Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Girls

I hope you had a lovely Christmas! We had a really great day, which kind of turned into 3 days in a row of family get togethers. Great loot was given and gotten and hanging out with family is always rewarding.

Plus, I finished Eve's doll sitting around at my mum and dad's chatting and stitching. I am so happy with this one. This time I embroidered her face before attaching the hat which made it easier to hide the knots. I bought the felt for this doll from Winterwood which I think made all the difference. The wool felt for the original doll (which I bought off ebay) was just too thin and stretched when I stuffed the head.

As for the original doll, she will be going to a new home today. I hope she will be loved! I have a soft spot for her now!

ETA: The pattern I used to make this doll was from this pattern. I had a few questions about construction and Hillary Lang herself was very helpful!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Is it really Christmas again?

This post is a bit of a deviation from the usual craft mum posts of Red Chocolate. But I was thinking about some things and thought I would share them here.

I am one of those reflective types who thinks themselves into tangles, and this Christmas time is no exception.

I am thinking about how Christmas Day seems to hold a magnifying glass up to our lives, making the joyous even more joyful, but also the hardship somehow much harder. I know a few families this Christmas for whom the latter is true and my heart hurts for them.

I am thinking about how ironic it is that Christmas is all about Jesus' birth, and yet as a Christian myself, I find it to be possibly the most distracting time of year to meditate on who Christ is and what he came to do (and to teach my children these things).

I am thinking about how relieved and thankful I am that Jesus came into the world as a man to show us what God is like and to make it possible for us to know God and love Him and be loved by Him.

I am thinking about the words of my Dad's favourite Christmas carol, particularly this verse:

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

I am thinking about how Jesus is pretty great.

I am thinking that some folk who read this post will agree with me, and others will not. Either way, you may like tell the distractions to take a back seat for a moment and spend some time reading about Jesus this Christmas.

And now I think I will stop thinking and go to bed. We may be up earlier tomorrow than usual (!)

Thanks for reading and commenting throughout 2010 and for writing nice blogs for me to read!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Christmas makey

Dolly pre nose job.

Despite being eternally distracted by my computer, I have managed a fair bit of craft for Christmas in the last few weeks.

Another cute little owl from my trusty Craft Schmaft pattern. (I think I have made about 6 of these now!)

Some applique singlets and fabric hair bows from this tutorial. I have never done the applique singlet thing before. It is such a quick gratifying little project, I think I will have to do some more soon!

A flower crown which I sort of made up as I went along. (Jemima is sporting a lovely black eye that she got by walking into a pole on the school run last week. Nice.)

And I repaired Evie's doll, but now I am more than half way through its replacement, and I don't know which one to keep. The nose job turned out not too bad. I will have to give her to someone very special if she doesn't stay with us. I have a little girl in mind.

Only a couple of days to go!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old baubles become new again

I felt inspired by Pip's crocheted baubles, but left my run too late to find clear baubles in stock anywhere. I thought about crocheting around these old Ikea baubles I bought when Chris and I first got married 9 years ago, but then got another idea. What I did with my trusty glue gun is fairly self explanatory! You can see the red bauble in this post. You can also see a crocheted heart from Pip's tutorial I made last year.

In a few years our tree will be positively festooned with handmade goodness. It will be a different tree than this one (also 9 years old) as it has lost one of its more substantial branches. I thought about replacing it this year, but I'll get one in the sales. (Dreaming of a "real" Christmas tree for one day- but didn't fancy having it on our carpet which is less than 6 months old!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

He's no ordinary kid, he's Ben 10

Ben 10 provides much of the sound track to our lives these days. It's Caleb's favourite show and he talks about it to anyone who will listen. He draws page after page of alien drawings and omnitrixes, he quotes the one liners, and he plays "Ben 10" with Jemima in the back yard. It's a little full on to be honest, but he really enjoys it- so I am indulging his love this Christmas with a couple of gifts.

I had the idea to make a "Ben 10 Alien Force" jacket and then I came across this pattern at Bettsy Kingston. It is such a cool pattern and so nice to make something for the little guy for a change. The instructions were clear with good illustrations- and the resulting jacket is very nicely finished. When I had a few troubles along the way, I sent Benita at Bettsy Kingston an email which resulted in an extremely helpful exchange- just like a mini sewing lesson!

The pattern went together really smoothly, and while there are a few niggles on this one due to my inexperience (the too long collar with puckering, and the top stitching at the opening) I know exactly what to do next time, and I am looking forward to making another non-Ben 10 variation.

I also have the reversible pinafore pattern from Bettsy Kingston and some very sweet fabric. I am hoping to whip one up for Eve before Christmas, but as usual after the completion of a project, I have to restore the housework balance before I can start a new one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Well, I should have trusted my instincts regarding Eve's doll. Dolly now has a double french knot sized hole in the middle of her face. Noooooooooooo! I can't take a picture because it actually makes me feel sad. I had a little teary and have worked out a plan to repair her... but I have also bought more felt- thicker felt- this time so it will withstand a future attempt! At this stage I am thinking I will make Eve another doll (if she is not ready by Christmas, she won't care!), and if my repair is good enough, give poor folkster away.

Ah, craft fail.

A project that more went to plan is this little guy hanging on the tree. I used this tute from Elsie Marley. Fun! (and he doesn't have a nose...)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My Christmas crafting is well underway. I have made a couple of gifts that will have to wait until after Christmas to be blogged, but this one is for Evie, and advanced though I am sure she is, at 3 months old, she is not yet reading my blog.

This is Elise the Folkster doll from the incredible Hillary Lang. The pattern is perfect, though my execution has my trademark wonkiness! Still, she has been a very satisfying little project, and I finally found a use for the beautiful black and white trim I won in Angie's giveaway many moons ago. You may notice the lack of a nose which is supposed to be a double french knot. I am too afraid of ruining her little face. I already embroidered her mouth too tightly which looks a bit weird.

I feel like I haven't conquered this pattern yet- especially in regards to the hair. I couldn't quite understand the directions and just had a crack at it, but after a discussion with my mum I think I know now how to do it. And as for the seams on her face, well.... Fortunately Jemima has eyes on this dolly and has declared she wants one too. I think I might make her one for her birthday though, as I think she has plenty of Christmas presents coming her way already.

Friday, November 26, 2010

12 weeks

12 weeks + 2 days. A delightful little baby. Already sleeping through the night more often than not. And usually quite settled and happy during the day. I can take no credit for this- it is just what she does.

A little bit vintage today! Wearing a dress that used to be mine. I wish mum had kept all my baby clothes (and her clothes so I could wear them now!)- the 70s has made such a comeback. Eve at one month here and two months here.

Me at 12 weeks! A different, but just as sweet, little dress.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Show it like it is

Kitchen: previously featured here looking even more charming

Nicole from Bubby makes 3 had a sterling idea. Throw off the shackles of "blog land perfection" and show it like it is.

So I have this special treat for anyone who stumbles by this post. This was my house the moment after I read Nicole's challenge yesterday afternoon. It looks a little better now, but looks like this on a regular basis I'm afraid!

Are you game to take up the challenge?

Argh: The kids' room

Friday, November 19, 2010


Random shot of Evie goodness

Random.org assisted me in selecting a winner for my purple giveaway.... and it was #1, congratulations Mama Mogantosh!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Purple Giveaway- closed

I have become completely sidetracked by my button tin.

Jemima and I were making button hair clips yesterday and I noticed afresh just how many cute tiny vintage buttons are in my possession. So I spent nearly 2 hours trying to nut out a simple felt hair clip design to showcase them. Now, the end result (pictured on black clips above) is not really all that original... how true it is that there are no new ideas... or is it just there are no new ideas in my head? I glue gunned the whole lot together and it seems pretty secure. If you really yank at it it will come apart, but so will pretty much any hair clip I reckon.

After going back and forth between, "is it cute or crap?", I decided that I like it and have been wearing a cream coloured one like so:

I thought maybe you would like one too? So I put together this little package (containing 2 purple felt flowers, with yellow mini buttons and grey leaves and a pair of purple rose earrings) pictured atop this post for a little giveaway. Open to anyone, anywhere.

EDITED: Der. I knew I was tired today- The giveaway ends NEXT Friday as in the 19th of November. Entries close Thursday the 18th at midnight my time. My original post said it ended today (the 12th)- not so!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A bag bag

For my sister-in-law's birthday I whipped up the "Plastic Bag Bag Thingamy" (not it's real name) from the original Meet me at Mikes book. It's so much more attractive than our bag bag thingamy if I say so myself.

(Tee hee, see the little baby?)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Little Pretties

I made these hair accessories on Saturday night for a 6 year old birthday girl. I have a soft spot for this little lady as she wrote my son the sweetest love letter* a few weeks ago. Again, my friendly glue gun helped me out. Also very helpful was this tutorial from one of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess.

A big thank you too to Michelle of Leni and Rose for the giveaway I won. I am loving my covered button hair tie kits very much! And I will be sure to use my blue fabric at some stage in a crafty adventure.

* Dear Caleb, Thank you for calling me a princess. It makes me feel good. And you are a prince.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Super quick craft fix (meow)

Jemima likes to pretend she is a kitten, so I made her some cat ear clips. All glue gun, baby. It's pretty much all I have had crafty time for lately, opting to do laundry and dishes over crafting (the age old tension).

PS The (revolting) blue netting "arm warmers" as she calls them, were from a "rockstar" show bag at the school fete on Saturday. Blurgh. Of course she loves them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two months/8 weeks

She was 8 weeks yesterday and not really "2 months" until the 1st November, but you know what I mean. One month photo here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big skirt --> Little skirt

Ah me. I was determined to sew something for Jemima today, whatever else happened. She has suddenly grown and nothing seems to fit her properly anymore. I am resisting doing a clothes shop because I love making her things, but time is so pressed these days with Miss Eve. Today was most frustrating as Eve decided not to sleep again after an hour long nap at about 9am. Now at nearly 6pm she is finally drifting off to sleep in her sling snuggled up to me... but I can't cook dinner with her in there. I'm too worried she will get splattered with a hot something. So Chris is picking up something on his way home. I hate not cooking dinner. It feels like mum fail, but I DID make a skirt which to my mind cancels that out. Take that, mother guilt!

So about the skirt: It is made out of an old skirt of mine that I still really loved, but was too small for me post 3 babies. A super quick little project to do in between settling the grumpy baby and entertaining the 3 year old. I wish I had sewn the pockets further apart, but can't be bothered with the unpicking to rectify that, and I plan to sew buttons to the pockets, but I am not sure that is going to happen!

I have at least 2 other much-loved-but-too-small-skirts that I want to refashion for one of the girls... but right now I think I will calm down by looking at my sleeping baby for a bit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Introducing ESJAY Creative... pluggity plug

Excuse me while I put on my proud-big-sister hat for a moment... and potentially post too many photos (sorry)!

My sister Sarah has taken the plunge and officially started her own photography business, ESJAY Creative!

I am really fortunate to have a photographer in the family that does such lovely work. Her family photography is artistic, but natural and the photo shoots themselves are fun to take part in- and I HATE having my picture taken. A lot.

She is great with my kids, obviously being their “Aunty Sarah”, but I have observed her with lots of other children and kids love her… and consequently she gets great shots.

She is also a first class photo retoucher. Now, I know retouching (especially of children) is controversial in some circles. But there is retouching, and there is retouching, if you know what I mean. Sarah gets great results from working with the colours of her images and she can remove things/people in the background to enhance pictures… and of course lighten any bags under one’s eyes or remove a blemish that isn’t usually there… She is not going to change what you look like, but make you and your loved ones look their natural best- she isn’t going to give you a 2D nose job (unless you particularly want her to, I guess.)

As well as family photography, she offers corporate headshots, photography for private functions (including weddings), live music photography, band promo and “ubooth” where she sets up a “photo booth” at your function (fun!).

Her prices are extremely reasonable as she is just starting out on her own. So if you are in the market for some photography (and Sydney is not geographically impossible), look her up!


Monday, October 4, 2010

A new t-shirt for Jemima

I came across Rocket and Bear recently and loved this idea of putting a favourite cuddly toy on a t-shirt. Lucy sells these t-shirts in her etsy store and shop. As I understand it, you send her a photo of a beloved toy, and she prepares the image and prints it onto a high quality t-shirt for you.

I thought I would DIY this one using t-shirt transfer paper I bought from Kmart. This is Kea, Jemima's fur baby. She actually has 3 of them as Chris and I thought it safer to have a few on standby as she had become such a favourite. She can tell the difference between them all though (only a mother could tell them apart), but she loves them all equally.

The transfer is pretty glossy and stiff, but she really loves her Kea t-shirt and it has already had an outing. It has cracked and bubbled a bit in the wash so doesn't look so flash anymore... to avoid these problems you could buy one from Rocket and Bear!

What I didn't DIY was one of these amazing tutus! I bought one this week for Jemima's Christmas present, and it is one of those gifts you just know will be a real winner for many years to come! There are free tutorials online for something similar (can't remember where), but I just know making one with all those layers and ruffles would do my head in and I would never be happy with it. Looking forward to Christmas already! (I just realised I have given Jems a tutu for Christmas every year. Haha. I think this one trumps the ones I have made though.)

PS Lucy knits and crochets really pretty blankets too. She has a very nice little shop.

PPS I think one of the hardest things for me about having a newborn even 3rd time around is "doing the right thing". She is very refluxy and so has difficulty settling to sleep more times than not, and often needs lots of cuddles to help her relax and go to sleep. I worry that she won't learn how to "self soothe", but then I think dammit, she is my last baby and if she needs a cuddle or to sleep in her sling, I will do it gladly. (Before I know it she will be 3 and a half and we will be scratching our heads wondering where our baby went.)

Since having Caleb, I tell all parents of newborns when they are stressing about how to set baby up to be happy and good sleepers is that my experience of the literature is that everyone says something different, so do what pleases you and baby. I need to listen to my own advice.

One month

I am going to follow the lead of a couple of other bloggers and try and post a monthly picture of Evie. Here is my little love on her quilt made by me during my final months of pregnancy.

I am so glad I finished it before her arrival, it gives me crafty joy looking at them both together.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I made a dress, but didn't iron it.

I managed a spot of sewing last week which was fun. I used an old work shirt of Chris' and this tutorial and now Jemima has a new dress for summer. The fabric is quite lovely and very good quality- but he can't wear it anymore because he has changed jobs and it has the old company logo above the pocket.

I added buttons in the back bodice of the dress to help with getting it on and off and left the shirt hem which is such a bonus as hemming is one of my least favourite sewing necessities. Another bonus is that Jemima actually LIKES it (I think it is the pockets... and the novelty of it being one of Daddy's old shirts.) I have 5 other business shirts in the pile, so there will probably be a few more shirt refashions in my future.

And many, many thanks for all your congratulatory comments on Eve's arrival! I was a bit hit and miss with responding to everyone, but I appreciated each and every one. She is settling into the family well with a swag of nicknames to prove it. We are tired, but taking life at a different (slower!) pace to accommodate our newest addition, which is actually quite lovely.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Look what I've got.

Eve Amelie
Born 1st September
3.14kg 47cm
So so precious

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baby's quilt finished!

I finished the baby's quilt last week sometime. It is a jumble of fabrics that I happened to have in the stash. Mostly scraps that have been used for other projects. I cut and sewed quite randomly- which means you can't make a mistake. Perfect!

The carpel tunnel syndrome made progress on hand stitching the binding slow going, but we made it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nursery in a nook

My mum, sister and my brothers' wives surprised me with the gift of a little crib a few weeks ago. It was lovely to get one as a present, as we had never bought one for our babies, and it will be passed onto my younger sisters when they start their families one day.

I had been planning up until this gift to pop baby straight into her own room (as our room isn't big enough for the full sized cot). But with this gift, set to decorating a little nook in our room for our spring baby.

The garland was made using this Cakies tutorial, the beautiful birdy decals were from here (the rest are in the baby's room), the heart was an op shop find from some time ago, and do you spy Jess' gorgeous crocheted panda potholder? He is lovely.

Meet Emily, not a gift for the baby but for Jemima when the baby is born. You will no doubt recognise her as a Dandelion bunny (available from here). She is so beautiful, I want one too! I thought she looked right at home in this little scene, so I snapped a pic, then hid her away again!

I made the crib sheet out of a vintage sheet. The same one I used to back the baby quilt actually. It was my second attempt that was successful as the first turned out a little small. I used this tutorial over at made, but had to come up with my own dimensions.

The little artwork I made using patterns printed out from this website, was inspired very much by Castle and Things art, as well as the ladies over at Dottie Angel and Thimbly Things. I cut out letters and hearts freestyle using scissors and used a small paper doily, sticking everything on brown paper (which I had stuck to cardstock for extra strength.)

I met a lady with a tiny baby at the park this afternoon, who went to the same hospital I am going to. She was told she was having a girl, and in actual fact had a boy! She had a feeling she was having a boy, so it wasn't a huge shock, fortunately! I have no inklings about such things, but I have held onto Caleb's old clothes just in case they have it wrong... and I'm sure he won't mind if there are flowers and pink in his decor!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More baby business

*Mobile* Caleb had a bright green, purple and orange mobile that you could wind up and it spun and played music. Jemmie used it too. I left it in her cot a little too long though and a cheeky little brother and sister pair destroyed it. I made Baby 3 this low tech mobile out of a garland I had made for another purpose. Just some string, a ring, an embroidery hoop and some hot glue, and here it is. It doesn't play music and I am too scared to hang it over her cot in case it were to fall on her, but it is pretty enough.

*Shoes* These have been on the list for my baby since the start, but I had to work myself up to do them as I have had many a fail with these innocent looking little shoes. They are from the Meet me at Mikes book and are quite easy, but fiddly due to their tininess. I made a little non-functional mistake on one of them, but I am trying not to let it bother me. Can't wait to put little feet in them!

*Photos* Some photos of Baby 3's loving sibs. Great shots taken by my sister (aka ESJAY Creative). I poladroided them to make them extra quirky, but I don't think I really needed to. Sweet paper frames from Ikea.

Still more to show and do, but the list is getting shorter...