little girls painting

One of my girls favourite activities to do is painting. Now that the weather is so much warmer we’re able to take our painting outside, where it doesn’t matter how much mess they make or how crazy they get with the paint. And let me tell you, they like to get crazy with paint! No surface is safe (which is why I feel so much more comfortable with them painting outside). It usually starts out sedately enough, with paper set out for them, but quickly evolves into something much more, err, creative.

toddler painting time

painting in the spring time

Sometimes I try to keep things more structured (such as when we do watercolour), but often it’s way more fun to let them do their own thing and get a bit crazy. I set out a variety of brushes, and in this case, they also chose to grab some flowers from the garden to paint and use as little stamps on the paper and each other. It was only a few minutes before the brushes were turned from paper to their own selves as the canvas.

toddler painting her belly

painting themselves

I love it when the little girls decide they’d rather paint themselves than paper. Cause really, why not? They’re only a quick bath away from being clean again anyway.

little girls painting

painting piper's face

“Zoe can you paint me like a tiger?”

messy toddler painting days

creative painting flowers

Zoe painting a rose

painted roses

Channeling their inner Queen-of-Hearts maybe? hehe.

little girls messy painting fun

paint on paper by piper and zoe

painting on a spring afternoon with kids

As you can see, my little artists had a lot of fun with paint this afternoon. Messy, crazy, creative fun. The best kind of all.

xox Amanda

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mismatched handknit socks

Knitting calms my brain. When I’m drowning within my own mind, knitting is the one thing that can help keep me centered and pull me back from the edge. I don’t know why it is, but as each stitch is formed I can literally feel the shift in my body as everything numbs down and I concentrate on the smooth motions of needles and yarn. Sometimes I want to knit complicated things, let my crazy be distracted into stitch patterns, charts, lace, anything that requires concentration and dedication. But when things are the worst, I crave simple, mindless knitting.

I’ve been knitting lots of socks lately. Socks have become my go-to when I need to get out of my own head. The above are about as simple as they come. Basic vanilla socks, no pattern needed, in a yarn that does all of the crazy colour work for me. The yarn is zauberball crazy sock, and yep, the colours really are crazy. I wouldn’t normally go for reds or oranges (so not me at all) but I saw this last time I was at a yarn shop and had to have it. I didn’t bother to split it into two even balls, because matching socks are overrated. Just ask my kids.

the walking dead socks

And these pretties are my TWD socks. My husband is a The Walking Dead junkie just like me, and he sneakily and amazingly ordered me a skein of The Walking Dead sock yarn from Nerd Girl Yarns. I made up the pattern so that they would be just this side of vanilla, and I love the way they turned out. I can’t say enough good things about the yarn either. Beautiful rich colour, and the base (bounce & stomp) was a dream to knit with. Definetly have a whole bunch more Nerd Girl colourways on my wishlist.

the walking dead socks

Daryl approves.

sneaky piper

Piper with Daryl Dixon

Cheeky monkey, covered in paint and totally dishevelled, sneaking in to my photo to steal away my Daryl Dixon plush. She told me “Dis is my boy. Me love him.” and proceeded to carry it around all afternoon and insisted on taking it to bed with her (No, she has not seen TWD!).

newborn set for Skye Johansen

I knit up this matching “set” of newborn goodies for my friend Skye and her soon-to-be-born little bundle. Basic little (no pattern) shorties, a Brambles Bear, and two Evie bonnets knit with i-cord ties rather than ribbons. I used natural undyed merino/alpaca yarn, and Brambles is stuffed with organic 100% wool stuffing.

 mini briar bunny

mini briar bunny

mini briar bunny

Yet another Briar Bunny. Lucky I love knitting them. I enjoy seeing their “character” appear. This one was a customer request – she’s smaller than usual, with shorter, slightly pointier ears and a sweet little pink angora nose.

BFF socks

And finally, FINALLY, the finished “BFF” socks.  I knit a pair for me, and a pair for Bec. Bec’s are striped, mine are plain, both have cream ribbing cuffs and toes. After spending what felt like forever knitting the pairfor Bec I really did not feel like knitting more stripes, hence why mine ended up plain. They actually went about a million times faster too, but that could also be because I have tiny feet. And I only had to bug Bec for three weeks to get her to finally take a photo of hers so I could share.

bec BFF socks

Knit with absolutely stunning (and sparkly!) Countess Ablaze Viscount of Spark sock yarn in the “Fake Your Death” colourway. (Above photograph courtesy Bec).

BFF socks

And apart from a bunch of stuff I haven’t gotten around to photographing yet (Blythe knits! lots of Blythe knits…) that’s about all.

What about you guys? What have you been knitting lately?

xox Amanda

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Spring toddler flowers hair

The sun is out. The air is warm. Everything is brighter, happier.

daisy chain flowers hair

gathering flowers

Our yard is filled with happy daisies. I can’t keep many plants alive, but the daisies grow like crazy no matter how terrible my garden-keeping skills are.

little spring flower toddler

flower crown wreathe toddler

xox Amanda

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Marlowe Monkey pattern by Amanda Keeys

I’m so excited to introduce Marlowe Monkey! Marlowe  is the newest cheeky little cutie in my collection of toy knitting patterns and he is available right now at Ravelry. I just love this little guy! I love his floppy arms, his chubby legs, and his adorable wee little ears.

Zoe and monkey

marlowe monkey knitting pattern

marlowe monkey knitting pattern

Knit your monkey up in gorgeous natural shades, or go crazy with a rainbow of colour combinations. He looks completely adorable either way.

marlowe monkey knitting pattern

marlowe monkey knitting pattern

He’s the perfect little buddy to monkey around with.

marlowe monkey cute knitting pattern

Get your copy of the Marlowe Monkey knitting pattern via Ravelry.

xox Amanda

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Pipers first haircut

Today I took Piper to get her very first haircut. Which I guess is slightly weird, since for the older girls I waited until they were nearly five and eight, and Piper is only two. But I decided on the spur of the moment that she needed an adorable little pixie cut, so off we went. She was soooo good for the hairdresser. Sat there perfectly still and quiet until she was done and then smiled at herself in the mirror.

Pipers pixie haircut

Piper's first haircut pixie cut

It’s super short on the back (ok, so yes, it’s a lot shorter at the back than I asked for…) and then tapers longer in the front. I think with maybe a couple more weeks worth of growth it will be perfect, but even so I think she looks super adorable. Bonus, now I won’t have to brush out a tangled birds nest of hair each morning.

Piper's haircut two years

pixie haircut two year old

Amazing how a haircut instantly makes toddlers look so much more grown up. I still think of her as a little baby sometimes and it’s a shock to realise she’s not anywhere near being a baby anymore. At her age, most of our big kids were already “big” brothers or sisters, or on their way to becoming one. Maybe Piper will be my little baby forever? Some days I wish she’d stop growing so darn fast. Too fast.

Piper's first haircut

Piper's hair cut

She is such a little monkey when I try to take photographs of her now. I posted a short little clip to instagram of her antics.

Piper and Bec

Snuggles with Bec after the photos. My family has been incredibly sick for pretty much the entire past month (and also the reason why my blogging has dropped so drastically) and Bec rushed up here to help me out for a few days. Piper thinks Bec is pretty much the best person in the entire world and won’t leave her alone for a moment.

cutie pie in the window

xox Amanda

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Piper's headband

What else to do on a rainy, sad afternoon than spend a little time sewing up something cute for Piper? Everyone else in the family is sick, so things around here have been pretty miserable lately and today’s dull and dreary weather just added to the blah moods. Since I still had my sewing machine out and ready for when inspiration struck, I decided to have a go at making a couple of these headbands following a Create Kids Couture tutorial.

retro sewn headband detail

classic black and white

The first one I made ended up being too small, but the second one turned out perfectly. I just fiddled with the sizing on the tutorial template a bit until it worked. I had planned on making a bunch but in the end I ran out of thread! And of course living in this small town all of the stores shut early on the weekend so I couldn’t duck out to grab some more. Maybe tomorrow, since I’m definitely feeling the sewing bug right now.

Piper facetiming Bec

My little model was extremely reluctant this afternoon, so we ended up facetiming Best Bec Ever and suddenly her whole mood changed. I love it. She went from wanting nothing to do with my camera to giggling her head off while talking to her Bec (and none too subtly asking her to come and visit again).

Piper headband

I used scrap fabric to match one of the little dresses I made for Piper last year. This year the dress is the perfect length for a top.

Watching the rain

licking the window

Cheeky monkey in the window.

rainy window Piper

smooshing her face onto the window

I am totally in the mood to sew ALL THE THINGS right now. I hope this doesn’t mean I lose my knitting mojo though…

xox Amanda

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Piper wearing top sewn from Indelible fabrics

Recently I was super excited to be invited to join the blog hop for my friend Katarina’s beautiful new fabric line “Indelible” by Art Gallery Fabrics.  With Spring just around the corner, I felt like today was the perfect day to dust off my sewing machine and get started on some cute outfits for the girls.

back of Piper's dress

indelible blog hop little labyrinth

I am in love with these fabric designs by Kat. The patterns all go together so beautifully! My favourite print is the Doiland Gloss Silver, which I used for the upper portion of Piper’s top. Katarina has been one of my sewing inspirations for the longest time and you have no idea how exciting it is to be using her fabrics to sew with. We first “met” when Madison was only three or four, and Katarina was designing boutique outfits for little girls. We collaborated a few times – Katarina would create an outfit, and I would photograph it – so it’s really fun for me to be able to collaborate with her in this way too.

indelible fabrics top

katie top little labyrinth


I used the Katie top pattern by Brownie Goose. Such a great little design. It makes for the perfect top for hot summer days and I’ll be popping her in a long sleeved shirt underneath until the weather warms up some more. It has juuuust enough twirl factor too for my super girly girl Piper to be happy.

apron detail

Seriously loving the colours in this collection!

Piper blowing dandelions

Piper blowing dandelions

Dreaming of warmer days… just around the corner… I’m sure I can feel Spring in the air.

Piper pretending to be cranky

indelible blog hop

I can’t wait to get started on some more sewing projects. I go through stages where I am super inspired to sew, and then I completely lose the mojo for months, and then all I want to do is sew again!

Check out more of the inspiring projects from the Indelible Blog Hop over at Katarina’s blog.

xox Amanda

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Dollface retro handknit headband

I’m excited to share my latest knitting pattern release with you all. Dollface is an adorable wrap-around and tie-up retro inspired bow headband. This is a great pattern for beginners as it only requires increases and decreases for it’s shape, and the worsted weight yarn makes it a quick and satisfying knit. You could make a whole bunch in different colours in no time, one to go with every outfit.

Dollface handknit headband

adorable handknit headband pattern

The cream version is knit with Kidsilk Aura and gives you a fuzzy-soft and floppy headband, while the bright pink version is knit with malabrigo, making for a warmer and squishier headband.

Zoe wearing Dollface handknit headband

I might be biased of course, but I think these headbands are a seriously cute way to warm up little heads this winter. The bands are wide and can cover the ears for extra warmth on those chilly days. Zoe hasn’t wanted to take hers off and my girls get compliments on them every time we go out.

Zoe in tie up retro dollface headband

dollface handknit knitting pattern headband

Piper handknit headband

The Dollface headband pattern includes sizes from newborn right up through to average adult.

dollface handknit headband pattern

handknitted headband pattern bow

handknitted headband pattern for babies

You can purchase your copy of the Dollface headband knitting pattern via Ravelry or Etsy.

xox Amanda

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Lilly as Hermione Granger

Today was Book Day at school, a day to celebrate and encourage the love of reading, and all of the younger primary grades get to dress up in costume as their favourite book character. Our whole family are a bunch of HP geeks and I was not-so-secretly thrilled when after much deliberation of which character she wanted to be (“all of my friends are going to be Elsa!”), Lilly decided upon Hermione.

lumos! Lilly as Hermione Granger

My little Hermione stood out beautifully in a sea of princess dresses and superheros. I was more than a little proud to overhear her explaining to her friends exactly who Hermione was. I was super happy to see a few little Harry’s running around school too! There is hope yet.

I love that Lilly chose Hermione because I think that Hermione is a great role-model for young girls to have. I love that she is always trying to gain more knowledge and doesn’t believe that to be successful that you have to be the prettiest one, but that it’s what’s inside that matters the most. She is brave and clever and doesn’t apologise for being herself. Those are just a very few of the many things that I hope all of my girls take from her character; that the most important thing is to be you, and everything else will work out.

lilly hermione granger book day

lilly as hermione from harry potter

Lilly has only recently begun reading the series, but she already knows allll about them thanks to the older kids (and we’ve allowed the younger kids to watch the first movie, too – our rule is before you watch the movie, you must read the book, which is great motivation when you don’t want to miss out). Isaiah spent ages teaching Lilly the correct pronunciation of various “spells” (so. cute.) and telling her other bits and pieces of Very Important Harry Potter details in preparation for Book day. Isaiah has nearly finished reading The Half Blood Prince (that kid reads at an insane pace, he’s chewed through books 2 – 6 in the last three weeks) so he knows All The Things about the Wizarding World.

lilly hermione harry potter

I absolutely love, love reading, and to have children who also love to read is one of my favourite things. It is wonderful to be able to watch them read books and see them filled with awe and wonder, as they come to me and tell me of all the amazing things they have just experienced in the book they were reading. There is nothing sweeter than the excitement of reading an amazing book, and I hope they always enjoy reading as much as they do now.

xox Amanda

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lilly rookwood

I have no words lately. Nothing is right.

overgrown graves at rookwood cemetery

tumbled down headstone rookwood cemetery

headstone rookwood

angel face on a headstone

headstone details

lilly at rookwood cemetery

Like always I try to juxtapose the dark and the light. Happy, sad. Beautiful, ugly.

gravestones at rookwood necropolis

rookwood necropolis

This place has fascinated me for so many years. I see the beauty in the overgrown, the tumbled down, the broken and crumbled and lost and forgotten.

Piper rookwood

headstones at rookwood cemetery



hidden parts of rookwood necropolis

piper rookwood

xox Amanda


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