Tuesday

"I love you this much" Father's Day craft!

Here's a simple and creative card you can make with your kids for Father's Day. I pinned this idea a while back, but the link to the original source had been lost. Thanks to Google, I've tracked it down - it seems the idea may have originated at A Day in my Life.

And here's our version. We went with hand-stamping for more of a home-made look.



Step One: Trace your child's hands onto a sheet of coloured card.


Step Two: Cut out. Because my kids are little, I just had them cut around the handprint in a big circle, then I finished them off. We didn't want our cardboard hands losing any fingers! (or our real hands, for that matter...)


Step Three: Stamp "I love you" on the left hand. You could also use letter stickers or rub-ons.



Step Four: Colour in!


Step Five: Cut a strip of card in a contrasting colour, and concertina-fold to create 8 sections. Stamp "THIS MUCH", using one letter per section.


Step Six: Glue the ends of the accordian-folded strip to the inside of each hand.


Step Seven: Open up!






I'm so blessed to have a hubby who is an amazing Dad - very hands-on, and just loves his kids to bits. The delight on their faces when he gets home from work just melts my heart.

Here's to all the wonderful Dads!

Let's chat: do you have a favourite Father's Day tradition?

Monday

Tour through blogland!

Hi, friends! Today I'm participating in a tour that lots of fun bloggers are taking part in right now. I was invited by Katie from Little House of Four.

This lovely girl is a DIY queen - you have to check out her gorgeous DIY Herringbone box and of course these clever industrial Pipe Shelves! Katie has amazing vision for taking humble or discarded objects and completely transforming them with a bit of sweat, creativity and willpower. She rocks the power tools! I encourage you to take a browse around her site and see what gems you uncover.


So, here are some questions I was asked to answer.

1) What am I working on right now?
Um, the answer is EVERYTHING! Our lives are kind of complicated right now - we've just spent a month living at the beach while our current home was being used as a display home. I took that opportunity to decorate the beach house, which is going to be used as a holiday rental by my husband's company. It's SO much fun decorating a whole house from scratch! I'll be sharing the whole beach house reveal next month - but for now, I'll cheekily scatter some teaser images throughout this post, just to whet your appetite for what's in store. ;)


In addition to that massive project, we only have about two months left in our actual real house before we have to move out, so I'm getting everything ready for sale and finishing up rooms to photograph for you guys. It is BUSY!

I seem to have about fifty things on the go, but currently I'm working on painting some curtains for the living room (yes, painting! You read that right!), whipping up some DIY artworks, putting the final touches on my son's room makeover... and yeah, I could go on. Every room in our house needs some love and attention so that it feels "finished.

But didn't you just move into that house?? I hear you ask!

Well... yes. The plan was always to live here for only one year, just enough time to complete the land development my husband has been working on. Well, the land is now finished and up for sale - exciting times! So it's almost time for us to move on to our next adventure.


2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Probably the breadth of topics I cover. I've noticed that a lot of bloggers seem to pick one defined area and only blog about that. For instance, solely interior decorating, or just organising, or only kids activities. In a way it's a lot easier to grow a blog when you have laser focus like that - because the audience you attract knows what to expect, and they will stay with you as long as the topic stays the same.

This blog is a little different. My theme is "the art of making home" - which covers a lot of areas of creative home-making, whether it be entertaining kids, stencilling a wall, organising a cupboard or whipping up something tasty for dinner.

I think it's probably been harder to gain traction, because while I might gain a lot of new followers through a decorating post that gets featured somewhere, some of those drop off once I post a kids craft activity. I've done a lot of soul-searching about that. It would be easy for me to write a decorating blog - it's what I "do" as my on-the-side job, and I have plenty of material, more really than I have the time to blog about it. And those posts always seem to be by far the most popular of anything I post. But for me, it comes back to the purpose in why I'm doing this. Which leads me to the next question...



3) Why do I write/ create what I do?
When I started out, I always knew I wanted to write a blog for women like me - stay-home mums looking for inspiration to live creatively at home with their kids.

My audience has grown to include women of all different ages and backgrounds - working mums, stay-home mums, newlyweds with no kids, single women, empty nesters - which I LOVE. On the other hand, I do worry a bit when I post something really kid-focused, because those type of posts are the most polarising - you either have kids and are interested in the topic, or you don't. I'm such a people-pleaser and I do struggle with that. And as someone who experienced infertility myself, I worry that I might be offending or hurting someone who followed along for the decorating posts and wasn't expecting to be hit with kid stuff.

But I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I can never please everyone, all the time. In fact, the best advice I've ever been given is to picture just ONE person as the audience I'm writing for. For me, that's someone pretty much like myself: a mum who wants to live her most creative life at home with kids.

If you don't fit that exact category, I'm in no way saying you're not welcome here - far from it!! Some of my most loyal and valued readers don't fit inside that box. It's really just a visualisation that helps to give me focus, remember why I'm doing what I'm doing, and feel less apologetic about blogging the way I do. And along the way, I hope to give inspiration to a whole range of women who desire to live their most creative life, no matter what stage they're at in life's journey.


4) How does your writing/ creating process work?
It looks a bit like this:
1. Get ideas... heaps of ideas! Crazy amounts of ideas! Ideas for projects I'd love to tackle, kids activities I'd love to try, recipes to experiment with, decor and design improvements I'm itching to make.
2. Buy supplies for twelve different projects
3. Start about eight different things at once
4. Finish five of them
5. Blog about one.

Yeah.... I'm not even kidding. My hard-drive is brimful of projects I've completed and photographed that still haven't seen the light of day on this blog. And my garage is full of supplies I still haven't used for projects I still haven't gotten to.

It's not that I'm being lazy - I've been working as hard as I can, late into the night almost every night of the week, and I feel like I'm still barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done. For non-bloggers, I know that's really hard to understand. I used to scratch my head when people said they were working 30-40 hours a week on their blog, and wonder.... doing what, exactly??

Well, now I get it. I started trying to explain here exactly what's involved in my blogging process, so it would make a little more sense to you - but it got so long-winded I made it into a separate post. ;)

In fact, I've recently made a big decision about the way I handle my time, and I'll be spilling the beans to you guys in that upcoming post as well. Don't worry - it's exciting! Hopefully it will mean more fresh content up on the blog on a more regular basis for your reading enjoyment. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

So that's me and my little blog in a nutshell. If you're new here, here's a couple of projects to give you a bit of a feel for what I do:







And now it's time for me to pass the baton forward. I'd like to highlight three fabulous bloggers.


First, the delightful Emily Reid at Offtract, which showcases a fun, upmarket blend of design, food and style.
As a former college track star in South Carolina and business owner of not one, but two successful businesses in Reno, Emily can both out run you and out-customer service you in a heartbeat. From watering plants at her first gig to owning a bar and a baby boutique, she is a woman of many talents.  When she isn’t working or spending time with her family, Emily is running outside, doing yoga inside, garage “sailing”, thrift shopping and dreaming up new concoctions in the kitchen.
You'll be able to view Emily's tour next Monday!



Secondly, April from House by Hoff.
April is one popular gal, as it turns out she'd already been invited to participate in this tour. You can see her lovely tour here - filled with gorgeous images from her home!



And finally, I couldn't let this occasion pass without highlighting some truly incredible Australian talent. I'd love you to meet Kristine from The Painted Hive, which just so happens to be one of my favourite ever blogs. It's filled with gorgeous DIY projects with a vintage country feel; all executed, styled and photographed to perfection. Kristine is one talented lady! Stop past and have a browse of her Project Gallery. (You may never come back!)


That's it from me for today. Let's chat: why are you here? For the decorating posts? Kids posts? A combination of everything in between? How did you find me? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Pssssst - If you want to make sure not to miss out on my beach house reveal.... take a second and subscribe below to receive my upcoming posts by email! 

I've been featured! 25 Amazing Room Revamps


Some exciting news today, dear A house full of sunshine readers! A few weeks back Abby from Just a Girl and her Blog announced that she'd be throwing a link party with a Room Revamp theme.

Well, revamping rooms is one thing I've done quite a lot of. Creating a whole-room transformation makes me giddy and glad. I adore the entire process. Daydreaming ideas, making a plan, choosing paint colours and finishes, shopping for decor pieces, and most of all, seeing the whole thing come together - what can I say; it gives me a rush! I'm a complete sucker for a good before and after shot and have a weakness for watching room reveals on reality TV. An evening free to watch House Rules or The Block is more of a luxury to me than getting a manicure. (Which incidentally, I've never done. Ever! I know, I'm weird.)

All that to say, do you think I thought twice about linking up to this fabulous Room Revamp-themed party? You can bet your French nails I did not. Of course, I jumped on board and linked up a few of my rooms - then crossed my non-manicured fingers tight and hoped that maybe just one might possibly be considered good enough to be picked as a feature. I wasn't holding my breath - there were over 100 rooms linked up at this party, and some of them were pretty darn incredible, to say the least.

So imagine my surprise today when I discovered that not one.... not two... not three... but four of my room makeovers were picked as featured rooms!! WHAAAAAAT??!

Yep, I'm a bit excited!

You can check out the 25 featured rooms here, and make sure to have a browse through the other amazing makeovers contributed by a bunch of very talented bloggers! There are some truly gorgeous rooms in this round-up.

Big thanks to Mandy from The Hankful House and April from House by Hoff for choosing my rooms - you gals gave me the biggest smile today!

Just a Girl and Her Blog

So, let's chat! Anyone else here a sucker for the whole-room makeover? Obsessed with The Block? A staunch anti-manicurist? Do you guys have a favourite room makeover from A house full of sunshine? You can view all the room reveals I've done to date right here on my Project Gallery - just scroll down!

Thursday

Pink circus party reveal!

WARNING: Post not suitable for people ALLERGIC TO THE COLOUR PINK or those with a PHOBIA OF DUCKS. If you have either of these conditions, read at your own peril!!

*   *   *
Still reading? Hopefully that means you're not going to break out in hives when you see the excesses of pinkness in this post. Or run screaming in terror at about the halfway mark when the ducks make their virtual entrance. So... we're good? Excellent. Brace yourself for the pink extravaganza that was my daughter's 2nd birthday party!

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party















It all began with these adorable pink circus-themed invites found here on Etsy, available as a personalised digital file ready to download and print. The colour on the screen is quite dark - in real life the pink stripe is lighter and the invites have a softer, more vintage look.


Let's take a closer look at this extravaganza of pinkness. This is how I laid out the party table. Just ignore those tablecloth wrinkles... I happen to be allergic to ironing. It's a genuine condition. If ever think about ironing something, I get this strange lethargy and have to sit down and watch TV until I recover.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

I made the "backdrop" from a roll of disposable plastic tablecloth that I pleated and taped to simulate a ruffled curtain.


I found pink and white striped paper cups at The Reject Shop for the popcorn.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

We had glass bottles of pink lemonade with pink and white striped straws.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

A pretty tiered glass dish holds some pink and white iced biscuits for our little guests to snack on.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

I made a two-tiered birthday cake with a washi-tape bunting topper. If you missed the tutorial for how I made this cake using my own hand-made marshmallow fondant, you can check it out here!

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

We had pink and white marshmallows in a glass jar to cater for any mid-party marshmallow cravings, and the kids took home their own cute jar of mini marshmallows as a party favour.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

You can see the tutorial for how I made the party favours here.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

A vase of artificial flowers from Target prettified the table.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

We had iced cupcakes with circus animal toppers.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

The toppers were just plastic animals, spray painted. Um, I was going to be super-good and impale each animal on a wooden skewer so the toppers did not touch the icing, but as you can see, I kinda ran out of time to make that happen. I watched my guests closely for any signs of toxic poisoning, but apart from two people passing out momentarily, everything seemed fine. 

(Kidding.... kidding. Only one person passed out.) ;)

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

The pink Oreo pops were a big hit. I had a stash of them in the kitchen so I could keep refilling the box when it ran out. 

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

They were pretty simple to make in theory, although of course a bit fiddly in practice. Wanna know how to make an Oreo Pop? Here's what you need:


First you need to smush the craft stick into the filling part of your Oreo, and press the cookie back together. It's tricky to do this without breaking the Oreo. I may have broken a few. There's a rule that any broken Oreos must be consumed immediately by the cook, so it was really devastating when they kept breaking willy-nilly like that. But we got there eventually. 

Next I melted white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water on the stove, and stirred through a few drops of pink food colouring. I learned that the easiest technique to get a reasonably smooth finish was to hold the oreo pop upside down over the bowl and ladle melted chocolate over it.

Turns out however that it's not a great idea to do this when the chocolate is steaming hot straight from the stove, because the filling in your Oreo will melt and your poor little Oreo pop will come apart and fall directly into your molten chocolate. Of course, kitchen rules dictate that said pieces must then be fished out with a spoon and consumed, together with all the melted chocolate that gets dredged up with them.

Not everyone would go to these lengths, but I am a very rule-abiding gal.

There are no photos of this process, because it involved fingers covered with chocolate and lots of rushing to finish the pops before the chocolate set too hard. I did re-melt it once, and that worked well.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

Once your Oreo pops are chocolate-coated, you need to keep them upright to set. I stuck mine into a florist oasis with a bit of tissue paper over top to catch any drips. Done!

If you're more organised than me and actually get all your food prep finished before the day of the actual party (pffft - who does that?!), you could also melt some white chocolate and do fancy things over top like drizzle patterns or dip half of the Oreo pop into the white. Clearly, I am not that organised.

Super cute pink circus party - lots of great ideas here! | A house full of sunshine #birthday #party

For our party entertainment, we set up a jumping castle. We have our own mini-version purchased on sale at Target a couple of years back for about the same amount it would have cost us to hire a jumping castle a couple of times. It makes an appearance at every party and often at other times as well; the kids love it!

Because it was a 2-year-old's party, I didn't bother planning heaps of games. But one thing Allegra does love is the Pick-a-Duck that seems to be present at any carnival or fair type occasion. I mean, it's a complete con, or course. You're basically paying $5 per child for the privilege of taking home some plastic junk that probably cost about 50 cents. But what can I say - the kids just love fishing those ducks out of the water. They are enthralled by it. They love spending their parents' hard-earned cash for the 5 second thrill of catching a plastic duck with a hook.

So of course, the Pick-a-Duck game had to make an appearance at Allegra's party. It was pretty easy to make our own DIY version, although I have to pre-warn you, the ducks we used did not exactly stay upright in the water. They capsized and lolled around on their sides looking exactly like a bunch of lame ducks. With hooks in their backs. The kids thought it was fantastic - they got to look at the numbers on the bottom and choose exactly which prize they wanted to win. Crafty little things.

Here's the step-by-step:

Pick a Duck game - what a great idea for a kid's birthday party, especially for a circus or carnival theme! Click through for more cute circus party ideas!

Yep, that's it. Make a smallish hole (I used a scrapbooking awl), then screw in your hook. Done! The fishing rod is just a hook screwed into the end of a piece of dowel. Oh, and you'll need to number the ducks underneath so the little Duck Hunters can claim their prize.

For the prize board, I painted some pink stripes on a piece of pegboard, to carry through our circus/ carnival type theme.


We had an awesome assortment of prizes for the kids, which we put into plastic ziplock bags, numbered, and hung with pegboard hooks. (I forgot to snap a photo until the prizes were half gone, but you get the idea.) The prize board sat on a low play table, behind an underbed storage tub filled with water.

Pick a Duck game - what a great idea for a kid's birthday party, especially for a circus or carnival theme! Click through for more cute circus party ideas!

The kids absolutely LOVED this game! It was simple enough for even the littlest kids to have a go, with a bit of help.

Here's our birthday girl, concentrating intently on the task.

Pick a Duck game - what a great idea for a kid's birthday party, especially for a circus or carnival theme! Click through for more cute circus party ideas!

The older kids loved it too! We made sure we had a range of prizes for the different age groups, and there were at least two different prizes available for each number, so they could pick and choose a bit to find something they liked.


All in all, the party was a great success. I'd have to say that the only low point was dropping my DSLR camera right before all the guests arrived, just as I was walking outside to take photos of the party table. It miraculously started working again once all the food had been eaten. Huh - how's that for timing??! 

Meanwhile, my semi-tragic iPhone photos of the party table will be preserved for posterity.

Pink circus party | A house full of sunshine

Pink circus party | A house full of sunshine

Thanks for reading! I hope the pink receptors in your retinas have not burned out completely. 

I have a boy birthday coming up next, so I would assure you that this is a one-off, except that my son's current favourite colour is.... you guessed it... pink. 

Tell me - what are some favourite themes you've used for your kids' birthday parties? 

If you liked this post, you might want to check out these related ideas!

Marshmallow fondant
Party favours




















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