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Here we come, 2017! It's going to be packed full of great, 'girly' fun, and we hope you'll join us to share in it all!

It's our second year in print and we have loads of fantastic articles, craft, activities and ideas in store for the new year!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Getting ready for 2017!

We're getting all ready for a new year! After much frustration getting images the right size, LOOK! We've updated our blog! I'm loving it's fresh, summery feel.

I think, and if you were to ask the girls they'd agree - the photo shoot for this photo was the best one we've done! It's been such a privilege to see these girls grow into young women over the years, and what a blessing they've been to our magazine.

Be sure to sign up to have updates go straight to your email so you can keep your finger on the pulse here at AMELIA. We have insights into our plans for 2017 as well as an annual, prayerful dedication for AMELIA with our staff and regular contributors.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10 - Pomander of Spice

Do you have a house full of lanterns glowing their Christmas lights?! Hope you had fun making them. Did you decorate them with pencils or textas?

Today, I have something that I used to make with my mother to hang in the cupboard to keep the moths away and help the clothes to smell nice. They make a great little present, too! You could make them tag-team style – sometimes little fingers get sore!

Here’s how simple it is: tie ribbon around the orange and make a loop for it to hang from. Pin it in place. Poke the cloves into the skin of the orange – all over! You might find you need to pierce the skin with a skewer first.

Some people preserve these with more spices and orris root powder, but as a kid, we never did. Although it won't last for years, it will still be nice and fragrant for a couple of months! I wonder how long Mary kept the presents that the wise men gave Jesus?

These could make a quick and lovely gift, or place them in a bowl on the table to fill the room with its sweet scent! A bit like you, with all the Christmas joy you are bringing to your little corner of the world, sweetening with a beautiful aroma!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9 - Christmas House Lantern

I could imagine that as Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, there were lights shining from inside all the houses. And, when I think of a traditional, Victorian Christmas, I think of the soft glow of light shining out of those quaint little houses.

So, we couldn’t help but make a cute little house that can shine its Christmas glow!

Simply print off this printable here onto light card, cut out on the cutting line, join the sides and tabs with glue, then glue on the extra decoration!

Pop a little battery-operated tea-light candle inside so it can shine out the windows! You could maybe make a whole row of these little houses, or draw on your own details.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 8 - Spicey Wise Men Gift

Seeing the star, the wise men, who had studied the prophecies, set out to find the newborn King. Among their belongings and supplies were gifts to give the King. These were gifts given to those of royal birth. Can you remember what they were? Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Some believe these gifts had special significance: gold for His kingship, frankincense for His priestly role and myrrh for His embalming when He died. The wise men must have been so excited to finally find the King they had searched for. Have you found The King? Are you excited about it? Don’t you want to share that joy with someone else?

We all know what gold is! Frankincense and myrrh are both resins from trees. You might not be able to give these as a gift to someone else, but you can give them a gift of spices!

Put together in a jar:
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of whole cloves
A few star anise
2 whole nutmeg
Some dried ginger
1 Tablespoon cardamom pods

Spices need to be heated to release their aroma, so to fill your house with the smell of Christmas, place the contents of the jar into a saucepan, cover with water and heat to a simmer.

This would make a great gift – simple and easy!

‘… they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.’ Matthew 2:9-11

Monday, 19 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7 - Gingerbread Man Ornament

Gift-giving doesn’t need to be expensive or something large. I think some of the nicest gives are the ones that are hand-made. Here’s a simple little one that would be easy to make a number of at one time. Great for friends, teachers, Sabbath School leaders or to decorate your Christmas tree with.

Make a batch of your favourite gingerbread recipe and cut out little gingerbread men.

While they’re baking in the oven, get a clear, plastic ornament (you can find some in craft stores, or we picked this one up in the after-Christmas sales last year!). If you have one like ours, carefully cut almost completely around it with a stanley knife (only an adult should do this) – leaving a bit connected to act as a hinge. Glue some string or ribbon to tie it closed with, and then decorate the cut edge on one side.

Use the recipe below to make some royal icing. Place the royal icing in a piping bag, and decorate the gingerbread man – give him a face, some hands and feet, even some buttons!

Once the icing is dry, place a large amount of it in the bottom of the ornament and stand the gingerbread man in it. You may need to hold him there (or prop him up) until the icing is nearly set.

And there you have it! A little gingerbread man gift! And as you give this gift, think of how the wise men brought their gifts to baby Jesus.

Tomorrow, you'll need some whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and a jar!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6 - Movie Night!

It’s become tradition in our home to have a movie night on Saturday night. Last night, though, we were involved in a big Christmas concert so we’re doing it tonight instead! And it’s worked out well – I think I might be rather tired after just getting through the last week of school and a concert!

And, Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching at least ONE soul-lifting, joyful Christmas movie! So, today, why not plan to watch a movie together tonight!

What movie will you watch? The top of my Christmas movie list is always White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. After watching them I’m left with a sense of Christmas, maybe some tears (!) and a happy, joyful soul – remembering what Christmas should be about – sharing love and family – not about getting what’s on your Christmas list.

Add a special touch to the night and make some donut popcorn (see recipe below) and spiced hot chocolate (just add a pinch of cinnamon and make the hot chocolate with hot milk instead of water for a smooth, creamy hot chocolate!).

After (or during!) the movie, have a chat about how you can bring those same Christmas feelings of joy to those around you. Jesus was born to bring joy – to show us the wonders of heaven. Share the joy around this Christmas.

'I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.' John 15:11

12 Days of Christmas - Day Five - The Christmas Story

You can’t possibly go through Christmas without reading the story of the first, most wonderful Christmas, when Jesus was born! I don’t know about you, but it gets me teary every time I read it!

So, snuggle up with your precious girl and have a read. You could take turns reading, or let her pick a person in the story and read what they said while you narrate the rest. Really try to imagine what it was like back then, think about what might have been happening in heaven (how joyous those angels would have been!).

The story is found in Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 2:1-20. Or find a book that tells the story with beautiful pictures.

Talk about it afterwards. What does the story change in your life? How does it make you feel?

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6

Friday, 16 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4 - RANDOM ACTS OF CHRISTMAS

Are you ready to bring a Christmas spirit to your little corner of your neighbourhood?! Today’s activity isn’t a craft – it’s a random act of Christmas! Here are some ideas, or you might come up with some ideas of your own!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3 - Snowflake Pom Pom

How did your snowflakes turn out yesterday? What have you done with them? Did you save some for today?
Today, we’re going to turn some of those lovely snowflakes into a pom-pom. And it’s so easy you’ll be making piles of them in no time! And, having great mummy-daughter time together – there’s something about busy hands in company that makes way for comfortable deep and meaningfuls!

  • All you need to do for your pom-pom is make two stacks of six snowflakes.
  • Push a split pin through the centre of one stack and spread it open about halfway on the back of the stack. Do the same with the other stack.
  • Starting at the top of one stack, pull the first snowflake up gently and give it a bit of a squeeze around the centre. Pull up the second snowflake and do the same, but don’t squeeze quite so tight. Then do the same for the third.
  • Flip the stack over and repeat for the remaining 3 snowflakes.
  • Do that all again with the second stack.
  • Now, imagine you are going to create a cross-shape with the two stacks (with them turned on their sides).
  • Tie some string around the split pin in the middle of one stack, then around the split pin of the other stack. Leave the tail of string to use for hanging.
  • Fluff out the snowflakes so the pom-pom looks like a ball.
Isn’t it pretty?! And just think, each one of the snowflakes there is beautiful just because there is not another single one like it!

There’s a splendour in this collection of unique snowflakes, that reminds me of groups of friends, or families or communities. Each snowflake is important in bringing its unique qualities to add to the beauty of the group. Much the same way that you do.

God loves you so much He made you unique. And He wants to see your beauty shine out when you are with others. Could your Christmas present to God this year, be you shining your individual uniqueness, adding to the beauty around you, to make the world a brighter place?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day Two - PAPER SNOWFLAKES

Do you remember doing these? There are just some things that are so simple, yet are still fun to do years later, and this is one of them!
  • Take a piece of paper cut into a square.
  • Fold it in half, then like a pie slice into thirds (this gives a true snowflake look!). Then in half again.
  • Cut shapes out of the folded edges – keeping in mind that you are cutting out only half of the shape.
  • Open it out, and there you have it! A beautiful, unique snowflake!
Pretty it up with a touch of glitter or glitter glue on the edges.
Fill a window with them taped to the glass (or use blu-tac), or hang them from your ceiling!
Here’s a hint: save some for tomorrow, as well – you’ll need at least 12 the same size!
Did you know that each snowflake is unique. There is not one that is the same as the other. So, why does God love you so much that He would send Jesus to be born here that first Christmas? One reason is that He made you. He made you as the only one of you ever to exist. And He has made you for a reason. Be that reason this Christmas. Put your passions, interests and talents to the best use you can. Others will see that spark in you and you’ll make a Christmas difference in the world around you!
'For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!' Psalm 139:13,14

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas - Day One- Washi Tape Card

'I'm dreamin' of a white Christmas, with every Christmas card I write ...' It's one of those classic Christmas songs, isn't it? I love it!  And it's so true - we associate Christmas with cards. Here's a simple start to our 12 Days of Christmas - a little washi tape card!

Take some cardboard and cut to size. You could make a flat card, or a folded one.

Cut a strip of washi tape and trim one end as you would trim the end of a ribbon, with a little 'v'.

Place the tape on the cardboard - don't worry about it going over the edge.
Add a couple more strips of washi tape.
Trim the washi tape at the edge of the card.

Hot glue buttons on the end of the washi tape strips.

Why not listen to some Christmas music while you're making this. You could make a whole set of cards, ready to use when you think of who to send them to. Use this card to let someone know how much you appreciate them.

Christmas is all about love. It started with God’s love for us. He loved YOU so much, that He did all He could do to make sure YOU can spend eternity with HIM. He gave up His own son, to come and live here. Jesus was born, just like you and me, but He lived out His life showing us just what God is like. He loved all those around Him. And He did all He could do to show that love. Christmas is a celebration of the greatest love we could ever experience.

At Christmas time we make the most of this opportunity to let people know we're thinking of them, or to catch up and let them know what we've been up to. But we can also turn this into a time to bring real heart-joy to someone by telling them how much they mean to us. Share some of the love of Christmas - the love of Jesus, by making someone feel special and cared for.

With your daughter, write a list of people you'd like to share Christmas joy with, and write your newly-made cards to them. You could even pop them in the post - we so rarely receive letters in the mail, it makes it kind of special when we do!

'Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.' 1 John 4:7

Monday, 12 December 2016

12 Days of Christmas Starts Soon!

Planning on joining us for our 12 Days of Christmas? We get started TOMORROW! Simply keep an eye out for a post here on our blog and facebook page. To make sure you don’t miss out, you can subscribe to our blog to have each post emailed to you!

To get ready for tomorrow, you might want to collect some plain cardboard, washi tape (Christmas style if you have some) or ribbon, button, scissors, hot glue and a hole punch.

Set aside some time so you’re not too distracted by other things, keep some table space clear and set up all that you’ll need ahead of time.

It's going to be great, Christmassy fun with the special girl in your life!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A sticky craft!

I know, it sounds like the start of a ‘Dad-joke’, but I couldn’t help myself! I had so much fun making some of the 'props' used in our current issue (Spring 2016), that I just had to share how to do them yourself. Here's the first of a few to come!

Sticks and branches can add interest to any room, especially ones that are painted or covered in fabric. Maybe even having extra bits added to them like flowers or leaves, can add an extra touch. Don’t you just love that earthy touch to a room, but like it to look clean and fresh?

Covering a stick with fabric is very easy.

First, pick what fabrics you want to use. Cotton, woven fabrics work best, and they offer a wide range of prints and colour. Choose colours/prints that coordinate well together.

Cut the fabric into strips 2.5 cm wide. They can be a little awkward to use if they are too long (they start to tangle up as you wrap!), so keep them short – no more than about 30-40 cm long.

Begin by dotting the stick with a little hot glue and placing one end of the fabric over the dot, so the fabric will start to wrap on an angle.

Wrap the fabric around the stick, dotting with glue every wrap or two. Overlap the fabric strip about half-way over the previous wrap, so that there is good coverage of the stick and your print/colours show up well.

If you come to a join in the branches, you may need to be a little creative in wrapping to cover all of the stick in fabric.

Keep wrapping until you come nearly to the end of a branch. Cut a short strip of fabric (in the same fabric the outer edge of the branch is covered in), cover the end of the branch with hot glue, and glue the short strip over the end of the branch.

Finish wrapping the branch in fabric and snip off any excess fabric, making sure it is glued down well.

Cover all of the branch/stick with fabric.

To anchor it, attach it to a wall, or if you want it to be more free-standing, place it in a jar filled with pebbles or rice (if the jar is tall and deep, you may need to place the branch in first, then add the pebbles).

You could use your branch to hang things off of, to leave notes on, or to just look pretty in your room!

PS - and if you're young, just remember to be very careful with hot glue, and ask an adult to keep an eye on you while you use it!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Spring has sprung!

Along with the newness that Spring brings, we have a new issue out!

You're going to love the little unexpected extras throughout this issue, along with the pretty colours and light feel about it!
And, our staff are up to new things, too! Our graphic designer has turned mail-room girl, posting off magazines while I'm overseas. Even my mum has become delivery girl for those few that get dropped off at our church! Thanks, you two.

To subscribe, simply go to the link here. All new subscriptions will receive a copy of each back issue of 2016.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Girly time with the sisterhood of family

Do you have any plans for the holidays yet? Some of my kids are happy to just veg out at home, while there are those who want to be 'doing'! And a mix of both can be great for holidays, especially these shorter ones in the cooler months. I'll admit, I'm a 'do-er', so even a day puddling around at home is spent repainting furniture, organising a cupboard long left to cluttering, sewing or gardening. These are great opportunities to spend time with your kids. And of course, there's cousins to come over and play with (we are blessed to have so many that live close by)!

Our family has a wonderful annual tradition that connects the women/girls of the family. Every year we head off to the big Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney. It's a beautiful mix of generations - grandma, aunt, nieces, cousins and even a 'baby' cousin this year! Our girls have been going with us since they were babies, and this year, they were just at the age (nearly 11 years old) where it was a day they seemed to have grown into. The interactions between the younger girls and the older women were something special to be a part of. We saw our girls acting as caregiver and babysitter to a younger cousin, they were inspired by the various crafts and skills they saw demonstrated (and got to have a go at), chats over lunch and a morning cuppa, the long train ride there and back home ... I walked away feeling like it had been a day where relationships were deepened, not just a day of inspiration!

So, what was so great about all of that?
1 Deepening relationships - After reading Steve Biddulph's facebook post from 24 May 2014, I was reminded that my role as an aunt is very important. Here he noted two main factors in the deterioration of young girls' mental health were the over-sexualisation girls are bombarded with, and the disappearance of adult women in their lives. Today's girls spend 80% LESS time with older women in their families, than previous generations!! Do you remember all the time you spent with your aunt, grandma, older cousins? I do! And I look back at those with great fondness, and the women who spent that time with me, are still significant in my life today! I want that for my daughter, and my nieces! In fact, I'd decided that these holidays, despite all I felt I needed to do to catch up on life, I would make an effort to do more 'auntie' stuff. My nephews are having a sleep over. Of course, there was the craft fair, too.

2 Sharing time over the skills you enjoy - Out of the craft fair, grew something I wasn't expecting. I've done sewing with nieces before. I spend time doing crafty things with my daughter. But, at the craft fair, I realised how important it was to the little girls, that I was interested in sharing my skills and passions with them. We saw beautiful handbags all through the craft fair, so I suggested that we buy a few small treasures, and then spend a day making a bag each during the holidays. The following day my niece asked her mum if she could have the day off school to come to my place to sew her bag! Do you have skills or passions you could share with a niece or young girl in your life? It may seem even mundane to you, but the sheer fact of taking time out to be with them speaks volumes of the value you place on them being part of your life. And one thing I've found as a Home Ec teacher, is that kids open up and share while their hands are quietly busy. This is a chance to discuss those really important life topics, and you'd be surprised at how easily it is the children who open up these conversations when they are quietly working by your side!

3 Glimpses into the inner beauty of your girls - I loved watching my daughter and niece throughout the day. How often do we get a chance to just be observers of our children? My heart was warmed to see their manners in action, their kindness and generosity with each other and with their young cousin, their excitement and enthusiasm over simple things (cute dolls, crafts they'd like to try, even the jellyfish they saw in the harbour as we walked past!), their imaginations ticking away as to the possibilities they could see (along with that attitude of - 'I can do it'). And to not just see these, but to speak to the girls about how I loved seeing their inner beauty.

So, what might you do these holidays to spend time with the young girls in your life?
Here are some ideas:
  • Visit a local historical house - great opportunities to look at beautiful china, dresses, old-fashioned anything! And, chat about what it was like being a girl growing up back then, how it is different now ..
  • Bake at home - go through recipe books together and pick out your baking (and it could even be part of the fun, to go to the shops for any special ingredients that might be needed), and spend a day inside baking.
  • Window shop at your local handcraft markets, or a 'funky' mall - enjoy the moments of dreaming together of what you'd like to buy, the inspiration you have of how you could decorate your room, or even ideas of what you could go home and make!
  • Do an op-shop crawl - set a budget - it might only be a few dollars each, and see what treasures you can find at a few different op-shops.
  • Take a train trip or a ferry ride - not just to get to a destination, but for that to be the main purpose of the trip! On a cold winter's day, it can be fun to rug up and be outside. You could even stop at a cafĂ© at the other end for a hot cuppa, before making your way back home. There's bound to be interesting sights and quiet moments for conversation. In NSW with the Family Sunday Funday train tickets, this can be reasonably cheap, and a great option for the whole family to be a part of!

Do you have any other great ideas? You might even want to plan ahead for some of them, so you're not distracted by washing that needs doing, or rooms that need tidying! We hope your holidays are full of wonderful connectedness with the women in your family and social network!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

It's busy, busy, busy for us this month! Our launch last weekend, and then off to the NNSW Big Camp!

A great big THANK YOU to all those who came and supported us at our launch! It was a wonderful morning, and we hope you all enjoyed it!

For those who didn't make it, we celebrated our first upcoming year in print with a craft for everyone to do, a facebook interaction, taking a photo with a life-size Amelia paperdoll, and some 'tricks' performed by Andy Matthes!

Tammy, our regular pets contributor, even had two bunnies for the kids to walk around with and hold!

We'll have some more photos to share later.

If you're coming to Big Camp, we'll see you there! Make sure you pop in and say 'hi' during Super Sunday and do a craft with us!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Woven in time

Ever tried your hand at weaving? I've always enjoyed it, and been fascinated with all the different weaving techniques. Nothing fancy, mind you - I've just never had the time to learn that! I think what has attracted me most to weaving is that you're actually creating your own fabric! Even if you're using old fabrics to weave with, a completely new, original, unique fabric is made.

From small to large, any weaving project is going to take time and care. Not only is there the planning, gathering your resources and organising your space. The weaving process itself is laborious. If you were to weave something for someone else, how often do you think your mind would wander to thoughts of them, while your hands slowly worked away.

And, it's that kind of image that comes to mind when I read Psalm 139. Imagine the God-dreams of who you were going to be, all the little bits He added in make you who you are, before you were born.

We've included a small weaving project, suitable for a young girl to have a go at, in our upcoming issue of Amelia Magazine.

You can subscribe to Amelia Magazine at our online store here

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Crowning Glory

What is your 'crowning glory'? We often think of our hair. But, it is also something that is important or a priority. For you, is it your intelligence, athletic ability, beauty? Or, is it that you are the daughter of a king - God. Think of yourself as a daughter of God, and does that change how you think about who you are, or how you think about those around you?

We took on this theme in our Summer issue and really enjoyed putting together these 'crowns' for a little princess! They're so cute, I wonder if I could get away with wearing one out and about!