Welcome 2018 !!!
Firstly I'd like to say....
Happy New Year!
There are three things I'd like to tell you about. One: our Christmas break. Two: Our house and Three: Creatively Beautify.
Here is a long rundown on our last few weeks.
We had a very relaxing wet Christmas at home followed with a visit to Nana JuJu's house for a late lunch feast. The boys loved riding around on their scooters from Santa. Michael was being a handyman hanging a frame and making a floor for our car boot and I gave Kiara a good wash for her road trip with Judy while Sebastian played with the hose just before the rain came!
The last week of December for 2017 we stayed at a caravan park in Port Macqaurie for 4 nights. While we stayed in a Villa, my siblings and their families were camping. To give their boys a true camping experience they slept on un-powered sites. It sure was an adventure for the kids as it was absolutely pouring down with rain the day we arrived. Setting up the tents in the rain was a real treat (lol) and the thunder storm left most of the ground flooded! The tents were luckily pitched on slightly higher ground but the meals and seating setup were unfortunately under water. This didn't stop them from enjoying their adult time with alcoholic beverages to keep them warm under a tarp wanting to collapse under the pressure of a fantastic storm! It did however add to the excitement of camping and despite the ladies displeasure they all had a good time. I believe it was a good experience and story to reminisce.
The first three days were spent feasting, catching up with family by the pool and watching ten Juveniles run a muck with water pistils and water balloons. We played a secret Santa unwrapping game much like the Double Dice Game which was loads of fun!!
Our last day we decided to be tourists and go for a skate in Port Macqaurie. We took a drive around Westport and wow what big houses do they have! After our brief residential exploration we headed back to town for ice cream (Yum). We eventually found gelato at Blue Cow Gelato and took a walk along the boardwalk all the way to the foreshore. It's a lovely long walk! We stopped by the park in front of Chop and Chill for a while. Sebastian was entertained by a friendly pelican who was waddling up and down the esplanade.
After a little play we took the scooters and skates for a ride on the esplanade. Meet up with family; this is when my sister decided to try out the skates lol then we decided to take the walk further and check out a nice caravan park which we spotted on the esplanade. It's called NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park. It has now joined our holiday must try list. The esplanade wraps around the park which is perfect for our skating!
It was very windy but such a pleasure to stroll. We were amazed at how far the path goes and all the boulders that are decorated along the way. Riley and Connor were impressed with all the artworks but most of all the skate park at the end of our walk to Town Beach Park!
Instead of backtracking against the wind we walked up a track on the hill (with a stroller I must add) and down Stewart Street on the hunt for dinner. There are many places to eat in Port Macquarie. The decision was difficult at first until Michael spotted Suzu Japanese Dining nestled next to The Beach House on Horton Street. The kids ran around in the courtyard and played in the park while we waited. Suzu is a must try! We enjoyed our meal, the staff were lovely and would definitely eat there again. The park in front of Chop and Chill is a dart across from Suzu Japanese Dining so after dinner we climbed the fig tree and played in the park till around 9:30pm.
It was raining the day we came in to Port Macquarie and the day we left so our last meal was brunch before our trip home at Cafe Churro Fondue. We shared a pancake stack which was plenty of sweet for the 5 of us. If you are a chocolate fiend like I am than you will find their hot chocolate to be very satisfying!
As much fun it is to be on holiday it is nice to be back home. We had a great time being tourists and look forward to our next holiday there!
Our New Years was also a wet one and after our holiday fun we were content to stay in this year. The boys had an early night and Michael and I chilled with a movie. The most relaxing New Years I have had!!
We've had more fun since we got home.. building our house! Michael is amazing.. I am often blown away by how clever he is! It can be frustrating building your own house especially with children but so rewarding. I helped him put up our cladding last week. One might think it is easy; it is not. There are lots of things to consider and without all the gadgets to do the work for you, there are calculations that need to be made. These things seem to come naturally for Michael. I'm so proud of the progress he has made and look forward to making more with him. Riley and Connor start at their new school in the town this year so the pressure is now on! More on our house soon...
More family time was due after a full week of building so we explored the new look Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshores. We finally have somewhere pleasant to ride our blades.. yay!!!
We started at Moonee Beach Reserve with a long swim followed by our favourite ice cream at Eric and Deb's Ice Creamery on Coffs Harbour Marina. Then we headed for a scooter and blade along the Jetty foreshores. This was another windy skate but was just as much fun. Riley was off exploring the path. We intersected here and there. We would love for the path to go all the way to the Jetty Foreshores Playground. Next skate we'll explore further. We ended the day at Brelsford Park.
Now that you know what the family have been up to, let me tell you what I will be getting back to... Sewing of course!
I finally have a working sewing machine yay!!! In a previous post I mentioned my Janome had died (insert sad face). After much deliberating we decided to bite the bullet and buy a Bernina. It is a Bernina 215 and it will be my work horse. I had initially thought I should fix my machine or find one with all the fancy stitches I could play with. Then the Bernina went on sale for Christmas. I am so stoked my Husband told me to get the one I wanted!! It's such a strong machine and outweighs the fancy stitches I began to use on my Janome.
These machines on sale however aren't cheap so along with some pounds I had saved, the credit card was handy. Then my beautifull Nan sent us a Christmas card with a gift that covered that cost. Many kisses blown to Ireland!!!!
Now I have a sewing machine and an overlocker, again with the help of Nan's pounds towards a present from my amazing Mother In-law! Woohoo here comes the sewing, there is nothing stopping me now.. accept when my boys need their Mum of course!
So.. cheers to family, fun, creatively beautifying and a new year for more!
Love Samantha and the Aird Clan xx
Green Eggs And Ham Party
Last weekend I held a Green Eggs and Ham Birthday Party. My eldest two boys Riley and Connor love the book by Doctor Seuss! Sebastian was turning One and my birthday is a week later. So I thought rather than have a traditional baby boy theme, it would be fun to have a party inspired by a book that we all would enjoy.
Now every year I ask my boys "what theme would you like for your birthday" and every time after the event I say.. "next year there will be no party. We're just having a cake" lol. It's a temptation i just can't say no to! I love giving creative things a go (despite my lack of time management) and party's are a great event to be creative with. Each year I convince myself that I will be more organised or I'll only do little bits of this and that. Only when the event arrives, I realise just how much I've taken on. Somehow I managed to push through this party without the usual stress that accumulates. This can be partially contributed to my awesome Husband who gave a loving smile and helping hand all day! My vision looked nothing like my brainstorm nor did it make the timeline i hoped for but I had lots of helpers and eventually sat down with my champagne!
There are loads of Green Eggs and Ham or Doctor Seuss party inspiration on Pinterest. So much so that looking at all the cool ideas did my head in a little. My plan was to stick with a colour theme and try to provide lots of healthy green food.
I was too busy in the kitchen so there are little to no photos from our party but here are a few Green Eggs and Ham related items we had to enjoy.
Green Eggs and Ham Scrolls:
They went super fast and easy to make! Devil eggs coloured with avocado and a hint of green food colouring. Ham and mayo sandwiches with the crust cut off. Sliced into 4 or 5 strips and rolled up to look like a scroll.
I found a Spider-Man cookie cutter set at Big W for $2. I used the face shape cutter for the ham cookies by reshaping it to look like the ham in the book. I tried for a fried egg shape and really didn't like any of my attempts so just stuck with circles and hams. I made a large batch with this recipe from The Bearfoot Baker earlier in the week so I could ice them before the party. With permission, (foolishly optimistic about the time i had) the kids and Hubby polished them off.. The fresh batch I made using this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction were plan too and disappeared quick! I will try this royal icing with my leftover cookie dough soon and post a pic!
Green Toffee Apples:
The kids were excited to eat these! I got the recipe from this site. Do not freeze lol! We had no room in the fridge at the time so we moved some of them to the freezer and forgot about them. Thawing (time) made the toffee melt :(
Darrell Lea's Chocolate bb's:
These chocolates are one of my favourites. They are balls of chocolate coated in coloured flavoured shell. I collected a number of bags while on sale. Green (mint), Orange (orange) and Blue (coconut). Can't have a party without chocolates and these delicious balls were a perfect fit!!
As this was an afternoon/evening family party; I had Smash Potatoes, Green Beans, Broccoli and Orange Marmalade Glazed (Green) Ham on the menu. Super easy to precook veggies and the ham is quick and tasty! The hubby came home with a leg of lamb instead of a large leg of ham :( despite the time delay the roast he made was scrumptious :)
The most time consuming aspect of a party is making your own cake! This years cakes were very laughable!! I say cakes because there were three!!! I made one on the Thursday for Sebastian's actual 1st birthday. Then I made his Party Cake and my Party Cake. Waaayyy too much cake!!!
I normally use Cream Cheese filling and Fondant to decorate. As most of my family dislike fondant I thought I'd try Butter cream this time..
Not a choice I would like to make again. It's very time consuming and I just didn't have that time or the patience to decorate these cakes with Buttercream. Sebastian's 1st Birthday Cake was made with Cream Cheese filling and Buttercream icing (too sweet for us!)
I decided to make his Party Cake and mine with Cream Cheese Buttercream for filling as well as icing. I wanted it smooth so I just slapped it on instead of pipping and used glad wrap to help smooth it out. The cake is not brag worthy in appearance however the flavour never fails me. The Cream Cheese Buttercream is perfect for cupcakes but not something I would like to use on a cake again. I much prefer to work with fondant to decorate a cake.
Green Eggs and Ham Pinata
Riley and Connor enjoyed making this Green Eggs and Ham Pinata with me during the school Hoildays leading up to the party. I used cardboard collected from our ALDI shopping, crepe paper, lots of sticky tape and a black marker. It was one of my longer lasting Pinatas I've made. Because of the shape the treats came trickling out with each hit!
Pin The Ham On The Plate
All I used was white cardboard from Officeworks. A black texta for the ham outline & cutouts, plate and egg whites. A green texta for the egg yoke and green paper for the ham cut outs. Super quick to draw. The children didn't notice but our hams were back to front (ahaha) and Sebastian thought it was food..
The following day we went to the Big Banana. It was our first visit and we had a lot of fun despite the lack of sun for part of the day. Next birthday party will be at the Big Banana!!!
Til next post..
Love Samantha Aird
My Gallbladder Story
My previous blog celebrated the return of School and the start of Kindergarten for Connor. I also reveled in the thought of all this time I would have to savor with Sebastian, our new addition to our clan. And oh all the sewing I would be enjoying etc etc aha haha...
Shortly after that exciting day my plans were turned upside down. I began to suffer from extreme pain through my abs straight to my back. My first experience of this debilitating pain was late last December on our way home from a family trip to Newcastle. It was quite scary and embarrassing. I say embarrassing because at one rest stop i was lying on the gravel next to our car with on lookers wondering what was going on. My Husband saved the day close to an hour later by giving me an adjustment and massaging my back for a good 20mins at the nearest patch of grass. Fast forward to late January and it comes back with a vengeance. The abdominal pain crept up and was making its way to my back. I knew it was coming and quickly asked Michael to give me an adjustment followed by a massage. I was amazed at how much pain I was receiving from a back spasm. Then the next day it returned like a spear was resting through my abs to my back. We tried adjustments, massaging and an ice pack. The abdominal pain was more present this time and I began to worry. The following night once again I was on the floor resting on the bed trying anything to make the pain go away. This time I became fearful! Michael's adjustments didn't relieve the pain and massage hadn't helped much. At this stage I was without clothing, I couldn't bare the restriction. Sweating and fever like with numbness through my arms. I was not only getting the spear pain through my abdomen but burning pain spreading across my lower ribs and to my heart. Night three and we decided it was time for a trip to hospital!
Good news was my heart is healthy. My condition sounded too familiar to my mother who reminded me of my Aunts gallbladder experience. Michael and I were convinced it was my gallbladder. My liver results however came back deranged and the doctors weren't exactly sure what the cause was. So a doctors appointment the following day, blood tests an ultrasound and two weeks of the same pain revealed I had sludge in my gallbladder. Sarcasm Yay! I was referred to a surgeon and was determined to avoid surgery through a low fat healthy diet but alas, a few months pass with recurring pain and weight dropping off me so fast we came to the realisation that I need to part with my little sack of pain and be better for it. A repeat blood test show my Liver is normal. A repeat ultrasound show many tiny gallstones.
So.. surgery was nice and early on August 29th 2017. I was extremely nervous and excited the day bad arrived. Now I am on the mend and eating again. It was a close shave for perfect timing; I celebrated my baby brothers 18th birthday on the 9th of September. Not advised but well enough to hit the dance floor with my family on this special night!
I've since researched more about my little sack of pain and wondered if there was more I could have done to save it. From what I have read the gallbladder is very vital despite your ability to live without it! I vaguely remember while I was studying Remedial Massage that it was an organ I never wanted to have an issue with. But life happens and you just have to do your best to look after yourself. Eat well and stress less!
I'll continue to investigate the cause for my condition. My surgeons initial assumption is Pregnancy. However I question bile production as well as Estrogen. Also a connection to my IBS and bile production with symptoms landing in a chicken or the egg scenario. Although I'm gallbladder free It's still very important I eat well to prevent Liver stones and narrow down the initial cause. Without my gallbladder I'm open to a variety of side effects.
Three weeks post surgery I still have mild pain (phantom pain) every now and then. But I'm informed it will pass. If it is not bile stones however!
So now that I am functioning somewhat on a healthier level than I was earlier this year. I'm happy to say my plans for Creatively Beautify are back on track! There is the dilemma of my sewing machine breaking down and in need of replacing... but there is lots for me to show you! And a Green Eggs and Ham birthday party coming up to post about!!
Cheers to good health and a beautify life :)
Love Samantha Aird xx
Back To School..
Yay!!! Schools back and hopefully I can get some of my sanity back along with much needed catch up sleep :-)
These past 6 months I've been allowing myself to live in the moment and not fuss so much on capturing (all) the moments on photographs (I say all because it's almost impossible for me not to think of picking up a camera) and trying to do everything. Despite my insatiable want to get cute garments made and creating products in mind; It's been quite liberating to enjoy the time with my handsome crazy men and not feel pressure to get things done. Especially with our new addition Sebastian! Now that school is back and my energetic Connor is off to Kindi, I have time. Oh yes TIME TIME TIME woohoo to sew.. to blog.. to create.. to read.. to grocery shop without unwanted items entering the trolley.. to sleep (lol) and of course to spend much needed time with my precious bundle of joy and not have to fight for his affection; his brothers love him way more than I imagined :-)
I was sooo excited for Connor's first day at Big School that my brain won't let me catch up on sleep today. Around four feeds last night and Sebastian decided to play at 5:30am. I somehow manged to get an hour sleep with the clatter of Michael getting off to work and Connor talking about how excited he was for his first day at school (this kid doesn't understand the meaning of too earlier) before I realised Connor stopped my alarm to watch Netflix on my phone Arrhhh. But we managed to make it out the door before assembly lol. And yes I did capture that moment..well the best I could in a rush.
Can't wait to hear about his day and looking forward to tomorrow!!
Did you have the pleasure of sending your child off to school this year?
Love Samantha x
Wow.. so It's been quite a few months since I published this site. Many things have kept me busy the first half of this year so let me fill you in.
After almost ten years together Michael and I tied the knot (literally) in September last year. This year was our original goal for the big wedding with the hopes to have it on our own property but alas we feared excavations would leave the land a mess and if it rained.. wouldn't that have been fun!! Our other cause for a date change was our sudden desire to try our luck at conceiving a baby girl. We'll this HAD to happen after the wedding day. Being a dedicated breastfeeding mum, there was no way I was waiting 2-3 yrs to get married lol. So we had our memorable DIY wedding, which I will detail in another blog; we waited a little and to our surprise it only took 3 tries.. I sit here now typing with a 6month old growing baby boy in my belly!! He has two excited big brothers eagerly waiting for him to arrive :-)
That said I've been glued to the couch with morning sickness for the first three months and couldn't stand the thought of cutting or even sitting at the computer. However these past few months, aside from working on our property getting excited to see progress on our new home; (amongst everyday life) I've pulled apart my nursing chair, been cutting lots of patterns out and doing loads of research for Creatively Beautify. I made my first Baby Troop Romper for my nephew Caleb and Tested out the Tea Party Dress pattern x3. They are so cute I only wish I had my own little lass to model them :-)
I found this gorgeous peacock quilting fabric I just had to see as a dress. This is a racer back straight skirt size 3. Looking forward to seeing one worn! There is also a full skirt version which I think would be super cute in this fabric.
Peacock Garden Tea Party Dress
Below is a couple of images of my first attempt at the Troop Romper pattern. My collection of fabrics mainly consists of feminine prints at the moment but the peacock garden print was too cute not to test as a unisex print. How gorgeous would a family photo be with these two items paired up!!!
My first project for the year has recently been sent off to America, YAY!!
Along my search for the right patterns to produce gorgeous garments for your little tree climbers; I found an amazing array of patterns by Ericka and Jessica at Violet Field Threads (VFT). Gorgeous couture styles I' look forward to using for Special Occasions and perfect vintage designs I'm excited to make. I'm yet to add all the lovely and much wanted patterns to my folders but in between 3yr old (Connor's) demanding cuddles I did manage time to read through a few of their blog posts. I came across this particular post which peeked my interest, Give Hope Campaign.
The Give Hope Campaign was created through their desire to give back and pay it forward..
Three patterns were designed: The Hope Dress & Tunic, The Lola Top and The Evie Shorties.
Not only were these patterns designed to be free for their fans but also to encourage others to pay it forward and create these garments for someone in need. How wonderful!
I purchased the Hope Dress & Tunic immediately for a small $2.50 fee to aid with the cost of delivering all the amazing garments I imagine they will be inundated with. Then I decided to investigate their campaign. It's just something I do, I never remember everything I read but I like to look into what I can when I get the chance...
Ericka (VFT) has a strong connection to Guatemala and so it was a suggestion that was quickly received well with Jessica, to support an orphanage there. Casa Guatemala, is a wonderful organistion who support over 300 children in need of education, protection, health improvement, work experience and so on. Casa Guatemala in my view seems to provide pillars to the children of Guatemala, through all they provide and care for them. It is a Non Government Organisation and relies on others' help and generosity. If you would like to know how you can volunteer, clink on this link or donate here!
I quickly decided to pull out all my fabric and tried to find some coordinating prints to make a gift for this wonderful campaign! As I originally didn't buy prints with reversible outfits in mind I guess you can say I had fun playing around with all the prints lol. Double checking with the hubby, I think it worked out well..
The Evie Shorties on the other hand, well... I have knitted many times but never have I sewn a knit. At first I was doing extremely well cutting out and pinning and I thought.. yeah, I can do this without all the drama I've read lol! Once I got to the ruffles I struggled big time!! I couldn't find my turning tool so I tried a crotchet needle, knitting needles and lastly found a decent size safety pin to turn them all through. The ruffles were the hardest to overcome for me. I've made spaghetti straps many times in woven fabrics and didn't imagine I would struggle with it. The knit stretched about 3 inches but I managed to gather the cute tiny ruffles and pin them on the shorties nicely. I realised during the process that there are a few tips for sewing knits to prevent stretching one of which is the zig zag stretch stitch which I have but is limited in length and to use tissue paper underneath the fabric to help guide the fabric through preventing stretch. I had no tissue paper but I managed to finish the shorties with very little stretching. First knit project I dared took me most of the day, mainly due to the ruffles. I forgot to take a pic of the Shorties on their on but below is the combo with the lining pic too. There were a few things I would have changed but I'm proud of my first attempted and dare say I'll sew a knit again :-)
Hope Tunic and Evie Shorties pattern by Violet Field Threads
Sharing My World..
Hi, I'm Samantha Aird.