Thursday, January 29, 2009

Phoenix rising

I have made about 4 notebook covers from this tutorial and so I thought by the time I got around to number 5 there would be no dramas. 

But this little project was a lesson in humility, my friends.

Somehow, the cover ended up much too small in length. I tried notebook cover extension surgery, but in the end a transplant was required. 

As I looked from the scraps of the original attempt and to the finished product, I felt that my new diary cover was like the crafty phoenix rising from the ashes (scraps). And then I felt like a bit of a dork.

I am quite happy with the result, but I am not sure how the ancient button from the aforementioned button tin will hold up. It took me ages to choose one, and now this seems perfect, but it smells a bit like copper, the thread seems to be cutting through the shank, and it I might be imagining it due to tiredness, but I think it is turning my fingers green.

You may recognise the photo from here. It is an old family snap that just makes me feel happy, so I put it somewhere that I will see it on a regular basis.

UPDATE: I have changed the button. I started tasting copper, and decided that's not something I want to deal with everyday!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The family and an imaginary cat

The easiest way to ensure that I keep a new years resolution is to make it one I really really want to do. 

Tick! (And it is still January.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eye Spy... something beginning with J

Jemima Rose, a few weeks old.

I tried to think of something else beginning with J, but nothing else would do. 

(My sister, a very talented photographer, took this photo and edited it.)

Thanks to Lauren for this week's theme, and Cindy for hosting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The making of dolly

I am trying to be clever and make my own dolly. I want something that is nice and plump to cuddle, but is pretty and cute at the same time. 

I am finding it a lot harder than I thought. 

This is Dolly 2. Dolly 1 has been abandoned. Call me critical, but she really looked like a stumpy legged, long-necked alien. Poor Dolly 1. Dolly 2 is not perfect, but she is OK, so she got finished. She has borrowed a little dress from another doll, while I contemplate if she is OK enough for a dress of her own. Which sounds very mean, actually, when you see it in black and white. Of course I should make her a dress of her own. Poor Dolly 2. I am not a compassionate doll maker. Clearly.

Jemima has adopted her, and fell asleep last night giving her a cuddle. Aw.

I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist really, but when it comes to crafting, I very much am. Funny these little discoveries one makes about oneself. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's take a look in the button box

One thing I love about blogging is that I can post an unopened tin of old buttons, and people actually are keen to see inside! They are as excited about it as I am, and I just like that. 

So without further ado, here are *some* of the contents of my new old button tin. (I was trying to upload more, but apparently blogger doesn't like buttons as much as we do!)

The day the op shop came to me

When you are a newly inspired crafter, and the only one for miles, I have found you can sometimes be the fortunate recipient of a stash reduction. This was such a time.

One of my mum's dearest friends was having a clear out, and rather than stop in at Vinnies, she gave stuff to me. And I am very thankful! (And not sure where to start!)

We're talking craft books and patterns from the 70s...

Some fabric...

And a very special treasure chest...

Lovely old buttons lie within, some from the 20s apparently. (A little too precious for my novice crafting perhaps??) Unfortunately, blogger is having issues with uploading my buttons photo, so I will have to do a big reveal another time!

Now, where to put all of this stuff? 

(Hey, and thanks for all the sand car love! They are pretty awesome, yes.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eye Spy... a taste of summer

2 generations of sand cars. The less sun smart toddler is me in 1979. Don't wear bikinis so much these days.  Miss Lily White 2008 is my daughter Jemima at around the same age.

Thanks Anastasia C for this week's theme, and to Cindy for hosting!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

This summer my children don't have a lot in the way of pyjamas. I am loathe to spend money on items that I can make myself, but then I don't make them, and then they don't have any. 

I finally made Jemima a night gown from an old cot sheet that my sister in law gave me using this tutorial. It is not a bad tute, it is in fact a very helpful tute, but I have found the pattern is a bit hit and miss, as it relies on you to copy the pattern from a guide. It is not at all difficult, but I have discovered, I am no pattern maker. At least not yet. I would like to get a proper pattern in this style so I could make tops and dresses with more confidence they will turn out. Any ideas? 

I forgot to make it A-line so she could actually walk (a minor detail really), so I added slits to the side seams. Fortunately I remembered to add this in before sewing up the sides. I do believe I did not use the quick unpick for this project at all. Go me!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deja Vu

Yet another Black Apple Doll, a little twin of this miss for a craft swap with Sarah Jo. She will most likely be posted tomorrow if I can move at all in this heat! Dolly must be roasting in her jacket and scarf!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meet Louis

I've been working on this little guy for the last couple of days and have called him Loius, mainly because I plan to make him into a "pillow doll" like Lulu. I was inspired by a photo in an old "Shop Til You Drop for Kids" magazine I came across in one of my clean ups in the last couple of weeks. I experimented with some different mediums with Louis, using indian ink and water colours. I think I like the look better than the acrylic paint I used for Lulu. I think he is cute, but I was a little too lazy with his hands... 

I also tried out that printable fabric for Lulu 2nd gen and so far so good. I wonder how "child proof" this fabric is? Does anyone have any experience with "Matilda's Own" inkjet printable paper?

And do you know those moments when you are suddenly aware that the house is a little too quiet. I had one of those today. 

Don't you love how the body art echos the quilting on the quilt she is sitting upon? (Quilt made by a friend's mother for Caleb.) The pen marks came off her skin very easily, but the white bed sheet will bear Jem's mark for a loooong time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My new favourite colour is YELLOW

This is the kitchen curtain I have been working on. It's funny how a colour can have such a big effect on one's mood. Yellow makes me happy. 

The inspiration for this curtain stemmed mainly from the latest issue of Real Living magazine which emphasizes all things folky. It's the first time an interior decorating "style" has really seemed to "suit" me, and be achievable on a tight budget. I am not the world's most stylish individual and certainly not the tidiest, so this happy, casual, yet pretty approach to decorating my home seems like a winner. 

There were mishaps with this curtain (apart from the ones I can live with- like just about NONE of the squares matched up), the most comical of which was when I hemmed the wrong side of the bottom row, ultimately meaning the pretty swallows would have been nose diving into the sink, had I not noticed before sewing the rows together! I am getting quite speedy wielding the old quick unpick. 

In other housey news, I am finally sorting out my crafting space. I have a rather alarming "before" picture that I am not willing to share until I have an "after" picture that I can be proud of!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What not to wear

I was given the book "The Body Shape Bible" by Trinny and Susannah (of "What not to wear" fame) for my birthday the other day and have discovered my body shape is an "hourglass figure" (no surprises there, it is something I have always known deep down.)

But I also discovered, unfortunately, that most of my wardrobe is unflattering to my newly diagnosed said hourglass figure.

I put on a smock top (most unflattering now that my eyes have been opened!) yesterday morning and 5 minutes before we were due to head out to church, I decided I couldn't handle it and made a sash to cinch in my waist a little. It was just what I had lying around and happens to be what I am making some kitchen curtains out of- Sound of Music, anyone?

I'm not really sure about it, it still isn't amazingly flattering, but certainly an improvement! They have a little section at the end of the book urging readers not to go out and spend spend spend, but see how they can adapt what they already have. So there may be some more wardrobe refashioning in my future!

Eye Spy... something I want to try in 2009

I have some secret resolutions, only "new year resolutions" because we are in the "new year", but they are pretty constant because I never get on top of them. Nothing ground breaking, things like eat better, exercise more, be more organised etc etc. But that's not what this post is about. This is one thing I really want to do this year...

I want to paint my own nesting dolls. Woot! I've seen it around blog land and I have a love of nesting dolls, so why not. And they are reasonably priced here. I have bought 2 sets and they have been posted, so now it is the waiting game. They have a long way to travel, so we'll see. 

This photo is of some "nesting penguins" from Ebay that I bought for Caleb when Jemima was born. 

But truly they are mine because I love them the most.

Thank you Cindy for hosting Eye Spy and for asking me to choose the theme this week!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sew Craft Blog

Sew Craft Blog is a way of crafters who blog to build a little online community. I think this is a great idea, especially for a new blogger like me. Read more here. I am looking forward to visiting everyone in my group! I am attempting to add my group's blogs to the side bar, but I am a bit new to blogging and not enough of a computer nerd (that's why I married one). If the blog roll is there, hurrah! Go and check them out. If not, stay tuned. I will figure this thing out eventually!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wind in the Willows

We chanced the rainy weather today in Sydney and went and watched this production of Wind in the Willows in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens. Chris' sister bought us tickets in the Kris Kringle for Christmas. 

What a great show it was. Lots of songs, laughs and a few walks for the little ones to stretch their legs thrown in. (And hardly any scary audience participation, in which I nearly always get singled out for the crowd's entertainment. There was a close call with Badger, but he found a different victim at the very last second. Phew!) 

Caleb was quite mesmerized throughout, and Jemima's interest came and went a little, but she was generally pretty good for a not-yet-two year old. Caleb chose Moley to have a photo with (interestingly, the character who was least "out there"- I think the others were little overwhelming for him). Jemima was desperate to "say hello, rabbit man", and when we got there, all she could do was look at her apron. Starstruck. (Skirt by Idey Spidey by the way).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New additions

How much am I loving being home with my little Singer? A lot!

I painted the doll on holidays and then did the old t-shirt transfer thing and made a little "pillow doll". We have named her Lulu, though she was looking like she might be called "Tim Tom" for a while there. I have ordered some printable fabric from ebay so that I can make a Lulu pillow doll that is nice and soft. I think I will paint some more babies and make a few different ones.

And yes, I have had some little "red chocolate by bek" tags made up. They just make stuff look like I am all professional and so on. Love them. I did not sew them onto the chair covers though... Our chair pads were looking pretty gross, and I have been wanting to replace them for ages, but then I remembered that I could sew, and decided to make removable covers for them with this lovely sunny retro type fabric from an op shop excursion. I have made 4, and have run out of cotton. So back to the shops tomorrow for some supplies.

Eye Spy Sunday

The lovely Cindy has asked me to choose the theme for Eye Spy Sunday this week. After thinking about it while hanging out the washing (it is sooo hot today it should be dry in the next 30 seconds), I have come up with....

Eye Spy... something I want to try in 2009.

There is so much I want to do this year, it will be hard to choose just one. One thing I want to do is have another crack at this painting. I was in such a rush to "get it done" in the end I am not 100% happy with it.

Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ikea breaks my heart

A little over the top for a post title, admittedly.

BUT, don't you hate it when you go to Ikea (with 2 small children, and a fair distance away) for a specific item and it is out of stock? We did, however, make up for it with a nice big yellow bag full of impulse purchases, which relieved some of the pain. 

Anyways, onto more crafty things... above is a tiny painting that I did on holidays. I wanted to take my sewing machine, but thought better of it at the last moment, and took my painting stuff instead. 

I'm looking forward to the rest of this week. Chris is off work and I have a lot of projects I have been itching to do for a while. Like sort out all of my crafty stuff that I have been accumulating more rapidly than finding places to put it. Like cleaning out the bathrooms... the bedrooms. A belated spring clean. Overall, just getting things organised for the new year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eye Spy... my best memory of 2008

I found this Eye Spy quite tricky- I even got the calendar out to reflect a little. Overall we were pretty busy. Some things were great fun and significant, some things we did because we had to do, and some things happened that were tremendously sad. 

I risk sounding like a boring proud mummy, but the best thing about 2008 was spending another 12 months watching my children grow into themselves, learn new things about their world and develop in their abilities. 

12 months ago, Jemima was a baby. Couldn't talk or walk. Now she is a little girl, telling jokes, making her opinions and needs known through language, and walking... running...  jumping... climbing and dancing. 

Caleb's changes have been more subtle, but quite significant. He is taller, slimmer, and reveals a more complex imagination every day. He is always quick with a complement, and makes up great songs. (Like today's composition: "Jemima is my little sister, but she is also my friend. She is only a baby so I have to be careful with her. Yeah.")

Bring on 2009. 

Eye Spy is hosted by Cindy, and this week's theme was thought up by Kat. Thanks ladies!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back again

Had a lovely time away with my little family and my mum and dad. My sister and Chris' sister both came up for a bit too which was also nice. Also meant we outnumbered the children nicely.

I'm really looking forward to some sewing for the home. Curtains, chair pad covers, those sorts of things. And now Christmas crafting is finished, there are no deadlines (which means it might take a while!)