Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cardboard Houses

This post is long overdue, but my foray into the wonderful world of cardboard has been pretty adventurous and remarkable. It all began with Sophie's first cardboard house, which was, I'll admit, a pretty quick hash job. Then came that mysterious-other-cardboard-things I'd been working on, which I mentioned here, and you all know about Bear's Castle.

Now I'm finally getting my act together and letting you know what exactly that mysterious interlude in the middle was. Cardboard houses! Ground breaking, I know, but did you realise that there were so many cardboard houses that it could be called a Village? I thought not. (Though, Steve informs me that I'd need a lot more houses to equate an actual village, but I think in child standards, there were enough for a village. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

So the story behind these houses is that we were having an event or two that would include several small children, and older children, and I thought that a really cool thing for them all to play in, with rather minimal input from parents, would be a village of cardboard houses. I was not too wrong, though they were less used than I had originally anticipated. Not sure why. In any case, they were still used and are still being used, so I feel like the original mission is a success.

These shots are from when the houses were taking shape under the house. I was ducking off down there during nap time for about a week to get them ready. I did have grand plans to wall paper them and paint them to make them extra cool, but the window saga overtook those plans somewhat. 

There was something about making these though, that really bought out the teacher in me. "This one can have circular windows, and that one can have square!" I spent a considerable amount of time trying to make sure I had included several different shapes and different door styles to promote lots of learning. "Let it go, Paula," I also told myself on several occasions. "Not everything is learning, some things are just fun." 

Moving on. 

This was one side of the roofing for the house on the very far right in the top picture. It took forever to get together, because those cardboard bits (that came in the speaker boxes dad gave me) were really thick. And heavy. I ended up drilling holes in them and sewing them together with a very strange needle I had picked up from who knows where. And then it was too heavy for the actual house and needed supports made. And then, when the kids were playing with it, it got knocked over and fell off anyway. Sigh. Dad assures me that with a bit more tweaking, we could get it sitting right, but oh well. 

Image © Melissa Ordoñez

I don't actually have a photo of the all the houses together in their useful glory from earlier this month, but here are a few shots of kids playing in them. 

Image © Melissa Ordoñez

I look at these photos and wonder, did Sophie actually go into the houses? Or did she just observe others in them? 

Image © Melissa Ordoñez

In any case, the houses were back under the house until last week, when, given that it was raining, I thought it would be a great idea to take some to my local playgroup for the kids there to use. The mum's there were suitably impressed, and raved for the first twenty minutes about how great they were. Then, after an altercation between some boys, I'm sure they were all thinking how annoying they were and wishing I hadn't bought them after all.

Sophie and I were checking some things out after the big bad storm of Thursday and she found the final two there, so I bought one up into the house for her to play with.

I'm not sure what's happened to that roof, but she seems comfortable and we have since spent lots of time decorating her new house. Win.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sleeping Bag Mark 2 and Thoughts on Life

It is now a fairly hot hot summer, and though Sophie sleeps rather successfully in a big bed, she is yet to learn to stay under the covers. Oh well. In the mean time, we've been using sleeping bags to keep her warm at night. Suffice to say, you don't need much in the current heat.

All of Sophie's sleeping  bags however were firstly too small, and secondly too thick. Thus, I decided she could use another. This one I made super long (too long to get a good photo of actually). the full width of the material - just over a metre. I was using some material that mum had bought me from Japan for the front (and a matching color from who knows where for the back), so it was pretty basic, but I jazzed it up with a color block on the front.

And, I sewed it on mum's mmachineHarriet the Husqvana and so found myself able to do some fancy stitches for that extra pretty look.

Shiny right? If I had Harriet the Husqvana I'm not sure I could contain myself. I doubt there would be boring straight stitched hems ever again. Good thing Harriet belongs to mum, or I'd never have the time for anything else. :P

Anyway, with the crazy storm of last night (which blew off sections of the walling of the lower part of our house and smashed a wing mirror of our car), and the remnants of the window operation still to complete, I am finding I have less and less time for leisure activities. Why God? I find myself asking. I love doing these things but have no time!

And more and more I find the answer is that actually, I have everything I need. In abundance. Because God is good, all the time. While I may never sew all of the wonderful things I wish to, or build all of the cardboard houses I dream of, I have life to the full in Jesus. How good is it to remember his promises and the richness of the life we have with God?

Friday, November 21, 2014


So most cot sheets come with a tiny matching pillow cases which are pretty much completely useless because babies are not supposed to use pillows until they are at least one. While other people may toss these scraps of material away, I look at them as an exciting sewing opportunity. Hooray!

Just before Rachel's Dedication I made her a pair of overalls out of one of these pillow cases. First time I've ever made overalls (snaps yo!), which I just made by tracing around a pair of overalls that she currently has, with adjustments of course. Now, when she takes a nap in her cute new overalls, she blends in with the bed sheets.

Sherlock would be proud.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Story of Bear's Castle

Once upon a time, there was a bear. His name was Bear. He was brown and soft and cuddly.

Unfortunately, Bear did not have a place to live. One day, a good fairy noticed that this lovely bear did not have a place to live, and, using her cardboard magic, made a home for Bear.

The home was not just a house, but a castle. It had a drawbridge and battlements and little windows to see outside. Over the drawbridge, the good fairy painted "Bear's Castle" so that everyone would know that this castle belonged to Bear. Bear liked his castle, which was just the right size for him.

Sadly, no sooner had Bear moved into the castle, when a giant came along! The giant saw Bear's Castle and thought it would be a good place for her to live instead of Bear. First, the giant squeezed inside, pushed bear over, and eventually, threw him out the drawbridge.

Poor Bear!

Even worse, once the giant realised that she could not actually fit in Bear's Castle properly or comfortably, she climbed out again and left it ruined on the ground.

Luckily, the good fairy was still around and saw this travesty happen. The good fairy spoke to the giant for a long time about not taking other people's castles. When the giant realised what she had done, she was sorry and gave Bear a big cuddle. Bear forgave the giant.

Then the giant and Bear decided they should live together forever. With the help of the good fairy, Bear's Castle was rebuilt and the giant was even allowed a quick visit.

And they lived happily ever after.

The end.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Kiwi Fruit Cake, Among Other Things

I didn't think the day would come, but at last, all of our windows are back in their original places! Hooray! While some of these windows still don't close properly, or still need fixtures attached to them, at least they are all in the frames. They keep the wind out and let the light in. They are fabulous. Ahh, windows. (Read about the window saga here if you missed it or want a re-fresher).

While waiting for the windows to be back in (it's a two person job, so Steve and I were both required to do it) I've been busy doing other things. Like playing with goo. 

And making kiwi fruit cake for my kiwi friends who came to visit last week. 

And working on some stellar cardboard creations soon to be finished!

Mostly I've been busy. Sorry I haven't blogged, but this is life. Maybe after Rachel's Dedication and Steve's birthday this weekend are over I'll be a bit more regular. Or after the next weekend when we are going away camping (yes I said camping with small children). Or maybe after we've got the fly screens in. Or new curtains. Or Christmas. 

Or maybe never. That's more likely.