So much character and charm!

This is the final part of my creative inspiration travel photos. And this is probably my favourite collection of photos. If you would like to read the other installments, links here Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. I have always loved antiques or ‘old’ things. But my antique attraction started during a sunny day in Lisbon whilst we were walking, exploring the city and decided to explore Avenida de Liberdade and stumbled upon a wonderful market. It was stall after stall of pre-loved treasures.



As mentioned in my 4th installment on our second day in Florence we came across markets where I found the following gems…..

On our way to the Basilica della Santa Croce, through a tiny laneway this adorned a store front step!

So many stores had wonderful pieces as their window dressing….

Couldn’t help another trip to the flea market in Florence!

I have been having fun googling the brands on the machines and instruments to ascertain rough vintage.

Another wonderful flea market, Port Antic Market,  in beautiful Barcelona!

And these markets, Mercat del Encants, a wonderful find.

Newton Wilson


Actions speak louder than Italian!

This is part 4 of my 5 part creative inspiration travel photos. Part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you would like to read the first 3 installments.

On the second day in Florence, 1st of October, we set off for breakfast. After coffee and delicious pastries we continued our on-foot exploration of the gorgeous city. Before stumbling onto the heavenly food, flower and antique markets I discovered Zest, a cute little craft store on Via della Mattonaia. At the entrance a notice board with their upcoming demonstrations. It read, Sabatto, 1 Ottobre. What luck, a quilling demonstration for 2 1/2 hours! After a wonderful morning at the markets and homemade lunch in ‘our’ apartment I returned to Zest for the demonstration while my ‘boys’ decided to feed the birds at the busy bustling people watching piazzas.

Lucky I have delved in quilling before, and my second language, Spanish helped somewhat but the entire demonstration was in Italian! Mario explained and demonstrated many techniques and showed lovely examples of his work. Lucky for me actions speak louder than words. What an awesome serendipitous afternoon! I also stumbled upon the best crepe paper [Cartotenica Rossi] in this store. Probably one the best souvenirs!



















What can you see?

This is part 3 of my 5 part creative and inspirational photography series. I wrote about doors here and mosaics/tiles here.

Today’s post is a mixed collection of photos. I found inspiration in:

a. shop fronts

these giant balls of wool look good enough to play with

this crocheted window dressing was adorable – love the percolator

the balls on the those giant pins!

that’s a lot of wine 😉

b. craft shops

cute little shop in Cordoba, Spain

I fell in love with the tiny floral ribbons in row #2 from the top

paper bliss

love the shop name – to create and decorate!

c. almost anywhere

these string art adorn building facades in ‘La Rambla’ Barcelona

Floral circular panels

shells, rosettes, egg shape

I see the figure 8, quilling, hexies 😉

the iconic rooster in Portugal – paper maiche tin style

painted ceramic in Toledo, Spain

florals and embroidery in this stylish cushion in a Florence shop window

Keep looking. Keep recording. There is inspiration everywhere.

Alluring Azulejos

Last week I wrote about all the non traditional photos I took during our European trip. I shared my photos of doors and doorknockers and window. This week [part 2 of 5] – tiles and mosaics. Or azulejos as they are called in Spain and Portugal.

Some facts for those interested, tiles in Potrugal:

  • date as far back as the 13th century, when the Moors invaded land that now is Spain and Portugal
  • became part of Portuguese culture between the 16th and 17th centuries
  • the word azulejo stems from Arabic roots, meaning ‘small polished stone’. Originally they were fairly simple structures cut into geometric shapes in neutral tones.
  • Portugal’s King Manuel I visited Seville and brought the idea back, following this Portugal truly adopted this artwork into its culture.
  • antique azulejos were decorated in a simple colour palate, dominated by blues and whites
  • other colours that appeared were yellow (sometimes looking gold) and green.

Here are some of the bright and attractive tiles that caught my attention.


Door knock appeal

No this post is not about charity collectors but rather the appeal of the details in doors, doorknockers, windows, mosaics. Have you ever put together a photo-book? You know the drill, upload photos onto an online photo book platform, select automatic or manual placement and add journaling/embellishments. I think I created over a dozen books now, our trips, son’s birthday, building our house. The most recent photo book was epic. In terms of the volume of photos and details, our European holiday. In fact, I received notification today that it is ready for pick-up. Can’t wait to see it after the endless hours I spent culling/sorting/deleting photos. During the process, I realised I would have to create a separate photo book with all the creative inspiration photos I took as they wouldn’t fit in the 100 page book! In addition to the typical holiday snaps I took photos of doors, windows, antiques, patterns, mosaics. Here is the first installment of my creative inspiration photos – doors, doorknockers and windows. Taken in Spain, Portugal and Italy.



Windows and Door

Fabric, fishing and flowers – in miniature of course!

I am currently going through another miniature wave as I explore furniture making and the world of balsa wood and popsicle sticks! More on that in future posts.

On Saturday I attended the 28th Sydney Miniatures and Dolls’ House Fair at Sydney Olympic Park. Here are some of the items that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy the detail as much as I did. Can you spot the…..

…toilet brush and gold rimmed brush holder.

…. the kitty on HIS bed.

…. the distillation apparatus.

…. the test tubes and rack.

….the broken post.

… the moss on the steps.

… the moss on the brick wall.

…. the fish, catch of the day.

… the fishing rods.

….fishing net weights.

…. the hanging planter basket.

…the lucky bamboo plant.

… the hinges on the window shutters.

….the origami crane!

….. the sewing pattern.

…. the green tote.

….. the coral needlework on the wall.

….. the crochet throw.

… the coathangers and teal beanie.

…. the hexie EPP quilt on the wall.

…. the rolls of ribbon.

…. the Champagne flute.

Love the details of these….

The most simple recipe you’ll ever try!

Ok, so I have lost count how many times I have made this almond cake. Either in the round form, rectangular or individual. Either with berries, stone fruit or nuts. It’s that versatile. And looks extra special, kind of cafe quality/store bought. I get asked all the time for the recipe. So I have shared the recipe and the lovely Cintia from My Poppet was kind enough to share the recipe on her blog. Here are some of the variations I have made.

Click here for the recipe.


flying like a feather [+free pattern]

I am going through a little embroidery addiction at the moment. Signing up for mini hoop swaps, participating in the February stitch-a-day challenge, buying kits at op shops and creating gifts. I wanted to create hoop wall art for my niece’s birthday. I also wanted to show case an inspirational quote and some pretty stitches.

Erin Hanson has penned a lovely poem and a quote that I have seen quite a bit lately is: What if I fall, oh but my darling, what if you fly? To me it speaks volumes of trying, never giving up, surprising yourself with inner strength and aiming for the stars. I thought it would be appropriate for my 14-year-old niece to reflect on and decorate her girly room with. I used fonts in Microsoft Word and freehand feather drawing to come up with my design. I used DMC thread colours [2160, 2161, 2162, 6163 and ecru pearl cotton] and a variety of back stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch, French knots, button hole stitch, darning stitch, weaving stitch and Roman stitch  on white linen.




I finished the back by gluing a piece of white felt. And tying a ribbon for hanging.

I am happy to share my design with my blog family as a free printable. Be sure to share if you stitch this hoop art.

Here is your free copy what-if-you-fly.

Officially a Hit!

I was slow to get going but once I did, it came together. My objective, organise 2 parties for our little guy, who was turning 5. I jumped into the preparations with no direction or theme. Googling birthday party invitation templates for boys I was trying to stay away from trends or superheroes – as I didn’t want to mislead the invitees. I settled on a iPhone ‘screenshot’ of text messages. Link to template here. It was current and generic.

Invitations drafted, printed and sent.

I then decided to go with a theme, our little guy’s current favourite TV shows, either Operation Ouch or Officially Amazing! I googled some images for Officially Amazing and sent it to my sister-in-law and parents.  The image was used as a guide for the cake and the piñata. I stumbled across a printable which I thought I could use for the party favours somehow. I resized the images to create the right size for chocolate wrappers. Added a thank you message and had them printed in colour. While I was at it I printed some tiny logos to create a cupcake toppers.

The lolly bags were next. I found a pack of pink, purple, green and blue bags, perfect as we had an equal ratio of girls and boys. The bags were personalised with their names. I found a fun balloon font online. I printed all the names, scanned them and cut them out of cardstock with my Brother ScanNCut machine.

We decided to go with an antipasto buffet for both parties, followed by paella for party #1.

Here are some photos of the handmade elements.

Party #1

Antipasto buffet food labels – printed cardstock held by corks tied with twine


Paella – deliciously cooked by my brother


Cake organised by my SIL – made by the talented Annie from Cool Cakes


Party #2

Lolly Bags – used to collect sweets when the piñata was cracked open



Personalised chocolate wrappers



Cupcake toppers – craft punches and toothpicks


Piñata – made by my dad




Not handmade but awesome none-the-less – the commander obstacle jumping castle.


The parties were officially a hit!

Wedding cake boxes

Can you make something with these wedding cake boxes? My good friend asked me. I’m sure I will think of something I said.
The boxes stayed in storage for years. The idea then came to me. An advent calendar! How many boxes did I have? About 80. That meant 3 advent calendars!
I purchased 3 large canvas from Lincraft, 91 cm x 91 cm (36 in x 36 in) to fit 24, 5.5 cm x 9.5 cm [2 1/4 in x 3 3/4 in] boxes on each canvas.
The next step was to determine the placement of the boxes. My initial plan was a Christmas tree shape, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
But then I thought of a triangle shape so I could fill the inside of the triangle with Christmas sentiments and symbols. I drew an outline of all the boxes on the plastic wrapping.
I attached the boxes with rivets. After all the boxes were secured I removed the plastic wrapping gently.
I cut the numbers and words with my Brother ScanNCut machine. I was so happy I worked out a way so that I  could cut words out with my favourite fonts. And enjoyed the process of ‘welding’ the letters to create one piece. And playing around with uppercase/lowercase and rotation on some letters to define the word. Imagine if the ‘I’ was kept at 90 degrees it would be lost between the ‘M’ and the ‘L’.
I enjoyed personalising each one with all their names. And with mine 😉
I also used some crafts punches. I decided to stick the numbers to the boxes with double-sided tape and the words and shapes with Mod Podge .
I created some 3-D baubles with the 2.5cm [1 inch] circles.
So the boxes can be filled again and again and the calendar used year after year.
My BFF and brother’s families loved their new advent calendar.
I love my ‘handmade Christmas’ display. My paper 3D star bunting, my hexie tree, my book tree with quilled lights and quilled decroations – to complement my new addition – our advent calendar.



How have you made your Christmas, handmade?