Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cloud print big boy sleep shorts

After having fun trying out my vegetable prints last week I ended up doing a completely different carved stamp print for my project. But a bit of back story first...

It was the Mr's birthday last week, and as often is the case, I was stumped as to what to give him. In the end I took a deep breath and decided to make him something. I sew for the kids, I sew a lot for myself, I've sewn for friends and for my mum in the fairly recent past, but there's something I find daunting about the thought of sewing for the big boy.

I pondered making him a t-shirt, or maybe a Negroni Shirt but settled on a pair of sleep shorts (less need for accuracy!). I cut a pattern from an existing pair, then made them up in a soft grey jersey. I tried for the first time an exposed elastic and it worked well. (I love how every single sewing project I do teaches me something!)

From the time I'd dreamed up this project in my head I'd always pictured them with a cloud print running around the base. I'm not sure where that came from, possibly all the rain we had last week! But then I started thinking maybe it was too kiddy, or feminine, or this, or that... So, as is often the case in creative matters, I went around and around and then came back to my initial idea. Just go with your gut instincts, I tell myself! And it will all be OK... or at least the recipient will love them because they're made with love ;-)

Plenty of creativity on display over here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Merino top with thumbholes

I've been wanting to make a top with thumbholes for a while now, so when one of my much loved basic wool tops died recently (I started to get embarrassed at all the holes ;-), I got out the fine black merino wool from my stash and decided to try to make one of these wardrobe basics that are so useful. And why not add some thumbholes at the same time?


I used the basic t-shirt pattern that I'd drafted a while ago, made it a bit more loose fitting, with a boat neck (seems to be most flattering on me), wide cuffs and a wide loose waist band to match cuffs. For the thumbholes, after consulting Mr Google, I opened up a gap in the cuff seam big enough for thumbs with my trusty seam-ripper and then sewed around it to reinforce it.

There's a fair bit of wonk in this garment, and it's given me a new appreciation of proper finishes on knit fabrics (as opposed to mine!), but hopefully I can look past the imperfections and it will be a useful basic.

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OK, my wardrobe's been restocked with all the sewing I've been doing for myself, time to move on to other things now... after I attempt this gorgeous knitted neckpiece, that is! The very talented designer, Kirsten from Assemblage, has such beautiful style and is a fellow lover of thumbholes! Wish me luck, my knitting is basic to say the least but I'm willing to sit with Youtube beside me on the computer as I try to work it out because I love it so much ;-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Little boy vest

I had one of those moments recently where it seems like you turn around one day and suddenly one child has ankles and wrists exposed and tummies of jackets and vests stretched to the max! With 3 kids there's always someone needing something bigger and this time it was my boy's turn.

This vest that I made him doesn't address the chilly wrists (I've got a t-shirt in the works), but it does add a nice warm layer to his chest without adding the bulk of sleeves, making movement for play a lot easier.

Of course it's almost impossible to get a stationary pic of an almost 2 year old! There are teddies to play with and cuddle, afterall!

I traced a pattern for the basic shape using an existing sleeveless zip-up hooded jacket and kept it simple in shape. He has quite a few hooded t-shirts, so to avoid the double (or tripling!) of hood bulkiness I omitted it from this design. And as I didn't have a zip the right size thought I'd go for a simple button closure.

All the fabric is from my stash, and the grey woolly looking fabric is a little scratchy on the back so I lined it (using the same pattern pieces) in a soft jersey knit. Then I encased the edges with some bias binding made from a contrasting knit and added the elastic and button closure.

I'm really happy with how this little experiment worked out and now that I have the basic shape I'm thinking I could do lots of variations - add pockets, hood, maybe sleeves, a zip or popper front, reversible etc. Ahh, such a satisfying project. It's lovely when something works out well... unlike the t-shirt I made recently that made him cry it was so hard to get off his head (bad mummy!) and the sleeves were half way up to his elbows (doh!) - ah well, back to the drawing board on that one ;-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Photo

A definite pink theme running through this week's pics.

top In awe of the perfection of this flower and the delicate colour Crazy graffiti makes us smile. Around the corner from this we sat on the footpath and watched some artists at work.

An outing with friends is always fun, especially when a camera is involved! Tablecloth cues or not, I love this gingham ;-)

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Secret printing/sewing business

In my creative space today I'm trying out printing with all sorts of things, inspired by Lotta's great printing book which I never get tired of flicking through.

The fennel was a little floppy... the celery stick is yielding quite a cute little boomerang-ish shape, but I'm not sure if it's right for my secret squirrel project... I'll fill you in next week (shh)

More creative spaces here.

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And in unrelated goings on...

Dinner tonight is this great vegetarian shepherds pie with steamed vegies. Mmm, I so love hippy food... followed by a big chunk of chocolate or something equally sweet ;-)
What's for dinner at your place tonight?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gingham shirt

Over the school holidays I kind of lost my enthusiasm for blogging, probably partly because I've been so focussed on the kids that I haven't had a lot of head space for creativity. And oddly we haven't been doing anything really crafty this time around, rather enjoying the sunshine outside and seeing friends, which in itself is great for both the kids and me. I gain enormous support and strength from my mum friends, whether they're old friends or new friends gained through the link of our children.

I have squeezed in a bit of sewing though (where there's a will there's a way!), which I'll try to post about now that life is returning to normal routine with school resuming tomorrow.

OK, gingham. What does it make you think of? Tablecloths, teatowels, school uniforms? I once bought what I thought was a gorgeous summer top in it, and the Mr promptly laughed when he saw it and pronounced that it was pure Elly May Clampett... which wasn't really the look I was going for, but I still loved it.

When I spotted this 100% cotton, soft, pink and white gingham (bought with a voucher from a lovely friend, thank you A) I knew it would make a lovely shirt. I had in mind a particular design with bib front and gathered details, but couldn't find a pattern for anything similar. With a lot of trial and error I think I could draft a pattern for one (using Cal Patch's fabulous book as reference). But it was instant gratification I wanted (some things never change!), so I used my Schoolhouse tunic pattern again. It worked out pretty well. Not perfect, but wearable, and satisfied the urge for a new shirt in the pretty gingham.

What do you think of gingham? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? Just want to have a picnic in the park when you see it? ;-)

Some pattern notes:

• I did the same as before: one pleat on the front instead of two, smaller size etc.

• Also I added a little detail to the sides of the hem. I thought it looked a little harsh with the straight hem so I used some elastic to make little gathers at the bottoms of the side seams to give a rounded effect. I'd considered just cutting it in a curved shape but thought the curve might mean I wouldn't get a nice turn up on the hem. I considered doing a bias binding around it to get around this issue (and the detail of the changing direction of the checks would have been nice) but decided on the elastic to give a bit of continuity between the hem and the sleeves. Yes, I'm a nerd, I love the little details and probably put far too much thought into them, but I get a kick out of it ;-)

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Has anyone tried Fabenmix patterns? I've got my eye on a couple which are just what I've been looking for (pinned here).

Friday, July 15, 2011

This moment

I'm joining Soulemama (and many others) this week with the Friday ritual of 'this moment' - a moment from the week gone by. Happy weekend to you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Holiday treats

Hi! How are your school holidays going, if you're on them?

Here there's been the usual holiday stuff - playdates with friends, hours spent at the park, haircuts, trips to the library, shopping etc, and on my part plenty of avoidance of the much needed toy culling (where do they all come from, do they breed overnight?).

Vanilla cupcakes (Inner Pickle) Shortbread animals Golden syrup scones

Banana bread Honey joys Choc chip cookies

And of course there has been lots of snack preparation and baking, which made me think about compiling a favourite holiday treat list, mainly old favourites. Above are a selection of our old faithfuls (all egg-free of course).

Do you have old favourites or are you an experimenter?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend cooking - individual tiramisu's

The weekend's a time when I sometimes get the opportunity to cook something different or fun, a change from the quick and easy routine of weeknights. Come and see what I've been up to this weekend...

This weekend we got to return the favour to the lovely friends who cooked for us recently. We made an Italian inspired meal including roasted olives, sweet potato & fetta risotto and salad.

As our guests are fellow coffee lovers I thought I'd try making tiramisu for dessert for the grown-ups (icecream with sprinkles for the kids). Instead of making a huge tray though, I tried this Gordon Ramsay recipe, which was really easy and quick to prepare. It also needs to be made ahead of time, which helps to avoid the dreaded 'frazzled hostess' syndrome ;-)

We enjoyed it and I will definitely make it again, though I'll drastically reduce the portion size next time - I have a sweet tooth and it defeated me! (I used the recipe below for 4 servings, so have suggested 6 instead may be better).

Individual tiramisu's (adapted from this recipe)

250 g mascarpone

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons Frangelico liquor

150 ml strong espresso, cooled to room temperature

150 ml single cream

4 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons icing sugar, extra
18 savoiardi biscuits sponge fingers
bar of 70% chocolate to finish

Whisk the mascarpone with the vanilla, liquor and 50ml coffee, until everything is thoroughly mixed together. Whisk the cream with the 4 tblsp icing sugar until smooth, then whisk into the mascarpone mix.

Pour the remaining coffee into a bowl, add the extra 2 tblsp icing sugar and stir to dissolve. Take one sponge finger and dip it in to the coffee. Set it to one side and continue with the remaining biscuits.

Line 6 serving glasses with 3 sponge fingers. Spoon the mascarpone mix in until you reach the top of the glass. Grate chocolate over the top. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Serves 6

Friday, July 8, 2011

Refashioned skirt

A while ago a friend gave me a bag of clothes she no longer needed (gotta love a bit of clothes passing around!). In it was the skirt below, an A-line in a stretchy cotton blend fabric.

I wasn't sure if I could do anything with it, as I'm feeling a bit over my A-line skirts at the moment. Also the print and colours are not really me so it would have to be a great cut to redeem it, if you know what I mean. But then I spied Kate's gathered twirly skirts, loved her idea and thought this skirt might be a good one to try out a refashion (thanks for the inspiration Kate!).

So I cut it into 3, then set aside the middle section for later (that's the hoarder in me... maybe I can make a fabric belt or tissue holder or zip purse...). Then I sewed a row of long machine stitching into the top of the bottom section and gathered it to the size of the hem of the top section (simple tutorial here on gathering fabric). After sewing them together and overlocking the seam I topstitched the seam down to top layer to make it sit flat. And that's it. As the bottom section was already hemmed I didn't need to do that. Yay!

This is a really simple project but I thought someone out there may find it useful. I get so much inspiration from the great craft blogs that I like to try to pass ideas on. If you try it I'd love to hear. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thoughts on motherhood: holidays

Wow, I think I forget from one block of school holidays to the next just how draining they are! I am only increasing my daily kid tally by one, but all that lack of routine, 100% face-to-face time, not to mention sibling arguements and the usual tantrums, does take its toll.

One thing I have been trying to relax about is the kid entertainment issue. I used to feel bad that we don't tend to do fancy holiday courses and workshops or go away on exciting trips. But this week the kids have had so much fun doing normal stuff that I'm feeling good about it all... and remembering to have fun with them. Apparently it's a pretty good thing for mum to join you on the slide or sing and dance to Playschool with you!

We do have a few creative pursuits happening, hopefully I'll get time to blog about them soon. In the meantime, if you're in the midst of school holidays too, here's wishing you a fun and relaxing time... hopefully with some cupcakes ;-)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Giveaway winners

And the winner is (it's a very serious business, you know!)... no 7, KathyB

... and the mystery 2nd prize goes to (no peeking!)... no 5, Adriana

Congratulations ladies! And thankyou everyone for entering, and for your kind words. I wish you could all have won, sook that I am!

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In other goings-on, I finally made a second cot doona cover for washing rotation, this time using up the last of my stripey Ikea fabric . As there wasn't quite enough, and I wanted to have a matching pillowcase, I put it together with two other orange toned fabrics. I quite like the look, and seeing as I'm still not game enough to try to make a quilt (chicken!) it slightly satisfies that urge! I repurposed a piece of an old worn out queen sized sheet for the underside. That stash is starting to go down!

Have a happy Monday :-)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Photo

I've been looking for an excuse to post pics that I like, with no real story behind them, just because I like them. So I thought I'd start up 'Friday Photo' for anything I'd like to show you just because...

top Street graffiti taken to a different level Sneeky window snap. Great zip-up dress, and those pink beads are perfect. I have a nasty habit of snapping shop windows and strangers on the street when they're wearing something I love, in order to remember and sometimes re-create. Sometimes I even stoop to pretending I'm taking pics of my kids when it's the woman in the background with the fab chinese jacket that I'm focussing on (ahem, just for instance ;-) Grungy streetscape.

Lichen on seaside rock. Aren't those colours just divine Grungy streetscape with graffiti Do you love taking shots of your shadows too, or is it just me?

By the way, my blogiversary giveaway ends tonight, so if you have been meaning to enter, go for it.

Have a lovely weekend.
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