Sunday, December 19, 2010

My little jelly fish

Last Sunday Abbey had her gymnastics display (like a concert) Their routine was to a song from Finding Nemo, so the costume brief was under the sea theme. We were told not to go to any trouble, just dress them in blue as it is a sea colour. My pink obsessed Abbey has very little blue, or green, in her wardrobe, apart from some jeans, which are completely inappropriate attire for 4 year old gymnastic displays.

So a costume of some sort had to be made. One she could easily move around in, do forward rolls (somersaults) and climb in. Luckily, GJ's had another one for their amazing 25% off sales recently that I just HAD to check out, and I found this fabric - it looked just like Nemo to us. I bought 1.5 metres of it, and took it home where it sat around gathering dust.

Chris had some how put the idea in Abbey's head she should go as a jelly fish. I had no idea how to turn 1.5 metres of fabric into a jelly fish costume, a costume she could move around in easily. So it is 8pm the night before her gymnastic display, and I finally know what to do.

I roughly cut the fabric along the long length, every 15cm or so (no measuring) overlock the long edges together of each fabric strip, making these tubular jelly fish tentacles. Cut them in half. Chris turns them all the right way around. I can't be bothered to finish off all the ends, so tie knots in them - which look great, in my opinion anyway. Knot them over a circular piece of elastic (perfect length for Abbey) and voila, done.

One jelly fish skirt. Made in 30 minutes (seriously!)

Perfect - just like Abbey.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This week, I am grateful for so much. This week, I feel very loved. So many lovely friends and family have really helped me out. This sole parenting thing is hard work and exhausting. Bring on Christmas, as Chris will be home with us then. We can be a family again.
  • I am grateful Chris was able to get a flight home last weekend to see Abbey's gymnastics display. He was here for one night only, but it was worth it.
  • I am grateful I won this amazing giveaway. Jennie makes the most gorgeous dolls, and the purple softie I won is adorable!
  • I am grateful I can sew, as I made Abbey's costume for her gymnastics display - a jelly fish skirt.
  • I am grateful one of my friends Kate had Abbey over for a play date this week, so I could get a few hours of respite, do some yoga to calm my mind and she cooked dinner for us too. Abbey adores your Mia, and was talking about you for hours afterwards.
  • I am grateful for this post from Tracey who got me all inspired to make some some of our own Rodolph the reindeer cookie suckers - Abbey (and I!) had lots of fun.
  • I am grateful my mum looked after the girls so I could get my food shopping done, so very quickly, as I had no kids with me (thank you for pruning the roses, again)
  • I am grateful this week as my step-dad Steve mowed our back lawn and completely made over over our whole front garden - it looks amazing, and is the most wonderful Christmas present we could have asked for.
  • I am grateful my dear friend Yvette had us over for a catch up, let us trash her house, and she made gingerbread dough for our big girls to make some cookies. I love our chats, and discovering our never ending similar interests. I am grateful our big girls play so well together (and now our little girls join in, so cute) I am so grateful our paths crossed and we are friends.
  • I am grateful for a catch up and kids play date with my dear friend Nell - it felt like ages since we had a natter. Your friendship is so easy and natural and means so much to me.
  • I am grateful our local library runs an amazing kids program of story time with singing and dancing and arts and crafts. This week's session was extra special, as our librarian had arranged for Santa to visit - a very funny Santa who rides his motorbike right into the library (his number plate is also "Santa") He reads a story and tells lots of jokes, we had so much fun.
Maxabella loves land is the home for gratefulness today, pop in and visit.

Have a lovely weekend to you.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas stocking fillers

I have found a new love: fabric covered buttons. Any excuse, and I am off making them.
I have been making lots of hair elastics as presents for friends and family (we call them hair bobbles in our house)

Making these, has made me look at fabric in a different way, and I am really enjoying the process.

If you need some last minute Christmas presents for any little (or big) girls in your life, I have some for sale in my Madeit shop and also on Facebook. Alternatively, email me on

Have a lovely weekend.


Monday, December 6, 2010

At my house.....

Well, I can say I survived my first week of solo parenting. I can also admit it is not easy. It is exhausting. It was a challenging week. There were a few moments where I doubted my sanity. There were more moments where I questioned what the heck have we got ourselves into. Chris is now in Hong Kong, having started his new job last week. The role he has taken needed to be filled as soon as possible, so he has gone over first. We don't know when the girls and I will move over - there is still so much to do here, with packing and sorting, and just the everyday running of our house. It is not ideal being apart as a family, we all miss him so much.

And there is this silly thing called Christmas happening soon. I am busy making some little thank you presents for Abbey's kinder teachers and our lovely librarians who host story time every week - almost finished.

I am happy to say my Christmas shopping is finished - but I still have some Christmas present making to do.

At our house this week, there is lots of pretend play. Abbey has been making amazing picnic's. Zoe has started walking. Abbey has been helping me with the hoovering. I am loving online supermarket shopping - delivered to my kitchen table.

I am trying to be positive that we CAN do this. Thank goodness for modern technology, Chris was on skype yesterday chatting to the girls, reading them some books (long distance baby sitting!) while I cooked dinner. It felt like he was almost here with us.

I want to say thank you to my lovely friends and family who have been checking up on us all week. A special thank you to Nell who cooked us a yummy dinner on Friday night, and cracked open a bottle of pink champagne - I so needed that drink!

Lou is hosting At my house, do pay her a visit.

Have a lovely week.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Softie for Mirabel - My Creative Space

Yay, I finally finished my Softie for Mirabel. She is the twin sister to Abbey's doll. They are not identical twins though, as they have different hair colour.

She has a reversible shirt, to suit her mood. I also made an extra pair of hair elastics, so her new owner could have a matching set.

If you can't make a softie (quickly, as they need to be with Pip by 7th December) then you can make a donation to Mirabel and support them this way. If you read the Mirabel stories, you will see all the amazing work they do. I had tears streaming down my face reading all the stories.

Creative peeps here, and today is the last My Creative Space for 2010.

Have a great day.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Home made sushi rolls

Abbey has asked for home made sushi rolls for her kinder snack today. They are easy to make (when you know what to do)

Maybe I'll do a post on how to make them, if anyone is interested?

Have a lovely weekend peeps.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Creative Space

Dotty doll has a sister. I finally finished her earlier this week. My artistic director on this project stipulated her doll had to have her eyes open. Abbey is still deciding on a name, she has been testing out many different ones, such as Pink-red, Red-rosie, Red-dotty and yesterday she was called Gabrielle (after one of her lovely kinder teachers)

I have almost finished my Softie for Mirabel. She is the one below with no face. I still can't decide on the right look for her. I better hurry up!

Zoe has been having fun playing with these dolly sisters and giving them lots of cuddles. It is so cute, she is growing up so quickly.

Visit kootoyou and pop in to visit so many lovely creative peeps.

Cheers. Cat

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space

This week, every spare moment has been taken up with making two new dolls. One for Abbey, and the other will be my Softie for Mirabel.

Dotty doll has been very obliging and modeling the fabric choices for us - Abbey has been artistic director, choosing red hair for her doll and most of the fabric to use (her brief: pink pink pink)

My little pink obsessed cherub also chose pink shoes for her doll, what a surprise.

Dolly legs are also fun to play with. You can put them in your ears.

And pretend they are drum sticks too.

Have a great day. I am off to sew on some more dolly arms and legs.

Visit the land of creative spaces over at Kootoyoo.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's treasures

These chives are very special to me. Early in 2004, or it could have been late 2003, my Grandfather gave these chives to me. He carefully removed them from his own garden. He lovingly wrapped them in newspaper for me. He then put them in two plastic bags so they would not make a mess in my car. I remember it took him ages. I am ashamed to admit it, but that day I was impatient and just wanted to get home, I was not that bothered about the chives. But he insisted I take them. I still remember him getting them ready, his slow laboured movements. His shallow breathing, his lungs struggling with emphysema. How he wrapped them up ever so carefully, with love, for me.

At the time his health was failing. In the following months, it was sad and difficult to watch this fiercely independent man, so used to doing everything for himself, being bedridden and reliant on others for almost everything. In a few weeks it will be 6 years since he died. I still miss him and think of him often. I wish he could have met my children, they would have loved him.

Who would have thought a pot of chives could make me cry today. These chives are so special to me, so treasured, evoke such memories.

Grandpa, we love your chives. I have kept them alive and we love cooking with them. A few times they have died back, and I have been anxious I may have killed them, but they keep growing back.

I am so grateful you took the time that day to give them to me. I don't know what I will do with them when we move to Hong Kong. It will be strange to be separated from them. I guess these chives have become like an invisible link to my Grandpa, one of the last real links to him I have left to treasure - apart from the happy memories.

Here is a photo of me and Grandpa taken 7 years ago at my brothers wedding, where I was one of the bridesmaids (so long ago, I have short, red hair!)

Pop over and visit Clare hosting her last Tuesday's Treasures today.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Creative Space

There are so many things I should be doing. Such as packing and sorting for Hong Kong. Making more Christmas presents. Finishing my softie for Mirabel.

But when my little Miss 4.5 asks if I want to play "play dough" with her, how can I say no?

When she was much younger, I tried to stop her mixing up all the play dough colours. It did not really work. It is not much fun keeping all the colours together. I am now glad we mix them all up - look how beautiful little play dough stars can be.

Pop over and visit Kirsty for many more creative peeps.

Have a lovely Thursday.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday's treasure

My Grandma recently gave me these old ice cream containers (note that the one on the right says it is artificially coloured and flavoured, like this is a preferred option - how times have changed)

Both of them are filled to the brim with all her embroidery floss. So many different colours. What a collection.

Her arthritis is so bad now, she says she will never use them ever again. Actually, she has not used them for years, but has held onto them just in case. This gift makes me happy and sad all at the same time.

I feel so honoured to have received them. Every time I have rummaged through them looking for just the right colour, I get a little goose bumpy.

Now I need a lovely box like Clare's to store them in. Many more treasures to be found over at her blog.

Hope you are having a great day.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hong Kong in a (long) weekend

We are so lucky to have had two amazing weekends away in a row. I'll have to have a separate post for each one, to do them both justice. Last weekend (plus two two extra days) were spent in Hong Kong. It is only a 9 hour flight from Melbourne (short to us as we are used to flying to the UK, which takes around 22 hours flying time)

I don't even know where to begin to tell you how much we enjoyed Hong Kong. It is an amazing city. We found it so easy to get around, even with two kids in tow.

We did lots of touristy things like have yum cha and have a ride on the Star Ferry. When we got on the ferry, Abbey asked us when was the ferry ride. We said this is the ferry ride, but she thought were were going on a fairy ride. Too cute.

We were staying on Lantau Island, near the air port. Lantau Island is only a 30 minute train ride to Hong Kong Island. One of the must see attractions on Lantau Island is the Giant Buddha (the Tian Tan Buddha Statue) You catch a cable car which travels over Tung Chung Bay and up over some mountains, with these amazing views. It is a 25 minute ride each way, and the views are spectacular.

You then walk up 200 odd steps to get right up to the Buddha statue. I can tell you it was a long walk up (and down!) as I was carrying Zoe in the baby carrier. I guess I got the better deal, as Chris had Abbey on his shoulders all the way up.

The statue is huge. And amazing.

Teddy came with us. Of course. She had a good time too.

More amazing views on the way down.

We also visited Kowloon Park and even had some time to check out some apartments. This trip has removed most of the fear of the unknown about moving to Hong Kong. I am looking forward to our big adventure to begin. But first there is a lot of packing and sorting to be done.

Happy Thursday to you :)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Creative Space

This really should have been last weeks My Creative Space, but it was all secret squirrel here in the land of the raspberry rainbow.

My best friend Nell celebrated her birthday earlier in the week. We dont buy presents for each other anymore, but I wanted to make her some thing. She had mentioned months ago that she did not have an apron, so immediately I was on the look out for the right fabric for her and the right apron.

I really wanted to make up my own apron pattern, but that requires time and brain capacity for thinking, both of which I do not have much of at the moment. When I found online the Sew Liberated Emmeline Apron pattern, I knew this was the one, this was so Nell.

I found the blue and red fabric months ago and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was Nell. Then I forgot the pattern needed another fabric - as the apron is reversible. I found the blue trees fabric in my stash. As it turned out, both fabrics were from the same Keiki for Moda Collection, called Tweet Tweet. A little freaky.

I had to make her some hair clips to match too. Nell will be so well dressed in the kitchen now!

Happy Birthday again, hon! You really are the best, best friend, I am so lucky to have you in my life. I am going to miss you so much when we are off on our adventure.

Pop in and visit many more creative peeps over at Kootoyou.

Have a lovely Thursday.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


What would you do, if you were given an opportunity? Almost handed directly to you. An opportunity to live in another country. Another country positioned almost half way between your home land and that of your husbands.

What would you do?

I can tell you what we are doing - we have chosen to take this opportunity. We believe it will be an amazing adventure for us as individuals and as a family.

So, we are moving to Hong Kong. Yes, we may be partially insane. But we can't let this opportunity pass us by.

I know you will understand if I am a little too distracted to blog at the moment......


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Creative Space

Not much creating has been going on this week as we have a sick bubba in the house. I have been looking at the sewing machine, longingly, wanting to finish off a few things I started weeks ago.

The only thing I have managed to finish all week was this little owl. Last Thursday I saw this adorable post on My Creative Space, and I had to make one. Right then and there. At 10pm at night. As you do (following this easy tute)

More creative peeps over here, go and have a look, you might try some thing new :)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Easy Peasy Dinner: San Choy Bau

I am joining Emma again this week with an Easy Peasy Dinner Winner.

Chris (hubby) has always made this for us. I was scared it was too complicated to make as the ingredient list is so long. But last week, I gave it a go, and it really is so ridiculously easy (and yummy too) It was so quick, I had dinner on the table 30 minutes early.

San Choy Bau
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped (or use less if you have children who don't like food too spicy)
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine vinegar or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 lettuce or cos lettuce leaves (a note on choosing your lettuce: get one that is quite light in weight, I find the heavier ones difficult as the leaves are too tightly packed together. With the lighter ones, it is usually easier to separate the lettuce leaves with out damaging them)
Chop the middle stem out of your lettuce, as far down as you can, and put it in a clean bucket. Fill the bucket up with water until it covers the lettuce completely, let all the lettuce crevices soak up the water.

Weigh the lettuce down (I use a heavy porcelain bowl) This makes sure the whole lettuce is covered with water. The earlier you do this, the easier the lettuce leaves will come out intact.

I leave my lettuce like this for at least 30 minutes, if not longer. Then while the lettuce is still in the water, peel off, very carefully, the first few outer layers of lettuce leaves until you get down a few layers and they come off looking like little boats or cups. Try to get 6-10 good leaves, with no rips. My favourite ones are the tiny ones in the middle, as they are so sweet. Put you lettuce boats on a tea towel to drip dry, and very gently pat them as dry as you can.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large fry-pan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chili and cook stirring, for 1 minute or until slightly softened and fragrant.

Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, cooking it for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Add the rice wine vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes, them add soy sauce and oyster sauce, stirring well to combine. You can keep cooking and keep it warm for quite a while, as it is really quite saucy.

Toss the spring onions through, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Put in the middle of the table, and everyone can fill their lettuce boats/cups with some pork mixture, and eat. It can get a bit messy - but that is part of the fun.

This recipe does not feed us as a family of 4 any longer, as Abbey now loves it (after not liking if for 2 years!) and Zoe eats some too. We serve this with some sesame prawn toast (available in the freezer section at most supermarkets)



Recipe from: Delicious! magazine, July 2008, page 78.