- New Dress a Day: This woman is responsible for me buying things that I imagine I will reinvent as something chic and fabulous, but in reality shove it into my sewing cupboard, never to be seen again. But that doesn't stop me from reading her blog nearly every day (the email updates help) and being impressed by what she can do with a pair of scissors and some double-sided tape. Oh my God. I just realised this chick is MacGyver!
- Craft Snark: I love this lady. She's crafty, she's snarky. People have this idea in their head that crafters are quirky and happy and have 14 content children playing happily at their feet while they craft all day long and bake cookies. In reality, those of us who are mums have to desperately squeeze in crafting where we can, often foregoing housework, and getting when our baby wakes earlier than expected (I swear I have not left my son crying in his cot for 5 minutes while I finished something off. Never. *cough*). And baking cookies is for special occasions and always last minute (who doesn't love baking at midnight and decorating treats at 6am?).
- Muddle Mum: Oh my! How did that get in here? (*shameless plug*)
- Blog a la Cart: I love and hate this blog. This lady appears to have an idealistic life living on a Mid-western farm with her gorgeous kids, adoring husband and well-behaved dogs. She spends her time crafting, and baking and taking photos, and just generally making me feel inadequate. That, and her collection of amazing clothes passed down from from her mum and grandma. She converts them to more wearable items, although I really don't know how many dresses you need when you live on a farm. I guess if you wear them with Wellies or riding boots, it's all good.
- The Ugly Volvo: From feeling inadequate to feeling like I'm not the only one, this is a blog for all of us who find that some days, staying upright counts as a win. I love this particular post (my introduction to the blog from another mum). If you've had a kid or two, know a kid or two, or every seen a kid or two, this post rings true.
- Cake Wrecks: This blog is dedicated to professional cakes gone wrong. Be warned: you will spend an entire day on this site, and you will snort and guffaw. Added bonus: even my cakes are better than these, and they're supposed to be pros!
- The Blogess: Does anyone else wanna double date with Jenny and Victor?
- Illustrated with Crappy Pictures: Okay. I read a lot of blogs by grumpy mums who subsist on caffeine and sugary treats. Here's another one. I challenge anyone with kids not to choke on their coffee as they explore this blog.
- Instructables: Time for another DIY blog. I love this one. You can find instructions (in PDF!) on how to make just about anything. People upload their DIY with clear steps and plenty of photos so you can get your craft on without needing an engineering degree to make it to the end. I confess I spend more time looking on this site than I do actually creating anything from it. One day I will make a no-sew handbag. I bought pretty duct tape already, so I'm halfway there...
- Cut Out and Keep: Same but different. *sigh* One day...
- A Beautiful Mess: These two a jerks. Clever, pretty, creative jerks. Usually I need to read one of my "exhausted mamma" blogs after this one to restore the equilibrium.
- Tilly and the Buttons: If you have ever wanted to sew, this blog is a great one. I find online tutorials easier to use than books, but that might be because I'm a child of the Digital Age. Who knows. Have a look around this blog by another cool, hipster-crafter. Her tutorials are easy to follow, with an enthusiastic but patient tone, something novices like me need to stop from getting all huffy and giving up on sewing entirely.So there you have it. 12 blogs I waste my time on... I mean.... I'm sure you have your own go-to pages. What are your favourites? I need to start doing "research" for next year's list.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
I stole this idea from work, but since the Dean of Medicine only reads boring sciencey blogs, I think I'll get away with it (sorry, it wont let me link non-staff members. You aint missing much. Sorry, sir). Here is a list of 12 blogs I read on semi-regular basis (parenting: now with added blog-reading). I guess since it's 12 days til Christmas eve, I should write about a different one each day til then, but you and I both know I would make it as far as day one and get distracted by something shiny, or our small, cute person.
So here they are, in one hit and in no particular order (I've linked some of my favourite posts):
Monday, 9 December 2013
I love Christmas. I mean, love it. The presents, the decorations, the carols, the presents, the public holidays, the family time, the presents, the food, the planning, the presents... But don't worry: I love giving gifts almost as much as I love receiving them. Almost...
As part of my "don't buy too much random crap; use what you have" pledge, I am resisting buying any new Christmas decorations (*cough* attempting to). I made a mobile for our lounge window from wire, jute twine and half an embroidery hoop (it looks prettier than it is in the picture, I swear).
With a grab-everything-insight little person in our house this Christmas, our tree is on our dining room table (it's not a very big one), so I made this felt one for O. It's pretty straight forward: a big piece of green felt (I bough mine from Spotlight), some smaller coloured pieces, craft glue and something to attach it to the wall (I used the 3M velcro wall thingos). O loves it! Sure, a few of the decorations have teeth marks, and I've had to reattach it to the wall a few times, but I think we're on to a winner. He loves it!
Next up I made some bunting from an old Golden Book I picked up for $1.00 from The Transit Lounge (10 for $10.00). They had some classics I read as a kid, so I had fun picking some for O for when he's fully out of the eat-everything phase. I made a template from a cereal box; I would have like the traditional triangle-shaped flags, but it wouldn't have worked with the pictures, so I went with the other shape. I'm pleased with how it turned out.
This little dude gets a look in again this year, having come to life last Christmas. I found the idea on Pinterest, which lead me here. I haven't spent much time on Pinterest this year, but there are plenty of pins from last year that I haven't acted upon.
And last but not least, the household favourite, Santa Mayer. He's had the facial hair since last Christmas, but I never quite got around to making him a hat, so he looked more like Colonel Sanders. This year, he's wearing O's Santa hat from last year. I think he looks rather festive.
So there you have it: a festive home with little environmental impact, nothing bought made in sweat shops, and not much money spent. It's a Christmas miracle.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
I like to think we started a trend amongst our group of friends. Sure, one couple beat us to it 5 years ago, but people were slow to appreciate the lifestyle choice, and so it was left up to us to relight the torch and get people on board. No, I’m not talking about Paleo (*shudder*), or a new form of yogaboxercise jogging (or "yogging"). I’m talking about babies. Best unoriginal idea I have ever had. My point is (yes, I have one): I have a bunch of first-time preggers friends. Once the squeeees of excitement settle, it's time to get down to business: shopping around for pressies. This time, I’m equipped with the knowledge of what a new mum needs, and can expertly dodge those little outfits that look cute on the rack but are a nightmare to use (Bonds weird onesie that only opens at the bum, I’m looking at you. Seriously, we both needed a trip to the physio after the one and only time we attempted to use that sucker. But damn he looked cute in it!).
Sure, families have different needs and find certain things useless that someone else found really helpful, but there are certainly some universals out there that every parent needs in at least the first 6 weeks: chuck rugs, muslin wraps, onesies, nappies, wipes, to name a few. My pledge to keep waste to a minimum, and keep us at least wavering near our budget had me thinking outside the box a little.
We were lucky to be given so much after O’s highly anticipated arrival that I stock-piled a few spares/doubles. After going through my presents box, I found some bamboo wraps (we were given quite a few, but our little fella proved too wriggly for wrapping), a few Bonds singlets and a box of newborn nappies that O had grown out of before we had the chance to crack it open. Here is where I confess to buying a three-pack of onesies to go with it all, but I really didn’t do too badly.
Everything was white, so to pep things up, I decided to dye everything ombre red (tutorial here) for my little niece, since her mum loves it, and, like, it’s totes in fashion and stuff (I read blogs. I spend time on Pinterest. I know this stuff). I’m really happy with how it all turned out, although it is a rather lot of pink-to-red for one little girl's wardrobe. They’re not the most professional of dye-jobs, but I like to think that gives them character, and it is the thought that counts, right? Like, I really thought it was going to be easier than it was, but I persisted. That kind of thing.
I put it all together (except the onesies) to make a “nappy cake”, topped with a rose made from one of the singlets. I also gave the mamma-to-be "The Basics” package: wipes, pads, more nappies, panadol, lollies, breast pads and something else I can’t remember because it’s on the dining room table and I’m on the couch and basically a lazy sod and don’t wanna get up.
I can’t remember the point of this post. I think it was to brag about my nappy cake. Oh, and to highlight that you can come up with a great (and useful!) present without costing the earth (see what I did there?).
Now a confession: I have bought some new things for bubs as well, to give after she has arrived, and for Christmas. And a couple of other things that will be for her first birthday, as they were super cute but will be too big til then. So, clearly not a total enviro/frugal saint, but, you know. Baby steps (pun intended).
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
I just noticed that I've had 7,777 pages views for 77 posts. Weird.
The other day I was getting changed out of my daggies (paint-stained cargos and San Diego hoodie, for those of you playing at home) and into something more respectable for the a trip to the outside world. I found myself struggling with that classic, first world problem of owning lots of clothes, but having nothing to wear. It might be the case of new season blues, but more likely it's the fact that I own a lot of support acts, like cardigans and shoes, but not many of what every fashion and mum magazine refers to as The Essentials; the things on which to build your look for the day.
My sister and I have planned an op shopping day this weekend - a long time coming - and I'm armed with a list. I have plenty of work clothes, cardigans, shoes, bags, long sleeved tops, shirts and skirts. What I'm after is shorts (I have 2 pairs, both daggy, both too big), t-shirts I can personalise, a pair of sandals, a maxi dress that isn't clingy, see-through or makes me look preggers or crazy short (the Holy Grail right there) and maybe a sundress.
Usually I shop haphazardly ("Ooh! Pretty! Ohh! Flattering", etc). Hence the wardrobe issue. I'm hoping that, armed with a list, I might manage to rein myself in. I have a friend who shops about twice a year, and buys items she can mix and match, including seasonally appropriate shoes. Then we go through her wardrobe and cull it, and she is left with a small but workable wardrobe for work and play. Yeah. I'm not going to do this, but I admire her all the same for her sensible approach to shopping and life in general. She always scrubs up well, and pays her bills on time. You know, like adults do.
Little bit of a 90's reference there for you all. If you know which song I'm referring to, I say, enjoy the ear worm and glow-stick your way through your day. If you were too young the first time around, you're bound to have danced to it at Time Warp or some such Wednesday retro night at Heaven. If you don't know what Heaven is... Go away. Or find out what the hell I'm banging on about here.
Anyway, both of these outfits are 60% second hand (I'm counting accessories in that). One casual, one work.
Dress: Jeans West, bought privately online, $5.00
Cardigan: Sussan, MOSH Shop, $2.00
Boots: Savers Noarlunga, $5.99
Belt: This came with a dress from Valley Girl (new)
Necklace: Target, $3.00 (new)
Top: Target $17.00 (new)
Pants: Crossroads, St Marys Red Cross $2.00
Cardigan: Valley Girl, not sure which op shop, cheap
Shoes: Kmart, Noarlunga Salvos, $4.99
Belt: American Eagle, US$15 (new)
Total: about $40
Sunday, 17 November 2013
I've gone a little dye-mad. I had it in my head that I wanted to create little ombre onesies and muslin wraps for my soon-to-be-born niece. It extended to baby singlets, a few of my cardigans, a top that got a little discoloured after a big night out, and a dress that was in some serious need of a make over. I had some successes and some failures, that's for sure. Rather than give you a kind of pointless tutorial on what to do (after all, the instructions are on the bottle), I'll give you a run down of the errors I made, in the hope that you wont end up with red palms like me.
- When they say wear gloves, they mean it. I'm not sure how long I'm going to have the song "Red Right Hand" stuck in my head, but it's already been there for 3 days.
- Don't forget to wet your items first. They don't take as well if they are dry. I made this mistake about 4 times. And not in a row.
- It's a good idea to pop a towel under your stuff as it drips on the airer while the other lot is in the wash. Luckily I spotted it early. And our laundry floors have kind of a pinky/salmony marble deal going on anyway, so it has kinda blended in.
- Don't root around in your closet and dye anything that's white. I think I might have to get a darker colour....
- Different fabrics take the colour differently. From my limited experimentation, cotton takes it in quite nicely; polyester is a little grabby; and I'm not sure what the hell happened to my tops with lace trim... Maybe don't experiment with something that you like, or if you do, be prepared to try again with a different colour (I'll let you know how it goes).
- The white bit I left turned pink in the wash. I probably should have realised that, but it all worked out in the end anyway. Pink to red is still nice!
And now, a montage of what not to do (with a couple of "dos" thrown in).
|Okay, that's my left hand, but you get the idea.|
|Mmm. That's a pretty marbled effect.|
|This will need a re-dye.|
|Another re-do coming up! Yeesh.|
|These ones worked!|
|I left the bit I wanted lightest, then let the machine do the rest |
(you know, once I worked that out)
|Being lazy ;)|
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Most of you are probably aware of the new(ish) Savers store at Tea Tree Plaza in Modbury. It's awesome news for anyone who lives on the north side of town. I'm itching to go there, but Modbury is pretty much the complete opposite end of Adelaide to where I am, so it's a packed lunch deal for me when I do head out that way. I'll aim to get there one day soon, and write up a comparison of the two SA Savers stores. In the meantime, if you live in the area (or don't mind a drive), check it out, but also save your pennies for the end of the year, when they have their next 50% off clothing sale. Dress comfy, bring snacks and prepare to get dirty: those sale days are massive.
Tea Tree Plaza
Main North Rd
Tea Tree Plaza
Main North Rd