Thursday, 14 August 2014

Living a Simple & Creative Life Project: Handmade Christmas

So as a carry on from my last few posts about living a more simple and creative life, this year our family has decided to do a fully handmade Christmas. All the children's gifts are going to be either handmade by us, and a select few that we are unable to make are going to bought just as long as they are handmade.

It is taking a little planning, and while this year it will probably be a lot more effort than how our Christmases usually were but I am extremely excited at the prospect of it all. I think it makes it easier that it is an idea that the other half fully supports, which when undertaking activities that you hope will help shape your family, is extremely important.

I love Christmas, I am a all out bells and whistles kinda girl when it comes to festive season. The decorating, the food and the gift giving. It's going to be a learning and growing experience for us all, I'm sure of it.

I've started with a few ideas for all the children, the Boy being the hardest at 8 years old. I want it to be exciting opening his presents, not a 'what were they thinking' moment for him. It's a hard chop for kids to go from and over commercialized life style (us as parents in the making of that) to a simple one, but I know that he will enjoy the gifts I am thinking up for him. I have one 'wow' factor one that I know he will get years of use out of.

I'm even going to go as far as sorting through to Christmas deco's and tossing because it's not just the kids that have to many things that I have held on to of theirs, it's my own collection of useless stuff that needs to go as well. I have ordered a simple, small white wooden Christmas tree that I will decorate with handmade decorations of the kids. I'm excited to get it, and excited to finally be able to set it up although that time can go by as slowly as possible, as I now have a lot of things to get making ;)

I'm going to post tutorials of some of the gifts that I am making, hopefully they will be of help to someone out there!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Living a Simple & Creative Life Project: The Little Poppets Bedroom

 **This Post is Picture Heavy**

I've been reading the wonderful book 'The Creative Family' by Amanda Soule and in the introduction, a few short sentences really radiated with me:

"In our modern lives, it's all to easy to get swept up in the busyness of the day-to-day - meals, cleaning, school, work, and other life details often stand in the way if the time we need to pursue our creative endeavors. As parents, it is both our responsibility and our privilege to be sure that our family's creative spirits have all the room and tools they need to soar freely"

So, you know what I did then??

I packed away all of My Little Poppet's toys and belongings.  All the glitter, all the 'plastic fantastic' array of bright pink character toys, her rug, her wardrobe. It was all emptied out to give me a blank canvas to start again. It was set off by a tornado sleep over with her cousin, and whilst they enjoyed themselves they managed to pull out almost every single item she owns and played with none of it. It was like the enjoyment was just in creating the actual mess.

The following pictures, if you can even believe are from after I had started tidying up. What a sensory overload.


 There was no method in my sorting to start with, I just boxed and bagged everything, all it went out into our hallway, I wanted her room to be liveable in a very short amount of time, so that she could enjoy it and feel the benefits of having a clutter free space of her own. I rearranged her furniture, took some furniture out and selectively choose some 'intentional toys' to be replaced in her 'new bedroom'. I was honest with her about it during the whole process, I explain that I am packing up her belongings for us to sort out to keep, to give away, to toss and to sell. She seemed unfazed by the whole ordeal and went about her merry way.

Her room now, makes me giddy when I walk past the door, it feels inviting like I could go and lay on her bed to read a book, or sit on her soft floor to enjoy some quiet time with her.

Gone for good is her bright pink floor rug (she is happy about that), her chest of drawers and cube storage unit. The teddy hanging storage nets have also gone for good. Her quilt is one I have been making for her, it's not finished yet but she asked if I could place it on top of her bed, must aim to get it backed in the next few weeks.

This large cane basket which was over-flowing with dress ups and dolls (and a magnet for lots of other wandering toys) now houses a few select toys. Her lego, a baby bath, her Anna & Elsa barbies (a new gift for her birthday just gone, the other barbies are packed away), some gardening gloves and after packing away all of her toys the only one that she wondering where it had gone was her spiderman which is now in this box.


A new addition to her room is this small cube unit, to serve as a bedside table. All of her books have been added to the family bookshelf and I placed a cane basket here to house her books of the moment for bed time and easy access. The unit houses a few small supplies, her sewing basket, a basket full of her shells and rocks. A teddy that reads stories (was a gift from her nanny and she wanted to keep it in her room) and a cd player (unfortunately is a 'Dora' one, but it does the trick.

I left her tree coat rack with the items she uses almost daily, I left her wooden doll house which is very much loved and has a few additions of a three year old's art work. Her bookcase remained as well, but instead of being another magnet for junk and tossed in books, I replaced the layout with the two top shelves for a selection of her 'speacil trinkets, the middle shelf her handmade dolls, second bottom shelf a cane basket with handmade dolls clothes (this shelf also houses her beloved 'Lucy', and Baby Born Doll but she was in 'bed' when I was taking pictures) and the bottom shelf a puzzle and music box.

Her kitchen unit is still in her bedroom but all of it's paraphernalia has been dispelled. I left a handful of felt food, a set of metal pots & utensils, two plates and two cups. I am hoping once we have a cubby house set up outside that this item will be placed in the 'children's house'. I also left her doll pram and cot set up in her room. She really enjoys playing mum, and although she has questioned a few times where all her 'plastic fantastic' doll equipment and numerous dolls have gone, a quick reassurance that her much loved Lucy and handmade dolls are still here and she quickly forgets that they are not there.

I also made a few changes to a item of furniture that she received for her birthday last year, a 'vanity table'. I don't even know why I bought it as I am not one to let her wear make up or even play with it, and it to became a magnet for bedroom junk. So I removed the mirror and turned it into a plain old table, a creative space for her sewing and art in her bedroom should she ever feel she needed a quiet place to do so. I grabbed a piece of lace ribbon from my craft supplies and hung from the wall above her 'desk' to hang her wonderful artwork from, when she first seen her new room this was the feature that she was most excited about. She loves having her work displayed.

You can notice in this picture two other toys that I have not mentioned yet, on the left hand side near the cane basket is a pony called 'Butterscotch', this was a request to have in her room for the Poppet. She is new, and played with a lot so I felt comfortable putting her in here as she is used in imaginative play and on the right is a rocking horse, who has become a very much loved part of our family, he is not staying in here and will be moved to a more common area but for now, this is his special spot until our common places are ready for him.

We have started on the task of sorting through all the things that have been removed from her bedroom, we have gone through her toys together as I feel it is important for her to have a say in what she keeps. I have been astounded by her willingless to let go, we already have a humongous box full of items to sell, two full bin bags of items to give and half a bag of items to throw. We also have a box of 'maybe keep' these toys will be sorted and placed in boxes put away for special play days, and then to be packed away again.

It is so refreshing, like a weight lifted off to walk past her room. The children have been getting introduced to a few chores each day to do and one is to tidy their bedrooms. I feel now that this is a task that she will be able to complete on her own, everything in this space has a spot and even if she did pull everything out it still would only equate to a small pile of stuff.

I am planning a handmade Christmas this year, a few thoughtful handmade gifts but mostly time to spend with loved ones. I have a feeling that this simplifying of our living space will help the children to adjust to a new way of celebrating events like Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc.

This is going to be an on going project of mine from here on in, The Simple & Creative Life Project which I hope to post my progress on through here. I hoping to make it life long in the hope that I will feel more fulfilled and happy, not that I am not happy now but you can never be too happy, right?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Change is a Good as a Holiday...

Well, maybe not because I sure could use a holiday right now, I wouldn't even be very picky on where it would be. But I know that I need some kind of change to refresh my life.

It's funny when some things seem to be down, you notice all the other little things that need attention as well and so slowly and surely I've been compiling lists, writing down things that I want to, possible more so need to change within my life. Not huge things, gradual things, little tweaks here and there just to keep things moving in a more peaceful manner.

I've decided that to keep myself accountable, I am going to keep a running diary or at least blog posts about my efforts to simplify my life a little. My brain is going stir crazy at the amount of weight I have on my shoulders at the moment and I need to make that load a little lighter. This post is just a quick summary of what I am going to try and achieve for myself and my family over the next year and beyond.

The children have been first off the rank, I got rid of them (ok no I didn't) new chores which we are still working out a best way of getting these done. Their chores now lead to 'Technology Minutes' which they can earn during the week for the weekend. I'll be the first to admit for a good 12 months here technology was used embarrassingly to much. Unless for homework purposes or listening to music while we tidy up, the ipads, play-station and computers are off limits during the week. And I must say it is so refreshing.

On my own behalf, I have deactivated my fb account for at least a month. It's ridculous how much time is eaten away on the darn thing, even if it is just a minute or two here and there. Don't get me wrong, I love staying in contact through fb with friends that are far away, my real issue lies with the non-contact you have with friends that live so close you could throw a rock at their house. All this 'friendship' on facebook and nothing in 'real-life'. So I am going to make an effort to be a more 'real-life friend and person'. Invite people a round for dinners, actually catch up with people instead of saying we need to a thousand times over.

My house is anything from an organised mess. It is completely an unorganised messy (but clean) house. Don't get me wrong, I will never have a house magazine tidy picture worthy home (I say to myself that I am much to creative for that ;) but I do desperately want to de-clutter every. single. room. I want to create a creative home, a home that my children feel inspired and safe, warm and happy. I want to be more organsied, I think that it will create a little sounding board for stress, but I still want to be 'me', who is creative and a little bit messy.

Health. From exercise to healthy eating. I have already made a start by committing to not buying packaged school foods. No more bbq shapes or le-snacks. Not because we don't love them, but maybe because we do... We have so much processed things in our diet even without these thrown in. I've not bought any for almost two weeks (all though we have been eating through or small supply.) This is probably going to be the biggest and longest challenge/change in all of our lives. Its a big habit that needs changing and I am hoping that with small steps that this time next year my family will be healthier, happier and glowing from eating right and living well. I know that some days it is going to be a struggle. I just need to keep reminding myself that change doesn't happen over night and in years to come if I stick with it I'll look back and wonder how I ever was in the spot I am right now!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Day Five

A lot of sewing but not much blogging has been going on in this household for the July edition of Kids Clothes Week.

Day fives item was a sweet little bright jumper to match our previous "You are My Sunshine' Skirt. The sun on the jumper is a drawing of my little Poppet's. I wanted to make something bright since we are in the middle of winter here in our little part of the world and I love how the gold glitters in the sunlight.

There's nothing quite like finishing something up on the sewing machine, calling out to the child that it is intended for and then watching their eyes light up like you have handed them a wad of $50 notes. I'm enjoying sewing these little creations for my children, and am hoping that it becomes a welcomed habit into my crafty pursuits that is for sure!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Day Four

So this little project was helped along with my little poppet. The only help I gave her in the designing of the fabric was picking the colours and giving her the paint to go for it. It was a little difficult to let her at it, not because we don't create like this normally but usually the sewing and fabric is left up to me. But I gave her full control and let her guide me in what was going on. I did lend a hand for a 'birdy' and a 'love heart' but all the rest is from her own little mind and based upon one of our families favourite songs 'You Are My Sunshine'

It was extremely rewarding to see her face at the end once the skirt was sewn up. I'm thinking that we might do a summer project with lot;s of bright colours and white fabric, I can just imagine sewing up a few outfits splatted in colour.

Day five's project will most likely be something to go along with this little skirt :)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Day Three

Its been a long time since I made something for my eldest. I don't really know why, maybe because he is so much older than the other children, and I struggled to find things that I actually wanted to sew. But I made a goal when I signed up for kids clothes week that I would spend at least 2 days on each child, the last day up for grabs for anything that tickles my fancy.

Today I went along with the Kids Clothes Week Theme: Kids Art. My son is a very creative soul, so I raided his art book and picked out this drawing..

 I made him a t-shirt with this picture outlined in gold paint, I used a FIGGY pattern for the first time (Banyan Tee) and must say that it was so easily and wonderful to understand... the sewing part took all of 10 minutes!!

It was so great seeing his excitement in putting on again something that I had made him, it has been way to long between the last item and now I am going to make more of an effort to sew for him as well as the two younger ones.

What did you get up to for kids clothes week today?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Day Two

Oh my, Oh my. It was very hard to get a picture of my day two project for Kids Clothes Week since my little poppet decided it was the prefect dress for spinning in!!

I guess that's a good sign though, cause hey, what's a dress that you can't spin in!! Right?!? I was excited to make this one, the dresses skirt is made from near mint condition Holly Hobbie fabric and I totally couldn't wait to get it on to her. There's something about crafting with something of your childhood for your own children. These sheets where like the popular must have item when I was little, who would ever imagine that they would fetch the prices that they do today.

The dress is from a Made By Rae pattern, the Geranium Dress. Such a great little dress to make and really made this vintage fabric pop. We also made a matching hair bow together... My wonderful little poppet had a go at being a hairdresser a few months ago so needs accessories to tame the growing hair.

It's only day two and still I am wondering what on earth will I do when this is over, I've already been thinking about it for weeks from fabric to what I would make! Excited for tomorrow's project, not quite sure which one I will get up to, but I have a very exciting ones up my sleeve!