Monday, May 30, 2016

Customised Teabag Tags...Free Romantic Miniatures Printable...

Remember those Free Romantic Miniature Printables I posted yesterday?
Well, here's another use for them.
Of course you can use them for embellishing Clothes Pegs, decorating plain gift bags, and for making greeting cards, but it was only when I was making myself my usual morning cuppa, that I realised these are the perfect size to make pretty teabag tags.
Now before you go thinking I need a life, let's remember that sometimes the simple things are the ones that are remembered. I know I'd rather look at Jean-Louis Fragonards Girl on a Swing, than a tag that says Bushells Extra Strong, in the morning. And in the afternoon for that matter.
Not only that, but if you're really strapped for cash, a dozen customised teabags, and a thrifted teacup and saucer, might just melt someones heart for under five bucks!
I found that the easiest way to apply these, was simply to hold the picutre in your preferred place up against the existing tag (unwrap the string first) and flip it over, cutting from the back so you can see where the edges need trimming. Glue into place using a solid glue like Glue Stick, wrap the string back around the teabag, and you're done.
Slip them into a cellophane bag, then inside an embellished gift bag, and see if they don't make someone smile...even perhaps you.
I'm off to do some Chanel themed ones for a good friend. Interlocking C's on teabags? Yes please!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Romantic Miniature Printables for crafting....

 These darling little Romantic Roccoco images are perfect for all kinds of crafting, but I confess, I adore them on these clothes pegs.
Clothes pegs are fun to use for pinning photos to twine or wire, to clip paperwork together, attach a magnet and they are pretty on your refrigerator and so on. They are light and easy to post to friends interstate and overseas, and make a wonderful gift for teachers, teens, and of course You!
 You can use these little images for other craft projects too. I've had an afternoon of card making, and embellishing gift bags, and I'm thrilled with the results. I just altered my images, printed them out, cut them to size and pasted on with tacky glue. The bottoms of the pegs were painted with nail polish!
 I think the addition of the satin ribbon and the sweet rhinestone buckle sent by my friend Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, are just right.
 A few pearly buttons and frills left over from my costume making expeditions seemed the perfect finishing touch.
The great news is that I've created three PDFs for you to use to conjure up your own Romantic presents, gift wrap and greeting cards. Each one has dozens of miniatures of these notable Romantic artworks, and I'm sure you'll enjoy playing with them too.
Here they are....enjoy!
Romantic Art for Embellishments Lady on a Swing
Romantic Art for Embellishments Lady in Black and Gold
Romantic Art for Embellishments Lady in Peacock Blue

Friday, May 27, 2016

Motherly Advice...Romance in the Kitchen....

Time for a little romance in the kitchen, and no, I'm not talking about a rendezvous over the radishes!
Last week I shared some photographs of the little touches in my home that lend a sense of the romantic. Romantic décor is a bit French, a little Shabby Chic, a lot of Vintage and Antique, a touch of Roccoco and Boho, and a bunch of what speaks to your heart. You can see that post here.

Sometimes the kitchen is overlooked when we decorate from the heart. Function is favoured over frippery, and what speaks to our inner selves is ignored in the name of domestic practicality. But why? Surely as in the rest of our home, our true self should shine through, even in the kitchen. After all, should it not be the hub of our families life?

In my kitchen, I adore anything vintage or antique, and have a special love for Harlequin kitchenware. All those gelati inspired tones, just make me smile. Pastels are another winner, with pink being my particular favourite.
My vintage canister collection is a special source of pride. Built up over many years, and sometimes just one or two canisters at a time, it's a shame to close the doors on them!

 Display your pretty bits and pieces where practical. My husbands grandmothers teacups were recently gifted to me, much to my delight, and in preference to hiding them away, I've borrowed a simple idea seen recently on Pinterest, and displayed them in a little recycled wire basket. They too, put a smile on my face each and every time I walk into my kitchen.
 Another idea sourced on Pinterest, and finally brought to fruition this week, was recycling jars as storage. I painted these lids with pearly cream paint, and tapped a hole into the center of each with a phillips head screwdriver and hammer. I then fixed these pretty cut glass cabinet knobs into the lids, and Voila! Can you imagine prettier storage? These gorgeous cut glass knobs are available in many different colours on eBay for around $2 each. A small price to pay for a gorgeous, romantic look in your kitchen or craft room!

Of course, if all that is too much trouble, heart shaped cookware, from cake tins and pie tins to casserole dishes, can be found in many kitchenware stores. I never save these things just for Valentines Day. If you don't make an effort to make your own life special EVERY day, nobody else will do it for you!

Dried flowers are another romantic favourite. You'll never waste a marked down bunch of roses again!

What about you? How do you introduce romance into your life...and your kitchen?


All things homespun....Wispy Victoriana Frou-Frou...

All things eerie and wispy have been the order of the day here for some weeks, with a request from the Dance Teacher at our school for ethereal and wraith-like Victoriana style costumes for a Contemporary dance item this year. Sort of Miss Havisham-like, as I mentioned in my post here.

Remember Miss Havisham? She was the bride left at the altar in the classic novel, Great Expectations, and many of the great actresses of our time, have played the part with varying degrees of success, over the decades. Miss Havisham spent the rest of her days in decay and despair, pining for her lost love. Our brief was for a troupe full of Miss Havishams.
Materials were sourced including dresses in muted neutral hues, cobwebby yarn, ribbon, sequins, pearly buttons, tulle, silks, satins, chiffons, georgette and French script 'love letter' style fabric.
Mixed fibre bodices were fashioned using these elements and some trusty embroidery stabiliser. We loved the cobwebby look the yarn lent to the embellishments.
Rosettes were made utilising three strips of toning fabric, gathered at the base and hand stitched into simple rolled roses, which were then sprayed liberally with water and ironed with a pressing cloth, to flatten. These were attached as elements of the bodices, or as bustles on the backs of dresses and skirts. Wispy trails of shredded tulle, silk, satin, chiffon and French script created a great effect in motion.

A Highly Commended was achieved by the girls for this dance item, placing them sixth in a field of nearly 30 groups. No mean feat!
The costumes are now carefully packed away, a tribute to the hard work of a special handful of Mums.
Please note: I have had technology problems in the last fortnight, leaving me without computer or phone, so all posts and linkups were impossible. I'm looking forward to a return to my normal routine as of next week. Thankyou for your patience.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Motherly Advice...Be Yourself...My Romantic Decor Part 1...Boxes and Bottles...

I've always described my decor as Eclectic. A bit of British Colonial, a bit of Shabby Chic, a bit Bohemian, a little Glamour, and a good shake of French Country. One thing is for certain. No matter the current trend, I remained true to my own style.

It's only come to my attention recently, when a friend came to visit and called my home 'romantic', that perhaps this is actually a style too. Well, I never! Whatever it's called, I know that I love it, and always have. Minimalist? Me? Not a chance!

It's ornate, lots of gilt or gold, accented with crystal and curls and swirls and curlicues. There's lace and brocade and embroidery involved. Crystal, cut glass, anything that glimmers and glows. It appeals perhaps, to the bower bird in all of us, and focuses on collections and vignettes of prettiness.

You too, can have a Romantic decor with just a few little touches, and the best part is, it's not an expensive style to cultivate.

Take for example my vintage Eiffel Tower trinket box, pictured above. Found at a thrift shop for $2, it now houses my favourite earrings.

More boxes below...the two larger ornate and aged gold ones with cut glass knobs, another thrift shop treasure for just $5 for the two, the two enamelled ones inherited from my Mother, and the smaller engraved brass one styled after a basket, inherited from my Nanna. That one is absolutely unique and I've never seen another like it. It holds a pair of garnet earrings, also inherited from her.

Another very special treasure below. This is a miniature perfume bottle that is attached to a brooch pin. It's encased in ornate metalwork of some sort, and belonged again, to my European Nanna. I remember my Mum affixing a pearl to it's clawed top and to the clawed front, but they are long gone, and I don't actually know what the jewellers style claws held originally. I do vaguely remember Nanna wearing this, filled with Lily of the Valley scent. I thing it may have been something one wore to Tea Dances.

A collection of cut glass decanters on a thrifted silver tray, graces my dining sideboard, for little money and lovely effect.

This pretty Art Deco inspired perfume bottle was a special gift from my Heartsister. The Heartsister programme links women, who each have a friend to send to, and one to receive from. We remain anonymous, and aim to send something, even if just a short letter of inspiration, once a month. My Heartsister last year, was nothing short of generous, and blessed me with many beautiful gifts, including this one. To this day, I do not know her identity, but I want to thank her. I treasure each of her special pretties enormously, and they sustained me through a very difficult time.

I have many more Romantic decor lovelies to share with you, but for today, I hope I've inspired you to introduce some Romance into your own life. It takes little to have something lovely around you to make life more lavish. Todays offerings are simply bottles and boxes of different kinds. Could you find a Romantic bottle or box on your next trip to a thrift shop? I bet you'll have fun looking!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Insourcing #31...Frou-Frou, Frills and Finery...

Oh my goodness.

How do I get myself into these things.

It's Dance Eisteddfod season here, and my daughter simply refuses to tire of the craziness that surrounds this time of year. Truthfully I love it too, but I love the deadlines less!

In the next eleven days, me and my hardworking team of Dance Mums, have to complete 32 bustles to purchased costumes to make them look more tribal, adjust 11 skirt waists for peasant girls (we'd already completely altered these AND made 23 peasant shirts from scratch!), add pastel tulle to 16 black bustles to fluff them up and make them pretty, and embellish 16 ivory and pearl grey lace dresses with mixed fibre bodice panels, rosettes, and these multi-layered neckpiece style necklaces.

Using this bag full of beads, ornate crucifixes, pearls, shells and other varied amulets, I'm trying to create a neckpiece resembling this one below, thus saving our Dance families big money on similar accessories.

 Ours will not be this ornate....mostly because our dancers may struggle to not get tangled in them as they weave their elegant web across the stage. But a little of something lavish and lush will just add to their Miss Havisham look, I think.

Here's the lady in question, played by the inimitable Helena Bonham Carter...

 ...and here's Miss Havisham the modern day performer...

 ...somewhere betwixt the two, lays the seed of an idea for our Victoriana Ghost Brides.

That's about all I'm doing to save money for me or anyone else this week.

Realistically, I'm saving each family at least $200 if not more. There are sixteen families. That's a saving of $3,200. I call that one good week!

What did you do to save your own family or other families, big dollars this week? 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Five Star Frou-Frou #48... 
 Hi everyone and Happy Mothers Day to those honouring the celebration of Mothers tomorrow!
This weeks features include Megs sublime tribute to the rose and how to decorate with this Queen of Flowers, pictured above, which had the most clicks of any link last week.
 These divine decoupaged paper lanterns from The Lady in the Woods at Fairy Cottage and Garden...Enchanted Life of a Domestic Mystic, were my personal favourite and I am wracking my brain trying to imagine where I can have these in my own outdoor space...
And I couldn't pass up Sandras sublime painted cake over at Sweet dreamy and whimsical is this?
Spring Floral Painted Cakes 9
Thankyou to everyone for a truly beautiful linkup last week. It did my head in trying to choose a favourite!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Motherly Advice...Being Prepared...the 48 hour rule...

 Prepared: get ready, make preparations, arrange things, make provision, get everything set, take the necessary steps, do the necessary, lay the groundwork, do the spadework, gear oneself up, gird up one's loins, fit oneself out, kit oneself out, rig oneself out, provide, arm oneself,
face up to.

Informal-'psych oneself up'

"If you want peace, prepare for war."
Well, here it's not 'war' exactly, but it can certainly be 'chaos' without being prepared!
I'm a great believer in a similar idea...
 'If you want an organised life, prepare for the times when it's chaotic'.
It's a great ethos.
After many years of lurching from day to day and wondering why I never felt on top of things or why I was always making a mercy dash to the supermarket, or stationery supply store, for a forgotten ingredient or school item, I finally realised that the remedy was to be prepared.
Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting and Patsy at A Working Pantry both talk about preparedness in terms of stockpiling and planning for emergencies and illness.
I'm referring today, to just the simple sort of preparing that means looking ahead 48 hours. Lets call it The 48 Hour Rule. It means looking two days ahead and ensuring that everything you need for today, tomorrow and the next day is well in hand. From clean and ironed uniforms, school clothing or work outfits, to assignments that need completing, to supplies that need purchasing, and gifts that need to be bought or all helps. If today and tomorrow are organised, and the tasks you perform now are for two days hence, you have so much more breathing space. You also have a peaceful mind and heart, knowing that tasks are being completed in a timely fashion and that whatever life throws at you, you are ready. And let's face it, life loves to throw us a curve ball every now and again, just to keep us on our toes.
Honestly, most difficulties can be averted or avoided entirely, simply by using my simple 48 Hour Rule. I'm not talking about natural disasters or the like. Just simple planning around family needs by looking at the schedule, and arranging meals, shopping, and other essential tasks accordingly.
This week, I've been busy 'preparing' costumes for my daughters school dance troupe. I love doing this and I love the financial savings it allows for all families involved, but it does take my attention away from my usual routine. This sort of preparing is longer term and is actually months in the making. But still, looking ahead, factoring in distractions and hiccups, saves time, energy and money.

So I've been using my 48 hour rule a great deal lately, and it really does help.

This week alone, it's meant I could prepare tonights meal yesterday...the pasta bolognaise bake pictured at the top of my post will provide us with a dinner and a lunch. I also baked on the weekend, defrosting and serving little heart shaped cakes for school lunch for my daughter, and dessert for the family.

 Using the 48 hour rule, meant that my husband could visit the florist yesterday and buy my favourite red Colombian roses. I can guarantee if he'd left that till tomorrow, a special event day here, he would have been disappointed! 

It meant that he was rewarded with a bunch of carnations, being sold inexpensively as a bonus with purchase.

It also meant that I was able to whip up some of my French Inspired pillow cases for my Mother in Law, saving an expensive trip to the shops for a gift.

The 48 Hour Rule means that the majority of the time, I can rise to meet a crisis with the confidence of knowing that my own family will not be affected.

At least my family are fed, dressed in clean clothing, and I have tomorrows lunch and dinner well in hand. 

My 48 hour rule never fails to bring peace to our chaos and for that, I am grateful :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Motherly Advice...keep a bit of Luxury in the car!

I try to incorporate a little luxury in my day in as many ways as I can.
Now, that doesn't mean I go out spending up big on designer handbags and Rolls Royces.
Rather, I try to surround myself with little indulgences that add to my quality of life in small ways.
One way I do this is by having a few favourite luxuries in my car console.
Our cars often become a dumping ground for shopping dockets, ticket stubs, used tissues, lists, empty water bottles and goodness only knows what else.
Not good for the soul.
Here's my console. It contains the following items...
My favourite mints
A purse size bottle of one of my favourite fragrances
Hand cream
A jewelled compact
Palmers cocoa butter Lip balm
A pen with a favourite designer logo
A nail file and miniature bottle of nail polish for touch-ups (out of view)
I have a thing for hand creams especially in the dry Winter months here, and have them everywhere. Lavender is always my first choice, but I adore Rose as well.
The compact is a vintage item found at a market, but I see similar ones being sold for around the $5 mark by the Asian vendors in the centre of the aisles at the shopping centres all the time.
The pen is one I designed with Vistaprint and I ordered several for personal use and to give as gifts with beautiful stationery and personalised postcards.
And the perfume, well, my car always smells glorious :)
This is such a little thing, but having my little luxuries there next to me really adds to my day and puts a smile on my face.
Make the effort to put some beautiful things in your car console. I bet it makes you smile too.
In fact, this Mothers Day, why not make up a little basket of luxury items for Mum for the console of her car. A fast drying nail lacquer, a lip balm, mints, a foldup brush, a jewelled compact, her favourite scent in miniature, and a bejewelled pen and pretty notepad for those times when you just have to make a note of something. 
I bet she'll love it!