Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pack your bags

This is the bag I made Dad for Christmas from this freebie Burdastyle pattern. It was quite easy to put together and is quite a nice size. Next time I think I will embellish a little more, but this is a man bag after all.

The fam and I are going north for a week today so things might be a little quiet around this space. 

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and I look forward to seeing what you are all up to in 2009!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Churning out crafty goodness

There are a million other things that I should be doing, but I couldn't let my most productive crafty day ever go unrecorded. Yesterday I made all this stuff. Go me!

Very Lazy Laptop Sleeve for Caleb's toy computer gift from here via here. I had plans to do something a little more spectacular, but I have simply run out of time.

3 notebook covers from this tutorial again, including little portraits taken from this painting I did a while ago. I have rediscovered ink jet transfer film. 

A simple lined tote bag that I threw together without using anything specific as a reference. After making it I decided I wanted to embellish it, but was avoiding hand sewing and I couldn't fit the thing into my machine. Enter ink jet transfer film again and it now has a little photo of the gift recipient on the bag (not sewn on at all, so we'll see how the fusible interfacing holds up...

A little dolly peasant top from this tutorial. Which I did take a picture of, but it is failing to upload, and isn't all that important really. 

Hope everyone's preparations are running smoothly.... one more sleep!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Biddy Bags

Hands off blondie, this one's mine.

I read this post over at Edward and Lily and then quite spontaneously purchased one biddy bag. It was quite difficult to decide on just one, but I managed. 

As it says on the tag:

Biddy Bags is a boutique social enterprise connecting socially isolated nanas and mature-aged ladies through craft, economic participation and social networking.

I had come across these bags a year or so ago I think and liked the look of them, but they were a bit expensive for me at the time. But as I have become to appreciate handmade in 2008, the price tag seems more acceptable to me now:

Biddy Bags as a non-profit enterprise, ensures that for each bag sold the woman who crafted it received a just amount of pay for her work.

And finally:

Carrying a Biddy Bag reminds us that the pleasures we enjoy are not derived from faceless entities, but real people.


Monday, December 22, 2008


Queen size quilt is complete! As of about 1am in the morning (and then I was caught up watching To Kill a Mockingbird and had to finish it. What a movie.)

I love it. And want to keep it. But that's a good sign, right? It wasn't all that difficult to make in the end, just very time consuming. It isn't perfect, but then, who is?

I can't speak highly enough of the technique for backing and tying the quilt here. It is a lot less painful than I would imagine machine quilting something this size, and the chenille backing is wonderfully soft and comfy. 

I am all glowing now. And need to clean the house. It has been a bit neglected these past few days...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eye Spy... a bit of bling

I went all literal with this week's eye spy. I don't really get into bling on my person, but I do have a rather nice diamond that I always wear. This is my engagement ring. Chris gave it to me when he proposed atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge at dusk. 

He did the whole thing very properly, calling ahead to let the Bridgeclimb people know. He joked with the guy on the phone apparently saying "I know she'll say yes, I've already checked", to which the fellow replied, "Oh that's good we had a few rejections on Valentines Day." Imagine that. It is a looong way down guy, and you are strapped to several strangers. Awkward.

Thanks to Cindy for hosting and Hoppo Bumpo for this week's theme. Yay!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I've invented a new term. It is "quilted". As in "exhausted" or "buggered", but the fatigue is specifically linked to quilting. 

The completed quilt pictured here is not the quilt I have been working on pretty solidly for about 9 hours today. And a couple of hours last night and a few hours the day before that. This is a lap quilt from Bend the Rules sewing that I made pre-blog. If I was smart, I would have made another one that size for my brother and his new wife for their wedding/christmas present. But I thought a queen size would be more useful, didn't I. 

I have finished the top of said queen sized quilt, and it has come together very nicely. Fortunately I have no plans to bind it- that would take most of 2009 methinks. I have a vintage chenille bedspread that I am going to use to back it. I'll tie the quilt too so I don't have to be wrangling anything through my ailing machine. Oh, she will need a service after Christmas.

I will post the finished quilt hopefully in the next few days. I kept thinking of corny marriage metaphors whilst sewing, you know, like how sewing a quilt is like a marriage. Maybe I'll share those thoughts later. So cheesy.

I'm quilted. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's brown (and silver) and sticky?

We are sorta fans of Ikea in this household  and the most recent catalogue had a photograph of a bunch of sticks hanging upside down as the Christmas tree, complete with presents underneath. Caleb and I thought it was pretty cool and decided we would do it. I forgot about it, then half remembered and truthfully hoped Caleb might forget, but Caleb never forgets. I spray painted the sticks silver (actually only half sprayed them as my creative director was insisting they only needed to be painted on one side.) Then I tied them together in a bunch (which I could have done better had I known anything at all about knot tying) and hung them from a hook that was already in his room. 

When we made it he declared, "When Daddy gets home, he won't believe his eyes!!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tutu crisis

I had another fairy singlet and tutu on the to do list for Christmas, this time for my Jemima. WIth the way our evening worked out (with children resisting sleep and the like) I didn't get started until late-ish. At one point I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the word "ghoul" came to mind with my red tired eyes and mascara smudged into the bags under my eyes. Pretty.

The wings are a bit wonky, but I love the vintage sheet and the colour yellow. And the sheet is so soft. 

I couldn't help but show her the tutu this morning, and she cried and said "take it" which is the opposite of "have it". In other words, don't come near me with that tutu, woman.

Oh well.

I read this post over at The Bird Bath and I agree, fairy costumes ARE scratchy and my "all about comfort" toddler has probably already figured this out...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thankyou Saffron Craig

Do yourself a favour and check out Saffron Craig. She designs beautiful contemporary fabric that is hand printed. At the moment she is giving away a free fat quarter simply for signing up to her newsletter. Win win. This is the fat quarter I received. I think it will end up straight in my brother and sister in law's quilt as it is yellow. But I also want to keep it. We'll see.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eye Spy... a burst of colour

Chris and I went to Canada before having children. We went there so I could meet some of the people Chris had befriended when he lived there for a couple of years. On our travels we drove by this sweet looking town. Couldn't tell you where it was, but it grabbed my attention and so we stopped to take a photo. That red building is my burst of colour for eye spy Sunday. 

It is a little scene I now see everyday as I have a painting of it hanging in our lounge room. A very talented friend of mine (who has no blog nor even sells any of her work) did this with water colour pencils, and Chris had it professionally framed for my birthday last year. It is one of my favourite things. Thanks for the theme flossy-p and bugandpop for hosting Eye spy Sunday!

Well you're not hardcore..

unless you live hardcore... The School of Rock was on the other night and I caught enough of it to have that spinning around my head while I made these PJ skull and cross-bone pants for my brother for his birthday. I didn't mind. It makes me laugh. 

What I DID mind was sewing up every seam and then unpicking every seam because I had a MASSIVE brain malfunction the afternoon I made them. Anyways, I forgot to pull the middle seam to the middle before stitching up the side seams, sooooo yeah. But then I thought I'd sewn the crotch bit wrong and unpicked it, complete with its double stitching to make it extra strong. crap. But I persevered. 

And how funny am I? I have made COMPLEMENTARY boxer shorts for his new wife whose birthday is around the same time. Ah, couple dressing. Love! His to be paired with a black chesty bond singlet and hers with a red bonds t-shirt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

For the little snapper

Caleb is getting one of those super tough kids digital cameras for Christmas. I am so excited to give it to him. He can do some paparazzi payback. Not so excited about that I guess.

I wanted to add a little something handmade so I put together this little camera bag. I used the instructions for this messenger bag from burdastyle, but resized it. I did the embroidery a few weeks ago. 

All in all I am quite pleased with it. I need to sew on some type of closure. I am thinking velcro. But I am not thinking going to the shops this weekend, so that little job will have to wait.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bits and Pieces

I went to the op shop and what did I see?

I have that "walking through the jungle" song in my head. Does anyone know what I mean, or did I just make it up? It's from Bananas in PJs or something equally as rad.

Talking of rad, Norma has done it again. Look at this little cardy. Aw. And actually been quite useful this being the strangest summer ever thus far.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Eye Spy... something in my garden

I've decided to join in with Cindy's Eye Spy. Could be fun!

This is actually borrowed colour from the neighbour. We are down hill from him so he and Chris put up some lattice and he has grown a pretty orange climber up it. So now we both get some privacy. Before it's construction I'm pretty sure that he saw me in my t-shirt and undies walking through the house one morning in search of my jeans in the clean washing basket. Classy.

This little miss can often be found in the garden too. Today wearing the other of Sarah-Jo's creations. Just lovely.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Black Apple miss

This blondie is for a little blondie for Christmas. 

I am so thankful for the black apple doll pattern. This is the 4th one I have made and I really love making them. I keep giving them away, so we don't have any living with us yet. Maybe next year.

I am thinking of designing my own doll. A doll I can really call my own. Something more baby like and cuddly. I have made some sketches but I am trying to resist really getting started on pattern making until after Christmas. So many presents still to make!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another fairy

I made two more fairy tops for my cousin's girls for Christmas. Jemima came home from swimming lessons and demanded she wear one of them. And then ran away so I had difficulty taking a photo. She was a very grumpy (and fatigued) fairy.

I made these 2 in just over 30 minutes including getting everything out etc etc. I felt like a super crafter.  

And, recognise the skirt Sarah-Jo? This kind crafter made it for Jemima along with another beautiful skirt for a craft swap that I will surely post a picture of some time in the near future. Thank you very much!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A dramatic increase in the world's population

Not only is Christmas less than a month away, but I know of about a million (yes a MILLION) babies that have been born lately. An overwhelming number for someone resolved to give handmade gifts. Fortunately we are also close to Christmas so a couple of "welcome to the world" gifts can double as Christmas presents. Get used to it kids. (My birthday is within 2 weeks of Christmas, so I know the pain.)

A couple of mini ribbon blankets. Using this tutorial as a basis. (But lazier application. A recurring theme of mine.) It would have taken a lot less time if the bobbin thread hadn't gone walkies (the technical term) stuffing up my thread tension. I "trouble shooted" for at least half an hour, including changing the needle. Next time I will rethread the whole shabang before I do that. So, another project, another lesson learned. I'm getting used to that. 

(Apologies for dreadful photo. You shouldn't have to put up with that.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The reluctant fairy

I made this little (very pink) fairy costume for a little friend Caleb's age this afternoon. I've seen tulle fairy wings on singlets for years and have always liked them, and have now discovered they are very easy to make. And cheaper than its $15 counterparts at cotton on kids. The skirt was very easy too. I decided to make a cotton fabric casing for the elastic in the skirt because (a) it looks cute and (b) it should be a little more comfy around the middle than scratchy cheap tulle. I didn't sew the tulle together down the back of the skirt as I think it would look crappy. It's for wearing over clothes anyway, I tell myself.

(Notably the tulle seems to have lost its fly catching capabilities.)

In August 2007 Caleb had a dress up party to celebrate his 3rd birthday. His costume of choice was to be a fairy prince. How things have changed. I had to bribe a very cranky-about-wearing-pink Caleb to help me out with this little fairy costume.

Lucky for me he was nearing his target of 10 stamps for a reward (a green cowboy hat). This "kind" and "helpful" act for mummy, so I could make sure this costume was a good fit,  earned him 3 stamps. A pretty good deal. He was well compensated.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A bloggy dilemma

So I made a gift for my Dad for Christmas last week and I would like to post it here, but I can't be certain that he won't read my blog between now and then. 

While I ponder this dilemma, I will leave you with pictures of my children at my brother's wedding on Saturday. They were very cute and so very well behaved. I was a very proud mumma as well as a very proud sister. The wedding was beautiful - the bride in a exquisite handmade gown which I may post later with her permission. The groom dapper in skinny black jeans and converse sneakers.   

I was having flash-forwards (I'm sure you know what I mean) of Jemima and Caleb on their wedding days and feeling sad but proud. Thinking ahead a little too far perhaps, and making a few assumptions. But once my brother and I (and my other brother and sister) were small just like my little ones, and I am pretty sure the time it has taken for us to reach adulthood has gone by so quickly for our parents. So, I am reminded to savour each age as they grow, and try really really hard not to wish any time away.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crafter's remorse

There was no time to make anything else for Jemima for the wedding, so I did what I have avoided as a new crafty type, and BOUGHT her a dress. I feel a bit guilty actually.... but I keep telling myself to cut myself some slack and remember that I bought that sewing machine and made my first garment since 1989 only 9 months ago, so there will be a bit of hit and miss and trips to the shops instead.

So this cute little number is from Cotton On Kids. Not the best quality admittedly, but super cute, no? You can see the mexican dress spirit is haunting me somewhat. I did consider popping her in the mexican dress I made, but it is still a little big too. A familiar phrase in this blog.

I have no crafter's remorse when it came to the button up shirt and black jeans I bought for Caleb to wear to the wedding. Shirts and jeans with pockets are a little beyond me just yet. 

But I am still a crafty type, there is no denying that, as I have successfully hinted my way to a Ottobre subscription for Christmas. I think this will pose many a challenge but I am very excited about it and am pretty certain the folk in sewing blog land will be a big help if I run into too much trouble! ;-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Op Shop Break

I started my new job at the beginning of the school term, 2 days a week. It is situated within walking distance of about 4 op shops. Work has been pretty busy, but is slowing down with people unable to attend their appointments which is not unusual for this time of year. It is week 7 and Tuesday was the first chance I got to take a look at a couple in my lunch break. 

A nice big wooden button, a little belt buckle, a single vintage sheet with yellow flowers, almost 2m of black denim for $2 (the biggest bargain of the lunch break) and a flannelette cot sheet. 

I am making a quilt out of mostly recycled fabrics for my brother and his bride-to-be for their wedding present. I have taken such a long time to decide what colour to make it that I haven't even started! (Yes this is the same brother who is getting married on Saturday!) I have finally settled on a cheery yellow quilt and have been bidding up a storm on ebay. I will probably do a simple "checker board" pattern with quite large squares of patterned fabric alternating with calico? Undecided. I am certainly not patient enough to do anything more complicated, especially since it will be quite a big quilt. The yellow op shop buy above will certainly feature and I plan to back it with a cream chenille bedspread I bought on ebay a while ago and tie it using this tutorial. 

Obviously it won't be finished by Saturday, but at least I've made some decisions about it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding dress

Well, a dress for Jemima to wear to my brother's wedding on Saturday to be less misleading.

The simple servant dress that I made for her a little while ago seemed to be getting a little small, so I made her a dress in size 3 using the same pattern and cute duck fabric I found at Spotlight a little while ago. Jemmie loves ducks, or at least pictures of them and singing "3 little ducks".

Cute? Undoubtedly. Fit? Not so much.

It's a little on the big side. A little "off the shoulder". That coupled with the colour makes it look a bit like a hospital gown, which is why I am going to buy a nice wide ribbon to make a sash. I'm thinking white. But I'm open to suggestions.

Jemima was wearing the dress yesterday afternoon so that I could stare at her for a while and try to solve the sizing problem. She then jumped off a cushion and face planted into the wooden frame of the lounge. With me standing right there looking at her. Bad Mummy. She has a raised bruise just above her eyebrows which makes her look like an adorable albino Cro-Magnon man (girl). Hopefully the swelling will have gone down by Saturday for all the family photos at the wedding. 

You know, it really is too big so I'm going to save it for when she is a bit older. I have 2 other siblings yet to wed, so perhaps she can wear it to one of their weddings. No pressure sibs! Just thinking ahead!


Thanks Madeline for tagging me! I will play along, but I won't pass it on as being quite new to blog land, I don't think I have a total of 7 blog buddies. (Don't feel bad for me, I have loads of friends, truly.) So I invite anyone who visits and would like to play along to do so- and let me know in the comments so I can learn more about you.

The Rules..
Link to your tagger and list the rules
List 7 random facts about yourself
Tag 7 people (and make sure you check back and see what they say)
If you're tagged play along and pass it on!

1) We have an iMac and lurve it.

2) I am awesome at Guitar Hero on the Nintendo DS. Really.

3) I have a patch of hair in the back of my head that is quite curly. The rest of my hair is wavy, but not like the patch. It's really weird. And hard to get to with a hair straightener

4) I am a preacher's kid. I grew up in a rectory behind the church, said grace at McDonalds and everything. I still go to church each week.

5) I don't own a pin cushion. 

6) Both my children were 10 days overdue. And both ended up being born by caesarean.

7) When I first met my husband he had hair past his shoulders in a curly mullet. It wasn't even the 80s. I was very unimpressed. I was 16.

So there you go. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lazy man's advent calendar

So my house is a mess, I have a bizillion Christmas gifts to make, as well as a couple of birthday presents and a wedding quilt.. but I decided to make this advent calendar instead.

Because I get bored easily and am essentially lazy, I did a 10 bag countdown instead of 24. I finished not a seam and heavily used my pinking shears. I was wishing I had a set of number stamps because then I think the overall look would be nicer, but these will do the job and I wanted to use only what I already had. The fabrics don't coordinate particularly well, but they were scrappy scraps and I wanted to use them.

Caleb likes it (it will involve lollies after all) and has reserved the black bags with skulls on them. So Christmassy.

I used my rotary knife for the first time and am a little unco with it...I had visions of happily slicing through fabric in effortlessly perfect straight lines, and it was almost like that, but not quite. That said, it is easier than using scissors for a quick and dirty project like this.

I was inspired to advent action by this new-to-me blog and this lovely creation. Thanks Lisa!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jeans to a skirt

I borrowed the book 99 Ways to Cut, Sew and Deck out your Denim from the library a little while ago and made this skirt. As a book it is OK, but a lot of designs seem aimed at a younger and well, thinner, audience. This skirt was most appealing of all the patterns to try because I knew I would wear it and it was pretty easy looking. It wasn't too difficult, but because they were wide leg jeans, I needed more fabric than the instructions suggested, so I had to keep snipping and sewing until I had it right. It actually works well that there is some extra fabric in it as there is nothing worse than a wrap around skirt that flies open revealing more than you had planned. This one wraps around about one and a half times, so I feel safely enclosed.

I have several pairs of jeans that I don't wear as I can't seem to get a pair to fit. Word is that you should buy jeans a little tight as the denim stretches. So I do that, and get a pair of jeans that are too tight. Think muffin top. Better yet, don't. 

So then I buy a pair that fits well and they stretch and are baggy and fall down, which has never really been the look that I go for. 

I have borrowed the book again, but really I can't see that I will be making anything from there in the near future as I have a lot of gift sewing to do. Not sure if I will get it all done! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A posty post

Caleb and I got amakin' the other day. He is really into "writing letters", pops them in envelopes and I find them on my pillow (aw). So we made a post box while the Jems was having a snooze.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a little twirly skirt and a pained expression

I made this skirt a little while ago using this. Her twirling skills are still in development, but the skirt is good to go. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Black Apple Doll

I've made a few of these dollies, but this little lass is my favourite. I made her this weekend for a 4 year old girl in my mum's group as a christmas present. I struggled over dolly's face for a while and got a bit grumpy when she looked like a creepy Bratz doll, but I think she turned out quite sweet in the end. I hope she is well received. I might throw in a bright pink (child sized) tutu to cover my bases as the gift recipient is partial to bright pink. I was especially inspired by this post in making this dolly. Emily's dolls have an x-factor that I could never hope to replicate. 

Making doll clothes is so much more fun than I ever thought it would be. A fun way to practice "designing clothes" without using much fabric, and the way it fits is not all that critical. Try it. You'll like it. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A little mexican

Well, I finally finished the mexican dress. I think it's finished anyway. I had intended on doing some more embroidery on the skirt, but the way the pleats ended up, I wasn't sure how it would look. I quite like the simplicity of the current design, but who knows what might happen if I start to feel stitchy.

I'm quite happy with how this turned out, especially considering some of the problems I had during construction!

For some mexican dress inspiration, look here! That's what got me going in the first place.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ads as inspiration

The ad was a Heinz baby food ad- a photoshopped picture of a girl riding a toy dinosaur figurine. I thought is was cute so I painted a picture of it. I quite like the look of water colours but I find them quite difficult to use- there is less room for error I find. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Library Day

Every 3 weeks or so Thursday is library day. Since Caleb has just been getting into drawing, I picked up Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Trucks and Trains. It's a little old for him, but if we both draw together I can guide him through. The train track and the colouring in are all his however. 

I have some arty plans of my own. A little painting based on a sketch I did a long time ago. The little girl figure is somewhat inspired by Jemima and her short hair with little curls springing out from behind her ears (aka "flaps" in my family). Also at the time she also had 2 teeth. Now she has 6.5. How time flies.