Wednesday, December 30, 2009

65 Roses

Just came across this wonderful quilt block project organised by WhipUp to raise money for and awareness of Cystic Fibrosis in Australia, via CurlyPops blog, and couldn't resist joining in.  Only afew weeks before the deadline so you better get cracking if you want to join in!

Here is a link to the PDF with all the info you need.

Well go on, get on with it..........

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All wrapped up

We had a most pleasant Christmas this year, spent with family in a relaxed and casual way - just the way I like it.

We have a bit of a tradition going where I film the present opening so as to allow Mr Little Sweetpeas, who has had to work four out of the last five Christmas' (that's shift work for you) to re-live the experience after the fact.  Anyway, as a result I didn't get too many photo's of our Christmas day.

Here are afew I did get........

I didn't hesitate to snap one of these great tea towels up for myself when Myrtle & Eunice put afew up for grabs.  The lovely brown paper package arrived on my doorstep on Christmas Eve, so I popped it under the tree.  I love it, thanks heaps Tania!


Here's Miss B wearing her new lucky lulu dress.  Both Miss A and Miss B loved the handmade clothes they received and insisted on wearing them straight away, they are learning so well........


And here they are on Boxing Day, getting stuck into the sewing cards from Snailblazer

Oh the make their mama soooo proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well I'm off now to peruse my sewing books for some birthday gift inspiration - it's my mum's birthday on New Year's Day. 

Speaking of which, here's hoping for a happy, safe and prosperous 2010 for you and yours xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


After a not so subtle comment from the very cheeky Cass about giving handmade to my hubby, I felt so guilty I whipped him up an applique t-shirt last night.  He has been playing drums for twenty odd years so I feel the drum silhouette from here is very appropriate, boom ta ta is how the girls refer to the drums!

I also made a t-shirt each for my 9 and 11 y.o. nephews.  I caved in and bought the wii game they requested (yes, it is a Super Mario Bros game) but felt a handmade t-shirt was also needed. 

I am so pleased with how these shirts turned out!!!  I printed the images onto printable fabric , cut around it then used fusible webbing to adhere the images to the t-shirts.  I then zig-zagged around the image and voila - a custom t-shirt or three.

Oh, and because I'm a gluten for punishment I also made three diary covers for my sisters, using this wonderful tutorial by Ros over at Bloom.  What a gorgeous blog - if you haven't already, go and check it out. 

And when the total cost of each gift is only $3.50, I couldn't be happier.  That's right - I picked up the A5 size 2010 diaries from a local bargain shop for $3.50 each and all the fabric I used was scraps from my stash - yay!!!  Simple yet suitably impressive.

Some last minute sewing going on tonight - but more on that later............

Phew, only two sleeps to go.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A post for Miss A - Gingerbread

This post is on behalf of Miss A, who while sitting around the table decorating some home baked gingerbread for our playgroup christmas party the other day, piped up and said, "Mum, you should take some photo's and put them on your blog with the recipe so everyone can see how fantastic they are."

So for you, my clever, very Switched On little girl, who constantly amazes me with your awareness, insight and thoughts, here is our Gingerbread..................

I have tried several different gingerbread recipes because I am always searching for treats I can bake for Miss B, who is allergic to dairy, egg and nuts and this one is by far the best. 

This gingerbread recipe called for butter, which I substituted for margarine. Miss B can tolerate the small amount of dairy in margarine thank God which gives me high hopes that like Sheridan's little one, Miss B just might grow out of at least the dairy allergy.

If you want to make your own here's how (please note this makes a LARGE batch of gingerbread.  I like to divide the batch into three and freeze two portions for later use):


Put 1 1/2 cups of treacle, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup warm water and 200g melted margarine (butter) in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Sift 7 cups of plain flour, 2 tsp bi-carb soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves and 1 tsp ground cinnamon over the treacle mixture, then mix to a soft dough. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

Divide dough into thirds.  Here is where I roll two portions into logs, wrap seperately in greaseproof paper and put them into labelled freezer bags for later use.

Press remaining portion into a disc shape, wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll out.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius then line trays with baking paper.

Roll dough out on a floured surface until 5mm thick.  Cut into desired shapes and place on trays.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Stand trays for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

To decorate add a little water at a time to a cup of icing mixture stirring until you get a nice smooth but thick paste.  If you add too much water just add a little more icing mixture to thicken.  Spoon mixture into a zip lock sandwich bag and snip off just a tiny corner to make your own piping bag.  Pipe icing onto gingerbread as desired and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands before icing sets.

Credit must be given to the Christmas 2009 edition of Family Circle for this recipe - out now, go get yourself a copy!

Now coming from someone who generally doesn't like anything with ginger in it, these are some tasty biscuits!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tipping my hat to the art of handmade

Well, first up I'd like to say a very big thank you for all the altered dress love that came my way via the last post.  I'm stoked and flattered that you liked it as much as I did and so glad you left a comment to let me know - thank you!

Today I'd like to share with you all the yummy handmade things I'm giving this christmas - because all the talented people who made them deserve some credit (don't mind the pat on the back I give myself several times along the way!).

I really enjoyed making these stamped gift tags

So, here we go......

modelled by Miss B

2 year old niece - a retromummy dress

11 month old Triplets, nieces and nephew - little sweetpeas t-shirt dresses and a pair of barefoot babies shorts

5 year old second cousin - moobear t-shirt and miss haidee shorts

2 year old second cousin - barefoot babies singlet and shorts

playgroup friends - little sweetpeas pencil cases

Miss A - lucky lulu skirt, Snailblazer sewing cards

Miss B - lucky lulu dress, miss haidee romper, Snailblazer sewing cards

13 year old niece - melei bracelet and ring

All the grown-ups in the family are receiving a 2010 calendar from here with all drawings done by Miss A.

I'm still working on an amigurumi mermaid for Miss B and I will be spending a day baking Christmas cakes for both sets of grandparents.  I've still got an 11 y.o. nephew and a 9 y.o. nephew to cover.  I'm thinking appliqued's hard I tell you............

There's gonna be some seriously stylish kids walking around after this christmas I tell you!

I've had alot of fun with the shopping and the making and can't wait for Christmas Day to give my handmade gifts.

P.S. In case you're wondering - of course my darling husband is receiving gifts this christmas, but he had a very specific wish list which did not include anything handmade!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Things for me - no. 2 - a dress alteration

Last summer I bought this dress, mainly because I loved the fabric.  I love the look of halter neck dresses but just never feel really comfortable in them - especially with a rather plunging neckline!  So last night, once the little sweetpeas were all tucked up in bed I set to altering the dress to a more Fran friendly style.

(sorry the photo is abit blurry, taken by Miss A with Miss B striking a cat pose beside me.  She wears those cardboard cat ears and stuffed stocking tail on an almost daily basis - even going to bed with them sometimes.  Who ever said you need to spend alot of money on toys hey!!!)

and after!!!!!  Yay, I really, really love how it turned out.

I originally intended to shir the top but after cutting off the top of the dress I realised the skirt part was too wide to fit around my torso without further alteration. 

I wanted to keep this project as simple and quick as possible so I ended up turning down the top of the fabric to make a channel.  I then ran some 1 1/4" elastic through the channel to make the dress fit around my chest, just under my arms.  I used the ties from the halter neck to make straps and then sewed some 1/4" elastic around the waist to cinch it in. 

Hey presto one new summer dress!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things for me

Inspired by this most lovely example of Anna Maria Horner's Socialite Dress, I finally got out the pattern which I had purchased back in May.

I finished the dress off last night after having some problems with my machine (argghhhh) and I'm very happy with the results.  A light, cool and stylish little dress to see me through the summer months. 

The fabric I just love - I'm not usually into wearing prints but I saw this when I went on my fabric shopping expedition to Cabramatta a while ago and just LoVeD it!  I didn't know what I was going to do with it but at $2 a metre I couldn't pass it up.

I think my machine is due for a bit of an overhaul.  I have been using it rather alot lately what with the mad decision to give ALL handmade gifts this christmas and now I seem to be having a tension problem (the machine as well as me)!  I've still got a couple of kids to cover yet so Allie's Attic I'm all cashed up and counting on you for some handmade goodness.

Also, on my doorstep this morning an early christmas present for moi.

Both books have some great projects I am already itching to make.

But these lovely projects and more will just have to wait until my machine is in tip top condition again.

Hope your christmas preparations are going well, only two weeks to go!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feelingt thankful - and more christmas sewing

Australian Christmas bush in all it's glory - taken while out walking the other evening

Miss A and Miss B going for a ride around the block

I woke this morning with an immense feeling of happiness and thankfulness.  Happy to just be at home with my gorgeous girls, happy that summer is here, happy I have this wonderful little family of mine. 

It was probably instigated by last nights successes in the sewing stakes (and all the thanksgiving love going around blogland last week)!  I've been busting to show these sweet little dresses to you because I am just pleased as punch with them - I couldn't be happier with how these two little dresses for my twin nieces turned out!  It makes me wish I had two little twinnies to dress up............. 

I was originally going to do this, but couldn't find any white singlets I liked.  I found these cute little t-shirts at Target and then used some fabrics I got in one of Corrie's clear outs. 

It was such a quick and easy project - and the yo-yo's - let's just say now I get why they are so popular!!

At the end of my last post I asked what your experiences with giving hand made were and whether your hand made gifts have been well received?  I'd really love to know..............

But seriously, how could you not be happy if you were given these for Christmas????


edited to add: -
 I have been a great fan of V & Co. for a while so was very excited to find out Simply Modern Mom is having a giveaway of not one but four of Vanessa's patterns.  As they say you've gotta be in it to win it! 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas crafting well under way

I decided this year to hand make as many gifts for Christmas as possible.  So I've made a list of what I want to make.........we'll see how it goes.

I was off to a good start yesterday making five little pencil cases for all the little ones in my life starting Kindergarten next year.  I used some of the left over fabric from the library bags I made for Graduation Day at my girls playgroup.  I filled each pencil case with a new pencil, a couple of cute erasers, a sharpener and a christmas ink stamp.   Miss A and Miss B loved them so hopefully they will go down well at Christmas.

There has also been ALOT of christmas crafting being done by my two lovely little sweetpeas.

I have been in two minds about giving hand made gifts.  I love the idea (would love to be on the receiving end I mean) and I also love the making (as the gift giver).  But I know that some people who are not into craft may see it as cheap and just do not get it.  None of my family or friends are into handmade like I am.

What are your experiences with giving hand made?  Have your gifts been well received?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A couple of hits and a miss

I spent some time yesterday doing a little sewing.

Christmas bunting.......HIT.  I used the Moda charm square pack I bought while we were away, backed the squares with some yellow/white spot and green/white gingham I had in the stash and finished it with some green store bought bias tape.  LOVe it :)

Pencil cases.  Using some Ikea fabric I've had stashed away.  I made two identical pencil cases so to make it easy to tell them apart I embellished one with some of my yummy vintage buttons............HIT

Shorts for Miss A, made predominantly as a test run before making the shorts I intend to gift to my nephew at Christmas...........MISS!  So glad I did a test run.  These are size 5 modelled by my 3 year old.  I think they fit her better!  I much prefer the longer length.  The other issue I had was trying to add pockets.  I just made up my own pattern - because what kid doesn't love pockets to put their bits and pieces in.  First time round I sewed them in back to front, then after all that unpicking and re-sewing I found I had made the opening too small and they cannot get their hands in.  Oh well better luck next time :)