Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More additions to our home

I try (try being used very loosely) to do some form of art and craft with Bel while Willow naps each day. It doesn't always happen and it's not always elaborate, but over the past couple of days it has! Yesterday was Gumboot Gardens and today we made wooden peg people.

I was very inspired by We Bloom Here's wooden peg people. She makes so many amazing little people!! So I got to searching and found a great shop on Etsy called I used to be a tree. So when the parcel arrived (amazingly quickly!) Bel and I got painting (well, a few days later...). After convincing her that we only needed one daddy for the family we were making, rather than the three she originally wanted, we settled on a mummy, a daddy, a sister, a brother and a baby. I never thought of myself as very artistic, but with We Bloom Here's amazing pictures, I managed to recreate hair and faces. I am pretty thrilled with the results!

Wooden peg people family

Bel thought they were ever so cute. She painted their 'clothes' on them herself.

The peg people family at home

Then, they moved into their new home. This doll house was made by David's grandfather when David was little. He was working on restoring it and Bel was a bit too enthusiastic with the green paint and then decided that she wanted to play with it now, rather than waiting for it to be done up!

Our happy family!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gumboot Garden How-To

Two posts in one day! It's very wet! We woke up this morning to our street being flooded. It has been raining pretty solidly all day. We also had torrential rain last week and our garage became flooded. It was such a pain at the time, but it gave us the motivation to clean it out. In the cleanup I found an old pair of gumboots and decided to turn them into planters. It was so simple! Here's how I did it...

1 pair of old gumboots
1 bag potting mix
Flower seedlings
Stanley knife

Optional materials: 1 rainy day, 2 bored boys whose school was flooded, 1 enthusiastic toddler with new gardening gloves!

Like I said, it was really easy. All I did was drill holes in the bottom of the boots (pretty proud seeing as I have only used a drill once before!), cut a square section out of the toe of the boot, filled the boots with potting mix, added seedlings and...

Viola!! Now we just have to wait for the rain to clear and hopefully the sunshine will give us some lovely pink flowers! I'll post pictures when they do flower.

As an aside, yay I got my first follower! Thank you, Charity. I wrote a review for her book 'Wicked Sinners' last week. Make sure you check out her books at (But be warned, her site is 18+)

Hickory Dickory Dock

We currently have a mouse problem in our roof. Not only have the little blighters been tap dancing above our heads at all hours, one set off a trap the other day right above where Bel was standing. She was horrified at the noise and I told her that the mouse was 'playing' (thank goodness she accepted that!). But when David got up there, there was no sign of the mouse or the trap.

One of our friends warned us that it could be the mouse setting us a trap and David was concerned that it was a snake that was actually caught in the trap or came along and ate the mouse and trap (I sincerely hope not!). I'm worried that we are going to have to track a suspicious smell in the coming days.

The good thing about this episode is that it reminded me that I have not shared our latest, cute, additions to the family. At playgroup a couple of weeks ago, the theme was 'up and down' and so 'Hickory Dickory Dock' was the song, story and craft. Bel adored making her little paper mouse run up and down a cardboard clock. But of course it didn't last long (Willow even ate part of it, I think). So One Saturday afternoon, I made them their own 'Hickory' and 'Dickory'. Obviously I intended for there to be one mouse each, but Bel has claimed them both as she maintains that Willow is too small to ever know!

Hickory and Dickory, our mouse softies playing in the garden

The girls enjoying their matching mouse softies

I did have plans of making an applique clock to hang on the bookshelf, but that was just waaaaaay to much work for now!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reveiw: Satellites Out of Orbit

I won 'Satellites Out of Orbit' by Chris Wind in the Member Giveaways section on LibraryThing. I rated it 3 stars.

Chris Wind’s ‘Satellites out of Orbit’ provides a “contemporary feminist perspective” of marginalised and silenced characters from myth, legend and modern history. The author attempts to reveal how a patriarchal society impacts the retelling of stories and history to reinforce the status quo and is, for the most part, very successful.

The book is divided into 5 sections: epistles, myths, letters, soliloquies and fairytales. Epistles contains the point of view of women silenced in the Bible. The concept is novel, but the execution is sometimes a little awkward. The ‘voices’ of Mrs Noah and Vashti in Epistles are very entertaining, but this is not consistent throughout the section, making the characters a little two dimensional. However, in the remaining sections, most of the characters have a distinctive ‘voice’.

Wind’s style is politically feminist. Issues such as infidelity, incest, abortion, marriage, childbirth and ambition are examined in light of how society places constraints on women. Obviously the pieces are written with a post modern perspective and shed light on how far women have actually come – from being relegated to childbearing and having to disguise themselves as men to experience success outside the home to having ambitions apart from traditional roles realised.

Wind has also provided an extensive appendix and advises readers to be familiar with the original stories in order to get the most out of the pieces. However, in the Kindle version, the hyperlink to the appendix is at the end of each piece, making flicking back and forth difficult.

‘Satellites out of Orbit’ is an entertaining read. To get the most out of it, the reader requires an open mind. It needs to be taken for what it is: a subjective view on the subjectivity of literature and history. Wind exposes how the simple stories that are often considered ‘romantic’, or are the basis for belief systems, can be used for the subjugation of women. The pieces also point out that there is still a paradox in our society as women have greater freedom outside of the home, but are still expected to attain certain ‘ideals’.

Review: Wicked Sinners

A friend of mine recommended Charity Parkerson's 'Wicked Sinners' and I managed to snag a copy for free from Amazon. I have posted this review on Librarything and rated it 5 stars.

Wicked Sinners is not the formulaic dark, brooking supernatural guy meets hapless, social misfit girl that I was expecting. While Parkerson’s plot twists and turns challenged my romantic sensibilities, she weaves them together with talent. The result: a book that I devoured, breathlessly arriving at the end.

At its most basic the plot is guy meets girl, true love ensues. However, unexpectedly tragic events turn this formula on its head. While it took me a while to resign myself to this, Parkerson’s engaging characters convinced me that this is the way it should be.

Parkerson weaves her tale with a surprisingly small cast of characters. I adored Adriana, whose impulsiveness and devotedness were enchanting. The description of Julien and Jacques had my heart racing, yet the differences between their personalities are striking. I must confess that it took me a while to warm to the character of Alain and even at the end I was not entirely convinced. But I am looking forward to Parkerson’s next instalments to convince me!

I thoroughly enjoyed Parkerson’s style. It was easy to read and engaging. Her flare for description won me over early. Even though I had not read the first book in the series, I did not find this an issue as ‘Wicked Sinners’ stands very well on its own.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed “Wicked Sinners”. I found it difficult to put down and I look forward to the next instalment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crafting with Daddy

I love weekends! Hubby is home and spends time with the girls. I love watching them play. He has a whole different style with them and they love it! David is also a closet crafter. He doesn't go for flashy supplies, but he loves taking something and turning it into a toy or decorating it more than he likes to admit!
A while ago a friend of ours who adores all things ladybug gave Bel 3 little red dome lights from Ikea. They are battery operated and very cute. At the time, David said we should paint them to make them look like ladybeetles. But Bel was having too much fun 'decorating' her room with them.
They resurfaced on the weekend when we tidied her room and being a very rainy time, David pulled out a nikko and got decorating.
David drew basic dividing lines on the lights to create ladybug features and showed Bel how to draw a face and spots on it. She tried but, being the perfectionist that she is, got upset when hers didn't look like Daddy's.
I think Bel's is the cutest. David called him Beauregard and the other two are Will and Jay after the friends who gave them to us.

Ladybug lights
Bel loves them even more now that they have little personalities. It doesn't show in the photo, but the 'spots' that Bel drew on Beauregard actually look like love hearts.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Just recently, at the encouragement of a friend from playgroup, I've joined a couple of reading groups. I felt like smacking myself in the head during the conversation with my friend. I'm an English teacher for goodness sake! I read more than a book a week (if it's good, a book a day!).

I've joined numerous online sewing groups, so why not reading? So last week I joined 2 groups (and am open to joining more!).

I was very excited to be invited to my friend's facebook book club which has numerous members who are authors themselves and I therefore get the heads up about new books coming out and new up and coming authors. The second is uber-exciting. The site is (forgive my inability to put links in!). On signing up, I joined their early reviewers section and put my hand up for member giveaways. The result: I got given a book for free in exchange for a review. How fantastic is that?!

So, without further ado, here is my first review, as posted on Library Thing, for Rebecca Hamilton's "Forever Girl Series - Sophia's Journey".

Hamilton creates an underworld that is both thrilling and enticing in ‘The Forever Girl’. She successfully interweaves myth and legend with reality in a refreshing take on the realm of the supernatural.
The characters are quite delightful and remain consistent throughout the novel. Sophia is engaging and easy to relate to, as we all feel on the outer at some point. While she is no shrinking violet, she has a softness to her and a realism as she discovers there is more to her life than she ever imagined. Similarly, I found the environmental consciousness of Charles especially entertaining and original.
While the market has been saturated with books of this genre, Hamilton presents a world that seems darker and more mythical than I have read so far. However, this seems to make her work more believable as the ‘elementals’ seem to form a more complete legend than vampires and shapshifters alone.