Parenting all over again.

For the last three and a half years I have had custody and guardianship of three of my grandchildren. We brought them home on the 20th of December, 2015. It has been three and a half years filled with many wonderful and happy times, but also times filled with lots of worry, stress and extreme fatigue! Parenting full time isn’t meant for 60+ year olds, but sometimes you have to do, what you have to do! And under the circumstances, we had to!

Today must be a good day! I have been thinking about my life, and feeling thankful. I am so thankful for all the little things I get to be involved in with these kids. The list is endless!

Every Monday, after school, it’s gymnastics for all three. Tuesday it’s tap for Ella, and Basketball for Christian. Friday it’s Park City youth group (Pumped) for Jayden. And Sunday it’s church and Sunday school. Then everyday it’s the things that every family does with their kids. I get the happy good mornings and the last kiss and cuddle at night. The daily I love you, and the grumpy tired tantrums. I get to buy and pick their clothes, along with washing them, folding them and putting them away in their drawers again. I have even enjoyed sewing pretty dresses and dance clothes for my little granddaughter. I love to see her dancing in her special Nana made clothes.

I’ve seen the first day of kindergarten, the first dancing lesson, the first day at school, the first nervous day at high school. The annual dental check ups, the tooth fairy visits and all the excitement that comes with that.

I’ve cuddled them when they have been sick. Made the trips to the doctors. Sought after the best treatments, picked up their medicines and supported them to health. I’ve also disciplined and dealt with bad behavior. And as any good parent does, I’ve talked about how they could do better next time. I’ve also taught to apologize and also the importance of forgiveness. What a privilege to speak wisdom into a child’s life!

I have loved organizing advent calendars and watching the joy each morning brings as we share the days up to Christmas. I’ve also had 4 Christmas mornings and days! Secretly buying the Christmas presents, filling the stockings and wrapping the presents. Sharing in their joy is heart warming.

I’ve made 12 birthday cakes and planned 12 birthday parties. Each birthday has had a theme where the invitations, decorations and cake, have all matched the special theme that the child has wanted. It has been so good to be able to bless them and see the happiness a birthday party gives them.

We have had many weekends away and holidays including two trips to Australia. We did a road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs, spending time at Uluru! Then flew to Brisbane to experience the theme parks and beaches. We even had a weeks holiday on a houseboat on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney! We stayed with my eldest and his wife, and another three of our grandchildren. The kids reconnected with extended family and we all loved it.

We’ve had a weekend of fun in Rotorua, a week away exploring Taupo and Mt Ruapehu. We have had a driving holiday to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island. We stayed at many places on the way there, and back, and saw all the tourist spots and highlights on our travels.

Right from the first day the children arrived at our home, and it then became their home, we changed, and created the surroundings to suit family life. We added swings, rings, bars, bikes, hoops and scooters. We made a special girls room for a little girl, and a LEGO table for building and storing for the boys. We made built in drawers in the wardrobes so the room space was bigger for play. We installed insulation in the outside walls to make the room warmer and cosy . I guess we were probably going to do that at some stage, but having two little boys in the room was really the motivation to get the job done.

I’ve brought the school stationery and covered the books in plastic wrap with pictures that are special to the boys. Brought lunch boxes that have separate little spaces for the different types of food, then prepared the food and filled the spaces, daily!!! Ahhhhh back to making school lunches!

I’ve been to the yearly triathlons, swimming sports, beach visits, sports games, parent teacher interviews and chats with the principal to discuss the children’s learning experience, or behavior!

We went to the pre high school days visit. Filled out the enrollment papers and then once accepted, returned to the school for the information day. I shared in the excitement and nerves of starting secondary school. Together we went to organize, and buy, the new school uniform. I had this experience with the little 5 year old as she started school as well. Both the start of secondary school and the first day of school are such momentous events in a child’s life. And I got to be the ‘parent’ to support, love and be there for each child! How spoilt am I?

As our household food needs have advanced from just two adults to a family of five, I have kept up with gardening, preserving, freezing and making jam. We’ve brought in bulk and tried to be as wise as possible with grocery purchases. We have had fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden to help with healthy living, and to teach the children the benefit of reaping the rewards from a little hard work.

So as I ponder the wonder, and struggles of daily life parenting our grandchildren, I wonder what on earth their parents are doing? What do they do with their day? What is their motivation for living day to day? What are the excuses they are making for not being a healthy influence to their children.

Wouldn’t you think that losing your children would be enough to motivate you to turn your life around? Wouldn’t you want to become the person that your child could look up to? Wouldn’t the thought of someone else bringing your children up, be enough to make you take the steps to sort out the mess you have made of your life? Everyone knows that a child needs to be loved unconditionally, have a home to come home to, food to eat, to feel that they belong, and that they are accepted and important to their Mum and Dad, and extended family. Does addiction mess around with your head that much, that you lose all sense of what it means to be a good parent? If so, I think addiction is a very selfish illness. And I feel very sad for the children. They must feel that they aren’t important to their mum or dad, and the feeling of being neglected by them must bring so much hurt! All I can do is try my best to provide the children with their basic needs, plus add a mighty dose of love, acceptance, value and a sense of belonging to each one of them. I hope and pray that with Gods help, I can do enough to help them to become whole and healthy, and eventually secure and contributing adults. That their sense of abandonment be replaced with the knowledge that both Grandad and I have opened up our home and hearts to them. That they have love and security here with us. We are on their side and we are their loudest supporters!

Young people please listen. When your parents warn you of the dangers of bunking school, being promiscuous, being lazy or selfish, taking drugs, or hanging out friends that are a negative influence on your life; please listen! Your parents love you and they only want you to have the best life that you can have. When you are feeling like being rebellious as a teenager (or anytime in life), please don’t think that just sampling drugs won’t hurt. They can give you an amazing feeling of euphoria, and can be an amazing way out from the normal humdrum way of life. But that feeling can become more desirable than living a clean drug free life. The high on drugs could make normal life seem dull in comparison, and the need for self control and self discipline, just too much like hard work. Believe me, taking drugs can totally mess up your thinking and your life! And it can end up being a full blown addiction!!!

Not only can addiction mess up your immediate life but it can also ruin your future. It can make it very hard to get a job or keep a job! It can take priority in your life where all you want is your next fix. Drugs will just mess with your head and cause you to forget the things that really matter, like your darling children! The effort it will take to clean up your life and become a healthy person again will seem overwhelming and way too difficult. But it can be done! It will be a long bumpy road but one well worth traveling. Get help immediately! Go and get some counseling and find out what it is that triggers your need to take drugs. If the pain of change is lesser than the pain of staying the same, you will make the change. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve always got! Be brave and get better not bitter.

In conclusion, I couldn’t imagine raising our grandchildren without my amazing man, their Grandad. And I am so very thankful for his love and support. Together we are honored, and yet exhausted, to be parenting all over again. These are great kids and we love them very much. Our lives are enriched because of them. And yes, I am thankful.

A Wounded Spirit

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you feel like you have been crushed internally? That you can hardly breathe because on the depth of pain that is inside? All you can think of doing is crumbling to the floor and sobbing! You don’t want to be with anyone, see anyone, or even hear any words of encouragement from anyone. The hurt is so bad, that you literally feel heavy, despondent, despised, unworthy, useless and no good to anyone. You don’t feel suicidal, but you just know that nothing you can do will make you feel better (well not immediately anyway), you just are too emotionally hurt and sad!

(Proverbs 17:22 NIV) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
(Proverbs 15:13 NIV) A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Prov 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?

I have had several experiences of brokenness in my life. Each time the crush of the hurt is so overwhelming,  I want to run! I want to get as far away from the person/people that have hurt me, and never have anything to do with them again….EVER!!! Just the thought of the experience brings all the pain and emotion of the moment straight back to the present. And, I feel that deep sorrow all over again. It is just awful! Tears well up and I feel so sad inside.

My immediate response is that I want to be alone. I don’t want to ever let myself be in a position where I can be vulnerable and open to being hurt again. I don’t want to be in any environment that I don’t feel safe, by just being me! So out come the walls of protection. I gain the ability to be around people but never let them get close enough to cause pain. Now remember, this isn’t physical pain, like a broken bone, or a bump that causes a bruise. This is an emotional pain that is so deep, that you feel the only one you can trust with your heart is yourself.

The last time I felt such deep hurt like this was about 5 years ago, that was until yesterday! And I am sad to say that the damage of the moment, is still just as real and raw as the first time I experienced that deep wounding in my spirit, in the part of me that makes me, me!

And here I am just 24 hours later and I have survived, once again. I’m not totally over the incident. When I think about what happened, I can easily feel that hurt coming back, but it is losing it’s power over my well being! How, you ask? Because if you are human and living around other humans, you are bound to get hurt, just like I did yesterday. So you too may have experienced the wounding deep in your spirit as well.

(Psalm 34:18 NIV) The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

Have a read of the link below, and then come back to me :

https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-brokenness.html

Does God care about my (or your) brokenness? You bet! He is close to us and he saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Ultimately though we have the choice. (1) We can wallow in our hurt and self pity, or (2) we can choose to invite God into our pain, and bring healing. Sounds easy but believe me it’s not.

(1) We can let the painful circumstances of life embitter us, and in a way that is the easy path, because somehow re-living the moment helps to remind us that our feelings are justified. We can blame the other person for making us feel that way! In an unhealthy way, by withdrawing from people, because people hurt, you are heaping more suffering upon yourself. The other people involved are continuing to walk the walk of life, without giving you a second thought, while you suffer, and continue to suffer!

(2) Or you can address the problem full on. Ask yourself why the event happened, what led up to it, and were you yourself responsible in any way. Could you have done things differently? Then decide that whether you are an innocent victim or not, you have the ability to forgive those involved and move on in your own life. If you can’t forgive because the pain is so real and raw, then pray. Invite God into the pain! He gives us the grace to forgive others even when you feel they don’t deserve the forgiveness, or when you can’t forgive them in your own strength.

A quote from that link says…  God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory.

Another quote… The solution can never come from our own efforts or striving, but comes only from Him. Only when we recognize our need for God are we able to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on God and Jesus Christ. Only when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us can we begin to heal. Only when we admit our need and ask God into our life, can God begin to make us whole. Only when we confess that we are broken can God make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33)

Knowing the character of God and His desire to reconcile all man to Himself, helps to understand that reconciliation, where possible, is the best answer. In the past, I have withdrawn from people that I saw as hurtful and unsafe to be with, for long periods of time. I just couldn’t trust them again with my heart. But as I’ve got older and wiser (am I kidding myself?), I’ve realized that it is not God’s way. He desires reconciliation.

My first choice of action, once I have had time to recover from the shock of the ordeal, is to talk to God, and pour out my pain to Him. I pray/cry/shout out the injustice, and tell Him all about my pain. The next thing I do (maybe not immediately) is apologise to the person/people that have hurt me. Whether I am the guilty party or not is irrelevant, taking ownership of the event that took place is a key. Because actually, it wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there! So in a way you are also responsible. Also, the act of apologizing opens up the communication again. I didn’t want to even be in the same room as the person who hurt me two days ago (it has taken me a couple of days to write this), but yesterday, we sat together and talked about the differences in our personalities, how we react to situations differently, and that we still love each other in spite of our differences. And there was healing! We both admitted that we had a really bad sleep the night of the event! So we were both affected by it! Thank God it is now sorted and finished with.

Sadly, other times you make offer of an apology, and try to reconcile and open up the lines of communication again, but the other party isn’t interested. Five years ago that happened to me. Instead of seeking reconciliation, they justified their actions, got defensive, and made little acknowledgement of the pain involved in the whole process. Well certainly not mine. I felt of no value to them and that I wasn’t worth the effort of being loved and understood through the pain. They were prepared to lose my friendship and move on in life without me. And that hurt! But knowing that I was prepared to have a relationship with them again, brought me freedom to move on with my life. I now see them regularly and it doesn’t hurt. I want them to have a great life, but I am aware that we will possibly never be as close as we once were. Maybe our friendship was just for a season and it came to a natural end. Living through the painful events that caused the breakdown was horrendous, and I can still remember the grief it all caused. But by chosing to forgive, and then to continue living, and loving others, has brought healing.

Some relationships that end rather painfully, and forgiveness has been sought, and reconciliation has been made, may still never continue as they did in the past. But that is okay if reconciliation has happened. Neither has been left with the wounds of the past unhealed. Sometimes, the unhealthy thing to do, is to actually to try to continue with the relationship. As long as there are no bad feelings or wrong attitudes held against the other person/people. You can just continue to pray for them and ask God to bless their lives.

Today I feel great, and although sad the event happened two days ago, I am at peace with the outcome. We will continue our friendship and value each other whole heartedly. And love each other.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34 & 35)

And…. thank you Instagram, p31obs

Praising God always helps with healing for me. And the words in the song are very important. My latest listen is this song. I hope it can help you too x

https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

Star Quilt

I’m a real Pinterest fan, and I love getting my inspiration for making quilts from other peoples designs. I See a picture of a finished quilt I really like, and then follow through to the web page of the creator of it. I look to see if there are instructions for making a similar quilt, and then try it our for myself. This is probably the reason why I like to write up my quilt making process, and load up some photos. I hope that someone is helped along their quilting journey, by checking out my posts on pamperstamper, or some other persons blog.

The link below was the quilt I fell in love with, and decided to copy. If you open up the link you will see that there are wonderful and descriptive instructions on how to make this design. I have also taken photos of the journey of creating my quilt. You will see the similarity 🙂

Charming Stars Quilt

1. Pick your colours. Cut out all the squares, and place them in the way that they look their best to you
2. Four of the squares in each block will need the smaller squares sewn into two corners
3. Continue to sew the smaller squares into the same patterned material. Trim to sewn edge and iron flat
4. You will end up with a pile of stitched and unstitched squares that will create your block
5. Join the rows of three squares and iron the seams in the same direction for the top row and bottom row, but the other direction for the middle row. This will help the next lot of stitching line up easier
6. You now have a completed block. Continue to do the same with the rest of the blocks for the whole quilt
7. I used the little squares that were cut off the corners to fill in between each block, and also strips of the same material as the star. In my quilt I chose white
8. Continue to join all the blocks in rows using the white strips. Make a joiner row using just the while strips and little blocks, and then join all the rows together
9. Now you can border, layer, and bind your quilt.
10. I chose to topstitch my quilt by outlining the stars and blocks. I was kind of pleased with how the back of the quilt looked. It had a pattern of it’s own

Can you believe how easy it is to make that wonderful star pattern block with just 9 initial squares of material? Having the centre block, the little squares that are cut to make the points, and the strips the same colour makes the stars stand out. This could be a great quilt for using up lots of scrap material. You could make the quilt using different materials for every block.

Maybe I could make that next time?

Now if I have encouraged you to try making this patterned quilt for yourself, please let me know how you got on. A photo of the finished product would be great. I look forward to your response.

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.

Easy Zips and Binding a Cushion.

I have been sewing for years, having learnt most of my techniques from my sewing teacher at high school. That was approximately 46 years ago! Over time I have been able to sew most things, so my teacher did a pretty good job of teaching me. Having a seamstress as a sister was also pretty helpful, and she was great for giving advise or help when needed.

About 6 months ago, I decided to recover the squabs in our caravan, and looked to ‘You tube’ for instruction. I  wanted to make box shaped squab covers. I had the idea of how to make them, but watching a video of someone else sewing these covers, helped to confirm the technique. It was while I was watching them, that I saw of a new process to me, of putting zips in. And I used that process on the squab covers. It was so much easier and quicker than my old way.

Here is the process.

I am making a cushion cover and this is a fat quarter that I am using for the back of the cushion. It needs an opening for the soft pillow insert. The best way for that opening, is to put in a zip that is just under the size of the width of the cushion. I have folded over the top of the fat quarter and sewn a seam about a half inch in. This seam is sewn in the biggest stitch possible, as it will be taken out at a later date. A big stitch length is easier to unpick!

Cut open the fold

Overlock the seam edges, and press open the seam.

Now place the zip on top of the seam, making sure that the zip opening is right on top of the sewing stitches.

Sew the zip in with the zipper foot on your sewing machine. It is a little tricky around the zip pull. I stop sewing, adjust the zipper pull, and then restart sewing again.

You can see by the photo above, that I have stopped sewing about 2 inches from the edge. This is so I can undo the seam a little to allow the zip pull to move away from the sewing machine zipper foot. Now just finish sewing the zip in.

This is what it looks like on the good side of your cushion cover

Carefully use your seam ripper to undo the first seam that you made

And you now have a zip in the back portion of your cushion cover. How easy was that?

I had already made the front of the cushion cover.

As I like to bind the edge of the cushion, all I have to do is place both pieces together and overlock the edges. This helps to keep it all neat and tidy while you commence the binding.

The two pieces are held together by the overlocked edges. Note both good sides are facing out.

For the binding, I cut strips of material at 2 and a 1/2 inches wide. Place the corners at 90 degrees, good sides facing each other, and stitch diagonally across both pieces

iron the seam open

and cut the edge off to leave about a quarter inch

Press the seam open again, nice and flat 🙂

Make sure that you have enough binding to go right around the edge of your cushion. You need to leave an nice long tail as you start sewing. When you have gone around, stop about 8 inches from the start point. You will need to lay the long tail from the start on top of the binding left over at the finish. The overlap needs to be the same size as the width you cut the binding. Mine is 2 and a 1/2 inches. Cut the two and a 1/2 inch overlap and discard the rest of the binding. You can join the two together , and you will have the exact amount left to finish off binding the whole cushion.

When you get to a corner, you will need to sew up to a quarter inch before the edge. Turn the material, and sew off the corner. Fold the binding back on itself and then down the direction of the next side. You can then put the pressure foot down, and keep sewing. This will make a perfect corner when you turn the binding over to the back.

Fold the binding around to the back and stitch into the ditch on the good side. This will catch the binding on the back and sew it all down nicely. You will need to fold and turn the corners to match with the front.

Undo the zip and insert your soft pillow insert and zip up again. You now have a completed cushion to admire and cuddle up to 🙂

The challenge is for you to make one as well (or more). Follow my instructions and make a few scatter cushions for your home, or as gifts for friends and family. Please send me a photo of your creation in the comment section below 🙂

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!

 

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 🙂

The Disappearing Nine Patch

I can’t believe it! I have made another blanket! I’m really on a roll at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying myself.

This time I used the disappearing nine patch block for the main part of the quilt and then added a border and binding. The material is a Riley Blake fabric and is very pretty and bright. I’m not actually sure if I will give the blanket away or keep it for myself to enjoy. I have never made one for myself as I usually have a person in mind, or a reason for making the blanket before I start.

Here are the instructions…

I chose nine different fabrics with the 'busy' fabrics placed in each corner. These are the squares that remain whole and I wanted the pattern to be complete. I wished I had replaced the left middle fabric with one that was more of a plain fabric, but as it matched perfectly, I thought it would be okay :-)
I chose nine different fabrics with the ‘busy’ fabrics placed in each corner. These are the squares that remain whole and I wanted the pattern to be complete. I wished I had replaced the left middle fabric with one that was more of a plain fabric, but as it matched perfectly, I thought it would be okay 🙂
Firstly sew the rows and press the seams in opposite directions. This helps them fit together nicely and the sewn lines to join up when you sew the rows together.
Firstly sew the rows and press the seams in opposite directions. This helps them fit together nicely and the sewn lines to join up when you sew the rows together.
The nine squares have now been sewn together and pressed. Can you see how the seams fit together nicely. That is the aim, so when you top stitch at the end, the lines are straight :-)
The nine squares have now been sewn together and pressed. Can you see how the seams fit together nicely. That is the aim, so when you top stitch at the end, the lines are straight 🙂
This is the exciting stage. The nine squares are now cut directly in the middle in both directions as shown.
This is the exciting stage. The nine squares are now cut directly in the middle in both directions as shown.
The cut 'new' squares can now be placed together again. You can put them in any direction as you like. Try them all out to see what you like best before you start to sew them together again.
The cut ‘new’ squares can now be placed together again. You can put them in any direction as you like. Try them all out to see what you like best before you start to sew them together again.
I chose to have the two little yellow squares opposite each other in the middle and the other two at the far corners.
I chose to have the two little yellow squares opposite each other in the middle and the other two at the far corners.
I have placed all the fabric pieces together to get an idea of the finished pattern. I liked this layout so next stage is to sew them together. I sew each row, and then join the rows up. Making sure to press the seams after sewing. The rows have the seams ironed laying opposite directions. This is to help the joins to fit together nicely when you sew the rows together
I have placed all the fabric pieces together to get an idea of the finished pattern. I liked this layout so next stage is to sew them together. I sew each row, and then join the rows up. Making sure to press the seams after sewing. The rows have the seams ironed laying opposite directions. This is to help the joins to fit together nicely when you sew the rows together (as I did with the first nine squares)
All sewn together and pressed. I'm loving these bright colours!
All sewn together and pressed. I’m loving these bright colours!
A bigger photo so you can see the overall pattern.
A bigger photo so you can see the overall pattern. Here is where I realised that the red pattern square, that I chose to be cut up, was still a bit too bold. It has blended into the main red square too much and made them both a little too busy. Never mind. I won’t do that again!
I decided to make my border the same width as the squares that I started with in the beginning.
I decided to make my border the same width as the squares that I started with in the beginning.
I have fast tracked the project. If you want to see how to put the wadding and backing material onto the patchwork, you can look at my previous blog post. I did do one thing different this time though... As it was a larger blanket, I used fabric spray on glue to help hold the materials together. It washes out and causes no long term damage to the blanket, but it certainly makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to the top stitching :-)
I have fast tracked the project. If you want to see how to put the wadding and backing material onto the patchwork piece, you can look at my previous blog post. I did do one thing different this time though. As it was a larger blanket, I used fabric spray on glue to help hold the materials together. It washes out and causes no long term damage to the blanket, but it certainly makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to the top stitching 🙂
And here is the finished blanket with a cute little narrow yellow binding. This blanket is a 1 and 3/4 meter square one. Plenty big enough to cuddle under :-)
And here is the finished blanket with a cute little narrow yellow binding. I used the ‘Stitch in the ditch’ method of top stitching. This is when you sew right on top of the seam. The stitch line just disappears down into the stitched seam, but makes the blanket hold together firmly. On the back the stitching looks like a big graph and is neat and tidy! This blanket is a 1 and 3/4 meter square one. Plenty big enough to cuddle under 🙂
And with the little pieces of fabric that I had left over I made a pillow to match! I'm rather proud of how they both turned out. The pillow was just little strips sewn together and the red used as a filler to make them square :-)
And with the little pieces of fabric that I had left over I made a pillow to match! I’m rather proud of how they both turned out. The pillow was just little strips sewn together and the red used as a filler to make them square 🙂
The fabric that was left over from the two blankets I wrote about in my previous blog post, made two lovely pillows. The one on the left I used the same process as the blankets, but the one on the right is another design which I will demonstrate in another blog post. It is really easy and looks great!
The fabric that was left over from the two blankets I wrote about in my previous blog post, made two lovely pillows. The one on the left I used the same process as the blankets, but the one on the right is another design which I will demonstrate in another blog post. It is really easy and looks great!

Now you can try out the disappearing nine patch block on your own blanket. I suggest you make a little babies blanket first so you can practice before commencing a larger one. It really isn’t hard and looks great when finished. It’s one of the first block patterns that I tried, and I have been really happy with the finished blankets. If you look up patchwork in the categories, you can see my previous quilts and blankets. See if you can find the other disappearing nine patch ones 🙂