Wednesday, 31 December 2014

While Waving Goodbye

It is that time of the year once again that we are able to say goodbye to a year and welcome a brand new one. Most likely, we have been who we are throughout the year and we will be who we have been tomorrow regardless of the change in the year. However, we can take this end of year/beginning of a new year as an opportunity to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses, have more organised thoughts and plans for our personal and professional future and take a breath and share our best wishes with our families, friends, and even strangers. It is also a reminder that regardless of what one has gone through, life continues on and will keep bringing on more and more... hopefully including many cherished moments.

Warm wishes to you all and may 2015 bring a healthier, happier, more peaceful and fulfilling year than ever for us all regardless of our gender, and cultural, racial, lingual, socio-economical, educational or religious backgrounds.

Focusing on the positives, here are some of the many beautiful experiences life has brought me, my family and my business, MADE BY Y, in 2014.

The picture below (featuring one of my MADE BY Y bibs) belongs to a father-to-be. When I was sent this photo all the way from Italy, it just made my day! The comment said that both the mother and father-to-be LOVED their MADE BY Y set but were a bit unsure whether the sizing was right. As much as it looks good on him, I think they are right that the bib is a tad small for him, don't you think? Joke aside, wishing this excited dad-to-be, his partner and everyone else that is expecting a safe and easy arrival of their child in 2015.
A MADE BY Y bib on a dad-to-be

As for the pictures below, I took them this morning and they are from a cactus plant that we have in our front yard. We have had the plant for over 9 years and this year is the second time it has ever flowered. It is pure beauty! We have noticed also that they always open in the evenings or at nights and stay open for one and a half to two days. Before it flowers, the plant starts giving a dark round fury/hairy bud around the side on top, then that bit starts growing longer for some days and then it turns into this unique flower in about 5-6 days or so. These three marvellous flowers opened up all in one day yesterday and we woke up to them today! Before this lot, we had four more but all on different days and one after the other, never together.

unique flower

unique cactus flower

beauty in nature

Stay safe and happy New Year!

Friday, 19 December 2014


By Jane Blanchard

There's no other place like home for a child in his or her own bedroom. Children have great personalities and wild imaginations; having an incredibly designed room that goes with a certain theme or fantasy they harbor makes for fantastic childhood memories. Designing a fantastic children's room doesn't have to be brain-wrecking and difficult. Simply take a look at ideas, cartoons and imaginary games your child is obsessed with, and build from there.

Here's a collection of 7 incredible kids' rooms we've found. Draw inspiration from these, pair up with your kid and create a gorgeous daily memory that will last a lifetime.

1. Princess-Themed Bedrooms

Every little girl dreams of being a princess, right? Make your precious jewel the princess of your kingdom with this fairytale-themed bedroom design. You can easily bring this to life in a number of ways. Paint shades in jewel and pastel pinks, blues, purples and other shades can be purchased at your local home improvement store. Getting the bed can be as simple as shopping specialty stores. Rooms to Go, Rilane and even eBay have Cinderella style beds for your little princess.

2. Pirate-Themed Bedrooms

Ahoy matey! Allow your little rascal to live out his dreams of sailing the seven seas in this pirate-themed bedroom. Spruce your design with skull and crossbones wall art, pirate flag carpets, treasure chest toy boxes and other d├ęcor. You can even find pirate-style bedding, beds and decor on Etsy, eBay and cull ideas from Pinterest.

3. Space Theme Bedrooms

Let your child experience the wonders of being on the moon or in outer space with this themed bedroom. Space themes are for the child whose big dreams reach beyond our mere little atmosphere. Design a solar system on the wall, infuse the bedding with galactic star-studded sheets and comforters. Rockets or spaceships can be painted on wall murals or added with appliques. Let your imagination run wild by cultivating ideas on Etsy, Pinterest and Pottery Barn Kids.

4. Under the Sea or Mermaid Theme Bedrooms

As a child, my friends and I were obsessed with The Little Mermaid. We dreamed of trading in our land legs for sea legs and being completely immersed in a sparkly underwater world of fun and excitement. You can design a beautiful underwater or mermaid themed bedroom using a number of methods. You can cultivate mermaid theme ideas directly from the movie, complete with Ariel, or you can switch things up and make it completely unique.

5. Jungle and Safari Themed Bedrooms

Let your child be king of the jungle with a cute, safari themed bedroom. This is a really fun theme to use, as the options can be as tame or as wild as you'd like them to be. There are an abundance of jungle-themed items for a child's nursery too. Beso also has some super cute finds.

6. Super Hero Bedroom

OMG! Aren't these rooms the coolest ever? Who doesn't love the idea of being a superhero? If you want a superhero bedroom for your child, the choices here are pretty endless. Batman. Superman. Spiderman. Hulk. Wonder Woman.

7. Sports Themed Bedrooms

Encourage your child's desire to become the world's next greatest athlete. There are sports of all kinds. You can mix and match decor and design themes in conjunction with sports they participate in, or centralize the design around their favorite professional sports team.

For more kids room ideas and inspiration visit Modernize!

Friday, 28 November 2014


'Abra-to-gabra' says my 3 year old butterfly when turning a chair into a teddy bear or her brother into a cloud. There are always at least a few of those large straw looking handles that are often attached to balloons that some businesses give out as a way of advertising at home and my kids have lots of fun using them in their imaginative plays or while pretending to be a magician even when the balloons are long gone. 

Fun with straws

Even though they find an amazing use of those long straws as they are, they also sometimes have fun cutting them into pieces too. Of course using my kitchen scissors!

Every day life objects in crafts

They sure make a great team. My son cuts the straws into pieces, my daughter carefully places them on the floor all over the house so that we can see at least a piece or two in every room of the house.

Straw necklace

However, the fun doesn't end there. They both love threading them as well. My son does it because he just enjoys threading and my daughter does it because a girl can never have enough accessories as you may be well aware especially if you have a little girl in your life.

Easy DIY fun for kdis

This is a win-win type of an activity for us. I am happy -as long as they use their own scissors, that is- because the straw pieces don't end up invading the whole house and it is almost totally hassle free. My kids are happy because they have fun while using their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and focus. I think having a jarful of those straws can be a lifesaver even when there are a few of their friends over too. Any happy children-happy mama moment is to be cherished!

 Have a relaxing day!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Spelling the 100-200 Oxford Words

In a previous post, I have shared with you the list of 307 sight/Oxford words that my son's school uses in their Foundation classes. After the first two terms of the school, it turned out that my son was ready for a new challenge. After a discussion with their coordinator, his teacher decided to provide him with the spelling words lists. The idea is the same as the reading sight words; each week, he is tested and once he achieves that particular lot (normally 10 a week but it also depends on the individual's pace) confidently, the next set of spelling words are worked on at home and tested at school the following week.

I thought it may be beneficial for many of you to have this list to use with your children now or save for later. To access to the list, click here.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

RECIPE: Homemade Playdough

homemade playdough recipe using cream of tartar

Just recently, I heard something called 'cream of tartar' and that you can use it to make some homemade playdough with. Did I just make it obvious that I don't really bake much normally? Anyway, no need to get into unnecessary details here, right? 

Well, I found the packet of cream of tartar in the baking aisle of a chain supermarket in my area. I wanted to mention it here so that your search of it is much less painful and time consuming than mine was in case you too have never bought it before. 

The rest was much easier. I also bought my first ever food colouring pack and voila! I simply came home, stored them until kids were at home, then took them out one day and made playdough with my little helpers. I used same recipe on the cream of tartar packet (I used McKenzie's cream of tartar). It was super easy!


2 cups plain flour
4 tbs cream of tartar
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 tbs cooking oil
Food coloring


Mix all ingredients. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes. When the mixture congeals, it is ready!

recipe for kids: playdough

Thursday, 9 October 2014


A step-by-step guide with best-selling needlecraft author and YouTube sensation Debbie Shore

By Shaun Wheatcroft, RedShed Writer
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Plant pots can sometimes look very plain and boring, especially in comparison to the beautiful flowers we often keep inside them. Thanks to this RedShed step-by-step video with craft expert Debbie Shore, you can turn old plant pots into colorful storage pots for around the home with easy to follow tips.
By using simple things that you may already have around the home, such as ribbon, rope, buttons and clothes, you can transform plain plant pots into fantastic storage solutions.

Through this video Debbie shows you how simple it really is, even something the children can get involved with. For more inspiration from Debbie visit the Arts & Crafts section of the RedShed blog.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Landscaping 101: Getting the Garden of Your Dreams on a Budget (GUEST POST)

About the author: 

Maya Pugh is a stay-at-home mom who considers her garden to be her own version of ‘heaven on earth’. When not tinkering with her plants, she is a freelance writer and an avid blogger. She loves to write about home gardening tips and trick, d.i.y. Home improvement and beautification, and other home creative stuffs.   A zealous fan of nature, she is currently saving for a Eurotrip with her husband Aleksander and their two kids. While she calls Brisbane home, you can easily get in touch with her via email or G+.


If you think you have to spend thousands to have that garden you have always envisioned, think again!

While traditional thinking dictates you need to spend a fortune on landscaping, it’s reassuring to know you can actually spend just a fraction of the expected amount and still have a space you can consider ideal.

Get the most bang for your buck by keeping the following helpful tips in mind.   

Obviously, much of the visual appeal of your garden can be credited to your plants.

In line with this, you need to choose well. Opt for plants that will complement the overall theme you have in mind.

Since shrubs, trees, soil and perennials can get downright expensive; it would be wise to purchase them late in the season. This is usually the time when retailers want to dispose of them.

In addition, you can look into getting a few plants that will help layer down the dull areas in your garden. You may also rely on potted varieties to instantly freshen up any bald spot.

When it comes to designing your backyard, creativity is always a key component. 

For instance, if you are looking into designing your pathway, consider using bricks.

Fortunately, nowadays, you can easily get cheap ones from demolition sites.  For starters, you can align them side by side, forming some sort of path wave or you can use them as a brick planter and any other designs you can think of.

Understandably, healthy soil is considered a fundamental element of most gardens. 

That being said, it will work to your advantage to ensure you have healthy soil to work with. Know the kind you currently have so you will have an idea what to do in case it needs some boost.

Also, to further save on costs, look into incorporating old bird cages and window frames into your backyard designs.

In addition, unused tires can also be painted and transformed into a garden art to add more charm and personality to your space.

The plants in your garden will thrive more given the right nutrients.

While purchasing mulch and fertilizers is something you can easily resort to, it is reassuring to know you have other options when money is tight.

For instance, you can try composting as a sound alternative to buying fertilizers. With the help of yard waste and food scraps, you can easily produce compost for your garden.

In addition, you need to make sure you are aware of composting basics, so your plants can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

For many homeowners, this is often the tricky part.

While challenging, however, coming up with a maintenance system that works is actually feasible. You just have to ensure you take all possible expenses into account. For instance, if you have a large lawn and you don’t think you have the time to attend to mowing on a regular basis, make it a point to include mowing fee into your maintenance expenses.

In addition, seeking the help of turf suppliers when it comes to garden supplies and the like will go a long way towards ensuring you will get what you need without having to go beyond your budget.

A garden you can be proud of does not have to cost you much. With patience, ingenuity and a little creativeness thrown in, you can look forward to enjoying your dream garden without having to spend a fortune.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014

We Have Adopted

A two month old lamb
Photo taken on 13/5/13
An orphan lamb. We welcomed her shortly after hearing her story. First her mother has passed away, then her twin sister. She needed some individual care and a place where she could access to appropriate food and care easily. She needed someone to take care of her and provide some individual attention, love and care for a few months, until she could be strong enough to live amongst other animals without the requirement of individual care as much. We have never looked after a lamb before, but we knew we would do our best to help her gain strength, be loved and cared for until she can survive in a farm by herself along with older sheep with some limited individual care. Therefore, we took the plunge and happily opened our doors to her. Well, 'The Girls' (our beautiful chickens) opened their doors to her. She is now sharing their home, which has definitely enough room for even more chickens or lambs. The girls go into their coop at nights while the lamb stays in the pen. During the day, they are all left free.

The girls: Isa brown chickens

The two photos below were taken when she first arrived at her new home greeted very warmly by Mr. and Miss Junior. This was two nights ago. It is believed that she is currently 6-8 weeks old.

This photo was taken yesterday. Her first day at her new home. She can hardly walk. She is extremely weak. She finds it hard to stand up. We are planning on massaging her knees with some olive oil tonight. We did some online search and also asked for some professional advice on what to feed her. It was advised that she had some milk (formula milk for lambs) to boost her immune system as well as gain some strength. We bought her some milk and bought a bottle too but unfortunately, there was not much luck in feeding her any of it. She definitely didn't appreciate it.

The last photo here is from today, her second day with us. For the first time in my life, I tried to bottle-feed an animal. Even though my kids never had bottles, it felt so natural to say things like "C'mon Mummy, it is good for you. C'mon, you can do it, just try to suck it a bit. Good girl". Even Mr. Junior was trying to encourage her, saying 'good job little girl'.  I feel like mothering her. Unfortunately, not very successfully at this stage though. She refused to drink any milk today as well. She slowly chews on some hay and fresh grass and we are planning to see whether she may be ready for pellets tonight. We are all excitedly awaiting the day when she can start walking properly and even jump around with a cheerful 'baaaa'.
Our little lamb

Note: This post was written and left in the drafts folder last year but I didn't have the courage or the motivation to publish it until now. Unfortunately, even after getting some professional help, she did not make it more than a few more days with us. It shook us a bit as a family but it is life. Rest in peace Little Girl!