Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

I know it's totally silly and geeky, but I love this time of year. November has always been a favorite month of mine when we lived in the US. I love the Autumn weather and colors, I love the pumpkins, & Thanksgiving. Since discovering NaNo, there's just one more thing to love about November! Of course my family will say that it's also the month of my birthday which makes it pretty cool too..

This year, though, I didn't think I could participate in Nano. I mean, it was on my list and I really wanted to do it, but the our big move came up and I had this senior blonde moment as a friend use to call it and thought Nano started in October. I mean it was a major moment because the No in Nano does stand, after all, for November!

Thanks to a few, much more with it, homeschooling friends around the globe I was quickly brought up to date on the whole No stands for November. I'm so glad that those who also play along in this crazy event are much more with it then I was, because man I was feeling really bummed out that I couldn't participate!

So, for those of you in the dark, Nano starts on November 1st in your own country. When you register you can select your country from a drop down box, and generally your time/region. Unless you live in Tasmania. Then you get lumped into this funny odd box known as Everywhere Else. Gotta love it!

I am determined, this year, to bend and shape my characters into submission fitting them within the covers of my novel, instead of permitting them to climb out and ride on the spine. Really, you'd think they'd have more respect then that, but there must be a lot more value in the old saying, "The pen is mightier then the sword." or something like that.

How about you, are you Nanoing?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Revolutionary War Review

We wrapped up week 13 of our studies last week, which also brought the US Colonial period to an end for us. Next up is the Revolutionary War, & considering we spent six weeks studying it last week no one was too keen to spend another six weeks studying the same material this week. Instead, we've decided to consolidate six weeks into one week. I know it sounds like a lot, but it's not really.

Instead of using the designated text {which we loved}, we're pulling out a few other resources we didn't get to last time. We've also decided to watch all 40 short episodes of Liberty's Kids in one week. Or maybe that's more of a challenge for us, I'm not sure yet.

We will still use some of the same lapbooking pieces just so the boys can each have their own set tucked away in their timeline notebooks. We're adding a few new ones too, in place of a couple of the ones we used last time.

All in all, should be a fun, all be it, busy week ahead! The boys are both looking forward to it after wrapping up our last read aloud Regina Silsby's Secret War, which was just fantastic. It was a slower start and I wasn't completely sure about it, but the boys were swept away and delighted from start to finish.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Cake

How's that for a birthday cake? Can you say sugar-high? I spotted this cake floating around the internet and was looking for a great excuse to try making it, my sister-in-law's birthday seemed the perfect excuse! It's actually a round chocolate cake covered in chocolate icing & then we put kit-kat around it and filled the remaining space between the top of the cake and the top of the kit-kats with Smarties. Not exactly sugar-free for the topping, but it was an amazing site to be behold. I dug out the candles from Morgan's birthday and popped it in the candy and the colors were a perfect match!

Wanna know how many bags of Smarties are in there? Four. No, really. It took us 3.25 of the family sized kit-kat bars to cover that crazy cake too. The best part? Deciding how to slice the monstrosity! In the end we scraped the Smarties off the top and put them in two bowls, pried off a few kit-kat to access the cake, & then tricked everyone who'd not been present for the ideal by telling them we'd all ready eaten all the candy. Cruel, I know! Fun cake, even if it was difficult to slice..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Appliqued T-Shirts

Have you tried to pick out boys clothing lately? It's pretty bad unless you want to dress your child in punk or goth, neither of which will I do. Believe it or not, this also really limits the shirts I can or will purchase for my children. Shirts are loaded with rude words and graphic pictures these days, and when you have an 8 year old who is tall enough to wear size 10 and 12 clothing it makes it even harder! 
Late this winter I spotter some plain colored v-neck t-shirts in the boys department of Kmart for $2. I snatched quite a few up for each child and decided I’d appliqué them for the upcoming warmer weather.
The fun part is deciding what to put on each shirt which isn’t too hard for Jayden. He’s still very happy with kiddie type designs and is pleased as punch when I list off ideas like silly monsters with crazy eyes, mustaches, or even cowboys. Morgan is a bit tricker because he prefers things a bit more grownup these days.
In the end we decided on the following designs for Jayden: Silly monster, cookie monster, cowboy, & an Angry Bird. Morgan: Angry Bird, neck tie, lizard, & a Pokemon. 

Despite using Cars material Morgan was pretty keen on his neck-tie shirt, all though I'm pretty certain I sewed slightly off kilter. No one else seemed to notice though so no biggie.

One of the tricks to appliquéing directly onto the t-shirt is to use a bit of interfacing under the design so that the sewing doesn't pucker up. I tend to have interfacing on hand and just cut a piece of it and pin or iron {sometimes both} to the inside of the t-shirt. 

Then I turn the t-shirt right side out and adhere my design down. I prefer to use Heat & Bond because I feel it holds everything in place better then the visoflex, but either will work. The safety pins that you see are helping to hold the interfacing in place while I sew the appliqué down. I really love that crazy spotted monster!

After you've sewn it down just trim the excess interfacing. I use a seam ripper to poke a hole in the bigger sections of interfacing on my designs. This helps keep the shirt lighter in the summer. Just be careful that when you poke the hole you aren't going through the t-shirt!!

I didn't clear out the horns or eye area because I wasn't into all the fiddly bit considering I couldn't find my smaller scissors. But just removing the excess on the outside and some of the inside reduces the weight. I trimmed the outer area with my normal sewing scissors, again being careful not to trim into the t-shirt. 

Trim any threads, shake it out and you're done! I used a satin stitch around the appliqué because I like the finished look. It's just a really tight zig-zag. You have to adjust the width and length of your zig-zag stitch until you get it where you are happy with it. I usually practice on scrap and avoid satin stitching around pupils or other small round areas. For the black pupils above I just did a normal straight stitch to make sure they didn't fall off. 

I had to make my own pattern for the crazy Angry Bird t-shirt the boys wanted. It really wasn't too difficult because there's plenty of free coloring sheets out there you can convert into a simple pattern. My machine was hating the cheap black thread I had, so I only finished one of them. I need to get better thread and a new pack of needles before attempting the other one. Three t-shirts down 5 more to go! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

12 Years Ago..

Twelve years ago I was reciting my marriage vows standing next to a tall lanky fellow from Australia. His side of the garden had more guests on it then my side & I was terrified the preacher would mistakingly call him Kenneth again.
Thinking back on it, it’s funny to me now. The excitement, the nerves, the calamities. The desperation for a drink when you’re all ready in your wedding dress and everyone is terrified you’ll spill on it. My cousin’s panic that she’d need a band-aid for her belly button because at 7 months it was becoming an outie. My soon to be niece shivering like mad because it turned out to be the coldest day of the month! The delayed start as we waited on out of town guests to find their way {they showed up as we were leaving and my parents threw in the wedding tape for them to watch..} 
If I stood there now watching myself get married I wonder what I’d think, would I still find it amusing? Would I warn myself that my brother-in-law is hiding a three pound sack of birdseed behind his back and I’ll spend the first three months of my married life picking it out of my hair, ears, clothes, and car?
Mostly, I think I’d tell myself that it in twelve years time everyone will still laugh about the frigid weather. That my husband’s Granny will never forget us because she’ll remember freezing her toes off at our outdoor ceremony.
I’d warn myself that my husband will not sleep through tornado season for the next eight years of his life. I’d warn myself that I won’t either because he’ll insist we all sleep in the hallway or the bathtub or some other absurd spot that is most certainly not comfy but gives him enormous peace of mind that we’re safe.
I’d tell myself that no matter how scary the INS people look and no matter what big terms they like to throw around, I can provide them with enough paperwork to scare them not to mention repaper their office walls.
I’d warn myself that morning sickness doesn’t last just for the morning, but all day long; & it’s worth it. I’d tell myself to believe every granny and mother of grown children I pass, because children really do grow too fast.
I’d warn myself that once we no longer live in tornado valley we still won’t sleep through wind or thunder storms because our children will now feel the need to snuggle up in bed with us.
I’d suggest that I start working on cork clothing to protect myself against the flies in Australia. I’d have cornered the market by now! I’d probably suggest that I take out stock in bug repellant while I was at it because I’d know the size and speed of an Aussie mozzie.

I’d tell myself to not plan much for Saturday mornings because we’ll be too busy being horribly lazy with silly games, skyping family, and refusing to get out of bed before 10 in the winter. I’d remind myself not to feel guilty for it because I know the kids will cherish those memories.
I’d tell myself that the most traumatic thing to happen isn’t losing your wedding band in the grass, having a bad hair day, or losing your job. It’s losing your child, but I’d assure myself that I’d make it through and eventually smile again.
I’d let myself know that it’s best to always carry my mobile phone so that my husband doesn’t spend the entire hour I’m out walking every morning panicking about my safety.
I’d remind myself that if my husband does the dishes it’s his way of saying, “I love you.” and there’s no need to sweat the fact that the trash bin is overflowing. After all, it’s only trash!

I’d tell myself that there’s no need to sweat post pregnancy stretch marks or wrinkles of any kind because my husband never fails to tell me I’m beautiful and amazing even when I think I look like I’ve been plowed over by a Mac Truck.
I’m pretty sure the me from twelve years ago would nod politely and smile and  then laugh because I’d think the me from now was completely crazy, but I’d learn soon enough that she was right..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SpellWell Review

I disclosed earlier this year that we chose to use a spelling programme with our kids this year. I finally wrote a review on the programme & shared it over on The Curriculum Choice.

The child that was not using a spelling curriculum this year actually asked me to purchase him a spelling book too because he thinks it looks like that much fun.

That was a real shocker for me, and I'm not sure if it's as much that he thinks it would be heaps of fun as much as he knows his brother enjoys it and he'd like to try his hand at it too. Either way, considering the extreme affordability with this programme I'm quite happy to oblige him.

Anyway, if you're interested in seeing how it's used or what it looks like you can check it out over here. I'm going to be honest and just say we love this programme!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Planner

It would be completely fair to say I might have an addiction to planners. Both homemade and store bought. I've actually be working on designing a planner that's small enough to carry around with me. Not that we go that many places, but I've lost a few too many Dr & Dentist appointment times and only remember when they give you their 24 hour reminder call. I hate that.

The problem with designing a small planner was how was I going to bind it up. I've bound smaller things and merely cut down the ProClick spines before, but that wasn't really the route I wanted to go this time.

I considered buying a planner just for the planner itself and then filling it with my pages. In fact, I picked up a super cheap one off ebay only to realize that I should have considered the need for a special hole punch too.

During my wanderings I spotted iHanna's idea to make your own from a normal notebook. This is possible in Australia where two ring notebooks abound, but it was a little trickier to find anything that wasn't a d-ring. I hate d-ring notebooks, I know people love them and they are suppose to be all the rage, but I don't. Every d-ring notebook we have has caused torn papers, so I'm not a fan.

Remember a couple of years back when I did the Harry Potter unit with the boys? I'd picked them each up an HP notebook from a local shop on the marked down table. One of those was still floating around and happened to have 2 circle rings that were placed on the spine of the notebook. After a bit of measuring & locating a utility knife I finally got mine cut to size. I went with a slightly bigger size then the original tutorial & keep debating resizing it, but for now I'm good with it.

Due to making mine a little bigger covering the outside of it was a wee bit trickier because I was determined to use some paper I'd cut for another project. Had I been using full sized 12x12 pieces it might have been a wee bit easier, I'm not sure. When I was done I covered the whole thing in contact paper on the outside, and then glued a piece of paper on the inside covers . I made the bookmark from an old plastic notebook that was hanging around and put the funny pumpkin on there, the dots at the top were a rub-on that I had. Then I was able to create all my dividers from scrapbook paper and some cards that my family has sent to me.

Believe it or not, I've saved each card my family has sent me in a little plastic box. the idea was to use the pictures and some of the sayings for scrapbooking projects. And yes, I've saved just about every card my husband has given me, and my children. {But, we tend to only give cards on birthdays & anniversaries, all though Mom sticks a card in most of the packages she sends.} I only ended up using cards from my family in the planner. On a few of them I even cut out some of the personal handwriting, either because it was funny or sweet or both.

I'd tell you that the above house shaped card is my favorite just because of it's shape, but then I'd see another card in my stash and say that one was my favorite so I'll just say that I really loved the house card because it was so cute & doesn't it make the perfect divider for housing my addresses?

This card surprised me when it arrived in the mail last year & totally cracked me up too. My "little" brother sent it to me after a chat we'd had a few weeks earlier about how he use to tease me unmercifully as kids about how he was really older just because his birthday was in October. I was silly enough to think he might be right and would go wailing off to Mom about it. Now, every time I jot a birthday done in my planner I'm going to laugh myself silly over it.

I put the cards on the front of the dividers and on the back I either put the handwritten notes and/or the insert from the card. This particular divider is a pocket to hold important receipts and what not. The other half of the picture is slightly blurry because it's a plastic pocket holding blu-tac. We survive on blu-tac around here and when we moved and couldn't find our packet of it I rushed out to buy a brand new packet of it, and within hours it was literally missing. We called in a major search party for it to no avail and had to go back to town for more! I procured a small piece incase the second packet jumped ship!

All in all, I'm quite happy with it. I may, or may not, cut down the size of it at some point, but for now I need to fill it up with the mini planner I've been working on over the past few months and give the thing a proper test run! My only major complaint with it would have to be the two rings though. I'm not a fan of two ring notebooks merely because I feel they hold the middle of your paper in place but don't hold the ends, we'll see how it goes though! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nature Finds

Check out the feather we spotted on our nature walk the other day! To read more about it you can do so here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winter Promise 12 Weeks Later

I have to admit that while Winter Promise has it's flaws we've really enjoyed the majority of our journey over the past 12 weeks.

Thus far we've covered Explorers, Native American, Colonists, & everything in between. Which, granted, isn't much, but we've enjoyed it all the same. You should have seen the look of surprise on my kids faces when they found out pirates aren't just for storybooks!

We're nearing the end with Colonists and about to have a very mini brush up on the Revolutionary War. We don't intend to stay the full six weeks in this particular topic because we studied it for 5+ weeks last year and it's still reasonably fresh on the boys minds.

However, a quick brush up, reading of some new books, a couple of our old favorites, & adding some notebooking pages to our timeline notebook are on the agenda. I'm really looking forward to the two latest books we'll be digging into as well!

George Washington For Kids is loaded with information, crafts & recipes and I know the kids will enjoy it. There's an entire series of these books that I've heard many good things about from several other homeschoolers, but this is our first time personally using them.

I've been dying to read Regina Silsby's Secret War since it came in the mail! I mean like really eager! I love historical fiction, and I've had to resist the urge to read some of the books that come because I love not knowing what's going to happen so that when the kids pester me over it I can honestly admit that I don't know. It also makes theorising with them much more fun too!

The only book I regret doing that with was an Audio we borrowed from our library that was on our my list of read-alouds this year called Stop The Train! It was a delightful story and wonderfully done, but there were two instances in the book when I think the author could have refrained from choice words. I was also unimpressed with the mocking of the Mormon religion. Regardless of my own religious choices, I strongly disagree with mocking anyone else's choice. The overall story & the pictures painted were amazing though. Had I read it aloud myself I would have given a miss to the choice words, but we would have missed the true attitude of some of the characters as the actress portrayed them.

Having said that, this was not a book suggested by Winter Promise, it was merely a book on my list to read with the kids. While it had parts we disagreed with in it, it also gave us the opportunity to discuss appropriate ways to treat people who may believe different then you do.

As much as we've truly enjoyed our ride, thus far, with Winter Promise and intend to follow it through we do intend to switch to Sonlight for the second half of American History. After much exploration we {The principle & I} decided that we really liked the book selections for our children better from Sonlight for that year.

I'm a big planner and like to know where I'm going and what I'm doing which means I have school tentatively planned through the end of Morgan's highschool year{s} {Remember that's only grade 10 in Tassie} & they will most likely revolve around the remaining Sonlight cores. I have certain topics I want to cover with him before his time at home is over {because it's still up in the air as to going to college or staying home for grades 11 & 12 and a choice we very well may leave up to him..} & interestingly enough Sonlight's Cores hit on all of them. We're looking very forward to the journey.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Spy Hole

I looked at our current house three times before signing lease papers. And, while that does seem excessive it's not the point of this post one little bit!

The real point is that freaky picture to the left! Do you know what my children said each time I came to check the house out? "Mom, we have to rent this house it has a SPY hole!" "Mom, we'll know if it's a stranger at the door, and we can ask everyone to give passwords before letting them in." "We need this house!"

It's something they raved and raved about and were just delighted to out to use. I was a bit more worried about what the password was going to be! The sad truth is, that when we moved in I hung things up to make it more homey. But, I have to be careful where I hang things until I get the green light that I put nails in the walls. Low and behold while cleaning the front door off I noticed a tiny hole in the door, from a tack, and decided to hang a plaque we'd been given there. The crazy plaque is just long enough that we can't use the peep hole!

That was okay until I spotted this little scene in the lounge room. You see, we live not far from Mr S's current employer and they carpool together! It's so nice. Only, when they come home at night sometimes they sit in the car for ages chattering away like a couple of silly girls. The night I took this photo was no different and I spotted Jayden and his shadow staring out the window.

Their plan had been to lock the front door and peep through the spy hole to check out who was there as a joke, only the dog not being able to speak and the boy being so excited totally forgot that the mother had hung a plaque on the door. The dog remained in this very position with his head between the blind slats while the boy had a near break down. I suggested he climb up and peer out the window of the door and demand to know who was knocking on the door. I told him it was just as safe as having access to the peep hole and I'd uncover it for him the following afternoon. {He didn't want me to uncover it right then because they Daddy would know he was up to no good!}

And so he agreed, except that even standing on top of the fullest beanbag he couldn't quite reach the window. It didn't, however, stop him from demanding a password. The wrong one was given. Demanding to know who it was. Demanding real proof that, "You are really Daddy and not a cyborg pretending to be my Dad!" Heaven help us all..

The funniest part, for me, was that Jayden ran off completely forgetting to unlock the door! Apparently he'd gone to snag his Narnia sword and Starwars gun to have a few defences just in case it was a cyborg and not his father, you know cause that's bound to happen, right? The dog, however took over at the door and thus Morgan, in complete confusion climbed up stares out the peep hole and says, "I can't see anything Jayden, maybe it is a cyborg!" To which their father says, "I can see you through the window, and I am not a cyborg." Morgan's response? "Oh yeah? Then what's the password?" "Open the door and let me in!!" 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


What do homeschoolers do for recess, which is often better known as free time?

They work on their bubble blowing skills.

Some work on blowing big bubbles.

Some work on blowing small bubbles.

Some work on catching bubbles without popping them.

Some work on trying to touch them without popping them.

Some give their teachers death stares while chasing bubbles down.

And it's all fun and games until seat work beckons them back again.. or the bubbles cause the neighbors dog to yap uncontrollably you decide to give it a rest for a while.. or you run out of bubble solution..

Friday, October 14, 2011

Colonial LIfe

Despite our big move school has carried on. We took a two week holiday {give or take a few days} in order to pack and then unpack, but we were able to keep right on reading a lot of our selected titles.

This week has been a slow introduction back into our studies, and it's mostly revolved around notebooking that various things we've been learning about over the past few weeks.

For now, most of our notebooking selections have come from the Homeschool In The Woods Colonial Pack. It's another amazing product from this company and we've truly enjoyed using it. We've only got a week or so left of it!

We made a paper/notebooked version of Nine Men's Morris. It actually came with little bitty heads to cut out to use for playing pieces, but we decided that was a tad tedious and pulled out some playing pieces to use in stead. There were many rounds of this played as we each attempted to battle our way to the end. When we read that the game was played as long ago as Ancient Egypt there was discussion of, "Do you think Moses or Joseph or maybe even Jesus played this game?"

A few weeks ago we learned about the various houses typically seen in Colonial times. Even more interesting we learned how each house became common and why. As it turns out, most houses were determined by the different ethnic backgrounds. The boys made pop-up booklets for each house!

We've learned about a lot of influential people, times, and items in the leading of colonists & their religions making it to America. We created a timeline of these people and items which turned out to be awkward to keep in our notebook in the way it was meant to be, so we folded it up {per instructions} and then put it inside a sheet protector! Easy peasy.

We also learned about 8 different "bees" Colonists use to have. Did you think those were just for quilting? As it turns out they weren't! They had a "bee" for everything from apple picking & hay making down to sewing and taffy making.  We really love these funny little books that you just keep twisting and unfolding. They store neatly in a provided pocket {pie shaped} but we found in the notebook they needed a paperclip to keep them from puffing out too much.

We also learned all about how the Colonial kitchen was run. It was quite the feat to keep everything balance and cooking at the same time! We really enjoyed checking out the tools and equipment used by colonists as well. Some things, like an apple peeler, haven't changed much either which surprised us. This little cookery book was a bit to heavy to glue down so we created a pocket page and stuck it inside.

This was a fun page! It was a little bit time consuming, but well worth it. Bear in mind we had to create 2x4 of these pages though.. The idea was to tape down 4 pieces of acetate, we chose to use some clear plastic covers from our ProClick merely because it's what we had on hand and I couldn't locate my acetate stash. Anyway, once you have four pieces taped down on various sides it creates a flip book. Then you glue various layers of clothing to your people and you can see what each layer looked like. We did this for a Man, Woman, Girl, and Boy. The boy also had a toddler to look after, but the toddler didn't come with layers.

This page, while simple really intrigued the boys. Each picture is an artefact dug up from around George Washington's plantation! We guess most of them correct, but the second from the bottom on the left we were way off on! The best part of this page was a few days after moving into our new place we were completely worn out after a day of packing and Mr S and his brother had nipped off to get pizzas for tea. When I flipped on the tv there was a history show where the people were digging for artefacts where the mysterious first colony vanished from. Not only were the boys familiar with the "story" they were so taken by watching how artefacts are dug up that they wouldn't let anyone pop on the planned movie.  Interestingly enough they actually dug in a new place {the people on the show} and started finding more signs of the lost colony. Which really disappointed my boys because they'd tried a viking dig for about 5 minutes at the last house and found nothing. So now Morgan's right back to being desperate to help on a real archaeologist dig.

These were things we did on two different days. The barn is full of things colonists would have used, grown, or had on their farms. If you swing the barn upward there's a pocket inside full of the various little things. The minit book above it is all the information we learned about flax, and really it was very interesting. We even had a book with photographs of the tools they used to harvest the flax in an effort to  make linen. We also learned where the terms linsey-woolsey & homespun came from which was extremely fun for me was I'd just been reading a fictional Civil War trilogy where the term "homespun" came up a lot. The boys always find it fun when I share that kind of thing with them.

Needless to say, our timeline notebooks are getting extremely full, and the boys really enjoy flipping back through them and checking out all the things they've learned.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mail Center

In our last house things were pretty centrally located, and dropping mail on the counter or Mr S's desk for him was pretty easy. We've got a different set up in the new place and that made dropping mail anywhere a bit more difficult. I was thinking how it would be grand to have a place near the door for it when I remembered seeing a few floating around the internet.

The best part of this craft was that I had all the supplies on hand, and with a little recycling there was no need to pick up anything other then glue sticks. I actually had glue sticks, but they were the big ones for the glue gun that blew up last year while the boys were making Christmas ornaments.

And yes, it really blew up with a bang and a pop and everything. In fact, there was even smoke. I had to brave spiders and lizards to go flip the switches in the fuse box to get the power back up and running. Apparently the new glue gun came with glue sticks and I didn't bother to get additional. Whoops.

Anyway, I used the instructions which can be found here, all though I did debate this one. I'm also going to state that I didn't follow the instructions exactly. For instance, I had stiff interfacing that was iron-on, but not double sided. I ironed it on to one side and then used my quilting adhesive to stick it to the second side. If you're doing like the tutorial and sew a ribbon across the top it will hold for sure, but honestly I don't think the adhesive will give because it's not like I'm throwing the mail sorter in the washer. The adhesive stays until it's washed

I also had to adjust the pattern sizes {slightly} because my canvas was longer but slimmer. And, my staple gun was MIA so instead I used thumb tacks. It all worked.

A local store sells canvases pretty inexpensively and we usually have a few on hand. The one I used was actually an old one Jayden had attempted to paint when he was only 4. I asked him if I could have it for my craft and his response was, "It wasn't one of my better pieces." Yes, I laughed.

I thought the very top of it needed something in the empty space and I was looking through the ribbon and found sticky ribbon, you know the kind with tape on the back of it, that matched the colors of the fabric. I think I paid $2 for it ages ago and only used a small piece then. I even had those funky chipboard letters. I was keen to leave them off, but Mr S was certain we needed it up there. You know, in case anyone breaks in and wonders where we keep our mail. Because everyone needs to steal a Dick Smith or Coles flyer, right?

The little metal words were in my stash too. They mean absolutely nothing in regards to the mail, but Mr S thought they looked good on there so I hot glued them on. That's right, I cheated and used the glue gun. I was actually going to use some various postage stamp buttons I had, but Mr S felt the metal things were better.

My mil had the Aussie material in her stash and gave it to me a while back. I was going to make throws for the couch with it, but it was the only big enough chunk in my stash to get three matching pockets on my canvas. My canvas was a bit taller and thinner then the one in the original tutorial, so I added a third pocket. Right now we have "junk mail", "our mail", "mil's mail", so three pockets is perfect.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our New Abode

I know family is dying to see pictures of the new place, so I snapped a few to share. Mind you, we're not completely unpacked yet. In fact, the office is so unpacked {Sorry Mr S.} that I refused to snap a photo of it or the small hall it shares with the craft room because the unpacked boxes and "stuff" seem to have oozed over into the hallway.

The picture to the left is actually what I can see from my bedroom window. I opened the blind the other morning and was looking to see if it was going to rain or not when I spotted a lorikeet in the purple tree there. I called out to Mr S, who was still have asleep, that there was a lorikeet in the tree. His response? "You've got to be kidding me!"

Remember the lorikeet that found it's way on our deck? After searching for his owner for 2.5 months we finally took the fellow to the local RSPCA. There were many tears shed over the whole thing, but we really didn't have the time to give him the attention he truly needed. It was sad because he was such a funny character, but he'd also taken to biting people, pulling hair {yes really!}, and screaming if he didn't have his way. When we last saw him the folks at the local RSPCA were laughing themselves silly trying to get him in a giant cage with plenty of wildflowers to enjoy. We all half expected the crazy thing to have escaped and been out in the tree, however when we opened the door to get a closer look it flew off, followed by a mate.

I'm starting at the far end of the house, and thanks to the lack of lighting and my refusal to use the flash the above picture is rather grainy. Oh well. It's the new craft room which is also suppose to be the guest room, but we had a slight issue with the bed. For one thing, the room is more rectangular then square so there wasn't enough room for a deep freeze, sewing table, and large bed without bumping your shins upon something. We're thinking a hide-a-bed {bed in a couch} might be the root to go..

Love my sewing table? Me too. My father-in-law made it many moons ago and a friend refinished it. It's a beautiful size for swing a quilt on or other sewing projects. I have many up my sleeve for Christmas. And yes, that's my niece's quilt on the table, yes the one I rushed to finish before she was born. We had two adorable outfits for her, but we've delayed getting them mailed so long we've decided to get her something a wee bit bigger. Her Mamma might prefer that considering the boys picked out the most hilarious Wonder Woman outfit I've ever seen. And yes, I bought it, but it was on the clearance shelf for only a couple of dollars so I figured even if her Mamma hated it it was no biggie.

I don't know why I took a picture of a hallway, but I did. As you can see the dog was promptly ignoring me, which is okay because I was ignoring him since he's not suppose to be in the house anyway. Check out his fancy crossed feet will ya? Behind me {not pictures obviously} is my insanely TINY laundry room, seriously I've had smaller, but only because they were closets. Clearly the builder of this home didn't have a large family sized washer. There's also a bathroom down there.. which is missing a shower head and has a giant door that needs to be put back on it's tracks so I completely refused to take photos. There's also a triangular closet down there that I keep smacking myself in the face with every time I open it. The light was terrible or I would have shown you exactly why I hit myself in the face with it..

First room up the hall is Morgan's. Yep, the boys went for separate rooms this time. Funny part? They still sleep in the same room. We'll be swapping this bed out for a bunk bed down the road so they can sleep in either room, and so we'll have a little extra space for company. You can just spot the edge of the giant clam sandbox that holds the legos these kids have. Oh, and that door, in the upper right hand corner, just more proof the builder loved his triangles. Seriously, another triangular closet. They aren't great for storing square things in..

Different view, same room. If you enlarge the picture you might be able to check out the quilt on the end of his bed. It's a Bottle Quilt. My mother-in-law has made one for each of her grandchildren. They are downright adorable! I have high hopes of snagging her pattern one day and making one with the various nature material we have around here and sending one to a niece or two. They really are sweet quilts.

Next room is Jayden's. Don't ask me why I snapped a photo before reminding him that we do not store clean laundry on the floor, so just pretend it's not laying there. There are no triangular closets in this room, which I'm very happy about but the crazy closet doors open in such a way I can't properly access the middle of the closet. When I lamented to Mr S he informed me that was normal. I have to say that none of our closets in America or Australia have ever had this problem before..

Check out his curtains? He informed me that he might be big now, but he still needed his Peter Rabbit curtains because Peter is a bunny and he loves bunnies. We found these curtains in an op-shop a while back and they've been hanging in his room ever since. He adores Peter Rabbit and at the ripe old age of four wowed and aunt, a handful of cousins, and an uncle when he sat there and "read" the book word perfect. Which caused a lot of giggling on the part of those of us who knew he'd memorised the story. We have a few wild bunnies that sneak into our garden and he's dubbed them Peter.

The lounge room from the hall/school area. No we do not school in the hall, you'll understand in a minutes. Yes the dog is still ignoring me, the feeling was mutual because I didn't even realize he was in the photo, Ha! And, because I know someone's going to ask, yes that's a Banana In Pyjamas book end which we use for a door stop. For one thing, the boys have really out grown good old B1 & B2, but for another it makes a lousy book end, but an awesome door stop.

Same room, different angle. My children had no idea what I was doing because watching tv is a new thing to them, or at least the movie they checked out of the library.  Why yes, I do have pictures on the wall thanks for asking! I informed the house that I was hanging photos this day because the blank walls were killing me, because we don't have permission to put nails in the walls yet I had to hunt around for holes all ready in the walls.

While hanging these pictures I up I noticed that each picture of Morgan vertical & each picture of Jayden was horizontal. Funny part, it's pretty standard for other photos we have of them too! I stood there laughing until Mr S came to see what was up, apparently he'd all ready made the connection. And just for a fun fact, that green sayings that looks crooked but I promise isn't, is held up by velcro. Seriously! It's this awesome stuff that comes up and down easily but holds up really well. I love it! It's a renter's dream come true.

The embroidered wedding pieces my mom did for us  actually had holes for nails all ready {thus the non-even placement on the wall}, but I was a wild child and stuck tacks to hang up the boys handprints. I've taken to leaving the newest handprints up on the wall each year and packing the older ones away for the Christmas Tree. We make then annually & have since Morgan was 2, all though we missed one year due to not being able to find white glue! In case your wondering, there's no glare on the first photo because the glass broke in that frame ages ago, someone closed a door and the thing fell off the wall and shattered. I was too cheap to replace the glass.

Our dining room, and yes it really does have pink carpet. I'm guessing that whatever person carpeted the dining room didn't have children, otherwise it wouldn't have carpet. And yes, we do have bright orange chairs, but at least they wash off really easy!

Our kitchen, and the only fault with the kitchen is that it has one, yes one, electrical outlet on the countertop for appliances. See my yogurt maker? The outlet is behind there and because the phone has to be plugged in there {only one phone jack in the house} I only have one outlet for appliances. Upside, the fridge has it's own outlet where it is, and so does the microwave in it's little niche. Seriously tempted to keep the toaster over the breakfast bar in the dining area.

School Area, if you look towards the left of the photo you'll see the strip of hall that runs up and down the long hallway, thus why I said earlier I was in the hall/school. Our table is still messy with posters to hang up because I ran out of the nifty poster tape which is also a renters delight. It's super heavy duty double stick stuff which can hold up a world map without letting it droop in the summer, but comes down very easily when you need to move house. As for our printer, it's still homeless at the moment. Thankfully it's a wireless printer so we can stash it anywhere, I love that!

This is the view from the backdoor which is in the school room area. Don't ask me why there's one single trampoline leg laying there, maybe a child is trying to drop a hint that we need to get it put together for him. There's actually a wonderfully good sized area towards the left for having a nifty veggie patch in this summer, we can't wait! Downside is we'll have to rabbit proof that area or we'll end up feeding bunnies instead of people. That small patch on the bottom left would make a great herb garden, but again bunnies..

Did you notice the gate in the fence in the last picture? It leads to a reserve where we've spotted the rabbit warren, and the whole big family of rabbits! We also spotted various birds {and a few leftover egg shells}, not to mention a protected water area which had some lovely water fowl in it. It'll make a lovely place for nature activities.