Monthly Archives: July 2011


Beaux- quet ( craft )

This week Jessica had a friend over to play and I gave them an old place mat each and they made their own mosaic platters for the table.

They had so much fun arranging the mosaic tiles in rows and glueing them on. The grouting part was even more fun!!!

Boxes of old place mats were in great abundance at the local opp shop. So I bought 3 boxes ( 6 in each). They have a cork bottom so they protect the table from extreme heat / marking.

I bought the coloured tiles from Bunnings and a huge bag of white mosaics from the opp shop too. Mosaics need to be stuck on with strong PVA glue and a 3mm gap in between each tile to allow the grout to sit in between.

The grout needs to be mixed up like thick porridge in an old container. I used a spatula to help layer it over the tiles. The glued tiles do need to dry solid first so they don’t move when you put the grout on top.

I ended up taking the girls outside onto the grass to finish the project as it is very messy.

Once the grout dries a bit ( NOT fully dry ) you need to carefully wipe the excess off the top of the surface of the tiles, leaving the grout to sink into the grooves between the tiles. This is done with a damp sponge that has had all the excess water squeezed out of it.

Because the whole mosaic project was such a success we did it at my home schooling art class I run on a Wednesday morning.
Some of the kids put black ink in their grout. Yellow also worked well. Next time we will do pink grout ( for the little girls).

Here are some of the results at the end of the class. ( note: yellow and black grout ).

It was so much fun and a successful craft project , I have decided to do a mirror ball with mirror tiles and a flower pot with shells and mosaics grouted into the surface. Watch this space….


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Some quick, fun, ideas

Beaux- princess ( ideas for girls)

My girls love pink. Pink anything. So I’m blogging a few, creative, quick ideas my girls love.
We made “fairy porridge ” for a weekend breakfast. Just for fun. Cous cous with a tiny drop of pink colouring and a bit of sugar and vanilla essence. The girls thought this was such a treat and were convinced fairies actually ate that.

The next girlie thing we did was play pretend snow fall in fairy land. Dad hasn’t mowed the lawns yet which was great…. The clovers were out. We got sives and bicarb soda and dusted the clovers for the fairies. Making a pretend snow fall. Then played with the tiny Tinkerbell plastic fairies they have, in the clovers.
They so enjoyed this and dressed as fairies themselves.

The next fun and simple thing we did this week was a cats tails craft. We collected cats tails plants from a massive bush near school. Came home and they drew pictures of cats and then we stuck the plants on for tails.

This is the first time ( at age 5 now) Jessica has ever drawn something on purpose.
Up until now she has not been the least bit interested in any art or craft project (except for melting crayons last week). I know I need to let her be herself, but I’m so happy that finally she has seen the light.!!!! Ha ha.

This is just part of my art studio at home. We have 76 canvases in the house. ( see online and my art website soon to be launched). Some art works are huge. There is always a creative project on the go at our place.

Eden is the complete opposite to Jessica (as most siblings are). She is always painting and drawing. A few of her art works below. ( blog to follow)

Eden’s volcanoes are in a previous blog along with many more art works.
So, I’m very excited to see the creative juices being a ” positive peer pressure ” so to speak. Jessica is getting into the creative zone too. Hooray!

Another quick idea is to put a piece of plastic down on the table. Let the kids smear paint on the plastic surface and then print the paper face down on the paint. I framed the one Jessica did below.

And below: Jessica’s latest art work: a dinosaur that is very afraid. His hand is up at his face wiping his tears. Love that. Little kids drawings are the best.

Lastly: two ideas I did the girls when they were little. This one is pink too……
A can of beetroot poured into an empty bath tub. Oh my gosh – what a complete cracker if you want to buy yourself some time with a one year or two yr old. Mine stayed in the bath playing and making patterns with the beetroot juice and pieces for an hour or more. Needs to be done naked ( of course) and in summer I guess, as it’s so cold at the moment .
It didn’t stain their skin or the bath which was good. At the end I sprayed it all down with the shower hose and threw the chunks of beetroot away.

And secondly / lastly: “Bees on knees.”
I would draw bees on their knees while toilet training them. Even a ball point pen or texta will work. I painted mine with water colour. Teaching them to be patient for the poo to come and teaching the 2 yr old about rhyming words etc. Bees rhymes with knees…etc etc.
Fun and simple ideas. They just loved having little cute pictures of buzzing bees on their knees. Enjoy. Xx

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Melting wax crayons

Rain- Beaux ( art idea for kids)

On Friday night we had our first official Stanes family art night!

The girls were excited to not have to go to bed after dinner and could stay up ” late” and paint with mum and dad.
Very excited …. When they heard they could play with candles!!!
Under strict mum and dad supervision we allowed them to melt all the wax crayons they wanted to, onto thick water colour paper.

Jessica getting into it.

Dad lighting the candle with Eden.

Then they washed through the melted wax with inks. ( food colouring or any other water colour inks work fine).

The effect is beautiful. Above you can see how dropping rock salt ( or table salt) onto the wet ink causes an amazing effect.

Because the girls had SO much fun I decided to teach this technique at my home schooled kids art class on Wednesday.
They loved it too. A bit scary with 11 kids and fire!!!
But I got the mums to assist me and each child had a cup of water close at hand in case they quickly needed to snuff out the flame.
Oil pastels don’t work by the way. We found that out the hard way.

Jessica was most proud of her art work and told me it was an outerspace galaxy.

The salt dries crusty by the morning after. We then dusted it off onto the grass outside the next morning.

These were a few pieces from Wednesday’s class. The photo does not do the work justice as the detail and colours are so vibrant and intricate.

I thought 3 yr old Zara’s one was very mature and sophisticated. Framed up in a huge frame and Matt board this will look stunning.

A great way to be creative WITH your kids. Matches are now safely put away. Or my girls would be up at the crack of dawn before I’m awake trying to recreate this technique.


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From waste to art

Beaux – peep ( home decorating ideas)

On Wednesday night I made it into the finalists for the Warringah Art Prize Competition. It was “Waste To Art” category. The old frame was in recycled rubbish at Marrickville. The wall papers I stuck on, were throw out papers from the warriwood wall paper shop ( recycled paper). I painted a rose over the top. I was stoked to just get into the comp as it’s so hard to make it in.
The opening night was stunning, even a red carpet, photographers and beautiful food, champagne etc.

This recycled vintage book ( above) was the winner. Peoples Choice Award is still to be announced. If any Sydney northern beaches blog readers are out and about in the next week and you are able to pop into art focus gallery in Brookvale, please pop a vote in for me. I would love to win $1250.

But the point of the blog is not about the art. I have done wallpaper collage in a previous blog.

I wanted to encourage my readers to use recycled things to decorate their homes. Pic above- is all recycled things in my home.
Mirror was a road side throw out. Actually it’s a mirror sliding door from a wardrobe. I took it from the road side throw out and had a frame put on it. But even without the frame, a big mirror in a room is good for creating the illusion of space and light.

I love vintage chairs. The mustard yellow one was an op shop find recently. As the old truck pulled up to the op shop I was in parking lot. I spied it at the back of the truck. It was love at first sight.

The little black draws were another road side throw out I found next to Narrabeen lake.

This little draw would also look good done in a shabby shick look with the distressed paint- see the green chair I did for edens room (previous blog). Paint over the black and sand back with sand paper.
Bird cage candle holder was a throw out score yesterday. Left over props from Jamie Durie show on tv. ( thanks to my friend Josie who arrived at my door with a massive box full of these and similar ones all for me to have). She said- ” Jo will do something with these”. Love that. Xxx

I placed the bird cage on the cake stand I used from the op shop. See scone recipe blog. The white base ” frames” the cage. Otherwise the black cage on black draws gets lost.

This is my new bathroom decoration. I have used an old ladder as a towel rail. Vase was $5 on freedom clearance sale. There’s my broken white platter I talked about in my last blog, the one I used under the Rapunzel cake. White kitchen platters are a great way to layer and frame vases. Give it a try.

Nice to make the bathroom a little more stylish.

I also used some old wooden boxes to roll up towels up and store toilet rolls.
So there you have it- some waste to art ( “art” of decorating). Good luck. Hope you find some great road side throw outs.


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White princess party

Beaux- princess ( girls ideas)

Putting Jessicas 5th birthday party up on my previous blog, jogged my memory to pull up some older photos of my other daughter ( now 7 yrs) when we did her 5th birthday.
She wanted everything white and it was a white fairy/ princess party.
There is the cake above. I dusted icing sugar on everything just before party started and forgot to clean barbies face off- hence the white on her face. Ooops!!

We had a beautiful day at Clareville Beach, Palm Beach, Sydney.

I took this pic (above) on the day….. And that’s why we live in Sydney. ( all my friends living around the world who read my blog….)
I can’t understand why people pay up to $400+ to hire a room at a play centre when these beaches are free. ( in summer!!!) Of course rain/winter I understand.

I started the party with ice cream cones ( had to bring a 5L ice cream in a chilled freezer box) to the beach on a hot day.
All the girls dressed in white. Jessica is 3 in this photo.

All the food was white: vanilla ice cream, popcorn, meringues, milk bottle lollies, white marshmellows threaded on skewers, white scorched almonds ( chocolates) and all cup cakes covered in white chocolate.

I used the white ” Dream” words to decorate the table. ( it has since got a little trashed, two years on).
I used this glass bowl ( $8 from woolworths) to make the cake dress for Barbie doll birthday cake.
I know you can buy the actual dress cake tins from trendy baking stores but they are so pricey ( $48 – Alfresco Imporium, pittwater rd, Sydney)
The glass bowl works just as well. Line it with baking paper first.
Except , you need to snap Barbies legs off to make her torso fit into the dress shape cake!!!
We all know Barbie has out of proportion, very long legs. The funny thing is, my girls found barbies legs lying on the bench top and were very traumatized!!!!
But after they got over the shock of two random, severed legs with pink ballet slippers on the end, being in the house- they then became the favourite toy to play with for a few weeks.
I think that’s so funny: these two legs had names each and became characters all on their own and involved in numerous games the girls made up. They even came in the car for rides Lol.

I tried to make a real WHITE cake ie: I wanted to make a sponge cake where the actual texture and colour of the cake was not cream ( off white) but stark , snow white.
This is achieved by using white lard instead of yellow butter in the recipe.
The photos in this 1960″s recipe book my mum had, looked fab. It was a complete train smash as a baking adventure. I don’t recommend it. I took the ” white” theme a bit far. I dressed in white and got other mums to join in too. Fun! But back to the white lard. It jammed up my electric beater and it broke and that was the end of it. How you are meant to cream lard and white sugar…. Is beyond me.
That’s why I like simple, easy recipes. A kids party is enough work as it is, with out hectically hard and complex recipe!!
Back to the good old fav…. ( see previous blog with Sophia’s cake!)
K.I.S.S.- (!) note to self.
None the less…. A lovely party. We all ended up swimming. And then there was a gorgeous, grand beach wedding, and a live jazz band right next to us. The girls loved seeing the bride and brides maids and we all thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the afternoon sun to the sound of live jazz. Nice.

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Rapunzel Party

Beaux- princess.

My little girl turned 5 this week. After seeing the movie “Tangled”, she was determined to have Rapunzel as the theme for her party.
We always try to do a theme for the girls parties and I always bake every thing from scratch and do the party on a strict budget.

I used the recipe I posted last time ( see Beaux – tie) for basic birthday cake and cup cake recipe. And choc mud cake recipe.

I found a cup cake stand at a garage sale for $1. I made cup cakes and mixed purple and white icing together to get a “marbled” look.

Next I made Rapunzel plaits for the girls hair. Making 12 of these was a mission, but alot of fun to do with my girls. Basically, I bought 4 balls of yellow wool from $2 shop ( for $2 each)

I unrolled these and made them into individual plaits as little gifts for each princess that came. I placed a hair tie on the top end so the girls could tie a pony tail in their hair and attach the fake plait to that.
The roll of purple satin ribbon was also $2. I used this on everything I possibly could, to tie up the colour scheme.

I stuck strips of ribbon onto my broken platter with masking tape at the back. I was gutted when this flat, white, square platter dropped and the corner broke off. But I was determined to be resourceful and still use it.

The striped platter made a good “stage” for the cake.
I used pink and white ribbon the same way on Sophia’s butterfly cake. See previous blog.

For the lollie bags I used gold , plastic noodle boxes. These are $2.50 for five. I needed 15. ( $7.50). Inside I placed lollies and a balloon, a chocolate and a lollipop. I tied these in cellophane to keep them fresh as I did these a few days before the party. I put each child’s name on each party bag. This helps when handing them out and it’s all very hectic in party mode.

I stayed in my pjs till 3pm the day before the party- baking and preparing!!! The dishes were hectic. I thought I had to show you a pic of only a third of the mess!!!! Also because the girls helped me bake and crack eggs etc etc. It got messy…. And I don’t have a dish washer. But …. It’s all part of the fun. Buying cakes is far too expensive in my opinion and I hate that ” shop taste” of bought cake!!!

All the prep was done and ready to go. I used all the cake stands I showed in previous blogs that I bought from the op shops, decorated with curling ribbon. The girls were beside themselves with anticipation and excitement for the party the next day.
Getting all of this plus tables down to the park was a huge feat but well worth it.
Manly is so beautiful and it was a clear sunny day.
I am relieved I didn’t do the party at home as my vacuum cleaner has just given up the ghost and I had also planned t-shirt painting as the party activity.

I hand painted a canvas that said “kids art station”. This was decoration for the art table.

I got white t-shirts and made a masking tape square in the middle of each t shirt. These were on special for $5 each from Big W. The good thing was I got 9 of these for free from Eden’s ballet teacher who had a whole lot of new spare ones left over after ballet concert. I placed tin foil inside the t shirt to protect fabric paint from leaking through onto the back of shirt.
Fabric paint was $8.50 for set of 8 bright colours.
I did 3 kids at a time as I only had enough space for 3 at the table and 3 painting aprons.
We dried the t-shirts in the sun.
They each had their own art work to take home. Some of the creations were stunning. I wrote  “by Jessica” ( each childs name…) on each shirt with a permanent marker, so their shirts were named and didn’t get mixed up.

Purple balloons and a bright purple bed sheet for a table cloth also kept colour scheme consistent.
Purple paper plates and serviettes would have been better but the $2 shop didn’t have any. Pink was ok, I guess.

I love this pic- of all the long plats ( back view) as they all sung happy birthday. I used sparklers in the cake as candles didn’t stay alight. A good tip for an out door party. $1.50 for 24 from woolworths.

The smiles on the faces says it all. It was a fantastic day and a very successful party.

And a special treat- best friends from Alice springs came!!!! A very Happy 5 th birthday.

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