Monday, December 28, 2009

PJs and Cush

How was your Christmas? Good I trust. With Chris' family bash on Boxing Day, and our church service on Christmas Eve, we had the most laid back Christmas in my adult memory. We weren't due anywhere on Christmas day until about 3pm which meant a lazy day. We had BBQ burgers in the backyard which was awesome!

This was the gift I made for Chris. He really loves TV. We all do. As much as it frustrates me sometimes.

Chris gave me an overlocker! I have to admit there have already been some dark times with this overlocker. Honestly, now I have successfully threaded it I feel like I could be a brain surgeon. I spent a good number of hours reading the manual, watching the DVD and mucking around with scraps until I got a workable stitch. I suspect the tension still isn't quite right, it looks a bit sloppy, but it does come with a free lesson, so sometime in January I will get onto that. It has been great I must admit to stretch my brain a little and learn a new skill, and I look forward to lots of makey with my new machine.

This afternoon I made Jemima a nightie using my new overlocker and good ole sewing machine (how lovely and simple she seems after struggling with the serger). I used the same pattern as with this dress. I just used the 4 thread overlock stitch rather than muck around with rolled hems at this stage.

Must get back to some more relaxing. 'tis the season after all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Caleb wrapped his present for Jemima (a cardboard creation) using recycled paper and his crafty tool of choice, masking tape. Lots of it!

Merry Christmas! Have a great day celebrating with family and friends

Thanks for reading and for every comment and email. It's been fun.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crafty monkey off my back

I am a bit bummed I haven't been recording all my craftiness of late, because there has been a lot of it! Unfortunately Chris and I have lost our camera argh! which makes posting quite difficult. Mum has come to the rescue as usual and lent us her camera so that I can take pictures of the kids on Christmas day (and of some of my crafty pursuits).

Remember this angsty wedding quilt post? Well months upon hours later here is the finished product! I will finally give it to my brother today (he got married in October... oops). I hope it fits in with their minimalist, trendy, brand new apartment!

This was a true labour of love in that if I didn't love them, this quilt would not be finished! It turned out OK in the end. There are a lot of dodgey bits, and I could have done a lot more quilting on it, but I did as much as I could without experiencing crafty burnout. I ended up hand sewing on the binding, which I actually quite enjoyed, so the project finished on a high.

This will be the only single bed I attempt to machine quilt on my machine, so it is a one off in more ways than one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

For Sweet Baby Amber

One of my dearest friends had her first baby a month ago and she is just beautiful. Oh so little. Little dark pink lips, often shaped in a little "o" and a little covering of dark hair atop her little round head. Ahhhh. I am not as clucky as I once was with just any baby, but this little miss is special.

So a special gift was in order. I bought the vintage chenille squares precut on ebay, sewed them together and popped on a cotton back. I tied the "quilt" together. While making it I sort of grew attached to it a lot which happens from time to time, but I am more than happy to pass it over to be spewed and probably pooed on by my new little friend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Makey Crazy

Here is most of the stuff I made last weekend. Gifts for some little people in my life.

2 necklaces from this tutorial by cakies (I have since made another for Jemima, and I think I will do one for me too!). I kind of made up the flowers a bit as I went a long, but I did use this tutorial as a guide.

A doll softie made from a download that came with Parasol Craft magazine. There is also a little brunette one in the works.

A dinosaur softie. I had this idea to do a softie like this a little while ago, and then I saw these by redmag, I thought I'd finally make one because hers look so rad.

Plus a purple "princess skirt" for Miss Jemima, because she only has about 3 tutus... (I am on a mission to crack some tutu code I think. This is my favourite so far, but there are still some glitches I want to eliminate... so I think there will be more tutus in my future.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pretty plaits

I went makey crazy last weekend and possibly induced a migraine that chased me all week and finally caught up with me last night. So today I have the sunnies on and am moving a bit slowly.

I don't have any pictures of all the weekend productivity, so I am posting something I happened to have on hand. Jemima's first plaits. *sigh* Seems only yesterday I was posting this.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fresh off the sewing machine!

Another one of these from Sparkle Power! Probably a long tunic rather than a dress. Not for Jemima, but for a little friend who turned 2 recently. The fabric was given to me last year some time, and I quite like those tiny swans. For the sleeves, I used left overs from the jedi robe, and the buttons are probably at least a couple of decades old, and are a perfect match in my opinion.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dress ups and pondering

I have been hard at work crafting away, trying to be organised for Christmas. It is verrrrry hard keeping a handmade present under wraps. I usually like to do a big "look what I made! ta da!" on completion of an item. So this secret squirrel business is pretty challenging. I can't even do my ta da! here in blog land for the literate among my recipients might have their surprise spoiled.

But this I can show you... Caleb
asked for a "hoodie dress" a little while ago, and once I had surmised he meant Jedi robe, I did a quick google search and found this tutorial. I want this to be a surprise so I couldn't get him to lay on the fabric to get my measurements, so I used my simple servant dress pattern and added the hood and cut and hemmed down the front and added a little velcro attachment. I still need to hem it. I took a sneaky measurement to help in this- I want it to be good to go from unwrapping, not fussing with hemming it on Christmas morning. I hope it fits!

And this is not Christmas craft, and I am also not sure how I feel about it....

I found the veil that came with my second hand wedding dress in a big closet cleanout on Tuesday. I didn't wear it on my wedding day, but the sales assistant gave it to me anyway since she had no use for it. The kids spied it, and both had a go at trying to wear it, but because it was on a hair comb it wouldn't stay put. So I chopped off one of the layers and sewed it to a yellow headband we had lying around and then to cover my shabby hand sewing, sewed some flowers I had made with no purpose in mind, on top. When I finished it, Jemima said in her usual fashion, "I am not wearing that!", but about half an hour later put it on and didn't take it off for about 2 hours. There have been a lot of weddings to attend in her short life, and she is all about the "bride". She even has pretend weddings during her "rest time", that of course have no suggestion of a groom. When I ask her who she married at her wedding, she looks at me blankly or says "Uncle Tim and Aunty Kate."

It's quite funny because I was never "all about the bride". 8 years ago when I was the bride, I was looking forward to being married, but didn't really want to have the "wedding". I don't like being the centre of attention, and it's something that you really can't avoid on your wedding day! But I did want to mark the occasion with a celebration with lots of family and friends, and our service was certainly that. For our reception we had an afternoon tea in a hall in the adjoining retirement village which was just right for us.

I don't want to encourage Jemima to be focussed on her wedding day, but in the end, she equates being a bride with being a princess, a ballerina, a robot or a fairy, so into the dress up box goes the veil!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A new blog

After some lovely comments on this post, I decided to start an additional blog, "My brain popped an idea!", to document the creative pursuits of my children for my own records. You are quite welcome to stop by if you feel so inclined!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bath Mats Revisted

The last time I made bath mats, they became pot holders. I simplified the process somewhat and now I have 2 new (but old) bath mats made from 2 old boring bath mats and scraps from the stash. I tied them together with my cotton yarn every 10-15 cm or so.

Need a couple more to allow for washing days, but since we have bought no new towels since we got married (adult sized ones) I have plenty of old towels to work with... and need excuses to get new ones.

Friday, November 20, 2009

With thanks to

If the result of this giveaway leaves you crochet dishcloth-less, do not fret! If I can learn to crochet this little number, anyone can. I mean it. Truly.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cardboard Days

We had a self imposed quiet day at home today. Caleb has a fairly mild cold, but started to sound wheezy yesterday, so off to the doctor we went. He is now the proud (yes, he really is) owner of his very own puffer and spacer. He is much better today, but I just felt like the 3 of us needed a break.

The best thing about these long days kicking about at home is the kids always come up with some creative pursuit or another. (The worst things are the peeling screams of Miss Jemima when things aren't going her way.)

Pictured above is a bow and arrow (and "bag" for the arrow made lovingly by me from a toilet roll), and Caleb independently constructed the phone and foot-man-with-feet. We had a good laugh about that one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Old school

I don't know where I first came across this idea, but I am pretty sure that it was in a couple of articles in Real Living over the past few months. We just got the door up a couple of hours ago after painting it with White Knight Chalkboard paint on the weekend.

I made a little hanging basket using this tutorial and there is an old peanut butter container in there full of chalk and a duster (plastic for safety's sake). I changed the tute a little bit, doing a few extra stitches here and there because I was using cotton and a different sized hook- this made me feel like a real crochet pro. Go me! It did turn out bigger than I expected, but I am still really pleased with myself.

We'll see if I regret this project as chalk dust builds, but for now I have a happy-finished-project-glow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My blog turned one about a month ago, and I wanted to do a giveaway of something I have made for a modest celebration. So, here tis, 3 little crocheted-by-me dishcloths in cotton yarn. I have been using my 2 dishcloths all the time, and I've just finished making a third which I think will be the magical crocheted dishcloth number.

To enter, just leave a comment before next Friday, 20th November. International entries welcome too.

Good luck crocheted dishcloth lovers!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pretty trinkets

On Sunday we also celebrated my new sister-in-law's birthday! I gave her the black pretties from the little selection above. The cream and purple rose earrings have secret recipients for this Christmas-which-is-fast-approaching!

I have blogged the earrings before I think (yes here!), and the hair clips are an idea I lifted from Heart of Light. I can't remember how I found these headbands, but aren't they pretty? I bought this one a little while ago, and can't figure out whether I should keep it or give it as a present. She makes the clips now too.

In other news, I took Caleb to "big school" orientation today. Oh he is ready, but there will be tears come February (mine.) I am a massive sook when it comes to an "end of an era", a "new beginning", or just being a proud mum of my "big" little boy in his new green floppy hat.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today I gave my mum a bag

I wasn't going to blog this today, but for some reason blogger wasn't letting me upload certain photos from iphoto, so I just took what I could get! Anyways, on with the post!

It was my mum's and sister-in-law's birthday lunch today and mum had asked me to make her a bag. I made Dad a man bag for Christmas last year (and I am pleased to report he uses it daily and it hasn't fallen apart. Hooray!). So it was her turn for a Bek-made bag.

I was determined to make it completely from the stash because I have plenty of fabric and was sure it was possible. As a result, I used contrasting rather than matching thread, and didn't have enough lining for the handles. There is an error in the pattern so I underestimated how much fabric I needed.

It is the "Everyday Tote" from Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing. (Errata here if you are planning to make one.) The pocket I made using this tutorial.

It is huge and so very green, which gave me the old "handmade gift anxiety", but mum seemed to really like it. I like it too. I would love a light denim one with two gathered pockets on the front and a mini floral 30s reproduction fabric lining (not that I have thought about it or anything). But I won't be making anything for myself for a while with Christmas around the bend.

It looks a little like I am giving you all the bird here, but I am most certainly not!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Place and Yours: Blog HQ

A bit dark and cluttered in my blog HQ, but I do love the Mac!

One of my favourite things about Mr Mac is that he has iMovie and for the last 2 years I have made a DVD of our family's "Year in Review". I finished our 2008 in about May 2009 (oops!), and I am starting to realise that it is November now, so it might be time to start on this year's highlights reel. I am so pleased to have our years video archived in this way- it will make for fun times reminiscing in the future, which is one of my favourite past times!

To address the "dark" situation in our study, we are getting a skylight put in on Monday! It will make such a huge difference to the whole house, as it is in the centre of our place and is a bit of a thoroughfare. I think once the "dark" situation is rectified, the "clutter" situation will be easier to deal with.

Thanks Pip for hosting, and Ninon for the theme!

PS I am so pleased it is cool and rainy today in Sydney. I have been sick the past few days, and the cooler weather is a nice welcome back into "well land".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eye Spy... shoes

Dressed to impress at my brother's wedding

My little girl really wanted a pair of "ballet shoes", so we went in search of her first pair of ballet flats. We soon found out that Jemima has broad feet compared with the general population of size 7 ballet flat consumers, and I will say there was some tears along the way.

Finally we found these sparkly purpley pink ones at Cotton On Kids, and they are a little big, but at least her feet don't bulge out of them.

The skirt I made from vintage fabric in my stash from the Lazy Days skirt pattern.

Many thanks to Anastasia for this week's eye spy theme, and to Cindy for hosting.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And the winner is...

....Jo so and sew. Congratulations! Send me an email to so I can forward on your address to Maree from Buyster, and she will be in touch regarding your prize!

Thanks to everyone who entered the buyster rug giveaway! I am planning another giveaway soon (this time of stuff I have made and a few other bits and bobs probably), so stay tuned.

Our week has been.. interesting. Caleb hit his head on the lino floor at preschool 20 minutes before I picked him up. A very large googie egg had taken up residence on his forehead. I had already arranged for an overnight trip with the kids to Newcastle, and he seemed fine (did not lose consciousness, was not lethargic etc etc), so I decided to go.

Well, then the fun began- he was really sleepy and off his food, and had a vomit. I kept going as my friend's husband is a doctor, besides when I started to get worried I was an hour from home and an hour from them. Eventually I ended up taking him to hospital in Newcastle as he had another vomit. He also had diarrhea by now, so I was fairly sure he had gastro, but the head injury was a bit .... complicating. A diagnosis of gastro and about 5 hours later, we were able to take him home.

He is fine now! He always bounces back after these things. And this was actually the first time I have ever taken my kids to hospital in my 5 years as a parent, so I count myself lucky!

We all feel a bit seedy, so we'll see if anyone falls victim to the bug.

Hope everyone has a great sick-free weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eye Spy... something cuddly

Cindy asked me to choose the theme this week and I did it fast, like ripping off a bandaid. But it turns out to be a most appropriate theme for me today, as cuddling something cuddly is all one feels like doing today in rainy Sydney.

The wedding on the weekend was and delightful. The bride suitably stunning in a drop waisted strapless champagne coloured gown, the groom dapper in black skinny jeans, vest and skinny tie, the attendants all adorable and everyone could not be happier. It was a wonderful celebration of Luke and Savannah's new life together.

That said, we all missed the irrepressible Grandpa George terribly and just about all of us had a little tear at one point or another. Grandpa also did the message at my other brother's wedding last year, so he seemed particularly absent.

This little softie was a gift for Jemima from Grandpa George and Grandma Margaret just months before he died. We call him "Puppy George" and I take great comfort in giving him a big squeeze every now and then.

See more cuddly things at Cindy's place.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Place and Yours: Bedside

This week I am joining in with Pip's meme "My place and yours"!

How fortuitous that the honourable theme queen decreed this week's theme to be Bedside. For this is the best my bedside has ever looked.

The flowers here are off cuts from a big $8 bunch that I put in the kitchen. I have never had flowers on my bedside table before, but it sure is lovely.

Handmade Home is a gift for someone who pretty much began sewing around the same time I did. I am taking a sneaky peak before I wrap it up (!)

The Australian Prayer Book is not a regular fixture, but borrowed from my Dad for inspiration. Because my brother and his sweet lady are getting married today! And I get to do the prayer!

Also pictured: my journal, some family snaps and a little Ikea lamp.

Just to the right of this little scene are the children's "good clothes" all laid out ready to party this afternoon and way past their bed times. Gotta love a family wedding!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The things we do

A few years ago, perhaps even 6 months ago I would have honestly thought anyone who crocheted their own dishcloths was a little bit barking. Why spend all that time making something you wipe down benches with? Invest that crafty time into something a bit more fun! Buy a dishcloth for goodness sakes! I would say.

I saw this a while ago, and thought they were just so appealing. I can't explain it.

And you know what, why not have something cute and handmade for a task you do several times a day, and an item which is on display all day long?

I draw the line as hand washing my dishcloths in wool wash however. I have washed the blue one in a lingerie bag in with my normal clothes washing and just let it dry flat on top of my washing machine rather than hanging it on the line so it kept it's shape. It is not quite as soft as it was, but hey, it IS a dishcloth.

Now the pink one is off the hook too and ready to get grubby!

PS If you haven't already seen it, check out my giveaway!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eye Spy... bed

Not my bed, obviously, but the chambers of Miss Jem.

I took this photograph after a bit of an adventure. Chris was away, Caleb was at preschool, and the door knob broke with Jemima and I inside her room- just before I was about to put her down for a nap.

The only way out was through the window.

Can you see the fly screen I detached to make my escape resting against the wall? Can you also see that there is a shade cloth window covering on the outside, which made my exit most difficult? I was also wearing a long skirt which was making the task of clambering out the window impossible, thus had to remove said skirt, which was quickly put back on once outside...

Ah the hi jinx.

The door was openable from the outside, so I could set my little one free. Of course with all the excitement, there was no nap that day.

More beds here! Thanks Miss Muggins for the theme!

PS Cindy has asked me to come up with next week's theme. I hereby pronounce the theme to be... Eye Spy something cuddly. (Here is some inspiration...)

Friday, October 16, 2009


I quite like rugs. We have tiled floors in part of our house which I don't like very much, and I have been playing with little rugs to cosy it up a little.

Do you like rugs?

Do you want a rug?

Maree from Buyster Rugs contacted me earlier in the week and has given me a $70 gift voucher to pass on to an Australian reader (sorry international folks!) to purchase anything they like from their online rug shop. Of course they will also post it to you free of charge.

The black one above is one of my favourites (the 115cm x 160cm comes to $65), but I also like these (I have limited my selection here to $70 or under, just for kicks):

Go check out their range of rugs!

All you have to do is leave a comment, and I will randomly select a winner on the 30th of October!

Good luck!

Present for a Preschooler

I seem to know a lot of little boys who are turning 3 at the moment. And this is the present of choice.

I bought some alphabet flash cards from Yellow Mums that I had seen over at Sparkle Power. And made the drawstring bag from Heather Ross' book "Weekend Sewing" which is a great drawstring tutorial I must say.

I bought a big pack of cardstock from officeworks and resisted the temptation to buy a laminator.

I know these cards will probably get trashed, but hopefully the little guy will have fun in the process. As part of the gift I have offered to replace any cards that get ruined or lost. Like a free drinks refill.

(Sorry I accidently posted this before I was finished. All done now.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A new dress for summer

Truthfully, Jemima still fits into most of her handmade dresses and skirts from summer last year, but I felt like making her something else. It's a bit of a practice as I want to make her something similar to wear to my brother's wedding.

I have made something similar before using this tute, but I could never get the right dimensions (I may have mentioned before I lack the ability to be precise), and so when I saw this pattern from Wholegrain Baby I snapped it up after a moment or two of indecision (that's how I buy anything). It is a very easy pattern to follow with lots of pictures.

I discovered once more I am really bad at hemming stuff and making a neat casing for the elastic. Next time I hem something, I think I will do it by hand. Overall though, it was a very quick (even for me) project that I will use over and over again.

The fabric for this one was all in the stash. The sleeves are a thrifted bed sheet and the little roses for the main body of the dress were given to me by a stash buster last year some time.

Caleb is feeling a little left out in the crafting for the kids department and has been asking me for a "hoodie dress". I was a little bemused, but it makes more sense when you consider the attire of a jedi knight with the phrase "hoodie dress" in mind.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eye Spy... a favourite corner in my house

Here is a little spot at my place I have grown quite fond of. Our art wall (I think we need another "art clothesline", one just isn't enough!) and little table and chairs. Art and crafting in progress here, Jemima glue in hand returning to her work.

More favourite corners over here!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I forgot my own blog's birthday

When Jemima turned one I did not forget. Not that she was impressed.

I just realised that my blog turned 1 year old on Wednesday. I obviously celebrated by giving it no thought what-so-ever.

But I would like to do a giveaway of some sort. I will have a little think over the weekend and let you know when I have thunk it out.

Have a great weekend!

Making stuff up

I bought a stamp making kit from The Haby Goddess last week. No reason. Just did.

Last night I started carving some stamps. I carved a raindrop, inspired by this artist I saw over at A Little Hut, a granny square and a doily. It's pretty fun.

I have never been a scrapbooker or anything like that, so I don't have any stamp pads apart from a black one, so most of my mucking about with my stamps has been with paint.

I have no idea what I am doing at all. Just making stuff up. The granny stamp practice will become gift tags for Christmas as I have chopped them all up in haphazard fashion. It reminds me a little of a flag, for a crafty nation of some sort.

I like the repetition visually of tiling the stamps. It is calming. I am hoping to produce a masterpiece of reasonable size to hang somewhere in the house. But first, I need to figure out what I am doing!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Not-so-russian dolls

I'm feeling rather organised because I have nearly finished my first bit of Christmas craft.

I bought a 5 piece unpainted babushka doll from Russian Treasures at the stitches and craft show. I had been umming and ahhhing about what to paint on them, and in the end I just thought, "oh just do it," and this is what I came up with last weekend.

I like the concept of my work, but the execution is a little weak. It's really hard painting around bends! I have no doubt Jemima will love it. She is always playing with this set which is less than half the size so members of the family are forever going missing!

I still need to gloss it up a little. I want it to be super shiny, but the varnish stuff I have is matte finish. Hmm do I make another purchase, or do I just make do?

This will be a gift for Jemima, but Caleb saw me working on it and wants a set too, so I might be making an online purchase in the near future.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eye Spy... something I shouldn't eat but do.

Chocolate mud cupcakes from Coles. Very very soft, but admittedly the icing tasted a little plasticy.

More food confessions here. Thanks to Jennifer Rose for the theme!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The evolution of 2 pot holders

Sometimes the best laid crafty plans go awry.

Plan A: I saw this tutorial an age ago and about 3 months ago set out to give it a try. Old towel? Check. Cool vintage fabric? Check. Ability to be precise? ummmm. My measurements and cutting and so on were not nearly accurate enough it turned out and the project started turning into a disaster.

Plan B: I decided against proceeding with the criss cross business and thought I would just quilt a couple of towels together with my fabric using this method and my new walking foot. Did my walking foot come with instructions? No. Did I try and just "figure it out"? Yes. Did I do it right? No. Did it make a mess of it? Yes.

So I abandoned this project and put it in the scrap bin. A month or so later I made an unfortunate discovery involving a cockroach and my pot holders at the time. Out with the rubbish went my old pot holders. That's all I want to say about that.

Plan C: I saw this tutorial via this post on Soulemama and rather than do the fabric collage I just used the best bits of my bath mat massacre. I pulled out the light blue backing from my stash. The pot holders have 2 layers of towel making them too thick to top stitch them closed, so I hand sewed the opening closed in front of the telly on Wednesday night.

Come Thursday these things were hot property in this house. Cries of "Give them to me!", "I don't want just one, I want both of them!" could be heard. I drew the line at allowing them out of the house with us when I took Caleb to his Speech Pathologist.

So there you have it. A pot holder's journey into existence. A not quite fascinating tale of making do with what you have, assisted by the crafty interwebs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bizarro! Gorilla Portrait on a Plate!

I bought the book Stencil 101 late last year with a plan to use stenciling as a part of Christmas crafting. I didn't end up using it, but I am really pleased to have it in the old craft library. Yesterday afternoon I found myself feeling a bit crafty and pulled it off the shelf.

I saw a plate on etsy (I have looked and looked for it but can't find it anymore) which I have had on my mind for a while. It appeared to be a vintage plate with something painted on it.

I bought this little plate- maybe it is even a saucer, from the oppy a few weeks ago with this little plan in mind. I used a paint medium for glass and tile (I did want porcelain paint, but my local junk/art shop didn't have any). I did want to do the little deer, but she didn't fit on my plate, so Mr Gorilla it was! He looks strangely regal hanging on the wall!

To practice my stenciling technique I made some cards with another stencil. It's pretty fun.

Don't stand still, I might stencil you!

PS The man of the house is home safely from his 2 weeks abroad which feels luxurious actually! Thanks to everyone who expressed empathy during this period without him!