Laundry Restyle

Our laundry is a dumping ground.

It’s also a room in the house where I spend a large majority of my time. It’s definitely the smallest of the rooms where I spend large portions of time.

I try to make my children responsible, which means picking up their dirty clothes and putting them in the laundry basket. What happens in reality is they fling them inside the door, creating a mountain, which continues to grow, and grow, and grow.

Their daycare clothes come home carrying half the sandpit (couldn’t they shake them out BEFORE stuffing them wet an filthy into a plastic bag?) As a result, my laundry often resembles a sand pit.

Thankfully I no longer have buckets of soaking nappies about the place, which definitely makes it a more pleasant place to be.

Essentially, my laundry room is large, spacious and light (it doesn’t get direct sun but it gets light!). It also has quite a bit of storage. The issue was I just didn’t look after it!

So as an incentive to keep it clean and tidy, I gave it a wee makeover! Nothing too major (I did consider redoing the wallpaper or painting, but I really don’t have the motivation or spare time right now!).

The biggest part of the revamp was the installation of a wall shelf. I wanted to get some things up off the dryer where they usually clutter, and make it a bit pretty. I found this great shelf at Ezibuy and awesomely the day I went to purchase, it was about half price! Score.

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Husband eventually put it up for me (I did threaten to do it myself, which hurried him up a bit) and I discovered the hooks are also excellent for hanging the girls’ farm overalls on, when they were used but not yet requiring washing.

I dispensed some ratty boxes of soap flakes and soaps into glass jars (purchased years ago with no purpose in mind), along with the Napisan and washing powder. (Okay, I didn’t have a glass jar for the Napisan, so it was transferred into the old washing powder tin, I’ll upgrade at some point).

Little chalk board tags made labelling simple and I collected some ornamentals from around the house, including the bouquet I carried as a friend’s bridesmaid and a wee fairy in a jar the girls collected from a birthday party.

I’ve been seeing cute ideas for lost socks on Pintrest while researching this project, but what always bothered me was how many socks these solutions catered for. Generally three socks. THREE!!! I have about 20 single socks at any given point, not including mine and the husband’s.

So for my solution I bought these pretty pegs from The Warehouse crafty section and used the 3M Command hanging sticky bits to attach them to the wall. I have a lot of the sticky bits left over because you always get more than you require in a packet. In truth, these aren’t all the odd socks either, but it’s still better than a jumble in a basket. It’s much easier to find pairs now!

The other simple thing I did which makes a big difference, is print some free printables off the internet. (Search Pintrest or Google! Sadly I’ve neglected to take note of where I found mine – oops) I popped them into matching white frames and hung them pretty randomly on the wall. Done.

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In the process of this restyle, I also cleaned out a lot of clutter from the cupboard, including cleaning supplies I no longer require as I use Enjo fibres (no chemicals, just water, but that’s another story). I found a larger storage space for my expanding Scentsy bar collection and generally found places for things. (The back side of this cupboard opens into the hall and is where we store boxes of toys. We also store the clean overalls and wet weather gear and my Enjo collection. The three baskets are for dirty washing)

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Now here’s hoping I keep it looking as lovely as it does right now!

(I have actually caught up on all my washing since doing this, so maybe there is something to it! The break in incessant rain possibly also helped)

My Little Pony Party

So my baby is almost two years old. So what better time to post about her first birthday party!

Back in November we celebrated our last first birthday in our family (as there won’t be another baby joining us). My big girls chose the theme (with strong guidance from me) of My Little Pony.

We had a rainbow cake (rainbow inside and outside), rainbow decorations and little girls dressed as ponies.

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The main decoration behind the cake table was super simple to construct. A bunch of white balloons with rainbow tulle coming down. I used the six inch wide rolls of tulle, so no preparation was involved. My husband just looped them around two strings . It is the husband who got the rainbow backwards *eye roll* The other decorations involved placing all our pony figurines on the table!

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The pony costumes were super fun to put together, though I did have much grander plans the enthusiasm ran out! I did also intend to have little pony headbands for all the children attending but that never happened!

We had a wee Rainbow Dash for which I stitched some felt wing shapes onto the back of a plain blue t-shirt. Nine months later it’s still going strong! Rainbow ribbons on a headband with some little felt ears finished off her outfit (not that she wore it for long!)

Pinkie Pie was simple with a party dress bought on sale and her hair tied in in two pony tails, one high and one a bit lower to create a mane. I had a lot of fun curling these!

Apple Jack was much the same except I added a tiny cowboy hat between her ears (the hat was found in the teddy bear making section of Spotlight).img_3629

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We had such a fun time! Though it’s quite a relief having no milestone birthdays this year! Her second birthday will be a much quieter affair in the build up to the big fifth for the twins in February!

Easter Baskets

Last year I failed as the Easter bunny in our house. We were actually away at a wedding and the girls were staying with their Nana. I did buy Easter rabbits, but due to miscommunication I think, they never got given to the children.
So I felt bad all year! And then reading through my friend Jessica’s blog I came across her idea for Easter boxes (http://www.glitteranddaisies.com/easter). So I totally stole it. (I’m also not super keen on the idea of large amounts of chocolate in one sitting, not that many of you will believe that, so wanted something else to fill their Easter).

  
I did this on the Thursday before Easter. And we were going away (yep again) on Good Friday, so I completely left it until the last minute. I visited a discount store in our town on the search for cute baskets, and something to fill them with.
I couldn’t find any cute woven baskets, but came across some pink plastic lattice type bowls. A feather boa added some feathery fluffiness. I lined them with tissue paper and filled them with various things I found on my shopping trip, that are some of my girls’ favourite things: stickers, bubble mix, stamps, hair clips, bangles and bunny ears. To top it off I added some Easter eggs and little Lindt Easter animals, which are so cute!

  
After we got back from our event, we picked up the girls from their Nana’s and brought them home to find the baskets on the bench. Their reactions were gorgeous, and priceless. And it was worth every cent (which wasn’t actually much), and more importantly more than worth the small amount of effort required.

  

It’s been a while…

Woah! It’s been almost two years since I posted on this blog! Where’d that time go? Can I have some of it back please?

Things have changed in two years. Many things. Now, I’m a mum of three (all girls!), my twins are no longer toddlers but knocking on the door of the school years, I’ve started milking cows (on the rarest of occasions), I started a business (as an Independent Consultant for Jamberry Nails, you can check out my stuff at lyndatomalin.jamberry.com, if you’re interested).
There are things that haven’t changed too, my husband’s just the same (a good thing! Mostly), I still love to bake, I still love to sew and I’m still trying my hardest to stay sane!

I’ve made a new friend recently, through our children who go to daycare together. Just yesterday I noticed her Facebook occupation was blogger, so I went and checked it out. I loved it so much! Which got me thinking, about how much I loved to write, and do all the things this blog is about and how much I’ve wanted to keep writing on here, even though I hadn’t done anything to write about. Which brings in a fairly passing comment another new friend made to me a few weeks ago, which was if you can write well, then people will be interested in hearing what you’ve got to say, even if it’s just about your general day-to-day life. (That was totally paraphrased and not nearly as succinctly put as she said it, but you get the idea!)
And so here I am, sitting on my couch while my now 16month old baby (who wasn’t even born last time I posted) cruises around, tipping her water on me instead of drinking it, and typing.
I can’t promise I’ll keep just to my past topics of crafts and baking. I feel like some days there are just other things I want to say, so I might just say them here. When in the midst of the daily grind I don’t see my life as inspiring, exciting or even a little bit interesting, but now as Isabelle snuggles down next to me, I realise that my ordinary life, is actually extraordinary and I bet no other person has one quite like mine.

Dealing with Depression – My Thoughts

NB: A bit if a different post today. No crafting or sewing or baking inspiration to be had, but something close to my heart and a major reason for me even writing this blog, so please, have a look and let me know what you think…

I’ve had something strange happening to me lately. Over the past couple of months I’ve had several people talk to me about depression, in particular their depression. The first was a very close friend, then another close friend. Most recently it was someone I probably haven’t seen for a decade but are friends via Facebook.

In all cases it’s people I never thought would be struck by such an awful illness, but that’s just it isn’t it? When you look at me you’d never suspect the dark places I’ve been to. When people look at me I assume they see a confident, put-together business woman who also calmly raises two children. They see how I am with my kids, how I am with my friends, my family, my husband, and how I handle my job, plus running a home business/farm and assume I’ve got it all together. At least that’s what I imagine people think. (If I’m wrong, please correct me).

What they don’t see is what I’m like when I’m with myself, when I’m in the depths of a bout of depression, and when I’m there I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t want it known. I don’t want to be anything other than that fabulous woman people see when they look at me from a distance.

It’s when I’m better that I talk about it. When the dark, scary thoughts have gone away, when my body is no longer weighed down by the concrete-like weights, when the light has come back, and the laughter and the good times. It’s then that I talk about it.

I talk about it when I’m better because I hope it will help. I hope it will help society in general (a big call, I know). That depression becomes something that is talked about. I know I can’t do it on my own, but if my openness about it leads to someone else’s openness, then we can start a snowball.

In the other hand, if my talking about it helps even one person feel like they aren’t weird, or abnormal, or doomed, then I’ve done my bit. And it turns out, I have helped people. People have come to me for advice, for my thoughts, for support. I’m completely gobsmacked.

I’m also very honoured, that they feel they can talk to me about it, about something so hard, and that they think my advice and experience will help. I also feel a little bit lost each time, because I have no clear, concise advice or explanation in my head. And that’s hard for me. I’m such an organised and structured person, I hate feeling put on the spot. But when someone asks, I can’t say “hold on”, then go and write my thoughts neatly in a pretty bullet-pointed list. So I’m taking this opportunity to write down my thoughts, to make my list, to create something that may or may not help anyone. But regardless, here goes.

When someone asks for my advice on depression, what do I say?

Exercise
Talk
Spend time with friends
Keep busy, find a hobby or resume one (make time for it, make yourself do it).
Eat well
See a professional.

Exercise for me is a massive one. My life coach who I work with regularly (as in every month) also conveniently owns a gym. It’s a special kind of gym that isn’t really very gym like. Well it is, but it’s set up to be an amazing, motivating place. You book a time to go, they text to remind you and if you don’t turn up they send a very concerned sounding and guilt inducing text asking if everything is ok since you didn’t turn up for your workout. You also work closely with staff to make sure you’re actually getting benefit out of your membership. Anyway, when I suffered my first bout if depression, that place was my saviour. Four times a week I was there for an hour. I got super fit. They made me run a half marathon. I survived it. As well as the massive boost in my health and fitness, the depression subsided, in conjunction with a few other things.

When I feel myself slipping the first thing I force myself to do is get on a treadmill, or go outside for a walk. (I used to run but these days walking is my limit – I blame the pregnancy thing). Instantly things are clearer, I can think better, I feel less tired, more motivated.

I follow up exercise with good food (as I sit here typing and eating my way through a selection of chocolate biscuits. It’s a Mother’s Day gift, I’m allowed this once off!). Then I schedule a date with my friends. Or if I can’t actually see them in person I get on the emails of Facebook messenger and go for it.

I remember very clearly having a really bad day and thinking there is no one I can talk to about this. Then I made myself think and counted about ten people I could have talked to and who would have been more than happy to help lift my mood. There are also people I avoid like the plague when I’m unwell. You have to pick your people right, but once you do, make the most of it! That’s what friends are there for!

Another thing that really helps me is having a hobby. I think it’s more to do with keeping busy. I never experienced depression when I was kept busy, when I was overwhelmed with study or work. It’s when I was unemployed that it hit me. My first major bout continued through the unemployment and into my job, and that’s where I came to meet my life coach. We used my job as a major tool in my recovery. Lots of goal setting and achievement and things. When I gave up work to be at home with the girls I was at a bit of a loss if what to do all day that gave me some enjoyment (thousands of loads of washing will never bring me joy, ever!). It’s at that time that I resumed two of my favourite childhood activities: baking and sewing.

First of all, I bake. It’s basic, there’s steps to follow, it’s methodical and after a fairly short period of time you have a result. There’s something sitting on the kitchen bench that you’ve created. And best of all with baking, is you can then go and give it to someone. Share the joy, show gratitude, interact with other people. Or you could eat it if you really wanted.

It also has the ability to be not very basic. I can push myself and create something amazing, if I feel up to it. Or I can whizz up some cupcakes in half an hour, but still feel like I’ve achieved something wonderful.

Secondly, I sew. My mum is a big time sewer. She makes the most amazing patchwork quilts these days, but way back when she made all sorts, including a lot of clothes for myself and my brothers. I had many flouncy dresses and skirts that were never to be seen in stores. It was awesome. I wanted to be able to make unique and one-of-a-kind outfits for my girls. Plus I had several half finished projects that mum had got me to start when I was in a not busy patch of my life. So some of them really needed to be finished.

Again, I find the joy in creating something. Sewing a few seams and creating a gorgeous skirt, making the pieces fit together, again it’s simple processes to make something you can hold, touch and see.

Of course sewing and baking might not be your thing. So rebuild a classic car, construct model airplanes, write, paint, sing or dance, just find something you love and keep busy, and most importantly, make the time for it.

Probably more importantly than all of the advice above, there’s this bit. See a professional. And I don’t just mean your doctor to get a prescriptions for meds. I think antidepressants have their place and are useful. But to me, they are a fairly last resort. In particular, if you are taking medication, I’m even more inclined to tell you to see a life coach, counsellor or psychologist (or what ever else they might be). Because when the time comes that you feel better and want to come off the medication, you’ll need to know how to handle it. You’ll need to know what triggers you and how you can fight back. I cannot stress the value of “talk therapy” enough. I have been well for almost 18 months continuously now, yet I still see my life coach every month, without fail. And I’m in regular contact with her, so we can catch me before I fall. I’m a little apprehensive about what may come along with this baby later this year, but because I have such a strong relationship with her and see her so often, I’m fairly confident we won’t slip right back to the bottom again.
But then again, you might be one of the lucky ones who never experience it again (though I still think professional help is important, but that’s just my two cents worth).

I do a bunch if other weird things (run a star chart etc) but those are just things I’ve worked out are particular to my personality. I’m also reading as much as I can about depression and happiness. Some of my favourite reading has been:

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin (and the follow up, Happier at Home). To me this is a book about increasing overall happiness in your life, through simple, easy steps.
and
All Blacks Don’t Cry, by John Kirwan (sorry, Sir John Kirwan). An incredible story about John Kirwan’s battle with depression, while being one of the world’s best rugby players. This is also a great book for people close to those with depression to read and for men (I’d assume, being as I’m not a man I can only speculate).

Both books have given me tools, ideas and thoughts I use on a daily basis.

So that’s my (really quite long) take on it. That’s what I do when I feel unwell, it’s what I do when I’m well to prevent myself becoming unwell, and if you were to ask me what advice I would give someone dealing with depression, that would be it. I know it’s drawn out, but perhaps it can’t be written in a neat, pretty, bullet pointed list.

What do you think? Do you have other advice? What would you tell someone? Or do you have any recommendations for further reading I can do? I’d love your feedback, please comment below.

And most importantly, more than any other post on this blog, please share this! It’s so, so important we talk about it. And it’d mean the world to me.

And next week I’ll post something nice, light and trivial to make up for bogging you all down this time round!

A wedding, news and excuses!

Hi everyone

I know it’s been a while, and I’m really sorry. There’s been a lot going on and writing is really at the bottom of the priority list. It’s also quite hard to write when you haven’t been doing anything to write about.

There have been three occasions where I’ve created quite fabulous cakes, but that’s been about the extent of my sewing and baking. The latest cake was a wedding cake, my very first, and the stress involved in that made any other form of baking entirely horrific. I couldn’t do anything! The cake was for a very good friend, and honestly I don’t know if that made it easier or harder. All I could think was what if she hated the cake and it ruined her whole wedding for her!

As it turns out, she was super happy and the cake was very well received with everyone at the wedding (or at least so I heard, no one’s told me otherwise!) It was three tiers (my first ever this big!) with chocolate mud cake on the bottom and top tiers and white chocolate mud cake in the middle. Raspberry coulis between each layer all covered with ganache then fondant.

Beach Themed Wedding CakeBride and Groom with Beach Themed Wedding CakeI used silver spray paint (edible, by Wilton, I just can’t remember the name) to paint each tier, fading it up towards the top. As it turns out my husband was much better at this than me, I only wish I’d known that before I’d already done two of the cakes! The shells were fondant, pressed into chocolate moulds, which worked really well, if you didn’t mind mostly destroying the moulds after a few batches. It was so hard to get them out! I dusted well with cornflour but to no avail. They are still kind of usable, but I’ve gone from a five starfish mould to a three, the rest is pretty broken and battered. One massively useful tip for this, put them in the freezer! Much easier to get out.

After the moulding and a while drying I dusted them with a selection of colour and lustre dusts. That was kinda of fun. I used a big poufy make up brush and kind of buffed it on. The dust went everywhere and my kitchen and I were blue for a while, but it cleared up eventually.

Beach Theme Wedding Cake - Detail

I’d done this cake (a smaller version) as a trial for my Mum’s best friend’s 60th a couple of months before and had used a silicon mould to make the frangipani flowers. But they just didn’t look that flash (photo below). So this time I used fake flowers, which were also used in the centrepieces on the tables (for continuity).

Beach Themed Cake - Moulded Flowers

In the end, the cake was a bit wonky in places and I wasn’t entirely happy with that wonkiness, but I was very happy overall. I was even happier when it was finally completed and delivered to the reception venue and it was no longer my concern. I could then go about normal bridesmaid duties and actually enjoy the occasion!

There was another rather big stressor in the lead up to that wedding (which was just two weeks ago). The worry of whether I’d fit into my bridesmaid dress, bought way back last year. At least when we chose the dresses I knew there was a chance I’d be 12 weeks pregnant and chose a suitable style. As it turns out I was only 10 weeks, but still quite large considering (I hear you pop out a lot faster the second time, especially after the twins). But in the end the dress did up on the day, morning sickness stayed away and I didn’t pass out at any point during the ceremony or reception or anything. I even managed to stay up until 1am! It was fabulous! (It wasn’t all just standing in line looking pretty like the photo shows either! I had to walk a really long way!)

Bridesmaid Bridesmaids
So that’s my big news, in a really roundabout kind of way. Baby number three (and just number three, not number four) is on the way! And the exhaustion and sickness is also my excuse for not baking, sewing or writing. So I dare say there’ll be a few baby related things popping up on this blog in the near future:-)

So back to the cakes. As well as the wedding cake we had a momentous occasion in our household when my baby girls turned two. We had a small party for friends and family and as it wasn’t a really big one I didn’t want to use a fantastic theme up for it, so I went for a low key ladybug theme, which in honesty was a great theme and really easy and fun to work with.

I did a ladybug cake with white chocolate mudcake for the base (it was a practise for the wedding cake!) and a chocolate cake ladybug. I loved it and it’s one of my all time favourites! (Mind you I have only been doing this a year, with their first birthday cake my first properly decorated masterpiece!)

Ladybug Birthday Cake

I also made a cute Happy Birthday banner using printed letters off the computer, cut out in circles and stuck to red flower shapes. Ladybug cookies and crackers (crackers with cream cheese, half a cherry tomato and a piece of olive – no photos unfortunately), red cake pops (disaster in the hot weather, and just all round failure!) and some red and white spotted balloons for good measure.

Ladybug Happy Birthday Banner Ladybug Cookies

Regardless of all of the above, the girl’s loved it and had a great time with their friends (and Mum and Dad of course!)

Family So until next time, and hopefully it wont be that far away now I”m starting to feel a fraction better! I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe got something useful out of it. Or maybe you just liked the cute picture of my kids, either way, please remember to comment, like and follow me on Facebook!

x x x

 

Christmas Gifts – Dino Toy and Appliqué Onesie

Wow. It’s been a week already! I really must write some of these posts in advance to keep up my sleeve for a week like this one (or next one, and possibly the one after that!)

Today my post is about gifts for one cool little dude. One of my early blog posts was about some toys I made for my new nephew, and this post is about his Christmas present.

Of all the presents I made, I think this was my favourite. It was just so cute and so cool.

First of all I made a dinosaur soft toy. I used the pattern found here. I bought a funky green and purple fat quarter of fabric and matching green ribbon and whipped up this cute little toy. I think next time I might make it a fraction bigger, it’s just a tiny bit small, but probably not too bad for little hands.

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For the other half of his present I decided to make an appliqué onesie. I’m no where near talented or patient enough to make the onesie from scratch, so I bought a three pack from the Warehouse for minimal investment (my kinda present). I bought some cool patterned fabric that I was going to use to make a shirt with a little tie on it. But at the last minute I decided that sounded like far too much work (as I’d have to ensure all the edges were sufficiently covered to prevent fraying). So, with a strange turn of events, my husband suggested using some felt that I was using for another project. Fabulous idea, no fraying involved! I spent a few minutes on Google and found a silhouette of a fish (my family is really into fishing and the like) and used that as my pattern.

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A few notes in appliqué with felt – it doesn’t like Visoflix (the glue type stuff you use to hold the piece of fabric together until you’ve sewn them together). I found it hard to get the paper backing off the felt and even harder to keep the fabric pieces in place once on the onesie.

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But, after some very tiny, detailed stitching I LOVE this little onesie! I also love the colour of the fish, green is so trendy.

He even looks pretty pleased with it.

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Coming up: more Christmas presents! I’ll finish the list eventually! Plus, I’m doing some very cool cakes in the near future, so expect to see some posts on those. Also, my daughters turn two next weekend (yikes!) so there’ll be some cute little gift that I’ve made to write about (some as yet unmade gifts…)
Better get cracking!