Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little flower stamped gift tags

I've always disliked wrapping gifts and writing cards. Which seems kind of strange for a graphic designer. I think part of it is that I find it hard to get the damned paper wrapped neatly around the gift (square edges, neat creases etc). But it recently dawned on me that when I make the wrapping/card myself I really enjoy it. So maybe it's just that the store bought stuff feels mass produced and impersonal (which it is, as it has to be, of course) and just well, not me.
 I was making a card for a little friend when I had this thought. I used some of my existing hand carved stamps and trusty versa stamp pads...
 And was inspired by this little still life that I keep on a shelf in the kitchen (above).
And thoroughly enjoyed making some more little cards and wrapping paper, matching them with string, ribbon and envelopes.

So next time I have a gift to give I'm going to try to remember to design the presentation myself. I'm sure it shows when you enjoy what you've done, don't you?

Check out other creative spaces here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hand printed fabric swap

I've been playing around for the hand printed fabric swap lately, exploring colour, shape, overprinting.
 Sketching my thoughts...

And trying out ideas...
It's been a great kick in the pants to get the creativity flowing. And there's nothing like a deadline to help with that!

Hope you had a great weekend :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cowl neck top

I'm obviously in the cowl neck theme lately, as along with my little girls dress (in the last post) I also recently made myself a cowl neck top. Though I'm still wondering if I should call it a 'skivvy' :-) Somehow cowl neck sounds more up to date. Which is funny really as even though I have admired cowl necks over the years, I've always felt they were a bit too boring or, dare I say it 'middle-aged' for me... but now that I am hurtling towards that age myself (or am in it already), somehow that feeling has gone.

OK, the details... I was thinking about buying the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern, which looked pretty much what I wanted, but then I gave myself a bit of a talking to about buying patterns, particularly expensive ones from the other side of the world, simple in design. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for supporting indie pattern designers (and felt Sewaholic's Minoru pattern was worth every cent), but this one I thought I should at least try to tackle myself.
So I got out my trusty self-drafted t-shirt pattern and made a few alterations. The cowl is basically just a long tube of fabric attached to the neckline that drapes down (see pic left, above). I had intended to make the cowl quite a bit bigger but this is how it ended up (mental note for next time to make the neckline wider and the tube bigger).

The fabric is a remnant of merino wool knit (very fine knitted grey and black stripes) that I bought at The Fabric Store. I had ear marked it for some warm tops for little boy, but ended up pinching it myself ;-) It is super warm but lightweight and layers with other garments really well, which is what you want for chilly morning walks to school etc. And because of the cowl neck no scarf is needed (though I do love my scarves).

As today is Thursday, there are lots of goodies to check out over at our creative spaces... go check them out ;-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Little girl's cowl neck dress

Still on my drive to keep my kids warm, I made this comfy dress for my little girl last week. I fell in love with the pattern (another from Heidi & Finn) when I started seeing them around blogland and it was cemented when I spied Fran's lovely versions.
It's a complete copycat version of the one on the pattern as I had a great piece of thick red fleecy fabric in my stash. It's such a quick, easy sew, with good instructions (as I've found with other H&F patterns). I used a straight stitch on the seams and my overlocker (serger) to finish them, but as knit fabrics don't tend to fray I think you could get away with not finishing the edges as long as your straight stitch is nice and strong. I love a pattern where I can trace and cut out the pattern and fabric in one evening then sew the garment the next evening, so quick and easy.

 And as well as keeping her warm, apparently it's great for splashing in puddles...

and skipping down the street :-)

Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My creative space: little caps

Lately we've had quite cold weather (for Sydney) and it seems to have brought out the mother hen in me. When I rugged up the kids to take them out recently and didn't have a hat for my boy I remembered this pattern from my stash that I'd made up when he was younger (one seen here) and decided to give it another whirl.

This time I used a nice cozy medium weight grey wool for the outside and a thrifted piece of yellow linen for the inside. Then, as it was looking a little sparse I added a little piece of sriped grosgrain ribbon I've been hoarding. You know when you buy something on a whim then fall in love with it and ration it in a crazy hope that it will never run out? That's how I felt about this ribbon. It just adds a little something to the cap to finish it off, a cute little detail.

Little champ that he is, my boy took to it straight away "Is that my hat mama? Do you make it for me?" and wore it for most of the day, which of course made me pretty happy :-) When little girl saw it she told him how cute he looked in his "train driver hat" and promptly asked me for one "the same fabric but with a butterfly on it please mama". I was amazed but very pleased that she liked the grey flannel! Yippee, I didn't have to do pink on pink for a change!
So that evening was spent making a slightly larger sized cap, lined with pink cotton (didn't get that far away from it!) and embellished with a felt butterfly that I cut out free form and embroidered onto the brim with thread creating the body and feelers.

 She suitably chuffed the next morning. And I guess you can see what was coming next...

 Yes, one last one for my big girl "with a flower please mama". This one sized up at 105% to fit her almost adult sized head, and embellished with a stylised flower in ribbon and button when the intended felt was just not working.

So after 3 evenings of cap sewing I'm pretty over that pattern for now! But at least I know my little munchkins have warm heads... or the potential to have warm heads, as it might be ;-)

Wander on over here to see more of this week's creative spaces.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend cooking - honeycomb

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..

Our little girl just spent the last few nights in her own bed (instead of ours) - woo hoo! She was so proud of herself yesterday morning and we were so pleased with her (let's not even think about whether it will continue at this stage) that I wanted to give her a treat, so we made honeycomb together.

I think I was in my teens last time I made it (with my mum) and I remember it bring tricky, so I was quite careful with it and used a candy thermometer to get the toffee base right. I thought the kids would enjoy seeing the mixture fluff up when the bicarb soda was added and they did but I think I got more of a kick out of it than they did!

I used this recipe and it turned out pretty well, quite an open texture inside with a nice honey-ish flavour. As it was also our "movie and dessert night" that night I thought I'd make a dessert out of it too. So I crushed up some of the honeycomb and mixed it with some softened vanilla ice cream to make hokey pokey. Then I added a hot chocolate sauce to pour over (heat some cream, add some chopped dark chocolate and stir til melted & smooth). Chocolate and honey is a combination that I really like (as well as chocolate and orange chocolate and mint, chocolate and... ;-) I then sprinkled over some crushed honeycomb to finish it off, you know, because it needed some more sugar (not!). Strange sounding dessert but it was pretty yummy. I'm dreaming about having it again already.

As a sweet by itself (rather than a dessert) I think the honeycomb pieces would be better half dipped into melted chocolate (like a Violet Crumble or Crunchie bar) but I was feeling pretty concerned about our dental health by this stage so thought I'd better not do it - that would be going just a step too far!

Hope you've had a sweet (but not too sweet!) weekend too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My creative space this morning

There were scenes of sheer delight mixed with contentment over here at casa bubala this morning, fueled by a morning to myself to create and probably an excess of caffeine ;-) A friend (another SAHM with 3 littlies the same age as mine) and I have started a 'little boy swap' now and then when we can, where one of us has both of them and the other kids are at school/preschool. They love it, we love it - excellent! That's not to say I don't love being with my boy but I had intended to use my morning for screen printing and I find that small children and screen printing definitely do not mix!

 So this was literally my creative space this morning. I'm always happy when I have my sketch books out, and my old set of Derwents actually got to see the light of day, too, which doesn't happen often. Happy happy.

Mixing inks in the daylight - so much better than late at night.

And enjoying the actual process. Having a specific project in mind helped me stay focussed ("do NOT go and put a load of washing on, repeat: do NOT! Time is precious").


AND I discovered this great mag when I went to have my quiet sit in a cafe to start the morning - can't wait to devour it.

Hoping you had a creative day too. More goodies to see over here

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Little cloud pillow

My little boy has a few friends in the way you do when you're 2 (make that almost 3 - boo hoo!). That is, a few littlies who he kind of shares toys with a bit and sees around largely because I like their mums (or dads). I'm glad he has them - it makes him feel like he's not just following around after his big sisters all the time but has his own little crew ;-)
As it was the birthday party of one of the buddies on the weekend and I wanted to make the sweet little girl in question something special. I'd just borrowed Fiona Dalton's fabulous book "Hop skip jump, 20 eco-friendly toys to sew" from the local library again (must buy a copy) and this little project jumped out at me... cute, quick and fun.
 It's a cute little pillow with front in soft white flannel with an embroidered face.
And the back I did in a cute pink/red striped cotton. Stuffed softly it looks like a good bedtime buddy to me...
And to my boy, by the look of this pic ;-) Lets hope it has the same effect on our little friend!

PS. No, I didn't dress my son up in a pink t-shirt for the photo shoot (though that is certainly not beyond me, hee hee). As I mentioned recently, his lack of appropriate sized clothing means that his big sister's clothes get called in occasionally, in this case as a pyjama top. Oh well, he's a well-adjusted modern man (this boy frequently runs around in a tutu (mama-made of course), much to my delight :-). He can send me the therapy bills later...

Monday, June 4, 2012

A swap and a community

I've just signed up to do round 2 of the Hand Printed Fabric Swap, organised by the lovely Leslie, and couldn't be happier. To be honest though I nearly didn't do it as I wasn't sure I could find the time (I've been busy with another little project - tell you all about it soon ;-). But then just as the deadline approached suddenly I really wanted to be part of it. And within a matter of hours of Leslie emailing me my group details I got a lovely message from one of my swap buddies, Kate. It made my day and reminded me that apart from giving me a kick up the backside to try something a little different, the nice thing about joining a swap is getting to know some new-to-me talented crafters.

When people ask me why I keep a blog, and they sometimes do, I struggle to put into words just what I love about it. But really it's simple - the wonderful sense of community that comes from sharing with others, picking up loads of inspiration along the way, not to mention the confidence that all the lovely comments give me. It can be a bit of a solitary life at times being a SAHM and this community enriches my life.

So thank you Leslie, Kate, my other swap buddies, and you for reading this! Hope you have a good start to your week.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Actually useful sewing

Recently I have been trying to address that list in my head entitled "things to sew that we actually need".

The thing that's been at the top of the list is a new ironing board cover. The old one was so threadbare and tattered that it was actually falling apart. I won't bore you with pictures of it, but needless to say that a piece of sturdy linen from the stash, some elastic and just a bit of my time have transformed this useful household object (largely used for my sewing projects ;-) and was extremely satisfying to do.

The other thing I made was another pair of trousers for my little boy. What with toilet training (ie: accidents) and running out of hand-me-downs his cupboard is always pretty empty at the moment.

I made another pair of 'Basic pocket pants' from the lovely book Growing up Sew Liberated, this time using some stretch cord from my stash. I made the legs a little slimmer this time around and added a little pocket to the back using scraps of one of my favourite boy fabrics, Echino's cars. The only pic I could get of him in his new duds is this one of his cute little behind ;-)

Now if I could just make 2 more pair of trousers, some t-shirts, pyjamas and a couple of hoodies we'd be OK for winter. Hmm... as usual, too many sewing plans, not enough time. I think a trip to the shops is in order unfortunately, if this mama is to get any sleep!!

More creative goodness happening over here.
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