Thursday, 30 December 2010

a very quick chilli decor option

hi everyone,

i trust you all had a wonderful Christmas?!

i was busy in the kitchen for most of Christmas morning preparing a nice hot lunch of turkey, ham, mashed potato, sweet potato, brussels sprouts and gravy.  i had the vegetarian alternative for the turkey and ham, of course.  the kids were all here and we had a great time despite the rain.   oh the rain! 

you may remember the horrendous swamp-like conditions we had to put up with in the past and, in particular, at the beginning of the year? you can refresh your memory here, here, and here. you may also remember how the bushland directly behind our back fence was cleared to make way for a new housing development back in august? you can refresh you memory on that score here. well, i thank my lucky stars that the home owner had a better drainage system installed back in June because we've had A LOT of rain over this past week and, no thanks to the new housing development behind us, we've also had this (pictured below) pouring into our backyard during the rain periods.  the land developers obviously sloped the land and now their rainwater run-off heads straight for our backyard!   NOT happy, Jan!!!! 
UPDATE - I have since found out that our neighbours suffered the same problem during the constant rain periods.  We will let our property manager know because you would think the developers could be forced to rectify the issue being that they are the ones responsible.

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on a brighter note, here is a pic i snapped of Mikayla fast asleep on Christmas day.
i am so in love with this little baby girl.

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okay, now to my chilli decor.....

i adore hot, spicy foods....the hotter, the better....so it's understandable that my kitchen decor is based on a mexican/chilli theme. a couple of days ago, i moved the chalkboard over to the pantry door making it easier to access, however, this left a blank wall space where the chalkboard had been and it was begging for some attention.   i remembered having some chilli-themed calendars i bought years ago in my supplies and, as i didn't have time to create a painting from scratch, i decided to use a couple of the pictures. i glued them onto 12"x12" gallery-wrapped canvas frames.

i then painted the canvas edges in an olive green which i mixed using Matisse Australian Olive Green and Matisse Naples Yellow acrylic paints.   the green makes a lovely compliment to the red chillies.

i then varnished the edges with gloss varnish

and ta-da! here they are all finished and in place

not bad for a quick fix to fill a blank wall, eh?

i'm hoping to post again tomorrow to talk about my word for 2011 so stay tuned, my friends....

~ love, light and peace ~

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Thank you all for the support and encouragement you have offered me this past year. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

It's Christmas Day here and I was hoping for nice weather but instead we're getting drenched! It's been raining constantly since yesterday and forecasts say the rain is here to stay for the coming week too. I pray that everyone stays safe on the wet roads.

~ Love, Light and Peace to All ~

Friday, 24 December 2010

How to make a simple but decorative box....

Mikayla's ornament was completed on schedule and, after reading the latest Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine yesterday, I was inspired to make a simple box to hold the ornament. I started with a sheet of scrapbooking paper and a sheet of cardboard, cut as shown below.  A square shape was used for the lid. The green on the print paper is actually a lime green but it didn't show up well in the photos.

For sturdiness, I joined the cardboard and scrapping paper together by using zigzag stitch around all the edges.

The lid was attached with double-sided tape and the join zigzagged for reinforcement. This is how the box looked after sewing.  

I then used the double-sided tape with contrast paper on the inside of the box to hold the sides in position.

For added support, I again used the double-sided tape to place two contrast borders on the top and bottom edges of the box.

To secure the lid, I simply punched a hole in it and the top front of the box so I could thread the satin ribbon through and tie a bow.  And there we have it.... 
...a very simple but pretty box for Mikayla's ornament!

I then nestled the ornament inside on a bed of tissue paper in a matching colour.

Michelle and Alex loved the ornament and the box!

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Yesterday was Aaron's 12th birthday so I had the kids all here in the afternoon to celebrate with cheesecake and munchies.  Michelle and Alex also stayed for dinner.  I just can't get enough of little Mikayla!!

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My brother, Billy, and his lovely wife, Debbie, along with their youngest son, Daniel, called in yesterday evening to catch up for Christmas.  We had a lovely time and it was so nice to see them as we don't get to catch up all that often.  I didn't get any pics yesterday but here I am (centre) with Debbie and Bill at Michelle and Alex's wedding in October.  Daniel is in the background to the left of Debbie.

It's Christmas Eve DownUnder!!!

I'm pretty much all organised....I just need to duck out for potatoes later on this morning. The kids will be here for Christmas lunch tomorrow so I'll try to get pics.

What are your plans for Christmas Day??

~ Love, light and peace to all ~

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I painted an ornament.....

...for Mikayla's 1st Christmas!

i already had some bisque ceramic ornaments in my art supplies so i went for the typical bauble shape.

as i'm not a whimsical artist, i opted to use a design i had from Ladybug Creations in her Little Earth Angel CD series. it is so cute!

lime green was my choice for the background because it's one of Mikayla's nursery colours. i had to draw the design freehand because it was too fiddly to use transfer paper on the spherical surface. then, using some gesso, i blocked in the design areas.

then face and facial features are next...

followed by the foundation for the hair and more elements of the design...

more detailing and it now is complete!

that is, apart from some varnish and the attachment of satin ribbon in magenta and lime green

i started a tradition of painting a Christmas ornament each year for Aaron from birth to 10 years old and thought it would be nice to do the same for Mikayla. a special keepsake from grandma.

.....only FOUR sleeps until CHRISTMAS!!!!!

~ love, light and peace to all ~

Friday, 17 December 2010

my heart is being held captive by....

.....this little munch-kin!
photo courtesy of michelle

michelle has more photos on her blog...to see them, click here.

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we had a very mild spring and our introduction to summer on the 1st of this month was pretty much non-existent because we've been having cooler than average temps, overcast days, and a fair bit of rain.  however since monday we have been sweltering in the heat again and we've also experienced severe storms over the past couple of days.  at 1:30pm yesterday afternoon, a storm approached.....it became very dark and made for quite a surreal atmosphere where even the streetlights lit up thinking night had fallen.  i dislike our summer storms immensely because they can do so much damage. so far we've escaped the hail that other areas were pelted with but more storms are expected this afternoon and over the weekend so i sure hope it stays away from us.  unfortunately we don't have air-con either so i may need to view some pics of snow on friend's blogs to help cool me down a little.

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i haven't been able to get into the christmas mood this year.  maybe it has to do with the excitement over little mikayla's arrival or perhaps the fact that aaron is nearly 12 and no longer excited about santa's overnight delivery.  he even told me weeks ago that he didn't want any christmas presents this year....can you believe it??!!  i guess he usually gets things throughout the year anyways from me and his four adult siblings so is content with what he has already. i will still get him a little something but it's nice to know i'm not under pressure.

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i'll leave you with more pics of mikayla with her uncles who are all totally smitten with her

with bradley

with beau

with reece

with aaron

how are your christmas preps coming along?

~ love, light and peace ~

Sunday, 12 December 2010

I'm a GRANDMA!!!!


~ Mikayla Rose ~

Born at 10:55 PM
on Friday, December 10th, 2010
weighing in at 7lb 5oz (3.43 kilo)

My heart is bursting with love for this beautiful baby girl!

Michelle's waters broke just after midnight on Thursday morning but, as no contractions had started by Friday morning, doctors decided to chemically induce labour.  Michelle wanted as natural a birth as possible so she opted not to have any pain relief and what a trooper she was.  Being there for the birth of my first grandchild was such an emotional and amazing experience although it was VERY hard to see my daughter go through so much pain and being unable to take that pain away for her.  Alex, my son-in-law, was amazing!!!  I soothed and encouraged Michelle while he held her and counted through every contraction. I could see how much Alex helped Michelle to focus and breathe through the pain....he was her rock!

It was a long and hard labour....and, after the transition from hours of contractions to two and a half hours of pushing, Michelle was totally exhausted. Doctors had to then assist in the final part using a suction cap to help Michelle deliver her little baby into this world. 

Straight after birth, they usually place baby with Mum, skin-to-skin, for at least an hour before taking baby away to clean up and weigh but, unfortunately, Mikayla was whisked away to the Natal Special Care unit instead.  She was pale, shaky and her breathing seemed a little raspy.  They thought her blood sugars may have been low so they gave her a boost of sucrose plus her lungs needed some time to expand and gain full use. Both Michelle and Mikayla needed antibiotics intravenously due to the fact that Michelle's waters had broken over twenty four hours prior to being induced and this can sometimes pose a risk for infection. After a few hours in the Special Care unit, baby Mikayla was reunited with Michelle. 

I'm happy to report that mother, father and baby are doing very well.

I'm a GRANDMA!!!
I've been on an emotional roller coaster ride since with lots of tears as I remember the experience and precious outcome.
My heart is filled with love and joy!!!

~ Love, light and peace to all ~

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

more baby prep

thank you all so much for the wonderful comments on my first quilt.

you guys are the greatest!

it seems like i have taken a hiatus from my art of late but it's all been for good reason with sewing and knitting for michelle's baby instead.  on top of the cot quilt i made last week, i also finished the baby shawl, jacket and bootees which i started working on a few months back.

we are in summer at the moment so i made the jacket and bootees to fit ages 6 months to 12 months which will fit baby perfectly by the time our winter months roll around.

i'm starting to get very excited now with michelle fast approaching her due date and i can hardly wait to meet my first grandchild.

i went with michelle to her antenatal visit this morning and all is going well.
i SO love to hear that little galloping heartbeat.

the nursery is pretty much finished
the bags are packed
we are so ready for little mikayla to make her grand entrance into this world.

can ya tell i'm one excited soon-to-be grandma?!! lol

it's been crazy weather here. we officially started summer on december 1st and it's been rain on and off since with forecasts predicting a wet christmas.  some areas are flooding and forecasts say we will be in for one of our coolest, wet summers in many years.  i'm happy with the cool part but i'm kinda over this rain already. it seems mother nature can't make up her mind as....one minute, it's all overcast and raining, then the next minute, we might get 30 minutes of sunshine, then back to rain again.  it's certainly making the day muggy and humid.  i don't mind a couple of days rain but when it goes over that, it's depressing.    not the best aussie weather for oprah and her audience to be experiencing either but that's life, i guess.  i do hope it doesn't spoil their visit downunder.

whatever you're up to, i hope you are all enjoying a lovely week. 

 ~ love, light and peace ~

Saturday, 4 December 2010

I DID IT!!!

i designed and made my very first quilt!!!

in mid-october, i was reading this post by em and felt inspired to make my very first quilt. em gives excellent step-by-step picture instructions HERE and they are SO easy to follow.   i made this cot quilt for my first grandchild due in just over TWO WEEKS!!!

i love the quilted dreaminess!!

 the designing and cutting out process took a week to do, here and there, but it only took me three days to sew it all together.  i was a little nervous when it came time to sew the top, middle/wadding and back layers together but my trusty little sewing machine handled it quite well.
i was rapt with how it turned out!

i appliquéd a heart design in the centre of the quilt to symbolise love and warmth. i was a little annoyed with myself because i forgot to place some paper underneath the base fabric whilst machine-sewing the appliqué heart.....this stops puckering around the edges of the appliqué.  it was a little trick i learned way back when the kids were small and i used to sew a lot of their clothes.  still, it didn't turn out too bad.

the quilt measures 88cm x 109cm (34½"x43") which is a perfect size for the cot.

i must admit i'm feeling quite proud of myself.

 something tells me that this won't be the last quilt i make either.
thanks for the inspiration, em!

~ LOVE, LIGHT AND PEACE ~

Thursday, 25 November 2010

another week is nearing an end.....

....and i have been busy at the sewing machine again, as much as my aching body permits anyways.

yesterday, i sat down and worked out the cot quilt design and how much  fabric i would need to make the quilt blocks.  this process took quite some time even though the quilt i'm making is fairly simple and i have certainly developed a new-found respect for quilters who plan and make intricately patterned quilts.  i can hardly wait to see this cot quilt all sewn up although that part will have to wait until next week.

for now, the sewing is on hold while i set my mind to tidying, rearranging and cleaning house.
this saturday, my home will be the venue for a baby shower which michelle and alex are hosting so it's all hands on deck at the moment.  michelle made up some lovely invitations for the occasion...click here to see them.  we will be having a barbecue lunch, sweet treats, goodies and games for family and friends so it should be a lot of fun.  i'll try to remember to take some pics to show you.

on another note, i thought i'd show you a pic of my corsage from michelle and alex's wedding.
i dried it out simply by hanging it in a cool, dry spot for a few weeks.
isn't it lovely?!

it's totally dried out yet it's amazing how delicate the petals still appear

and just in case you forgot what my corsage looked like when it was fresh, see below
 i'm holding the ring pillow which i made as well as the celtic wedding tie box that i painted

this sunday, i plan to have a lazy day so i will be kicking back and relaxing...maybe even watch some DVDs or read a book.

do you have anything special planned for the weekend?

it's not an australian holiday but i'd like to wish all my blogger friends a Happy Thanksgiving if you are celebrating it in your part of the world this weekend.

~ love, light and peace ~

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sew, sew, sew......

only five weeks now until the expected arrival of my first grandchild!  

michelle, alex and i have been busy preparing the nursery for our precious, little angel - mikayla rose.  i haven't even started her cot quilt yet...YIKES!  i guess if i managed to sew a wedding dress in two weeks, i should be okay with a simple and small quilt, right? i sure hope so anyways and i do seem to work better under pressure of time restriction even though i hate it.

technology nowadays is amazing.  check out some 3D images of little mikayla on michelle's blog here.

these are the colours michelle has chosen for the nursery with a splash of turquoise/aqua also and these very fabrics will be transformed into a cot quilt, pillows, cot valance, change mats etc.

yesterday, michelle came over and we spent the day sewing and made two small, rectangular pillows with frills. i LOVE the citrus appeal and they will accent the magenta beautifully.

i made this little pin cushion way back when the kids were little....it's something like 20 years old!!
it's the only pincushion i have and i use it faithfully every time i sew. maybe some day i'll get around to making some fancy pincushions but this one has sentimental value and it serves its purpose very well so it's a keeper.  i made it from left-over fabric that i used to sew a little skirt and top for michelle when she was little.

since the wedding preparation and subsequent wedding, and now preparing for a new baby in the family, i haven't had a lot of time to blog so i want to thank YOU.....all my faithful and beautiful readers for hanging in there and supporting me with your wonderful comments.  you truly mean a lot to me!  i have been trying to get around and visit blogs where i can as i do love to see what you've been up to.

i'm feeling very nervous today because reece has another MMA (mixed martial arts/cage fighting) fight tonight so please think positive vibes that he will be okay.  reece fights in the light weight divisions and his opponent tonight started out in the heavyweight division and is much older than reece so it's a little scary.  win or lose, reece will always be a champion in my eyes but it's injury that i worry about.  below is a photo of him with his girlfriend, sarina, at michelle's wedding last month.  

on that note, i'll finish up this post and wish you all a wonderful weekend!

~ love, light and peace ~

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Coming Up Daisies

I'm beginning to feel like pain is just going to be a part of my daily life so I may as well just grin and bear it. I'm still waiting to hear back on the MRI scan results but I'm sure, if there had been an abnormality to be concerned about, they would have been in touch by now....so I'm thinking, no news is good news.

Do you remember the feet matching contest I ran way back in March?

Nobody won so I did a draw from all the contest participants at this post and the lovely Rita won.

It's been such a crazy year for me with medical issues for myself and two of my sons as well as family events, including my daughter's wedding, and Rita has had the patience of a Saint in waiting for her painted gift.  Thankfully, she won't have to wait too much longer as I'm just waiting for the varnish to cure a little before popping the daisy painting  (pictured below) in the mail. I hope Rita will think it was worth the wait.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW
Coming Up Daisies  
Acrylics on 12"x16" canvas frame
© Serena Lewis

I've included a couple of the work-in-progress shots below so you can see the process behind the finished painting.  I like how the first stage looks in the photo and I'm thinking it would look nice as watercolour on paper but sadly, a first wash of acrylics on canvas just looks messy when you're up close and personal.

 When I think of daisies, I often think of the old and beautiful 1970's song written and performed by Jud Strunk and I start singing it out loud.  It's a nice story about a couple growing old together and his commitment to give her a daisy a day, even after she passed.  I thought I'd include the YouTube video here for you.

and the lyrics -

A Daisy A Day  
by Jud Strunk

He remembers the first time he met her
He remembers the first thing he said
He remembers the first time he held her
And the night that she came to his bed
He remembers her sweet way of sayin'
"Honey has something gone wrong?"
He remembers the fun and the teasin'
And the reason he wrote her this song.

I'll give you a daisy a day
Dear I'll give you a daisy a day
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.

They would walk down the street in the evenin'
And for years I would see them go by
And their love that was more than the clothes that they wore
Could be seen in the gleam of their eye
As a kid they would take me for candy
And I'd love to go taggin' along
We'd hold hands as we'd walk to the corner
And the old man would sing her his song.

I'll give you a daisy a day
Dear I'll give you a daisy a day
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.

Now he walks down the street in the evenin'
And he stops by the old candy store
And I somehow believe he's believin'
He's holdin' her hand like before
For he feels all her love walkin' with him
And he smiles at things she might say
Then the old man walks up to the hilltop
And gives her a daisy a day.

I'll give you a daisy a day
Dear I'll give you a daisy a day
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.
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Have a beautiful day!

~ Love, light and peace ~
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