Sunday, May 30, 2010

Belated Award Thank You

I hope everyone has been enjoying their weekend. Here in Perth it has been lovely and sunny today which is a nice break from the cool, autumn days we've been having.

I have recently been passed on the Happy 101 award by two lovely fellow bloggers who I have yet to thank… Thank you to Janette of My Sweet Prints and Donna at Rosebud and Bluebells for thinking of me.

As part of the Happy 101 Award I am to list 10 things that make me happy. My list of 10 would include:
  1. My fantastic husband and our precious daughter
  2. Our wonderful home
  3. Hopping into a freshly made bed
  4. A clean and tidy house
  5. Cups of tea
  6. Decorating and renovating
  7. Reading through my Real Living magazine each month
  8. My favourite dessert – crème brulee
  9. Discovering a great new recipe
  10. Blogging and gaining endless inspiration from all your lovely blogs!

Thanks again Janette and Donna. If you haven’t already, be sure to visit their wonderful blogs and say hi from me. Have a lovely Sunday evening everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Party Blog Feature

Grace’s 1st Birthday Party was featured on the Polka Dot Birthday blog yesterday. Check it out here. Sally’s blog provided me with lots of inspiration and ideas when I was putting things together and is definitely great to refer to if you are planning a party.

These photos are a few of the many my lovely friend Lyndell took from the day. She captured some really great candid shots…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Convenience

About a month ago, I was given a belated gift – a slow cooker. I wish I’d had one of these sooner, especially back when I as working full time or in the days when Grace was a newborn.

These days, my meal preparation time is somewhat limited. I am also more easily distracted – three times in the past few weeks I have set something on the stove only to return to a pot which has been burnt charcoal black! I love that now I can throw everything in the slow cooker and literally ‘set and forget’ about it until dinner. I also love the fewer dishes involved in preparing slow cooker meals.

So far I have tried out chicken curry, roast lamb (thanks for the tips Janette) and beef casserole. Who else out there loves the convenience of a slow cooker and which recipe would you recommend I try out next?

Image above from here

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Weekend

This weekend for me has been occupied with... homewares shopping... organizing quotes for new skirting boards... pondering over carpet samples... attending a Tupperware party (and enjoying delicious afternoon tea treats)... cooking chicken curry... going for a lovely family drive to the country town of Toodyay (where we browsed in their amazing homewares/antique store and then enjoyed a nice lunch)... finally getting around to giving a coat of primer to our two little Ikea stools and enjoying a hearty bowl of soup before curling up in front of our heater - a nice productive weekend!

What lovely things did you all get up to?

Image above from here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grace's 1st Birthday Party

Everything went perfectly for Grace’s 1st birthday celebration on Saturday. In the week leading up to it, the weather report had forecast nothing but rainclouds and I was worried that our plans may have had to change to having the party indoors. However despite a chilly start to the day, we had bright blue skies and lots of sunshine.

Following the advice many of you gave me, I tried to organize most details in the week before the party so I had as little to do as possible on the morning itself. All of the decorations were done with little expense and as I enjoy crafty projects, I had great fun making them.

Having seen numerous beautiful dessert tables on the many party blogs I had been browsing recently, I was inspired to put a bit of thought into this part of Grace’s party. I made some polka dot paper garlands to string along the front of the table using details I came across here. This was super easy using a circular punch I borrowed at the local scrapbooking store and then I stitched the shapes together on my sewing machine.

The three pink rice paper lanterns were bought cheaply off eBay from here. They added a nice burst of colour above the food table.

The children’s party favour bags contained a little cellophane packet of chocolates (Freckles) and some bubble mixture. I made the tags on the front and the cute mini pegs were from kikki.K (I had been looking for an excuse to buy these!!)

The ‘vases’ were old jars covered in decorative paper and the flowers were either from my Mother’s Day bunch or our garden.

For the cake table, I made simple polka dot bunting using some left over paper I had in my stash, alphabet stickers and red and white string.

The cake itself was a traditional #1 cake smothered in buttercream frosting and decorated with Smarties. I made the cake a few days before and froze it and then took it out and iced it on the morning of the party. I used the CWA Hi Lite Cake recipe (recommended by both Paul’s aunty and my friend Kylie) and the mixture was perfect. I also made cupcakes (thanks for your tips Karyn – they were delicious) and I made polka dot cake toppers from paper I found at our local craft store.

As a photo display, I used Poladroid to ‘age’ a photo of Grace from each month of her first year which I then re-sized, printed out and hung up. I also had a digital photo frame displaying photos of Grace inside next to the tea and coffee making station I set up.

Grace’s polka dot dress is one I actually bought from Little Styles last year (it is still currently available). I had bought it in a larger size hoping it would be suitable for Christmas this year, but when I settled on the polka dot theme, I decided it would be perfect to use for Grace's birthday instead.

All in all, we had a great morning with a nice number of guests, beautiful weather and yummy treats. Thanks you to everyone who helped us on the day either with food, taking photos or cleaning up and thank you to all my fellow bloggers for all the tips and advice you gave me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grace Is One!

Yesterday was Grace's birthday. It's hard to believe our little girl is one as it doesn't seem all that long ago we were heading to the hospital for me to be induced, eagerly awaiting her arrival and extremely excited about finally meeting our precious baby.

Grace is especially precious to us because of the long journey it took for us to become pregnant and despite the challenges this presented, we would go through it all again in a heartbeat as we now have our beautiful girl who has brought so much love and joy to our little family and who we both love to pieces.

It has been such a wonderful experience watching our baby grow and discover new things over this past year and we can't wait for all the fun times ahead of us.

Below are some of my favourite photos of Grace over the past 12 months...

I'm just waiting for some photos my friends snapped at Grace's birthday party and then I will post about all the fun we had celebrating yesterday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Painting Ikea Furniture

A few weeks ago when I went to Ikea, I bought some little stools as a solution to an issue I'd been having with clothes being left all over our bedroom floor. Paul and I need a 'resting spot' each and while not the round vintage stools I was picturing, I thought these would be fine for now.

I'd like to give them a coat of paint in a fresh mint/aqua colour but need some advice from all you expert DIY ladies. Do I need to sand back slightly and prime these stools first? They seem to have a thin lacquer-type layer of some sort on them. Your advice is much appreciated so I can stop procrastinating and actually complete a project from my to-do list!

Hope you are all having a lovely start to the week. I'm in cooking mode at the moment, preparing goodies for Grace's morning tea party.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is extra special for me because it is my first ever Mother’s Day. Grace was actually due on Mother’s Day last year but was in no hurry to arrive and was born almost a week later. Today, I have been spoilt by Grace and Paul who made me a delicious cooked breakfast and gave me a beautiful card, flowers and gift.

This past year of motherhood has been truly amazing and I have loved every minute it. Grace has brought more joy to our little family than I could ever have imagined and I love her more than words could ever express.

Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely blogging friends and to the Mums in your families. I hope you have all been treated to a wonderful day by your loved ones.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Party Planning Progress

Hooray! I’m finally back online after being without a computer this week. I’m hoping to catch up on all your lovely blogs over the weekend which I’ve really missed visiting.

With just over a week until Grace turns one, I took advantage of my forced blogging break this week to get on top of the preparations for her birthday party.

So far I have:

• Made and mailed the invites
• Prepared the party favour bags
• Baked and frozen several batches of sausage rolls
• Used Poladroid and printed off Grace's photos for her first year display
• Ordered some paper lanterns
• Prepared some table decorations

This weekend I hope to:

• Do a trial batch of cupcakes (inspired by the ones above from here which we bought last weekend)
• Make a polka dot paper garland
• Sew a birthday crown for the birthday girl

With all these things taken care of, I can use next week to focus on the food and make sure the house is nice and tidy.

As for the birthday cake, I’ve decided to go with the traditional #1 cake which I am hoping to bake and freeze a few days earlier and then ice on the day. Please send any birthday cake advice my way as I am starting to worry a bit about this task! Do you have any hints/tips from your own experiences?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Our painful computer problems are still occurring and I must admit, I am feeling rather lost without access to all my daily blog reads. Thankfully, my sister has kindly lent me her laptop today so I am able to announce the winner of my ‘Recipe For A Happy Life’ giveaway.

Thankyou to everyone who entered and for all your kind, encouraging comments about Homely One. I’ve had Grace help me draw a winner and the lucky name that she pulled out was Sprout Gallery. Congratulations Michelle! I hope you enjoy your prize. I will be in touch so I can arrange for your book to be mailed to you.