Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seashell Jewellery Trays

Super ages ago I had the idea for these (though just a tiny amount of googling informs me that I was not the first), and a Mermaid Party was JUST the excuse to make them.  I *almost* forgot them entirely, and remembered only recently, after some beach combing.  Whew.  

They were a little time-consuming, but def worth the effort.  I think I used about four coats of paints, and probably couldn't done another coat or two.  I had ten to make, and I ditched early.  I think they look fine *crosses fingers*.  I also wish I'd glued the 'pearl' after painting the shell.  I made the call to glue first, hoping that I could tidily paint around the pearl and disguise the glue.  It didn't work out marvellously, but I ended up kinda blending the pearl into the shell with white paint, so I guess that's okay.

My original idea included iridescent paint, but that stuff is expense!  So I used what I had on hand, and a little bit of glitter looked just as good.  A fun, simple idea that was easy to execute.  Perfect.

Edit - The placement of the pearl is not especially accurate - but we wanted the pearl as a placeholder for rings 'n things.  Yanno.  Creative licence and all that.  I mean, it's a scallop shell so we're not going for complete accuracy here ;-)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

On My Nightstand - Aug/Sept/Oct

So at the beginning of the year I set myself the challenge of reading 40 books in 2014.  During the past few months I hit a reading slump, switching reading with binge-watching comedy series.  You know what?  No regrets.

I had a number of books on my 'to read' list, many of which were YA (genuine love for this book category, and shorter book length totes helps with this challenge *smileyface*), and I've had some excellent recommendations along the way.  I've also switched out some of my original selection to make way for some newly acquired reads.  Basically, I still have a ton of reading to do before we hit the end of Dec, so I'll prob stick to YA, yeah?

And before I forget - the winner of 'Spark' has been drawn (yes, I did forget).  Congrats Alisa!  Please email me your address - thegoldenadventures(at)gmail(dot)com

'Is It Just Me?' - Miranda Hart

This was a fun, light read, and exactly what Miranda fans would expect to find.  Lots of silliness (the good kind), self-deprecation (my fave kind of comedy) and thoughts on life.  I enjoyed it, though I wouldn't say I loved it.  I think I love Miranda best onscreen, and many of the sequences in the book  were more like skits anyway, so I don't know that it offered anything fresh.  You know, the perfect book for reading in a hammock under the apple tree, but nothing you are likely to remember past closing the final page.

'Spark' - Rachael Craw

Reviewed here.

'The Jewel' - Amy Ewing

Reviewed here.

'The Graveyard Book' - Neil Gaiman

Ermagerd I LOVED this book!  Which was a bit of a surprise because the jacket description left me cold.  Who knew a graveyard would make such an appealing setting for a novel?  So, Bod (short for Nobody), is raised in a graveyard by a bunch of ghosts and so on.  Sound like a delightful read?  It actually is!  Gaiman manages to make sleeping in a coffin/tomb sound super cozy and safe, rather than supremely creepy (the actual truth). Each chapter is a self-contained story, and each contributes in it's own way to the grand finale.  Gaiman's writing is flawless and also brilliant.  I paused on a sentence every now and then, just to let the weight of it sink in.  And they may be few (and spliced between some truly horrifying sequences) but there are some sweetly comedic bits too.  Just perfect.

Plus, Silas.  #newfavouritecharacterever

I will say, I really don't know that I would recommend this to any child (even though Bod is himself a child for most of the novel), and with hesitance to many younger young adults.  I'm quite amazed by Gaiman's ability to turn some truly dark subject matter into a fun, adventurous, emotion stirring story, but eeek, the chapter bookends are super chilling.  And I'm a fan of CSI.

Stoked to have found this in an opshop for 50c (opshops ftw), and super looking forward to the film release.  Assuming it actually gets released at some point.  Fingers crossed.

More book reviews here.  xx

YA novels
Forest Born - Shannon Hale
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
If I Stay - Gayle Forman (read)
The Fault In Our Stars - John Green (read)
The Jewel - Amy Ewing (read)
The Selection Series - Kiera Cass
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (read)
Boy 21 - Matthew Quick

Contemporary/Adult lit
The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer (DNF)
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles

NZ fiction
(Middle Grade) The Volume of Possible Endings - Barbara Else (reading)
Spark - Rachel Craw (read)


Is It Just Me? - Miranda Hart (read)
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

Friday, October 3, 2014

Messages in bottles

I've started some makings in preparation for Eleanor's party.  These little bottles contain glittery sand, a tiiiiiiny plastic jewel, and a wee scroll.  Of course I still need to find some chains before they are complete.  I decided not to seal the cork with glue, so they can switch the sand etc. out and replace it with something else (mini terrarium, beads, whatnot), if they choose to.  I found the bottles on Trademe and they were inexpensive.  The tiny chest I found on eBay, but have seen these in $2 stores too.

Now to make a mermaid tail or three *scared face*.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Currently on my covet list...

1. 'Playful' - Merrilee Liddiard.  2. Black leather low-cut chucks.  3.  Crystal Necklace - Boutique Minimaliste. 4.  Uashmama Bag - Collected. 5.  Windy City Dress - Modcloth.  6. Cacti Art Print - Endemic World.  7. Frankie Daily Journal.

I have actually just purchased 'Playful', thanks to some paypal dollars sitting in my account.  As for the others, well, I will prob buy the Frankie diary Daily Journal (much cooler) as a Christmas present to self, and will carry on coveting the rest.  Sometimes pretty things are just nice to look at, on the web.  We don't actually have to buy 'em all!  *revelation....*  Oh, but the shoes... I might need those...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some days...

It was one of those ones.  You know.  When you haven't had enough sleep.  When your little peeps find mischief (with the best of intentions of course) wherever they go.  There wasn't much that could be done other than sit, and watch and let them go.  I captured the idyll, but let me assure you that the interior of our home was a sight to behold.  And not in a pinworthy way.  Ah well.  Today is a new day, and even though littlest guy had an upset tummy all night, he is in fine spirits today.  We all are.  So, let's go tidy the house.

'You Can Do It, Bert!' - Ole Konnecke

"Bert has been preparing for this for a long time.  He is ready.  Mentally and physically.  But before he takes the plunge, he might need a bit of encouragement from his friends.  You can do it, Bert!" - Gecko Press

Oh man, this one is soooo cuuuute!  I easily fall into the over-writing category, so I am particularly impressed when authors can convey such an emphatic and meaningful message across, with such restrained use of text (and in this case, illustration too).  The illustrations are stinking cute.  Bert is adorable in every action (and his methods of procrastination?  Very relatable), and I love the use of negative space (so underrated in kid's books).

Konnecke cleverly sets up for a few possible outcomes, each equally viable until the truth is eventually revealed (I was surprised).  There is subtle humour, and a general message of warmth and encouragement (his friends, oh what friends!  The best kind).  This would make a most perfect gift for a child (or even adult) preparing for change of some kind.

I should probably also mention that short texts like this are always very welcome at the end of a long day, ya hearing me?  I have some go-to favourite short reads (all Gecko, I might add) for those nights.

'You Can Do It, Bert!' by Ole Konnecke - is available for pre-order now, and will be released by Gecko Press in October. Yay for Gecko Press!  Thank you for this charming ARC x

Saturday, September 27, 2014

'I don't want to go to school' - Stephanie Blake

"Once upon a time, there was a mischievous little rabbit.  Maybe you know him.  When his mother said: "Tomorrow is your first day of school, little rabbit."  He replied: "I'm not going!" - Gecko Press

Simon is back!  We were all v. excited about this one!  Simon is def our favourite cheeky little bunny, and this Simon-story is an insta-classic in our household.  The school-years are edging in on us, so this was a timely addition to our shelves, though of course, the story itself is applicable to all sorts of situations.  Generally speaking, little ones tend to find it difficult to adapt to big changes, and sometimes it can be so helpful to have the support of just the right text, for those: "remember when Simon didn't want to go to school?" conversations.

Do you reckon Simon liked school once he got there?  Well, no, not immediately, but that's half the charm (and hilarity) of this book. Of course, humorous children's books are always the most fun to read, and Gecko Press seem to hold the market for funny, quirky, adorable kid's books.  Stephanie Blake has a very sweet sense of humour, making this a treat of a read.  And we've tested this book on various visiting adults - verdict?  Funny.

If you want to get your hands on 'I don't want to go to school' by Stephanie Blake, check out your local bookstore or purchase via the Gecko Press website.  There are three other 'little rabbit' books to collect (we neeeeed the first two), so keep an eye out for those, too.  Thanks again, Gecko Press, for this super adorb review copy x

Party: /ˈpɑːti/ — n, pl -ties. 5. Favours

My favourite bit!!  I know that party favours aren't everyone's bag, but they sure are mine.  Gorgeous mini presents for every party guest, yes please!  This is the real benefit of keeping our guest lists small, fewer guests = more favours!

Okay, I've done party favours in varying degrees.  From Eleanor's 2nd birthday with allllll the favours, to sweetly packaged handmade soap on her 4th.  It's like this, for me - if I have the time and the inspiration, I looooove to go all out with handmade favours.  I can think of nothing more delicious than little people opening a paper gift page filled with tiny handmade treasures, all for themselves (I always make one for the birthday child, too).  If that doesn't happen, we are so down with the simple take home gift - treats, soap, stickers etc.  No rules, peeps.  It's marvellous :-)

Matchbox lawnmowers - Garland's 2nd, walnut sailboats, paper craft gifts.

Do you know what?  I'm a total geek very normal person and have kept favours from each of our kiddo parties, which I'll save to give them when they're older.  That day...  Oh, oh!  

So back to being exceedingly helpful and knowledgable (mmmhmm, oh yes) about party things, and offering yet more unsolicited party throwing advice...

Packaging!  Scroll on...

Cute paper bags are amongst my top fave material things...  Sad, but true.  And, even a plain old paper bag can be made pretty, with the addition of some cool stickers!  Hello vistaprint!  Washi tape is also the shiz for making a boring bag look pretty (or, a pretty bag look prettier).  I AM SO HELPFUL!  You're welcome.  Okay, here's a tip: fake flowers!  Yeah!  Don't all thank me at once.

Let's not forget - Christmas party favours!  I know, I'm trying to make kiddo-pre-Christmas-parties a thing, and so far I'm the only person I actually know who throws these, but I'm sure they'll catch on soon ;-), because seriously, who can resist handmade Christmas crackers?!

Okay, probably best not to write a blog post when I'm just a little sleep-deprived (did it contain any information?  No, I do not think so).  For the rest of this sliiiightly gratuitous series, follow these links:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The finish line (AKA the end of term three)

Oh hi!  We have been keeping pretty quiet around here.  That juggle of parenting, housework, self-employment, and my job.  I'm knee-deep in this manuscript edit and trying to push on through - what started as a little tweaking and rewriting...  Oh...  Anyway, I do intend to finish off a couple of posts, and complete some projects that I can share with you.  Soon, soon...  Happy, happy last week of term! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mt. Eden Accommodation

So during our mid-winter getaway, we split our time between four different sleep-spots. The first two were discussed here and here, the third was my sister's flat (but I'll spare her an accommodation review), and finally this very sweet little bookabach in Mt. Eden. We stayed here with some friends of ours, another little family of four, and it was the bestest! So comfortable, convenient and pretty.

This was such perfect, lovely and well-priced accommodation for our little group (it worked out at $100 per night per family), so for anyone planning a few nights in Auckland, here's another option for y'all to throw into the mix.

Included were: heaters, firewood, (huge) flat screen TV, DVD player, wifi, laundry, (real) coffee + chocolate  (I think you just won my heart), BBQ and a big basket of toys to keep our babies entertained. The rooms were cosy, with plenty of storage space for bags & clothing, and the kitchen was well equipped with every possible thing you might need. We were warm. We lounged.  We ordered in pizza. It. Was. Heaven.  

While we do have friends and relations to stay with in Auckland, it's still nice to know there are other options. In this instance we wanted to share our holiday with some of our fellow, country-bound pals. It felt a little risky picking one of the cheaper options, but it sure paid off!  

I intended to share this post months ago, but I didn't love the photos, so I delayed. However, hols are coming up soon, they have a few nights still available, and I thought some of you would appreciate a heads-up. Here's the link if you'd like to check them out. Happy-almost-school-holidays!

Nope, not an official review this time :-) Just a great place to stay, Auckland-side.