November 25, 2014

HIBISCUS - Mason Jar Experience Advent Calendar

Today, allow me, to allow you, to take a step back from the Christmas commercialism. The bombardment of flyers in letter boxes, the advertisements screaming down our televisions and radios, and excitedly presented wish lists from our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and various small friends. 

Today, take a walk with me. And make it your moment, to just breathe. 

Christmas is an enchanted time, not only for our children, but also for us, the magnificent parental providers of said magic. 

Every year, since my first born love was ejected into this world, I have vowed to not get sucked in by the all so blaring consumerism that is Christmas in the Twenty First Century. I've on many occasions failed. 

There WILL be deliciously wrapped presents under our upcycled driftwood tree, the obligatory photo attempted with a sizable man in a red suit attempting to impersonate the ever mythical St. Nicholas, traditional letters written (if not only for the memory box) and carrots gifted for reindeer on long sleigh rides. 

But this year, instead of trinket or store bought chocolate advent calendars, I choose to give my children time. 

A mason jar. Some card stock. Some washi tape. And smiles sided with memories to last a lifetime...

Today I share with you my 2014 take on the traditional advent calendar. It lacks chocolate and small gifts, but bangs with a WHOLE lot of love. 

I came across the idea while stalking Pinterest, merging a few ideas together to create my very own DIY jar full of Christmas love for my own precious small people. 

I have a cupboard full of large mason jars burgeoning out of my kitchen depths looking for purpose at any stage of a given year, which is what I chose to house my finished product. other ideas floating around in my imaginative head space were to pop the cards in pockets or drawers of ready made calendars, hanging them number side out on a wire coat hanger or pegging them off a rope Christmas tree on the wall. 

You will need:
Card stock
A printer
Washi tape
Your chosen presentation vessel (In this case, a mason jar). 

You can find the free printable on Hip Homeschool Moms. Big thanks to Hip Homeschool Mom's for creating and sharing it on the interwebs for us all to enjoy!

Print your cards as per the instructions.
Cut, fold and washi tape seal your cards
Present them as you wish. 

I decided to fabric decoupage the jar seal with a festive spot then screw the lid on, too easy!

I will now admit to writing all the daily activities in a calendar hidden far from small eyes, so I can be organised as to what I will need on any given day. Some of the activities require some planning, such as decorating a gingerbread house or creating Christmas ornaments. 

There are some pearlers in there, I am totally looking forward to watching my children's faces light up each morning upon opening of their daily advent card, discovering what Christmas activity we can enjoy today.

Happy memory making, and while I am at it, have a jolly, jolly Christmas x

You can discover more of Kirstee and her upcycling ethos on Facebook, and also shop the Hibiscus range on Felt

November 18, 2014

The 5 Way Files - 5 Upcycled Pallet Summer Projects

The humble pallet is well, a little bit of an ugly duckling really.  They can be pretty rough looking however given the right tools, a lick of paint and an upcycling idea (or two), they can turn into something really quite lovely.  I've had the herb garden on my list of projects for a while now, and with a few subtle hints of Summer, it's moving to the top of the list quite quickly!

Have a look at these 5 Upcycled Pallet Summer Projects and see if something pops to the top of your project list this Summer too.

Source - messyart
Source - two birds
Source - Today's Nest

Source - HGTV

Source - Pretty Prudent

And if you're looking for something a little festive....

Source - recylart

For more Upcycled Pallet ideas check out my Upcycled Pallet Pinterest board and
Happy Upcycling!

November 12, 2014

Pay it forward - Not Just Cakes

Jill and Michelle are the Mother-Daughter Duo behind 'Not Just Cakes' and we at Pay It Forward are excited to have them as designers of the month this November. When it comes to cakes Jill is self-taught and has been decorating for customer for almost twenty years, for them the best part of the process is seeing the looks on people's faces when they collect their masterpieces - especially the children!

The duo have also recently started making cards too, and came about thanks to earthquakes and wanting something to occupy the evenings - the perfect therapy!

To celebrate you will receive a free fudge with any purchase of 'Not Just Cakes' over $10! YUM! 

Jill and Michelle initially were involved in a family bakery, after selling the business they decided to found 'Not Just Cakes' and incorporate a few of their loves - cakes, cookies, classes, cards and catering. Jill's skills in the art of cake decorating have been passed on to Michelle, whilst Jill loves creating three dimensional cakes, whilst Michelle loves decorating cookies - making a great combination. 

The generational art of decorating was started long before the art became 'it' and 'now', and before there were so many other makers on the landscape. Both love being creative and believe this flows through their veins, after being passed down from the family matriarch Nana Marion.

The duo became involved with Pay It Forward in March and as Michelle says "I think the thing I love most about it, is how the shop changes everytime I go in. I love my time in there, getting to look around and see what new things all the artisans have made. Everyone brings something different and unique to Pay It Forward and the combined creativity in such a tiny shop just makes it ooze 'wow' factor"

Join the Gingerbread House decorating class

The changing and evolving projects the duo work on means that everyday is different "Sometimes we are up working early, sometimes we are up late. I think that is one fun part about us, things are so constantly different that we never get bored of what we do."

Sometimes the duo are asked to interpret a concept and get creative, as Michelle says "We chat about ideas, sometimes search for ideas, but it can tend to be a 'create as we go' situation sometimes. We are always bouncing ideas off each other though - and both of us have different strengths which can come in handy. I have a Pinterest board full of pins that contain ideas I would like to use someday - with a love of cakes, cookies and papercraft - it is rather large!"

A lot of what they create is custom made, with their customers providing very specific briefs to be fulfilled. "Prehaps you could say we are more inspired by products - and what we can do with them. More than a particular person. Our whole family are fans of Duff from 'Ace of Cakes' and the girls at 'Charly's Bakery' though!"

Be sure to pop by the store this November and check out what else the duo have on offer!

Pay It Forward is a Neighbourhood Trust community development project, with support from the Christchurch City Council and The Canterbury Community Trust. Shop hours are 10am – 4pm Mon-Fri; 11am – 3pm Sat.

November 01, 2014

Excitement, trepidation... fear?

So, I'm here - sitting in Cathedral Square on the morning of our first market - and I'm a little nervous. Okay, maybe not just a little - a lot nervous! 

I've got some big boots to be filling here. You may have heard - the last team to run the Cathedral Square Markets had been doing so since the 80's... and here I come new and somewhat 'young' and worried that perhaps my expectations are too different. Perhaps people won't like what I'm offering. Perhaps people won't come. 

It has been tricky getting stall holders to even buy into this market - what if nobody buys anything? What if they don't want to come back?

There's no one in the square this morning, just a few lonely tourists, what if people are wrong and it isn't ready for the market just yet?

I 'think' it is a normal human reaction to feel fear when you want to be proud. I'm not sure that I can be proud yet. I so badly want to be proud of this. 

So whilst I watch these City Care workers doing - ah - goodness knows what - in my corner of the square, I'm busy researching, researching ways to better advertise the market. Researching ways to let people know that it is back and that it is just a little bit different, a whole lot more fresh. 

Hopefully if you are reading this, you make it down to the market today, we will be here from 10am - 4pm (although - obviously I'm here now).

Stay tuned, because you're going to be hearing a whole lot more about this journey of ours x

October 16, 2014

Cathedral Square Market

We are super excited to announce that the Hazed team will be running the Cathedral Square Market when it re-launches later this month. 

Cathedral Square Market is going to be developed into an 'indie market' including a carefully curated selection of handmade, vintage and ethical stalls presented by Cantabrian's artisans. To add to the intensity of the festive environment we anticipate inviting buskers and paid entertainers to actively participate with visitors to create a festive market zone Canterbury can be proud of. Encouraging visitors to linger in the square and appreciate the evolution and change taking place in Christchurch and bridging the gap between the ReStart Mall and New Regent Street.

It's all about quality over quantity, refining the market and taking on the best and up and coming artisans.

Applications of interest for the Spring season are open now. We thought it best to share our ideas and guidelines here, so you can take a peek inside our heads and get a feel for the type of market space we are launching and why...
  • DAYS: Initially the market will run on weekends and high traffic week days - public holidays, school holidays and days when the cruise ships are in port over the hill at Akaroa. Eventually the market will be open seven days a week during the busy season and reducing down to weekends over the winter months. Please see the application form for the initial market dates.
  • HOURS: The market will run from 10am to 4pm on the days we are open with set up starting from 8.30am. 
  • WHERE: The site the market is to be held on is beside the Millenium Hotel astride the tram tracks in Cathedral Square. 
  • HANDMADE, VINTAGE & ETHICAL: Do you produce your product? Do you source your products locally? Can you tell us who makes your products? Do you carefully curate your selection of vintage products? Are you products well priced and relevant? Do your products have a unique point of difference? What are the travel miles of your product? These are all the types of questions you should be able to answer if you want to sell at the market. 
  • CURATED: It's not a huge site, we will only have room to showcase 20-25 stalls per day. We want this space to showcase the very best of Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand to our tourists, whilst also remaining relevant to our local community too. Curated essential means we have the option to say no if something isn't working or doesn't fill our niche. 
  • ROTATIONAL: There is nothing more annoying than revisiting a market and seeing the same set of stalls that were there last week, and the week before that, and the week before that. It is intentional that not all stalls will be in attendance every day, every weekend or every week. 
  • ENTERTAINMENT: We are now taking registrations of interest from entertainers who would be keen to entertain market goers it a busker-style capacity, unfortunately there is no electricity in the area of the market at this time. 
  • WEATHER: A decision will be made on the day as to whether the market will be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. In the event of a cancellation a refund and/or credit will be issued.
We'd love to hear what you think, are we on the right track? Do you have ideas as to how you envisage this market taking shape? And most importantly of all - don't forget to register your interest to become a stall holder.

October 15, 2014

HIBISCUS - Washi Tape

Washi tape and mason jars are one of those pairing that fall into the same category as blue cheese and pears, new potatoes and mint. 

They just work. 

So today I bring you my take on pantry storage, using recycled bottles, jars and a few rolls of tape.

Those that know me, know I shun consumerism. They also know I value our world, and in particular, recognise that the waste we create needs to be radically minimalised, for us to go forth and inhabit our vast and magical Earth space.

That, and I can't afford Tuppaware. 

Our pantry has been given a mighty overhaul of late whilst coming to grips with a sick child (gluten intolerance), and a growing awareness of what is actually in our food. 

I've gone all Mama Bear protective, immersing myself in knowledge and resources, and ultimately, along the way - overhauling all of our diets. 

My pantry was screaming out for some organisation and I needed a clear way of differentiating the gluten containing foods, to the ones that were safe for my daughter to eat.

I have been collecting glass bottles and jars for eons, mostly for my Summer preserves, and since we have made our way through the majority of them over winter, my glass shelf was overflowing to the point of inundation. 

Enter washi tape. 

Together, they make a great storage option. It's temporary enough for me to change some contents with every shop, and clear enough that lunch box making is a breeze for Sailor, and I now feel comfortable leaving her to it. Except this morning when she tried to sneak in uncooked pasta...

I particularly like my Barker's bottles (we may have a slight fascination with their refined sugar free fruit syrup), and the fact that they are tall over wide, and allow me to fit more in my weeny space. 

The before and after photos say it all! 

As I write this - a courier parcel has just arrived a the door - wrapped in recycled plastic packaging from a purchased sheet set (you know, the really sturdy stuff). Now THAT'S what I'm talking about world! Recycling at it's finest.

I have to admit to being really happy with my new pantry, as is my Chef Husband - phew! It's a total environment/Mama happy win. 

Happy Sunshine x Kirstee

You can discover more of Kirstee and her upcycling ethos on Facebook, and also shop the Hibiscus range on Felt

October 09, 2014

Love and inspiration

From the land of the blogs I've discovered a few fabulous reads for you this week...

Over on Little Baby Garvin they're talking about Summer Bucket Lists - okay that's not entirely true - they were talking about Summer Bucket Lists - but they're American, so this post is a little bit old now! Like six months old, but it is timely for us here in the Southern Hemisphere! 

So, I wondered - have you created a Summer Bucket List? I've only just started creating this one, so I am sure it is going to evolve a little grander than what you see here...
  1. Make home made ice cream.
  2. Make home made slushies.
  3. Have a picnic at the park. 
  4. Eat fish and chips at the beach. 
  5. Log off - get outside and don't touch the internet for a couple of days. 
  6. Go berry picking. 
Did anyone else pick up on the theme - that almost all of them revolved around FOOD! Yum! Get in my belly!! 

I'm not a drinker - living the life of sobriety has become very important to me over recent years - but when I spot a recipe like this one, I can't help but think it could be worth a try! Garden Fresh Sangria! Maybe I should add this to my summer bucket list! Yum!

Or maybe this bad boy? A Strawberry Basil Lemonade - I bet I could recreate it as a mocktail too! Yum! Could be perfect after the afternoon spent berry picking that I suggested above. 

Getting outside is one of my all time favourite things about summer - I'm often spend my Sunday's at the park with Brooklyn getting out on his bike - working on my tan - or not, for those of you who know me and my Princess skin more likely to burn than tan! At the moment I have a real affinity with my sneakers - and I'd love to own these gorgeous pink bad boys! 

Now with the sunshine in mind - I'm heading off outside to enjoy it - oh, and hang out the rest of the washing! LOL! 

I'd love to hear what you have on your summer bucket list! x