Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year That Was

In comparison with 2011 this year has been so much more settled. 

I felt my word for the year was contentment and I feel like to a great degree that is the word that settled over my heart and my home. I came to greater peace and satisfaction with the roles in my life - the mother I am and I am aiming to become, the craft-er and sew-er I am, the person I am in the body I occupy.

In my blog I managed 52 posts about Becoming the Mama I Want to Be, 

52 Wardrobe Wednesday posts and 

52 Make My Week posts. 

All of which have been a great delight to do and none have felt like a chore.

I want to thank you for being on the journey with me this year and I hope you will continue to add your voice of encouragement and find this to be a place of joy and encouragement in 2013. 

Tomorrow I'll let you know my hopes and aspirations for the new year. 

Miriam xx

Friday, December 28, 2012

Good Service

I have done my time in retail and I have this thing about service. An average product can be elevated by excellent service and an excellent product can be made less than average by poor service.

This week we went for a drive to Oxford (rural Canterbury) for lunch at Jo Seagar's cafe. When going to a place that has a 'name' I often feel a bit suspicious that they might think they are all that and a box of crackers or that they don't have to try and impress you because you are already impressed by the fact you might have seen it on TV or read about it in a magazine.

The lovely thing is that it is neither. The welcome was warm, the tractors and toys and play things are provided in a spacious little nook and the staff appear genuinely thrilled to have you there. I like the decor - it's not pretentious and it's not super trendy (everything matches and they aren't going for a retro vibe).

While we were there Jo herself came into the restaurant/cafe she could have breezed through with a cursory smile but she didn't. She came around and waited on tables, she chatted to our boys, she genuinely connected with people in the restaurant.

I left feeling like this cafe is a reflection of Jo herself. It has her name on it and it matters to her that people have the kind of experience she'd want them to have if they were at her home.

I remember having a terrible experience at a fabric shop once and my mum saying to me that service in retail always comes down from the management. If they don't care about their customers neither will the people behind the counter.

You can tell it works in the opposite as well. The staff at Jo's cafe also carry this value system and it makes the dining experience elevated - you feel cared for and noticed even in the middle of a busy lunch service. They take time to make you feel like you are important and to me that is the essence of great service.

So today I am loving good service - the kind you can't fake. Jo Seagar's cafe/restaurant is well worth a visit if you get the chance and you'll find it to be a reflection of the Jo you see on TV and in magazines - joyful, warm and welcoming. With good food to boot :o)

This is in no way a paid or sponsored post I just like to give credit where it is due - not that I'd mind if they asked me back or to do one of the cook schools! *wink*


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Advent - The Final Installment

The final 3 days of Advent absolutely blew me away.

Through the whole of the advent swap I was so blessed by the thoughtfulness, creative talent and heart-felt generosity I undeservedly received from Leonie.

Day 23

This AMAZING cushion. I have such a thing about Suffolk Puffs and this one has so inspired me to make myself some more puff-craft.

and more beads I love

The boys received their final installment of our nativity pieces

Day 24:

The boys were given these gorgeous pillow case covers with PJ pockets and handles for transporting to story telling spots and sweet golden books too.

and I received this stunningly beautiful hand-made necklace (which I then planned my Christmas outfit around) and this incredible hand-made bag - can you imagine the hours and hours of stitching that went into this???

Christmas Day:
The boys received gorgeous books and these stunning hand-made place mats (Bounce has decided it's rather too good for that and it is actually a quilt for his teddy)

and I received this amazing cook book which I have looked at wistfully before

and my own hand made tu-tu/ petticoat. You can bet I am already planning an outfit based around this gorgeous piece of loveliness.

Leonie (ever generous) also sent a gift for The Atlas - unfortunately we had a letter box break in on Christmas Eve so I am really, really hoping it was not in there at the time.....praying instead it has been caught up in the backlog of Christmas post along with another gift that was due to arrive for another family member.

I cannot begin to really describe how special and humbled I have felt throughout December and even more special I have had the pleasure of meeting Leonie and I have her now as a new and amazing friend. I am blessed and blissed!! :o)

Make My Week # 52 - Bits and Bobs

I always find this number 52 post such a pleasure to write. I get such a sense of satisfaction in making it to the end of the year and knowing I have made 52 things during the year.
Christmas Eve PJs
This week I include some things I haven't shared because I didn't want to spoil Leonie's surprises in the Advent swap or I just ran out of space to share because I made something else that week too, or I didn't share because I did them for Wardrobe Wednesday (like I did this week).

So for your viewing pleasure the final random installment of things I made over the year.

I'd love to do a montage of all the things I made but unless I feel highly motivated in the next couple of days it isn't going to happen - and actually just now I'm highly motivated to start making new things for 2013 and to sort out and de-clutter my little sewing room.
Advent Gifts for Leonie

I don't think there are any linkies going on this week so I'm just all here by myself with you for wonderful company.

Don't you love this little sheep? His costume zips from top to bottom at the back....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday - the festive edition

Every Wednesday, Every Wardrobe Welcome.
Wow..... you came to play. I hope your Christmas day was filled with goodness and hope.

 Today I'm rocking out a new festive look. I re-shaped this $2 op-shop shirt.

and this is my new skirt a very high-waisted Cynthia Rowley pattern.

Thankfully I read a couple of blog reviews of this pattern and added the extra 3 inches to the hem and it's still short!

If you'd like to join in today I'd love to have your company. I suspect we'll light on the ground over the holiday season but I'll be here and I'd love to see you too.

Top - op shopped and made over $2
Skirt - handmade from a Simplicity Cynthia Rowley pattern
Shoes - Made in NZ op-shop $3
Pearls - gift from my advent swap
Ring - gift from The Atlas
Glasses - Dotti

So what is Wardrobe Wednesday?
  • It's a chance to take some time once a week to peel off the polar fleece trackies (I have a pair too!!) and put on something that gives you a chance to have a 'play' in your wardrobe, to make yourself feel pretty/ stylish/ like a woman or at least not slummy!
  •  It's a time to celebrate and hopefully to embrace your body however you find it - post baby, young or old your body is lovely and functional and precious and I want this place to be a place for you to see other women (ordinary, beautiful women) who don't live in designer homes on designer budgets with designer bodies.
  • One of the things I love about looking at the way women dress is that we all like different looks and we all bring our own aesthetic to how we dress.
How to play?
1. Link in your specific blog post not just your general blog
2. Link to a post about clothes - that's what we're here for
3. Please add a link back here so other people can come over and see people's clothing posts too - the old fashioned way or grab a button
4. Be encouraging and visit people - leave a comment now and again too everyone loves to get encouragement

Here's the button copy and paste away
Create Hope Inspire Wardrobe Wednesday
See you in 2013 - God Willing :o) 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of God With Us

And he will be called Emmanuel - meaning God with us.

This Christmas this is the part of the story that captures my heart - God with Us.

Not God far away and watching us from a distance

Not God foreign unable to be comprehended

Not a frightening angry God

God with us



knowing us

dwelling with us

this is the Jesus of Christmas

with me

capable of loving me as I am

capable to change my story

able to redeem my mess

Merry Christmas lovely friends - may you too know the tangible experience of God with you