Monday, December 31, 2007

When its 40+ degrees...

...and the nearest beach is about 4 hours away what do you do? Just make your own beach!

This is our sunroom(/dining/sewing!). The sand is a circle of towels, and the wading pool has a centimetre of our tank water in it, and the old fish bowl has a few extra litres for pouring and splashing, which will go out onto the garden at the end of the day (stage 4 water restrictions here). He has been hopping in and out of here all day, and because it is in the main part of the house (unlike the bath) I can always see him! We love it!

Happy New Year Everybody!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Mitts

Thought I would get in on the oven mitt action!

I started with the tutorial from The Longest Year blog, then altered it to suit my needs. I traced the shaped from a comfy mitt I use at home and I was going well til I reread the instructions and realised she recommended special wadding. Suddenly doubtful about the insulating qualities of my wadding I doubled the thickness in the second and third pairs, but only on the palm side. This made it necessary to indicate the thicker side, so I assigned each glove to the appropriate hand.

This little project gave me the perfect excuse to use up some of the fat quarters I've been collecting in case I get into quilting in a big way (LOL) and especially to use up several ugly ones on the inside lining!!

One of a Kind T-shirt Designs

These shirts were very cheap and a nice blank canvas to try out some techniques!The first time I tried freezer paper stencilling the paint bled in spots around the edges. Perhaps because it was on thinnish woven fabric? But no such dramas this time. The car has a lovely crisp outline and the paper didn't lift or leak at all.

The star was vliesofixed on the second shirt and I traced puff paint around the outline and coated it with glitter while still wet. Once dry I puffed it with the iron.

The last one has fabric sewed on.

The middle set is Christmas PJ's and the other two are play shirts. Hopefully handy for daycare next year. And a bit different to everybody elses, just because I can!

Baby Born Gift

A little bird told me a niece might be getting a Baby Born doll for Christmas and if we wanted to be the winner aunt and uncle, then BB accessories were the way to go. That was a great tip, but my budget stretched to a mere 2 items! I bought the BB jacket because I thought it was gorgeous and more fiddley than I could be bothered with, and the bootees weren't BB but are hopefully the right size.

So I raided my stash to bolster the pile with as much as I could manage in a day to get it in the post ahead of time!

Applying the KISS principle with my deadline in mind I added:
*doll doona and pillow
*summery top and knickers
*pants to go with the jacket

Its kind of pink overload, but I don't get to sew much pink around here!

Toy Bag Gift

One of our little friends just turned one. Along with some sandpit toys we gave her this biggish drawstring bag, for dolls or toys or clothes or swimming gear. Hopefully she finds it useful for years to come!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Day of Drama with a kitten

Don't ask me how but a kitten managed to find its way into our roof yesterday.
After much mucking around we were able to free it this afternoon and reunite it with its mother.Its very skittish, but happy to be back in Mum's company. And its VERY cute.

Where did November go?

November just disappeared on me! I guess spending a few weeks in the big smoke makes time pass more quickly. At least I'm feeling crafty again.

These are the results of a few hours play the other day. Lots of glitter and lots of glue and a few Christmas baubles have become a gift for the Folks and the In-laws. Hope they like them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boys Clothes and Toys Clothes

It seems like a long time since I've had any sewing to post about. This a collection of bits and pieces from the past couple of weeks. Nothing very significant, mostly just necessary! The weather was very warm on Saturday which highlighted the lack of shorts and t-shirts in DS wardrobe. Fortunately a couple of pairs of last summers shorts still fitted! The red and the blue shorts were from fabric in my stash, as was the stripey t-shirt. The Grey t-shirt and denim shorts are recycled cast-offs from our wardrobe! The little dolly is actually Mum's design but included because I made a dolly outfit using the clothes pattern for this doll's clothes. It was supposed to be quick and easy.... Guess it is when you've made lots of them. It was fiddly and annoying when I hadn't used this pattern for about 15 years. (At least the naked dolly from the Toy Library won't be cold now. Thats who the outfit was for!)
Also on the subject if dolls, I made a hat for this vogue pattern doll, to hide her bald head. My son has taken a shine to her and likes to carry her around giving her cuddles. Very sweet.
And it looks like our scrawy, half plucked chooks are keepers!

Fresh Produce

On the way home from collecting our chooks we called on Grandad who insisted on giving us bags of his homegrown vegies. Yummo. The oranges are sweet and delicious. The carrots, parsnips and onions were roasted last night. The rhubard is destined for a crumble. The lettuce seems to be cropped out of the picture but it won't go astray as the weather warms up.
Grandad's massive vegie patch puts our modest plot to shame. But you gotta start somewhere, right? Hopefully we'll have some vegies of our own in a month or two.

Half a dozen Chooks

Over the weekend we went to pick up our new chooks. They have been retired from an Egg Farm, because at 12 months old their egg production starts to slow down and they are replaced with a younger model!

Sadly being cramped up in an Egg farm means nothing to do all day but eat, lay and peck the cr*p out of each other, hence their half plucked appearance. This is 2 weeks regrowth, in another 4 weeks they should be looking a lot better.

They seem to be enjoying their new surrounds. We purposely hadn't weeded this area for ages and there was loads of bugs and greenery for them to scratch up.

We may have to put in a lower perch though. Most of them haven't got enough feathers to make it up on the perch for and are sleeping huddled on the ground overnight.

They are settling in well though. I forgot how much I enjoy having chooks in the yard!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the wars...

Here is my gorgeous boy on the weekend. Since this pic, he has been knocked down by a cousin, and has grazes and eggs on his head and face, he has four nasty insect bits, one of which is infected and to top it off he's developed a virus. His temp peaked at 40.1 late last night and during a phonecall to 'nurse-on-call' he started convulsing on my shoulder. The nurse transferred me to '000' who advised me to take him to the local hospital. Very scary.
(pic removed)
So today he's full of Panadol and AB's and hopefully on the mend.

And he's exhausted and sleeping far longer than usual and I can't focus to sew a thing!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Big Weekend (but no sewing)

No sewing this weekend. Instead we travelled away from home to attend an outdoor wedding. Although it was very cold outside we had a great time catching up with some family and friends whom we don't see very often.
(pic removed)
I was able to give the baby bear to my gorgeous brand new niece, and decided not to save the cubby for Christmas as intended, but gave it to the nephew so he could enjoy it while away from home (and his other toys). He also might appreciate it as a place to hide from that new sister later on!My boy had fun with a guests hat during a post wedding barbecue the following day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Finally finished

My card table cubby garage is complete. Front: Door, letterbox pocket with applique numbers, sign with freezer paper stencilling and zigzag edging.
Left side:toolbox pockets with applique word, stuffed spanner, applique tyre.
Back:applique and stuffed tap, bucket pocket, plastic window
Right side:Applique fuel pump, stuffed hose and nozzle, small plastic pocket for the price!

Materials: poplin in various colours, silver fabric, silver ribbon, heaps of vliesofix, some lightweight interfacing, bias binding, clear plastic, freezer paper, fabric paint, stuffing, lots of thread!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baby Bear

Any day now a new niece or nephew will be arriving. I made the big-brother-to-be a bear when he was born, and this a a slightly smaller sibling to it. I love this pattern and this is the 3rd time I've made it now. He is so darn cute! It was initially intend to be for my little boy, but as I still have fur left over, and several eyes, noses and joints so I'm sure he'll get one eventually!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Some pig

My son needs a doorstop as his bedroom door has a tendency to swing shut on its own, and the door handle is WAY above his reach. The house came with a heavy weight at this door for this reason. It's functional but ugly. And as I was painting a farm scene for his walls I just knew what he really needed was a pig doorstop. Of course! A quick search of the internet didn't bring up anything suitable, so it was a case of back to the drawing board! I already had a suitable test fabric, stuffing, felt, pellets etc. So here is my test pig:
His snout is a little wonky, and he is not quite heavy enough. I planned to insert the weight into the base of his body, but a last minute change to the foreleg design didn't allow enough room for this. His weight from the pellets is enough to keep him sitting upright. I think he needs to be made from a heavier fabric to handle the weight inside too.
Still he is rather cute, and now I have to urge to embroider a spiders web onto a cushion for Charlotte to join him...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WIP (more cubby shots)

These are views from three (mostly assembled) walls of the card table cubby. It's probably now quite obvious that it has a garage/workshop/service station theme!

Still to do - A tool box pocket, shop sign, stuffed spanner, letterbox and then sew the roof panel on!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Karen from has tagged me to reveal some things about myself!
So here are the rules;
A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog...

So here goes...
I am a reforming small-time hoarder. I grew up in a household where stuff was fixed, not thrown out, and kept because ‘it might come in handy one day’. I think this is good, but within reason! So I am working hard to simplify my home and life and enjoying some clear spaces as a result! (leading to a self imposed fabric buying ban until some more projects are completed, though I found a loop hole-I can start something new if I already have the materials required in my stash-hence my new purse in the previous post! :D)

I grew up in Melbourne, but have been living in various parts of country Victoria since I went away to University. Part of me would love to return to the convenience of the city, but we are pretty settled where we are, and it is a great place to raise our son. I make do with visits to my Mum and Dad when we can.

As a teenager in the 80’s I was known for my tendency to whip up a new top or pants on Friday after school and be snipping the threads off as I was walking out the door in them an hour or two later. This stemmed from a lack of funds to buy new fashions and access to an abundance of fabrics in Mum’s stash. I can recall making a hooded top, a colour blocked and polka dot t-shirt, loud board shorts, and white leggings, amongst other things!

I think I have craft-related ADD. I have heaps of things on the go and will still see inspiration somewhere and go off on a tangent. I am trying to complete the card table cubby, yet instead in the past 24 hours I have made a purse and am fighting the urge to make some felt mice, an ugly doll, cabbage patch clothes and new shorts for my boy, following a few EB posts that have caught my eye. Focus girl!

I met my husband at a B’n’S Ball on the eve of the new millennium. I’d never been to one before but stepped outside my comfort zone had a fantastic time. Plus, the middle of nowhere with no electricity seemed a good place to be if all the electronics in the world were going to meltdown at midnight. Of course they didn’t. I’ve never drank so much rum before or since…

I unexpectedly went into premature labour at 33 weeks, leading to two ambulance rides, steroid shots, unsuccessful attempts to halt labour and my son arriving early the next morning. Luckily he was pretty healthy and came home 3.5 weeks later. Midwives discovered a potentially dangerous partial vasa previa when the placenta was delivered, and the general consensus was that he was better out than in. Not exactly the birth I had hoped for, but a beautiful healthy baby boy at the end.

I want to go to Canada to see the polar bears, and Italy to see as much as possible.

Last year we drove across the Nullabor to WA, our last holiday as just the two of us. We LOVED Wave Rock at Hyden and all the caves near Margaret River. We toured three in a day and the next day I could hardly walk. SO many steps…phew.

Well done if you’re still reading after that essay! I’m not sure who to tag yet so I’ll have to edit that bit in later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Purse!

I was checking out the Flickr group of 'Bend the rules sewing' and was loving the purse/wallet designs. They were all so cute but didn't have enough space for my bits and pieces, and I don't have the book yet either, but I was inspired to tackle a new purse anyway. My old one is pretty shabby.Here is my finished purse. I added the metal clip, in case I want to attach my keys to it in future
I sewed on some clear plastic from Spotlight (that was left over from another project) to make the pockets for photos and frequently used cards!
I carry quite a lot of cards, so here is the opened out purse, with about four cards in each pocket, and a pencil, just because I had room for it! I put in the hook and loop to prevent the whole thing opening during day-to-day use, as the cards in here are only needed fortnightly or less.
I needed to have a space for notes as not all our shops here have eftpos available so its good to have cash as well. The only thing missing is a really secure place for coins. We'll see how it goes and I may need to modify it later.
I kind of made it up as I went along, using whatever scraps I could find in my stash. I'm almost embarrassed to say that the fabrics are an old skirt and a cheap sheet (too cheap to ever have been slept on).

It certainly kept me busy last night and this morning. I gave it a test run at the shops this afternoon and so far, so good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday WIP

Last night I made a big dent in the designs for the nephew's card table cubby. The parts below will be spread around three sides of the cubby. I am pleased with it so far, as the bucket and the fuel pump nozzle were very fiddly but have come up pretty much as I imagined. The bucket is a pocket, and the fuel pump has a pocket for the nozzle and a pocket on the front for the price of today's fuel. Hehehe. :)I hope BIL and SIL like that the card table cubby can be pretty compact when not in use, unlike lots of bulky kids stuff!
Still a few more parts to go but we are half way there. Yay!

Some completed projects

It seems blogging a few incomplete projects has helped a bit. Typing out what needed to be done really emphasised how close to finished some items were. So here is the completed cushion, sitting on the newly recovered chair. I called it my Cinderella chair as it is covered with a random patchwork of scraps! My folks came to visit for the weekend and Mum brought a pattern book with her. It was 'Kwik-Sew -Sewing for Toddlers', and once I got past the lovely 80's styling I found some great basics. I have been looking for a simple raglan t-shirt and there was one in the book. Unsure of the sizing, I traced off and made up the smallest shirt to work out the fit. It does fit but I think I will use the next size up for his Summer clothes. Still, the mock up turned into the perfect PJ top to go with last months froggy PJ pants! (Just don't look at the three quarter length sleeves!. My mistake, I think the pattern allows for ribbing to increase the arm length! Good Spring length anyway don't you think!!) I am also looking forward to making the 'hoodie' jacket.
Mum solved my stretch fabric pucker issue when she helped me fit the walking foot. I haven't taken it off yet as it is just so handy with all the funny little projects I've got going on!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Some more half done projects...

Perhaps if I put these things up here it will motivate me to complete them! The cushion only needs a backing that can be opened to remove and replace the insert. Don't know why I've put it off for so long when it's quite a small job really.

The wall hanging needs lots of hand stitching and I have decided to put together a kit of the necessary bits so I can gradually get it done while in waiting rooms, on long trips, lazy nights on the couch etc. The little froggy panel started as an idea for a bag, but I have lost my way with it. Hopefully will be able to post some more finished items soon!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blanket Washing Day

It was a glorious day today. Blue skies and a warm breeze. Spring is so close I can smell it.

With the weather like that it seemed the perfect day to wash the blankets. It's not something I do often but it was one of those jobs that's needed doing for a while... Well, the first blanket went in no worries, but as I was hauling it out of the rinse water (standing up on the edge of the bath tub to let as much of the water as possible drain out) someone else could not resist the temptation. First it was just a sock covered toe, but with me teetering up well out of his reach, and not willing to drop the blanket and let it get saturated again, he grinned and...

clothes and all climbed into the water. Thanks goodness it was only the rinse water and not quite as dirty as it appears in the pic! It was almost cold but he sat and splashed happily for several minutes, but protested when I wouldn't lift him out til he was stripped off! Rascal!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My first (and maybe last!) quilt top

Yay! I had my first 'day off' since Bubs arrived 16 months back and, apart from the obligatory hour or two for desperately needed housework, I sewed! My nine patchs were a bit rough, and some were not quite the expected 6.5inches square. I was trimming and ironing and sewing ALL DAY! Yes, I estimate it took 7 hours to get this thing together. At least I am pleased with the result.Of Course I don't have the batting or the backing or the binding yet, so I guess it will go back in the UFO box for a while longer. Might need another visit to mum's for shopping and another lesson on what to do next.

I am wondering if it needs a border, or if it is better left in its simple nine patch state? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Arranging Nine Patches

This was the Grand Plan, but it's proved to be yet another case of the amateur being too ambitious!
I am no quilter! But my Mum showed me how to do a nine patch when I was in a patchworky phase a few years back. I ended up making about 50 of them and had a grand plan for a bed quilt. Well, as I said, I started these a few years ago, and it's clear they have not morphed into the bed quilt I had envisaged! I am getting sick of looking at them in my ever increasing tub of UFO's, so have decided to ditch the 'grand plan' and just join the darn things together. Then I'll at least have myself a (simple) quilt top. I'm wanting to join them 'on point' with a plainish cream square between. I think they'll be arranged 6 NP across and 8 NP down. Or maybe 7 x 7... Time to dig out some of the 'How to' books from that phase so I can finish this baby off and put it to bed... or on the bed... or on the couch...

Wednesday WIP

Thrifting! Op Shop finds and scraps from my stash. I am hoping to make a card table cubby for a Christmas gift. If it turns out well it will be for a nephew. If it turns out badly my own son will be stuck with it! I have lots of ideas for it, and have drawn several sktches, and was thrilled to find the pefect background fabrics at our local (tiny) op shop. It is only a cheap poly cotton but I was happy to pay $2 for about 5m of fabric in total. Once I was home I went through my scraps and found several smaller pieces in a similar fabric. I was able to get to Spotlight last week and picked up 4 x 0.5m extra colours in similar cheap fabric. I also debated about some more vliseofix for appliquing a few bits onto the cubby, but ended up getting a can of spray adhesive instead. Not sure if this was a good move yet!! I'm pretty sure the spraying will be an outside job, and that our dodgy outdoor table is going to experience another indignity and wind up in a gluey mess...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Spoils of a visit to the Folks

Have been offline for a week due to a visit to see Mum and Dad. It had been a while so it was lovely to catch up. I meant to go to Spotlight but with one thing and another I just didn't make it.

Not to worry though. Instead I shopped at 'La Cupboard de Mum's' and oh, what goodies did I find!!

A bit of leftover flannelette, just enough for extra PJ pants for my boy with a couple of bits left over to applique onto the tops when I make them.

A few patterns and a sewing book which I am borrowing.

A few transfers she was happy to be rid of, and a dressmaking book from the 60's. Score!

But then we came across a box that had been shoved to the back of the cupboard over 15 years ago. A collection of bits and pieces from my Grandma's small stash. She wasn't known for her sewing but there were some treasures nonetheless. Having lived through two wars and the depression she was a frugal lady so there was some mending patches, hemming tapes and replacement elastic and zippers. There was a heaps of darning wool and crochet thread. Bias binding, a bone needle holder and an embroidered needle book. Several packets of unopened needles that are very old, a couple of patterns from the 40's.
My personal favourite is a UFO, a half done embroidery on linen that she bought in Argentina. It is a bit marked but I am hoping to complete it then see if I can wash out the marks. Lucky for me she had saved all the thread to finish the project too. Yay!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pattern's and Pattern Storage

Not too many patterns here as I have a very bad habit of not using them! I did recently buy a few new ones when Spotlight had a 50% sale, but I more often use an existing (simple) garment that fits well and try to make my own version of it! This isn't always successful and can result in some fabric wastage :( so I am trying to be a bit more open to using a pattern properly!! I used my pattern for the PJ pants and kinda made up the top to fit the fabric scraps I had available.


And here is the finished product. My machine is a pretty basic 23 stitch Janome, yet I mostly use straight stitch and sometimes zigzag! So I decided to have a play and try out a few of the other stitch patterns. I think this bumpy stitch looks nice round the applique sheep. I would love to know how to sew the stretchy fabric without getting the puckered-up look though(where the sleeves join). Any tips??