Friday, July 31, 2009

A touch of Paris for a touch of kindness

I have a gorgeous friend who, through her kindness and loveliness, made me feel good in my heart one day.... and I wanted to do the same for her.

I hope this little purse...

....with a small reminder of home...

.... will do the trick!

The pattern is Nicole Mallalieu's Make Up Purse.

The basket or the box?

So if you were Ernie or a pig or a lion or a dinosaur...

...would you rather live in this overcrowded, broken blue basket that frustrates Mummy because things fall out and it looks so untidy...

...or in this fancy fabric covered box that fits everything and looks so neat?

(I don't think poor little piglet understood the question!)

Because the kids are quickly accumulating a collection of little toys, the tin and basket they were thrown into were no longer doing the job. And while I love finding hippos under the couch, pigs in the kitchen drawers, people in my handbag and monkies in the ducts, when it's time to pack up, I wanted them to have a place to call their home that also made things look tidy (I live in hope!).

I loved the look and feel of the barns I made the kids for their birthday, so some thinking, planning, drawing, angsting, testing, fiddling and sewing produced these fabric covered boxes.

I used 3mm plywood, covered with a heavy denim and a cotton lining. The border around the top has a layer of pellon so it is soft to touch and will be a little more forgiving than uncovered plywood if accidently fallen on!

When deciding on the size, I made them to fit neatly into the shelves in the kids' room,

(look how neat they look.... sadly, this makes me happy!)

but they are also easy to grab to go out on the verandah for some serious playing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Spec Case

I was just a little A LOT bit chuffed to be asked to test Nicole Mallalieu's new pattern, The Spec Case.

The Spec Case is a funky version of the good old glasses case, lined and padded with a purse frame cleverly used as the opening.

I have sewn using Nikki's fabulous patterns before and she has made another exceptionally high quality pattern with The Spec Case. The instructions are very detailed with easy to follow steps including photos, tips and notes to help along the way.

Sewing such a small creation was a little tricky at times and when I had to stitch along the join on the front panel, I thought "I've done something wrong, there is no way I can sew that,"..... but the instructions explained where to put my hands and how to negotiate the fabric and - as if Nikki was here waving her magic wand - it all worked out beautifully!

Nikki has a fabulous range of bag, hat and purse patterns, that as she says, are like a class in a packet. The Spec Case pattern is on its way so stay tuned to You Sew, Girl for more info.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the lab...

Meanwhile, back at the lab....... the mad scientist had donned her safety glasses,

buttoned up her lab coat,

and was ignoring the ethical reasons against cloning as she frantically tried to remember the secret ingredients to reproduce Bug.

As the watched pot started to overflow with legs and other buggy bits,

the almost done Bugs were delicately placed in the high-tech laboratory oven for the final stage of the cloning process.

Deemed a success, the OBVIOUSLY mad scientist celebrated her Bug-cloning success with an evil laugh.... wahahaha wahahaha

Now seriously, can you spot the difference?

I'm hoping my baby boy can't if his beloved Bug is strategically swapped due to a much needed wash or a mysterious disappearance (aka "Where the hell is his bloody Bug?")...!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lessons in Refashioning

Incredibly inspired by this awesomeness created by Gina - yes, I wanted to be her neighbour! - I marched down to the Op Shop on a mission. I found the "thought to be perfect" jumper to refashion into my own felted top.

After 2 washes in hot water and NO sign on shrinkage or any resemblance of felting, I emailed Gina in a tizz... what was I doing wrong?

It turned out that it wasn't what I WAS doing wrong.... it was what I had DONE wrong...

Lesson 1: read the label

Determined not to give up and waste my big spend of $4, I soldiered on. Having to let go of my original plan gave me a strange sense of freedom, something I am not really all that comfortable with as I am very much a follow-the-pattern type of girl.

Anyway, things were looking good. I overlocked the neck edge and left it raw, assuring myself this was deliberate and not unfinished (again with the pattern and rules thing). I shortened the arms to 3/4 length and sewed them back on. I even cut the front bigger than the back, leaving extra fabric along the front neckline which could be folded up with a pin.

My masterpiece was finished and I must admit, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed not following a pattern and at how well it had turned out.

Then I tried it on.
Lesson 2: measure your length

I made the jumper too short. In this photo, it is pulled down as much as possible, and even with a top underneath, it rides up and comes dangerously close to being a mid-rif. And while I do puffer vests, I don't do mid-rifs.

So while I love the raw (not unfinished!) necklane and the way it sits with a gorgeous brooch, and the baggy 3/4 sleeves, it's back to the drawing board.

But I'm not writing this top off yet... the scissors are hovering close by, especially after seeing this on Tricia's blog. And a felted top remains on my 'To Do' list... as does buying a woollen jumper that is NOT Machine washable!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sandrine's magnifique scarf

I wanted to show you how magnifique (French for gorgeous!) my new hand felted scarf is and to tell you how amazingly beautiful it is to touch. This is one of the creations of the very talented Sandrine from histoire de soie...

Sandrine makes her own felt then uses it to create hats, scarfs and brooches. The detail on her creations is amazing....

One of her specialities is hats for special occasions. She sells them at markets and online, and also takes custom orders. They are exquisite.

Images taken from histoiredesoie.

You can see more of Sandrine's designs and creations (and get her delicious French recipes) at her blog and Etsy shop.

Stop by and say bonjour to the gorgeous Sandrine!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An apron & some fortune cookies

I made some things for my friend Macca's birthday.....

An apron with the logo from his blog, Common Chefs. Common Chefs has beautiful recipes that are a bit fancier than your stock standard dishes, and have all been cooked by Macca so you know they work. He also gives a little intro to each recipe and the photos by JT will make your mouth-water!

I also whipped up a batch of fortune cookies....

... with personalised messages for the birthday boy. Some serious messages and some silly ones...

I had made these once before and as the receiever lived to sew another day, I thought it was worth trying them again. They are a littel fiddly to make but were definately easier the second time around... and are well worth the effort I think.

Thanks to Tyroga for use of the beautiful photo!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Make Your Own Kids' Books

This is a simple book I made that I thought I would share with you because it has been such a hit with my kids.... an Animal Book...

Each page has a picture of an animal with matching text - "Here is a _____". The pages are A4 size and laminated so the pages are easy for little hands to turn and the pictures are big and are easily wiped clean!

Simple books with repetitive text are prefect for young children. And the animals provide a great opportunity for the kids to hear a range of different sounds as you cluck, oo-oo-oo, woof, snap (as appropriate!) on each page.

The thing I love about this idea is that it can be tailored to suit individual kids. If you know a child who loves things that move, you can make a book with cars, boats, planes, etc.

There are grand plans for lots of homemade books, such as "Our Special People', with photos of our family and friends.... Here is Nanny, etc, and books that have photos of the kids, such as "At the Park". As the kids get older, we'll make books of their drawings, and books illustrated by them. Check out some examples of books that JL from The Toby Show made here and here.

To be truthful, there are some days where this book is brought to me by a wobbling-walking child or two and I think "not again!", but I actually feel pretty pleased that they love something I made for them so much.

Here's how to make one:

I found the pictures by typing coloring page dog in Google (just change the animal name for each animal you want). There are lots of colouring pages that are free to download for personal use.

In Microsft Word, type the text at the bottom of the page and print it on 100gsm white paper (a bit heavier than normal copy paper). Then print the picture of the animal onto coloured paper. Cut the animal out and paste it onto the white paper.

Design and print a cover page. I used a piece of coloured paper and also put a piece of blank coloured paper as the back cover. Laminate the pages back to front, like this:

Once you have laminated and collated all your pages, it just needs to be bound. I did this at Officeworks for about $4.50. Wire or coil binding will keep the book together better than comb binding so it is worth the extra $$.

And that's it!
If you do make one, I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I feel like a Royal Princess

Yesterday I smiled when I saw a package in my letterbox because I knew what was waiting for me. Michelle from The Royal Sisters recently celebrated 200 posts with a giveaway which I very excitedly won. So let me show you why, adored in the creations of The Royal Sisters, I feel like a right, royal princess!....

Rather than show just a shot of the beautiful wrist warmers, I thought I would share a bit of my life and show you how I will be mostly using them.... pushing that big double pram around the streets! At least my hands will look glamourous... and be warm!

Michelle even sent a brooch she has just made that was not part of the original giveaway. Her kindness and generosity is heart-warming!

If you have not yet discovered the creative talents and bubble caravan search of Michelle, pop over and visit her two blogs and check out the delights in her Etsy store.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Squeak squeak

On a quiet Saturday night, this little mouse found it's way to my house. Because the sewing machine does not create the right ambiance when watching a movie, this little guy was made out of felt and sewn by hand.

He is one of the wonderful creations that come from the mind of Ms Ric Rac. A BIG thanks to Jodie for the pattern.