Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cambodian adventure :: part one

I am back into the swing of normal life and I am posting the notes I kept from my travels in Cambodia. I really hope you enjoy them!

date: 5 December 2010
On my way to my Cambodian adventure, I stopped off at Perth to visit my family on the west side. 
{oh my how the children grow! Me, Alexis, Nathaniel and Liam}

It was a great opportunity to see my brothers and their growing families, along with my favourite Aunty, Bev and the Ross clan. 

We had our first team meeting as well, and got to meet the other members that I didn't know yet, and catch up with those I did! Athol (our fearless team leader and my dad), Lyn (Mum), Roger and his daughter Mariah, Dale and his daughter Katrina, Rob, John, Les and myself making up the rag tag team that are Project Cambodia. It's going to be great!

date: 7 December 2010
It was a rocky start, with poor Les missing his flight from Perth to KL! Not a great idea to leave your passport at home, especially when you live an hour from the airport... He luckily managed to grab an overnight flight to KL via Indonesia and meet us for the second leg to Siam Reap, looking very sheepish and tired. Phew! Major crisis averted!

{Flower spotted at the grounds of the Concord Inn - about the only picture worth sharing!}

Meanwhile the rest of the team had an overnight stay in Kuala Lumpur, after we found our way through the KLIA terminals. All we saw of Malaysia was at the Concord Inn KLIA (free voucher through travel agent).  I woke up early - well before my alarm went off. Not sure if it was the time zone or the excitement of it all. After my shower, I took myself for a walk around the complex. Not much to comment except Malaysia seemed awfully muggy but really didn't see much at all! Breakfast was interesting, but ok and fueled us for the morning. It was a buffet feast of eastern and western food. Vegetarian mutton anyone? Dad ate his share of his favourite papaya.  It was really nice to see all the beautiful colours of the Muslim dresses and headscarves. Made a nice change from the black public servant uniform that everyone wears at home in Canberra.

Siam Reap has come into view, so I will put down my pen and take in the overhead sights - you can really tell that your not in Kansas anymore Toto!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cambodian adventure: Here I come!

So I have been a bit flat out lately, have working like mad and been getting ready for my trip to Cambodia! For those of you who don't know, I am heading off to Cambodia tomorrow. A group of people, including my dad (the fearless leader), mum and others (10 all up) are on a mission from God.

We are buidling a house (and a half) with Habitat for Humanity, where they do a lot of amazing work for families and the communities in Cambodia and around the world. See, the Government decided to close down the Phnom Penh tip where many families made a living of scavenging through the rubbish. And, they lived there too. You heard right, they lived at. the. tip. So, what's worse than living and working at the tip? Having no home or a way to make a living. That's where Habitat for Humanity comes in. Working with the communities they give a hand up, not a hand out.
So, how does it work?
*Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside our homeowner (partner) families.
*Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (sweat equity) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
*Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans.
*The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
So, off I go, into a brave new world, culture and way of life. I can't wait to see what will meet me there. I will be sure to post on my Cambodian adventure and show you all the photos I take.
Thanks to Creative Abundance, Universal Magazines, Sportsmans Warehouse and my generous friends, family and workmates for donating their hard earned coin to get me on the plane.
Crystal x
Inspired by the story? Donate to Habitat for Humanity here. Thanks for listening!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

To busy to blog!

Hi...! I have been missing in action lately... Been busy getting ready to go to Cambodia! I am heading over in December, to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity. It's a volunteer program for displaced families in Phnom Penh. These families used to live and work at the Phnomh Penh tip, until the Government closed it down to build a road through it. So, I am very excited, a bit nervous and I am going to miss my own family at home so much...

Until the next blog, I will share the latest photo of chloe. It's from Melbourne cup day, so she is in a 'fascinator'.

You can also see her new favourite Teddy. Grandma Linda gave it to her, so it's really nice that she has an attachment to it. Oh, and she gave it a name: Fred Freckle. Too cute!

Crystal x

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recipe: Nanna's pumpkin soup

My mum came and stayed with us for a week recently, and it was wonderful to have her. It was almost like having a live in maid, as the dishes were always done and she even cooked and babysat! It's always really nice to have her over and sad to see her go at the end of her visit.

I'm sure she won't mind me sharing her special soup recipe. This one was a hit with Chloe who loves her Nanna's pumpkin soup!

1 butternut pumpkin
1 onion
1 granny smith apple
1 litre of stock (your choice)*
Cream to serve

1. Chop up the onion, pumpkin and apple in same size pieces. No special technique needed, just chop. I even left the skin on the apple.
2. Add the stock and cook in a moderatly heated pot until the pumpkin is tender.
3. Using a mixer, blend until smooth.
4. Add cream to serve and salt and pepper to taste, if you wish.

If you want, add coconut cream instead of regular cream and some chopped up coriander. This gives a really beautiful asian flavour. Yum!

{another satisfied customer!}

Please remember to be careful when choosing stock. Many have added MSG and you will know all about it if you are intolerant to it, like me...

Hope you enjoy my family recipe. Leave me a comment if you make it and your family enjoy it as much as mine does.

Crystal x

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hippity Hop

Chloe got to go to her bestest friends birthday party today - Cassie. They had a boy from the gecko gang there to face paint and play games with the kids. It was a great morning! Chloe loved getting her face painted as a bunny rabbit:

Crystal x

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspirations: Kids Play Tents

Hello, I have been a bit MIA, but thought I would share some of the cute kids tents I have found in blog land...
Tee Pee style

An impressive tent with all the trimmings!

Hooligans tent.

A sweet vintage style tent

Crystal x

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some days are just good

Some days are just good when you get to see this face in the morning...

Crystal x

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sue Spargo tree quilt

I have been busy today updating the shop and sending out the shop newsletter. If you haven't signed up, you can just see the link on the right. Promise I will only send you Two Little Aussie Birds info!

Anyway, I know a lot of you would like to see the work I did on my recent Sue Spargo workshop. I had SO much fun, and I am totally a wool addict now! How come I didn't know about this magical material before? And what a way to use all those embroidery stitches that can be so unfashionable right now, but seem to look right at home on Sue's designs.
First of all, I thought I would share some photos of Sue's beautiful samples that she bought with her: 
{the table with all her little samples}

{the inside of a beautiful greta needle roll}
{One of the signature birds}

{Close up of one of the many leaf samplers}
{Sue's tree quilt. 50 birds for every of her years, and 4 butterfly's for her children}

{Close ups of the tree quilt}

So, I guess you would like to see my version? I'm a long way from finishing, but have made a good start.

{lots of beads, embroidery and stitching will make up the quilt}

You can also read Sue's blog for some of the projects the other girls in the class did, and a mention of my friend and I who went! :)

Till next time, 
Crystal x

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

They grow up so fast!

Sunday, Chloe had her third birthday. Three. I can't quite believe it.  It feels like yesterday she was just a little baby...
{One of my favourite photos of Chloe only a few days old}

We did end up making a headboard for Chloe's new girl bed. Matt put it together with some leftover MDF board and old planks, wrapped in batting. Then I made a slip to go over the top so we can change it later if need be. 

{I think she likes the bed!}

For Chloe's birthday dinner, she asked me to make a girl robot cake. After much trying to persuade her to choose another cake, I caved in and made the robot cake! I used the design out if a really old party cakes cookbook, and it was surprisingly easy...

{At least I did get some help from the birthday girl, this is the cake before icing}

{The finished product - not bad hey!}

{One happy girl!}

Happy birthday to our little, sorry, big girl...!

Crystal x

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inspirations: DIY Headboards

With Chloe's birthday coming up, we have decided it's time to up-size into a single when she becomes a big three year old...

We found a really nice second hand ensemble (base and mattress), but, well, it's just a bit boring.  So, off to the web to search for some inspiration and being the nice person that I am I thought I would share! This will be the first of my 'inspirations' posts (but as if they will be regular...) 

Simple but effective fabric headboard

Polaroid Heart Headboard

Letters Headboard

Stenciled Headboard

Granny Squares Headboard

Embroidered Headband

Combining old and new style in a headboard

Crystal x

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sue Spargo homework

Next week I am going on to the Sur Spargo workshop in Canberra. I am super excited about it, and picked up my kit on the weekend.

{the wool kit and travel journal}

Looks like we are making a tree. They seem to be featuring heavily at the moment!

So, before I attend the workshop on the weekend, I have some home work to complete. The background and tree must be done before we go. And, it's needle turn. And I don't have any freezer paper. And I would prefer to blanket stitch.

In the interest of keeping on practising my needle turn techniques I decided to go for it. As the saying goes, necessity is the monther of invention. I cut out the tree pattern and pinned the paper to the wool. Then I cut my seam allowance, clipped any curves and corners. Without ironing I just started to needle turn. And somehow it worked!

{I am needle turning!}

A couple of hours later I had finished my tree.

{another needle turned tree!}

It's a bit lumpy and a bit bumpy, but I'm hoping that all the beautiful embroidery Sue shows us will cover them up. I will let you know how it all goes!

Crystal x

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sleeping, sewing and the seasons

We all went to a three year old's fairy party which tuckered us all out, adults included! I just have to share this photo with you...

{fast asleep on dad and still holding her balloon!}

I have started my new Seasons BOM, it's so beautiful, but I am still trying to master the art of needleturn. I have been searching the net looking for an easier way, and I will be trying a few of them out. There has to be a better way! One person I saw was doing it at the beach! The BEACH! Not an iron in sight! In the meantime, I am busy cutting freezer paper, pressing, clipping, pressing, stitching and well, pressing!

Here is how it is looking so far, not too bad really!:

{Seasons, summer block #1}

I am so very happy with the fabric selections. The sky is perfect as are the 2 tree colours. The kits use a combination of lecien basics, moda basic ranges and a couple of well suited moda ranges. One of the great things about the appliqué on Seasons, is that because the background is mostly white, you can get away with using a white thread for all the stitches. You know I love it when it's easier!

If you are interested in subscribing to the Seasons BOM, please visit the Two Little Aussie Birds store, link on the right.

I will be posting a tutorial for each of the blocks, as I am going along, so I will be right there with you! I will be be back to show you more soon...

Crystal x

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm a blanket stitch kinda girl...

I have been trying new things lately. Crochet is much harder than it looks if you ask me. My attempt at making a flower turned out more like a jelly bean. What? Hmmm... Back to the instruction manual!

I have also started practicing needle turn appliqué. Cutting the 1/4 inch is not as easy as I thought. Blanket stitch is way easier if you ask me...

I have got something right, I made an adorable skirt, flipsy by make it perfect. So easy, and no overlocking!! Yay for that and more to come on the road test for that pattern.

{Chloe showing off her new skirt}

So, what have you been trying lately and failing at, or better yet, succeeding at?

Crystal x

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sydney Weekender

Well hello!

It has been a busy week at my house! We spent the weekend in Sydney for my sister-in-laws 30th birthday. Chloe has a great time spending time and causing mayhem with her cousins. We had lunch in the 'Rocks' which is in the heart of Sydney, then went for a walk under the bridge, past the opera house and back up through the rocks markets. I have a few photos to share of our weekend away:

{What a cake - and it tasted good too!}

{Three cheeky monkeys}

{In the hood!}

{It wouldn't be a trip to Sydney without a picture of the Opera House...}

{or the harbour bridge!}

Oh, and I promised I would blog about the AWESOME measuring cups I got for my birthday...
These lovely ladies can measure all your dry goods, and look fab while doing it!

Until next time, 

Crystal x