Thursday, 30 April 2009

Fabulous Fabric

The day started off a bit wet this morning but the sun was doing it's best to shine. Definitely coats for the walk to school though just in case. The weather actually cheered up immensely during the morning, and was sunny enough for the little girls to play outside.

We picked our first lettuce from our vegetable garden this morning. No. 2 always has Vegemite and lettuce sandwiches for her school lunches. There were about three possibilities, but we chose this perky one. A quick flick for the snails, and a shake to remove all the rain drops, and we were ready.

Look at the end product? Doesn't it look yummy? It is sooo much fresher and crisper than the ones you buy. It tasted like it had been in a garden too. Much better flavour. So there we were, all eating lettuce, before breakfast. Actually breakfast itself was a bit of a disaster. Little miss 4 was fooling around and ended up on the floor, with a container of milk pouring all over her hair! We couldn't stop laughing at the sight of her, the poor little thing.

Remember Dreary Wednesday? Well, I needed something to brighten the day somewhat. I managed to convinced the four girls to let me go to the emporium and fabric shop. Yeah, we ended up going to the toy shop, of course! Good deal really - suited all of us.

So, this is the latest $4 a metre fabric bargain I picked up. It's so lovely and old fashioned, just crying out to be made into something fabulous. I haven't really got a plan for it yet, but there is 2.8m (end of the roll), so it could be a wee range of goodies. I'm thinking it will team very well with black and white gingham.

Here it is with more detail. Aren't the aprons fabulous?

Now, I actually made a couple of bags last weekend along with the makeup bags, but I forgot to photograph them for you. So here is my favourite orange fabric one for you to see. It's a craft bag, lined and padded, with a velvet ribbon to finish it off.

Now I have a floral bag for my sewing projects and a polka dot bag for my crochet. Just what a girl needs really.

Look what I found when I was cleaning up my bedside drawer. My eldest must have made it when she was about six I'm guessing. It has on it "The flower is so pretty". But of course it was the gingham ribbons that really appealed to me. What a lovely idea to make a gingham garden for her flower. I will buy a frame and hang it by my bed.

There have been some home renovations going on here today. Daughter No. 1 is now the proud owner of a new wardrobe. She has got quite used to the floordrobe system of late, so it might come as a bit of a shock to her when we expect her to hang her clothes. She is not at all tidy in nature so this will be a struggle for her.

This is the before photo:

Drum roll please - da dada da da daaaaa ... and now the after:

Pretty flash! Wish we were so lucky. Oh, all in good time I guess.
Now, I am having company over tonight. It's the Stitch Group. I am looking forward to seeing everyone's creations. Not too sure what I will be crafting, maybe some crochet for a change.

I must say I have done quite a bit of cleaning and tidying up this morning. Just the floors left to wash and a quick flick over the bathroom. I never do the bathroom until the last minute as children can destroy very quickly! They seem to gravitate towards clean rooms like a magnet.

Right then, off to find the bucket and mop. Happy stitching, or knitting, or whatever takes your fancy. Good morning to all my European visitors. Nice to see so many of you popping in for a visit. See you all later!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Dreary Wednesday

The weather has been very dry in Auckland for so long now that we should be grateful for a bit of rain. But it all looks so dull and dreary out there. Even my photos are lacking colour. I'm feeling a lot like the weather is today too. Just a bit yuck and I spent the whole morning feeling hungry too. Couldn't wait for lunch time. We spent the morning at music for little people which is fabulous fun and there are always lots of lovely people to catch up with.

I wasn't very productive last night either. All I did was cut and iron the bag pieces ready for sewing. The star pattern is ready to be pinned onto the blue felt and cut out as an applique for the green pockets. I didn't have access to the felt last night as middle sized people were sleeping. I figured it would be easier to hand stitch the star on, and quite effective too, with lime green embroidery thread. I guess that will be this evenings work. Doesn't No. 1's knitting co-ordinate well with the bags? She's very proud of it and not lost a stitch yet, she keeps telling us!

You know what? I've been very bad and have been holding back a very exciting piece of information. On Tuesday I woke to find out that I had won a competition!!! How jolly exciting! I don't usually win these things so I was extremely delighted as you can imagine. Want to know what it was? You sure? How about you check it out for yourself. I know it seems a bit mean of me to make you leave, but a photo speaks a thousand words and for me to describe it would be tragic I'm sure. So just give this a click and you'll be there!! Oh, and please come back to me as I haven't finished raving yet.

Well what did you think??? Pretty isn't it? And what a clever lady Sally is. Thank you so much Sal, I can hardly wait to receive it. I think it will look great with a white shirt and my jeans. I've got into necklaces recently. I'm not usually a jewellery sort of person, but a necklace really does make an outfit a bit more special.

15A is a little secret at the top of our garden. My very clever husband A. decided to build it when I was nearly due to have our fourth child. I did express concern at the time, but I was told it would all be finished in plenty of time and not a problem at all. Famous last words!! After much stress when things didn't go right, or there was a leak, or an ant infestation, it did finally get finished. When was that, you ask? Just before No. 4's second birthday. Men and their nesting instincts! We, mothers, could do without them.

I guess I should be more grateful really, and I know I am lucky to have such a clever husband, but timing is everything! Now look at this lock. Oh, the conversations we had about this. Visitors think it is so funny that we have a flash locking system on our playhouse. Well, after you spend two years on a project, you would want to make sure it was safe too wouldn't you?

I couldn't wait to get my hands on the interior decorating side of things. Move over Daddy, the gingham queen has arrived!

The cushions were made with some fabrics I bought on TradeMe. This is about as good as I get with patchwork. The fabric is so cute, Funky Monkey it was called. I made four cushions, all different, one for each cane chair.

The kitchen was installed just before Christmas. After bathroom alterations were completed inside the real house, we were left with the perfect kitchen unit. The old vanity, minus the top, as it was too high. The bathroom tap was also installed into the new bench. Just like a real kitchen really, but no water thank you.

I had fun collecting pretty things for the girls Christmas presents, to be used in the playhouse. The pink measuring cups and spoons were perfect, and much nicer than mine too I might add.

So, this is the finished piece of work. As solid as a real house, and by far, much prettier. No ants and no leaks either. Unfortunately we forgot to water the pink impatiens. They were gorgeous when in full bloom.

Hey, I also forgot to tell you, I sold five of the make up bags this week. How neat is that? Thank you very much ladies! I will definately be going shopping this weekend. I can't wait!

Well, you go and have a nice day, or evening. Hope you have something nice planned, or at least some time to do something for yourself. See you later on hopefully.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Double Digits

I'm bringing you a little bit of Spring today. Isn't is just beautiful? The strange thing is, we are meant to be entering Autumn! Half of the plum tree is still loosing it's leaves, while the other half is flowering and new leaves keep appearing. This has been going on for about three weeks now and I think it has finally stopped budding. I wonder what will happen, come Spring at the end of the year?

Well guess what? Daughter No. 1 is turning 10 in a few weeks time!! It's a special birthday, ten is. Double digits at last! So exciting when you are that young. I vaguely remember mine, a sleep-over from memory. Hers was meant to be the same, but last year's party ended up being a sleep-over, cunning child!! I think there were about 6 or 7 girls in our lounge talking and giggling until quite late, then up again at the crack of dawn. Just the usual really! I'm sure some of you have been there! These are the sleep-over cakes I made. We tried to get the hairstyles similar to each guest. Good fun to make and really easy.

Our first party idea was to have a disco. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but it is a special birthday, so I went along with it. Unfortunately, yes very, she changed her mind and decided on something more sedate. We are now going to Valentines Restaurant, an eat as much as you like place, perfect for children. Nothing fancy but something for everyone.

Anyway, it was suggested yesterday that we should make the invitations. You know, as soon as she had got in the door! I could see how well that would work with four extra helpers. I don't think so!! So I suggested we make a draft and work it out first. Some ideas came to us very quickly and it was agreed, unanimously - that it was perfect. Pheeew! Not bad going Mama.

I rather cleverly spaced things out slowly by talking about which stamps to use, which stickers, colour schemes etc until, by golly it's bedtime. Oh, no! Well honey, Mummy will do one quickly and take it in to you for your approval. That's fine? Oh, good.

Lucky for me all went well and the first invitation was complete ten minutes later. Gasps came out of her mouth and some lovely words eventually followed. Success!

I'm grateful there were only five to make. They were fairly quick to do, but the ink can mess around the edge of the stamp and cause a little stress. Still, a bit of excess stamping won't be noticed - I shouldn't think.

Oh gosh, I don't have any envelopes that size at all! After a hunt around my supplies for red paper, or any paper that was kind of suitable, I was at a loss. Then I remembered something I saw in a magazine a while ago, for using a pretty page in a mag as wrapping paper or for making envelopes. What a creative idea I thought at the time.

I flicked through my treasured NZ House and Garden magazines and found some pretty pages in the cooking section. Not usually a place I venture into, but we are going to a restaurant, so thought it most suitable. They all looked rather tasty. Check out those dear little cakes with the blue ribbons around them. Aren't they just so pretty?

The poor child was pulled out of bed this morning, and instead of her usual read, she was sat up at the bench with instructions on what to do. Hey, she could hardly complain. She made a border around the front of the cards, with names of foods she likes to eat at Valentines. Don't forget your neatest writing lovey! How nice you are to let your sister do half of them. Good girl!

What do you think of this combination of colours? Pretty groovy isn't it? Think I might have to make bags for each guest. Well, it's not like we need decorations or a table cloth is it? We can hardly turn up to the restaurant and flick a new table cloth over their stained white ones now can we? Certainly tempted to though!

I will be organising a little craft activity prior to leaving for dinner. Not too sure what we will do yet. Maybe decorate some chipboard alphabet letters for their rooms? Using scrapbooking papers or ribbons on them. Any other ideas out there? Simple, but not too expensive if you please. And no cooking ideas pleeeease!!

Well I guess I should be making a start on the bags. I have an hour to make a start on them. I'm thinking they will take their creation home in them. A little keepsake.

Hope you are having a good day, or have had one, if you are on the other side of the world. Sending warm wishes to you all! Bye for now.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Which Colour Do I Choose?

My goodness, I really was a busy bee this weekend! So much gorgeous colour and some shopping too. It doesn't get much better than that really.

Don't you think my zips are just a ray of colour on that fabulous new fabric? They all go, but only two will be for that particular fabric. The pink one in the middle and the orange one. I needed all of these zips for my weekend of industrial sewing.

A. came home from work Friday evening and announced that a work colleague was interested in purchasing a Tilda make-up bag from me. Well, that set me going for sure! I really couldn't stop and made eight in total! Well a choice is always nice! As I had a small production line going I was able to turn them out faster than if I was making each individually. Of course I had to change colours sometimes.

Ohhh, what colour to choose? They all look so lovely. Blue? No. Green or yellow maybe? No, definitely orange with the orange zip. This joyful floral fabric is my favourite for sure. I think I should go back to the shop for more. Well, why stop at one fabric? I should probably invest in a few more too.

One finished, seven to go!! I love it the very best this one. Think I might have to keep one for myself. I do believe in using one's own product. Good advertising too, of course. Not that I actually fancy making any more for the time being. I think I should think about setting up a stand at market day, when I have a few more items to sell.

Three more done! That's half way now. The hand stitching was the slowest part as it's a bit fiddly at the zip ends. I love lining them up and seeing all that lovely colour!

All finished, finally!!

Well, the girls thought it was about time they joined in too. I had just taken down the Easter decorations and thought the place looked a bit drab and lifeless. So anyway, I suggested we make some everyday decorations out of felt to hang on the twig tree. We searched the drawer for suitable cookie cutters (I have quite a few I must admit!) and made patterns. Nothing too Christmassy of course.

Poor little Daughter no. 3, was feeling a bit left out, so I gave her a few pieces of felt to cut into. She made some interesting patterns of her own!!!

Daughter no. 2 is quite good at hand sewing, she has the patience for it. Nice little stitches lovey. I love your heart! Like the colour combination too.

Daughter no. 1 is a bit more "lets get it finished"! She enjoys sewing but just for a short time, thank you. I think her gingerbread man looks most delicious! Yum, yum!!

The birds are my very favourite though. They both made one and I will probably be in trouble for showing uneven amounts of projects from both girls. Bad mummy! So, I won't say who made this one. You can probably guess though! Don't you just love the feathers? From a $2 type shop from memory.

Well, luckily school went back this morning as I could do with a rest. Unfortunately I needed to go Supermarket shopping, so most of the morning was wiped out. Still, there was time for a cuppa with a friend. Thanks very much M! Have yourselves a great day, and don't overdo yourself!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Perfectly Tiny

Look what I found today. The most perfectly formed little fruit on the ground by the playhouse. Such perfection for something so tiny! They dropped from our ornamental pear tree in the garden. I gathered all I could find and have placed them in a bowl for all to enjoy and marvel over. The smallest one is only about 1.5cm high and reminds me of marzipan fruit.

The wind has really got going today and everything is blowing and banging. I really don't like the wind. Makes the children grumpy too. Lucky for me I only had two children home this morning. The older girls left, with the cake, for a sleepover at Nana and Papa's yesterday afternoon. They really enjoy going to visit them. Nana made them a lovely butterscotch pudding, better than ice cream at home I guess. Papa is way more generous than us and shares his laptop! Can you imagine?

Well, last evening I made a cushion for the littlest girl's bed. I was keen to make a start on one, so I retrieved all the left over fabric and looked for inspiration. In the end I decided on a mini duvet effect with ribbons too. Great use of leftovers, wouldn't you say?

It was actually very fun to make and so simple. I simply zig-zaged the fabric strips onto a backing fabric and stitched the ribbons over the joins. Popped the back on and that was it. Couldn't have been easier.

Now this is the best thing! Little no. 4 slept in this morning under her fabulous new duvet cover!! Unheard of lately. Usually she's up at the crack of dawn, 6.15ish. Today it was 7am. Think I should make a new cover for everyone if this is going to continue.

It was quite lovely having time to myself at that peaceful hour. I prepared A's lunch, then sat down with a cup of tea. Flicking through the Tilda books got me thinking about my next project. As a result, I am now sewing a pair of slippers for Daughter no. 4. Gosh she is spoilt isn't she? There will be jealousy in the house if this continues!

I'm not sure what to make them out of, wool felt was suggested, but I can't get it in NZ - that I know of. Polar fleece just won't do. I'll just have to go to the fabric shop again, what a bother!

Please forgive me, but I forgot to show you these pretty buttons I bought the other day. Aren't they fabulous? I'm sure they will look splendid on a slipper or something. There were many colour combinations to choose from, but these are so sweet.

Oh, by the way, breakfast was served to my children this morning! See, tasty porridge in the bowls and sultanas in the little cheerful pots - to add if wished. They did wish and really enjoyed it too. Don't you just love the colourful bowls? There were a few rounds of Tupperware parties late last year!!

I'm going to have to leave you now. I trust you are having a good day and I'll see you again soon. Thanks for visiting!!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Homely Crafts

Isn't this a cute sight? Little no. 4's chubby little hands holding a bowl of freshly picked beans. I really enjoy the holidays. I'm not good with timetables and schedules, having to be somewhere at a certain time. You can count on me always being on time though. I just like to be able to choose when I do things. Our girls are mostly home bodies so I'm not expected to entertain them with outings and activities everyday.

Usually the holidays go something like this: the first week they get sick and grotty, the second week they are used to playing together again and it's all rather lovely, we go on one or two outings and maybe a shopping session or two, and we enjoy the odd catch up with friends. We are on week two now and school is looming like a big black cloud. I always feel sorry for them having to leave the nest once again. Our 2nd daughter loves being at home and would really rather miss school altogether. The 1st one can't wait to get back and see all her friends, a real social girl.

Anyway, getting on with it, we had a very leisurely morning at home. I do enjoy staying at home when I have a project nearing completion. I would have loved to finish it last night, but it was getting a little too late. Daughter no. 2 spent a good part of the morning baking a chocolate cake. She cleans up fairly well too so that's always a bonus. Not sure where she got this love for cooking from? Must have been passed from a Nana, certainly not me. You will never see a receipe on this blog, never!

The cake will be enjoyed at Gran's later this afternoon. I might take her some homemade soup too. Yes, I actually made some last night. I just kept throwing veges into the crockpot, few slices of bacon and Bob's your auntie - it made itself. Now that was not a receipe, I repeat, not a receipe!!!

Have you seen such a scary sight? 8 metres of bias binding knowing it all has to be stitched on!!! Very boring job that was but so pretty in red gingham so that kept me going. Unfortunately my poor husband and my timetable clashed. I always end up with straight noisy seams to sew on a Wednesday evening. The only programme he watches just happens to be on a Wed night. We compromised, he turned the TV up louder and I stitched slightly slower.

So here I was this morning at the sewing machine at 7am sewing on bias binding. My very independent girls found food to eat and things to entertain themselves with. Finally, somewhere towards 9am, I finished the duvet, still in my pink gingham PJ's! Well at least I looked stylish. OK maybe the hair could have looked better!!

I decided on ties at the bottom of the cover as I had binding left over. I'm sure I will live to regret this decision when I am crouched down every evening retying them because dear daughter no. 4 thinks untying them is good fun. I haven't shown them to her yet. She is not particularly happy about the change in bed linen. At least she didn't say "I don't like it" which is a favourite saying presently. I'm not sure how I would have handled those words after sewing on 8m of bias binding. Not too well I should think.

After remaking the bed and sorting the pillows I have come to the realisation that one fancy pillow just won't do. We need another normal size pillow case made and a small circular one at the front. I'm thinking the red and white polka dot for the round one and maybe the red floral for the pillow. Anyone out there got any suggestions? I will have to buy more fabric anyway. Golly isn't the wallpaper just awful?!!! She obviously thinks so too as there is a strip torn off by her pillow. Don't blame her at all.

I have a small confession to make in regards to this project. Naughty me! I still haven't sewn any button holes on the pillow case. They kind of scare me a bit, so easy to get wrong and so annoying to unpick. I must do them today though or they probably won't get done.

Thank you to everyone who left me a comment on yesterday's blog page. It's so nice to know there are people out there. My husband has added a couple of new gadgets to my blog. It's quite lovely to see new flags arriving. I think he is enjoying this blogging thing as much as me. He is very analytical so these things amuse him. That's fine with me, I'm happy and so is he! Hopefully you all are as well. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Tilda Creations

My favourite craft books are those by Tilda. She makes the most beautiful home items you can imagine. The animals are also very cute and very detailed - just amazing. There are actually blogs specifically about her - like this one. People showing items they have created from her books. I have two of her books, Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle and Sew Pretty Homestyle. They are permanently on the coffee table as I love to flick through them.

The table mat I made last week is from the Homestyle book. Really simple patterns and quick instructions.

Last night I cut into the bolt of floral fabric I bought yesterday. There was actually about ten metres on it, so at $2 a metre that was truly a bargain. This is what I made - a makeup bag. Didn't take long either, and now that I know how they go together I was able to sew another one this morning, finishing it by 9.30am. Talk about productive!! Not what I usually do at that hour but I'd done my chores in the kitchen. Very ho hum they were too, the chores that is!

This one is wrapped ready to take to a friend this afternoon. I won't name her as she reads this blog and would find out her pressie before she's even opened it.

This pillow case is another example from Tilda's book. I made it for Daughter no.2's bed. She adores it and insists on sleeping on it instead of having it as a show pillow. I can't blame her really, it must be so soft on her little face at night. I made it out of off white polar fleece as there was a left over piece in the drawer. Tilda has a very clever way of appliqueing, you cut two shapes the same, sew the edges, then cut a line across the back piece and turn through. Iron them flat and hand stitch the edge of the bottom layer to the pillow case etc. This way is very neat looking and very accurate.

I love making covered buttons at the moment. They are so easy and so much fun. I taught the girls how to make them last week and they agreed with me. They look very personalised and match the item perfectly. These ones are at the opening edge of the pillow case. The flowers are embroidered before cutting the circle out.

Don't you just love the layout of the pages? All so attractive and full of beautiful things. The colours are just lovely and the fabrics gorgeous. Apparently you can buy the fabrics she uses - overseas of course! I don't think I have made anything from the Christmas book yet, but I must do so this year.

I must remember to get a supply of zips to make some more bags when I am out this afternoon. Oh and get something for dinner as well!! Must feed the family sometimes, can't survive on fabric alone. Have fun today!