Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas confessions of an crafting mum

A Smidge of a Handmade Christmas
I'll get this off my chest before the New Year starts in oooh, about 9 hours and 27 minutes.
I don't "do" the handmade Christmas.
It just doesn't occur to me really as I am too busy sewing and crafting as my whim or "to do" list dictates. I do cook Christmas things with the kids (at least once...well, only once...that's my patience gone at this time of year) and I have made with love and teeth gritting each of them their own personalised Christmas stocking which, with the help of some old fashioned values and some superglue, I hope that the kids will cherish for many years to come.
Yes, you'd think hanging around sewing blogs and the Crafty Mamas forum that some of those legendary gals would rub their motivation off on me and I'd be making fabric memory cards and funky chenille clothing (and crocheted orange and peach pink toilet roll holders for the less favoured rellies) with aplomb.
Nup. Sorry. I think that the kids can have a bit of commercially made and/or other people's made stuff at this time of year and give them a break from my productivity.
(Yes, read that as "give me a break from my productivity")
So this is my offering. My daughter got a crocheted Eeyore as part of her Christmas score. Cuter than a crocheted toilet roll holder (once I realised that the ear was an ear and so funnily enough didn't look much like a tail when sewn onto the butt end- blame too much eggnog for that one)
Pattern by Siempre Josefina
Adored by daughter
And mummy has decided that amigurumi is not really her thing...
(This is small enough for my short sighted eyes!)
OND 2009
OND 2009
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Received with love...
OND 2009
...Aaaw, OK, maybe I should make a few more things next year...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Quote of the Week

From Hamilton Wright Mabie:

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love"

Here's hoping that every individual, every country and the whole world can love more, fight less and work towards the greater good in 2010.

(Yes I am a cynic day to day but I do have occasional spurts of idealism and general mushiness)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Farbenmix Quiala

A story of redemption...or perseverance...or just good old fashioned luck!

This was one of those projects that just wasn't fun. I picked my fabrics happily enough then started having grief. Not enough fabric to make the longer length. Cut a binding for the neckline but the fabric wasn't right so cut a different one then promptly lost it. Traced and cut out the sleeves thinking how short they were and how I didn't like sleeves that short then grumped when it came to sewing the sleeves because they were too short and I didn't like them. Had to unpick the neckline as the binding piece was too long. I just wasn't enjoying the project and thought that I'd never end up finishing it or, if I did, it would be added to my nightie drawer.

So it got shoved to the back of the sewing table for a week while I studiously ignored it.

Yesterday I picked it up as part of cleaning up my sewing area and in a half hour re-did the neckline, roll hemmed the sleeves to keep as much length as possible and what the heck, roll hemmed the body while I was at it.

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

The result was a short dress that is fine around the house (where I do not have to expose people with delicate constitutions to the cellulite and varicose veins of my thighs) and great as an overdress if I step through the front door. The panels are slimming and, after all that, I actually like it!

Little Boozle 2009

(Composition courtesy of my 6 year old son)

Fabric is a retro knit from my stash and chocolate and blue marle Stella from Crafty Mamas shop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I just love...

Little Boozle 2009
In what seems to be a very long time ago, I was a working professional person who used to dress nicely, go and talk to adult people 10 hours a day, earn money and get satisfaction from doing my job diligently, responsibly and thoroughly.
Seven years later, I consider my day a success if the Wiggles bandaids haven't been pulled out of the cupboard for bleeding injuries, if there is no wee on the toilet floor at the end of the day and if 2 out of 3 children at least smell their dinner before shoving the plate away.
(And if I can get the laundry hamper completely empty for 5 minutes, the day has been an absolute pearler!)
Maybe my expectations have changed. But nowadays I get huge satisfaction from spontaneously whipping up a pair of leggings for my child in that 20 minutes before the lunch duty rolls around. It brings a smile to my face and to my daughter's and I don't lie awake at night worrying about what my "client" is going to say! Granted- I might lie awake at night hearing listening to my client's midnight tantrums but then I don't have to go off to work in the morning dressed nicely, ready to talk brightly and politely to adults for 10 hours (and if the cream cheese doesn't go quite to the edges of the bread, there is no threat of a lawsuit by the end of the lunch hour)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cool Christmas idea #83

Displaying your Christmas cards

Sewing 2009
If you are anything like me, each December rocks around to find Christmas cards crowded into small spaces on the bench tops, falling everywhere, or even worse, the attempt to be Martha Stewart and run decorative lines around your windows so that your cards can be displayed in a stylish and neat manner. That is, until the kids play Tarzan on the tinsel strings and the lovely but cheap Christmas decorated pegs fall off with the cards and you get sick of putting the blasted things back on the line ten times a day.
This year I got one packet of Blutak, ignored hubby's ruminations about consequent grease patches or paint removal (I don't see you helping with the decorations, sunshine!) and am creating a Christmas tree of cards on our lounge room wall. Of course, this relies on you being mildly popular (or in our case, our school child being mildly popular) as a couple of Christmas cards stuck to the wall would just look plain dumb.
So far, so good. I can always pretend that we are popular and stick up some blank ones so that we look good! Shhhhhhhh!
PS Don't ask me what the first 82 cool decorating ideas are. Go and google them or something.

Crafty Mamas swap

A great little crafting community!
November swap over at Crafty Mamas was a bag swap. Today I got a lovely parcel from Mandy who finds the time to create and craft along with being a mother to eight!
Sewing 2009
What is particularly fabulous is that the bag was designed by another Crafty Mama, Tracy. She is mum to six, imminently seven, and has been nesting furiously of late. This equates to her producing many patterns free to use- check out her blog!
So 2 very industrious women have contributed to my parcel today.
And top it all off- a box of chocolates. Thank you so much Mandy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Tea Party of Hats

Creating collective nouns as a matter of principal.

I am somewhat saddened by the lack of fun or adventurous collective nouns when it comes to garments. Groups of animals have all the fun (just ask the intrusion of cockroaches or the rhumba of rattlesnakes or the stubbornness of rhinoceroses should you ever wander across any of them and strike up a conversation)

I am even more saddened by the complete lack of existance of collective nouns for most garment types. I thought that there would be one for hats, surely. At least something even if something boring like "a clan of hats" or "a beige of hats" but Mr Google can't seem to offer me anything except ones that have been made up by people like me who have nothing better to do.

So this week I have been busy sewing up a tea party of hats (yes, a definate nod to you, Mr Lewis Carroll). This is the lazy version of the Make It Perfect Lazy Day Hat. Which means that I couldn't be pfaffed topstitched except around the brim. I don't enjoy making hats but they are quicker and easier after you run a few up.

Two for my daughter...

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009

One for a custom order...

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
And one for little ol' me...
Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote of the Week

Out of the mouth of babes...
OND 2009
After standing in line for near to an hour to visit Santa, sit on his knee, chat and have a photograph...
Santa: "Ho, ho, ho. Hello! I've been waiting all day for you. Where have you been?"
6 year old son: "Standing in line"
No snappy comeback from the big guy in the red suit for that one!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another present from blogworld!

Last but by no means least!

I was very blessed to win a few things from blog competitions through Blogtoberfest. I didn't actually participate in the blogging side of things but wholeheartedly threw myself into the competing side!

I just received my last little goodie parcel, courtesy of Angelique over at No Life without Wife.
I won her super sweet little red and white bunny softie but a few other goodies apparently stoleawayed (is that even a word?) in my parcel all the way from Noumea. Naughty chocolate! Naughty fabric! Naughty bookmark!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
Thank you Angelique. I loved my parcel. Just scrummy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Tizzy of Hair Clips

Makes for happy hair!
I am making up collective nouns again and think that this captures the cute and feminine side of hair clips much more than a Mullet of Hair Clips would...
Sewing 2009
Sewing 2009
Thanks so much to Helen over at Stitcharooney for these gorgeous rainbow clips. That has let me cross a few names off the Christmas shopping list. No one said that a handmade Christmas had to be made by yours truly, now did they?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Farbenmix Bjarne

This one is for the boys.

I don't sew as much for my boys as for my daughter. A few reasons. I stockpiled a lot of "sale" clothing for them before I started sewing again and we get some clothes from the boys' cousin as well. Secondly there are not as many fabrics or patterns to fall in love with as there seems to be for girls.

I have started both Farbenmix Bjarne top and Mika pants a couple of months ago. Yesterday I finally made up the top for one son and I hope to get the pants made up for my other son very soon.

Pattern- Farbenmix Bjarne
Fabric- Cotton drill with stars and lightweight ribbed polar fleece from stash
Approval rating- My boy was wanting to wear it to school this morning so that has to be a good sign. From my perspective, it is a super easy pattern to get sewn up. Two issues I had with it were shared by another lady who used wovens. The sleeve tops were wide and didn't set in without gathering or pleating or trimming. The fronts of the upper section are meant to overlap but didn't. It is not problem as with a tee underneath I like this look. I also didn't put slits in the sleeves as I preferred a straight sleeve for this style of top on a boy in a heavier fabric. But I will definately make it again.

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Week I must...

Clean my overlocker.

Little Boozle 2009
I really, really must.
(Oh no, that's not mine. I wouldn't possibly let mine get into that state. That's just someone else's overlocker that I took a photo of. You you do... Nice weather we are having, don't you think?)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The good, the bad and the downright stuffed!

24 hours in the world of sewing.

Well, 24 hours with the in-laws visiting so that I could sneak off to the sewing room a lot more often than usual knowing that the offspring had some adult supervision, albeit the type of supervision that is wrapped around their little fingers.


...whipped up an Ottobre Creative Workshop tee for me in no time at all...

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
...and you have to love how you can make something like a Farbenmix Olivia in less than an hour...
OND 2009
...well, probably more indifferent than bad...
I started this Mamu Ulla about 8 months ago so I could wear it in Winter (which finished 3 months ago) It was early on in my knit sewing experience and I stuffed up the neckline then had to wait for some more fabric to redo the bodice. That arrived after a month but by then it was shoved to the back of my sewing table and I had lost my enthusiasm for the project. I'm not sure that I enjoy sewing up Mamu patterns.
So yesterday was THE day to finish it. And I did. And after spending a couple of hours sewing and thinking that it was not going to look like anything more than a particularly colourful though shapeless sack, it looks OK...and I'll wear it.
Some projects just aren't enjoyable from the moment you start till the moment that you finish.
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
...not a Studio Tantrum Laguna...
...but meant to be!
Little Boozle 2009
(Note- small photo lest you be too judgemental but yes, it is bad)
Luckily in a rare display of practicality, I made the Laguna up in a bargain bin print perhaps know that my brain these days is mush and that stitching 2 spirals together was not going to be as easy as I might arrogantly have thought.
Helen over at Stitcharooney made a comment the other day that with 40 minutes to go until leaving home, upon discovering that her youngest had no clean top to wear, she made a new one because it was easier to do that in 40 minutes than to try to wash and dry one.
Don't you love that?
And I love being able to do that.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Blog Giveaway Bag

Keyka Lou's Lots of Pockets Tote
I posted this off to Claire a few days ago. As the winner of my blog giveaway, she chose the blue combos. I pegged her as a reasonably practical type of gal who would have a lot of large sensible bags to take all the necessities with her...but maybe enjoyed having some more girlie bags to use from time to time. So this is a smaller carry along bag.
Another great bag pattern from Michelle at Keyka Lou. This is big enough to take along all those things that you need to as long as it doesn't include the kitchen sink. It wouldn't suit Mary Poppins.

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
I really hope that you love it Claire and get some use out of it. It has been a pleasure to make it for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Economical or excessive?

I know which one my hubby would say.

One of my commandments in life is "Thou shalt not pay full price for washing powder, toilet paper, feminine hygeine products or dishwashing detergent. Ever."

There are a lot of other products that I rarely pay full price for, like breakfast cereals, frozen peas and icecream but these 4 are not negotiable! 3 of them because they are on sale at a great price often and the 4th? Because I can't see why little absorbant things are so expensive.
Maybe all that pretty blue fluid that they use in adverts is really expensive and they need to cover costs...

So even though we have a huge pantry, it is full. Usually stockpiling the freezer with meat on special and the pantry with food works well as I make a huge saving in the long run.

But when you discover two 1.2kg boxes of Weetbix plus a 3rd just barely started, all ominously hovering at their best before date, you think that maybe you have been a little bit excessive...(and your husband knows that you have...) And oh, that's right, just because 3 children loved Weetbix 6 months ago doesn't mean that they like the horrible stuff now.

So what to do? It's not as easy to dispense of excess oat cereal biscuits as it is for say, apples or eggs. There the possibilities, while not endless, are pretty generous. I spent the weekend making some chocolate Weetbix slice (doubling the recipe used 6 of the darn things) and some Weetbix marshmallow slice (woohoo! Another 12 out of the box) Much enjoyed by the Weetbix-loathing hoards...

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So that leaves me with 2 and 5/6 of a box left in the pantry.
So I am open to suggestions. Any recipes which use a couple of kilograms of Weetbix?
Any good crafting ideas using Weetbix? Surely the way that it cements onto any surface when left to dry and refuses to move ever again means that it must have some useful crafting properties.
And me? I have learnt my lesson. I will never ever again stockpile Weetbix. But everything else is still fair game.
...until I end up with a couple of hundred tampons and come asking for ideas...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Remedial Quilting

Unchartered Waters...
OND 2009
Tracy (the Mad Quilter) is expecting her 7th bub early this coming January and asked the Crafty Mamas to make up a block each for a baby quilt.
It has come to light that while we sew madly, craft manically and even knit or crochet with a blinding faith, a fair few of us don't quilt. Haven't quilted. Wouldn't know how to quilt. Granted we might know a quilt if we fell over it but we quite clearly wouldn't have made the quilt before we fell over it.
So while we all waved our hands valiantly in the air with enthusiasm, there has been a lot of foot shuffling, throat clearing and avoidance of eye contact (if that is possible on the web) Meanwhile, those quilters amongst Crafty Mamas have given the pep talks, shoulder rubs and rousing choruses of "it's easy peasy"...if all of that is possible in cyberspace.
Anyhow, once I put my head down and focussed on the project, I put my little contribution together rather quickly. And am rather pleased with the result.
I don't know how many of the 10 Commandments of Quilting got broken in the making of this quilt block but no animals got hurt. That I can promise!

No Need to Row Row Row your Boat...

...when you have turbo boost!

OND 2009
Cut out some bread bag tabs to a speedboat shape.
Pour some full fat milk into a large flat tray.
Gently float the bread tags on the surface.
(Note to self- keep the 2 year old away or the casualties will be high)
Pop a drop of food colouring in the hole at the back.
(Note to self- next time get some pipettes rather than trying to use a skewer and hands might not channel the colours of the rainbow)
Then pop a drop of washing up detergent in the hole.
And off they go....
Kids just need to gently steer them when they get caught up at the edge. No, not like that, just gently, a little tap, right, nooooooo, not like that, aaaaaaah, where's it gone?, hold on mate, I just have to find it, it has sunk, er, so has his, ugh, now my hand is red, where are the blasted things?, right, got them, now, let's try again, shall we?, noooooo, I said NOT LIKE THAT...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

You'd better watch out...

Keeping the Man in the Red Suit faith.

Christmas carols can be heard,
candy canes are piled up in the shops,
the kids are counting down the sleeps...
OND 2009
My eldest is 6 and 1/2 years old and, at the moment, is happy to discuss ad nauseum how the toy making work load is distributed among the elves and what Santa's budget is (infinity dollars apparently!)
However, a 6 year old friend lost her first tooth this week and was very disparaging about her mother's attempts to fob off the dental retrieval and cash injection to the tooth fairy. Oh mum. Roll eyes. The tooth fairy isn't real. Snort. It was you.
How is it that I feel like our family is just starting out but our first child sometime very soon is going to lose that innocent and non-questioning faith in the magic of Santa, the charm of the Easter bunny and the cash flow of the tooth fairy? (all social commentary on the materialism and consumerism of said fantasy beings aside...)
At the moment daddy and I are thinking on our feet as to why Santa is in so many places and why he looks different in each place...But I will enjoy that youthful innocence while I can as I am sure that I will shed a tear when faced with my first loss of innocence.
(I will also enjoy that glass of Baileys that Santa loves to be left on Christmas Eve. Here's to you, Santa!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heatwave beauty

18th November, 2009

I am forever jealous of the gorgeous photos posted by Leisl at Hoppo Bumpo. If you go to her blog, you will see that she frequentlyupdates her photo posts that are the view from her desk.
The view from my desk and sewing table is a high beige colourbond fence with part of next door's unit in the lovely 70s yellow sandy brick peeping over the top. And let's not forget the brown and orange striped window awnings that can also be spied.

Anyhow, in a near 2 weeks of suffocating, bone-numbing heat here in Adelaide, there were few redeeming qualities to the heat wave. Nope, can't think of one actually.

But we were blessed with this sunset this week. It may have been in no way related to the hot weather, but it was almost like Mother Nature was saying "hang in there, kiddies, I'll play nice soon"...

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The past day we have enjoyed cooler weather and even some rain. Heck, I even had to put a jumper on when we ate outdoors for dinner last night. Keep it up, Ma Nature!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And the winner is...

Drum Roll please...

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:22
Timestamp: 2009-11-17 11:26:16 UTC

Sorry for computer illiteracy. I can't even work out how to copy the Random Generator page properly.

No 22 is the lovely Claire of "a little spunkiness"

Who now needs to decide which fabrics she would like me to use!

Congrats Claire!

And a big thanks to everyone who visited, commented and entered.

Keyka Lou Pocket Clutch

Yet another bag!

A year ago I would have vehemently denied any enjoyment from making bags and purses. Now I seem to be slightly (OK more than slightly) addicted. I do love little bags and things to keep my...well, stuff in. But it is a little out of hand so maybe I will actually get something in my etsy shop at some stage.

Pattern- Keyka Lou Pocket Clutch (Oh how I love Michelle's patterns)


Green spot- from my stash
Blue paisley- Fabric traditions

It is written up to be a more formal clutch with batting through the body, a magnetic clasp closure and an exterior decorative button but I don't have much need for formal clutches so I put in an extra layer of interfacing and used a snap instead.

It's cute!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009