Friday, October 31, 2008

Good clean fun

Caleb did some painting this afternoon. We wanted to pose with his picture for a photo. I noticed the magnet he used and just though it was a little bit funny.

Yes he did.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Early Paintings

I haven't done any painting for months. I've more been doing sewing. Jemima's mexican dress which I alluded to earlier is well into construction. I have endured a little bit of frustration with it but more on that another time. These little pictures here today are the first couple of paintings I finished. I don't know if I really like them or not. I don't know. (I said that already.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pest catcher princess skirt

Why so sad little princess? Oh my, your skirt is filling with flying ants and flies. Weird.

To be honest, the insects weren't really bothering her, she was just bothered this afternoon. But, how strange? The insects weren't under the skirt but between the layers. Must be something to do with the colour. For the record, her nappy was clean.

This little princess skirt was made using the Parksbird patterns from ebay again. Possibly the easiest thing I have ever made, basically folding the the netting in half, sewing down the folded edge to make a casing, threading the elastic through etc, and that's basically it. I popped one of my flower hair clippy things on there to pretty it up. It's a little long and she doesn't like it (I think the netting is a bit scratchy), but I'll chuck it in the dress up box in case Caleb ever wants to get in touch with his feminine side.

Next time I think I'll use bridal tulle which I think is softer? Or make a casing with a softer fabric. And maybe I'll make a bug catcher out of the leftover pink netting for Caleb (!) He is always looking for animal friends.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

3 pairs and counting..

I returned to work a couple of weeks ago 2 days a week after a rather lovely extended period of SAHMing. I am very fortunate that my mum is happy to look after my children and she also goes above and beyond the call and buys them stuff- that's Grandma's code, no? So now Jem has 3 pairs of red shoes. I'm not sure if anyone out there is as interested in looking at tiny red shoes as I am, but there you go.

In terms of crafting, I have a project I am about to start that I am very excited about. I went to Spotlight yesterday and tried to stay focussed to get just what I needed, and not get side tracked by all the crafty goodness.  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Grosgrain Inspiration

One of my favourite blogs is Grosgrain by Kathleen. Everyone in crafty blog land already knows all about her, but there might be some of my real life friends and family who haven't heard of her. She designs and makes incredible clothes for girls, and then... just gives them away. She is very talented, yet so humble. Go take a look- especially the Marie Therese gown. A-mazing. She is opening a shop soon, and I'm sure she will do very well. Read all about it:


I have never entered one of her giveaways before, but I have entered her latest one. I'm not sure why I waited until now. I have really liked everything that she has made, I guess I have felt a bit new to this scene and have been happy to watch from the sidelines for a while. 

On the subject of blogging, I am quite enjoying writing this little blog and how it enables me to "join in" with other people who like sewing. Blogging itself has motivated me to make more stuff and each comment I have received has been really appreciated. It's nice to know one isn't talking to oneself, though I must admit I regularly talk to myself, so why should cyber-Bek be any different?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not quite Project Runway

This little dress is my attempt at making my own pattern to try and make this. I am a little (OK, a lot) embarrassed to allow you so easily to compare my dress with Esa's (from Tea Pony), but go and see. I'll get over it.

I saw it, loved it, and thought, "I wonder if I could make that?", so I gave it a go. The astute among you will see the fatal flaw in my creation immediately- the neckline is wiiiiiide. Yikes. The whole time I was making it, I was thinking, "too small, too small" (yes I am a genius), and then I finished it, and I was thinking, "too big, too big". 

So it falls off the shoulders of Miss Jems, but fits Caleb quite well (as a shirt) which I discovered in the few nano seconds he begrudgingly allowed me to put it on him. Poor little man. Anyway, perhaps in a few years I will finish the hem and 4 year old Jems will have a new top. (I will have to finish all the seams inside as well- I was kind of in a hurry to see if it would work out.)

It was a good "learning experience"...but I don't super-like spending an afternoon sewing without a garment for someone to actually wear. Right away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wedding Bells

One of my "little" brothers is getting married in November. I painted a little portrait thingy of the love birds for their engagement present, and they used it for their wedding invites! I am a bit chuffed. (Please note that "RAD" are my initials, I am not making a bold statement about my ability.)

I have had quite a crafty day today. I made a bag this morning for a little 2 year old friend whose party was ... this morning (nothing like last minute), and a "princess skirt" out of pink pink pink netting for Jemima. I bought the netting online and thought it was a muted dusty pink, but it's sort of a bright dark pink. "Hot pink" if you will. Dammit. Oh well, the foibles of online fabric shopping... Photos of the princess skirt to come on a more pleasant photo taking day. Today has been a tea drinking day if you know what I mean. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bias tape battle not over yet

This weekend I made another Made by Petchy dress. This time for my Jemima. Bias tape and I aren't friends yet, but we are working through our issues and I am hopeful for the future. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Learning to draw and stuff

Little girls hanging out with woodland creatures ain't exactly original, but I was happy with how this came together. Happy enough to hang it on my wall in my little disaster of a crafting space. 

But this makes me even happier: my little man drew a picture today of a person with a face. body. arms. legs. hands. fingers. Did you get all that? I am so proud. A month ago he was joyfully scribbling away, and now this. Watching my kids learn and develop skills is one of my favourite things about being a parent. I got very excited when he presented me with this little picture. I'm pretty sure the neighbour thought I was crackers. Whatevs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The allure of red shoes

I was bemoaning the outgrowing of the black mary janes a few posts ago, but I have replaced them with something even t-bar mary janes. I have been eyeing off these in Target for quite a few months, but they never had her size.

When I was at uni I decided I wanted nothing but red shoes. I had a pair of red t-bar Dr Martens that were really cool- but, and this is unusual for the doctor, quite uncomfortable. (My mid 90s black doc boots were a very comfy shoe.) I also had a pair of red thongs. But that's as far as I got. I am now thinking a lot about buying red mary jane crocs for myself- they have a pair called "alice", and they are actually quite cute. We'll see. I have done enough shopping for a little while.

On a more crafty note, I made the little shirt Jemima is wearing from this tutorial. I haven't quite figured out how to get it to be the right fit yet. But they are so quick to make, it is not a drama to make a few before getting it right. I suppose.

Did I mention I bought Jemima 2 pairs of red shoes on the same day? In my defense these shoes are for a different purpose. These are the "can get wet" shoes for going to swimming lessons or to the beach. I'm not really even convincing myself here... and yes, that is my son standing in the garden. He is searching for "Jo", the new pet stink bug that he befriended this morning. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I didn't make this dress... was a hand me down, fresh from the plastic bag. But how cute is it in all it's fullness?

I DID make the hair clip (can you see it??). I paid $8 each for some (really lovely) handmade hair clips at a local boutiquey thing. I almost ended up losing them every time she wore them, so I decided to google making hair clips, and came up with this. Thanks Amy! I love her book too. I've mentioned "Bend the Rules Sewing" before, and no doubt will again. I bought some hair clips thanks to ebay- 25 for $8 incl postage.

So now I can chillax a little about the hair clip in situ, as it probably cost less than 50c. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another bunny

A very shapely little bunny made from a free pattern by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls.

My blog is fast turning into a little hero worship of the whos-who in crafty blog land. But aren't they inspiring? Yes they are. That's what you are thinking.

I'm so amazed about how generous folk are out there sharing free patterns online. I have made a heap of stuff (that I have been posting here) without having to buy a pattern. Every little project has taught me a new crafty/sewing skill. So thanks to everyone who has ever posted a tutorial. I hope I soon have the skills to post one of my own.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are you going to eat that?

This is Shifty-eyes Bunny eyeing off Caleb's "egg in a hole" (egg fried in a piece of bread with a circle cut out.) I made this little guy using the Black Apple doll as a starting point. His eyes are shifty because Caleb does great shifty eyes on command. 

Shifty-eyes might be a little misunderstood. He may not be shifty- he just might be a bit nervous as his head keeps spontaneously splitting open. Yes, he does look a little freaked out.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sweet Servitude

Like many in crafty blog land I've been following the Sugar City Journal. They make really creative, yet classic, clothes and other goodies. I was very pleased to buy the pattern of the "Simple Servant Dress" from their online shop. I made this little number in a day in amongst being mummy to a 4 year old and 1 year old, despite being a novice who struggles with bias tape. And it's so cute! (Even if I say so myself). She wore it to her Granny's 70th this evening with black leggings and black mary janes (which she has now outgrown. Sad.)

The Jems has real slave potential. She likes to help pack away and is very particular about putting things in the bin. Very. Particular.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ah bias tape.

Very simple and sweet pattern from Made by Petchy. I hope it fits one year old recipient. Having handmade-gift-giving-anxiety. It will be too big I think... It fits The Jems far too well. (She is a well covered 18 months.)

Note to self: Rebekah, despite what you were thinking, you don't actually remember how to use bias tape, so next time go to your sewing book and read the instructions. (I am channeling my Year 7 Textiles teacher now.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Evolution of My First Sketchbook

A little friend turned 2 recently and I wanted to make her something. I started out painting her portrait in the style of our own family portrait, but I couldn't get it right. Then I decided to try out this and embroider my sketch instead. I didn't know what I wasn't going to do with it (was originally thinking a little pillow actually), and then this popped into my head as something I wanted to try. After all that, this is what happened.

Next time I make one I'll sew little individual "pouches" into the pocket on the inside of the notebook for crayon homes. I think it would be nice for the crayons to have a little place of their own, no?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Aussie Pants Paparazzi Style

Yes, I have only had this blog less than a week, and I am already doubling up crafty projects, and yes, they are only bandana pants, but I'm sorry, I have more to say about them. And I wanted to post this picture I took this afternoon despite the sad and sorry state of our backyard. Am I always this apologetic? Yes I am, actually. Sorry.

Caleb has been wearing his Aussie pants with pride since I made them back in February, and they get a mixed reaction in public. Most people at least say that they love them, and many adults request a pair of their own. We met some random teenagers when we were on a picnic a few weeks ago and Caleb was sporting his green bandana pants. One girl thought they were "awesome" and again, wanted a pair (is this some gap in the market that some mum-trepreneur should be taking advantage of?), and the other sneered and asked him if he was wearing a skirt. Caleb replied, "no, they are bandana pants and my mum made them for me." Awesome.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Meet the family

I have had a go at painting on and off in my life, but it has never stuck. Probably because I don't really know how to paint, and never liked anything I painted. I did art at school for only as long as I had to, again because I never felt particularly encouraged to continue... my enduring memory of art is my teacher sitting down and taking over my drawing of an eraser shaped like a cat while I watched.

I did have subjects I liked at school, by the way, admittedly it doesn't sound like it at this point.

My parents-in-law gave me some money for my birthday in January and I bought another bunch of paints and (tiny) canvases and gave it another burl. I have been very very inspired by Emily of The Black Apple. (In fact looking at her blog gave me a little push to try this painting thing again.) Not being an arty person I don't know how to describe her work, but I just really like it, you know?And she takes such obvious joy in creating it's contagious. 

The above picture is our family portrait which I painted a few months ago. The likenesses are tenuous, but my camera did its face detection thing which made me chuckle. Certainly they look like faces. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Giving Handmade

Since starting my crafting adventures this year I have a growing appreciation of handmade... and a growing desire to give my own handiwork as gifts. I do wonder a little bit about how this may be perceived. That is, do the recipients think me a tightarse? Or overly proud of my abilities? Let me quickly say that all of my recipients to date are very lovely friends of mine, and my wonderings are reflections of my own insecurities, rather than a reflection of them!

I made this little apron (many thanks to this), and chef's hat (many thanks to this), for a little friend's 4th birthday. Modeled by Winnie. 

The human mini models in the place were not compliant on this occasion so Winnie got the gig. My sister in law gave me a bunch of fabric she wasn't going to use and the stripes are a part of that package. I have been promising Caleb a set of his own, but it seems I don't like to make the same thing twice as I have been very slow to get around to it.

I have added an etsy favourites sidebar after checking out this from Meet me at Mikes (which is a lovely blog by the way).

I had never heard of Etsy until I saw it featured on craft blogs. I can think of maybe one person I know that has heard of it. So strange as it is such a phenomenon. So many very very lovely things. *sigh*

Sunday, October 5, 2008

(Incredible) Aussie Pants

This is another project from earlier in the year. They are "bandana pants" from Parksbird Patterns which was a bunch of patterns I bought from ebay as pdfs (for about $5) before I discovered tutorials on blogs. The patterns give good step by step instructions with photos and assume no previous knowledge of sewing, which was great for me as I have very little.

I've also made him some green bandana pants and he is a bit of a fan. I've seen some cool cat preschoolers getting about in skinny jeans, but my Caleb is all about comfort.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

First sewing project since 1989

When I was in year 7 we all had to do "Textiles" as a subject. I hated this about as much as I hated sport, and that is saying a lot. I was terrified of my teacher, my sewing machine always seemed to break and waiting in line for the iron to press open a seam was all a bit boring. In retrospect, she wasn't all that scary, but I still remember her lamenting, "Oh, Rebekah, you should be able to sew straight by now." 

Fast forward 19 years, and I made this (the dress, I mean). With a LOT of help from my mum (Thanks mum!). She very patiently waited for me to take an excruciatingly long time to do everything from choosing a pattern (a simplicity I think, but annoyingly I have since misplaced it) to sewing the hem. It has a bunch of mistakes and parts which look pretty shonky, but it is wearable. And cute child helps it along a bit. 

My daughter Jemima wore this when she turned 1 back in March. Not sure what I was thinking re that hair clip. I love doing hair and I am regularly in denial about her current lack thereof. She isn't referred to as Princess Peach for nothing. These days she has more feathery white blonde tresses, but we are nowhere near pig-tails just yet.

Why am I here?

In February I bought an $89 sewing machine from K-Mart and became a craft mum.

I have been cruising the net looking at mainly art/craft blogs for a few months now and have a little collection of favourites... but was feeling a bit voyeuristic... so I have decided to put myself "out there" too, at least a little bit, for at least a little while. That way I can step into the light and join in this little community without feeling like I am peeking into people's lives from the bushes. I will "lurk" no more. How liberating.

I'm a bit nervous about this whole blog thing. I'm sort of a private person but in real life will probably tell you anything- I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time. But I fear putting my self "out there" on the internet. I think I am a little bit afraid of people I don't know. Actually, I know I am. Also there seems to be all this blog etiquette that mostly seems to be good manners, but I'm worried about offending people, so apologies in advance for any unintended rudeness! 

I think this little blog will mainly be about stuff I have made so I can feel like I can say "look what I made" to the whole world, but sticking to one category has never been my forte, so let's see what happens. 

"Red Chocolate" comes from the brain of my 4 year old. When I asked him "what sort of party" he wanted for his b'day, he told me he wanted a "red chocolate party". It was a fun party and the phrase just appeals, thus the name of my blog.

So welcome to my own little red chocolate party. I wonder if anyone but me will come visit?