Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweet treats

Christmas baking was somewhat curtailed today as not a can of condensed milk was available in the supermarket yesterday.  But hey, we've probably already consumed enough sugar in the lead up to Christmas - last weekend I went to a Christmas dinner with friends toting along a cheesecake, a trifle and Christmas themed chocolates.

So today we did some low key cookie baking - most especially because Santa will need some sustenance on his way through our corner of the world tonight.

Last night I also whipped up a batch of these felt cookies for the food play set.  Absolutely perfect if you are watching your waistline - look and play, but don't eat - maybe I should leave these out for Santa instead?

And of course, we will be leaving a few of these out for the reindeer (on the finest English china)... in reality you know what I am going to be munching my way through before I head off to bed this evening...not one my favourite vegetables, but I'd better do it with a smile on my face, hadn't I, in the spirit of the season and all that.

Happy Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Growth spurt

[Warning: gratuitous baby photos!]

My little rotund, smiley, nearly four month old has graduated out of his newborn pants to a decent sized pair of Big Butt baby pants.  I've been hanging out to make a pair of these for him, they're an easy and fun project and I think I'll be making plenty more pairs of these for the young one.  You can get the pattern from Made by Rae.

Taking a picture of your baby's but is kind of a strange thing to do and I quickly realised I wasn't going to get anything better than this... a spot of impromptu tummy time let me get a pic of the back of his pants.

And now that I have covered the sewing commentary, I'll finish with a picture of the baby because I just can't stop taking pictures of those blue eyes!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday shop update

It's a rainy weekend here in Brisbane, looks like its going to be a rainy Christmas, although the combination of warm and rain really isn't that bad.  As a result of the weather I've spent plenty of the weekend at home which has meant being able to finish off a couple of things for the shop.

A green and white size 5 sun dress made from a vintage sheet - I just love the way this fabric feels, so soft, floaty and summery.

And a blue and white size 3 cross back pinafore top - all new fabrics for this one.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend where ever you are!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All kinds of crazy

I confess, I went to Ikea on a Saturday - crazy I know.  I didn't only go for fabric, but I did buy a metre and a half of this lovely spotted fabric.  I love how you can cut your own fabric at Ikea, it feels nice to roll the heavy bolts across the measuring table and reach for the scissors to slice into it.  As a result of my trip to the great Swedish furniture warehouse an industrious session of chair cover making is going down in the sewing room at the moment.

I'm also sewing a few things for the shop, using a lovely organic cotton a friend gifted to me (she hung some on her wall and gave me the left overs, how nice is that!).

And a new pair of pants for the babe because when I was standing in the queue at the fabric shop to buy half a metre of blue cotton there was a blue checked seersucker remnant going for 20 cents that went perfectly with the blue, and well I just planned myself another sewing project right there and then.  Crazy, I know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My new waist

Now where was I?  Oh that's right, making a skirt.  The weekend was hot, I should have finished the skirt and been wearing it, but it's still in the sewing room...

So in my last post I was encasing the raw edge of the waist of the skirt with bias binding tape.  The shirring elastic alone was not going to cut it in terms of keeping the skirt comfortably on my waist so I needed to add a bit of stronger elastic too.  Guess what?  The binding tape doubles as a casing for a piece of elastic.  Remember this lonely piece of elastic that came out of the dress when I unpicked it? 

It went straight back into the casing at the waistline and hey presto, waist band of skirt finished and very comfortable.

Now because the new waist band used to be up around the bodice part of the old dress the skirt is naturally too long!

To approximate how long a long skirt should be on myself I rather inexpertly dropped my tape measure from my waist down towards the ground and rather expertly (if I do say so myself) held it down with my toes while I documented it photographically - can you read that?  Its about 40 inches.

The skirt is currently about 42 inches long from waist to hem so it looks like I have a few inches to chop off the bottom before sewing a new hem.  I'm sure there's a way more professional method of working this out than the way I did it!

Hopefully I'll soon be able to show you some pictures of me wearing it rather than sewing it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little tricks

Pick, pick, pick - I unpicked the skirt from the bodice of the dress and discovered that they had been sewn together and overlocked very close to the edge of the fabric.  Also surprisingly out came a length of elastic that I didn't know was in there. Ahh, the tricks of the garment making industry.

Now I had the skirt part separated but with a raw (and fraying) edge very close to the shirring elastic. The material is a fairly light and thin cotton and the edge needed encasing somehow.  So I pulled a little trick of my own - finishing the edge with bias binding.  I went to rummage in my draw of bias tapes - I had pink, green and yellow - I chose the light yellow.

I sewed the binding on the usual way: opened up one side of the tape and sewed it to the right side (outside) of the skirt edge.  As the material was gathered from the elastic I had to pull the skirt fabric out under the binding tape as I sewed, pull and sew, pull and sew, all the way around.  Then I flipped the binding tape to the inside of the skirt and sewed it down, again pulling the fabric as I sewed.  And there you go, one encased edge.  Tricky?  No, not really.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Op shop re-fashion

So I found this long dress at the "op shop" recently (opportunity shop, or second hand shop for those readers not from Australia).  Some people I know are immediately going to wonder if I have gone mad shopping for $15 dresses from a second hand store, but I really liked the fabric, OK?

I did have another motive though because after sewing a long skirt for myself last week with four strands of elastic through the waist and nearly going cross-eyed with all the machine sewing involved in creating all the elastic channels, I immediately saw an opportunity to add another long skirt to my summer wardrobe without needing to do a repeat of all that sewing.  (What's happening to me?  Since when did I want to cheat at sewing??)  Well, as I said, I liked the fabric.

Why don't you follow along this week as I try to re-fashion this dress into a skirt.  Shouldn't be too hard.

Immediately I picked off this hideous trim at the bust line (looked like some industrial metal factory left overs had made their way to the garment factory in China).  There's actually no way I am going to use the bodice part of this dress, its a size 10 and in no way remotely fits a breastfeeding mumma! I am going to dunk the whole thing in a bucket of soaker for a few hours, just to freshen it up, don't want to soak the metal bits though so in the bin they go.

My plan is to unpick the bodice from the skirt at the line of the shirring elastic (see pic above), make some kind of a waist band there, and then adjust the hem length as neccessary.  I hope it works!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This summer we are again experimenting with a few edibles in our garden.  This year we are wiser and have a more elaborate possum proofing enclosure over the plants they like to eat (and the ones we suspect they would enjoy a nibble at) and are elbow deep in an ongoing battle with orange stink bugs on our citrus trees.  So far we have (prepare yourselves for some scintillating pictures folks...):

Baby limes

Baby lemons

Baby avocados

And baby olives!  Aren't they cute?  We are very excited that some of the olive trees in the front garden are fruiting this year.

In the ground we have baby radishes

and baby tomatoes...

 ...and some purple beans, a blueberry plant, two passionfruit vines, a rosella plant, some sweet corn and a thriving patch of herbs.

We don't expect to get success with everything we have planted, but its lots of fun trying and learning as we go. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is more like it

A little bit of beach action on the weekend - so good for recharging the batteries.  Most importantly it got us all out of the house and out of town.

We shopped at the Eumundi markets and then drove onto Noosa for a body board and a swim (and a spot of reading and lying out on the sand for me).

Thought this post was entirely devoid of anything crafty?  Well, look again.  See that skirt?  The second one made by me from this tutorial.  I made it reversible so at 2m of two different quilting cottons it was more expensive than I usually spend on fabric for garment making, but it really is two pieces in one.

I have to admit that I made this skirt some time ago, just never got around to taking any photos of it.  The wind at the beach couldn't have been more helpful in showing off both sides of my skirt.

Oh, and that's baby M too, at almost 12 weeks.  He's starting to be called Mr Porky around here, he's getting to be a solid little boy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So many things to show you, so little time and energy to do so!  Well that's life with a little baby.  Its not that I have been idle, just co-ordinating the taking of photos and the typing of text and having two hands available for working the computer etc., etc. - well, I'm stretched a bit thin on the ground at the moment for all that.

We had such a lovely weekend just gone - my gorgeous other half took both the boys down to the local farmers markets on Sunday morning which meant an hour extra in bed for me in the beautiful cool silence of our bedroom - it was bliss! 

Later that afternoon this was happening in our backyard - I wonder if my boys are trying to tell me something? Maybe they need a holiday? Or they're just thinking of some peace and quiet of their own?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Channeling sunshine

Still trying to bring on the springtime sunshine here, but it's more often than not overcast.

Working outside with gorgeous yellows and oranges should help, a bit.

Mmm, I feel better already.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It took me all day

All day to load this dress onto the shop today.

Everytime I sat down at the computer I had a baby in one hand and could only do reading using the mouse with the other hand (let it be confirmed I am doing a lot of reading on the computer while feeding the baby!).  Eventually I cut and pasted and finger prodded my way to getting the listing completed - phew, what an effort.

That said, I did get some great weather for photography this morning, overcast but bright enough, and enough breaks in the wind so everything didn't blow around too much.

And, (yes, there's more), I got some new sewing machine needles and another roll of black thread from the store.

Small work, but feeling satisfied I got some of the little jobs ticked off my list today.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The weekend's been and gone again. The weather here fluctuated between heavy black clouds bringing driving rain, and hot belting sunshine with airless humidity.  Yesterday we were sweltering and seeking any shade we could find at Brisbane's annual multicultural festival, today its back to grey skies and rain.

In an attempt to channel more of the sunshine and less of the rain I'm going for sunshiney yellows in the sewing room this week - first up is a lemon and mauve custom order.  This little pinafore was requested to have an Easter theme.  Yes, you read correctly - Easter.  I'm quite happy to pretend we skipped over Christmas and came out on the side of Easter for a few days while I am sewing with these lovely soft colours.

I'm also dying to cut into an outrageously yellow vintage sheet to make a little top, probably my brain is getting ahead of me there right now though!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've had tonsilitis this week, so I've learned to be a woman of few words.

The pants.

And the toes.

That's all.

I'm playing over here today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Free at last

I've lately been through a weird patch with my sewing - making under pressure.  Even though I have had practically zero time to do any sewing at all I have managed to complete quite a few projects that were either hanging over from before the baby made his surprise arrival, or were requested shortly after his arrival.

I've managed to finish making a cover for an Ikea chair (my late pregnancy foray into upholstering shall be the subject of another post, another time), I made two little pinafore dresses that were requested by a lovely local customer and I also made a baby blanket that was requested through the shop.

Phew - exhausting, yes? Now that's all out of the way I feel more of a lightness and a freedom to start creating again without any timelines or pressures to finish something by a certain date, or because I promised someone it would be done.  I feel like my slate is clean.

Now there's a half finished toddlers dress in the sewing room, and there's no pressure to get back to it until early next week when a sleeping baby and a five year old at kindergarten allows me some breathing space to snatch a little creative time.  I'm also starting to get a list of things I want to make ticking through my mind again, which is a good sign.  All I need is time.

More creativity over here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This weekend is all about pants for the boys.

At the start of the year I made shorts especially for my son to wear to kindergarten.  But no, I'm not doing that again now the warm spring weather sees him back wearing shorts.  The reason is "the digging patch" at kinder.  It sounds quaint but it may as well be named "the great big, dirty pit of brown, stinking, staining mud".  It has been totally wrecking havoc on my son's clothes, requiring lots of soaking in buckets, scrubbing and washing to get them clean week by week.  I also expected a pair of newly bought tracksuit pants to last longer than a 10 week kinder term.  I admitted to the kindy teachers that I fully intended to throw his track pants in the bin at the end of the term and they said, "Oh, dont! He's still going to get dirty next term."  That got me thinking about kids and mums and dirt - an often fraught relationship.  The kinder teachers were so right in pointing out that kids need a set of "dirty clothes", something I had lost sight of in this sanitised and clean upbringing that is now the norm - kids need to get dirty, mums need to relax more.

So I've changed my attitude to dirt and washing, am not throwing out the pants, and am not going to be overly fussy in washing them.  I did this:

Trackie shorts! I didn't measure anything, just made sure I cut this bit at the knees off:

You can already tell from the top photo that one leg might be a bit shorter than the other.  I'm banking on nobody noticing that when they're being worn.  I'm going to zig-zag around the raw edge, turn under a centimeter or so and do a double seam to keep it all in place.  And there you have it, shorts for dirt play.

I'm also dying to have a go at making these baby pants from Made by Rae for my new boy.

With some gorgeous planes, trains and cars vintage seersucker that a friend gave to me.

Just now, while the babe is asleep, might be my moment to pin and cut!  I'm off then!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Delivery from Paris

Since the new baby came into our world and the big boy turned five we have had post from Bulgaria, Holland and the United Kingdom - its been quite exciting getting all these international packages, even if they are all for the youngest members of our house.  But one morning last week a parcel was left at my front door from "La Poste" - this one was for me!

I've made enough money from my selling my wares online to have a healthy enough Paypal balance for me to treat myself to a new bag.  I wanted a bag that could function as a baby bag, but not look like one, a bag of modest size and one that I could adjust to either sling over my shoulder or over the pram.  Finally, while I like to use tote bags a lot of the time I am always losing my stuff at the bottom of them, so some pockets for organising "stuff" (babies and mine) were a must.  I found the perfect answer at a French Etsy store called Ikabags

I opened the postage box to be treated to a beautifully presented purchase.

A package wrapped up in green paper and ribbon.

Neatly folded and tied with string and business card.

My new bag - blue/grey and cream stripes, with a cream lining and adjustable strap - perfect!

Handmade of course - the construction and finishing are absolutely faultless, very high quality work. 

Filled with a few baby things - wrap, blanket, nappy/wipes wallet and the like - which I realise are majority handmade :) 

I know I'm going to be using this bag for a long time to come, and when I make more money, perhaps I'll be buying myself another bag, in another colour - you can't have too many, can you?


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