31 May 2010

Les Marchés au Puces - { The Market of the Fleas }

Call me daft, but I love washing! Out of all the chores on the home front...washing and me are the best of friends. The "Leaning Tower of Ironing" and I eyeball each other for most of the week and sulkily come together when we've both had enough of re piling the clothes into the basket as they've tumbled to the floor. Why can't men's work shirts be made out of t-shirt material??? The vacuum used to be a favourite but since it induces rather dramatic conniptions from mon petit poppet, it's become a love you and leave you kind of acquaintance. The kitchen sink and I don't even pretend to get along....we simply loathe each other! But washing and I ....we're like this (picture crossed fingers)!

Why you ask incredulously? It is a delightful mixture of many things....the scent of freshly laundered clothes, pegging out wee little socks, damp sheets against my cheek, singing "Wet washing hanging on the line, drying very quickly when the weather's fine" à la Noni and Benita from Playschool, memories of swinging on the hills hoist when I was a kipper.....memories of a big red perfectly circular bruise on my Papa Bear's forehead where, on his nightly trip to the wheelie bin, he'd collided with said hills hoist after I'd forgotten to wind it up after one of my dizzy jaunts. Oopsy Daisy!!

So when I spied this miniature version from afar at an oppie the other day you won't be surprised that I ran...yes, ran through the store to claim it as my own. There may have even been some Granny shoving aside in my haste but I was intoxicated with that deliriousness that comes about when you've unearthed a brilliant find. And for the princely sum of $5!!! Magnifique, fantastique, incroyable, merveilleux....O.K. Steph enough with the French adjectives (big dirty show off!).

My rather tardy Flea Market Finds adds to a glorious list of treasures over at Her Library Adventures. Please pop in for a squiz! I'm off to hang out a load of towels.....wet washing hanging on the line, drying very quickly when the weather's fine!

26 May 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - Le Chevalet D'enfant Facile - { My Creative Space - Easy Child's Easel }

On Tuesday I showed you a really easy little easel I made for poppet and the materials you would need. Now...onto the task of showing you how I whipped it up (yes...it was that easy it deserves a "whipped it up"!) Jess, Kylie, Wendy and Catherine have bravely put their hands up to join in...who else is up for a little D.I.Y. challenge? We'd love for you to join us!! How about we do a little show and tell in a month (that gives you HEAPS of time). (Blogger ate a lot of my comments from my last post so if you sent one about joining in and it's not there, can you leave another please.)

I am going to go through every step that I did but perhaps you were lucky enough to have your timber cut for you. If so, just scroll down to step 6.

Step1: Take your 42mm X 19mm timber and measure 850mm...draw a mark. Repeat this until all four pieces are measured up.

Step 2: Lining up your square on the side of the timber, draw a line with your pencil.

Step 3: Find somewhere to rest your timber...maybe an old chair. Line the saw up on your pencil line. Using your thumb knuckle (keeping your fingers away from the teeth) as a guide pull the saw towards you slowly a few times to make a little notch. Now slowly pull the saw backwards and forwards along the line. There is no need to rush and try not to force the saw too much....keep them long even strokes. Repeat for your other pieces.

Step 4: Take your 42mm x 11mm timber and measure 430mm. Repeat for the other piece. Repeat steps 1 -3.

Step 5: Measure your ply wood (2 pieces of 430mm x 510mm) and repeat steps 1-3. Woo hoo! All the cutting is done. You can use a little bit of sandpaper to smooth any edges.

Step 6: Take one of your 850mm lengths (you have four of these). Place the folded hinge up against the end and using your pencil, mark the holes.

Step 7: Line up one of your nails on one of the holes and hammer nearly the whole way in. Use the back of your hammer to lever it out again. Voila! Your screw hole without any scary power tools! Repeat this for the other hole. (Just make sure that your nails are the same thickness as the shaft of the screw i.e. the bit inside the curly thread part)

Step 8: Using your fingers for support, screw the screws in to attach the hinge (the screws would have come in the packet with the hinges). Repeat Steps 6 and 7 on another of your 850mm lengths.

Step 9: Take another 850mm length and lie it almost end to end with one of your hinged pieces. Line the inside of the hinge up with the end of the timber (look closely at the photo) and mark your holes. Repeat Steps 6 and 7. Do exactly the same for the other two pieces of 850mm timber. You now have the supports/legs of your easel! Turn your pieces over so that the hinges are facing down.

Step 10: Line up one of your pieces of ply with the hinge end of your 850mm timber and one of the side edges. Attach the ply by hammering a few nails through the ply and into the timber (I used 3 on each side). Line it up on the other side and attach. You're nearly there!!

Repeat for the other side. It's starting to look like an easel now! Foreman Bijou approves!

Step 11: Take one of your 430mm lengths and attach underneath the ply with one nail on each leg.
Step 12: Using a nail to make your screw holes like before, evenly space the three cup head crews along the bottom piece of timber. Don't screw them in the whole way as these are the hooks for the paint pots.

Step 13: Turn your easel on its side and make a pencil mark approximately in the middle of the two bottom pieces of timber (the ones where you attached the paint pot holding screws). This is where you'll attach your chain. Do the same on the other side.

Step 14: The final building stage! Hooray!!! Nail your chain to the side of the legs where you made the pencil mark. Attach in the same way on the other leg. Repeat on the other side of the easel. Step 15: Stop what you are doing and have a well earned strut around your back yard with your head held high. Bravo! You've just made your little poppet an easel!!! All that's left to do is give it a bit of a sand, paint it and attach the paint pots. This is a wonderful time where you can disguise any "oopsies" such as slightly uneven legs (sand, sand and sand again), not quite matching up ply wood (slop that paint in that groove!)...you get the idea!

Step 16: Cut your empty soft drink bottles into paint pot containers and make a hole to attach them to the easel. I used a hole punch and then cut a little slit to make a key hole shape. I also cut the paintbrushes down to make them more safe for my little one.

Step 17: Let your imagination run wild and decorate your little easel however your heart desires. I painted colours on both sides and their French names on Bijou's. Are you surprised? :) Now go and have a cup of tea and revel in that glorious feeling oozing from every pore of your being .... pride.

For more wonderful Creative Spaces please head over to Kirsty's lovely blog and enjoy!

25 May 2010

Le Chevalet D'enfant Facile - { Easy Child's Easel }

When it became high time that my creative little poppet had a painting easel, I found all the commercial ones were too tall for her and so heavy yet rickety they'd crush her little noggin as soon a look at her. So with some scrap wood lying around in the shed, a few bits and bobs and a good dose of "girls can do anything" spirit...I made one!

Now it's your turn (when I said last week to ready your hammers I wasn't kidding!) Now before you run away in fright I want to let you know a few things to encourage you: 1) I honestly made it (not hubby) and it truly was easy, 2) I am about 165cm tall and weigh about 50 kg (read puny and a weakling) and 3) I failed wood work at high school! Who's game??

You'll need a saw, a hammer, a measuring tape (you can even use your sewing one), a phillips head screwdriver (the star shaped one), a flat head screwdriver, a pencil, a square (two rulers stuck together to make a right angle would do the trick),...

...two 35mm Butt Hinges (buy them in a pack with screws), glue, 20mm nails (about a handful), three 20mm cup head screws, (make sure your nails are the same thickness as the shaft of the screws i.e. the part inside the curly thread part)...

4 pieces of "42mm x 19mm" timber at 850mm long (you can always make these longer if you want a taller easel), 2 pieces of "42mm x 11mm" timber at 430mm long, 2 pieces of ply wood at 430mm x 510mm and two pieces of chain or thin rope approximately 400mm long each. Now if you think I am trying to fry your brain with all this millimetre talk...I'm just trying to get you into "tradies'" lingo to gain you some street cred at your hardware store. These timber widths are fairly standard and most hardware stores will cut it to size for you if you smile sweetly....and talk in millimetres.

Later on you'll need 3 soft drink bottles...G and T anyone?

If you've ever read a sewing pattern, threaded an overlocker, pieced together a quilt, learnt to crochet etc.etc. etc. you CAN do this (and then will strut like a peacock for weeks)!! If you're willing to step out of the sewing comfort zone and dabble in a little D.I.Y. I'd love for you to join me. I'll make a list of those brave and adventurous souls on my sidebar ...please don't let it only have one name on it...."Nancy no-friends" me! Then we'll do show and tell in a few weeks to see the magic you've made.

I'll be back tomorrow with the "how to" part. Come on...we are women hear us roar!!!

23 May 2010

Les Marchés au Puces - { The Market of the Fleas }

When I was a wee kipper my parents bought my older brother and I an organ for Christmas. It was a whistle inducing whizz bang number up on a stand with one hand for the melody and one hand for the chords. We bashed around on it for a few weeks when it became quite obvious to anyone who endured our relentless playing of Hot Cross Buns that lessons were in order. Enter Mr. Lynch and his shiny black briefcase.

Each lesson began with a review of the previous lesson's homework (homework I completed seconds before Mr. Lynch's little grey Laser pulled up in front of our house). The value of a crotchet versus a minim, treble clef versus bass clef and the wonderful Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit!

I always sat on my hands during this review eager to appear scholarly but secretly wishing he'd cut the prattle so I could get onto learning that new Debbie Gibson song I knew he had tucked into that briefcase. Debbie also shared manilla folder space with such unforgettable anthems as We Are the World, The Lambada, Chariots of Fire, Star Wars and my all time favourite...The Neverending Story! Don't mock, it was the Eighties! And yes, I sang along.

As thrifting has been a little light on this week I thought I'd share my all time flea market find. When Hubby and I were travelling around France we couldn't resist...o.k. I couldn't resist this gorgeous little piano found in an antique store in Avalon. Bijou was not even a magical thought in our minds yet we still purchased it and lugged it home...in a back pack too! It cost an absolute pittance so we thought we'd chance getting it back into Australia and to our delight we got it home! (We did declare it, promise!). It now takes pride of place in poppet's room and she enjoys playing it daily. Perhaps I should look up old Mr. Lynch. I wonder if he still has that black briefcase? I wonder if he has any Delta Goodrem songs...mmmm!

For other wonderful treasures please be sure to visit Sophie's gorgeous blog.

21 May 2010

Le Magasin - { The Shop }

There weren't any minuscule hors d'œvres, nor clinking of crystal champagne glasses filled with Moët. Not one celebrity present (either of the A, B....or heaven forbid, C list category). No PR army coordinating everyones' moves using those funny devices resembling bad hearing aids. Not even a ribbon and big scissors. Just one bleary eyed, slightly neurotic and scary haired me! Yes.....that's right my friends. Last night I finally threw open the doors of my Etsy shop! Please make an orderly queue and no, flirting with the sales assistant will not get you a discount.

You would think with all this hoo ha there would be fifty items listed but rest assured the ten bits and bobs put on so far took more than their fair share of blood, sweat and tears. I know it will get easier but Whoa Nelly talk about fiddly!

Not quite sure what took me so long...perhaps the resizing of bazillions of photos, perhaps typing and retyping descriptions, perhaps measuring length and widths. Or most likely...holding my breath and taking that ever so scary but rather exhilarating first leap into an unknown world. Weeeeeeeee!!

But I'd best run...here comes my first customer. "Good evening Madam! Can I assist you with anything? What's that? Did I once work with Karl Lagerfeld ? Oh, you flatter Madam!"

Jouer du Tambour le Rouleau S'il Vous Plaît! - { Drum Roll Please! }

Oh my giddy Aunt!!! I have been absolutely blown away by the response to my little giveaway and have delighted in reading each and every one of your sweet comments (blogger ate some of the later comments but I printed them out through my email so no one missed out). Grosses Bises times a million!! As I said in my giveaway post, I was going to get Bijou to pick the winner...what a lovely idea you say. Ha! It all started out so well. She's reaching into the little suitcase of crumpled up comments.....and.....picking out one!! Yay! Quick take a photo....too late, it's back in the box and two handfuls have come out in its place.

She's now hopping into the suitcase full of crumpled up comments and making car noises. Too many adventures in the washing trolley for this gal I think! As you can imagine things got progressively worse. Suffice to say, I ended up collecting all the comments and putting them back into the case, closing the lid and giving it a good shake up and then reaching my hand in to pull out......

...this comment! Congratulations Jess, I've just whizzed an email your way so we can get my little Mademoiselle all packed up and jetting off to her new home.

Once again, thank-you to everyone who entered but especially for all your gorgeous comments about my French lady and my little wee blog. You have helped my crafting and blogging confidence to soar and you have ignited a creative fire that keeps me awake at night. The ideas, the ideas, the ideas!!

Pop back soon for my first tutorial. Ladies start your hammers!! Yes, you read right! But don't be scared...we'll have a blast, I promise.

20 May 2010

Mon Espace Créateur - { My Creative Space }

{ If you are popping in for my giveaway, please scroll down}

Hubby and I have sponsored a child from Sudan through World Vision for quite a few years now. Ousmane was a little wee boy of three when he first came into our lives and is now eight and attending school. Although he is halfway around the world, we feel connected to him through our letters, his lovely drawings and photos and he has grown to be a wonderful part of our little family. We eagerly anticipate introducing him to poppet when she is a bit older.

I'll be completely honest, at times it has been a bit of a financial burden and we have on occasion considered handing his care over to someone else. The words of Phil Collins' brilliant song "Another Day in Paradise" always seem to see us straight. So what if we have one less takeaway, buy one less coffee,...this darling little man didn't have shoes until we started sponsoring him. Supplying him with new coloured pencils for school is like reaching up and handing him the silvery moon!

When I discovered Gypsy's lovely blog, Dance for Cheese my heart was warmed by an initiative that she is part of. A wonderful woman is coordinating the making and distributing of pinafores for the Dago Dela Hera Orphanage in Kenya. When she visited the country she was heartbroken to discover that most of the little girls at the orphanage didn't have clothes to wear. In my creative space this week I made a simple reversible pinnie (the only requirement...so that the little lovely gets two dresses to wear....so thoughtful!!) using "Strawberry Field" fabric by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures. I even had a whirl at a little free motion sewing...please don't laugh...I tried really hard!!

It was a quick and easy project yet one that saddened me and gave me hope at the same time. When every newspaper and television station seems determined to convince us that the world is becoming rancid with each passing day one would be forgiven for giving up hope , claiming , "What can I do?". But here is one woman...and her beautiful dream...changing the world! No matter your circumstance, your budget, your busy schedule, this week I ask you to find some way (no matter how small) to contribute to this wonderful community of human beings we call our world. Let's pour buckets of hope over all those pessimists!

Remember, "Think twice, It's just another day for you and me in paradise."

For more creative nooks please pop into Kirsty's delightful blog and have a sticky beak!

16 May 2010

Mon Premier Cadeau! - { My First Giveaway! }

This giveaway is now closed. Thank-you all so much for your delightful responses! Stay tuned for the winner!!!

I am so thrilled to be having my first ever giveaway! Monday the 17th of May is Giveaway Day over at Sew, Mama, Sew! and along with lots of other wonderful bloggers I am participating in their grand giveaway-a-thon! Is that even a word??

One of my lovely little mademoiselles has packed her things and is ready to jet off to a new home. Don't be too concerned though, her English is superb. Plus, she makes a mean Mousse au Chocolat!

She's going to bring one of my linen rosette brooches with her too. And if that's not enough...the very generous Fiona of treepartydesign has given me a lovely caravan brooch to add to the loot. She makes the most gorgeous brooches (remember the little swallow I bought for Bijou) and sells amazing silicone bakeware in tiny flower blossom and little bug shapes. I have a set of each but haven't christened them yet because they're soooo cute. Thanks so much Fi!!

To enter, all you have to do is become a follower of my little wee blog and leave me a happy comment on this post...something you're thankful for in your life perhaps. If you're already one of my kindred spirits just leave a comment.

International lovelies are welcome as I'm happy to ship my little parcel to Antarctica if need be! Entries close on 20th of May. I'm going to get poppet to help me pick a name out of a basket
and then I'll announce the lucky person on the 21st of May. Be sure to pop by to see if it's you! Wishing you oodles of good luck.