Au revoir 52 crafts, hello pinwheels and stories

I thought long and hard about whether to start a new blog or to re-work this one into something that works better for me. I was struggling with the constraints of the blog name and the project it represented. So I have decided to move on and start another new blog. This time I have my own domain name (pinwheels and stories) and I’m really excited about it already. I’ve shared my birth story and a cute DIY bag project so far. Coming up is homemade granola and more tales of my life as a mama in California.
I hope you enjoy it and don’t worry, this site will still be here to explore and I may even pop in every so often to say hi. I hope you’ll join me in my new home!



Creating with Emily: Painting with water

Emily may only be one but she loves to scribble with crayons (and try to eat them) and I think if I were to let her loose with paint she’d have a whale of a time. I haven’t quite been brave enough for that yet but it is on the list of things to do outside this summer – I think it could be lots of fun if we did it with some of her playmates too.

In the meantime we have been playing with water on our concrete patio.

You can paint with a paintbrush. Or make hand prints.



At least 10 mins of fun before the toddler is bored and decides to paint the bushes.




I will keep you all posted on how the “proper” painting goes when we attempt it. Any other simple craft ideas for a one year old?

Sneak peek: Emily’s new dress

I intended to make this dress for her birthday but, as is often the way, I had to reassess my to-do list and put it to one side in favour of making sure the party guests had food to eat. But at last a couple of nights ago I put in a last burst of effort and got it finished.




Getting the little miss to sit still long enough to take photos is quite the challenge but I hope to get some better shots soon and then I’ll share more details on the pattern and the fabric. I hope this sneak peek is enough to keep you going until then!

Emily’s first birthday party

Our little girl is no longer a baby! To celebrate her turning the big ONE we had a party at home with her friends, our friends and neighbours.

52 crafts in 52 weeks: First birthday party

The giant one and the streamers were made from crepe paper. Directions are on the marvelous One Happy Day blog.


The felt pinwheels acted as labels for the food. You make them the same way as paper pinwheels, see some directions here. I added a cute button in the middle with a bit of hot glue. We also had “proper” pinwheels in the garden for the kids to play with and take home.


We had a fabulous day celebrating Emily’s birthday. We can’t wait to see what the next stage of her life has in store for us!

Emily’s Reading Nook

Emily's Reading Nook

When we moved in to our rented house in California we were at a loss at what to do with the brick structure in the corner of our living room. Presumably it was meant to be a fire place. But there was no stove. So I initially filled it with photos.



But with a mobile baby (almost-toddler eeek!) I needed to come up with a new plan. Emily loves snuggling up with me and reading or just sitting and turning pages on her own so the plan for a reading nook was born. The only purchase I made were more pillows. I covered the bottom with old quilts, a duvet and a blanket. The mantle is decorated with Spring-themed books (and the birdhouses I made before she was born) – I plan to change the theme every so often as I get bored looking at the same things all the time. And when she’s older she’ll be able to help me choose what we put there.

We love it!

emily's reading nook

Project Life: week 9/52

Here’s my week 9 spread for Project Life. I shared it on Instagram already and it seemed to be a popular one! If you want to get sneak peeks of my weeks, follow me there as I often share before I manage to blog the detail.

So as you can see I went all black and white this week. No kit. Very little journalling and lots of white space.IMG_6422

I’ve been embracing the iPhone apps this week: Over for the type, PicTapGo for the editing, and Afterglow for the frames. I love doing all the editing on my phone and then I can also print from my phone too. Makes for a much quicker process.IMG_6423

I love this week but I’m missing colour. So we’ll be returning to some brighter photos for week 10 I think. What do you think?

Do you menu plan?

I do. And I have done for quite a few years, originally to avoid that post-work what’s for dinner panic, and now to avoid the post-grizzly all-day teething-baby panic (have I used too many hyphens there?). I’ve fallen in and out of the habit over the years but I’m much happier and feel vaguely organised and on top of things when I manage it.

I use a mix of old favourite recipes, new from books, new from pinterest and at least one day of leftovers from the freezer or fridge. I try to have at least one meat-free and one fish day. And I try to use ingredients up instead of buying different vegetables for each dish. I usually have a slow cooker recipe too as I love being able to chuck everything in the pot during nap time and then leave it well alone.

I used to write the lists down but I use the Notes app on my phone now along with a note of which book the recipe is in and write the shopping list directly under it, ready to take to the shops (and I delete each item as I move around the store).

I only do dinners but I should probably add breakfast, snacks and lunch to be even more organised. Let’s not go over the top hey?

So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s this week’s plan. It’s actually all new-to-me recipes this week, no favourites, which is ambitious of me!

Monday: Korean Tilapia with baby Bok Choy (via pinterest). This was amazing! Will definitely be making it again.
Tuesday: Black bean cakes (p 224 weelicious cook book and online here) with broccoli and greek yoghurt. Emily loved the bean cakes. Mummy was pretty enamored with them too.
Wednesday: Green macaroni and cheese (another weelicious online recipe) a delicious way of adding more greens to our diet.
Thursday: leftover pasta
Friday: Leek & chive flan, smoked salmon, asparagus, sweet potato (recipe via French Foodie Baby) well Ben and Emily weren’t too impressed with the flan but I loved it. Maybe I’ll try it again with different flavours.
Saturday: dinner out
Sunday: roasted chicken thighs with clementines from Jerusalem cook book (also online here).

And finally, to illustrate this post, here is a photo of Emily tucking into her greek yoghurt. She likes to paint with it whenever possible and use it as a facial and hair treatment. Apparently it’s good for the eyelashes too. Who knew?


Project Life: week 8/52

For week 8 I used the Olive kit again but the pink and orange this time. We spent the weekend in Lake Tahoe with our friends who arrived from England. Emily had loads of fun getting to know her “auntie”; I think she misses her a lot now she’s gone! I’m not in love with this layout to be honest – I like the left, not so sure about the left. I may remove the lacy borders (they’re not stuck down for that very reason). What do you think? Anyway, I don’t have much time to think about it, week 9 is knocking on the door.



Circle scarf in beautiful Anna Maria Horner fabrics

I made this scarf a few weeks ago when I was feeling creative, itching to make something and avoiding the chores. My inspiration was from Sincerely Kinsey and the fabric is Anna Maria Horner voile that I’ve had sitting in my stash for quite some time.



I love it and can’t wait to make another one! However it will have to wait in line behind all the other craft plans that are piling up.

Project Life: week 7/52

So I know I said last week was my favourite page but I think my heart may have been stolen by this week.

52 crafts in 52 weeks: project life

I’ve switched kits this week to the beautiful Olive for this week. I used my Silhouette machine to get all fancy with circles and frames.

52 crafts in 52 weeks: project life

As you can see, we had a slight mishap at the end of the week! My husband has a fracture. Yeah. So the next few weeks will be interesting!

52 crafts in 52 weeks: project life

See you back here soon for week 8. I also have a cute infinity scarf project to share.


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