Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: Z is for Zebra

Well there he is, a little zebra to complete my Dick Bruna alphabet panels.

I only started this panel yesterday, I had an "Oh my god, its Monday!" moment and hopped straight to it.  I hadn't had a close look at the illustration before then but did have some half ideas in my head about how it was going to go together.  I realised with some dismay and absolute resignation that it could only be done piece by piece, all 23 of them alternating black and white to hopefully end up with a correct representation of the original.  I cut out all the little pieces yesterday (with a stiff wind blowing though the house = mistake!) and last night spent considerable time shifting the pieces around the backing fabric to get just the right placement.  Yes, I had to move 23 pieces everytime I wanted a slight adjustment up or down, or left or right.  Then hunched over the kitchen bench under the bright halogen lights I started to sew all the pieces down.  I finished this morning (after quitting and going to bed, I didn't sew through the night) with aching shoulders and hopefully not a permanently hunched back from sitting at the kitchen stool.  Looking forward to a good yoga session tomorrow to straighten myself out again.

Next year I have the task of getting all these panels together into a wall hanging for my son's room.  Happily we are moving to a new house next year, finally our own house.  Yes, we will be home owners (gulp!).  The timing couldn't be more perfect for this project.  Don't worry, after setting myself up again after the move I'll be updating how the project is coming along and it will eventually be completed - rectangular? horizontally long? vertically long?  The choices! I'll have to see what fits best in the new house.

Thanks for following along this year, I couldn't have done it without the accountability factor of posting it to the blog!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The finish line

I am looking at the finish line for my alphabet series.  I am aiming to be done before the end of 2010 rolls around.  We will be off to Tasmania at the end of this week, and I really don't fancy taking any sewing with me on this holiday, its time for a break for sure!  So tomorrow is the last Tuesday of the year that I have left to post about this project.

If you've been following along, and even if you haven't, I think you know what the picture for Z is going to be.

Its complicated to recreate in felt though, so lots of little bits of paper template and felt scraps are piling up on the bench.  Its like an ultimate two colour jigsaw puzzle to put together, hopefully it will be all stitched down by tomorrow.

See you then!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: Y is for Yawn

Does this make you yawn?  Or does just thinking about yawning give you the urge to yawn?

Did you?  Go on, admit it.

Happiness is...parcels, coffee and a stolen hour

Yesterday afternoon I took some time out.

It was very humid weather, I had done all my jobs for the day, and the little one was asking nicely to watch a DVD, so I let him and headed out to relax on the back deck with an armful of goodies to kick back and catch the breeze.

I had just re-filled my coffee bean tin at Merlo coffee, taking home my complimentary coffee in my Keep Cup of course, feeling good about re-usable packaging here.  Coffee is a bit of indulgence for me, I don't drink it regularly any more.

I had two lovely parcels to open, just for me!  One was full of goodies from a close friend, including some delicious Christmas biscuits.  Mmmm, they are tasty and disappearing fast!

My second parcel had just been picked up from the post office.  The post office queue was huge and everybody seemed to have a red parcel pick up slip.  I asked the lady behind the counter if they had missed a delivery or something due to the bad weather (it did look like the whole suburb was turning out to pick up mail) but she looked at me amused and said, "No dear, its just this time of year!".  Silly me.

My parcel was from Nic at Yardage Design with my copy of Handmade Living (devine publication!) and a print of her bunting panel, and a cute little elk decoration.  (I have a moose that is similar, I must dig him out and they can be friends.)

So I drank my coffee, ate some biscuits, read through my new book and felt very chillaxed, well as much as the humid weather would allow for.

And then the DVD was over and it was time to do something else.  I hope you also manage to squeeze in a relaxing hour here and there during this busy time of year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rest with the best

Sheets for rest time at kindergarten next year. 

I was putting all the effort into making these thinking why, why, oh why? The boy doesn't do rest time, hasn't for ages, he's a twelve hours a day go, go, go kid.  Enforced rest time is boring, but the powers that be say there will be rest time so sheets are needed, in their own drawstring bag no less.  So you know, if you have got to have them, you may as well have the coolest.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Doily dress

Let me present the finished dress from yesterday.  I stole a few photos in the last afternoon light yesterday, the dress has already gone to its new home.  I only have the doily pinned on in these pictures, I hand stitched it to the dress last night.

This peasant dress is a super easy pattern from Libby Lu's Boutique (on Etsy).

I thought I knew better than the instructions when it came to the sleeves, and it turned out I was wrong!  The instructions say to sew the seam of the sleeve first, then do a very fiddly turn under and stitch to create the casing for the arm elastic.  I thought that was unecessarily complicated and turned under the long edge of the sleeve to make the elastic casing first, put the elastic in, and then sewed the arm seam.  The difference is hidden raw edges if you follow the instructions and a not so neat looking raw edge and elastic ends showing affair using my method.  Grrr.  Lesson learned.

I added a litle tag to the back using some floral ribbon, just so the recipient knows for sure which is the front and which is the back when getting dressed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Speed sewing

Just trying to get these made up into a little dress.  I have been hoarding that embroidered doily for some time, now I have the perfect use for it.

But I'm very busy, its going to be a case of speed sewing (not sewing on speed though, don't worry).

Must get on with it!  This one is going to be my first 100% recycled fabric garment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: X is for Xylophone

Have you ever seen an alphabet chart without a xylophone representing the letter X?  Its a bit of a pet hate of mine because the spelling of the word is hard and the sound of the X is really more a Z.

So I wondered today if there was a good alternative.  I looked up X in my pocket dictionary, there were about 25 entries in the X section (none of them X rated).  There were other X things - xenon, x chromosome, x axis, xerox, xylem, X-ray, even Xmas - so no, all very scientific.  I had to concede that xylophone is the most recognisable for children.

X doesn't really mark the spot, does it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big Butt Small Pants

We had a quick stop visit from a close friend over the weekend so I got back to the sewing machine and whipped up a pair of baby pants for his six month old son. The pattern for these "Big Butt Baby Pants" is from Made by Rae.  Just a few clicks and a very small payment and the pattern dropped into my email inbox - shopping should always be that easy! It was a quick afternoon project with very satisfying results. 

The pants are designed for cloth nappy wearing babies (hence the big butt name I suppose) so as the instructions suggested for a disposable nappy wearing babe I made a size down (size I made were for three to six months), and cut to the length for a six to twelve month.  It sounds complicated but its not really.  They are made of soft blue flanelette and I added an up-turnable cuff that enclosed all raw edges so that the pants can be adjusted as the wearer grows by folding up and then letting down, the pattern is very generous in the leg length.

The little bloke in question has already been wearing these colours from me, which he has now obviously outgrown!  He should get lots of wear out of these pants.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Creative Space...Doodling

I haven't been up to doing any sewing for a little while, but the break away from the machine has enabled me to concentrate on one task that constantly gets pushed to the bottom of the "to do" list, or placed in the "too hard" basket.

I am attempting some drawing.  To have a little image of my own to be able to print on some cards or make into a little web shop banner in the future.  Nothing like a few aspirations for 2011.

Problem is I don't draw very well.  I don't have a very artisitc brain in that way.  I was listening to an interview with the illustrator and animator Adam Elliot on Radio National yesterday and he said that at about the age or nine or ten a lot of kids tend to give up drawing because their desire for their drawings to be realistic does not match their ability to actually do so.  This was certainly the case for me, I actually hated art classes at school with a passion, I preferred to be collecting data in the science labs.

So while I doodle away today I will no doubt get frustrated when my ability doesn't meet my expectations.  I must try to tap into my inner six year old and draw like it doesn't matter what it looks like!

For more creative spaces, the last lot for this year, click on over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Maika in store

I did mention not long ago that I was lucky enough to be asked to sew some gifts for pocket money.  Well the end results are now for sale at Nest Nappies in Paddington, Brisbane.  Let me tell you, Nest Nappies is the best one stop shop for modern cloth nappies and accessories in town.

Bunting, small and large pencil rolls and super hero capes are listed for sale in their web shop, or for direct purchase of course if you pop into the shop in person (15 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington).

Sunday, November 28, 2010


No, I haven't just fallen off the planet.  Or been abducted by aliens.

I had to make a snap decision about going into hospital for some surgery.  For peace of mind I decided to go for it.  Laparoscopy is not too pleasant a procedure, but the outcome was a happy one and whilst I am very sore I am on the mend, making the most of a weekend spent in bed being waited on hand and foot.

The house is "bloke standard" clean and tidy, and with some encouragement a load of laundry made it into the washing machine.  I was also surprised to discover that my other half had only a half an idea of how to put the dishwasher running...

I won't be making it back to the sewing machine for some time yet, I'll be spending my time catching up on blog reading instead.  A laptop in bed with wireless internet connection really is a gift from the technology gods.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sheet find

 Come and share in my admiration for this vintage sheet find. 

So much beautiful fabric.

Projects galore will come out of this one.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just because

I have been making myself try some new things in the last week.  I have been making peasant tops for myself, so I had a go at making a peasant dress for a girl.  Love this daisy fabric.

And I have a few wrap dresses in my wardrobe that I like wearing and I looked at the construction of them the other day and I reckon that I could make one just by tracing the pieces.  To get my head around how one is constructed I had a go at making a size 2 wrap dress.  Starting small with this project obviously.

Now, onto other projects that are awaiting my attention.  I've almost got too much sewing to do, but thats a nice problem to have, isn't it? 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Red meet Purple, Purple meet Red

 Our beloved little purple monster has a new friend - little red monster.

As soon as Red was finished he was up and about and chatting away to little Purple. 

They became good friends and had so much in common.  Look at them there, laughing away like a couple of old fellas.

Cheeky too!

Red is off to Pip this week, but little Purple is staying behind because he's pretty important around here (and has a slight war wound on the left arm that needs care and attention).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Creative Space: at the coffee table

Today I am making a big mess.  But thats what vacuum cleaners were invented for, right?  Little bits of fabric offcuts are falling to the floor to be trodden underfoot and carried around the house stuck to said feet...

I'm making this mess rather centrally by sitting at the coffee table.  This plonks me right in the middle of my son's play zone so he can chat to me and play around me, he likes to watch the pinking shears do their little zig zag cut. 

I have been very lucky to get a commission to sew some simple gifts for a friend's shop.  Bunting is the first thing on the list of jobs.  There will be some very simple one sided triangular flags, and some more fancy rounded ones.  I've also been experimenting with incorporating some doilies - the end result is pleasing me very much.

For more creative spaces, head on over to Kootoyoo

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: W is for Whale

Splish splash, here comes the whale.  Don't get too close, he's watching you, see?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Deconstruction, reconstruction

These fabrics used to be stitched together in the form of a doona cover. Nobody loved it anymore and donated it to the charity shop.

I bought it, washed it, and set to picking and ripping my way through the seams and I now have four lovely pieces of fabric, and a nice harvest of cream buttons.

I got distracted after that...and I am already wearing some of it.

A happy sewing day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Creative Space: Monsterous

In my creative space today I am turning my attention to making a softie for the Mirabel Foundation

I am drawing inspiration from this dude.  His name around these parts is "little purple monster".  He's a bit of an ugly duckling but he certainly gets a lot of love, I think its partly due to his small size, perfect for a fistful of take it anywhere, anytime comfort.  Bigger is not always better you know when it comes to monsters!

I'm going off to rummage for some fabric and felt to make my own little version of monstery love.

Happy creating today in your creative space - to see them all head on over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Birthday get up

I wasn't going to write a blog entry today - gosh I have had a shocker!  Nothing like having a hamper of dirty laundry stolen from under your house in the dead of night, is there?  Its intrusive, sick and down right creepy.  I am distracted by the mental calculations of what was in the hamper, weirded out by why they chose to knick off with the laundry and leave other more attractive items behind, and just plain frickin annoyed of the extra work created to replace diminished supplies of socks and jocks.  Geeeeeez.  Pissed off!

But no, according to the title of this post, we are not having to get around in our birthday suits in the event of a total wardrobe wipe out...

I am referring to a birthday gift I made for a special four year old who celebrated her birthday on the weekend.  I made her an A line skirt from my Little Bird pattern.  I even finally cut into my matryoshka doll fabric that I have had for some time now and appliqued one onto the skirt. 

I picked up a plain t-shirt at the department store and sewed two gathered ruffles down the front.  For this I followed the super easy tutorial from Sarah at Cotton Kiwi.

I wasn't sure if giving clothes as a gift was going to cut it for a four year old, would she prefer a toy instead I wondered?  Well as soon as the wrapper was off it was off to the kitchen to proudly show her Mum the new outfit, phew!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: V is for Violin

After another hiatus Alphabet Tuesday is back!  With just four letters to go now I am determined to get to the end of the alphabet over the next weeks.

This week our lovely little violin prodigy plays a squeaky tune on her wobbly stringed instrument.  Can you hear it?   Ergh.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, you all left me such nice comments which was both surprising and very humbling.  It was great to hear how much you enjoy visiting and reading.

In the end there were only two entrants that were not "followers" in some kind of form, so I just threw one entry in for everyone because it didn't change the odds significantly.  So here we have all the little entry slips with names and preferred prizes.

I chose my red enamel teapot because I could easily get my hand in and out of the top.  Nothing worse than needing to use vaseline, or worse the emergency department, just to get the winning slip (and my hand) out of the pot!  So in they go...

...lid on and shake it around a bit (yes, I am shaking, the photo is blurry)...

...safely put hand into teapot - oh look, the time is just after 5pm...

...and the winner is...

...Kate from Foxs Lane who selected to win the fabric pack.  Congratulations Kate!  I'm sure the fabrics will find a place in some of Kate's gorgeous creations.  Kate, I'll drop you an email to organise delivery of the prize to your corner of the world.

Giveaway - closing today

If you haven't all ready then pop over to this post to enter my giveaway.  I said I was going to draw a winner out of my teapot today and indeed I am just lining up my tea and coffee pots in the kitchen to select a suitable receptacle for the entries.  I will be drawing out a lucky winner at 5pm today.

Don't be shy, go on, enter, you know you want to!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bunting to Bulgaria

I have finished my second bunting quilt, this time a very girly one for baby Nya who entered the world a few weeks ago - a daughter for my husband's cousin.

Its a little bit thicker than the other one I made.  This time there are two layers of flanelette, white in the middle and pink on the reverse side.  It is going into winter in Europe after all.

The flag strings are white ric rac, I had the perfect length of this in my sewing box and that saved me trying to find a suitable shade of bias binding.

The postage cost to Bulgaria was very expensive, about $20, and the large Australia Post bag is headed to a very small mailbox slit on the side of an apartment building, so I really hope it gets there OK - also considering my dodgy addressing technique in the cyrillic alphabet!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Creative Space: it's super!

Before my breakfast, before my shower, before either of us was even dressed this morning I strangely found myself sewing.  If you know me then you know its pretty hard to get me to do anything comprehensible until I have showered...

The boy found the beginnings of his superhero costume strewn about the spare room where I had left it in the late hours of last night when I went to bed.  He just NEEDED velcro on the arm cuff, and then the cape was too long and NEEDED to be just the right length.  Who was I to refuse?

There's still another arm cuff and a belt to be made, but I put my foot down and went and had that shower.

The pjs are not part of the costume, naturally.

For more creative spaces head on over to Kootoyoo.

And if you want a chance to win something nice, feel free to enter my giveaway.


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