Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

I've been wanting to write about Crystal B. jewelry for a long time! I stumbled across her Etsy site some time ago and was intrigued by her handstamped necklaces and her use of colourful silk fabrics which she weaves into flowers.  I liked the way that she mixes materials and reinvents old junk into fancy jewelry, so her site was quickly added to my list of favourites.   

Ms B has a site where she posts up giveaways about once a month and I was fortunate enough to win a necklace from her!  Yay for me!  I could hardly wait to receive my prize.

Her timing was impeccable, for I received a little package from her on a day when I was feeling particularly tormented and it really pepped me up.

Here's the little tin that the necklace came in, wrapped up with a pretty suede ribbon.  Doesn't it look sweet?  Stardust claimed the tin as his own and he uses it to store his 'treasures' (more on this in another post!).

Inside, wrapped in pink tissue paper, was Crystal B's 'Collier, Mrs Churchill', with a medallion bearing a particularly insightful message.  Just looking at it put a big smile on my face and I put the necklace on immediately.  I could feel my upper lip stiffening with fortitude in the face of adversity!  Patriotic Music began to play in the background!  Even Stardust's toy soldiers stood to attention and saluted!

Now, when I am feeling particularly stressed and on the verge of a meltdown, I put on my necklace and it helps to remind me to just take a few deep breaths and just plough on. 

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The sky above was blue at last

Ok, so I was flipping through my blogroll and was inspired by Katie Sokoler's method of redecorating her New York flat.  Every so often, she'll change the look of her apartment with some coloured paper and artistic genius

I looked at this particular post and thought to myself...I could do that!

I made some stencils by tracing the pictures from this book onto baking parchment (I don't keep tracing paper in the house 'cos I don't use it often).  Then, I stenciled the shapes onto Stardust's water paintings, cut them out and fixed white-tac on the back.

Stardust had so much fun hanging them up on our living room wall.

Then we sat in front of the wall and admired our handiwork.  Stardust was very pleased with himself, but all that interior decorating really wore him out and he went off for his nap.

Whilst Stardust slept, I opened the front door to let in the breeze...and in flew a flock of birds!
ColorMeKatie did not mention on her website that Aves vellum are sociable creatures and that a few of them in the house would attract a whole load of them to come and stay!  I shall have to have words with her, especially if they turn out to be as fierce as the ones in her apartment.
There are paper sparrows roosting amongst our electrical fittings...
...and paper hummingbirds feeding from my paper flowers!
I must admit that they do look rather nice and Stardust seems to like them, so I guess they will be nesting here for a long time.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Don't step upon my purple suede shoes

I am in love with this pair of purple suede shoes that I invited home to live with me this weekend.  They are gorgeous and incredibly comfortable!  You will never guess where I got them from.  (Here's a clue: they are from the least fashionable shoe shop one could imagine.)

I think I might go and see if I can get some contrasting (green? orange?) suede or satin ribbon to pull through those holes to make a big, girly bow.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Bird Songs by Betsy Franco

We were so fortunate to come across this book in the library - somebody had left it lying on a table in the Adult Fiction section.  Stardust was immediately drawn to the papercut of a chickadee on the front cover and we just had to borrow it out.

This is lovely little book which uses onomatopoeia to describe the different bird songs, which makes it really fun to read.  MDH loves reading it to Stardust, who would occasionally run around the house with his arms outstretched, singing 'eeyah eeyah' (seagull) and 'chip chipchip' (sparrow).

I like the collage style of artwork used by illustrator Steve Jenkins in this book.  It seems to give each picture some depth and texture.  The first time we read it, Stardust ran his finger over the page, trying to lift up the pictures.  Looking at the pictures certainly gave me some ideas on craftwork I could do with Stardust!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rainy day painting

It has been raining so much over the last fortnight so we have been stuck indoors most of the day. 

Everyday, Stardust looks mournfully at the sky and says 'It's raining' in the saddest little voice, and everyday, I think to myself, 'I must get some rain gear for the two of us'.  It would be so much fun to take him out on a wet day, in a macintosh and wellingtons, and get him to splash about in puddles and watch the rain falling from the clouds.

I have not yet found anywhere that sells decent rainy day gear for children or adults so this idea will have to be kept on the shelf for now.

Instead, I decided to take this opportunity to do some water-based craft with Stardust.

Here's what we did:
1. I soaked a sheet of paper in some water, then removed it from the water.  I taught Stardust to splatter and dribble watercolour paint all over it using his paint brush.  Then we watched as the paints spread and mixed together.

End result:
2. Using a sponge brush and a small roller brush, we covered a piece of paper with tempera paint.  I put the painting (whilst it was still wet) in a tray and left it outside in the rain.  Stardust would check on the painting every now and again to see how the painting changed with the rain.

End result:

3. We covered a piece of paper in paint and left it to dry.  We collected rain in jars and splashed the water over the painting.

End result:

I think they all look very pretty!

Stardust's art folio is starting to get rather full so I'm going to have to think of some crafts that we can do to use up these finished pieces.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turn and face the strange

More of my friends are getting married and having children now, and it's fascinating, watching the way that married life and motherhood changes people. 

The women I know who have become mothers have all undergone similar changes.  They have all become gentler people - more patient, more considerate, more careful in their actions and speech.

However, I have noticed that not all the changes are positive ones. 

One lady has become fiercely competitive to the point of insensitivity.

Another lady has become so protective of her little one that she no longer trusts her friends or family.

One dear friend has totally lost her sense of humour.

Another one has completely let herself go and appears to have developed an eating disorder.

I myself find that my moods have become more extreme.  I obsess over small things.  I smile less often.  I also have completely lost the ability to be punctual for my appointments.

I wonder if having a child magnifies pre-existing faults in the personality or if these are new problems that women develop post-partum as a reaction towards the great sense of responsibility.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Turn your home into a Hallmark Sweatshop

Step 1: Take one young child and allow some Messy Painting to occur on a piece of art block paper using a roller brush , a sponge and tempera paints in a dark colour (Stardust chose blue). This is Painting 1.

Step 2: Repeat step 1 using tempera paints in a light, bright colour (Stardust chose yellow and orange).  This is Painting 2.

Step 3: Carefully prise painting materials from sticky child hands and hang up paintings to dry. 

Step 4: Wash and dry child.  Stuff child with blueberries.

Step 5: Whilst child is occupied with blueberries, cut out a 5cm x 8cm rectangle from Painting 1, round off edges and put aside.

Step 6: Cut out desired shape or shapes from Painting 2.  (I used heart shapes because I was planning to make a wedding card for a dear friend.)

Step 7: Wash and dry child to remove traces of blueberry juice. 

Step 8: Apply glue to shapes and give to child who will use small and deft fingers to afix shapes to background.  Remove glue from child's hands before releasing child into the atmosphere.

Step 9: Use a black marker to decorate the card.  A simple design is best (and is also all I am capable of). 

Step 10: Mount finished product onto a plain piece of card (10cm x 16cm, folded in half).  Write meaningful and soppy message inside card.  Place in envelope.  Mail.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

First sewing project: Fabric doorstop

My new Brother and I have been working pretty hard (in my opinion) and I have been trying out some simple sewing projects, following tutorials from the internet.  There are so many cool sewing tutorials out there, once one starts looking. 

I have wanted to make some fabric doorstops, ever since I saw some gorgeous ones at Laura Ashley.  Red rubber doorstops from the market at cheap at $2 for a pack of three but they are ugly to look at and I think that they deform the bottom of the door and have a limited lifespan.  Additionally, fabric doorstops filled with beans are friendly towards clumsy people like myself who are prone to stubbed toes.

They did not look too difficult to make, so I searched around and found this great tutorial by CraftyClaire

I had to tweak the tutorial a little bit, because I'm such a fool that I took more than an hour to draw out the pattern on a piece of butcher paper, even with CraftyClaire's simple instructions. 

Here is what I used:
1. Leftover butcher paper (for pattern making)
2. 45cm x 40cm piece of upholstery weight cotton fabric (from IKEA)
3. 10cm length zip (from Art Friend)
4. 1kg of non-toxic plastic weighted beads to use as filling (also from Art Friend).  Some people use rice or wood pellets or green beans. 
I started out by drawing the above-pictured cross-shaped pattern on a piece of leftover butcher paper.  I then cut out the shape and used it as a template for the fabric.  
I traced the image onto the unprinted side of the fabric and cut it out.  From the leftover fabric, I cut out a rectangle of fabric measuring 5.5cm x 15 cm and put it aside to be used as the doorstop handle.

Then, I ironed the fabric so that it would have a 2.5cm border all around it. This 2.5cm border would be used for a nice thick seam (my sewing skills aren't that great, so I needed alot of space for accidents).
I started by sewing the zip into the fabric.  The zip was to go along one of the sides at the bottom of the doorstop.  This was the hardest part, which is why I did it first.  I pinned the zip into place using straight pins and sewed one side first, then the other.
After this was done, I sewed the rest of the bottom of the door stop and also the seam which would go along the side of the doorstop.  I left the top alone until I had made the door stop handle.

For the doorstop handle, I took the 5.5x15cm fabric that I had put aside earlier and folded it in half lengthwise with the printed side facing in.  Then I sewed down the length of the fabric leaving a 2.5cm seam, making a tube with both ends open.  I turned the tube inside out so that the printed side was facing out.  With the seam in the centre, I pressed the tube flat with a hot iron to make a nice flat rectangle-shaped handle.
I pinned the both ends of the handle loosely to the top of the doorstop and sewed the top shut.  The open ends of the handle would lie inside the doorstop once it was sewn shut.  The seam of the handle would be hidden from view.

I unzipped the zip and turned the whole thing inside out so that the printed side was facing out with the handle sitting pretty on top.  Then, I put the ziplock bag into the doorstop and filled it up to the brim with the plastic beads, zipping the ziplock bag carefully shut when I was done.  Voila!  One doorstop completed in an afternoon!

Take a look at what I made!  Aren't they cute?  I am so proud of myself for making them - thank you so much CraftyClaire for the tutorial!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I like to show Stardust paintings and photographs, just to see what his reaction is to them.  He particularly enjoys Van Gogh paintings, probably because the colours are always so bright and vibrant.  I just let him talk to me about what he sees.  His mind often takes us to strange places, so I have the most surreal conversations with him.

TSCD: This is a painting of Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles.  Van Gogh painted it because he stayed in here when he was sick.
Stardust: Yellow chairs. Two yellow chairs.
TSCD: Yes, there are two yellow chairs.
Stardust: (pointing) This one, teeny one, Stardust's chair.  This one, big one, Mummy's chair.
TSCD: What about Daddy?  Where is Daddy's chair?
Stardust: Daddy lie down on the bed.
TSCD: Daddy can sit on the bed.
Stardust: Daddy lie down on the bed. Daddy sleeping. Daddy tired.
TSCD: Mummy's tired too. Can Mummy lie down on the bed?
Stardust: No. Mummy, wake up. Morning time is wake up time. Mummy, wake up. Go outside.
TSCD: What about Stardust? What will Stardust do?
Stardust: Stardust sit on teeny weeny chair.  Mummy sit on big chair.  Daddy lie down.  Poor Daddy.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pictures of the Day 4: The mountain, the sea, the beach

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Pictures of the Day 3: Mt Kinabalu and...the BEACH!!!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pictures of the Day 2: Orang Utan Sanctuary and...BEACH

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pictures of the Day 1: BEACH

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We're all going on holiday to Kota Kinabalu!  Hooray!  It's been ages since we have had a holiday. 

Apparently, the hotel we will be staying in has got a great wireless connection, so I will be updating as we go along.

This will be Stardust's first plane ride where he gets a seat all to himself.  I've packed a big of goodies for him to keep him occupied during the trip. 

My biggest concern is the change in cabin pressure during the ascent and descent of the plane which causes inner ear discomfort - the main reason why children cry on the flight.  I have packed biscuits for the ascent (to encourage him to swallow often) and a 'Mr Happy' book for the descent (to encourage him to yawn or open his mouth wide).  For the flight, I have brought stickers and crayons, books and a new toy. 

Let's go!

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites - Day 7

Stardust loves this clip.  He points at it and says 'Pika! Pika!' and laughs hysterically. 

Who could resist these funny little rodents?  Even Sir David has an idiotic grin on his face when he watches it from behind a rock.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites - Day 6

I'm not sure why Stardust enjoys this video.  I think it is solely because of the llamas.  And the fact that they are wearing hats.  That totally cracks him up.  As to the nature of the dialogue, all I can say is...there is no cussing.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites - Day 5

As you can probably tell by now, Stardust's favourite videos tend to be music related.  This particular video elicited a very emotional response from him and he even shush-ed me with a wave of his tiny hand when I started talking to him halfway through the video.

The Aged P's purchased a copy of her debut album, but he doesn't appear to enjoy listening to it.  I think that this is because the interpretation of the song is quite different from this video.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites - Day 4

Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole does a lovely interpretation of this classic song and I'm in awe of his breezy and effortless vocals, especially when I consider that he probably has breathing difficulties (watch the video and you'll see why).  I'm sure you've heard this piece before, seeing that his recording has been used in several movies

Stardust instantly relaxes when he listens to hawaiian music - there's something about the tuning of the ukulele which gives it such a sweet, uncluttered sound that he really responds to.  We keep a copy of 'Facing Future' in the car for long journeys because when Stardust is really cranky and overtired, we play the album and he normally is able to relax and even fall asleep after a few songs.

This particular music video shows footage of Kamakaiwo'ole's funeral - he died from weight-related respiratory problems at the young age of 38.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Stardust's Youtube Favourites - Day 3

I have always felt that Ernie from Sesame Street had all the best songs.  He got to sing 'Rubber Duckie' and 'Imagine That' and 'One Fine Face'.  This song about visiting exotic places is particularly beautiful and makes for a great lullaby as well.  Stardust could listen to this song forever and ever.  It is one of my 'go-to' songs if Stardust is particularly fretful.

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