the wheelie bin to dump the full bag of rubbish.  Too many steps!  Life is busy and we need to simplify!  So, I now keep the spare bags in the ensuite cupboard - seems really logical, but I just didn't think to do it until this year ;)  By eliminating the first 2 steps, the job now takes half the time - around 30 seconds in total!!  And the best part is that I can do it when I think of it... I lost count of the number of times I walked out to get a new bag from the kitchen, got distracted and never made it back with the replacement bag!  Not anymore...

And the storage solution for these bags (that can take over an entire shelf if left to their own devices)??
An empty tissue box!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Organising the Front Entrance with a Shoe Cabinet

The front entrance is a part of the home that really can become messy and cluttered if we don't have a good organisation system in place.  I have tried many things over the years, and most of them I admit have failed miserably.

One essential piece of furniture in our front entryway (it sits just around the corner from the actual entrance) is this great shoe cabinet from Ikea.  You can view it on their website here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Decorating the Home Entrance

A person's first impression of your home is at the front entrance.   A few months back I decided that I needed a little something to meet and greet us (and our visitors) each time we come in the front door.

This is what I came up with!

Monday, 5 September 2011

A Silver & White Engagement Party

My sister and her fiance recently got engaged.  They decided not to have a big engagement party, rather they opted to have 3 smaller gatherings, with just close family and/or friends on their new deck.  They really wanted to have the party at home to show everyone their renovations, but they knew that having 100 people would be a BIG effort, and then they would have to worry about where to fit everyone and trying to get around to chat with all of the guests.  So, they decided to split the large group into smaller groups, so that they would be able to spend quality time with their closest friends and family AND enjoy their new deck three times as much!  Great idea, I thought!  Their wedding is going to be in March, so they will celebrate with the extended group before we know it anyway :)

So, the first of their parties was 'The Family'.  Even though it was just immediate family, I wanted to make sure that it still had an engagement party feel, despite Nicky's attempts to keep things simple and easy... Good try!  She decided on a Silver and White theme, to match in nicely with their new grey and white exterior walls of the deck.  So, I took it upon myself to decorate - what fun!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Keeping House - Zone 5 (Living Room)

The last zone for this month!  How have you been going with your 15 minutes per day of zone cleaning??

Day One
Declutter the room - put away any piles of 'stuff' that doesn't belong here!  By the phone, on a table, or on a bench - the 'stuff' seems to pile up when we aren't watching - put everything away where it belongs today.

Day Two
If you have a couch or lounge in your living room, this is a job for you...  Take the cushions off the couch. Wash the cushion covers and plump the pillows when you insert them back in the clean case.  While the cushions are off the couch, check down behind for any random items that have fallen in there.  Then vaccuum the couch from top to bottom.

Day Three
Our fireplace is in the Living Room.  It is getting warmer now, and we probably won't use the fire again until next year.  So, I am going to clean out the kindling/wood baskets, store the fireplace tools in the garage and do a good clean-out of the fire place today (read more about cleaning the fireplace here).  I love my fire in winter, but I don't miss the mess it makes!  If you don't have a fireplace, your job to do wipe over the light and power switch-plates with a damp sponge - it really should take you less than 2 minutes!  A small thing, but it makes a difference :)

Day Four
Wipe over the skirting boards in this room.  Get all of the dust off the base of the walls, and then vaccuum the room, ensuring to get to the edges.

Day Five
Brighten up the room with some flowers.  Buy a bunch of your favourite flowers and put them in a pretty vase, and admire them as you walk into the room.  If you can't afford to buy flowers, go out into your garden and pick some - even a small vase of a few flowers will make the room feel 'loved'.

So there you have it!  Five weeks of examples of how to stay on top of the detailed cleaning in your house.  By breaking things down into manageable steps, I hope that you have been able to see just how simple it can be to maintain your house, simply by dedicating 15 minutes per day to each zone in your house.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Keeping House - Zone 4 (Master Bedroom)

Your master bedroom is a very special place in your home - it should be your sanctuary, your haven, your love nest ;)  This week I have 5 things for you to do in here, to help you to keep it feeling this way.

Day One
Declutter your nightstand, bedside tables, dressing tables, or any flat surfaces in the room.  Make sure that the only items in this room are the items that belong there.

Day Two
Declutter your wardrobe.  A few months back, I shared this tip with you... To put all of your coathangers backwards in the cupboard, then as you wear an item you put the hanger back in the right way.  After a few months, any clothes that are on hangers facing the wrong way are clothes that you haven't worn, and clearly need to find a new home!

Today is the follow-up from this original post, take out all of the clothes that you haven't worn since you turned the hangers and make some tough decisions about what you can get rid of.  Winter is almost over, winter woolies you haven't worn this year may be able to be donated to someone who needs them more than you.  Put them into a bag and straight into your car so that you can drop them off next time you are out... (Read my original post here.)
My calendar reminder for August 27th!

Day Three
Shine your mirrors.  I use glass cleaner wipes and a microfibre cleaning rag to clean my mirrors.  This won't take long, shine all of the mirrors in your room - dressing table, ensuite, hand-held mirrors, cupboard doors.  It will make the world of difference to the room!

Day Four
Do a detailed vacuum of your bedroom floor - move any furniture that you can, and get those dust-bunnies hiding in behind!  Vacuum under the bed, and along the edge of the skirting boards too.  Since I have had my Robomaid, I haven't vacuumed the bedroom with my normal vacuum cleaner - this week I am going to get down and get into all of the corners, nooks and crannies that are hard to reach.

Day Five
Turn down your bed before bedtime...  I know that lots of you are now in the routine of doing this, since my post about it a while back.  Treat yourself to a nightly turn-down service - you deserve it!  (Read my original post here.)

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Keeping Herbs Fresh - Our First Guest Post!

Today's post is our first ever Guest Post!  My sister-in-law sent me this amazing idea and I just have to share it with you!  Steph lives in a mining town in Western Australia, so she is not only a million miles from anywhere, but they live in intense heat for most of the year.  So, here is her way of keeping store-bought fresh herbs in ship-shape condition, as she simply cannot grow anything in the extreme weather that she has to live in. I think this is a fantastic idea, because I know that my fresh herbs bloom in spurts throughout the year, and there are plenty of times when I have had to buy herbs to supplement my own limited supply, or times when I have so much supply that I struggle to use it before it dies off.  This is the perfect solution!

Keeping Herbs Fresh - By Steph-adiva

When I purchase parsley or any other herb in the pack from the supermarket, most of the time I always forget I have purchased them because they are in the crisper in the fridge and/or before I get to use all of the herbs they go off and need to be thrown in the rubbish. 

Well since you are so wonderful and inspiring with your handy tips, this is what I'm now doing:

1.  Wash the parsley and remove the stalks (optional to remove stalks).  When I wash my herbs, I put them in the salad spinner to get out more water.  

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cupcake Day for the RSPCA

Did you know that Monday was Cupcake Day for the RSPCA??

I have embraced Cupcake Day 2011 (as one would imagine) by participating in a bake-off that we had at work, as well as doing some animal craft with my darling nephew...

On Monday we offered to mind my nephew, while my sister went to a friend's baby shower luncheon.  As always, I raced around as soon as I knew he was coming, gathering together activities that we could do while he visited.  As Cupcake Day was on my mind, I pulled together this cute little puppy-dog craft to do...

Basically, Jakey decorated a plain white paper plate with doggy eyes, doggy ears and nose/mouth, and cotton wool as the puppy's fur.

We added a stick to hold onto, and voila!  We now have a puppy dog mask/toy to play with.  He turned out so very cute, and we had lots of fun chasing each other around with it :)

Celebrations continued yesterday at work, as Cupcake Day was honoured and celebrated at our school, for the second year in a row.   This year proved to be bigger and better than ever!  We got on our 'bake on' and brought in cupcakes of all shapes, sizes and specialties, to sell them for $1 each - all proceeds going to the RSPCA.  Our staffroom smelt so amazing - my goodness what a blessing to be in the presence of all of those scrumptious cupcakes!  After scoffing 3 delectable cupcakes, I stopped myself from tasting any more...  luckily there were plenty left over, so we can have seconds when we go back tomorrow ;)

I kept my cupcakes simple, chocolate cakes with chocolate icing, and mini animal toppers, which I downloaded for free from here.

The creative juices must have been flowing over the long weekend - check out all of these amazing cupcakes that my colleagues concocted!  Just stunning, and oh so yummy!!

This was my favourite!!  So simple, yet so effective!
This all seems so timely, as Mum & Dad had a little puppy come to their door just days ago...  He was obviously lost and actually stayed a few days, enjoying being pampered by my parents (who loved him dearly, as he reminded them of their own dog who we had to put down last year).  However, due to their great efforts at finding his owner, they reunited him yesterday with a very happy 3 year old boy :)

I am really not an pet person myself, but they do bring much joy to the lives of their owners!  Thank goodness for the RSPCA and the wonderful work they do to keep animals safe and healthy :)  And what a great excuse to get crafty and cupcakey!

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