Dec 18, 2013

Our 2013 Christmas Cards ...

I had such fun making our 2013 Christmas cards! In Australia, most people just send out a store bought pack of greeting cards and write a small message inside but I have always loved the American Tradition of sending yearly cards with pictures of the family on them. There's something so sweet about hanging up pictures of your smiling loved ones and friends faces as part of your holiday decor. As you know we have many amazing American friends and I love to receive the picture cards from their families each year.  So much so, that I have never even thrown out a single one of these cards and instead store them in our Christmas decoration box. It is so fun each year as we begin to decorate, to pull out the old cards and oh and ah over our friends families and see how much their kids have all grown and what has changed! So for the last two years I have added photos to our cards as well.
For this years card I pulled the best of both worlds together with a traditional greeting card AND a family photo. I used this gorgeous (and free!) gingerbread muffin recipe card download from the blog Cook Republic, so I can't take any credit for the gorgeous artwork on the card. But I did add some of my own decoration to it by way of brown kraft cardstock, candy cane twine, a faux instax of us and a small wooden Christmas decoration. I found the Christmas decorations from our local grocery store for only $4 a packet and love that it was an efficient way of sending a little gift to each family along with their card. And the instax frames that I slipped our photo in were from Kmart.
Another of my favourite details of this years card was the button and string closure on the back of each envelope, which we also did on our wedding invites. It looks tricky to put together but it actually so easy and a cute way of adding a little something to a plain envelope. Basically all you need is a circle hole punch (mine was 2cmD), a small hole punch, an eyelet tool, eyelets, string and coloured cardboard. First cut two circles with the circle hole punch out of your coloured cardstock and then with the smaller hole punch punch a hole in the centre for your eyelets to go through (I find it easier to mark the center with a dot before I punch the holes out). Next place the coloured circles onto the back of the envelope where you want them to sit and mark the center of the circles with a pen. Then punch small holes through your envelope. To put it together I place the small piece of string through the top hole, letting the majority hang towards the bottom right of the hole. Place the red cut circle on top of that and then place the eyelet through the center of all layers and press. Repeat these steps (minus the string) on the bottom circle and tada you have the cutest little button string closure to finish off any envelope! Hopefully that all makes sense as I was going to do a tutorial, but I couldn't quite manage to hold the envelope, eyelet tool and camera all at once ;)

Dec 9, 2013

merry and bright

 I promise I will be back to blog the rest of our USA adventure sometime soon! (Oh how I want to preserve the precious memories and share each moment of our amazing trip here on the blog! If only life wasn't so busy!!!) But first Mr A and I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. We hope you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas and the excitement that this time of year brings. We sure are loving the fresh pine smell of our tree filling our teeny home, sitting by the twinkling lights at night, blasting out those Christmas carols and the excitement of scheming and finding the perfect gift for one another and each member of our family. We also can't wait to continue our tradition of camping out under the tree on Christmas Eve and falling asleep with the lights twinkling away. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!!!
Merry Christmas all!!!
love the A's xx

Sep 28, 2013

Chicago Loveshoot

 I feel that I must interrupt the regular reminiscing of our USA Trip to fast forward to the last city we visited, Chicago - the Windy City (although we thought San Fransisco windier!!) and these stunning images captured by our dear friends Jeff and Jess of Jeff Loves Jessica Photography. I met Jess (5!!) years ago through blogging and we have emailed, facebooked, thrown blog parties and sent sweet packages back and forth ever since. Jess wasn't able to come to our meet up last time I was in the States and so I knew we had to meet properly this time. We were so thankful and excited when they agreed to drive down to Chicago (where we were visiting family) to meet up and explore this fun city with us! We were also super blessed by our meetup as we got to be models for this amazing photography team as they tried out their new film camera.

Although I will be putting a post up of our time in Chicago with snapshots of our time with these dear friends, I was anxious to show off these beautifully sweet photos that already grace the walls of our home (the FIRST and ONLY items to ever have been put on our wall since we moved in nearly three years ago!)
 Oh how we love each and every one of these images!

Thanks Jeff and Jess!! We adore these photos and will treasure them for many many years to come! Also we can't wait for you to come to Australia one day to play tour guide for you, laugh and chat some more and maybe have another photo shoot or two ;) Also I really Miss G and need to meet Miss V!!!!
Seriously - thank you beautiful friends!!!

pssst. Jess is so wonderfully talented and creative and has a sweet personal blog here where she shows snippets of her day to day life and crafts. It's such a swell spot. Check her out here.

Sep 26, 2013

The Ayling USA Trip - Part III

 Saturday 15th June. 

- Saturday morning we drove back to Santa Monica for some early morning retail therapy on the Promenade ... Urban Outfitters, Forever21, anthropology etc. Morgan may have had to come in and 'rescue' me (or the credit card) after quite awhile!
 - Then we walked down to the pier to ride ferris wheel. The view from the top was so pretty and the sand and water really reminded me of the beaches at home.
- Then we decided to drive towards Hollywood and explore along the way and I must say that M handled the busy traffic on the highway like a pro!
- During our exploring we accidentally stumbled on Rodeo Drive and took a drive down it. We felt like we fitted right in in our hired Mercedes, even though we were too scared to get out and shop! Such a pretty street though!
- Then we drove around Beverly Hills looking at all the crazy houses and mansions. It was so pretty but I couldn't help but feel sad for the stark contrast between these properties and the homelessness we had seen around the LA area. The amount of homeless was a little bit of a shock to our system as you don't see as much of it here in Australia, it made us really sad!
- We had our first Starbucks of the trip. Oh man I miss my Starbucks - especially those Vanilla Frappacinos they sell in the little glass bottles. I used to buy one everymorning at the grocery on the corner of our street in New York.
- Then we headed back into Hollywood walked around, checking out the pavement stars and sights. We also signed up for one of those real cheesy tours on the topless tour buses. Which actually turned out to be really fun (and cold). Our tour guide pointed out all the houses of famous people (or so he said) - Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, Steve Carrell, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, David and Victoria Beckham, Lucielle Ball, Steven Spielberg's house on the top of the hill where they filmed the scene in Charlie's Angels where Drew Barrymore gets shot out of the window etc My favourite houses were the witches house from Hocas Pocus and Dr Seuss' house (both shown below), which was designed for him inspired by the drawings in his books. The whole house has no corners and is all curved!

a car just like my brother's! which you might remember as our wedding getaway car!

Sunday 16th June.

- We left Venice on Sunday morning and continued along the PCH towards San Simeon, our halfway pit stop on our drive to San Fransisco.
- This was my first drive of the trip and oh wow it felt so weird to be driving on the wrong side of the road! It took a little while to feel comfortable behind the wheel!
- I really love road trips with my love though. Just driving and chatting and singing along to fun car songs while munching on yummy travel snacks. It's the best kind of 'together!' We also enjoyed some beautiful scenery along the coast up through Malibu and other coastal towns.  
- We stopped in Santa Barbara for lunch on the wharf and enjoyed taking pictures of our fun surroundings and looking in the little shops along the pier. I also loved the slight Spanish touches on the houses and street signs and the street trolleys. Seriously, what a charming place. I'd love to explore more someday!  
- We found scary lollies filled with insects - WHAT THE!!! We didn't buy any...
- The crosses lined on the beach and people petitioning against the war on Afghanistan really hit home to me that this war is real. Although our own soliders are actively serving along our US allies we don't see any war propergander at home and it's so easy to even forget it's happening! It made me really think about the families who are affected by it both American (and their allies) and Afghans!
- We filled up car for first time and M couldnt work out how to do it (we don't pre-pay here at home!)
- After we checked in to our hotel in San Simeon we went down to Cambria where we bought a picnic dinner (which ended up being quite a comical meal of two minute noodles, stale bread, mooshy tomatoes and too hard avocados!) We sat in car by beach watching the sunset over west coat and then topped of the night with a few episodes of Duck Dynasty and Trader Joes Kettle Corn!