Delicious and easy Christmas cookies.

As Christmas approaches, and the weather in Melbourne cools (it was 41 C, or 106 F last week!), it is time to start baking the cookies. I have put together a list of quick and easy Christmas cookies that we will be baking and giving away as gifts. I have not included any recipes that call for processed ingredients (like cake mix). Click on each of the photos to link to the recipe !

Easy sugar cookies.

Eloise's Easy Sugar Cookies. Photo by Delicious as it Looks

Adorable gingerbread cookies.

The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies. Photo by louisapont

Linzer cookies.

Peppermint meringues.

Peppermint Meringues recipe

Have a delicious holiday season! A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

Sew cute. Stylish kids’ clothes on a budget. #1

I never knew how to sew. But when my daughter was born, something snapped and I bought a sewing machine. Suddenly, I was sewing baby clothes like a woman possessed. Most of the clothes turned out very well, even if the seams were a bit crooked at times. Unfortunately, babies grow so quickly, that she was able to wear each item only a few times. So, I thought I would preserve the memories here, and also share the sources for some of the patterns that I really liked.

I searched for most of my patterns online. Some were free, some were not. And once I became comfortable with sewing, I even created some myself. Here is one of my first blouses. This is called the Magic Pocket Blouse, and I got it from Mani Mina online. I think it turned out pretty cute with a polka-dotted pink circle pocket against a pink, blue and red flowered jersey fabric.  I am completely a novice at sewing, and this was not difficult at all.

pocket blouse

Another pattern that I absolutely loved, was a reversible pinafore with bloomers. The pinafore was soooo easy that it was nearly impossible to make any mistakes. And since it is reversible, so you get two outfits from one. I made several of these, and gave some away as gifts. You can see the reverse pattern on the middle and third photos below.

pinafore stripes pinafore owls own pinafore other side

The pattern for the pinafore is from Sew Sweet Patterns. It is for both the pinafore and matching bloomers. In one of the outfits I added an elastic band around the leg, and in the other a normal hem.

Please check back for more patterns and crafts. Happy sewing!

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

Traveling with little kids. A few tips. #2

Selamat pagi! Greetings from beautiful Bali, the island of the gods! I am happy to write that this has been the easiest of our many international trips yet, with our now three year old daughter. Nonetheless, we have encountered a few things that travelers should be aware of, when traveling with little kids to such locations.

Bali nature photo

Our first 10 days were work-related, so we stayed in provided accommodation. It is our fourth trip here, and everything was great, as usual. However, one thing we are having difficulty with is the mosquitoes. No matter what we have done, we cannot keep them away from our daughter, who is now covered in giant red welts from head to toe. We have tried mosquito coils, we have electric zappers inside and out, we sleep under mosquito nets, and we have tried all sorts of repellants, from natural citronella oil, to baby-safe repellants, to stronger creams. We have also kept her in long sleeves and pants from 4 pm, and rubbed the repellants into her clothes. The adults have not suffered nearly as much, so we are at a complete loss as to what to do. Our second vacation villa is, except for the bedrooms, completely open to the outside, with no screens, but the mosquitoes here (in the lovely Seminyak) are not nearly as active.

In my first post, I mentioned that you really don’t need to pack your entire house when traveling with little kids. We have packed lightly, and really, nothing is missed; everything is available to buy in Bali, if you really forgot some essentials.

Many villas in Bali have a pool. They are often just a step away from the villa entrance. Ours is just a step off of the living area. Our solution was to install a hired pool fence for child safety. We hired ours from Baby Service Bali. For a nominal fee ($12 per day), they arrived just before we did, and installed a sturdy fence with a security gate all the way around the pool. A small price to pay for peace of mind.

pool fence hire  pool fence hire

We would love to hear YOUR tips for traveling with children to Bali or other exotic destinations!

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

How to… Make teapot birthday invitations.

For my daughter’s birthday this year, the theme was “A secret garden.” We handmade these cute invitations together. It was a perfect activity to keep her busy on rainy days. These are much cheaper (and cuter) to make than buying expensive party invitations. Plus, you can personalize them anyway you want. Here is a brief tutorial for how to make these yourself.

birthday invites 3

Materials:

  • scrapbook paper
  • cardstock paper for the back of the invitations
  • mod podge
  • hot glue gun
  • decorations. We used wooden buttons for the teapot lids, grosgrain ribbon, ric-rac and paper cutout butterflies and flowers.

Instructions:

  • Trace the teapot template onto cardstock (for the back) and patterned scrapbook paper (for the front). Cut out your teapot. Make sure to cut on the dotted line for the front of the teapot, but not the back.
  • Print your invitation information into the rectangle template provided. This will be inserted inside the teapot when finished. Make sure to print it on heavier cardstock, so that it doesn’t bend when inserting.
  • With your hot glue gun glue just the outer corners of the back (card stock) onto the front of the teapot (scrapbook paper). Make sure to leave an opening for the inserted invitation.
  • When dry, decorate with your ribbons, brads, buttons, etc. Have fun personalizing your invitations! Your guests will love these.

Here is the template that we used for our invitations: teapot template.

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.