Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: O is for Octopus

This little octopus is one of my favourite critters on the whole Dick Bruna alphabet frieze. My little boy loved watching me trace and cut him out this morning and I loved sewing him up today, so I think Mr. Octopus definitely has the cute factor. I love that he is looking away to the side, slightly worried...perhaps a shark is coming?

I'd like to be, under the sea, in an octopus's garden, in the shade...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

California dreaming

I mailed a postcard to a complete stranger in California yesterday. No I haven't gone mad, it was my little part in the Great Stitched Postcard Swap.

The theme was "time" and it did take me some time to come up with an idea and get this project in the mail, in fact I went a little bit over time. In the spirit of the World Cup soccer, lets just say that I went into extra time, which of course keeps things exciting.

So, time flew, and I had fun...

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Creative Space: in a flap

This is my kitchen bench today, getting slowly covered in little offcuts of paper and fabric as I try to make a stitched postcard.

I am running a bit late for the deadline for this postcard swap, but trying not to get in a flap about it.

There's enough to get in a flap about over today's political developments.

I think today really calls for a "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto, don't you think?

For more calm and peaceful creative spaces, pop on over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am still making my smock, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it.

I did say I was going to find some grey wool for this project. I am quite into grey at the moment, must be the short days and cooler weather (otherwise known as winter). My quest for wool fabric was short lived when I discovered it is often mixed with synthetics and as such had "dry clean only" on the tag. Forget that! Unless I can throw it in the wash then its not going in my wardrobe. The feel and look of the fabrics I found were not what I was after at all.

Fate intervened on my trip to Ikea last week when I bought this large piece of pre-cut cotton fabric for only $7. Grey, just as I wanted, and with a fabulous star burst print.

Half the fabric has gone for the smock, and the other half means there's another Ikea skirt in the works.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: N is for Nest

This nest is so full there is no room for mummy bird to sit on those eggs. Perhaps a pesky cuckoo has been in there and added a few while she wasn't looking...

I have to admit that trying to sew the "sticks" of the nest with my machine very quickly lead to boredom. Surely I am not getting fed up with this alphabet malarky! No, just got a lot on my plate at the moment and sewing sticks on a green nest was not at the top of my list of exciting things to do this week. With twelve letters still to go I am going to save my sense of fussyness for some more detailed pictures soon to come.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Anatomy of baby blanket project:
  • Purchase 1m each of beautiful soft pink flannelette, hot pink floral cotton and 4.5m pink and white spotty binding - check
  • Pre-wash fabrics - check
  • Cut two exact rectangles with perfect 90 degree corners - check
  • Sew together right sides out - check
  • Refresh memory on how to make mitred corners using single fold bias binding - check
  • Sew binding to baby blanket with beautiful mitred corners - check
  • Fold and topstitch binding to catch the underside and finish the corners - mmm, a bit of backtracking and restitching is obviously needed

Well, I have a little time to fix it up, the intended recipient is still quietly gestating through her last week or so.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Creative Space: a space of ones own

Finally, after a year and a bit of my sewing machine being permanently installed on the dining table, I have moved into the study/spare room.
The move was not without its considerations of the pros and cons. The dining table sits across the glass windows at the back of our house so light wise it really is the most unbeatable spot in the house, but I was basically sewing at the back door, which at our house actually functions as our main entrance.

old space

So you could say I evicted myself to have a little more privacy, I can shut the door on the mess now if I want, but I am now in the darkest room in the house, which I hope won't matter too much as I do a lot of work at night anyway.

new space

Thanks to the Ikea discount corner we picked up a large table top to replace my small study desk (so recycling the table legs). I also now have enough room for dual function - crafting and computering - great!

What you don't see in this picture is that table next to mine is my husbands computer desk, yes, directly next to me. Its a bit office like. A pro, or a con? Jury's out.

For more creative spaces pop on over to Kootoyoo!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shhh, artist at work

Hope you are having a great Wednesday wherever you are.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: M is for Mouse

Pussycat, pussycat where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.


Hope you had a great Queen's birthday long weekend if you reside in Australia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle

OK, I successfully made it almost to the end of the smock making instructions. I didn't do the hand basting of the yoke facings or do the hemming because this is just a rough version for fit.

This first version was indeed too small, as I was half expecting it to be. The yoke was very high up on my chest compared to the photo of the completed garment in the Seams to Me book, where it comes down much lower, almost around and under the armpits. The width was also a little small making it tight across my upper chest, the arm holes were too high and the length was shorter than expected.

I decided to make a second yoke by adding 5cm in lenth at the horizontal adjustment line given on the pattern. I didn't increase the width because I wanted to just unpick the first yoke and then attach the new one to the existing body pieces. I like this much better, and it also increases the length of the smock to something more like the photo in the book. However, there is a lot of gape at the yoke front which is just ridiculous.

My bloke came up with the suggestion of putting a slight curve to the lower edge of the yoke to bring in the gape. Lets see how it goes...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How medium is medium?

I started on making a smock top for myself and didn't get too far when I came across these directions:

Fits a medium. No numbers or measurements. The book is American, whats an American medium? There are instructions for enlarging or reducing the pattern, but I have no idea what the starting size really is. Really, how hard would it have been to measure their model. I have since read that this has been a criticism of the Seams to Me book. I have also read that the pattern is "on the small side". So this weekend:

A calico version for practice and sizing. This is proving useful as there has already been a few unpicking incidents as the penny drops as to what the instructions are trying to tell me. So far I have made the yoke, and it looks a good fit but I will really have to get it all sewn together to judge its fit on me, to see if I am a medium medium, or not. A little practice run is also giving me a chance to try new things, like gathering.

I hope I don't get too many new wrinkles over the weekend from frowning at the book and frowning at the sewing machine. I think its going to be worth it. I have my eye on some grey wool with embroidery on the yoke for a winter version...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Creative Space: its cuddly

This weeks creative space is all about snuggles and cuddles and the arrival of a new baby boy.

Winging their way to Melbourne are a snuggler from the Lotta Jansdotter pattern and a cuddlekin from Blinking Flights (although somewhat upsized from the original pattern). I monogrammed the cuddlekin with an "e", for Edward.

My little cuddle friend just wanted a snuggle, it was hard to keep him away from it...

Mmm, cozy at last.

For more creative space pop on over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back on the job

A day of uninterupted cutting & sewing

snipping& ironing

embroidering & stuffing

A good time was had

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: L is for Lion

I've been looking forward to sewing this sad looking little fellow. He doesn't look very scary, does he? I almost feel like giving him a little tickle to cheer him up. But I am not so sure I would actually want to meet him in a dark alley at night (or otherwise). All in all, I don't trust him. Which is why I didn't sew his mane down to the fabric. I thought he looked a bit more rakish that way, and I wanted to get out of his face as quickly as possible. Although if he had bit me I really could have stabbed him with my needle. Roar!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My creative space: plotting and scheming

Its good to be back home in my own creative space, even if right now its more thinking about stuff than actually doing. Coming home from a long break is kind of like starting a new year - I have new enthusiasm and resolutions, new inspirations and a list of things to try. Basically I want to do more and try more with my sewing, I'm feeling excited.

I do have a stack of new baby presents to make over the next few weeks (wish me luck with that!), so I am currently thinking through all that in my head, and I am also thinking a lot about sewing some clothes for myself. Clothes sewing was where I really started at a sewing machine*, my Mum was such a role model with this. I have gained a lot more skill and confidence with sewing since my teenage years so I am plotting and scheming to make a tunic or smock top that I can slip on over long sleeved tees this winter.

I was really inspired by Kate from Fox's Lane and her tablecloth dress**. I like this look with jeans, and I almost always wear jeans.

And this afternoon in my hammock I have been reading through the instructions for the Smashing Smock from the Anna Maria Horner book " Seams to Me". I will probably start with this one.

And if all goes well and I am feeling confident I might try the Amy Butler Anna Tunic.

But as I say, plotting and scheming...

For more creative space, both real and cerebral, pop on over to Kootoyoo.

* This is not to say that I am not still a complete hack, but I do try to follow the instructions...
**Photo of Kate kindly used with her permission

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Of teapots and postcards

I went along to the Saviour of the Lost Arts Craft Fair held in King George Square in Brisbane yesterday afternoon. I had a good poke around the stalls, did lots of admiring of all the lovely things on sale, and had a nice chat to a few stall holders.

I made one purchase - a tea cozy.

Now there are several sectors in my life that will wonder what on earth I bought a knitted tea cozy for, and I dare say it won't get much use, but its so fun! Just look at it being all cheeky and flaunty over my red enamel tea pot. "Look at me, look at me! Want a cuppa?" it says to me. I passed over more conservative stripey options in favour of this number.

In my jet lag induced sleeplessness last night I got to pondering about the tea cozy and its origins. I had a rather scientific conversation with myself about the properties of the materials that tea pots are generally made of and how glass and metal are really bad thermal insulators and how porcelain is much better at keeping the heat in. My conclusions were that tea cozies came about in times when regular folks had metal tea pots and porcelain ones were not that accessible...then I went to sleep.

A lady who knows all about tea pots and a good cup of tea is Beth from Do what you love- Love what you do. She has some pretty detailed instructions on how to make and drink the perfect cup of tea. She's also the organiser of the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap. I have never made a stitched postcard, or a postcard at all, so I am going to join in with her.

Do you do postcards when you holiday? Or do you consider them daggy? Or maybe they are great just for the reason that they are daggy. Maybe you look for the most daggy ones to send for a laugh. I have to admit I didn't write one postcard the entire time I was away. Sometimes we still get them from friends and family, we even have a draw in our filing cabinet for the ones we don't want to throw away. I always remember my husband blowing my mind with his postcard technique, he used to write one sentence only and post it, done. And there was I labouring over a whole holiday commentary in a tiny space and not forgetting room for the stamp. No wonder I gave up on it all, daggy or not.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Alphabet Tuesday: K is for Key

I am just emerging from my post trip jet lag haze which this week threatened to make Alphabet Tuesday into a big fat N for Nothing.

I seem to be in the nicest, deepest, coziest and warmest phase of sleep at about 7am and the last two mornings have seen me indulging and sleeping in well close to midday (if its good enough for the three year old its good enough for me). But this morning life at Casa Maika Creations needed to snap back into reality and I was literally pushed out of bed, complaining and mumbling at 7:30am into my 10 degrees warm bathroom. I woke up the three year old at 8:15 because you know, I wouldn't want him to enjoy another sleep in if I wasn't going to have one.

After waving off child and husband to their various Tuesday activities I washed and scrubbed, took a visit from the plumber to get the bathroom sink back in working order and procrastined on the internet before I finally hooked up the sewing machine.

K is also for "kick that jet lag".


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