Chevron patterned Quilt

I’ve always loved the Chevron pattern. I have made two crochet blankets in a chevron pattern, and now I have also made a chevron patchwork blanket.

My first chevron crochet blanket.
The chevron pattern looks great!

This blanket was suppose to be for our youngest Grandson. He was born November 2016. I made it in pure New Zealand wool, but it ended up being so heavy. I would have to pay a fortune in postage to get it to London, where he lives. My eldest daughter now uses this blanket at work. On a cold day it is perfect to wrap around her legs and keep her toastie warm.

Great colours for a little baby boy 🙂
This photo shows the colours better

This was my next attempt, and I am really pleased with how it turned out. I made it out of acrylic, which is really great for wash and wear. It was also much lighter and cheaper for postage 🙂

Look how snuggly this blanket turned out! Little grandson is tucked up nice and warm in his Nana made blankie.

Now onto sewing Chevron. It is actually a whole lot easier than it looks. In fact with patchwork, there are often little secrets to the sewing that make the whole process a lot easier than you think. Thank goodness for that, because, by nature I am a rather impatient person, and to have shortcuts really suits my personality.

Here is the process I used to create my quilt.

Start off with two piles of square cut materials. One pile is plain fabric. I used calico. The other pile has a number of each colour. The amount depends on how big you want to make your quilt
Place the two squares together, good sides facing each other, and sew a quarter inch seam right around the outside joining the two pieces of material together
Using a cutting mat and quilting ruler, cut diagonally in both directions
You will end up with 4 new squares from each of the original squares. These ones have a join in the middle and have two different materials
Once all the squares are cut and pressed, lay them all out to work out the pattern and colour scheme you want
Sew each row together and iron the seams one way on one row, and in the opposite direction on the next row.
I keep the rows in order as I sew, so it is easier for ironing and joining
Now you sew the rows together. As you sew them together, you will notice that they fit together nicely when the seams are ironed opposite.
once the mail chevron pattern is sewn together, you can pick how you would like to border the quilt. Put the layers together and do your top stitching
I’m lucky to have a lovely big craft room with two big tables that I can spread my quilts out on. This makes putting the layers together a little easier. I love the curved safety pins that I can use to temporarily hold all three layers together while I do my topstitching.
I do all the topstitching with my cheap brother sewing machine. It has served me well, I can tell you. I roll up the quilt, and slowly feed it through as I sew. This is a process that requires lots of perserverance and patience. I do my own topstitching as I am too scroogey to pay for it to be done professionally. I’m quite happy with the finished effect.
The finished product

To finish my quilt, I did multiple rows of stitching on the outside border. I then sewed the binding on and it was complete. I love it and it has become my quilt that is used the most. I can just throw it in the washer and it comes out great. A very practical quilt that is pretty to look at as well 🙂

I hope you can follow my instructions and create your own Chevron Quilt. You can finish it off to your own liking. Please post a photo of yours in the comments below. I would love to see what you create.

Pink Minnie Mouse Cake

I thought it would be great to show you the process I used to make G5’s 4th birthday cake.

I decided to make her a vanilla cake. It is nice and plain and yet moist and tastes yummy. I doubled the mixture and it cooked nicely in 50 minutes.

Next was to even the cake, make it level and cover with butter cream icing.

Once covered with the buttercream icing, I put the whole cake into the fridge to harden the butter so I could smooth the icing ready for the fondant.

I was a little worried here as the cake was very cold and the fondant once rolled and placed on the cake, sweated and went quite shiny. It actually worked well for adding the next layer of fondant.

White fondant placed on top of the pink, so that the Minnie mouse face will eventually stand out. I just cut it with a wavy edge.

The next step was to print out an outline of Minnie mouse a few times and then cut out the layers on the paper. These layers were placed on the coloured and rolled out fondant and cut out with a sharp tipped knife. I was pretty pleased with how easy it was to do, and how it all fitted back together.

This was going to be my finished product, but I just wasn’t happy with the bow. It should be white spots not green!

I was suppose to put a lot of white dots in various sizes around the sides of the cake, but decided that little flowers would be prettier.

G5 is pretty happy with her first look at her cake.
I brought the correct ribbon and made my own hair clip bow for the top of the cake. Bonus was that G5 has now got two bow clips to wear 🙂

The new pink bow with white spots looked great! I added white lettering to say Happy Birthday and a pretty pink number 4 candle. Around the bottom edge of the cake I rolled little balls of pink and white fondant and placed them all around.

Ella’s pink Minnie mouse cake

It turned out great, and G5 was very happy with her cake. You don’t even have to have lots of cake decorating products. I have a mat that I purchased from Ikea to roll the fondant on. This mat can roll up with the fondant on it, and then I unroll the fondant over the top of the cake. I guess that mat is my one purchase that I can’t do without. The playdoh letter cutters have been used many times, and they aren’t even sold as cake decorating things. The rest can be cut out with a paper pattern and a sharp tipped knife.

I hope that you are encouraged to give this cake a try. Let me know how yours turns out. Maybe you can add a photo of yours in the comments 🙂

Cake Creations over the past 2 years

Since late 2015, I have had three of my grand children living here at home. Our third son, their Dad is living here too. The empty nest didn’t stay empty for long! So I am back to having a pre-school child back in the house, and two primary aged kiddies, and I love it. Just when we were slowing down, and getting a little selfish with our time, we now have these wonderful children to help us to think young again, and give us plenty to do 😉

And I have had the opportunity to once again create some children’s birthday cakes. The first grandchild’s cake I made was actually for G7, who lives in London. Her daddy and her came for a months holiday and she was turning one just after she arrived back in London. I wanted to give her a New Zealand birthday as well. I found a very cute birthday party set of cups, plates, napkins and table cloth of a pink ladybug. I copied the picture of the bug and made that the design for the cake.

The table decorations and the cake
I made some cupcakes as well, and we needed balloons, of course
The birthday cake banner

The first of the three who live here was the oldest of the three, G2. He turned 10 late January, 2016. He is really into minecraft! He watches you tube videos of people playing the game, plays it on the PS3 and talks about minecraft all the time!

Here is his cake.

Cake number 1.

This was such an easy cake to make. Just a simple round cake, green fondant with little fondant squares cut out in various shades of green, fondant letters cut with playdoh cutters, and minecraft ‘lego like’ blocks. Jayden also liked creeper and wanted a minecraft creeper cake, so I made him an extra cake as well. This was a pretty simple cake to make as well.

Minecraft cake number 2

Next birthday was just one week later and that was G5. I had decided on making her a Barbie cake with the doll in the cake and the cake as a dress. Daughter C5 brought the Barbie doll while I made the cake. Once putting them together I realized that to get to doll to fit the cake, I would need to cut her legs off, or make an extra cake to make the dress part bigger. It was getting late into the night and I had a bright idea to use doilys instead. G5 was turning two, and I didn’t think that she would be too fussy, she just wanted a cake. He is how it turned out 😉

With a bit of imagination, I extended the dress for Barbie 😉

And with the added cupcakes for the party.

Ella’s cake and cupcakes

G5 was a very happy little girl and I was quite happy with the finished product.

The next birthday was in the May, when G4 was turning 7. Look at his cake! It was a big one!

Super Hero Theme

I had so much fun making this cake. I had brought the party supplies from Spotlight so decided to make the cake to go with the table decorations. G4 loved it. He is a very active little boy and it suited his personality totally. We even went to a indoor trampoline park for his party. He and his friends jumped around like superheros the whole party!

Skip the rest of the year, and we are now back to G2’s Birthday. This time his 11th. The theme for this party was Pokémon. This kid collects Pokémon cards, and has about 4 albums full of them! He also likes, and knows the names of heaps of the Pokémon characters. So it HAD to be a Pokémon cake and themed party.

We started off G2’s birthday with a Pokeball hunt. Each Pokeball had a little character inside.
The Pokemon party table and decorations
G2’s Pokemon cake

So, I am now getting lots of practice making Birthday cakes again. The week after G2’s birthday is G5’s birthday. This time (after searching Pinterest) I decided in making her a princess themed birthday, making her cake out of lots of cupcakes. It was lots of fun, and I had to stop myself from putting too many decorations on the cake!

Princess G5’s pretty princess cupcake dress cake
The Princess party table and decorations

For G5’s birthday celebration, we went to the movie Ballerina with some friends. G5 had party bags to give her friends at the movie.

Party bags for Ella’s princess party. We even went to the movie Ballerina, and the girls were able to eat the goodies during the movie.

After G5’s birthday in the February, I travelled to Sydney for G6’s 3rd birthday. Now, I didn’t make this cake, but his Mummy did, and she did a great job. G6 loved his cake and he had a wonderful birthday party.

Happy G6 with his Cars cake!

In May 2017, came G4’s 8th birthday. By now I’m loving Pinterest! And as I was looking for easy boys cakes, I found this one! It became the theme for his birthday, and presents!

The Incredible Hulk Cake. And a very happy G4 🙂
Incredible Hulk hands around the cake!

2018 came along pretty quickly, and I have now made another two birthday cakes. First is G2 again late January. He turned 12 this year, and decided that he was quite happy with having a plain cake rather than a themed and decorated cake. Phew! He still had to have a cake though. And this is what I came up with. He was happy 🙂

A nice simply iced cake

His cake had two layers. A Vanilla cake for one layer and a chocolate cake for the other. I put the layers together, and iced all over, with vanilla buttercream icing. Broken flake chocolate for the top, number 12 candles, Jaffas (chocolate/orange lollies) around the bottom edge and it was finished! It lasted all of two days!

While shopping in Spotlight one day, I came across a pink Minnie Mouse party pack and decided that as G5 has a Minnie Mouse that she cuddles and plays with a lot. Pink Minnie Mouse should be her birthday theme! I also brought some Pink Minnie Mouse Curtains and decided that I could definitely make something out of them to fit the theme of the party.

G5’s pink Minnie mouse cake
Pink minnie mouse theme
Decorated for G5 to wake up to on her birthday morning
Before the food and cake was brought in. Cute pink minnie mouse plates etc. Look at our cute G5 minnie mouse!
The pretty pink minnie mouse skirts. I made 5 of them. One for each of the little girls that came to her party.

After her party and an all afternoon play at Rumpus Room indoor playground in New Plymouth, G5 thanked her little friends with her own little gift. In their gift bags were lots of Minnie mouse games and girly things, like bangles and ear rings and hair ribbons. Then they each got their skirts. We had 5 little pink Minnie mouse girls running around the playground, and 3 boys. They had a great time. I did too. All the preparation of food, serving the food, party games and clean up was provided by Rumpus room! So good 🙂

Christmas 2017

This Christmas has been wonderful! I have had all of my 6 adult/children home, along with their partners and children. The only one missing was our beautiful eldest grand daughter. She lives in Sydney, is starting a full time job as a nurse this March, and because of work commitments over the holidays, she had to stay home. She was certainly missed!

To get most of our family in one place and at the same time is a miracle!

We have one son, with his wife and two children, living in London; We have another living in Sydney, with his wife and three children; We have another son, and his wife, based in Sydney, but travelling all over the world; We have another son, and his three children, living here at home with us; We have a daughter living in Auckland, New Zealand; And we have another daughter living in our home town who is in the process of building a new home. Can you see how amazing it has been to actually get them all home?

We have had 17 of us living together over the holidays, and actually 18 for a couple of nights. My home has been full, and I have been so happy. A happiness that fills me to overflowing. It’s so hard to describe, but I feel like I am in love with each of my family members all over again! They are all great people, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. I am so happy with how they all embraced the time together, and how they all loved each other in spite of all the differences between us.

In honour of having us all together, I wanted to have a few family photos taken. I love photos, and the memory moments they give us all, forever! My eldest daughter is a very talented photographer (and the second to eldest as well), so we arranged a time, and a place, and C5 took some photos. The last time we managed to get group photos taken was in December 2009. We have had four more grand children born since then, so I felt we really needed an updated photo.

Family photo from December 2009
Family photo from January 2018

Oh my, we have all aged in the last 8 or so years! But those years have been great, and we have all matured in personality, character and experiences. I can imagine the many stories each can tell from those past 8 years.

Our 4 grand children from December 2009
Our Grand children from January 2018. Our eldest grand daughter is missing from the photo.

The three eldest in the back row are the three with our eldest grand daughter in the photo above this one! Four more grand children added and three of them were born in 2014 in February, March and April!  Three grand children born within three months 🙂 The youngest grandson turned one last November.

If you have visited my blog before, you will see that I now have a new blog header (that is the photo you see when you get to my site) and that header is our new family portrait! That is my whole family, minus 2! Our eldest grand daughter and one daughter in law are missing, but all of my adult children are in there, and their families.

I love it!

 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

For the last 15 months we have been opening our home to airbnb guests. It’s been really interesting. We have met so many lovely people, and we now have new friends from all over the world! For reasons which I will explain later on in my post, I have filled in the availability calendar for our home, so it is unavailable for a time, but we did have two guest rooms which have been well used. Here are the links to those rooms if you would like to have a look.

https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/5197223?guests=1&s=0RoqnXBa

https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/5232994?guests=1&s=0RoqnXBa

The summer months seem to have been the most popular for tourists visiting New Zealand. The most common places of interest that our visitors have been to see before they got to our home in little Waitara (Taranaki), has been the Waitomo Caves and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Most of our visitors travelled south from Auckland and were making their way down to the South Island, where they planned on driving down to visit Queenstown. The popular cities that I heard mentioned visited in the North Island were Auckland, Rotorua and Taupo. And, of course, I would promote a visit to our local city of New Plymouth, of which I have already written a blog post about!

New Plymouth – It’s a fabulous city!

When our guests spoke of the wonderful experiences they had seeing the Waitomo Caves, and walking / tramping the Tongariro Crossing, I would feel slightly guilty. Here I am a New Zealander, and I haven’t even been to either of those places myself, well I hadn’t! But I have now. In April I took my grandson to the Caves 🙂 We only went through the Glow worm cave but it was fantastic. I have visited the Jenolan Caves near the Blue Mountains in Australia, and I have to say that the Waitomo Caves are equally as good. Definitely worth the visit.

In March I joined a group of local people to travel North to The National Park to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and I have to say it was the highlight of my year so far! It was amazing, and what a sense of achievement to have completed it! Yes, I can definitely say it was on my bucket list (after hearing about it so much from our visiting tourists) and it has now been ticked off!

The distance of the crossing. We had a guide with us so we turned at the highest point of the crossing, carried on to Tongariro summit and then our guide led us back to the start point.
The distance of the crossing. We had a guide with us so we turned at the highest point of the crossing, carried on to Tongariro summit and then our guide led us back to the start point.
Full of excitement and energy as we start the crossing :-)
Full of excitement and energy as we start the crossing 🙂
This is part of the path from the starting point. By mid morning there is a steady traffic of people walking/climbing the crossing. It is a very popular and manageable climb but is definitely challenging as well.
This is part of the path from the starting point. By mid morning there is a steady traffic of people walking/climbing the crossing. It is a very popular and manageable climb but is definitely challenging as well.
The only toilets en route!
The only toilets en route!
One of our first stops. And look at the wonderful view!
One of our first stops. And look at the wonderful view!
Mt Taranaki way in the distance
Mt Taranaki way in the distance
Walking across the plain towards the climb to the Summit
Walking across the plain towards the climb to the Summit
further along the long plain
Further along the long plain
Looking across to Mt Ngauruhoe
Looking across to Mt Ngauruhoe
Looking over the edge :-)
Looking over the edge 🙂
Our little group of trampers- plus the photographer :-)
Our little group of trampers- plus the photographer 🙂
That was much harder to climb than it looks!
That was much harder to climb than it looks!
The big climb up to the Crossing peak
The big climb up to the Crossing peak
Just a little climb from here to where the main crossing walk starts the descent to the car park
Just a little climb from here to where the main crossing walk starts the descent to the car park
The last slope upwards
The last slope upwards
The view of an old vent on the volcano
The view of an old vent on the volcano
another view of the old crater vent. Can you seee the people climbing across the other side?
Another view of the old crater vent. Can you see the people climbing across the other side?
Daughter Joanna looking at the wonderful views with the lakes below
Daughter C5 looking at the wonderful views with the lakes below
Mt Ngauruhoe with Mt Ruapehu behind
Mt Ngauruhoe with Mt Ruapehu behind, and the Tongariro summit ahead 🙂
Joanna with Ngauruhoe behind her
C5 with Ngauruhoe behind her
Yay! We did it. Mt Tongariro Summit!
Yay! We did it. Mt Tongariro Summit!
My friend Julie with the two magnificent mountains behind her
My friend Julie with the two magnificent mountains behind her
Our lunch spot at the summit of Mt Tongariro
Our lunch spot at the summit of Mt Tongariro
From the summit looking back to the crossing
From the summit looking back to the crossing
The terrain we meandered down back to the carpark
The terrain we meandered down back to the carpark
Sitting on damp spongy moss for our afternoon tea :-)
Sitting on damp spongy moss for our afternoon tea 🙂
Such a wonderful feeling! We had just climbed Tongariro with Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in sight :-)
Such a wonderful feeling! We had just climbed Tongariro with Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in sight 🙂
The long walk back down! But it was sure worth the effort :-)
The long walk back down! But it was sure worth the effort 🙂

After four long years of just having my husband and myself at home, this year has completely changed for us. We now have two of our adult children living back home, and we also have three of our grand children living here with us as well. We are so spoilt to have company all the time, and activity filling our lives. Children are great at keeping you young. So, this is the reason that our airbnb is now closed for a time, but I am very thankful for the time we had our guests staying here. If it wasn’t for their wonderful recollections, telling me about doing the Tongariro Crossing, or seeing The Waitomo Caves, I probably wouldn’t have put the effort in to see them for myself!

Now I can be the ‘expert’ when we eventually open our airbnb again.

If you have 20 minutes to spare I have also made a movie file of the crossing 🙂

Scrapbooking while in Sydney November 2015

I know…   I know…  I seem to always be in Sydney 🙂

Eldest son C1 and his wife had a trip to Las Vegas for a conference and some fun as well, and I am here to look after the two youngest grandchildren. The eldest is now 18 and very independent. She is studying to be a nurse, has a part time job and drives herself everywhere 🙂 I am feeling extra blessed to be spending time with baby G6, who is actually not so much of a baby now. He is 19 months old and such a happy and busy boy. I’ve had so much fun with him 🙂

Luke loved playing with the hose on the trampoline :-)
Luke loved playing with the hose on the trampoline 🙂

And G3 has been such a great little girl while Mum and a Dad have been away. Every morning she got up and got herself organised for school, including making her own lunch. I had the priviledge of doing her hair some mornings 🙂

Just one of the hair styles (a little messy), But I did french plait as well :-)
Just one of the hair styles (a little messy), But I did french plait as well 🙂

I love to be productive no matter where I am, so while G6 has his afternoon sleep, and once the children are in bed at night, I have been scrapbooking. I love the feeling I get from creating a page and being able to finally look at the finished product. Mostly the pages are finished, but as I don’t have all my embellishments here with me, there will be a few little extra things I will add when I get back home.

This page was made using the scraps left over from an Echo Park Kit. It was lots of fun to make and looks great (well I think so anyway) The grandsons are so cute :-)
This page was made using the scraps left over from an Echo Park Kit. It was lots of fun to make and looks great (well I think so anyway) The grandsons are so cute 🙂
A fun photo taken at St Ives in Sydney. Paper use is Echo Park.
A fun photo taken at St Ives in Sydney. Paper use is Echo Park.
A portrait photo of Leeara and Jessica taken a few years ago.
A portrait photo of G1 and C6 taken a few years ago.
Simon and his boys Jayden and Christian. This page is mainly made with Echo Park papers.
C3 and his boys G2 and G4. This page is mainly made with Echo Park papers.
Christian talking to Uncle Ben on the phone on his 4th birthday. Created with Bella! papers and some Echo Park.
G4 talking to Uncle C4 on the phone on his 4th birthday. Created with Bella! papers and some Echo Park.
Leeara in Uniform and going to School. Her irst year at Willoughby High School. Page using Basic Grey and Bella! papers.
G1 in Uniform and going to School. Her First year at Willoughby High School. Page using Basic Grey and Bella! papers.
At Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. Page created with Teresa Collins Papers, Tell your story :-)
At Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. Page created with Teresa Collins Papers, Tell your story 🙂
Beautiful eldest daughter Joanna at her graduation. Pages used are Echo Park, This and that.
Beautiful eldest daughter C5 at her graduation. Pages used are Echo Park, This and that.
Photo of Leeara when she was about 8 years old. Papers are Echo Park.
Photo of G1 when she was about 8 years old. Papers are Echo Park.
Jessica and Leeara on a quad bike! papers are Fancy Pants Designs, childish things.
C6 and G1 on a quad bike! papers are Fancy Pants Designs, childish things.
My friend Julie and myself after a bike ride. Relaxing with a coffee and chat :-) Echo Park papers, this and that.
My friend Julie and myself after a bike ride. Relaxing with a coffee and chat 🙂 Echo Park papers, this and that.
Another Leeara page. I'm trying to catch up on completing her album. this page was created using a Kaisercraft Kit.
Another G1 page. I’m trying to catch up on completing her album. this page was created using a Kaisercraft Kit.
Another page using a Kaisercraft Kit. This one of Jayden and Christian while on holiday in New Plymouth.
Another page using a Kaisercraft Kit. This one of G2 and G4 while on holiday in New Plymouth.
Christian on his 4th birthday using Bella! papers.
G4 on his 4th birthday using Bella! papers.
Our Scrapbooking Christmas party about 2 years ago.
Our Scrapbooking Christmas party about 2 years ago.
Photo taken 10 years ago. Page created with Authentique Paper, and the Delightful Kit.
Photo taken 10 years ago. Page created with Authentique Paper, and the Delightful Kit.

I still have another two days left in Sydney and then it’s back home to get my gardens tidied up. I really want to get our vegetable garden producing some great vegetables for us over the summer. So it will be all go once I get home, and no time for Scrapbooking!

I wonder if I manage to produce another page or two before I leave?

I did it! Two more pages 🙂

Leeara amd Jess with their milk mustaches. Teresa Collins papers.
G1 and C6 with their milk mustaches. Teresa Collins papers.
These girls love having a face mask together. Echo Park paper
These girls love having a face mask together. Echo Park paper

And now it’s time to pack my bags!

 

The Seasons Of Life

Our family has just had a huge celebration! My Dad had his birthday and it certainly was one to celebrate. He turned 90 years old! That’s right 90! Not only was the age worth celebrating, but my Dad as a person needed celebrating as well. He is an amazing person! Always has been! I have been very blessed having him as my Dad. He is the best Dad a person could have (I’m not biased at all)

IMG_8296
My Wonderful Dad!

Of course I had to make him a cake for the occasion 🙂

My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.
My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.

We had the party at my eldest sisters place, and us four girls and my sister in law made all the food for afternoon tea. People arrived from 1pm and stayed until approximately 6pm. At one point there were 80 people wandering around the gardens or sitting and chatting!  Dad had a great time catching up to old friends and family.

Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!
Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!

Mum felt just as special as Dad did, after all they are ‘one’ really, after 67 years of marriage 🙂

Ohhhh that's cute :-)
Ohhhh that’s cute 🙂

Only two of my adult children and their family were able to come to the party. My eldest sisters daughter came, along with her family as well. And, my brothers son came too.

Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to Dad's party.
Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to his party.

It was so good to be able to have all our immediately family together again. A great opportunity to get a group photo!

From Left to right - Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynday (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)
From Left to right – Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynda (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)

So I titled this post ‘The seasons of life’, because of the fact that my Dad and Mum are in the ‘Winter’ season of their lives. Thankfully they are well and still having a great time of ‘living’, although Mum is a little slower nowadays. I really can’t imagine life without my precious Mum and Dad to chat to, have our weekly family dinner time together, and have their continued input into my life. I have been blessed to have them both as my parents, and I am so very thankful.

Both Robin and myself (and all my siblings) are now in the ‘Autumn’ season. The times of our lives have gone so fast. When I was younger and surrounded with lots of children, each demanding my time and energy in some way or another, and I was frequently tired; people used to say to me that these years would pass before you knew it, and your children would be all grown up and left home. In fact, sadly, because of the busyness of life, I often wished that those years of freedom would come sooner. Now, I would love to go back in time and live through those years again. It was a wonderful life and I loved being a Mum to my young children. I loved the feeling of being vitally important in their lives. Now they are individuals, adults that are making their own way in life. Each unique personality doing it their own way, and I am so proud of them all. I am still important to them, but in a completely different way. And that is healthy. That is the way it should be!

Celebrate the seasons of life people. They move along so fast, they really do!  Memorise as many moments as you can along the way. Take heaps of photos, and journal your life. It will all be great to look back on, especially as you enter the less energetic seasons of life.

Yet in this Autumn season, there is still so much to look forward to. Robin and I now have the ability to make decisions about our lives, that no longer impact our ‘children’ like they used to. We can make plans for holidays together, have evenings out regularly, and generally do as we please. Does this sound selfish? I see it as a reward for selflessly parenting our children first and foremost during their formative years, and into adulthood. We can now become a ‘couple’ again, and enjoy the wonders of discovering life together as a couple.

Yes! This season of life is great!

PS…. As part of my celebrating ‘who I am’ in my Autumn years, I have decided to let my grey show! It has been a great topic of discussion, I can tell you. But I am happy with who I am. I don’t feel the need to impress anyone, or feel I need to try to keep young looking. I am actually loving my hair, and wish it was actually white all over. And you know what…. it is very freeing 🙂

Creations and Celebrations

The first half of our year is full of celebrations starting with Robin’s birthday on the 2nd of January. This year was his 60th and we celebrated his day with a lovely wine tour in the north of Sydney!

My 60 year old man :-)
My 60 year old man 🙂
Celebrating Robin! All the family together minus Simon, Stacie and their three children!
Celebrating Robin! All the family together minus C3, Stacie and their three children!

C5’s birthday was on the 15th of January and G2 turned 9 on the 29th. Within that week we had G5 turn 1 on the 4th and then on the very next day G3 turned 9! Phew! But that doesn’t end the February birthdays. G1 and C6 both had milestone birthdays, with G1 turning 18 and C6 21 on the 24th! Yes they share the same birthday. G1 is now at University, and we are very proud of the beautiful young woman she has become 🙂

C6’s 21st was a biggie! And I decided to do most of the decorating myself! And did I have fun!

Let’s start with the cake…

So first of all I made two Caramel Cakes for the bottom of the whole birthday cake
So first of all I made two Caramel Cakes for the bottom of the whole birthday cake
I joined the two with butter cream icing
I joined the two with butter cream icing
And I covered them as best as I could with butter cream icing :-)
And I covered them as best as I could with butter cream icing 🙂
Once the icing had hardened a bit I smoothed it out by putting baking paper on the cake and rubbing over it with the flat of my hand
Once the icing had hardened a bit I smoothed it out by putting baking paper on the cake and rubbing over it with the flat of my hand
Now this is the fondant I used. Approx $6 per packet. I thought that was a bargain compared to other brands
Now this is the fondant I used. Approx $6 per packet. I thought that was a bargain compared to other brands
And here is the cake with the fondant on top of the butter cream. I rolled it out flat and then with the use of my Ikea mat, I rolled both the mat and icing together, and then unrolled onto the cake. Gently rubbing with my hands to get the icing to mould around the bottom edge of the cake
And here is the cake with the fondant on top of the butter cream. I rolled it out flat and then with the use of my Ikea mat, I rolled both the mat and icing together, and then unrolled onto the cake. Gently rubbing with my hands to get the icing to mould around the bottom edge of the cake
I did exactly the same with the top of the cake only this cake was a vanilla cake. Separating some of the fondant, I coloured it with red food colouring. I then rolled the red out flat and cut circles and stripes and also stars for the lettering to go on.
I did exactly the same with the top of the cake only this cake was a vanilla cake. Separating some of the fondant, I coloured it with red food colouring. I then rolled the red out flat and cut circles and stripes and also stars for the lettering to go on.
I let the stars harden overnight onto the skewers and then put the lettering onto them
I let the stars harden overnight onto the skewers and then put the lettering onto them
And here is beautiful Jessica with her 21st cake!
And here is beautiful C6 with her 21st cake!
I also made a welcoming blackboard gto celebrate Jessica. I actually copied this from a board I found on Pinterest!
I also made a welcoming blackboard to celebrate C6. I actually copied this from a board I found on Pinterest!
And with the help of my cricut and some vinyl and a white board, I made another celebration board :-)
And with the help of my cricut, some vinyl and a white board, I made another celebration board 🙂
Instead of a birthday key, I purchased a blank black canvas, and along with a white Gel pen, Jessica's friends could write messages to her. This is now wall art for Jessica :-)
Instead of a birthday key, I purchased a blank black canvas, and along with a white Gel pen, C6’s friends could write messages to her. This is now wall art for C6 🙂
I asked Robin to get some chipboard and I drew a huge number two and one on it. He cut them out with a jigsaw and I painted them black.
I asked Robin to get a sheet of chipboard and I drew a huge number two and one on it. He cut them out with a jigsaw and I painted them black.
Both the two and one were covered with photos of Jessica growing up :-)
Both the two and one were covered with photos of C6 growing up 🙂
And here is my gorgeous girl with her '21' photo board <3
And here is my gorgeous girl with her ’21’ photo board <3

We hired out a local club and had a wonderful evening together. C6 is my baby and to think she is now 21 is unbelievable. Where have those years gone? C6 is very talented, and a beautiful young lady. I am very proud of her 🙂

The birthdays haven’t finished yet! On the 18th of March we celebrated G6’s 1st birthday with an amazing Star Wars themed party, which I have written about approximately three blogs down! Go have a look. It was the best themed birthday EVER!

The whole house was set up in a Star Wars theme to celebrate Luke turning 1 :-)
The whole house was set up in a Star Wars theme to celebrate G6 turning 1 🙂

In early April C2 came to New Zealand with daughter G7, and while they were staying here, I decided to put on an early 1st birthday for her. Her actual birthday is the 21st of April, but she would be back home in London by then. It was fantastic having them both to stay so it really was a double celebration! I purchased ladybug table napkins and decided to make her cake to match them. Here’s what it turned out like…

The ladybug theme! Copied from the table napkins and plates :-)
The ladybug theme! Copied from the table napkins and plates 🙂
The table set up for her party. We had family here to help celebrate and brought pizzas as well....yum!
The table set up for her party. We had family here to help celebrate and brought pizzas as well….yum!
Here's Daddy Daniel cutting Sophie's cake
Here’s Daddy C2 cutting G7’s cake
And beautiful little Sophie with her cake :-)
And beautiful little G7 with her cake 🙂

C3’s birthday was next on the 17th of April, and coming up next week is mine!

I think I may have a party???

A Test Of Faith

In August 2014, I left New Zealand for our second son’s wedding in Poland. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that after the wedding, we went on a Tour of the Balkans, all of which is written about on here with many photos of the wonderful sights and places visited. After the tour I flew to London to Nanny our youngest grandchild for three months, followed by a wonderful Christmas in Sydney. I finally arrived back in New Zealand mid January 2015.

Before I left New Zealand in the August I noticed that a small freckle on my right forearm seemed to be a little darker than it used to be. I wondered if I should be worried about it, but decided that it only looked like a freckle and should be okay. I told myself it was moles that you need to be worried about.

Because of the position of the spot, it caught my eye regularly, and I would touch it and pray that it was okay and nothing serious. But it definitely was getting darker and it seemed to have a little line running from it.

This photo was taken on Robin's Birthday, the 2nd of January 2015. Can you see the spot? It had been on my arm for five months, that I can remember anyway!
This photo was taken on Robin’s Birthday, the 2nd of January 2015. Can you see the spot? It had been on my arm for five months, that I can remember anyway!
Here is a closer up view of it!
Here is a closer up view of it!

Our eldest daughter is a nurse and she remained in New Zealand while we had our overseas trip. We met up again four months later at our family Christmas in Sydney. As soon as Joanna saw my arm, she said that she didn’t like the look of the spot and that I needed to get it looked at by a Doctor as soon as possible. But I was in Sydney and still had two weeks holiday left!

This is the spot on the 24th of January 2015. Still on my arm, and I still haven't been to the Doctor!
This is the spot on the 24th of January 2015. Still on my arm, and I still haven’t been to the Doctor!

By mid February I decided that I really should get it looked at and went to my GP. He wasn’t too sure about it but had another Doctor run a clinic monthly who did surgeries for unusual spots or moles. And I was booked in to see him!

On the 2nd of April I arrived for my appointment and as soon as I walked in the door, immediately the Doctor said he could see why I had come, he grabbed my arm, and said that it is a Melanoma! He was almost certain, and so was his wife, his nurse! Oh my goodness, why had I left it so long to get it checked out? Please get your spots and moles checked people!

It was cut out straight away and sent for testing.

Now this bandage doesn't look too bad does it! But believe me he took a huge hunk out of my arm!
Now this bandage doesn’t look too bad does it! But believe me he took a huge hunk out of my arm!

Because I am on blood pressure tablets it bled fairly badly and needed internal dissolving stitches to help stop the bleeding. A clean dressing was put on a week later, and the stitches were removed a week after that.

A little bigger than I thought!
A little bigger than I thought!

So from one little mole to an inch long scar. But a scar I can cope with. What I was concerned about was that the Doctor said that if it did test out to be Melanoma, the most serious form of cancer, I could be dead within eight months! Oh, he also said that even if I had come along any earlier, and it was Melanoma, the prognosis maybe wouldn’t be any different. I had two long weeks to wait for the results!

Now for the emotions to set in! As a Christian, I knew and believed that God could heal! That Jesus took all our sickness on Himself when he died on the cross for us. I also knew that sometimes He doesn’t heal, that it isn’t always in His plan. So I was faced with the possibility that I may die a whole lot earlier than I wanted to! Yet I had prayed over that spot many times over the last eight months and I believe God hears our prayer. I also know of a couple of amazing Christians who died of cancer, even thought many people were praying for them. And I know people suffering the effects of cancer now!

I really was in Gods hands and had to trust Him completely for whatever the outcome. I actually wasn’t upset at the fact that I could die, we all are going to die eventually, but I was worried about the process of death (yet, still hoping that everything was going to be okay). I know that I have salvation, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I also know that I have His Holy Spirit within, as a seal, a promise that I am a child of God. So I know that I am going to Heaven when I die. Yes, I believe in Heaven! But I also became more aware of the many people who have no faith in God, and no hope for the future, and are going through the same wait as I was. Is it cancer or isn’t it? Am I going to die? What are their thoughts about death, and heaven and hell? Do they think that when they die, that is it?

The big questions of life huh! I believe us humans are made of body, soul and spirit. The body is the flesh and bones. The soul is the mind, will and emotions. But the spirit of man is what relates to God! The Spirit in us is the hope of glory!

As we just had a long weekend, Anzac weekend, on the Friday I drove a three hour trip to Palmerston North to pick up my grandchildren and then the three hour trip back home to New Plymouth. This to be repeated again on Monday to take them back home. While I drive along, I choose to listen to podcasts. This time I listened to three different ones on the way to Palmerston North. I was so excited in my spirit when I listened to them because the explanation of Death, Heaven and Hell was just great and an applicable topic for me! I would love it if you my reader would have a listen and then leave your comments/opinions later on. I guess the sermons are for Christians, but I am sure an unbeliever would also find them great to listen to, ponder about, and maybe be challenged about, especially if you are facing a life threatening illness! And I don’t want any of my loved ones to miss out on this free gift of salvation. Your eternity depends upon it! Please listen with an open mind 🙂

After a L O N G two weeks, I phoned my Doctors to get the results of the mole and flesh that was removed. It was a Melanoma but in Situ! Which means that the cancer was contained to the mole region only. There was 4mm of clear cancer free flesh under the mole. I am now booked in to go and get a further piece of flesh removed as the preferred clearance is 5mm! Really that is minor compared to what it could have been.

From this experience I recognise the fact that none of us know what we could face in the near future. Our days are numbered, and we don’t know when our time is up. What we can be sure of though is where we will end up. The choice is ours to make! But it has to be made while we are still alive and living on this earth. Accept Jesus and His gift of salvation, or reject Him?

If you want to accept and believe I have a short prayer for you to pray…

Dear God in heaven,

I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness. I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour and according to His Word, right now I am saved. Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honour to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.

Amen.

If you just cannot pray this prayer of salvation, as you aren’t quite sure about it all, just ask God to reveal Himself to you and I am sure He will. He loves you 🙂

Star Wars Party for G6

We have just had the best birthday party ever!

Grandson 6 turned one year old on the 18th, and because his Dad (my eldest son Matthew) is a Star Wars addict, the theme for G6’s birthday had to be Star Wars! You must know the conversation from the movie between father and son! This pillow is one of four Star Wars themed ones that are on Matthew and Rebecca’s sofa!

IMG_0035.JPG

Luckily C1 has a very accommodating wife who not only wanted to make G6’s birthday special, she also wanted it to be a celebration for C1 as well. After all, G6 is the treasured son after two beautiful daughters!

Here is the birthday invitation.

IMG_0626.JPG

So the party planning began!

With the help of ‘Pinterest’ Rebecca began creating. One of the first things was a converted flip lid rubbish bin!

IMG_0726.JPG

Isn’t it amazing! A perfect R2D2!

And who would have thought that swimming pool ‘noodles’ and a little tape would make great light sabers? Look at this container full just waiting for all the little Jedis to have a training session during the party.

IMG_0686.JPG

And when ‘Luke’ the children’s party entertainer arrived, they all had a great time learning to ‘use the force’.

IMG_0735.JPG

The best purchase I felt that D1 had made in planning for the party was a long roll of black plastic. Originally designed for cutting into lengths as table clothes, D1 also splattered white paint on lengths cut for the walls to create Galaxy scenes.

IMG_0729.JPG

The main lounge became the dessert and Cake table and also the children’s dining area.

IMG_0747.JPG

The dining room became ‘Hutt Dog Station’ where we had yummy Hutt Dogs, cute little Han Burgers and delicious Pizza the Hutts to eat!

IMG_0695.JPG

The outside deck area became ‘Fueling Station Ergo’

And D1 purchased Star Wars accessories and labels to compliment the rooms that were set up for the party. Just look at the amazing entrance and backdrop for the photo booth.  The Fabulous backdrop was created by ‘Little Dimple Designs’.

IMG_0734.JPG

In this photo party boy G6 is in his mums arms (Princess Leia), with G1 dressed as a storm trooper, and G3 dressed in style as well.

IMG_0728.JPG

And here is Dad, Darth Vader with his three children! (I told you it was the best Star Wars themed party ever!)

Now no party is complete without take home bags for the children. Just have a look at what these children got!

IMG_0663.JPG

And that wasn’t all…

IMG_0661.JPG

Very cute shaped cookies! Four different designs in each bag! And those cookies and even bigger ones were available for adults too, along with other theme based food 🙂

IMG_0682.JPG

These were all on the sweets table or dessert table 🙂

IMG_0676-0.JPG

There’s those cookies again and some with coloured fondant on top!

IMG_0677.JPG

Leia’s buns were yummy cinnamon buns. Isn’t it amazing what you can create with a bit of imagination!

And now the masterpiece…

IMG_0730.JPG

That is the most amazing cake! Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker on the top just make it! And it was the most yummy chocolate mud cake, rich and very moist! So delicious 🙂 Many thanks to ‘Cakes by Koo and Cupcakes too’

IMG_0731.JPG

The table setting for the cake was perfect! The labels were from a purchase D1 made from ‘Hello My Sweet’ via Etsy.

Singing Happy Birthday to G6. I am sure he knew the day was all about him 🙂

IMG_0691.JPG

The adults drinks were well catered for, but look at these very cute drinks for the children.

No kids party is complete nowadays without a Piñata. Rebecca made her own one to fit the Star Wars theme. Nothing better than a Death Star to destroy and free the goodies from inside!

IMG_0741.JPG

Friends and family were invited to G6’s first birthday and each family group made the effort to dress appropriately with the Star Wars theme. They all helped to make the party extra special 🙂

IMG_0743.JPG

How cute are these two little girls! And Mum and Dad look pretty great too 🙂

IMG_0744-0.JPG

We had a few Princess Leia’s at the party but all the outfits were slightly different. This little Chewbucca was fabulous at nine months old 🙂

IMG_0746.JPG

Yes, I think grown men like to dress up too 😉

We all had a fabulous time. And I am sure that G6 knew he was the main ‘little man’ of the day. He loved it! Not a tear all day but a very happy little boy who thrived on all the attention.

IMG_0738.JPG

Happy Star Wars first birthday to my very special grandson G6 xoxoxo

IMG_0736.JPG

Mummy D1 is a very clever lady and she can now have a well deserved time of rest and relaxation. Three children’s parties in two months are over and each one very successful!

Until next year D1!

May the Force be with you 🙂