Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top for boyo...

This started its life as a man's top...but the man who owned it, did not wear it...
So, using a top of Adam's as a template and some help from Dana

It has a new life :)

Baby dress from Tee shirt

Pretty baby...
The dress started out as a tee shirt which belonged to my friend's little girl, however after one wash is leached the colour out from the applique :(
She kindly donated it to me....:)
I re-sized the top using one of Sophie's dresses as a template and followed Dana's tute to put the top together.

and...look how pretty she is. I could buy sack cloths for this baby and she would still look lovely

Easter bean bags

I think I already mentioned that we had a little celebration of the beginning of the Easter holidays.

I made one of these little bean bags for each of the kids. They were pretty easy to make, but because I wasn't very organised I spent a lot of time waiting for bits to dry etc etc.

They are super simple and you can even hand sew them if you wanted.

Do your printed picture (I used the same one from here) before you start and if you are making a few then do them all together :) I got the image from the PETA website.

Sew two squares, right sides together with a gap of about an inch to turn the right way.
I left them like this to give to the little ones, they loved putting the rice in themselves.
Perfect for practicing how to throw and catch...or chucking at your Dad, which is what Adam did with his

Monday, March 29, 2010

Green is the new everything

Ok, so this post isn't really a crafty post, but without the changes that I have made in the last year I would not know how to sew, blog or refashion so I'm going to plough ahead.

I always used to think that I was fairly environmentally conscious. I always put my recyclable waste in the correct bin, I used washable nappies, I turned the tap off when I brushed my teeth and I have been vegetarian since I was 14 years old...so there! I was green and proud.

However, I did not see the oxymoron that is a person who uses washable nappies, but turned her nose up at second hand clothing. That I would save water, but not really worry about everyone being on a different electronic device all at different ends of the house.

I was green. If you compare me to most people...but was I doing my best? My absolute best? No, I was not...am I doing my absolute best now??? Well, I am doing much better, but there is always room for improvement. There have been so many changes in my families life in recent months.

It started when I met a beautiful family who live at the foot of the Dandenongs in Victoria, Australia. I saw that they live simply, but infinitely more beautifully than my hugely expensive and uninteresting house! Their home was filled with love and surrounded by trees. They were doing their best to live neutrally and they just looked so happy. I knew from then on that I could and would do much better.

It has taken a few months, but we are definitely getting there.

We are moving... 8th of May we will move to our lovely California Bungalow on the bayside in a lovely quiet suburb with smaller schools, a quieter lifestyle and a much smaller mortgage.
We changed our car. Our old car ran at approximately 10litres per 100km and that was the book information, so chances are it was less efficient than that. We are now the proud owners of Penelope the Prius and we are competitive with each other as to who can get the best efficiency reading from the on board computer. I am winning with a current best of 2.9litres per 100km... Mark's best is 3.9 HA HA!!! That was over 12km too :)

I have banished all chemicals from my house. All I have left is half a bottle of Ajax and after that is gone I am freeeeee! We use eucalyptus, Tea Tree oil, bicarb and vinegar to clean as well as some Eco brands that I have found.

I took the handmade pledge, which means that I either make, or buy handmade gifts...I am in love with Etsy. I buy my bathroom products from an awesome guy at the local craft market, his family own a lavender farm and the products are lovely. He also does washing up liquid which smells yum.

Lastly, I have taken the Wardrobe refashion pledge. I opted for 6 months, although I was tempted to go for life, straight off the bat. It means that I will make or refashion clothing for myself for the period of the pledge. Not only have I not bought anything for myself, I have made all of my children's clothing since then too. Yay for me.

I am not self righteous. This is not what this is all about. I am just trying to be a better human. Hopefully it's working.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I am not a nugget !!!

Ok, I am officially addicted to freezer paper stencilling!!! I love it, I really do. I was trawling the net looking for free stencils and lost about three hours... don't worry it was night time and the babies were in bed so you don't have to call Social Services for neglecting my children :)

I was meant to be looking for stencils for the kids, but I saw this one, and as I'm a veggie and have been for almost 16 years I couldn't pass this one up. I did, use the stencil again for an Easter project for a little pre-Easter/celebrate the end of term/start of Easter holiday party that a friend and I did...more about that later...

So, it was as simple as printing the image onto the dull side of the freezer paper and cutting out with a craft knife, ironing onto the fabric and painting then ironing on the back to set the paint, once it has dried...actually, it sounds like a lot when you write it down, but it really isn't.

So much fun!!! I have many more planned too

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How versatile is freezer paper? Oh, and where is Flat Stella

This is Flat Stella...This is the message I received to go with her "A FLAT STELLA PICTURE FOR YOU TO PRINT OUT AND TAKE PICTURES WITH AND THEN SEND BACK TO ME!
My niece's 1st grade class drew pictures of themselves and sent it to friends. It is the duty of these friends to take the "Flat" version of the artist and take pictures of where it went and mail it back. So I scanned it in and sent it to some friends to print out and... here's where Flat Stella has been. If you want to join the effort of taking Stella on tour of the world, let me know and I'll send you a copy!" Ok, so I didn't really take her anyway. But I bet no-one else chopped her up and made her into a dress eh!
This is what I am making today... skip the ramble if you like. I have been on blogging withdrawal

How cute is Sophie in her new top. I know that the blog is supposed to be about craft etc, and that the picture is blurry, but she just looks so happy. Anyway, getting back to the point. My Dharma order arrived, and in it there was fabric paint, craft knives and little tiny pots to store paint that I've mixed so that it doesn't dry up. I bought the primary colours and black and white. My freezer paper arrived as well, so as you can imagine, I couldn't wait to get started.

Just so you know...This particular Flat Stella was drawn by a little girl in Germany, passed to her Uncle then to my Dad's American girlfriend, who happens to live in Germany. My Dad, who lives in England sent me the picture as I live in Australia and they wanted Stella to have her picture taken in as many different countries as possible. I'm sure I have over-complicated that way too much.

So, this is Stella with my Adam. He is pointing...not sure why. But this is in my home, which is most definitely in Australia :) My aim was to have it taken near a significant land mark, but with a cranky boy at the end of the school term and an even crankier baby, I though I should just get it done.

Trace Flat Stella onto the dull side of the freezer paper.

And chop her into pieces.

Choose fabric as close to the colour of the pic as possible and iron the stencil pieces onto the back of the fabric, before cutting them out.

Ok, this is a little bit backwards, but you get what I'm doing. This is before I cut her up into pieces. I painted her face on through the freezer paper.

In hindsight, I probably would have only used the freezer paper for her head as fusible webbing/interfacing is much easier to use for applique, and you don't have to remove it afterwards. Plus, you get extra stability on lightweight fabrics.

Stencils made from freezer paper. I just printed out the words, and using it as a stencil, I cut the letters out and ironed them onto the back of the dress.

I mixed a pretty mauve colour with my new fabric paint, and painted it on. It was dry in no time.

I don't have a pic of me peeling it off, as I was far too excited.

The dress is made by tracing a tee shirt of Sophie's and just making it a little longer and wider towards the bottom. The fabric from the dress is an old tee shirt of mine and the sleeves are made from fabric in my stash.

I sewed Stella on the same way that I did this

Sweet baby girl.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Etsy Store


I am so excited, I finally have my Etsy store up and running. So far I have listed for sale a Christening dress, but hopefully soon I'll have lots more stuff on there.

I have so many ideas for things to make and sell. I love the whole handmade thing...obviously! I took the handmade pledge after Christmas this year. Although we had become more conscious of the whole 'plastic crap made in China/Taiwan' thing. Most of the stuff I bought for the kids at Christmas were handmade. I do craft markets so it was so fun shopping around while DH watched my stall. Adam got handmade tee shirts, lead light light catcher, handmade leather wallet, Disney Cars canvas for his wall.

Since then we have had three girls birthday parties which have been super easy to make presents for. I made a little summer dress for one little girl and custom made dresses for the other two, who are friends of the family too, so I wanted it to be special.

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I made her a dress and knitted her a little cardi. I don't knit for everyone as it's so time consuming, but I always have something on the go.

One of Adam's best friends has a birthday coming up in a few weeks. She will be 6. She is the most Princess-y little girl I know. I have a great idea what I will be making for her, and her younger sister, who turns four a few weeks later. I can't wait to make it and show you all.

Anyway, I have rambled on enough for now. I would love to know what you have made as gifts for people.

Happy Tuesday :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blown eggs...For Easter

Using ordinary, run of the mill eggs..no need to prep them first.

You need something sharp to poke into each end of the egg. I used a large needle. Make sure the hole in the bottom is slightly larger than the top. Then blow the insides of the egg out... The mixture in the bowl looks pretty yuck...but it whisked up pretty well for pancake batter. I think this batter will be just for me though ;)

Pop some acrylic paint onto some card...we had a big discussion about how to mix colours.

I love how seriously he took this. He concentrates so hard. I love it!

This is my version of a chicken...I made mine for Adam and Sophie and Adam made his for Mummy and Daddy. Do you like the chick???

Crackin'!!! Ha ha...sorry :)

Another cute (concentration picture)

Proud of how dirty he is... bless him.

Brum brum...stash buster

How cool is this picture..Adam and DH did this while I was having a lie in (Sophie likes to wake me up through the night and as it was Saturday, I got a lie in YAY!). Anyway, I got up and Adam said 'look what we made for you'. Sorry that it's sideways, but I couldn't get it to turn, even though it faced the right way before it downloaded...oh well.
I had a moment of inspiration as I imagined the image appliqued onto a tee shirt. I had just the fabric in my stash to do it too... Adam told me that I wasn't allowed to cut up the picture - as if!!!

So I traced around each individual bit, holding the picture up against the window was the easiest way for me to see through

These are the chopped up bits placed over the original to make sure it was all 'hunky dory'.

I used the cut outs as templates to cut out the fabric, I used lightweight cotton drill for the applique. I applied fusible webbing to the back of each piece for stability.

To make the tee shirt, I used one of his favourites as a pattern. I didn't put the tee together 'till the end as it made it much easier.
This is the first bit - the body of the monster truck. I was going to use satin stitch around each one, but I changed my mind as I thought the fraying around the edge would look good.

Pin and sew...'Flash ahaaaaa! He saved every one of us'
Cute little windows.
Sewed the tee together and he immediately put it on... by the end of the day it had been covered in chocolate sauce, washed and put on the line. I must admit I was pretty pleased with myself as I pegged it out to dry :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I feel like a cheater posting this...

This is a very pretty onesie, which was a gift for Sophie when she was born. I love it, it is the cutest thing.
This is how small she was when she last wore it...Awww iddy biddy! Look how sweet they are xoxo
This is Sophie this morning, with the same onesie.

I chopped off the arms and the press studs at the bottom. Did a rolled hem around the sleeves and bottom and hey presto - CHEATER CHEATER DOG POO EATER!!! Sorry, toilet humour is rife in my house.

Too easy and too cute. She would not sit still for these pics. I literally took about 25 photos and got two barely usable shots.

An apron for my good friend and VERY good cook!

From the posts that I have done already, it looks like I'm sure a good friend...I'm not really, you just came at the right time.

Actually I would like me as a friend! I often used to wonder if I would like myself if I met me. I think if I met me 10 years ago, I wouldn't like me very much but I reckon I might like me now...I might think I'm annoying though.

What did DH put in my tea this morning???

Sorry you had to get through that blatant ramble but here we go...

The fun part...fabric choice, I bought a few pieces, I liked the spoons (can you see them at the back on the left), but I decided to go with the chooks (chickens) and the butcher type fabric.

Please be assured that no chickens were harmed in the making of this apron. I have been vegetarian for 16 years and would not harm a chicken for the sake of an apron...
Ok, this might seem a little backwards to have the pocket first, but I liked this fabric best, so this was the order I did it! I decided I wanted a big front pocket, you can make it whatever size you like, or shape, it really doesn't matter. I pressed all the edges in about 1cm, I pressed the top of the pocket over again and stitched this down (I only stitched the top of the pocket at this stage).

I cut three strips of the blue stripey fabric into lengths of about a metre each by about 3 inches, but again, this is up to you.

I folded and pressed strips in half length-ways and sewed, with right sides facing, sewing one end of each one shut. I then turned them the right way around using a spaghetti strap turner (you can use a knitting needle if you like). Then press

I'm showing you the shape of the finished apron here as it is a good example of the shape I used. I made this up as I went along, so please excuse the fact that the directions are a little non specific (it's kind of the way I work).
I cut the apron out on the fold so that both sides match. I wanted it to look like a traditional apron so measured how far I wanted it to come across my chest and waist and cut the slope between the two.

Two of the long strips are the waist tie but the other one is for around the neck. I cut about 4 inches off the end and threaded two D rings through, but you could simply cut it in half and tie it around your neck.
I wanted it to look as neat as possible, so I cut a piece of fabric for the back of the top part of the bib (using the top of the bib as a template) and with right sides facing I inserted the neck tie and D rings.
I then trimmed the excess.
I pressed and stitched the edges all the way around. I was tempted to overlock and then stitch it down, but I wanted a neater finish as it's a gift (if it was for me it would have been overlocked for sure).

Above is how I attached the waist ties. If the picture isn't clear, I turned the edge down and stitched a rectangle over it with a cross in the middle.
To attach the pocket, I used the line in the centre of the apron from when I pressed the fabric with the centre line in the pocket (which I did to match)...lined them up and sewed all the way round (but not the top - otherwise you wont be able to get anything in it...I'm sure you knew that). I then stitched a line down the centre so that there are two pocket spaces.

Ha ha... when I tried on the apron , I was having terrible trouble with my D rings...don't forget to stitch them in place otherwise they don't work...hmmm! Maybe I should have used a pattern. This winging it lark is a little time consuming.
Oh well, I know for next time...when I make myself one with the spoon fabric :)
The baggy bit in the middle is because my friend is 6 foot tall and I am not!!!

NO, I don't think I'm too cool for school. My bags are not for public consumption...Sophie insists on waking me at 4am EVERY day. So, that's why I have my sunnies on.
Well done if you made it this far. If any of you make one of these I would absolutely LOVE to see it.

A tip that I use, which I thought was ingenious

But, I'm sure you already know :)
I was so pleased with this little tip that I thought I'd share it with you. I wish I could remember where I saw it.
You know when you change needles on your machine, say inbetween jersey and cotton and the needle you remove is not dull, so you intend to put it back....I used to put them in my pin cushion, but I would never remember which was which.
Now I do this....

Can you see??? The needle I just replaced is back in the packet, but with the flat bit facing up so I can tell which one it is.

I know...hardly ground breaking, but if you didn't already do this I bet you will now and hopefully you'll think of me. A little narcissistic yes! But hey ho! I like it

NB. I just did a spell check and was sure it would throw 'narcissistic' up as incorrect, but it didn't. I don't think I've ever written that word before and I'm so pleased with myself...sad I know. But it's the little things :)

Beautiful baby bibs

Bibs.. we use them multiple times a day with infants, especially drooly ones like mine! I got so sick of seeing food stained, yucky looking bibs! My friend has a newborn and was given a gorgeous bib which has simple cotton front and a terry towelling back. So, as you do...I thought 'I can make that' and I did!!!

They are super easy to make, and you can make them to match a dress or skirt that you've previously whipped up. Because they're cuter than your average bib they can be worn to catch the drool of a bub with teething trouble :(

First I cut out the shape of the bib (which can be any shape that you like), as long as it will go around your babys neck. I do a velcro fastening because Sophie hates being messed around with and it's the quickest way on...The basic shape I do it a rectangle with the corners rounded, a whole for the head and a cut from one side to the neck to get over the head - that makes sense to me...I hope it does to you too!

Cut out one in terry cloth/towelling and the other in the cutest fabric you can find :)

The above photo is shown with the fabric right sides facing and the placement of the velcro. I like to place the scratchy side of the velcro on the pretty side, then it doesn't scratch the baby's delicate skin when you put it on.

Above I have placed two sets of two pins, this is start and finish points, so that when you sew around, you don't sew it totally closed. If you have a tag you can pop it in the side now.

Once you have sewn around it with right sides together, turn through the gap left in the bottom (the bit between the pins).

Top stitch all the way around, making sure that you close the whole up and voila!!!

Too cute!
Ok, I have made a few of these and I did the above one today just for the blog. Typically this is what I did wrong this time...
Please feel free to laugh at my expense! I did!!!
#1 Firstly, as you can see from the photo, I DID put two sets of two pins in to make sure that I didn't sew all the way around. But, you see, this method is NOT failsafe if you are, like me, a bit of an idiot at times! I didn't start at the first set of pins, I started at the top corner...which leads to problem #2
#2 The gap I left to pull the bib right side out was on the smallest part of the bib which meant that it was pretty tricky to pull the bib through - see IDIOT!!! Honestly, I surprise myself with how stupid I can be sometimes.
#3 I sewed too close to the edge on my first go around, so when I turned it around (and pulled and tugged to get it through the small hole - see idiot mistake #2) there was gaps in the sides :( SIGH!!!
#4 I forgot my tag. Which doesn't really matter as I wont be selling this defect and will remain solely for the use of my child. Despite the fact that this bib took about the same length of time to make as it normally takes me to make 4, I think Sophie looks pretty darn cute!
What mistakes have you made...please tell me you've made some... purleeezzz!