(Edible) Crystallised Pansies: for cupcake decorating

How to make crystallised pansies. Great for cupcake decorating (and surprisingly easy!)

Crystallised Pansies

for Cupcake Decorating, Tea Parties & Connecting Kids with the Garden

Did you know that pansies are edible!? When I told my children they weren’t that excited by the prospect of my adding pansies to the family salad, until Grandma told them that pansies could be used for cake decorating.

That got their attention, and mine. We love a little tea party.

I’ve always assumed that flowers used in cake decorating were constructed from sugar, requiring technical skills that I am lacking in the kitchen. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that crystallising pansies for cake decorating, requires no great skill and very few ingredients to be beautiful. 

Supplies

Pansy flowers

1 egg white

40 mls water

White castor sugar

Soft paint brushes

Baking paper

Tray

Pre-made easy cupcake recipe

Cheesecake Frosting

How to:

Step 1: Collect & prep the pansies

Collect the pansies fresh from the garden. Be very careful not to crush the flowers as this can damage and bruise petals. The easiest way to pick the pansies is by using a pair of scissors to cut the small stems close to the back of the flower head. Younger children will require some ‘supervision’ with this first step.

Tip: as mentioned, you can eat the pansies once they are crystallised. Therefore it is best to collect the flowers from a reputable garden that hasn’t been exposed to harsh pest control products. Unlike vegetables & fruit, the pansy flowers will bruise if washed vigorously. I used pansies from our own garden, as we use organic pest control for all our garden produce.

Step 2: Egg wash

For the egg wash you require one (1) egg white and 40ml of water, then mix together with a fork. The consistency you’re looking for is a thin mixture that will paint evenly over the petals without bruising them. You may require additional water if your egg is JUMBO size (add 10mls at a time if you are unsure).

Step 3: Painting the petals

Now for the fun part! Paint both sides of all the pansy petals. I found the easiest way for the children to achieve this was to paint the front of the petals first and then holding the flower stem with a pair of tweezers paint the back. Older children could do this independently, but I found my three (3) year old required some assistance.

Reframe from drenching the petals with the egg wash, all that is required is a thin painted layer.

Step 4: Sugar sprinkles

Once the pansies are painted with egg wash, hold the pansy over a bowl and sprinkle the front and back with fine sugar. Then allow drying.

Step 5: Drying

Sit pansies with their faces up on baking paper to dry, using a flat surface or tray that is in a clean area away from little fingers and moisture. Minimum drying period is 24 hours, I let ours dry for several days. You will know the pansies are ready for use when the flowers are ridged and dry.

Step 6: Decorating!

Before you start decorating, make sure your easy cupcakes are cooled, any amount of heat in the cupcake can cause your pansies to drupe.

 Next, frost your cupcakes. I used this divine Cheesecake Flavour Frosting, which uses cream cheese and minimal icing sugar. Once frosted, gently decorate with the crystallised pansies!

Tip: I discovered that if the cupcakes with pansies are placed in the fridge for any length of time, the sugar softens on the pansies and they go all mushy. If transporting, take the pansies in a separate moisture free container and decorate cupcakes at the last possible moment.

There you have it, gorgeously decorated cupcakes featuring edible pansies from the garden.

How to make crystallised pansies. Great for cupcake decorating (and surprisingly easy!)

Fun with kids - Crystallised Pansies

More

Easy Cupcake Recipe

Cheesecake Frosting

DIY Cupcake Flag Toppers

 

Kids Room: Collection Display Jars

One of the ways I facilitate my older children’s interests and collections is to have display jars in their rooms for different things.  Below are my 10-year-old’s jars.  She enjoys collecting shells, rocks and metal things (like nuts, bolts and bottle caps). I remember collecting old keys at one stage when I was a tween…I wonder where they ended up?

We have also done other cute little jar projects that add a fun personalised look for her room. Jars like this can be used as money box, to display mini collectable figurines like Pokemon and other small things.

The line of jars looks gorgeous in her room!

A great way to store older children's collections

Collection jars

3D Scene in a Jar

The kids and I made this snow scene jar for Christmas last year, and we enjoyed it so much, we kept it displayed.  These jars have that snow-globe magic feel that can transport you to another world.  See how we put it together here.

3d scene in a jar

Photo Adventure in a Jar

The kids and I made the below 3D adventure scene last year and it turned out brilliantly!  The steps on how we put it together are here: 3D Photo Scene in a Jar.

3D Photo in a Jar

Dinosaur in a jar

The dinosaur jar was a party favour/craft at my daughter’s birthday party. Great little project and something fun to display and keep.  Instructions here: Pony in  a Jar.

Collection jars

I found the jars at a discount store.

Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

I love the unique look of child-coloured wrapping paper for gifts and it doubles as an activity the kids enjoy too.  You can get a roll of brown (Kraft) paper from places like Officeworks, Kmart, Target, BIG W and stationery stores.  30 metres cost about $15 so it goes a long way.

Colourful Wrapping

Brown paper

Felt pens, ballpoint pen, pencils, oil pastels, and crayons all work. Paint also works but there that extra step of allowing it to dry.

Oil Pastel Crayons

make your own wrapping paper

Pencils/Pen Outline

make your own wrapping paper - draw pictures on brown paper

A Boot Doll House

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house

How absolutely gorgeous is this Boot Doll House!  Marina (aka Vintage Jane) who lives in England shared this gorgeous project on her blog, and I contacted her because I fell in love with it and wanted to share with you all!

This boot house was made for special little boy.  

“He wanted a boy’s house.  And so, just before Christmas, Grandma (the Interior Designer) and Grandpa (the Builder) built and decorated a very special house and on Christmas day the little boy received this.”

The story is lovely and you can read it here. And you can see a little more of the process of a Boot House being made here.

A Boot Doll House

These pictures show some of the incredible detail gone into this beautiful creation. It makes me want to see it in person.

Top Floors

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - top floors

Kitchen

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - kitchen

Bathroom

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - bathroom

Front Steps

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - front steps

Workshop

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - workshop

Bottom Floor

House in a shoe - gorgeous doll house - bottom floor

Check out more pics at Vintage Jane.

More

Feature Homes

Cubby Under the Stairs

Under stairs cubby house - convert the space into a cosy area for kids to play

I love hearing about how families create dedicated areas for play. Jess sent me this picture of a cubby she created under the stairs for her two daughters, aged 3 and 2 years old.  If you have an under stairs storage area, Jess shares tips on how she converted this area into a special space for her kids to play.

Cubby Under the Stairs

Step 1: Clean Out

Find a new home for all the hings we stored under there: living in a townhouse the under stairs area was sacred space but with a new storage area in our garage, we were able to make room.

Step 2: Remove Door/Add Curtain

Remove door and hang little hooks and a wired a wired line for the curtains.  Thanks to Spotlight and my mother-in-law for sewing curtain hems! (Originally I just tied ribbons on the curtains to pull them to sides but ended up sewing them on as my girls loved the privacy of having the curtains shut and loosing the ribbons!).

Step 3: Decorate

I put disney princess posters on the walls (but wallpaper is a great idea). After the initial surprise reveal for my daughter’s birthday, I had her help decorate inside with fairy lights that we put up inside using command hooks.

Step 4: Add toys

The girls helped decide what things should go in there and they frequently change it around or take extra things in. Mostly inside, there’s a little oven/stove, tea party set and baby cot or dolls house.

Step 5: Winter

In Winter I put down foam squares as we have floor boards and it was a bit cold.  Large floor cushions would work well too!

It is the girls little haven and in return I get some time for motherly duties while they happily play.

Under stairs cubby

More

Feature Homes

Christmas: Start a $2 Jar

I know it’s rather ridiculous to be talking about Christmas in — where are we now in the year — April.  However, it can be a good time to start a little saving fund for a mini holiday, fun day or splurging at Christmas-time.  There are many ways to do this, for example: by opening a Christmas bank account fund and putting a little away each week.  

Another tangible idea is to have a $2 jar.  I’ve done this myself many times.  The idea is to save every $2 that comes your way in a dedicated jar.    I decorated a cute jar with tape and it sits in the pantry.  In the past, I’ve saved coins in an empty 600ml coke bottle and can before too.

If you want to save over $1,000 of $2 coins you need approximately a 750 ml bottle or jar.

The $2 Jar

Create a $2 jar to save all your $2 coins. A 750ml jar will hold over $1,000 - on beafunmum.com

The $2 Jar - Start saving for Christmas

I’m starting a new jar now and I’ll see how much there is by Christmas time.

 

Camping Gear (what makes it easy for us to get away)

The joys of camping

I’ve always had a deep love for nature but rewind 15 years, and I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself a huge outdoorsy type. Similar story with my husband: although he enjoys a lot of things that come with an outdoor lifestyle, he’s not one of those incredibly handy sort of people (like my Dad) that has the ability to make setting up a tent look effortless.  So it’s interesting how we’ve discovered the camping path together, and how integral it is now to our family life (I’m sometimes surprised that we can pull it off with four kids in tow!).    

As a family, we find ourselves increasingly keen to live more outdoors, because it’s where we all slow down and relax…and a natural consequence of that is connection.  Another good thing about camping is once you are set up, it’s (really) cheap!  If you have more than two children (and especially more than three) it starts to become even more expensive to go anywhere, plus in our experience, many places won’t cater for a family of 6 or more. 

I’m a huge advocate for camping and caravanning in general because, although it takes work and an element of perseverance, the continued benefits to our family are amazing. I guess the important point I want to make here is this: if a couple like us can become huge camping fans (and make it work) then it’s achievable for almost anyone who wants to do it.  In light of that, I’m sharing some tips about what we’ve learned along the way, especially in regards to the items we have in two main dedicated boxes to make it easy for us to get away with minimal preparation.

5 Tips for Beginners

1. Tent in the backyard or with someone who is experienced first

2. Start at a camping spot with a lot of facilities like a BBQ, water, power & toilets.

3. Build your kit bit by bit, and customise it to your own requirements

4. Keep it simple. Keep everything simple. If you don’t really (really) need to bring it, don’t.  For example, I don’t take sheets for my kids; they have a camping mat with a sleeping bag and pillow. Comfy and simple.

5. Ask others campers for tips.

Our Camping Box

We keep two dedicated boxes all ready to go whenever we go camping.  We have a general camping box and a kitchen box for plates, cups and kitchen items.  This means I don’t have to try and pull things out of the house when we decide to go camping; it’s all there ready to go which makes packing quicker and easier.

1. General Camping Box

This is what we have in it:

Food/Cooking staples
Zip lock & Garbage bags
Dustpan & Broom
Sun cream
Paper Towel & Tissues
Hot water bottles
Batteries
Light / Torches
Housekeeping items
Insect protection
Cleaning items 

A dedicated camping box

It all fits inside this Stanley 55L sturdy container.

camping box

camping box

Inside the camping box I have more boxes:

Batteries

Variety of sizes (for whatever we have, like torches etc.)w

camping - batteries Tips

  • I keep a variety of batteries we need in small clear sistema boxes (labled on the front with a permanent marker)

Cleaning

Spray disinfectant
Dish washing liquid
Hand sanitizer 
Laundry liquid

camping - cleaningTips

  • Look for more envionmentally friendly cleaning options.
  • Keep dishwashing and washing detergent in a zip lock bag to make sure any spillage doesn’t spread everywhere.  I don’t tend to replace these because they are a safe guard only (and to minimse waste).

Food/Cooking Staples

Jam
Sauce
Mustard
Salt
Pepper
Vegemite
Peanut Butter
Coffee
Tea
Foil
Oil

camping - food and cooking staples Tips

  • Most of these items are non-perishables.  For perishable items, I put them in the fridge and pull them out or replace the next time we camp.
  • It’s great to have this in a separate small box so it can be pulled out in one go when it comes to eating and cooking.
  • I find spray oil better because the spill factor is very low.

Housekeeping

Dish Brush
Pegs
Tea Towel x 2
Wipe Cloths x 2

camping - housekeepingTips

  • Straight plastic pegs (as shown above) are great because they are not affected by weather and rust and they are slim line so easy to pack.
  • When you’re home from camping, wash tea towels and clothes and once dry, put straight back into the camping box so you don’t have to think about it next time you camp. It’s already done. 

2. Kitchen Box

We keep another box for our kitchen items. Keep it simple. This is all we need for our family of six.

Laundry Tub
Kettle
Plastic Serving Platter
Utensils
Cutlery
Plates
Bowls
Cups
Mugs
Egg Carton
Spare container
Knife
Board
Cast iron Saucepan (we pack this separately because it’s really heavy!) 

camping -- kitchen boxTips

  • Don’t keep bananas in an esky with other food as they can affect the taste of items like bread
  • Buy a sharp knife with a cover
  • If you keep food cold with ice, don’t put a cardboard egg carton in (it will go soft and the eggs will break). Keep eggs in a plastic camping carton you can purchase from camping places like Anaconda

3. Toiletries

Band-Aids
Medication
Toothbrushes
Toothpaste
Shampoo & Conditioner
Soap
Deodorant
Hair bands & brush
Case

camping toiletriesTips

  • Zip lock bags or small pasltic containers are great for sectioning and keeping things organised in the toiletry bag.
  • I keep soap in a small Sistema container. The seal lid makes for minimal spillage and because it’s clear, you can see how much soap is left.

4. Camping Gear

All that’s left is the tent and gear.  We are fairly extensively set up now so we can go anywhere (with or without power).  You don’t need what we have below to get started with camping (we started with a tent, bbq and esky). 

Camping Gear

camping in tent as a family of six

camping food

This is a camping meal favourite: One Pot Beef Nachos

Camping Gear

This is what we have:

Tent – we own a Black Wolf – Turbo Plus 300 Tent – sleeps 6-8 (purchased in 2011 on a fabulous speical)
Tarp (for under the tent)
Large Tarp and fly kit (for outdoor living space)
Mattress (We use self-inflating mats rather than air mattress)
Sleeping Bag (I don’t do sheets for the kids, they have their mat and a sleeping bag for the top with a pillow)
Camping chairs
Esky (for food)
Ice Box (as a fridge)
Gas burner
Camp cupboard (we have one like this)
2 x fold out tables (You can find these at Officeworks, Bunnings, Kmart and camping speciality stores)
Small 2 burner protable BBQ
LED strip lights (you can never have too much light!)
Foxwing awning (for the car) 
Cheetah roof rack
MSA 4 x 4 roof rack bag

5. Other Items

  • Always take a bath mat. I tend to use one just inside the tent
  • A flexi tub is awesome for shoes outside the tent
  • Old towels
  • Picnic Mat
  • Large water container (drinking water)
  • A Rubber Mat for outside the tent helps to minimise walk through mess
  • First Aid Kit – we keep ours in the car.
  • Toys and games – Frisbee, tennis ball, soccer, rugby ball, board games (keep dice in a container like this: Travel Dice).

6. Transporting it all

We have a 4-wheel-drive and a small trailer that fits most of our camping gear. The trailer is almost solely used for camping, so again, it’s easy to get away because it’s already packed.

Camping trailer

(I put the boogie board bag there to show the size of the trailer).

Camping trailer

The Foxwing is great (it’s essentially an awning for the car).  We leave it on the car and can put it up in 5 minutes.  It’s especially great for pitching out on the beach. You can see it in action here.

Fox Swing Car

 We also have a Cheetah roof rack and a MSA 4 x 4 roof rack bag that we can use if we need it. 

Roof Rack

I looked through these pictures from our most recent camping trip…and it captualates the freedom and joy that it brings. 

camping

camping

camping

camping

motherhood x

Camping hair rocks. Just saying.

Other Camping Related Posts

Sometimes I think we are crazy

My family hasn’t turned out like I thought it would

Travel Dice

A Car Box

Funky Tape Floors

tape floors

I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney yesterday with Chelsea from Moments A Day.  My favourite exhibit was Jim Lambie’s Zopob Room lined with coloured vinyl tape. I snapped a few pics with my iPhone. How fun would it be for a play room?! 

Realistically, I wondered how it would hold up with wear. It appeared the tape was covered in varnish and the finish was gorgeous!

This room reminded me of the ways I use tape to decorate around the house (two ideas below) and how when we think a little differently, there is an ability to achieve amazing and cool things.

Stationery Corner

A cute colour themed area by gathering items around the house and giving it a fresh look. You can find the tutorial here: Tape Book Cover

Decorate with tape

Juice Bottle Vases

Put a posy of flowers in to brighten a room or use to store items like pencils or paperclips. Tutorial here: Juice Bottle Vase

Tape Juice Bottle Vase

Artist: Jim Lambie

Born 1964, Glasgow, Scotland, Lives and works in Glasgow

Zopob 2014

Materials: Vinyl Tape, Varnish

“Jim Lambie’s Zobop works involve completely covering gallery floors in huge expanses of monochromatic or widely coloured vinyl tape, that gives the impression of multilayered movement, even pulsation. The result is memorising, uplifting and at times vertiginous, as his optical wonderland challenges our propriceptive process.” — Museum of Contemporary Art

More Jim Lambie Spaces

Stripes & Shapes

Jim Lambie - ZPBOP - Vinyl Tape Floors -  National Galleries

Image: NationalGalleries.org

Stairs

Jim Lambie Vinyl Stairs

Image

Black & White

Black and White Floors - Jim Lambie

Image

Gold

ZOBOP Gold - Jim Lambie

Gold ZOBOP

More

9 Tips for Visiting an Art Gallery with Kids

Decorative Tape: Party Ideas

Sponsored by 3M (S1 Post)

Scotch Expressions Magic Tape - party ideas

The new Scotch® Expressions Tape is a brilliant addition to the family stationery stash.  It can be used to decorate a variety of household, stationery and recycled items.  I recently wrote a post about 5 ways I’ve been using the decorative tape around the house.   This time, I’m sharing how the tape can help make a birthday party special.

1. Birthday Photo Frame

Dress up a simple frame to match your theme.  I did this up for my daughter’s birthday and had her friends to sign on the white section around the picture as a memento.

decorate photo frame with decorative tape

 Materials

Plain Photo frame

Scotch® Expressions Packaging Tape

Permanent markers (different colours work well)

Instructions

I decided to decorate two sides of the frame but it’s easy to decorate the entire frame too.

  1. Lay a section of tape along the front section.
  2. Fold the excess tape along the side.
  3. For the corners, make a cut where the join is before folding over.

decorate photo frame with decorative tape

decorate photo frame with decorative tape

2. Party Decorations

Decorative tape is great for party planning because it helps to match themes and colours.  We did a pony party for my daughter this year, and went for a green and purple colour theme.   I used tape to decorate juice bottles, for tumblers, the pass the parcel game, and to label the party favours.

Decorate juice bottles with tape to match your colour theme #kids #parties #birthday #decor

 party favours

3. Cupcake Flag Toppers

Make these cute cupcake toppers in a jiffy. Toothpicks, tape and scissors is all there is to it!  This is a great way to tie in cupcakes treats into the theme of the party.

For an easy cupcake recipe, click here: Easy Cupcake Recipe.

Make cupcake flags out of decorative tape

Materials

Toothpick

Scotch® Expressions Tape

Instructions

1. Take a small piece of tape fold around the top section of the toothpick.

2. Trim tape to desired shape.

Make cupcake flags out of decorative tape - on beafunmum.com

 

Decorative tape makes things fun, pretty and cool, and best of all, you can reinvent items you already have in the home.

Make it Amazing

Scotch Australia & New Zealand Facebook are inviting you to show off your creations (and be in the running to win an iPad mini) in the Make it Amazing competition. There’s heaps of inspiration ideas too.  Check it out in the links below: 

Australia: www.makeitamazing.com.au

New Zealand: www.makeitamazing.co.nz

3M Scotch Expressions Tape

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by 3M. All views, content (including photography) are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

5 Ideas for Using Decorative Tape Around the House

Sponsored by 3M (s1 post)

ways to use decorative tape - 3M Scotch Expressions - on beafunmum.com

Scotch® Expressions Packaging Tape

Scotch® Expressions Magic™ Tape

I love this stuff because I can make regular and recycled items around the house look awesome, colourful and funky. Oh, and there’s the kids too: as my children get older, I need to cater for their own projects (rather than being a facilitator and instigator) and they love the tape too!

I’ve been going berserk with the tape around the house, from decorating juice bottle vases to wrapping a pass the parcel game for my daughter’s 8th birthday party.   It’s fun to use and the 3M Scotch Expressions Magic Tape is easy to remove (the masking tape is stronger so more difficult to remove).

I’m sharing five ways to use decorative tape around the house and another five in a post next week.

Make it Amazing

3M Scotch Expressions Tape is a brilliant addition to the family stationery stash and you can show off your creations (and be in the running to win an iPad mini) in the Make it Amazing competition on the Scotch Australia & New Zealand Facebook page. There’s heaps of inspiration ideas too:

Australia: www.makeitamazing.com.au

New Zealand: www.makeitamazing.co.nz

3M Scotch Expressions Tape -  Make it Amazing campaign

5 Ways to Use Decorative Tape in The Home

1.    Coat Hanger Children’s Artwork Display

Pant hangers with clips can be used to hang children’s artwork on the wall.  It’s easy to change the artwork as fresh pieces come along.  To make it bright and fun, decorate the hangers with happy coloured tape.

ways to use decorative tape - 3M Scotch Expressions - on beafunmum.com

Materials

Pant Coat Hangers

3M Command Hooks

Scotch Expressions Tape

Instructions

1. Cut sections of tape about 10-15 cm in length (enough to wind around the hanger with a slight overlap)

2. Press each section of tape down around the hanger until covered to satisfaction.

3. Place on the wall using hooks and display artwork as a feature.

Pant hangers with clips can be used to hang children’s artwork on the wall.  It’s easy to change the artwork as fresh pieces come along.  To make it bright and fun, decorate the hangers with happy coloured tape.

Pant hangers with clips can be used to hang children’s artwork on the wall.  It’s easy to change the artwork as fresh pieces come along.  To make it bright and fun, decorate the hangers with happy coloured tape.

2.    Secure Artwork

Another way too store children’s artwork is to use tape to secure artwork to a wall.  It looks funky. I used 3M Scotch Expressions Magic tape in purple here for my daughter’s windmill picture.

decorative tape

3. Juice Bottle Vase

So easy, it’s ridiculous.  These are great for a themed area or birthday party decorations.  Put a posy of flowers in to brighten a room or use to store pencils.

Use Decorative Tape to decoration juice bottles for cute vases - on beafunmum.com

Materials

Empty Juice Bottles

3M Scotch Expressions Packing Tape

Instructions

  1. Lay a section of tape evenly around the juice bottle.
  2. Cut tape to length and smooth out.

Use Decorative Tape to decoration juice bottles for cute vases - on beafunmum.com

Use Decorative Tape to decoration juice bottles for cute vases - on beafunmum.com

 

Use decorative tape to create cute juice bottle vases - on beafunmum.com

4. Book Cover

Loved this little project because I created a cute colour themed area by simply gathering items around the house and giving it a fresh look.

Use decorative tape to cover a notebook - tutorial on beafunmum.com

Materials

3M Scotch Expressions Packing Tape

3M Scotch Expressions Magic Tape

Notepad (horizontal stripes)

Instructions

  1. Lay sections of tape to cover the notepad, allowing about 1-3 cm overhang to secure on the inside cover.
  2. Don’t worry too much about making the left hand side exactly even (I’ll tell you why below).
  3. For edge corner sections, cut a small triangle (as shown) before securing on the inside cover.
  4. To make sure the edges don’t eventually peel up, use a section of tape along the left edge vertically, overlapping slightly and secure on the inside cover (I used purple tape here).
  5.  Create a cute themed area by using matching tape on plastic tumblers or juice bottles for pen and pencil holders.

1.

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

 2.

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

3.

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

4.

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

5.

decorative tape ideas: cover a notebook - on beafunmum.com

Tip: Vertical stripes work gorgeously too.

Tip:  Great for school books.

5 . The $2 Jar

Create a $2 jar to save all your $2 coins. A 750ml jar will hold over $1,000 - on beafunmum.com

I’ve done this many times throughout my adult life and it’s an easy way to save a small stash for something special. Great for kids too! The idea is to have a specified jar for all $2 coins that come into your possession.  I’ve experimented on how much you can fit in a 600ml coke bottle (you can find out here).

If you want to save over $1,000 you need approximately a 750 ml bottle or jar. I decided to make a cute jar for our $2 coins and here it is.

Create a $2 jar to save all your $2 coins. A 750ml jar will hold over $1,000 - on beafunmum.com

Materials

3M Scotch Expressions Magic Tape

Jar

Permanent Marker

Instructions

  1. If using a square jar, lay section of tape from the outsides and work your way into the middle.  For cylinder jars, measure and mark around the jar for evenly spaced stripes. It’s easy to pull the tape off if you make a mistake.  Horizontal stripes work brilliantly on a cylinder jar.
  2. Using a permanent marker, name the jar and start saving.

make a decorative jar with tape

Here’s a (slightly ridiculous) video of $1,000 in a jar.

Make it Amazing Campaign

The Make It Amazing campaign has started. Get inspired, make something amazing with Scotch® Expressions Tape. Follow the links below for inspiration, ideas and more information:

3M Scotch Expressions Tape

Australia: www.makeitamazing.com.au

New Zealand: www.makeitamazing.co.nz

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by 3M. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Striving to Set the Year Up Well

I’m striving to set the year up well.  It means I need to invest in the right places and so I haven’t been online so much recently.

1. Children’s Rooms

Helped to clean and reorganised the children’s rooms in preparation for the start of the school year.

2. School Lunches

Cooked batches of lunchbox food to freeze because (from experience) I know I will find the first month of school overwhelming as we all adjust and so I’m anticipating by doing things now that will make the transition smoother.  I have never done this before but it’s easy: doing small batches of food here and there and freezing it…so now I have at least 3 weeks of lunchbox morning teas and 2 weeks of lunches in the freezer.

3. Family Schedule

Write up the annual calendar I’ve used as a system to help everyone keep track of what they are doing on what day, for example library day, sport day etc.  You can read more about my system here: Organising Kids for School.

4. Health

Started a fitness challenge with my PT to get my year off to a screaming start.

5. Family Life

Planning a special birthday party for my daughter.

6. Organise

Slowly going through the house, one cupboard at a time, de-cluttering and creating systems.  My daughter, who is saving up for some Lego, asked me if she could do extra jobs around the house to earn money and one of her tasks was the reorganise and clean the pantry.  She did a brilliant job!

pantry

7. Simplify

Thinking about how to keep things simple at home.  I bought a dedicated set of drawers (inspired by Pinterest) I will use to keep clutter to a minimum as I go.

Put Away

For items for the children to put away, whether that be from a car clean out or just items I find around the place. I will get the children to sort and put away their own items.

Give

I always have gifts and different things (like clothes nieces and nephews have left behind) to give to specific people and so they will be kept here until I have an opportunity to return them.

Donate

As I sort washing or in general tiding up, items that aren’t worn or used will go into the donate box.

do it as you go system

There’s something else I’ve been working on.  It’s my attitude.  You see, I don’t like keeping house. Being a homemaker doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not talking about housework (although I don’t enjoy that either) but  running and investing in a household…the routine of it all…the responsibility of it all…the day-in-day-out of it all.  I do it but I struggle and it drains me. Sometimes I feel resentment creep up inside. Give me a creative problem or a mountain to climb (literally) and it will exhilarate me. Perhaps being a somewhat nomad since having a family; not having a home of my own plays a part in this unsettled feeling I have, but regardless…it’s there.

I see our family as a team and my husband is helpful around the house and pitches in (gladly) wherever he can. However the way it works for our family at the moment, it falls to me to largely manage the household.  I was pondering about it and reaffirming what a privilege it is to have a family to care for, and what richness it brings to life.  I love and am loved.  I know things work better when I invest in the running of the  household…when I invest in love.  And so I can tap into that.  Do it out of love. Do it in love. Do it out of the privilege of serving my family in this way.

It’s not about being a doormat or everyone’s servant.  I strongly apose that notion. It’s about giving in love.  You see, having my own challenges is also important to me, like setting adventure and fitness goals and working on creative campaigns, and I’ll continue to do that.  The question is about balance and the importance of investing in the right places.

And right now, I need to invest more heavily at home and be disciplined about putting in place cracker systems and great planning to facilitate harmony in family life.  And I’ll get my mountains to climb.

Emptiness of blank space?

or

Possibility of a blank canvas?

perspective

It’s all in the way you look at it.

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I shared 5 tips for beating January Blues with House of Fraser

Christmas Table: Lights in a Jar

christmas decorations -- lights in a jar

This table centrepiece is easy to throw together.

Materials

LED battery operated lights

Large cookie jar (or a vase works well too)

Baubles or other decoration

I placed decoration and lights inside the jar (leaving the battery part up the top for ease of turning off).

Christmas Table: Lights in a Jar

Concept: sparkly lights add a touch of magic to any setting

Colour theme: gold & brown

Everyday items: large jar, bowl or vase

Festive decorations: baubles, potpourri balls, LED lights

Tip: use different coloured baubles to match any theme

christmas table centrepiece -- lights in a jar

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Christmas Crafts

Christmas Table Centrepiece Ideas

Decorative Oranges

Decorative Oranges

Using fruit as decoration pieces is a simple way to create a feature point in the home, especially around special times such as Christmas.

Need

Oranges

Diamond sticker rows (I found these at a discount shop)

decorative oranges

Decorative Oranges

This is easy and quick.  Lay a strip of diamond stickers from the to of the orange to the base and continue this process around the orange (leaving a space of about 5 cm or so between each row).  This gives the oranges that bauble look. Pop in a bowl and they look fabulous on a table with eucalyptus leaves and gum nuts. When ready to use, the stickers can be peeled off easily.

Concept: decorate the usual, because it’s Christmas

Colour theme: blue and orange with gold highlights

Everyday items:  large glass bowl, oranges

Festive decorations: diamanté stickers

Tip: add eucalyptus leaves and gum nuts along a table runner and add a scattering of LED lights

decorative fruit oranges

decorative fruit orange

More

Orange Candle

Christmas Table Centrepiece

Table Decoration Stick Christmas Tree

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Decorations beafunmum.com

I love bringing nature into the house so that makes this Stick Christmas Tree one of my favourites. It’s easy and cheap to put together and you can mix and match colours to suit any theme.

Theme

I went for a natural look here using brown and cream with gold and glass-look-a-like highlights.

Materials

Small decorations

Potpourri balls

Table runner

Vase (I used a cookie jar)

Batter operated LED lights

Stick Christmas Tree

Concept: celebrate with nature

Colour theme: natural tones with diamond (clear) highlights

Everyday items: vase or large jar, tree sticks

Festive decorations: gold table runner, potpourri balls, LED lights, silver birds, diamond tree decorations, small gold baubles

Tip: Make joke tags with paper and hang on the tree

How

– Sticks (when you collect sticks, look for interesting shapes)

– Put a table runner down

– Scatter pine cones, potpourri balls, baubles and/or lights

– Arrange sticks in a vase (a heavy vase works best to give stability) – place a few rocks at the bottom if more weight is needed

– Hang small decorations off branches (here are some homemade Christmas decoration ideas)

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

Stick Christmas Tree -- Christmas Table Inspiration beafunmum.com

More

Christmas Table Decoration

Easy Christmas Table Centrepieces