BLOG MOVED !!!

2 Jun

Dear Friend

If you arrive here, and it looks I have not been home for a while… it is because I have moved HOUSE !!!!

No, not me – I am still in my old spot at my desk blogging away…

but my blog found a new place….. AND a new name !!!!

Yes – a long story…. I will write about it on my NEW blog

Please go look for it !!!!

www.auburnblue.com

I would LOVE for you to come visit me there…

as I won’t be back here anytime soon !!

Don’t worry – I took EVERYTHING with me ,

so if you would like to read or comment on a post ..

You will find it on the new blog – I took it with me !!!

Meet you there.

Ilze

Storing Kids Art and Posters

13 May

Kids work really hard at school on their art work ….. and which parent is not proud of their kids’ creations ?!

They create really cool pieces !!

…AND THEN THEY BRING THEM HOME !!!!

Soon it will be the end of the school year and you will greet your kids on the last, or second last day of the school-year with huge, oversized art works that the teacher decided to keep in her studio UNTILL that last day ! Oh, what to do that day?? No cupboard in the house big enough to simply put away a PILE of art work safely untill the holiday rush is over. Art work is one of those papers you want to keep protected from spills and water and dust and to not get wrinkled…but those pieces usually don’t fit into any sort of filing system I have seen before.

Well – you can frame some of them – like these 2 my son did when he was 6 and I thought it deserved a place on the wall.

His Russian bear – actually a wax medium …and kind of hard to tell from a picture behind glass….

And this was one as an impression of Picasso.

Framing some of their best pieces certainly gives a sense a value and worth to their efforts and does show the child that they can take pride in displaying their work – good enough for your walls. It does not need to be a real Picasso to make it up the wall ! 😉

Or this one my daughter did, same age – also loved it !

Oh, my future artists !!! Mommy is so proud. (and can not afford the real paintings anyway… , but don’t tell !)

So, better back to storing it….let’s  be honest – we don’t have enough walls in the house to frame 15+ years of school art (for each of the 3 kids) that made its’ way into the house.

Yes – it will be lovely and adorable and never-to-throw-away pieces with huge sentimental value of what your little Johnny or your  little Sarah could do when they were ONLY 6 !!!! And it would be a crime to not keep all that creativity somewhere safe.

The solution today – DIY ART FOLDERS. Nothing fancy, but highly functional !!

This can be  a fun, DIY project at home to keep the kids busy (in case you stay home this summer break)…. or maybe they can start doing it now already and you will have it ready when those pieces arrive home !

We did this last summer and I can’t wait to just plop this year’s pieces in there with the rest !!

Putting it together is real simple ! A ribbon glued onto the sides and bookbinding tape to hold the two pieces together at the bottom.

Bookbinding tape on the inside of the boards prevents the papers from falling through at the bottom. You can put the two boards flat next to each other and put the bookbinding tape centred to where they connect  – do it on the inside so your tape doesn’t show…or like in this case, I used black tape, so you don’t even notice at the bottom.

I found that polystyrene board worked best…poster board is obviously too soft and bendy…and hardboard makes it too heavy to carry by the ribbon/ tape or to store up high. The polystyrene is enough protection for the posters/ papers but lightweight at same time.

and VOILA – one done in no time at all !

While I made the folders, the kids started sorting their art, since we had all the way from First Steps to year 6 in one pile.

Not all the art would fit into one folder, so we sorted them into bundles of 3-4 years at a time and made several folders for each child.

Get out the paint, spray paint, stickers… whatever..to decorate with …..

and let the FUN part start !

Oooh – did I remember to mention that you need a HUGE big sail/ plastic to cover your beautiful wooden floors !…. and their oldest clothes?.

Each child can put their unique identity onto their folders. It becomes part of their ART !

…and while the paint dry, you can use the time to get some cleaning up going…..

I may have to warn you that this is the point where my kids tend to start to wander off and you find them elsewhere… like here…

or when you think you will take a picture of the final product…. you may find that you have misplaced your camera….which was in the room all the time…?? Strange how nobody knew at the time what happened to the camera?

While the kids drifted off, I made a folder for myself too, for some posters I had that I did not want to get damaged and some unframed art that I had to keep safe.

I decorated mine with some wall stickers that I had left over from before.

But mine was definitely not as creative and adorable as the designs some people came up with!

The nice part is that it is part of their creativity and art and will one day be a reminder of what they came up with design-wise. There is no right or wrong.

SInce the folders have hard sides, they can stand on their own…but with the precious decorations on them… I felt like storing them more safely. I bought this bag from IKEA. It is perfect to put all the folders in one place, protected from dust etc and with a handy carry-handle so you can carry all the folders in one go! You can find the bag at your nearest IKEA.

Hope you enjoy making some art folders.

Or do you have some ideas up your sleeve on how to deal with these huge pieces? Let me know how you stored yours?

For some of the pieces that are not so oversized and which did not make it onto the wall, I filed them in showcase A5- files and keep them a little more handy on top of the shelf to enjoy !

Keep creating little ones !!

Ilze

Turquoise Thursday

12 May

IEtsy BLUE

I love the colour TURQUOISE. It is such a universal colour and at the same time, SO unique. Blends with everything and yet stands out from the colour crowd.

Few items on Etsy caught my eye while browsing and it must have something to do with the fact that I always spot something which has the T-colour in it !

I think the necklace at the top, from Elegantknit , will just look superb with a summer dress.

And doesn’t this next item just make you want to go on holiday on an island ?

anklet foot jewelry bracelet crochet hippy chic by nerina52.

Next one is this totally adorable lampshade. What do you think? Like it – or no? ….Come on – even if it is not your style – you have to admit, it is pretty cool. It is by  Shepherdofthesea.

Lampshade

baby newborn hat photography prop handmade knitting by nerina52.

Now, how cute is this?? A baby hat for a newborn ! Love it.

If the first necklace is not for you – how about this one by PashaBodrum…very intricate…but would be lovely with a crisp, white buttoned shirt.

Turqouise Necklace

Maybe you are not up for something to hang on the neck…how about a little something to hang on the wall then? This clock will certainly brighten up a fun playroom or a cool teenager’s room ! It is from onedayatatime.

Wall Clock

Maybe not for the teenager – but this print  Modern Illustration Flowers Print Black White Red by TwigsAndLace will certainly work for me a wall that needs a little help to get noticed in an all white room.

And when I saw these… well, too bad they already got sold..but still they are well worth showing you !

They are from the 1950’s – an era in which turquoise was very popular !

Retro Melamine Cups Boontonware Turquoise 4 by coconutroad on Etsy.

Now, don’t let me even start on my own collection of turquoise items in the house…maybe on another rainy day….

But I can show you just my latest addition, this armoires, that I recently got in Morocco.

Maybe wondering today what I should put in this armoires is what got me started off on the wonderful world of Turquoise this Thursday.

Happy Thursday everyone !

Ilze

Picnic Party

5 May

The weather is just gorgeous today. It makes me want to be outside and not stuck indoors.

And picnic is what comes to mind first !

So, if you have a special occasion planned…why not take it outside?

It can be as stylish and pretty as any indoor occasion.

All you need is a few details…

To turn your picnic from an ordinary outing into an unforgettable occassion…don’t take the easy route of simply pulling out store-bought items. Trust me – it is not too much effort to fill your own bottles with a mix like rooibos punch to which you can add a little passion fruit pulp, put the water in a pitcher with fresh lemon and leaves, add a vase with flowers even if you are in a beautiful park or forest… and you can be sure that your guests will notice  that you did not simply “show up”…they will know that you are happy to be there with them  and you were preparing for this day long before they got their picnic blankets out !

Do I even need to say this?

Colour-co-ordinate – yes, EVERYTHING, including the food…..it is KEY …. it brings your picnic all into one spot without being lost in the big open spaces.

Keep your eyes open in the shops and soon enough  you will easily find foods that fit the bill for your colour scheme of the day!

Add some really special touches by reminding everyone what or who the event is for, by adding a name to a vase or container or any item on your table (especially if it is for someone as cute and adorable as our dearest cousin who was the guest of honour at this event !).  In this case, scrapbook letters were stuck onto the vase – they are ready-made (forget tracing and cutting – because let’s  be honest – who has time for that??!….., they are pre-glued and they can be removed easily. Instant glamour. What more do you need? Find them at any scrapbook supply store.

And no special occasion can be complete without putting a fabulous cake forward – and because it is a picnic, this topping was perfect remembering that you are out there in Nature!   Fresh lavender and strawberries…..with chocolate flakes … yum !

(All photo credits : Grethe)

To give credit for this topping idea, I need to point you to the recipe book where I originally found it – called PASELLA (found in bookstores in South Africa).

It is a butternut cake – doesn’t that just sounds interesting to start with?!

If you want to give it a try:

Butternut Cake

Pan size – 15×15 cm square or 23 cm round

Sunflower Oil – 250 ml (1 cup)

Sugar – 375 ml (1.5cup) (300g)

Eggs – 3

Pecan Nuts, chopped – 125 ml (1/2 cup)

Sultanas – 125 ml (1/2 cup) (80 g)

Butternut Squash, grated – 1 small (500g)

* can replace half of butternut with apple

Canned pineapple, crushed – 125 ml (1/2 cup)

Flour – 500 ml (2 cups) (240 g)

Cinnamon – 10 ml (2t)

Baking powder – 5 ml (1t)

Bicorbanate of soda – 5ml (1t)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 160 C.

Place baking paper at bottom of cake pan

Mix the oil, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl.

Mix the sultanas, nuts, butternut and pineapple into the sugar/egg mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mix till well-mixed.

Scoop into prepared pan.

Bake approximately 45 minutes.

Topping:

200 ml soft butter

1 l (4 cups) icing sugar (520 g)

15 ml (1 T) vanilla

250 g cream cheese

Method:

Cream butter and sugar together.

Add vanilla and then stir cream cheese in.

Add topping over cake till it runs over the sides.

Top with cinnamon sticks or chocolate flake, strawberries and lavender.

Sprinkle with powder sugar.

And wait for your guests to ooh and aah after this ! I repeat – wait for the ooh and aah’s – especially your health conscious friends.

But you can use any alternative cake under this festive topping. In this case, it was substituted by a Guinness cake from Nigella Lawson. And worked wonders. What else can you expect from Nigella’s kitchen?

If you dont’ get hung up on having walnuts and little carrots on your carrot cake, I am sure a carrot cake will do the trick under that topping as well!

And another winner for the day were these Cinnamon Crunch Cobbler Muffins. They are yummy and they pull apart … great for replacing an ordinary muffin into one that have your guests asking for the recipe ! With chopped pecans and lots of butter, this picture can really not tell you how yummy and gooey they are…it is after all a PARTY !

If you want the recipe – e-mail me at ioblog@me.com and I will be more than happy to mail it to you !

Your party can be perfect – even as a picnic. The difference is really just in the details !

Enjoy the lovely weather everyone.

And do tell me if you love picnics ! Or where your favorite picnic spot is !!

Ilze

ROYAL WEDDING DAY

29 Apr

With 58 million  hits in 0.07 seconds when you google ROYAL WEDDING – who is going to read yet another blog about this today??!

Nobody. I get that.

So, I am not going to share one tiny bit more on the Wedding other than saying – it’s a BIG day…. I love Kate’s style…and I am certainly not missing it!

This post is to say that I am sharing in this big event – from very, very far…..and I do hope that they will turn out to be a “happy ever after” couple to take away some of the sadness surrounding everything about lady Diana and the people watching Kate to fold under pressure.

I bought these items yesterday for tonight’s party – in the spirit of the wedding….

…..and in honor of our fabulous hostess who is hosting a ROYAL WEDDING PARTY for us all to watch together.

What better excuse for expats in far away places to have a party and turn into Royalists ! Sorry that I can’t share any photos of our RW-party with you on my blog…. but I don’t own the rights to cover the event and publish the photos of all my friends who will be wearing their blue, red and white !!  😉

Are you going to watch?? Tell me – where or with who??

And if you read this only after the event – what did you think of it all?? The dress???  Anything else??  Share, share, share !

Have a lovely weekend everyone – if not in London….in front of your TV !!

Off to go make my cucumber sandwiches for tonight !

Ilze

A special way to say…

27 Apr

Sometimes you have something really special to say.

And flowers don’t always do the trick….yes, they are beautiful when fresh…but they die…very prematurely sometimes.

And if you want your message to last a little longer than the average bouquet…you might want to consider this !

There is still something very romantic about postcards …

And these ones for today are called – “Princess Fancypants  Copper Postcards” by catbird.

.

Isn’t that sweet?  You order a copper postcard with your own personalised message on it.

It will last and will surely get the message across that it was a longer lasting thought or thank you, than the usual.

The recipient will absolutely LOVE you for doing that  – especially in a world where 90 % of thank you’s now get send either via e-mail or text messaging!

Nothing says more “you are special” than somebody who has gone out of their way to show their appreciation of something you did or their support for something you are about to undergo.

If you’d like to see more of this or any other item, visit catbird.

What do you do when you have something special to say to someone?…. Let me in  – maybe I get to know a few ideas.

Ilze

Be kind to yourself

21 Apr

Part 1:

Yesterday I got a text from a dear friend.

“Be kind to yourself. You have a lot on your plate. x”

That thought lingered on…

Part 2 of the story:

I love stationery and I recently bought this little note-book I just loved.

I had no purpose for it until yesterday.

So, the happy ending to part 1 & part 2 of this story, is the following:

I plan to write little notes to myself of the many ways in which I can and have been kind to myself on a given day.

I do know that I should be more kind as I can be extremely tough on myself….but I tend to forget.

So I will write down when I did myself a favour by going to bed early….by taking my vitamins…by being happy with myself that I actually used the leftovers from last night for tonight’s dinner instead of chucking them in the bin after a week in the fridge – I am not such a bad housewife after all. I should pat myself on the back !

Starting today !

We need reminders…. we need friends….and we need to be kind to ourselves.

Ilze

Love defines beauty

15 Apr

“A woman feels beautiful to the degree that she feels loved.”

(or you can pay five US dollars at Bobby Chin’s restaurant in Vietnam and they will tell you that you are throughout the entire evening!)

Back to my point…

I hope you feel really beautiful today !

You are.

Ilze.

When details don’t matter

12 Apr

On Sunday we returned from Morocco. What a wonderful time we had !

On Sunday we also celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

For a person obsessed with details in arranging everything, I am still astounded to this day about how little I cared about the details of my wedding day.

I was so busy with my career at the time that I squeezed in the details for this big day in the few moments I had to spare in-between deadlines and client demands.

Which is why I printed the church leaflet after midnight in a backstreet alley of a martial arts guru’s studio where lots of things went on that I pretended to not notice…. but it was already 2 nights before the wedding and no print shop could help me at that late stage anymore….

….which is why I only showed up at my parents’ house the day before the wedding after my dad threatened to come get me if I don’t pack up my work and come home to be on time for the ceremony…

….which is why I left the designer to choose the design and the fabric for my dress and only fitted it once…yes, the dress wasn’t even white – only because she decided ivory would go nicely with my hair color –

….which is why I had nothing to wear on my head/ over my face which had upset a lot of my aunts attending the wedding

….which is why my mom went to a connection she had to open up his shop the night before the big day and dye the only pair of  shoes we could find the day before to be in an ivory colour to match my dress

…which is why I had nothing to decorate my hair with which left the hairdresser no choice but to pull a piece of flowers from my bouquet to put in my hair

…which is why my sister-in-law went home while they were already doing my hair and I then realized that I had no earrings to wear..and she found an old pair of hers !

Yes, the list goes on – those were not even small details that were left unattended to. Those were the big things..

And yet – I had a lovely wedding. Despite my significant lack of planning!

Which just brings me to the point….that apart from having beautiful photos to remember the day, weddings are one of those where despite popular belief, it is not ALL about the details. Had it depend on how perfect that day was or was not…. my marriage would have certainly had to fall apart by now…. and many having had a perfect day with attention to every little detail, may have ended already their journey together. There is nothing wrong with either of these options (meaning very little planning or over the top planning for several years) …and I am totally for planning your day to the finest degree of detail ! But I am relieved to report that the wedding day is not all about the detail….

In this case the difference is not in the detail….

The difference is in choosing the right person to marry.

Eighteen years on, having a box full of memories with photos of the most divine details from a picture perfect day would have helped nothing had we lost the love since that day.

Not that I am trying to justify my sluggish approach to my big day..which still astounds me AFTER writing this post….only that I am relieved to have discovered that it did not matter in the end…so, to all you beautiful brides-to-be out there….

Yes, I am all for making your wedding day the most beautiful day …but today’s post has just one message for those still planning…let this event’s details not be only about that day…this is one of the few times when the event is not the end in itself, but it is only the beginning…..of a life of details – not of your own, but of how you and your partner can manage to integrate your life’s details with one another …

Feeling blessed to have the best husband ever that brought me this beautiful bouquet today, I am fully aware of the difference he has made in sharing my life with him….


ps – and for those of you too tied up in your careers right now…it’s not worth it !! Take a break – plan your big day… your marriage might last forever..your first job – definitely not !!

And in honor of beautiful weddings… I promise to share a post or two on that topic… ! Keep checking in…
We don’t celebrate our anniversary in a big way, but our anniversary day was the same as my in-laws and the day after my parent’s wedding day…just many, many  years after.
That was always very special about this date we chose for our wedding.
Both sides have now lost a spouse and only the memories remain…
Last year was my parents’ final anniversary before my mom passed away only months later…. They celebrated 50 years of marriage on their last anniversary…
It was also her last day at home before she had to leave home forever into a place of care because of her Alzheimer’s.
We celebrated it with them in a very plain, simple way…..simply by being together and sharing a last meal together with them.
It was a happy day and it was a sad day. One year ago. And a day I will never forget.
But what grace they had to be together for so long .
So, for us – a long way to go still – whatever lies ahead…..for better or worse, in sickness and health !

Morocco

2 Apr

Ever since Holly from decor8 did this lovely post about her travels to Morocco for a Creative Workshop she taught there, I have been drooling on the idea of going there….

Yes – this was my comment on her post back in October 2010.

…which just shows you that I wanted to go…even long before then!!

And today – it is MY turn !! Unexpectedly and by none of my own doing I get to spend the next week in this destination that has captured my mind many years ago when I bought a Moroccan lamp that I still love and have. Can’t wait to see and share more of the design and ideas that will inspire me there.

I am off with hubby for 10 days of lovely relaxation in Marrakesh. As I am sitting in Istanbul, waiting for the plane to board to Casa Blanca…I can marvel again on this post with all the lovely images that awaits us there.

I will miss my happy campers who can not join Mom & Dad this time. Especially since one kept on walking off with things she felt appropriate to take along – while I was trying to pack!!

Glad I caught her walking off with the bag and flip-flops that were meant to go in the suitcase?!

Holly shared many hints and ideas about her trip there and therefore, those of you who already asked me for feedback upon my return, don’t need to wait that long.

You can see a few posts on Holly’s blog and start planning and dreaming..and drooling…right away ! There are great tips on where to stay and what to do and great pictures to set you in motion !

I’m off to have a lovely time. I hope you do too in the coming week….

With Love

Ilze

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