Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Gift Wrapping

I have found creative gift wrapping to be therapeutic this year - taking my mind off my son's illness for a short spell. I found a wonderful blog with paper flower tutorials for these simple but effective paper roses.

The key to making your gifts look impressive is to layer the ribbons and embelishments. The more, the better. All the gift tags were downloaded from the net. Just google "free printable Christmas gift tags"

 I bought my sister some gorgeous fragrance from Durance, a French company. If it's French, it's got to be lovely, right?  I recycled the ribbon as it was too pretty to throw away. I made the flower from calico and cotton fabric.
I love the black and white theme. It always looks luxurious.  I topped it with black velvet ribbon and a scrapbooking flower.

Another idea Icame across was to use pearl and diamante buttons and brooches as a gift topper. You can find them on etsy.com

 I found some beautiful botanical paper, and topped the box with sisal ribbon, satin ribbon and faux leaves and berries.
 I actually found Marrimeko gift wrap on the Gold Coast. I covered an old shoe box and finished it with a handmade paper rose and black velvet ribbon.  I purchased whole large rolls of velvet ribbon from ebay at very reasonable prices.  Hand made Japanese paper works well for paper flowers.
I created this design from: grossgrain ribbon, mesh ribbon, gold cord, velvet ribbon (twisted and glued) faux glitter branches and handmade acorns.  To make an acorn you can use the cap from a real acorn, or if you live in the tropics like me, make one from paper clay. I used some plastic mesh to create texture on the clay. The stalk is a real twig. Paint the cap and stalk white and sprinkle with glitter. The acorn is made from white velvet fabric - simply cut a circle and thread a gathering stitch around the perimeter - place a small amount of fibre fill in the centre and pull the thread to gather - then glue to the cap.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yet another tote bag

Fabric from Yuzawaya, Shinjuku.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The gift God gave me

I tend to not blog about personal stuff, as this is meant to be a craft and travel blog, but it is also a blog about faith and hope, so today's topic with be just that.

Thirteen years ago, God gave me the gift of a baby boy. The first night after he was born I lay in my hospital bed with my boy in my arms in amazement that God would give me the perfect family; one daughter and one son.

Fast forward thirteen years, and I am lying in a hospital bed with my boy in my arms sobbing and distraught, because my son has just been diagnosed with type 1 insulin dependant diabetes. The shock and reality of it makes me want to vomit, so I pray to God to take away this pain from me. But God uses pain and suffering to make you realise what blessings you have in life.  In the bible, St Paul prayed that God would take away his affliction (we don't really know what that was) But God said no, because his grace is sufficient for us to deal with it. And without pain, we cannot grow spiritually.

How did we end up here? My son had been losing weight over a year and the past several months he was drinking alot. I took him to the doctor for a blood test last Wednesday. On Thursday morning, his nurse rang us to come in immediately because the blood test revealed there was sugar in his blood. Wham. I felt like a truck just hit me.  I studied health science at uni, so I knew exactly what was going to happen (or so I thought) We were sent to emergency at a private hopsital (thank God for private health insurance) and he was poked and prodded with needles and a drip was inserted.  He was admitted to the children's ward and a wonderful paediatrician came to visit us. He said that diabetes is a "bit of a nusciance but you will be able to do everything you ever want to.. school, exercise, swimming and travel" As my knowledge is not up to date, I thought my son would have to inject himself with insulin 10 times a day and would eventually suffer from a whole host of diabetes related ilnesses. My husband works in healthcare and many of his patients have diabetic ilnesses, so that was our immediate thought- that our son would end up with horrible diseases and physical disabilities.

But, I was wrong.  The doctor offered us 2 options- injections 10 times a day or an insulin pump. I immediately chose the pump, even though I didn't fully understand what that was. But, here is how it works... The pump contains a cartridge of insulin which is fed via a line and needle into the body.  everytime the patient eats a food containing carbohydrate they must work out how many grams of carbs is in that particular food and then enter the amount into the pump. The pump then calculates how much insulin is required to metabolise the food and sends that amount into the body via the line. The pump also feeds a small amount of insulin into the body constantly, just as a pancreas does in a healthy human. The pump is a miracle innovation which almost acts like a bionic pancreas so the blood sugar levels in the body are so much easier to control than with old fashioned injections. If he goes in water, the pump is disconnected and then connected again after. He was fitted with the pump the very next morning by an amazing diabetes nurse.  He has to prick his finger every 3 hours to test his glucose levels and the pump line and needle is changed every 3 days. But that is pretty much it.

My son has been astounding me with his courage and positive attitude.  He never once complained with all the needles and blood tests.  He did his own finger prick test since the second day and because the pump is computerised, he learned how to use it in 2 lessons and does all his carb entries himself. We both cried alot the first 3 days, but I kept praying that we both would become strong, and that's exactly what happened.

God has blessed me in many ways throughout this ordeal. Firstly, our paediatrician and diabetes nurse are angels. We can ring them 24 hours a day with any concerns. The other blessing is that we live on the Gold Coast in Australia. The Gold Coast and one other hospital in Sydney are the only places in Australia that offer insulin pumps to children as a first treatment option. Apparently, everywhere else in Australia thinks little kids should give themselves injections 10 times a day. How is that a better treatment option? the pump is so easy; no measuring insulin and being constantly jabbed with a needle. And it so much easier to stabilise blood glucose levels on the pump as the settings can be altered depending on your exercise and food for that particular hour. As far as I know, even in USA children are not immediately put on pumps. Kids in this generation are raised on techno stuff, so operating the pump is so easy for them. Our nurse also arranged for a mum and her diabetic son to come and visit us in hospital and she has been a great source of information and support for me.  And since the pump keeps the blood glucose levels more stable, health complications are significantly less likely.

So, God gave me gift of a baby boy, but he also gave me the gift of an awesome boy who has strength and faith to face this disease with hope. He gave me the gift of people to support and pray for us.

These bible verses really apply to me at the moment:

2 Corinthians 4:16... For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is being renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention , not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.

For we know that when this tent we live in - our body here on earth- is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever.

James 1:2... My brothers, consider yourself fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.

James 1:12... Happy is the person who remains faithful under trials, because when he succeeds in passing such a test, he will receive as his reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.

1 Peter 1:6... Be glad about this, eventhough it may be now necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many trials you suffer.  Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine.  Even gold which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honour on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 4:19.. So then, those who suffer because it is  God's will for them, should by their good actions trust themselves completely to their Creator, who always keeps his promise.

I will be starting a new blog dedicated to my son's diabetes journey and all the things we learn along the way.  I have been doing extensive research about how diet impacts type 1 diabetes which is the opposite of what the medical profession tell me (eg: "keep eating McDonalds and heaps of carbs") I have been inspired by many people who have minimised their diabetes  through diet and exercise. In the past 2 days our whole family has drastically our diet. All carbs and processed food have been disposed of in our kitchen, and we are following a Paleo diet which has reduced his blood glucose levels in just 24 hours!

So, in conclusion, as a family we have chosen positivity and a life of faith for what ever health problems are in our future. We will not allow this little hiccup destroy our life and we refuse to feel  sorry for ourselves or be miserable.  Being negative will not make this situation go away, but being positive is the only way to approach any set back in life. God allows pain so that we can grow spiritually.  This makes sense; if life on earth was perfect we would never grow spiritually, and it is our spirits which live forever, not our mortal bodies.  We LOVE LIFE!!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Cath Kidston Tote Bag

My latest bag made from very British Cath Kidston fabric.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mini Macaron Tote Bag

I made this cute little bag for a cute little girl.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


It's our 21st wedding anniversary today. That's right, 21 years of wedded bliss, well, a slight exaggeration, but happy most of the time.

The secret to our success is to try and live our lives serving God. That means just putting in a little more effort and dedication in everything we do, whether it is on our family life or work. Each morning I say thank you to God for giving me another day on planet earth amd pledge to not waste the gift of another new day.

The other secret to a happy marriage is don't take yourself too seriously.  Have a laugh and joke around. We have stressful careers in healthcare, but laughter and lightheartedness always makes it bearable.

hint hint
So hopefully, I will be presented with a massive diamond ring today as a reward for being a dutiful wife for the past 21 years.  I don't like my chances, but it doesn't hurt to dream.  I am a lucky woman.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Royal Shoes and Sunglasses

 My daughter made these shoes and sunglasses for her final art assignment.
They are inspired by four different queens in history.
Can you guess which ones?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Macaron Tote Bag

 I made this tote bag for my daughter's art teacher.
I love the fabric - inspired by Laduree's patisserie menu.

I am attempting to make a bag for each of my children's school teachers. I still have three more to make, but I am enjoying experimenting with different patterns.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sakura Bag

I made this bag for my daughter's Japanese teacher as a "thank you for being my school teacher" gift. Four more weeks, then my daughter will have finished school. How is it possible that 12 years of schooling has passed? It's hard to imagine when your child is a newborn, that time will pass so quickly. But the education is not entirely over - there is still university next year. That's when all the fun begins! (not for me - I have to pay the uni fees)
On a completely different topic, I went for a walk this evening on the road and saw a snake in the gutter. I loathe snakes. I don't like any animal that is not cute and fluffy. Yes, Australia has alot of venomous creepy crawlies. I guess that's to be expected considering I live near a conservation park and golf course. On the plus side, there are many kangaroos in my area too and in my children's primary school, there were quite a few koalas that lived in the school gum trees. Hate reptiles - love koalas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sunday Lunch at the Beach

 On the Gold Coast, we can have a reasonably priced meal at surf clubs with beach front views like this.
 Coconut prawns with mango salsa.
 Chicken salad.
 Please send some rain to the Gold Coast - all our grass is dry and crunchy.
An example of beach accommodation.
I am so lucky to live here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I created an artist

My daughter is very artistic an she is in love with all things feminine. Here are a couple of examples of her artwork.

I like to think she received her artisitic abilites from me, but I think she has exceeded me in the talent stakes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Doll

 Here is a sweet little doll I made for my daughter's birthday. It was very fiddly to make, especially the skinny arms and legs.

 I think she is really cute, and I love how her face turned out.
I also should mention that my football team LOST the grand final yesterday. It was very disappointing, but I am surprised I didn't feel more devastated. I still love my team though. xxx

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hawks Tallons

Kick off is 2.30pm today. Ther will be alot of screaming going on at my house.
FOOT NOTE; It's half way through the game, and my team is losing BADLY !!!!! Time to drink some alcohol.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Getting ready for Grand Final Day

 Tomorrow is the AFL grand final.  Thought I'd support my team by decorating my house.

Craft skills come in handy no matter what the occasion.