Sunday, November 6, 2011

Buy Nothing New Month Challenge

So in amongst the craziness of our lives I signed our family up to the Buy Nothing New Month challenge during October. It can't be much harder than what we already do right? I had grand ideas of taking a daily photo and blogging my family's success (or failure) at the end of every week.

Alas that idea went out the window. So this is a very detailed summary of the month of October buy nothing new month (with the exception of food).

WARNING: Picture heavy

I have to say that the best way for us to buy nothing new was to completely isolate ourselves, doing away with all the 'clutter' in our life. We are a good 30min walk away from the major shopping centre, there is no local op shop either which has never ever happened to us before. I can 100% honestly say I haven't stepped foot in an op shop during October. Carlos and I don't drive which meant all our time was spent helping his family clean, de clutter, box and move stuff from his dads which was no longer needed. You could say we were treasure hunting while we helped out.

The first room to get a mini make over was the kitchen. I managed to find a few treasures I know you will also appreciate.

Orange is such a sunny colour. I cleaned these up along with some giant Bushells jars too. They are magnificent aren't they?! I am thinking my wonderful friend Lisa could use the massive glass jars for honey... what do you think hun?

I also discovered an over flowing tea towel draw and linen cupboard. The green floral tea towel and purple 1972 calendar tea towel are just splendid. I have put them away to refashion. A handmade fluoro pink pot holder has no doubt pulled out many a meal from the oven. A yellow and white table cloth which I soaked came out bright and happy again.

This little gem was hidden away in the linen cupboard.
A wonderful mushroom serviette holder.

After the kitchen we were on a mission to clean out a small room to put some bunks (which we purchased off ebay, hurray!!) and create a space/bedroom for our 3 children. What we found shoved, left behind and carefully forgotten was GOLD, pure treasure hunting gold.

This Donald Duck night light was picked up in Disney Land when Carlos and his family visited in 1979. The lamp is stamped 1976. We already have a Donald Duck cookie jar so this was a lovely find.

These are 4 original Star Wars figurines.

C3PO is dated 1977 when the first Star Wars, A New Hope was realised.
Snow Trooper, Trooper Pilot and Lando were all from the following Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes back.

This may have been the find of the century. Carlos knew he had these somewhere. (there are more too but he thinks they are stored in the roof). Bear was absolutely beside himself when Carlos showed him what he had found under the bed. It was a very special moment between a father sharing his childhood toys with his equally Star Wars loving son.

Another find for Bear who can't get enough of MJ.

Carlos has crates filled with records from when he started to DJ in the 80's and 90's. This one is being displayed in the kids room.

Golden books.
These were tucked away and once pulled out were read and re read by new smiling faces! Does anyone get goose bumps when they read a story which they loved as a child?

Abuelo (Grandad) collects Aeroplanes.
All different types and sizes. Having a look right now at the shelves and cabinets I count roughly 50. He has calved his own from balsa wood and even has air line bags, crockery, glassware, you name it he has it!

Our kids know they are not allowed to touch his planes. They resist the natural urge to pick one up and zoom it through the air very well. Abuelo found these model kits and has given them to the kids to put together and play with which is something really special. I love creating and carrying on memories.

Remember these?

It's called a Rubik's Twist.

Kind of like a rubik cube you can manipulate. This is a cobra and shortly after Carlos made a dog. Thanks to google we can make many more sculptures.

Are you excited? I know huh...

This is the original Nintendo Donkey Kong Game & Watch. When the kids saw it they were floored by it. It's great to show them what we had growing up and they seem to appreciate how technology changes...

I remember seeing these but my first handheld game console was the original Gameboy and that was after begging my brother to let me have it to play Tetris when he got the up grade.

Her colour, shape and graphics. Isn't she beautiful?

Our kids will never know just how awesome these were back then. Unfortunately this one was damaged a few years ago and no longer works but we showed the kids the same game using an iPhone app.

Now the kids don't have many toys here while we work on fixing up the bed room so I discovered a local play group which a toy library visits every fortnight. So we can borrow toys easily and choose what suits each childs interest that week.

Best of all it's FREE.

So far we have borrowed magnetic blocks pictured above, dress ups, tween books, read along stories and musical instruments.

I also scored a little something for myself.

Every crafter needs one of these.

A vintage knitting bag with built in measuring tape.

This use to belong to Carlos' mum. It was put aside just for me and I am so excited to hold something so precious. It still contained some of the pieces she was working on, some knitting needles and crochet hooks. Accompanying the bag was an arm full of vintage wool too.

Why stop at crafty things though...

Carlos was on a roll finding all his childhood treasures. He managed to pull out his Batman belt buckle which he has bestowed upon me... Yippeee. Why the excitement you wonder? Because I can pair the belt with my Batman shoes.

I am proud to say we did absolutely no clothes shopping. Not even at a treasure shop which is a feat in itself. Moo and I have been sharing clothes which is really nice... and kind of strange. Bear has managed to squeeze into the same clothes from last Summer plus was given a few more hand-me-down boys things. Carlos is so easy to please. He has been a great customer with Native Instruments and they rewarded him with a free T-shirt. He is a jeans/shorts and T-shirt guy so it's perfect.

Bubble was fortunate enough to receive 3 bags filled with hand-me-down Summer dresses, 2 pairs of leather shoes and other assorted clothes. So she has had fun trying them on one day at a time.

Speaking of receiving clothes, the kids started at their 3rd school this year. We were worried we would have to buy new school clothes right in the middle of this challenge. But it turns out they were happy to help us out. We received a mix of new and 2nd hand uniforms for Moo and Bear as well as 2 new hats.

Now I will let you in on a trick that may (or may not) help your kids find their lost school hats. I did this for Moo when she was in kindergarten and we never lost her hat.

Sew a button either inside the hat or somewhere discrete on the outside. This gives your child something to easily recognise and their school friends pick up on it pretty quickly too.

Now just to end the month on a high note and to drum home the need to consume less, even if it's 2nd hand I invited my eco girlfriend in crime, Michelle along to Reverse Garbage to meet Annie Leonard who is the brains behind the viral short presentation 'The Story Of Stuff".


It will inspire you in so many ways. Support the choices you have made during October's challenge and it may even give you a kick up the bum to take the challenge a little further for yourself... OR better still the planet!!

I also got to meet Narelle from Reverse Garbage. They have been diverting waste from landfill since 1975 for practical and creative re use.

So both Narelle and Annie in the same room was just a little bit awesome to say the least.

So did we buy stuff? No we didn't...
Can't wait to see you next October ready to buy nothing all over again!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our trip to Ecuador

Isn't this a great family photo?

It is one of a very few we have from the last 12months where we are all just so happy. One silly comment about boobies and we were all in hysterics.

On this day we were being interviewed about our very serious story and struggle with homelessness. The story covers the statistics of families experiencing the same crisis as us.

We were left homeless through absolutely no fault of our own. We were simply evicted from our rental property 1 year after we moved in because the owner decided she wanted to live there instead.

Bear sitting in the stair well of the hotel we lived in one of our favourite photos

We always had a beautiful light shining for the end of this year. My father in-law gifted our family of 5 and Carlos' two younger brothers, tickets to visit our family back in Ecuador. We were going to spend 8 weeks overseas. Something we have wanted to but have never been able due to other commitments.

We were going to spend Christmas and New Years with the family that would embrace us, laugh and cry with us, sing and dance with us, share stories between us. Can you imagine all the love we would have had surrounding us? Love that we so longed for through the storm we managed to weather as a family.

Carlos and Bubble smiling through the hard times after her operation in July.

Since going through Bubble's operation and being homeless, the trip was the one good thing we had to look forward to. All our family back home in Ecuador were up during the night while Bubble was having her operation and they were very much a part of the love and energy that got us through some of the harder days.

Moo, Bubble and Bear a few days after Bubble's operation when her eyes finally opened.

Can you sense I am avoiding something... Once I say it it becomes real. It seems the light has well and truly faded. Believe me we tried to keep it alight right till the very last kindle but sometimes you just have to surrender to the inevitable.

We are not going to Ecuador on the 14th November 2011.

There are so many factors stopping us at this stage. Homelessness has been the biggest drain emotionally, physically, spiritually and ultimately financially.

It's only been the last couple of days that the decision was made. We have passports organised but it was the expense of our shots to go overseas that we didn't expect.

We came so close, it was in arms reach. We had so many family and friends saying 'You have to go... you can't come this far and not go!' But we can and we have.

On a brighter note, as defeated as we may feel at times, we are looking at this as a re-scheduling of our plans and have decided that we will still travel within the next 2 or so years once everything is back in it's place and we are once again in full control of our lives.

From this devastating heartbreak comes a little hope. We have another opportunity to focus on the commitments we made moving to the Central Coast. We will be moving into another home close to where we are at the moment. Moo and Bear really like their school which is a massive incentive to stay here while we can. This year they have attended 3 different schools.

We'll also be able to relaunch MooBear Designs which we have missed working on so so much. We have had new designs waiting to come to life before all this craziness occured.

Carlos will be able to get creative again with Analog Transmission as well as his own album as cdot on his label neuromantra. Actually would you believe that he finished recording his album while we were in crisis?! Funny how things work out.

Last but not least Carlos and I are dedicated to a very special cause. I mentioned back at the beginning of all of this that we would stand up and be the voice of family homelessness. In response to a very immediate need we have started working on The TreeHouse.

What is The TreeHouse? A not-for-profit organisation to help ease the stress and trauma for families experiencing or facing homelessness, to stop families from losing their sense of identity and to assist with the healing process.

Enjoying Abuelo's back yard and some freedom recently

We're determined to use our experience to help others and make a difference.
To everyone who has supported us through our story we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I have no words left and I want to finish this blog post which has taken days for me to work up the courage to write. It was the easiest way for me to tell everyone at the same time rather than reliving those feelings over and over again.

Much love and light
Steph, Carlos, Moo, Bear and Bubble.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Who Has HATtitude...

The ever so lovely Sandrine sent Bubble a hat after her operation.

Bubble wont leave the house with out her hat and if I forget to pack it she gets really cranky with me. Sandrine's hats are made with a touch of lace and pretty vintage cotton lining making them fully reversible and a cool light weight material for wearing.

I was even more ecstatic when I received my very own hat in the mail.
Thank you again and again Sandy!!

Don't forget to call past her ETSY shop Sandrine Marsh Accessories and her Facebook page for early specials and savings.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Chicken...

Bubble turned 3 on Saturday 24th Sept.

As always we snapped her first morning moment shot. I really should make a collection of them for each child. It is my Motherly duty as they are just hilarious.

We took her out for a family picnic in the park... But not just any park.
We took her to Australia's most spectacular free kids play ground at Sydney's Darling Quarter.

This is part of the water play feature which is going to be packed in Summer. I can tell you I would rather take them here than to the beach.

They have a flying fox.

This is the magic word for my kids as they have one at their local park too. I personally think they are awesome as well. Bubble had a blast and didn't even fall off.

Bubble even had her our own personal juggler on the day. It really doesn't get much better than that.

The girls scaled the ropes to have a massive slide.
Can you see Bear racing back on the side of the photo? I was yelling at him from the top to go back to Dad before we lost him... lol.

So we give the Darling Quarter Playground a big thumbs up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Design Your Own Monster.

Sometimes the only way for me to get my craft on at home is to teach my kids something at the same time. So one day I laid out a white sheet on the floor and placed all the materials we needed in the centre.

The kids were immediately interested. They each designed their very own monster on paper and then we went through choosing the materials, buttons, felt and fabric from Sophie on the floor.

Moo's monster is on the left. She did all her tracing, cutting, hand sewing and some machine sewing. I love that she took the initiative and gave it a go. She learnt some new techniques and also some that she won't use again too soon.

Bubble's is in the middle. She helped with cutting the fabric and did an awesome job of hand sewing the felt and buttons on. I was incredibly impressed with her patience. She also enjoyed shoving the poly fill into her monster.

Bears is on the end. Don't you just love it?! He hand sewed the felt eyes and I did the buttons. He added the fangs and had so much fun with the polly fill that it looked like ski season at Thredbo.

The most important part which they all did themselves was to sew the final stuffing seam closed and cut the final thread.

The original drawing and the final creations...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teeny Tiny Bedroom...

Moo came home from school with an assignment which involved creating a miniature, to scale bedroom in the theme of her choice using only recycled materials. She was given a budget of $20, 000.

I think we can rise to the challenge. Moo chose the theme 'handmade' so everything in her room was either hand made or custom made for her bed room. Right down to the purple carpet imported from Switzerland.

The fabric off cuts were all from Sophie.

Using cardboard with toilet roll legs we made a bed. I also found some left over wool to make Moo's crocheted blanket match her real one.

More cardboard and fabric for the table. A clear ice-cream tester cup with toilet roll for a swivel chair. Pasta lid and foil for a mirror. Berocca box wardrobe. Panodol box for toy shelf.

Are you impressed?

We even put shelves in the wardrobe so Moo decided to cut up tiny pieces of clothing from scrap felt.

One night I had a brilliant idea to make a fish tank using a small stamp container, the label from the packaging which happened to be blue, felt and fabric.

Isn't it just freaking adorable?!

Arial shot...

Moo changed the room around over and over again. We made some bunting, a couch from a watch box and a wall mounted TV.

Bubble also had a ball re arranging the room while Moo was at school. Truth be known I did too.

I wanted to thank the handmade companies who helped us bring this room to life.

I want to see what the rest of the house will look like now...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crocheting to my hearts content...

Remember Bubble's crochet blanket? I managed to finish it before she went to hospital. Most of it was done of an evening and during the commute to and from school in the morning and afternoon.

While we were hospital I continued working on another massive granny square blanket for Moo. Hers was made with 12ply wool. It's super chunky, and super cuddly. But boy was it heavy to carry.

Of course I have 3 children and Bear asked me if I was going to make his. I decided I would make smaller granny squares as it makes it a lot easier to carry. He chose 4 colours and I have been crocheting 3 colours per square randomly.

I am absolutely ecstatic that all 3 children will have their very own crocheted rug which their Mummy made for them.
I love making memories, especially ones which continue to follow them through life.

This pile has since tripled.

I am not too sure what colour I am going to join the squares in or how I will join them as crocheting is still very new to me. If you have any suggestions... or just a random comment it will all be very appreciated.

What has been your most recent memory maker?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Little Jelly Bean...

Bubble was in surgery for 8 hours.
ICU for 24 hours.
On the ward for 6 days.

During this time she showed remarkable strength.

Day 5 in hospital.

This is the day that Bubble could finally open her eyes after being swollen shut. She wanted to get out of bed, play with Moo and Bear and explore all the things she hadn't seen but knew were around her.

This is the day we had waited for since giving her kisses 5 days before.

Her bandages came off the following day and she came home with a full head of hair.

It's been 6 weeks since her operation. She has been one very happy little jelly bean with no problems at all. In total she has 61 stitches in her head (I know because I counted them...twice).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Love and energy...

This little girl is having a life changing operation today.
We have never been through anything this massive in our family before.
The only time spent in hospital was when I had Moo, Bear and Bubble but I didn't even stay over night.

We hope there is enough love and happy energy to help get our family through some of the sad times. I am not sure when we'll back to blogging but I hope it isn't too long.

Love and light Steph

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Family fun in the sun...

Some fun for the family before Bubble's operation.

Rolling down hill...

Covering ourselves with sand...

Walking along cool walls...

Knitting and sand do mix...

Kissing giant lips...