Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013; Hello 2014!

What a year. What a very fast year. This year had its many ups and downs, the major ups being our wedding in January! It literally felt like we got married just a few short months ago, however it will be 12 moths in less then 2 weeks time. Next was our honeymoon in March which was so much fun, so great to spend time just the two of us somewhere new. Many other highlights were had throughout the year, I cannot list them all. With a few bumpy rides thrown in along the way. Challenging obstacles that I glad have passed us now. But I wouldn't want to face any of it without Benn and our fur babies.

We have great high hopes for 2014; with many new goals planned for us both as a couple and individually. I can't wait to see what it has in store for us and I really hope 2014 is our year for great things, I know we will try to make it great at least!

Monthly Memories | December.

1. First day of December means putting up the tree, even if it is only a tiny one. 
We ended up getting a larger tree which Benn cut down from the bush, 
but sadly I do not have a photo of it :(
2. My amazing find on the side of the road. Apart from some dust and dirt, it works perfectly. 
Now that December is over and life will start to get quiet, it's time to play with some fabrics I have ;)
3. One of the many head bands I have made! 
4. Our new little kitten, Ember. Our neighbours rag-doll cat had kittens 
and they gave us one for free! So of course we happily obliged, just look at that face! 
She fits in with the dogs perfect and thinks she is alot bigger then what she really is.
5. Chloe, forever sleeping on our bed all day long. On Benn's side preferably of course.
6. Chloe again, having some morning cuddles before getting up for the day. 
I have a soft spot for my big furry 4-year old.
7. Selfie with my bearded husband whilst out in the Bush 4WDing. 
8. From dense bush and mud, to views like this. 
Having a 4WD really allows you to see vast landscape contrasts,
literally 15 minutes from where we live.
9. Christmas Day.
10. I have been meaning to get a picture of all of us for some time now,
so what better day then the last day of 2013! Getting a picture of all 3 dogs,
2 humans and 1 cat looking at the camera at the same time is a challenge.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Pinterest Project | DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

These were super easy and I will be making them again...very soon in fact! I accidentally forgot to make one for our new little kitten Ember! And also I need to make some for Benn's nephew's when we get a chance to catch up with them for Christmas. I highly recommend. I didn't paint mine Christmas colours and I think they are just as cute hanging up on the fire place! I might leave them there for longer then the tree stays up...

DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Oil

Step One) Mix all ingredients together.
Step Two) Roll out dough on a flat surface and flatten with rolling pin.
Step Three) Using shape cutters, cut dough into desired number of shapes.

Step Four) Using a bottle cap (I used the oil lid) and a match stick, create patterns/letters on the dough.

Step Five) Bake for 3 hours at 150 degrees - KEEP AN EYE ON IT. This is how long and how high it took for mine in my oven, however, the recipe I followed allocated 4 hours at 180. But if I did that they would have turned black...
Step Six) Let cool completely
Step Seven) Coat all ornaments, back and front, in white paint. You may need many layers depending on how the colour of your ornaments turned out. I gave mine about 3 coats.

Step Eight) Paint in colour of your choosing - layer coats as necessary.
Step Nine) Pain gloss layer over final coat of paint.

I was in such a rush that I am devastated I did not get a final photo of all the finished ornaments! I had made about 30 all up including all the ones for my cousins.

Our Christmas Day.

I was so, so busy in the week leading up to Christmas trying to get lots of cooking and crafting done that it as lovely to finally wake up not in a rush and relax on Christmas Day. I wanted to make Christmas a little bit more exciting this year, so even though we have no children just yet, who says we can't have stockings too? Who doesn't like opening up a few small gifts on Christmas morning, along with some cheeky lollies and chocolate to eat before breakfast too. So with a week to go before Christmas, I got my sew on. I had some left over fabric from making the bunting and although the fabric is not very "Christmas-y", I decided to use it anyways and mix and match every stocking!

Benn and I started the morning opening up gifts from each other and "Santa". Yep, I filled our home-made-stockings up with treats and goodies that we could pig out all day/week. I got my new bag, which I LOVE. I have been looking for the perfect bag for ages. It had to be brown, leather, large, able to fit over my shoulder and have a small pocket on the outside for my phone. And I got exactly that. Benn helped me choose it and I couldn't be happier. I also got some lovely jewelry and clothes. Benn recieved spotlights (for the car), a toolbox and some fishing gear. Even though we both new exactly what we were opening, it was really nice to (cheekily) use a little bit of savings and spoil each other this year.

My Grandma, Mother, Brother and his fiance came over for about an hour to exchange presents before we left for Sydney, as my Bro and his Fiance weren't coming due to other commitments. I am really annoyed at myself for not getting a photo of us all together before we left!! There is always next time I guess..
Next was the brief hour drive down to Sydney to see my aunties, uncles and cousins. I love going to my big family do's at Christmas time. There is always so much happening and an abundant amount of amazing food on display. It's so nice to be in family company. That is what Christmas is really all about. Below are some snaps I took on my phone from the day. Hopefully I can grab some better ones from my Grandma soon.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas too!! 
How did you spend it?

Sunday Seven.

I missed out on last week's Sunday Seven post due to craft overtaking my life! But all is well and things should be back to normal now. Fingers cross I can keep up with them every week starting in the new year!

My little brother got engaged!!!!! He has been dating his girl, Sam, for a year now but they went to primary and high school together and have literally known each other since they were 5! They are very cute together and I wish them all the best.

Busy season. Woah. Does every year get busier? Or am I just noticing it more with age? Whatever the reason people seemed to always be in such a constant rush whenever I went to the shops this week. So much craziness at this time of year.

Christmas - slightly obvious one as it was smack bang in the middle of the week. I had such a nice day and we are still yet to catch up with Benn's side of the family as were in Sydney Christmas day. Did I mention everyone is so busy!?

Craft. Craft. Craft - That's what my Sunday, Monday and Tuesday consisted of. Making people gifts for Christmas!! Check out what I got up to by visiting my 12 weeks of Pinterest post.

Boxing day sales. Because generally we know what e get each other every year, we always make sure to set aside some money for the boxing day sales. Because why not wait one more day and get 50% off right!! It is probably the one day of the year in which Benn is actually excited and willingly goes into every shop with me. It is great. Expensive (kinda...cause we save lots right??). But great.

New year, new goals. It's that time of year again, to work out what things you want to achieve or accomplish over the next twelve months. I plan to make a separate post about this by the 31st, as I really am trying to think long and hard and be reflective about my goals this year. I want to make them important.

We are "going" on our first date tonight from the date night jar! Benn picked out number 5, so technically we are staying in. But its fancy dinner and dress and I am so excited! I can't wait to bring back that spark we have full force.

Pinterest Project | DIY Date Night Jar

I must admit, I was a little hesitant about making this for Benn because I thought he might think it was "lame", and I wasn't too keen on getting rejected on Christmas morning. But our relationship as really needed a kick in the butt lately in terms of romance and dating, so I decided to go ahead with it, hoping he would love it.

Turns out I was right! It was "the best preset by far" that he got and he was so excited to "do lots of fun stuff like we used to". Not only was it special makign something hand-made, but I also love that we can use i everyweek! I have put it on the fire place, next to our photos to remind us to keep up to date, with our dates.

DIY Date Night Jar

Step One) Aquire small jar. I just used a washed out minced garlic jar. I wanted something small enough so you could still see the paddle pop sticks pocking out.
Step Two) Paint and gloss jar.

Step Three) Either buy coloured paddle pop sticks, or paint them a colour of your chossing. I bought a huge bag of brightly colour sticks and decided to go with yellow, organge and red. Mainly because I LOVE yellow and it was our wedding colour, but also becaue I found these colours the easiest to see once written on.
Step Three) Choose a range of dates, suiting to your personal preferences and write a small title of each date on one side of the paddle pop stick. On the other side use the dollar sign "$" to indicate the estimated pice of the date and number your dates. Because I had three different colours I decided to have three price groups ($ = Low Cost, $$ = Medium Cost, $$ = High Cost). This allows us to choose one date each week, no excuses, depending on what our budget looks like. I have included a list of the dates further down, which I sourced out many from a variety of websites. But I also just made some up which suited us as well. I wanted to have a wide variety of things, so it didn't feel like we were repeating dates!

Step Four) Most other date night jar tutorials don't have this step and just have a jar with the paddle pop sticks. I like giving things details and I thought if the dates had more details, then there was less option to avoid them because we will have no decisions to make (which is something I do not like doing without notice).
- So to accompany my jar, I made a booklet. I used yellow, orange and red paper to coorindate with the price groups of the paddle pop sticks.
- I numbered and labelled each date the same as the paddle pop sticks, and gave more detaail where required. Forexample, a paddle pop might say "Bush Walk", but the booklet also states; "Must be longer then one hour, Benn's choice of location, can drive to location".
Step Five) Cut out the coloured paper in which you wrote on your dates and glue each one to individly cut out black peices of paper ready to be made into a booklet.

Step Six) I also wrote a label for the jar to go with the booklet, so when it sits on the fire place it all ties in together. I ended up having 29 dates, so it became "29 Dates for 29 Weeks".

Our 29 dates are as follows;

Low Cost
1. Bush Walk - Longer then 1 hour & can drive to location.
2. Beach Day - Take Dogs, snacks and swimmers.
3. Fish and Chips - Have a picnic by the lake
4. Mexican Theme night - Entree, Main, Derest and Mexican movie.
5. Fancy Dress Dinner - Candles, cook together & fancy clothes.
6. Picnic in the Bush - Benn's choice of location & Neive to organise food.
7. Guitar Night - Play guitar together, learn a song together & have subway for dinner.
8. Guitar Hero Night - Start a new game & have kebabs for dinner.
9. Coffee Date
10.  Picnic Sunset - Neives choice of location & Benn to organise food.

Medium Cost
1. Dinner Out - RSL or Bowling club, Neives choice, new place.
2. Op - Shop Shopping - $25 limit each to go shopping!
3. 10 Pin Bowling.
4. Museum (or similar) and lunch out, Benn's choice.
5. Breakfast/Brunch date, Neives choice, new place.
6. Game Night - No technology, monopoloy (or similar), Benn's choice of take away.
7. Dollar Store Date - $15 to buy a gift for each other!
8. Mini Golf
9. No Fuss Candle Dinner - Fancy clothes, no technology & Neives choice of take away.

High Cost
1. Dinner Out - Australian Steak House.
2. Progressive Dinner - Entree, Main & Desert at different places, take turns driving.
3. Horse Riding.
4. Anything Date - $100 limit, Benn's choice.
5. Dinner/Lunch - Scratchly's on the Warf.
6. Dinner/Lunch - Catherine Hill Bay Pub.
7. Tree Top Adventure Park
8. Anything Date - $100 Limit, Neive's choice.
9. Romantic Bedroom night - New bedsheets, candles, no technology, drinks & music.
10. Camping - Plan for 1-2 nights away, must go within 1 months time.

Pinterest Project | DIY "Scrabble" Board Wall Art


 Okay, So I have been really slack lately at keeping up with these "12 Weeks of Pinterest" posts. I blame the crazy Christmas season and the fact that I have actually been doing lots of the projects (plus more!). And this one here would have to be one of my favourites. The "Scrabble" name board.

This is the post where I found my inspiration, however, it had no tutorial. I didn't look another one up, but I'm sure you could search one if you tired - or you can just use mine! ;) I had great trouble finding wood pieces that would be perfect for the letters. Ideally, I originally wanted actual scrabble tiles, but the cheapest I could find was $1 per tile, and I needed 94 tiles - so that was not a great option. I was just about to buy these wooden cubes when Benn suggested the idea of using small bath tiles, what!? BEST IDEA EVER. They were the perfect size, and even though I was quite stuck on my wood-tiles idea, I came around pretty fast and loved the different shades I found. I also originally planned to use a frame or memory box type thing to put the Scrabble tiles on. But could not find something that would allow the tiles to fit between the glass, whilst also being large enough for all the names I needed to add. Once again, my handy-man husband Benn suggested I use some ply wood, cutting it to size. So that's exactly what I did.  The following is a series of steps which will give you a guide you can follow if you wish to complete this project for yourself or a loved one!

DIY "Scrabble" Board Wall art

Step 1) Lay out your tiles in the general order that you need your names. I didn't worry to much about colour coordination as this is merely for you to measure length and height of your names so you can cut out a piece of ply to size. But it is also a great way to get an idea of how your tiles look placed together!

Step Two) Cut out ply board to size (may need man muscle for help like I did.
Step Three) Sand all edges of ply board until smooth, create rounded edges on all four corners (optional).

Step Four) Varnish Ply wood. This step takes several hours or days, depending on weather. And must be repeated, depending on how dark you want your wood. I choose a "Walnut Stain Gloss Varnish". I put on 3 coast on the back and three on the front. Make sure you use wet and dry sand paper between each coat (do not sand the final coat). Dip the sand paper in a jar of water and sand the board. Keep the sand paper wet whilst sanding.
 Step Five) Arrange tiles on wood and make sure they are straight (ready to be glued). I experimented again with my tiles here too.

Step Six) Measure out frame for board. I measure in from all four sides 3.5 cms, but you will have to check the amount of room you have after placing your tiles in their correct position. Hammer in nails at each corner of frame point.
Step Seven) Use a very strong adhesive glue to stick tiles to ply wood. I used the glue in which you let each side dry for a few minutes then stick it down. By morning the tiles where all stuck down completely.
Step Eight) Using scrapboard stickers, arrange letters to create the names. My letters unfortunately weren't very sticky, so I also put a light coat of clear-dry PVA glue over the top as well.
Step Nine) Wrap white twine around each nail on all four corners, repeating around the frame depending on desired thickness.