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Monday 21 May 2012

Welcome Mamma & Papa

A few days ago my parents arrived in America to spend a week with us on their way home from Europe.
Ava and Lola have been so excited about seeing Mamma and Papa in real life. For the past 7 months Mamma and Papa have lived in the Skype app in our laptop - or at least that's how it seems to the kids :)

I thought it would be a nice surprise to have a few decorations ready to welcome Mamma and Papa when they arrived at our apartment in Berkeley. Ok, so I might have gone a little overboard but it was fun making the decorations and Mamma and Papa were certainly surprised!

Here's a little look at what greeted Mamma and Papa on their arrival...

Ava and Lola with their special t-shirts, flags and bunting

T-shirts, flags and bunting... yep, we went a little overboard!

Ava and I made the bunting together. As usual I did all the boring stuff (printing out the flags, cutting them out and assembling them into bunting) and Ava did the fun stuff (colouring the flags and drawing pictures). Lola helped out a little with the colouring too. She loves to copy whatever her big sister is doing and is really getting into colouring and drawing. 
Once Ava had decorated all of the flags and I'd cut them all out I set about assembling them. I used cotton twine and colourful Japanese washi masking tape for this. Nice and simple.

Ava decorated bunting in beautiful patterns to welcome Mamma and Papa

The bunting even included pictures of Mamma and Papa

Lola coloured in a few pieces of the bunting too

The finished bunting

Ava also drew a welcome picture of us all to hang on our front door. I like how Mamma and Papa have switched heights!

Ava, Lola, Mummy, Daddy, Mamma and Papa

Ava and Lola get ready to head out to find Mamma and Papa

My favourite part of the welcome was the t-shirts that I made for the girls to wear. I took Ava's drawings of Mamma and Papa from the bunting flags and printed them on t-shirts with Ava's handwritten text: Mamma and Papa USA 2012.
The girls love wearing their special t-shirts and they'll be wearing them as much as possible while we play tourist with Mamma and Papa.
The official "Mamma and Papa USA 2012" tour t-shirt - available at all good souvenir stores!

A little one for Lola and a big one for Ava

And last of all we made flags. Once again I printed, cut out and assembled the flags while Ava decorated them. Ava held a "Mamma" flag and Lola waved a "Papa" flag.

A warm welcome

Welcome Mamma and Papa!

Wednesday 16 May 2012

My Mother's Day 2012

Now that I've shown the cards we made to give out on Mother's Day I thought I'd share what my girls made for me. Ok, what Ava made for me. Lola's still a little young for much creative input :)

Ava decorated a plant pot a grew a petunia from seed for me at pre-school. It had two lovely pink flowers on it when she gave it to me but I didn't get around to taking a photo of it before they fell off. As you can see from the photo she had a little help from her American teachers with the spelling on my card!

Ava also made me another lovely card featuring the girls and I at the park. I love the shape of the dresses we're wearing. Very 1950's party frock!

Another little crafty surprise that Ava made for me is a little treasure box full of pictures and jokes to make me happy when I'm having a bad day. Ava made this at a workshop at the newly opened Family Book Lab here in Berkeley. You can see Ava's little creation there on their webpage :)
One little envelope in the treasure box contained my favourite joke...
Q. What happened to the blind skunk?
A. He fell in love with a pop off!
I hope the teacher got a little giggle out of that one when she wrote it out for Ava!

I was also spoilt by Kim and the girls on Mother's Day with a gift of my favourite luxury splurge item: a Diptyque Baise candle. Our house smells like heaven :)

And then there was the gift to myself, a much overdue cut and colour. Goodbye year old regrowth!

Mother's Day with my girls (and my new hair) in Yerba Buena Gardens

We had quite a quiet Sunday at home for the most part. We did venture into the city for a little iceskating in the afternoon though. Kim entertained Lola while Ava and I skated around and around the rink. Ava tried giving me tips on how to do swizzles, backwards swizzles and one foot glides but I was content with just making it around in one piece! No need for tricks! I need a bit more practise yet before I'm at the same level as my little skater :)

Ava and I on the ice

I hope all the mums (or moms) out there had a lovely day :)

Mother's Day Cards 2012

Mother's Day 2012 and has been and gone so I thought I'd share the card that the girls and I made for the Grandmas and Great-Grandmas back home in Australia.

This year I worked on about three different ideas for cards before I settled on the final idea. I had great ideas in my head about some fantastic photos I was going to take of the girls but they just didn't work out well enough. A lack of natural light in our apartment, grey days, uncooperative children and me just not having enough time to get everything done got in the way.

But we did get there in the end and I think the result was pretty cute.

Wishing you rainbows and happiness for a special Mother's Day

Mother's Day card

I had hoped to take a photo of the girls up on our rooftop garden with the beautiful San Francisco Bay in the background. As luck would have it we were having rainy weather and the view was completely shrouded by cloud - which is often the case on sunny days anyway! I figured I'd make the most of the rainy weather and have the girls pose under Ava's umbrella. I then added a little Ava magic to the card by adding in a rainbow and hair bows from some of her drawings.

The original photo of Lola and Ava in the rain

Little sisters in the rain
 One of my earlier ideas had been to have the girls play dress ups with my clothes, shoes, jewellery and make up. The had a great time dressing up and I really wanted to use photos from this little shoot but the lighting just wasn't good enough. These were taken on the same rainy day as the photos above. As our apartment faces onto a central courtyard in our building it doesn't have the best natural light on gloomy days.
Maybe this is something we'll have to try again for another card idea (Mother's Day 2013, perhaps?) and hope for better lighting conditions.

Little Mummies put on their lipstick

Applying blush

Working on their makeup at the bathroom sink

All made up and ready for a little shopping!

High heels

My original idea for Mother's Day cards this year involved making paper magnolias. I had planned to make masses of pink and white magnolia blooms and take beautiful photos of the girls with them. The flowers were easy enough to make but quite time consuming. I ended up only making three before I was running out of time to get the cards done. I think the magnolias came out quite well though so I'll get around to making more of them at some point and they can adorn the girls' bedroom.
You can find instructions and a template for these paper magnolias at marthastewartweddings.com

Paper magnolias

Ava also drew a lovely Mother's Day picture for each of the Grandmas and Great-Grandmas and we included these with the cards. I love the attention to detail in these pictures. Granny C (my maternal Grandma) has a prosthetic leg and uses a wheelchair. Ava drew Granny C in a wheelchair and made sure her two feet looked different from each other! Granny O (my paternal Grandma) was given a walking stick and all the Grandmas and Great Grandmas were given grey hair. I also love the whimsical touches - rainbows spreading colour over flowers, love heart flowers and suns, a girlish bow in Granny O's hair...
There's one more Mother's Day drawing for my Mum, but as she will be joining us here in America in just a few day's time I don't want to spoil her surprise :)

The girls with Nanna (Kim's Mum) as drawn by Ava
The girls with Granny C  

The girls with Granny O 

Thursday 10 May 2012

Mother's Days Past

Mother's Day is only a few days away so I thought I'd share a few of the cards I've made in the past.

Let's go back in time...

Mother's Day 2007 was my first as a mother myself. Ava was only 3 months old at the time so not really the most cooperative when it came to taking happy snaps for cards. I posed her in our backyard with a stem of bright geranium flowers from the garden. Being a baby, she started trying to eat the flowers while I was taking photos! Lucky they weren't poisonous.
Look at how much darker Ava's hair was back then...

Holding the flowers nicely...

... and then taking a big bite!

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