Thursday, November 26, 2009

A long plane trip

A friend of mine is about to embark on a 24 hour non stop plane trip to the UK with her almost 2 y/o in tow. Inspired by this on my friends blog a week or so ago I instantly thought that something like it would work for this little boy. Technically the cars are for 3 yrs plus but he isn't a 'things in the mouth' kid and will be with his mum 24/7 so I am sure it will be fine.

So there are 5 little pockets for cars at the bottom on the lft and a big pocket that some little board books I bought today fit nicely in. I decided not to put any buttons or clips on it opting for a quick tuck to keep it altoghter. And in case you are wondering... the black bits between the circles are BRIDGES over the WATER! Get creative with the thoughts people!

Mine is nowhere as nice as Lisa's but for something thrown together with no pattern and not even a car to measure things it didn't come up too bad! I think it will do the job nicely and if it survives the journey and gets trashed, all well and good, job done! And thank you dear husband for donating one of your 'not worn anymore and have about a gazillion of them' faded black tee-shirts. I needed something for the road :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hopscotch on its way to France & MORE skirts!

Amelia declared once her Hopscotch was made that yes, her cousin Lucy *would* like one too and it has been a work in progress forever! In fact it has been so long I missed surface post to Europe!

But, the machine has worked overtime today and 'tis complete. Now, yes, it does only go up to 8 but the hopscotch I remember playing in England only goes up to 8 so this one stops at 8. I did think of verifying it with my cousin but that would involve telling her what Lucy was going to get for Christmas and giving her the opportunity to say no!

So here we are

And on the back we used blue with stars.

It has grown on me but I really feel the numbers look better as light felt. Happy it is done and I hope Lucy will get loads of use out of it when she is at their holiday house particularly over winter and in Paris. Being easy to transport I hope it will go back and forth on the TGV with them!

And I am on a bit of a roll with the Oliver+S lazy days skirts. I have quite a bit of the stripey material left over and I have no idea why I have so much ribbon for the hopscotch so I sort of really followed the pattern this time and made this for a good friends little girl. The daughter has really dark olive skin, I think she will be able to carry the strength of these colours off really well.

And so my other friend won't be left out (yes sad, I only have 2 friends!) I made one for her little girl too! The 3 of us are hitting the markets at Flemington at some ridiculous hour Saturday morning to gather supplies for a family fun day fundraiser for the pre-school on Sunday, these will be good things to take the girls minds off the time we will be up!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wet Sunday, Occupied Child = productive afternoon

With a little friends 4th birthday looming and the mother falling in love with a skirt Amelia wore to their place recent for a play date it was decided said friend would like a/some skirt/s for her birthday...

We head off to Spotlight to see what if anything was left of the summer prints, it was pretty dismal when we were there a few weeks ago. Amelia declared 4 skirts would be made and she was in charge of the fabric! Once again she has done me proud with her selections.

A lovely aqua blue with tiny fish, an old English Rose, a yellow and blue butterfly print and quite a bold flower print. The little girl these are destined for is a redhead. As I know full well. being a redhead myself, there are some colours best worn away from your face! Pink and yellow are 2 such colours BUT they are this little girls favourite colours so I have done my best!

This little girl is also not afraid of showing her knees, unlike my modest little girl, so these are a bit shorter than I would have made for Amelia. I wanted to make one skirt a little different so rather than just the band at the bottom I have added the pattern fabric as well. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't? I like it... I have taken a total guess with the waist so fingers crossed!

I love the petrol blue with the fishy fabric and I adore the lime with the flowers!

For the yellow and blue butterfly fabric I wanted to do something a bit different. Inspired by a creative person on Mel's Blog I decided to try making a dress with this fabric. I am also not a fan of halter necks on myself and Amelia swings between neck to knee coverage and wearing nothing so quite possible wasted on her I decided to give this a whirl. If it isn't worn it is no big deal!

The Oliver+S lazy day skirt pattern is SUCH a great pattern! I made ALL of these today in 4 hours! Even I am impressed!!

I hope this little girl likes them, I am sure she will.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lazy Days skirt #4

The last of the 4 skirts for Amelia, the pink with ladybugs on it. I have a few more pinned ready for sewing but sadly my machine started to play up and has gone away for another service. Worst timing in the world as I was really enjoying whirring away an afternoon...

So here is the pink skirt

and here are the 4 I made over the course of the week all together... I have really enjoyed doing this and will probably participate in another sew a long it was fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lazy Days skirt #3

Today we have tackled the tiny flower fabric. Originally I was going to match this up with either the pink or the orange border but common sense got the better of me and I bought this lovely rich rusty terracotta.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sew-a-long day 2

Day 2 and this is possibly my favourite skirt of the bunch. I thought the material was a bit ho-hum when Amelia chose it but she pulls it off so nicely. I went back to Spotlight the next day and picked up an iron on flower in orange to decorate a plain white t-shirt, the skirt couldn't really be worn with any thing other than white in my opinion! (certainly NOT with a purple Disney Princess PJ top!)

And in action at the park today before our Swimvac lesson... these were taken on my PDA and not going to win any photographic competitions!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Swirly Skirt Sew-a-long day 1

So, simply put, how bloody easy was this skirt to make? Challenging? Nope, not in the slightest! The only challenge is going to be to know when to stop making these! There are only so many skirts a girl can wear...

Skirt one - blue star fish with a plain blue border. I have enough of both fabrics to make one in reverse which will go in a parcel to my friend in Melbourne for her little girl, in fact Estelle might end up with a few skirts! I have a feeling anyone who is under 10 and has a birthday will end up with one of these as a gift boy or girl!!

Now, I have to say, Amelia saw Mel's post with Bella jumping. The skirt Bella is wearing has a border not ribbon or trim so, that is what Amelia wants with her skirts. When Stef has forgiven me for spending as much as I have both in time and in money in Spotlight recently I will venture in again and emerge with ribbon and fabric and make one strictly as per the pattern!

tomorrow... orange, pink or multi coloured flowers... oh I wonder...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A sew-a-long

A week or so ago I was reading Mel's blog and I saw the invitation to a sew-a-long. An Oliver+s lazy days skirt. Now I am pretty new to the sewing scene and I thought to myself, yeah, wouldn't mind but didn't know if I could do it and if my sewing would be of sewing bloggers standards! The lure of an 'easy and really quick to sew skirt' was the big draw card. Then I got my dates muddled up and thought the week it was on was last week and we were away... but it is next week, we will be here, Stef is off work and Amelia on school holidays, it is all good!

So today we went to Spotlight armed with Daddy - for some reason it was important to Amelia that Daddy be along on this trip. She walked him from the car to the store and through the store straight to the fabric section . She even got the isle right!! Wandering the bolts she ran her fingers along the material and was saying yes this one is nice, this one is okay, I don't like this one and then those lovely 8 words, straight out of a 4 y/o's mouth 'Hey Mum, this would make a pretty skirt' and with that she whipped the bolt off the shelf, thrust it AT Daddy and moved along to the next bolt... I am a little intrigued by her fabric selection but I am beginning to learn that she does have a good eye...

4 skirt fabrics selected, blue starfish, pink ladybugs, orange and green flowers and a random bright colour little flowers, we headed off to the remnants bin to find some plain contrasting material when we spotted a bolt of polka dot material the same as the one we used on the top of the hopscotch (posted 7/9/09) but in Christmas colours AND it was marked down from $12.99 to only $4 a metre! BARGAIN!! I'll have that thank you very much, all of it, no idea what for but I have some plans for doing something Christmassy so it shall be stored and used.

Then there was a discussion overheard about a denim skirt, 'What's denim mum, is that like my Winnie the Pooh skirt?', 'yes, why?', 'it's a bit small, could you make me another one like that please?', 'sure, we can give it a go'. So off we headed to the denim fabric and she spotted the purple one, done, easy. Off to the checkout.

I am pretty proud of the selections she made and I am also glad Stef came along as he got involved as well and our haul came in at under $45! Did I get ripped off? 3.5m of polka dot, 4 .5m, some random remnants, 1m denim and 2m of rick rack and a box of buttons. Not sure about the orange material but I think it will grow on me...

So, come Monday these will be created into skirts apparently and blogged!

And here is the purple denim and some rick rack I will decorate the skirt with. I might even be tempted to make a bag to go with it... there's no stopping me!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Block 2...

What seems like forever ago Amelia and I took a drive upto Country Pickin's at the Corner in Dural and purchased block 2 of Natalie Ross' Blossom Creek... About 2 weeks ago one Sunday morning while we watched Marley and Me (with a box of tissues!!) while Stef was sleeping after night shift, I traced and cut out the pattern, did the Vlisofix thing and on Friday night I set up the ironing board and set about putting pattern to fabric.

Amelia has discovered she 'likes to do the ironing' now so that chore is now relegated to when she is asleep i.e.: at night when I am knackered, unless I want help! Don't panic, I am with her all the time when she wants to iron, don't take my eyes off her for a second. Her idea of ironing is to do the front of the tee-shirt and nothing else of that particular garment! I don't think she would earn her brownie badge in ironing with her current technique!!

And here we are... all set ready for stitching... I stuffed up a little with the placement of some bits but with a 4 y/o standing on an Ikea step right under your feet, touching things as you are trying to heat them... say no more.

We are off to Canberra in the morning, checked the weather down there for the next few days, in a word FREEZING not to mention WET... but we are going none the less and will take lots of warm clothes. And Candy Corner will come with me, to do inthe car, in the evenings, whenever the mood takes me really...

I haven't done the borders for block one yet, I thought I would wait and do block 2 at the same time, give me a better idea of layout and stuff. And besides, the sewing machine hasn't been out for a few weeks with Amelia's birthday party preparations taking over my life! All behind us now. A great party!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vlisofix, the iron and little bits of fabric...

Just a note to myself more than anyone else... as a quilting novice, or applique novice is more appropriate, when ironing numerous little bits of papered fabric it is important to find a cool area on your ironing board as the heat from the previous piece will make said small piece curl and virtually impossible to iron!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Clyde and Ollie

Clyde and Ollie have been stitched! Clyde looks pretty hard core and Ollie looks a bit tame in comparison. I struggled a bit with Ollie's wings, because 'someone' has taken my pattern and 'hidden' it somewhere... almost 4 year olds! Driving me insane!!! If/When I find it I might redo the wing feathers...

But I am happy and we are off to Dural this morning to get the next block. I will do the borders on block one at some stage over the weekend.

Happy Days!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blossom Creek pt 3

Then I set about doing the blanket stitch... Never having blanket stitched anything in my LIFE, not intentionally blanket stitching anyway, I turned to that wonderful moderin invention of You Tube and watched this tutorial over and over and over again until I got it! I went through my massive bag of DMC threads and selected my colours and I set off blanket stitching up a storm and I haven't looked back, it is SO addictive! A bit like scrapbooking, this comes together so quickly and looks so good. Okay so my stitching isn't perfect but you know what, it's my first attempt! My house roof isn't on quite stright but you know what, it is individual and it adds to the quirkiness of the quilt! I LOVE IT!

So now we are adding Clyde and Ollie (they are outlined in blue) then doing the edges, hopefully tomorrow afternoon then back up to Dural for block 2!

Blossom Creek pt 2

Sorry to drag this out but I am quite excited. By the time I get to block 3 it will be a picture of the finished block!! Bear in mind I have done most of this when Amelia is at pre-school and Stef at work so it has been stolen minutes during the day...

So, I traced the pattern (from the right sheet) onto the Vlisofix

Cutting the pieces out roughly I laid them on the appropriate fabric in a box

Then I made a deal with myself that WHEN, and only when, I had gotten to the bottom of the very large ironing pile was I allowed to iron the pattern onto the fabric. So I started the ironing on the Saturday night and continued on the Sunday morning, Stef at work and Amelia occupied I put on a chick flick (Marely and Me) and set about getting those wrinkles out of them clothes!

Amelia had a very important job of once the paper could come off the back she was allowed to remove it, then her next important job (with clean dry hands) was passing me the special pins to put the fabric onto the backing fabric. Her face was a picture when she saw it coming together! 'You are doing good work Mum, it looks just like the picture!' she said proudly!

Blossom Creek

For a long time I have looked at quilts and though that I wouldn't mind trying my hand at one but some of them just conjured up images of hexagonal squares everywhere when I was a teenager. At that point in my life I struggled to find beauty in what my mother was creating, and no, I didn't want a waistcoat, thanks all the same Mum!

I have looked on numerous websites for quilts, had my appetite whet by some and others I have just closed the sites down almost as soon as I have opened them! And then I discovered Natalie Ross and in particular Blossom Creek. I fell in love. I drooled and slobbered all over my computer screen. After wiping my chin dry I popped into every store listed as stocking her things trying to find a price for a pattern and somewhere that was doing it as the Block of the Month. I have since learned that bom is the phrase for those in the quilting know!

Not finding what I was looking for I took a gamble and emailed Natalie directly. What a wonderful lady she is! I had a reply within an hour!! She directed me to Country pickin's at the Corner in Dural, not too far from where we live. Phone call made, armed with the credit card, child safely deposited at pre-school I set off on my journey.

On the way home I was thinking to myself 'hmmm, what am I going to tell Stef' and then thought 'I don't care what he thinks, I like this, I am going to finish it and if he doesn't like it then tough!'

I think it was 2 days of having this hidden before I could open the packet. The delicious mix of fabrics, cherry reds and sunshine yellows, summer aqua and lucious lime green. I read the instructions about 10 times to make sure I understood what I had to do before I took the plunge and cut my first piece of material.

So this is how it started...

Monday, September 7, 2009

T'is Done..

Well, I rewrote the pattern, re invented the wheel so to speak, unpicked, re stitched, ran out of cotton but t'is done.

And has been to school for show and tell already!

No where near the bulk of the one in the magazine but I did use different batting. This is actually quite easy for Amelia to carry on her own.

For Lucy's I will probably play with the placement of the ribbon, perhaps have 2 one either side of the centre. Amelia is getting the hang of hopping, jumping then hopping again. The concentration is priceless!

One (very) proud (and slightly smug) mamma!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Saving money on this project

Now, I have enjoyed making this project and have had a few comments (not posted) about the cost of it. All up this has cost me in the ball park of $100, more if I had used 'proper' batting.

So, everything I purchased from Spotlight with my 'VIP' card, not sure what that entitled me to as I had the wrong card and someone else has been swanning around with my card and benefitting from my spending! Anyway, we sorted that out on Sunday...

The felt was about $13 a metre. If you are looking to save some $'s I would cut the numbers out of the larger square and cover the cut out with the smaller square, so you have the same colour number as you do large square, or if you are going to make more than one, keep the numbers and sew the cutout as the number (so the reverse of the number is that makes sense?). Or you could use plain fabric in 3 colours...

The fabric for the top and the bottom, you need about 3m. If you are savvy and good with mixing and matching you could go through the remnents bin and see if you could muster up 6m of oddments, if you are going to mix and match and do panels as I have done then you would need 35cm as a minimum (x 6) and 40cm x2 (for numbers 1 and 10) and make sure everything is the same width! then 2.5m total or there abouts for the backing.

Batting - this is the most expensive part of this project by far! I had thought of using polar fleece but as Amelia's fabric is so pale it was going to have to be white and of course that was one that wasn't marked down... So, Spotlight do a bamboo batting that is $15.99/m and it is about 2.4m wide. I purchased 2m of this and cut it in half for the 2 hopscotches. They won't be as nicely padded as the one in the magazine but it is about practicality not looks as far as I am concerned!

If you are giving the hopscotch as a gift make sure the recipient knows the washing instructions of the batting. You don't want it going in the drier and being ruined. Actually, with the felt on the front you wouldn't want it anywhere near a clothes drier! Handwash only! An old bath sheet or several towels might work just as well but would add to the weight and the wetness but it was something I thought of.

Look, maybe this isn't the done thing to do but in these economic times and handmade gifts being the choice for a lot of people I would rather put these out there than keep them to myself.
The finished Hopscotch in Homesewn is divine and if you stick to the pattern you should get a similar result. There are no rules that say you HAVE to use the materials suggested, jus tlike there are no rules that say you should take my suggestions on board!

Starting again...

When I was sewing the original hopscotch I sewed the numbers on the backing in a big hurry and made a real botch job of it. I found the bulk of the fabric too much to deal with and needed to break the job down into little peices. So I unpicked the numbers off the backing fabric then cut the backing fabric into 6 35cm lots and 2 50cm lots (or thereabouts). Making sure I had the 2 wider fabrics for the end numbers (1 and 10) I set about and trimmed the squares a little to neaten them up, with my new best friend combo, the rotary cutter and cutting board, and got to work...

Using a gazillion pins this time in an effort to keep things where they were supposed to be (I am sure in school and when Mum was teaching me how to sew we were told to something stitch - baste or stocking?? - big wide stitches thet held everything in place and were removed once you had sewn the article with a sewing maching... I then saw these as an easy no effort way out of using little stitches and later realised they wouldn't hold the hems of skirts and trousers up too well...) I digress! So we methodically set about putting the number squares on the backing fabric making sure they were centred and set the machine to work. Amelia got the camera while the sewing was happening... luckily I ducked!

We ran out of cotton, of course, about 3 squares from the end so Amelia went next door and came back with my neighbour and a big box of cotton reels in all manner of glorious colours!
''Oh what a delightful collection of cottons!",
"yes" said my neighbour "mum warehouses Gutteman cotton!!!"
*glee* How about that! Handy or what?

10 numbers sewn on and we are done! Then we pinned right sides
together, making sure the numbers were up the right way and sewed each panel together in order and tah dah (again...)

Sewing laid on the floor is an open invitation for a certain almost 4 y/o to lay on, practice swimming on and declare me the best mother ever and her favourite game in the world is hopscotch! We have to add here that Amelia can't hop very well and has no idea how to play hopscotch but this will soon put an end to that little drama!

And then I noticed, with all my care about getting the numbers in the right order and up the right way, the backing fabric pattern doesn't repeat itself exactly across the width of the fabric. This will bug me and you will have to look super close to notice it but, numbers 1,2 and 3 are unpicked AGAIN ready to be resewn AGAIN and THEN we can get on to putting the batting in and finishing this project off!

A job for this morning, Amelia permitting!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Re-inventing the wheel so to speak...

Well, after much thought and pondering I have decided that I am not happy with the way the hopscotch has ended up. The wonky 'thrown' together finish on the hopscotch that will be Amelia's will bug me so last night I sat and watched Good News Week and unpicked the backing fabric.

I have an idea and I think it will work. I have checked with Mel that it is okay that I rewrite her pattern, who can't picture what I have described to her but I will photograph the journey and put it up here. I hope it does work!

There was too much fabric to move about in the sewing machine for the stitching and I was getting a little frustrated. Breaking the sections down into smaller more workable peices I think will make the end result much nicer and possibly even make it look more like 'pavement'. We shall see...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So... I'm no professional

And I am a little bit rusty but... I spent dribs and drabs yesterday working on the hopscotch and I am pleased with my progress. We started at the top of the number pile and worked out way down to 'Blast Off!'

Amelia got right into helping me. She was the official pin remover while I was sewing. A very important job indeed!

Amazing what a few pins and some off cuts of felt can be turned into! Kept her amused for about 2 hours last night!!


Next step batting but I have to wait till payday... we kind of need some fruit and veges to fend off scurvey at the moment! 2 dodgy cucumbers, a pear that should have been eaten 3 days ago and half a dozen carrots aren't going to keep us healthy!

There are some things I will do differently on the next one which will hopefully give the next one a more professional finish.

  • I would cut the nesxt lot of squares out with a rotary cutter - roll on Thursday this week and the Stitches and Craft Show!
  • When I sew the numbers I would start with the inside of the 0,4,6 and 9. I think this will anchor them a little better.
  • I will sew the finished number squares onto the backing fabric one and a time! I was so keen to have this ready for Amelia for when she woke up today that I sort of rushed it a bit and sewed them all in one big long row. The double numbers and the 6 are a little, shall we say, really bad! Or maybe I misread the instructions in the pattern? I won't be unpicking it, not the first one and not for Amelia. I am not one for following instructions so Blossom Creek will be a real test for this impatient soul!

I think that is all part of the journey, making discoveries and working out other ways to do things.

I am as keen as mustard now and have already used the scraps from this colour combo to place and pin the numbers for the next one. I think cousin Lucy in Paris will have one for her Christmas present and there could even be one as part of the major auction for the pre-school next year.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Sewing machine WILL be returned to the shop tomorrow at lunch time and I can collect it then. Yippee. I know what I will be doing tomorrow night when Daddy is at work and daughter is in bed!

Still no machine...

3 weeks now, I have had the time to sew in the past week sort of, rearraged a few things so I could sew but no machine...

Natalie Ross block one for Blossom Creek is in my possesion...I did it. I didn't ask, I went for a drive, I bought, I got in trouble with husband (pffff!! you were at work and should have been home and it was no more than 10% of your overtime pay so bite me!) and I can't wait to have some time to myself with no one hovering at the door wanting to know if a banana should be cut up or not for Amelia. She has only ever eaten whole banana's, why would that change today?! Husband and daughter need to spend more time together...

So, no machine, they tell me it will be back today, or at least it *should* be... just in time for husband to be sleeping all weekend for night shifts... terrific timing! Ah well, if she goes to bed and he is at work it might work in my favour after all!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Sewing machine, service, takes 2 weeks... Common guys, you have had it for nearly 3! We are cut out, we are ready to go, we are excited, we have worked hard to get some free time... why are you causing me frustration??!

In the mean time I have found and totally fallen in love with Natalie Ross Blossom Creek... do I don't I (and could I get away with it...) that is the question!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Itching for the machine now!

This morning before we headed off to Mothers Group Amelia helped me measure and cut out the pink and green squares (she kept the tape measure around her shoulders once I had finished with it and was seeing 'how much' everything was she could reach!) and handed me the numbers to pin on the pink squares. I will add that she handed them in order and even tried to 'trick' me handing me a 6 and telling me it was a 9...

She can see that the pile of fabric she helped select and then went crook at me for cutting up is begining to look a little like the picture now and is EVER so excited! Has even put in an order for a dress the same as the little girl playing Hopscotch in the magazine! Nice try kiddo, we shall see how good I am first at the basics!

So now I am busting to get sewing, I can see that it shouldn't take me very long at all. We drove past the shopping centre where the machine is being serviced this morning and she was devestated we couldn't pick it up!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Part One

So, this pile of fabric is going to be turned into something wonderful and hopefully played with! I selfishly stole 23 minutes of my day after getting home from drop off, putting the rest of the shopping away, ordering a 40th present for my best mate and making a cup of tea and pinned and cut out the numbers. Next, I have to mark out the squares and cut them out and start pinning it altogether in anticipation of the sewing machine being returned and ready for use!

In the beginning...

I have sewn before, I am not new to sewing but it is all about time. It is always about time. But, time is something I will create more of for myself and hopefully create some things to give and some things to keep along the way. This is where I intend to plot the journey, who knows how long the plotting, or the journey, will last for!

I read a few crafty blogs from time to time, haven't launched into the world of give aways and sewing groups etc... I am always inspired and envious of the creations. One particular inspiration for a project I have decided to try was in the launch issue of Australian Home Sewn magazine which is edited by a customer of mine.

So, Babcia's sewing machine went in for a service and Amelia and I hit Spotlight and started putting this project together. Today I stole a whole 23 minutes and pinned and cut out part one. I will put the photos up with some captions, some time after tea tonight... the time I usually look after the other business but there isn't a while lot happening on that front at the moment. Perhaps if I get engrosed in something else things might pick up there, you just never know!

But for now, post one is done and the journey is underway!