Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flower Collecting for The Rose Fairy

"When a Rose Fairy sighs, it sounds like seven leaves falling from the old tree next to the house. Bring me down, bring me down, the Rose Fairy is sighing.  And the warm evening breeze will know and bring her down." or perhaps for us it is a cool evening breeze ;)

'Twas a breezy wintry afternoon when two best friends walked home from school together.  The journey was filled with anticipation as Bee was visiting with Ess to play in her home.  Bee noticed something special in the stroller with little Eee and exclaimed, "What's that?".  

Upon explaining that I had brought a flower basket for us to collect flowers on the way home, it was excitedly decided that one would ride the bike and the other would be on the look out for pretty flowers to place in the basket, before swapping roles half way home.  The Rose Fairy was delighted.  She knew that added to the last rose of the season, which had been drying in the basket for some months, would be a collection of beautiful wildflowers selected by the girls themselves.

The walk home was very eventful.  We were very glad The Rose Fairy had come to lend a hand as we were chased up the hill by Sharp Tooth, the big dinosaur.  Fortunately he ran straight through us as the flowers we had collected contained special magic.  The fairies had waved their wands over them allowing the collectors of the pretty flowers to remain invisible and thus safe from undesirable intruders.

Bougainvillea and Potato Vine (Solanum Jasminoides)

Protected and enthused, three little girls set about collecting 7 wildflowers. 

Our goal was easily reached despite the fact it is mid-winter here.  Our basket became fuller and fuller and was all but overflowing by the time we reached home.

Once home we laid the flowers out on a large white board and set about making special labels for them, learning their names and how to write them.    There were Correa Dusky Bells, Wattle, Rosemary, Eremophila, Grevillea, Hardenbergia and Potato Vine flowers.  The girls did not want the flowers to die.   Yet, rather than placing them in a vase, we found alternative ways to enjoy them.

We threaded a necklace of Correa Dusky Bells and placed it in our flower press.  Ooh, what a surprise!  Some little flowers, already dried, were still resting, dreamily, sleepily inside the press.

Little Eee and I also arranged flowers from the potato vine in our flower press to preserve for later viewing.  We were so delighted to find older flowers we had pressed years before still inside the press.  They had been collected on flower-gathering walks Ess and I had enjoyed together.  All are now preserved in the beautiful flower press lovingly handpainted for me by my mother years ago.

Just before Bee left for home, she and Ess created two fairy rings for the fairies to dance in and perhaps leave a special something to say thankyou.

The next day they did leave something very special.  Perhaps you might hear about that later.

The remainder of our flowers are floating in a clear glass bowl on our dinner table, delighting all who come to sit and sup together with us.

For now, Juliane is giving away her little handmade Rose Fairy.  Take a peak!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday Card for a One Year Old

Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.  ~Larry Lorenzoni

I created this sweet little peekaboo card for a precious little one year old, the third child of a friend of mine.  Neither of us can believe that she has turned one and in a couple of months my cherub will be two.  Wasn't it just the other day we were both sitting watching our older children play talking about having more babies?  Indeed it was.  Time flies!  There is no doubt about it.

This little card, combined with a set of these little puppets also handmade by myself, should serve to be a lovely little gift for this precious little one.  We hope she enjoys them for many days to come.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Honest Scrap Award - Received with thanks!

Thankyou Alecat, for passing the Honest Scrap Award on to me.  I am delighted to have received this award as I trust it is a reflection of the 'honesty policy' I live by.  It is my aim to be truthful and authentic in all I do and all I say.  It is wonderful to see this acknowledged.  Thanks!

To keep this award, there are some rules by which I (and future recipients) must abide:
1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.
2) Share "ten honest things" about myself.
3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
4) Tell those 7 people that they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving it.

Now ten honest things about myself:
1. I am very glad to have received this award today as I have a houseguest and am finding having someone in the house constantly takes my mind from any blogging or crafting etc. that I might have on the go.  This has helped me think of another post - although I fear this one might take longer to write than some ;)

2. My houseguest is my Dad.  I am enjoying reconnecting with him again and seeing him with my children, his grandchildren.  Yet, I confess, I am frustrated.  I want to be able to accept him more for who he is, as my father and a grandfather of my daughters.  I desire for him to share more of his life, to have fun, to play, tell stories.  This he does very briefly when I ask him to, it is not spontaneous.  Each day I pray, each day it improves.   One day I hope to be able to do this with no reservations, just full acceptance.

3. Music has always been part of my life.  I cannot remember not being able to read music.  I have sung with my siblings, in choirs - in schools and out, have led worship in churches, have learnt, then played piano from when my father asked me late at night if I'd like to, as an 8 year old child.  I have organised little musicals and concerts with my siblings and of course, my career has been in educating families with very young children how to enjoy the routines of everyday life with music as an integral part, through Kindermusik.  Now I live that life, singing with my littlies, when they allow me ;)  (You'll know what I mean if you are a singing mother).

4. Being creative has always been part of my life.  For as long as I can remember I have been able to read a pattern and 'make things'.  As a child I remember sewing, patchworking and embroidery, making clothing and doing latchwork (among numerous other things).  I made many of my own clothes from a very young age and loved going to the local fabric shop, Sylvia's Fabrics, with Mum to choose fabric and patterns.  Most of the clothes I worked in were made by my own hand.  I made my own wedding dress with my Mum and also my daughter's bridesmaid's dress.

5. I grew up in a country town and my heart will always be in the country.  I live on the outskirts of the city now yet feel like a country girl as I travel 30mins to visit our markets to shop (actually longer than I travelled to shop as a child as we lived "in town") and participate in most activities we enjoy as a family.  I love the solitude of the country, the need to create your own fun for entertainment and sense of space all around.

6. I love to cook and find this a wonderful creative outlet.  This is very fortunate as I have a family to feed who seem to be getting more and  more ravenous with age.  It is very fortunate that I love to cook as we eat very little processed food as My Generous Gentleman and I made a decision to invest in our health in this way.  We make most food ourselves.

7. My GG and I both have a passion for growing vegetables (although I do all the work in planning, planting, nurturing and cooking). He helps with the manual labour.  We'd both love more space and our own place - he more than me at the moment as I feel very satisfied with my life at this stage.  In truth we are learning from his Dad and also eating most of his fruit and veg while we wait for a place to plant trees and improve our soil, our soil.

8.  At the end of this year we will have only been married for 3 years, yet it seems so much longer.

9. I absolutely detest washing dishes and am so very fortunate that while my husband doesn't enjoy, he gets much less stressed about it.  He is my dishwasher while I complete other chores and play with the girls.  I am eternally grateful for this.

10. I absolutely love caring for and nurturing my family - while it can drive me to absolute distraction at times (I have a very busy toddler).  I thrive on finding activities to enjoy with my girls which are creative and educational and am actually finding that school is getting in the way by taking up so much of my and my daughter's time and energy.  Your experience of homeschooling definitely tempts me on occasion Alecat ;)

So now to offer this award to 7 others in no particular order.

Sarah of the best days of my life for inspirational and honest writing

Beth of Beth Brawley Taylor for inspiration and encouragement.

David at Shaping the Space for sharing with truth, honesty, maturity and hilarity.

Juliane at Fröken Skicklig for delightful inspiration, honesty, integrity and fantasy.

Homestay Mama from Home to the World for authenticity, maturity and wisdom.

Julie of Towards Sustainability for ideas, honesty and inspiration for a more authentic lifestyle.

Melissa of Day to Day for continuing inspirational crafty ideas shared within the context of true family life.

I do very much look forward to reading your replies.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tiny Stitches for Tiny Fingers

Our inspiration: Kim Archer's Blossom Friends Felt Finger Puppets in the new Australian Homesewn Magazine.

Our design and creative process:

Ess loved creating new hairstyles for our gals and continued this activity in her own book with sketchings of many new friends.

Our result (of a work still in progress):

There is just something so enticing and intriguing about making tiny tiny stitches to form something which is pretty for my little ones to play with.  It is calming, relaxing, inspiring and productive.  But that's not all...I just can't seem to put my finger on it.

Enjoyed in play:

Little Eee's favourite game with the puppets this morning was to pop them on her fingers one by one, then throw them down on the floor combining both fine and gross motor skill development.  What a clever little poppet!  She also simply loved swishing them all down after I had lined them up neatly on the window sill to be photographed ;).

This is how I enjoyed our winter solstice, snuggled up with tiny needle in hand making tiny stitches to delight tiny hearts with tiny finger puppets for magnanimous amounts of fun, creativity and play.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gift for a 5 year old

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.  ~George MacDonald

When I give a gift I love for it to have some creative component to it, especially when it is a gift for a child.  If there is anything I want to give a child it is the opportunity to create, use, share and have their abilities affirmed.  This may be doing something with their hands such as crafts or baking, making music, imaginative play, sharing stories etc.  Little bits of plastic packaged in card, then wrapped in more plastic usually just don't do it for me or my children.  They are usually left sitting on the shelf.

So when we found that Ess' friend loved anything to do with making jewellery, we were delighted to be able to give her a gift of beads in a homemade pouch.

We had such fun shopping for the gift in the little bead shop.  Ess chose the beads in the colours she liked and she and the shop assistant set about designing a possible pattern for a bracelet and necklace - to be sure we purchased the correct number of beads ;).  This was infinitely more fun than waiting in the excessively long line at Toys"R"Us to pay for the card we chose.  Oh how I wished that the newsagent was open on a Saturday, or that I had made a pretty card. 

I popped in one of the headbands I have been making as she has lots of lovely long curly locks which I hope will be held back sufficiently.

We hope she likes her little gift and has many hours of designing and creating, playing and storing and, of course, doing her lovely hair with her new headband.

What criteria do you have when you are giving a gift?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pretty Headbands for Pretty Girls

Long, beautiful, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen... I adore hair!  ~James Rado and Gerome Ragni, Hair

I've been creating some pretty headbands for my pretty girls to hold back their lovely hair.

One as a gift for a 5 year old friend...

A little one for my little Eee...

One for precious Ess...

...who wears it beautifully in her hair.

This little tutorial makes all things very simple.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Drawing Time Anew: An Activity for You

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work.  I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw.  She stared at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"  ~Howard Ikemoto

Ess' named characters

We have been enjoying lots of lovely family time of late.  Nanna came to stay with us so we enjoyed lots of giggles and games with her (as well as appreciated lots of washing up being done;).  An activity we shared together with her was inspired by Jeannette Rowe, a children's illustrator and author whom I recently met at a gathering at our local library.  We have been enjoying drawing together as a family for a while now, yet she inspired me to take that to a new level which everyone loved.  Even older children, adults and Nannas found this lots of fun and we had lots of smiles and giggles around the table from everyone.   Have a go!  You might find some undiscovered talent hidden in your family, as I did.

You will need:  2 pieces of paper for each participant, and at least 1 pencil for each person.

Simply hand out one sheet of paper to each person and ask them to divide it into three sections.  Explain that in the top section you need to draw as many different styles of eyes as you can dream of.  

The next sections will contain noses and mouths thus:

Once you have completed this master sheet, sign your page with your name.  It is now your own. You can even consider it copyright in Australia where you do not need to pay for copyright.  I signed mine © 2009 Cee Lew.  This will be a handy resource for later (containing memories from my little one :o).

For now it will be used to create numerous different characters.  Take another piece of paper and trace off a set of eyes onto it.  Hold it against the various noses to choose one which takes your fancy and trace a nose under the eyes.  To complete your face trace a mouth of your choosing.  I find that whatever I am making has a name, whether doll, drawing or critter.  This is revealed to me in the creative process.  Be sure to write that name down when you know it.

This next element is my own idea which I added for a little bit of interactive family fun.  We held onto the last paper with our own new character drawn onto it and passed around our sets of eyes, noses and mouths.  Our neighbour then created a character from our initial sketches. It was intriguing to see what was created from our own original ideas and positively reinforced everyone's efforts, especially the little ones.  This was a wonderful way to share our drawing styles and gain new ideas for ourselves for future drawing.  We continued passing around the circle until everyone had drawn a new character from each set of features.  To conclude we drew another of our very own characters from our very own initial set of eyes etc.

You can see little Eee has very much enjoyed this activity as well.  At only 21 months she is well aware that we can draw images and often draws while labelling what she is drawing saying "eyes", "nose" etc.   She and Daddy continued to draw these parts throughout our drawing time.  Once complete, she very specifically coloured those body parts on Mummy's sheet.

It was hard to stop, it was such fun.  Ess did not want to have her bath and requested we do this again.  So be prepared next time you visit our house, you may find yourself revealing more than you had anticipated ;)

Let us know when you have a go so we can come and share in the fun with you and your pictures.  Really, it is not too hard to be creative.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Butterfly Making

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine.  ~Jeffrey Glassberg

Ess spent most of her morning on Monday creating this beautiful butterfly to share with her class who are exploring Minibeasts this term.  Then little Eee and I made the beaded one at the bottom to join in the fun.  Eee threaded beads onto pipe cleaners which I twisted and turned into butterfly wings, attached them to a beautifully shaped peg with the wire, and drew and cut a face to bring it to life and flutter around with little Eee.

Flutterby, butterfly
Flutter by up in the sky.
(imagine light glissandos on the glockenspiel here as we fly together)

Ess drew all the parts of the butterfly individually, before she coloured them beautifully.  This was an extra special project for her and she asked to use my "Crayolor".  I have a tray of beautiful colours collected from the studio of an artist once inhabiting the homestead on the farm my mother grew up on.  She departed in a hurry leaving many of her things in the home.  Lucky for me and Ess!  She has blended the colours beautifully, would you agree? Once coloured, the pieces were cut out individually and left lying around for the rest of the day until motivation was restored to glue them together.  That night a beautiful butterfly came into being.  The very next morning it scurried off to school where it remains.  I am very glad I managed to snap a few shots as when it returns I fear that those fleeting moments of a butterfly's life might have flown.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Rainbow's Promises

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
~Irish Blessing

We were all thrilled to feast our eyes on this delightful rainbow yesterday afternoon.  The rain has been coming down nicely over the last little while.   It is not constant and still hasn't stopped me walking, but it is raining here in South Australia. 

Yesterday afternoon the sky was filled with dark clouds, there were some downpours of rain.  As the sun began to shine through strongly I urged my little tribe to head outside as there surely would be a rainbow appearing through the rain.  Indeed there was, a double bow!  Can you see the second one there?

We saw the end of the rainbow, right there, almost within an arms reach.  Ess and little Eee and I longed to run over to the greening hills to catch the end of the rainbow.  We decided we'd explore the end of it to find that elusive pot of gold.  "A pot of chocolate gold", Ess declared elatedly, bright eyes beaming with excitement.  Her little legs pounding up and down.  We could hardly hold her back.  Had she been just a little more athletic, I am sure she would have run off down our hill.  But, wise sage as she is, she knew just how far it is to the foothills.  So that pot of gold remains at the end of our rainbow, waiting for another day.

A promise of sunshine, a promise of rain, a promise of brightness, love, excitement and colour.

A promise of happiness, a promise of love, a promise of mercy, in covenant with our maker.

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Gen 9:13-16

Does a rainbow have a promise for you?

Monday, June 8, 2009


The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.  ~Doug Larson

Wouldn't it be nice!?  A romatic notion.   I have the urge but never an opportunity to throw a snowball.  There are none here, neither will there be.  Apart from the above, that is.

Knowing the unique texture of this snowball/pompom yarn would delight the senses: the eyes and hands, face and fingers of my little treasures, it has managed to enter our house.

However I am not sure just what to do with it?

It knits up quite nicely...perhaps I just like the uniformly ordered pattern.  Mind you, it looked nothing like this until I watched this little tutorial.

I have an idea or two.  But I am curious to know...

What would you do?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Macro Improvements - Embracing the Small Things

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Still enjoying the macro setting on my camera.

They call to me, those little things.  

Begging me to see the tiny detail, to illuminate them, to make them larger, fill the screen, fill my mind.

Much like my delightful children.  "Mummy look at me!"  "Look at this Mummy." "See what I can do!"  The constant chatter and conversation which must be attended to, reiterated and acknowledged.

They demand my heart, my attention, my all.  They beg me to see the finest parts of them, to know them, to celebrate all the tiny bits of newness they enjoy in their lives everyday.  Sometimes it is a real challenge to watch a leg flick this way, then that, as a new manouevre is undertaken, or to echo that new word just one more time to acknowledge to little Eee that she is speaking brilliantly.

Yet, while it sometimes frustrates and tires me, I revel in my role of mothering my girls.  I love to watch them grow and learn and discover anew the things which are very commonplace to me.  In a way, it seems, that I get a second chance at learning too.  It is interesting that the camera was rarely in my hand before they were born.  Now it is rarely somewhere I am not.  Yes I have great subjects in them but I also have a new way of seeing things.  I have slowed down, I have taken time, I have learnt to see and embrace all the small things in everyday life.  Whether that be something of nature outdoors or something within the nature of my darling girls, I am looking more closely.  I am eager to behold every small detail about them in order to know them.  To love them more deeply, to guide them more knowledgeably and to ensure they know that are wonderful little people, very much loved.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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