Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Sewing frenzy!

Yes, I'm in a sewing frenzy! I can't seem to stop. And anyone who knows me knows that the end is in sight so I need to take advantage of it.
As posted previously I've just started sewing with knit fabrics and I'm really enjoying it. It's a little frustrating - those damn necklines are driving me mad - but overall it seems easier than sewing with wovens.
After I had made the floral t-shirt I used the same pattern for a striped t-shirt.

The fabric was a lot less stretchy and really nice to work with but same thing again - the neck stretched out. After reading lots of blogs I'm going to remove the neckline, steam the fabric to its original shape and sew it in again but use some stabilising binding to hopefully stop it happening again.

Then I let my daughter choose something for herself. Once I'd managed to convince her to not get the multi-skirted flouncy dress pattern, she chose something simpler.

Once again, the little magpie in her wanted leopard print fabric (on an 8 year old, I ask you), but we finally managed to come up with a bright purple. And what a simple pattern it was! It is now her favourite dress. I'm a little bit proud.

Even though its freezing here in Adelaide at the moment it didn't stop us from going orienteering at Kuitpo Forest with the kids.

My daughter is especially keen - she's someone who likes to tick the boxes - whereas my son, not so keen. We all had turns at piggy-backing but eventually he found his feet, so to speak.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sewing with stetch

My first try at sewing stretch fabric with a regular sewing machine. And I'm really pleased with the outcome!

A little trip to Spotlight and I found the fabric and the pattern. I thought as a first try I would keep it simple. Very glad I did.

I made the t-shirt on the right. It even looks nice on the pattern and that's saying something. They normally look fairly ordinary. 

I will make two changes next time. Cut it out small not medium as it was pretty huge, and maybe next time don't use such a stretchy fabric. Something with a bit more hold would improve it.

The only problem that I am experiencing with it is that the neck edge is flipping inside out a bit. How do I alter that? Suggestions most welcome!


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Taking a break then back into it

I've had a break.
It's winter, I'm cold at night. I sit in front of the heater. I sleep.
Those are my evenings. My evenings when I should be making, chatting, knitting, all the good stuff. Instead I stumble around watching DVDs of League of Gentlemen and Breaking Bad. And finding it difficult to get through an episode without quietly snoozing.
The last time I blogged I was sewing my daughters quilt. It's finished and has been on her bed for a month. She loves it, thankfully. And I can't look at it. Can't even sneak a look I'm so disappointed with it. I mucked it by rushing.
Here is a delicately folded version of it (so you can't see too much).

The big mistake I made was to machine quilt rather than hand. Tut tut you may say but I was daunted by the hand sewing with that swift up and down needle motion. So I slacked off and machine sewed instead. And messed it up.
I suppose I should let it go and learn a lesson from this. Spend a little more time dear.

On the upside, I'm now right back into clothes sewing again! Yay! For me of course, not for the children. Ha!
I've just finished a skirt and am quite pleased with it.
This is the fabric and pattern I bought...

One metre... I don't think so.
But it did turn out nicely. I'm really pleased with the little pockets and flaps.

Yep, didn't iron it (you know I'm not keen on ironing) but I'm really loving the crazy fabric all over the place. Some may not like it but I do. 
This was my inspiration so I'm not far off (courtesy of Sezane)

Will have to get a peep toe shoe too. Hmm.

Now I'm sewing my first knit top ever. I'm terrified but excited and surprised at how quick they are to make. Will keep you up to date as I go.

Recently I also had a nice long weekend away with the family. How about this for a view? 

And my two enjoying (though in a strange restrained way - most unlike them) the view too.

Au revoir for now!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Taking it easy Easter

A long weekend with the family is an ideal time. We get to reconnect, catch up on news and eat. So much chocolate it's not funny. I'm one of those people who can't resist sweet temptation so I've gorged. In a bad way. Exercising today takes a little of the bloat off, but still...

All weekend I had been trying to get to my quilting but only made time today on Easter Monday! I've got to the good bit which involves layering and pinning. See it here.

Looking nice I think and I'm really loving my new bendy safety pins.

It was really nice working on this today because it gave me an opportunity to hang out with my daughter and watch The Empire Strikes Back together. What a great movie that is! I love it when Luke finds out who his father is, when Han gets frozen in carbonite and Leia kisses Luke, unknowingly her brother. C was perplexed and then came out with an interesting comment. Why doesn't C3PO stay with Darth Vader who in reality actually made him? Good point. Never thought of that before.

So tonight I will start hand quilting with my new quilting ring and new quilting needles. Maybe a little GoT and Mad Men too!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Studio Anna

Anyone who knows me knows I collect things. Quite a few things. And over the years they've changed. Some have come and go, others have persisted.
One of my favourite collections is Studio Anna. Many years ago while travelling country South Australia with my husband, I found my first item and from there it just grew. I really love this line of Studio Anna even though there are equally kitsch/great Aboriginal pieces and other decorative ranges.
But this is the one for me. I'm sure you can see why.

I'm certain that you Australian's have been to at least one of these places, I know I have, and that makes them even more appealing. They come in all shapes and sizes - even a rather unfashionable ashtray version.

I love the naive quality to them, the high shine and even the sometimes very average attempt at making art (yes, I mean you Maroondah Lake, Healesville - above)

But my favourite, my all time favourite is this one.

Because all they could think of to paint at Arno Bay are the silos. And they're beautiful.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Quilt is a comin' and life

It's been a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks of childhood illnesses but we've come out of it all well. During that time it's been hard to get motivated to do much but now I've really picked up again.

I've been wanting to make a quilt for each of the children's bedrooms for a while now, and while working on cutting out squares for C's I was thinking that if I had to cut out one more square with scissors I'd throw a fit. Dramatic stuff. So last weekend I went to Spotlight (my personal Australian Mecca) and bought a cutter and Matt bought me a self healing cutting mat. Dance a jig of delight, what a difference it makes! I zipped through cutting out the squares in no time at all and now am wondering what the hell took me so long to get these little treasures.

After much shuffling around I got the pattern sorted and so here it so far sewn together.

Looks really sweet I think (keeping in mind I haven't done the final iron).
I'm so enjoying this quilting process and strangely enough I'm really looking forward to doing the hand quilting. Something I can do while watching the telly.
I'm hoping that it will be something that C will have for ever. I would really love that.

And reading wise, this is what I've been dipping back into a lot lately.

This book and its healthy eating plan have made a huge difference to my life. It was actually about a year and a half ago that a visit to my very honest (read "harsh") doctor made me sit up and take stock. Overweight, unfit and constantly exhausted, looking after a 7 year old and a 3 year old, I knew it couldn't go on that way. My doctor described a future of insulin dependent diabetes (I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies so I know the horror of that), injecting myself every day, movement restricted, loss of circulation etc etc. Weighing in at a too large 83kg I decided then and there that was it. CSIRO diet here we come. Reduced carbs but not eliminated, less sugar but not too much and more vegetables! And I stuck to it. And lost 25kg. And I've kept it off. Some days it may go up a little (wish there weren't so many cake days at work!) but I remember my brother once saying that its easier to lose a little than a lot. So every time I see the weight go back on, I adhere to the diet for a week and then I'm back to normal.

I feel so much healthier and happier. I can run around after the kids, I have more energy and realise it just takes a little kick in the butt to make you realise what life is worth... and it isn't having that extra half a block of chocolate.


Monday, 24 March 2014

All or nothing

Its been one of those itsy bitsy kind of weeks. I've wanted to start on a number of things all at once and therefore, did none. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done this. To justify my lack of making I did have two children sick during the week so that left me little time to do much else. You know what the evenings are like with sick children - up down up down etc. They're better now so I have been doing some things. Yay!
My daughter has inherited her love of crafting from me so while she was feeling poorly on the weekend we did a little low grade crafting. God's Eyes. I don't remember what else to call them but I remember from primary school that we did them all the time. Along with giant hula hoop weaving. This was the 70s.
I thought I would start with something simple and fairly easy and C got into it straight away. Soon enough we were idly chatting like a couple of old ladies and having a lovely time (with frequent temperature takings along the way).
Here's the young one concentrating very hard.

And here are the finished products.

Its amazing what still remains in your memory from primary school. And for me we're talking about 38 years ago (having just typed that it depresses me no end!).

I think I wrote about being very inspired by my mother-in-law to start quilting again and so it has started! After a slight hiccup at Spotlight (me not looking at price tags - idiot) I started the laborious task of cutting. Rotary cutter, I do not have, so have just used the standard old scissors and template. This is a time when I should be calmly thinking of other things while cutting but I can sense I get a little slapdash towards the end. But look at these lovely fabrics!

Only another thousand to cut and I'll be done!

On another note, after getting home from work, school and childcare I happened to finally take in the devastating mess of a wardrobe I have and do something about it. Lately I've been reading a lot of style blogs and how to improve your wardrobe. For years I've kept clothes in my wardrobe that I haven't worn or have an emotional attachment to, so much so that I can hardly get the clothes that I do wear in to them. The gorgeous Laura Ashley top that I wore to my sisters wedding, for instance, I've never worn again. The 70s caftan dresses that I know I will never slip over my head. The disastrous sewing experiments that can only be relegated to the rubbish bin. Time for them to go!

I was ruthless. And I know this is only the beginning.

Now all I need is a stylist to help me with the clothes I have left.

I know. Third world problems.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Weaving, watching, wondering

Finally... I've finished my first weave!
Here it is.

I do wonder whether it looks absolutely rubbish but came to the decision that overall it wasn't too bad. Next time I would make it narrower but I like the earthy tones and hairiness. I did a little bit of a trim to neaten it up but it certainly gives me an indication of what I should do next time. Narrower, more unusual materials (maybe even bark springs to mind) and longer.

Last weekend we visited my mother-in-law. Here's the view from her house. Those are my two little ones rolling down the hill. Gorgeous.

She's given me inspiration to start quilting again. Using navy blue fabrics, the quilt she is currently working on is so beautiful and her hand stitching is outstanding. 
I made myself a quilt years ago out of tea towels. It was my first attempt and I still love it. Here it is.

Not the best photo but you get the idea.
I've got so much fabric left over from doing the kids bunting that I thought I may as well use it for a quilt for each of them. Regrets, I'm sure, will come, but its good to have an idea what to do next.

In the meantime, on those lonely evenings of weaving, I've been watching this great UK show "Inside No 9". The guys who wrote and star in it are from the trio who did "League of Gentlemen", another show that was my favourite but surprisingly difficult to watch now.

It's suspenseful. And funny. And wrong. And anxiety-inducing. But enjoyable. And any show that has Richard III in it must be a favourite. We were brought up by a mother who was devoted to Shakespeare's Richard and would regularly quote at us "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York". Myself and my three siblings all know enormous tracts by heart. I suppose we're lucky...

What have you been watching lately?


Monday, 10 March 2014

Room Number 2

As promised I have finally finished my daughters bedroom. She is so thrilled with it, thank goodness. All that hard work (and slightly half-hearted sewing) has paid off.
Here is the finished product so to speak.

The bunting looks really sweet as does the quilt cover that I bought from Target. The cherry blossom decal from Ikea really pulls it all together I think. And we're very lucky to have very bright rooms downstairs plus a lovely collection of books that I can't stop buying. 
These are the pillows I made for her, apart from the block colour one. You can see the pesky fur one at the back. How I hated sewing you, Mr Furry!

Teddy is still there. Lurking.

Here is the bird theme again mirrored in the chime. It chirps every time you make a loud noise. You can also turn it off. Yes.

So happiness all round. Even C's dad was impressed and that's a compliment indeed!
Glad both rooms are finished.

Just in case bordeom set in I've started weaving! I was given this loom by mum when I was about eleven. I don't think I ever used it... until now. The threading was a little demanding but once that was done it was really quite fun! Etsy has a really good tutorial - here it is - and they were really simple instructions to follow. That tribal look appeals to me at the moment and I'm sure a couple of little samplers matched with my German vases will look just right.

It's a little bit hairy too. Nice.
The instruction booklet that comes with it is fantastic too. Belts, table mats (of course) and little baby bonnets are all covered and very easy to understand. I'm a little bit tempted by the belt.

A couple of other cute photos. The ducks were hungry at the park. I don't blame them. The water was a very strange copper colour. They did enjoy the bread though. I think they even scored hot cross buns. With fruit.

We went to my mother-in-laws for dinner which was a real pleasure. Beautiful food, great company and the view is stunning. 

The children played rolling down the hill.

What a busy long weekend. Bless the Adelaide Cup (of which I have no interest)!


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Square Folk: Getting back my mojo

Square Folk: Getting back my mojo: My goodness, I've had a little break haven't I? Life is busy, life is always busy, but just that tiny bit busier at the mom...

Getting back my mojo

My goodness, I've had a little break haven't I?
Life is busy, life is always busy, but just that tiny bit busier at the moment. It hasn't stopped me from doing things, and I feel like I'm slowly getting my crafty mojo back. In other words, I've started making things for my daughters bedroom! Yay!
This is how her room looks now - nothing special, seriously, not special at all.

Pardon for me saying but there is NO WAY I could sleep in a room with that enormous teddy next to me. Lurking. Malevolent. You get what I mean. NO. WAY.

I've made the bunting and the two of the three cushions. Her fabric selection, not mine. One more cushion to go. It's fur. I've never sewn fur so did a little investigating online and found out how to do it. Looks a little tricky and I bet you anything I'll be covered in the stuff by the end of it, but fingers crossed.

In the meantime little G is getting to that age where he is developing hand over fist. I love this time in a child's life. He's so curious and so emphatic about everything. Building has always been a special passion of his but now he's really taken to drawing, in a way that C never really did. His vision of life around him is quite inspiring.

This is a horse. How much do I love this horse?

I will post pictures on the weekend of C's finished room. She wants it to rival her brothers. She wants more of everything that her brother got. 
I would too.


Friday, 28 February 2014

The week that was

This week I had one of those weeks. I was hoping it would be full of exciting new things and unfortunately they didn't happen. Instead it was like my full-scale productiveness suddenly came to a sad end. I haven't sewn all week though so much beckons. I have barely blogged - OK, just once - and I feel very very tired. To fill the void my evenings have instead been chockablock watching Game of Thrones Season 3, which I just had delivered. I'm loving it all over again. Brienne is definitely the best. Very cool, generally calm and with such a strong sense of honour.

I've got two more discs to go, and I can't wait.

I've tossed aside Almost English, I knew I would, and picked up this lovely book. So so lovely.

I went to this shop many years ago and loved it. Ever since then I've always bought bits and pieces that are available in Australia, though that's not much. But how inspirational!

It comes with little pocket sections with paper designs.

How I would love that stack of fabric! Or even the scarf. Or the shoes. Or the bag. Or the chair. Or the dress.

And because life at work has been a chore lately, I've been listening to lots of Podcasts. I was recommended My Brother, My Brother and Me by a friend, and I laughed so much I spat out my tea at work. No-one noticed.

I also love the very loud and quite funny rant from One Bad Mother. I would recommend turning down the volume a little, but they bring a nice groundedness (sic?) to life as a mother.

Hopefully by next week I won't be so grumpy and such a bore. The fog will have lifted and I'll be sewing like crazy again! Now, shush, I'm going back to GoT (though I do need a little chocolate and tea....)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Bedroom finished!

Rejoice! I have finally finished my son's bedroom!
My initial intention was to get it done in two weeks (I can sometimes be an ambitious person) but its been six instead. I blame the heat... I always blame the heat. Too hot to sit in front of the sewing machine and too hot to get everything in place.
Here it all is in place.

No room makeover is complete with a teeny tiny Ikea trip but I managed to control myself and only bought a quilt cover, lamp, night light, rug and bookshelf. Practically nothing!
My own work consisted of bunting, pillows, pyjama case and a restoration of his wardrobe. So not inconsiderable either.

As you can see above, the bunting looks really nice. I found some lovely spaceman fabric from Spotlight and then dug through my stores for the other two contrasting pieces. The decals I bought from Spotlight too. They were quite fun to put on. I even tried to make a little story which, of course, always ended up with the Tyrannosaurus trying to eat something.

I've shown you the pyjama bag before but here are the pillows. Yes, a theme of dinosaurs and spacemen. Wish my room was like this.
Overall I think it turned out really nice! As a little extra something I also dug out two toys I had made for G years ago - a Bantha (from Star Wars) and a little gnome (from when he was a baby).

All I am hearing now is, of course, my daughter C nagging me to do her room. I feel a little depleted!

On a bookish note, I brought home a lovely one from work today. I've been following the comings and goings of Sophie Dahl for many years. Not with any great level of dedication but I admired her from her modelling days when she was so popular. And so voluptuous! 
OK, it's also because her grandfather was Roald Dahl.
She's a cook too! This is one of her books...

Beautiful photography as you can see. Really inspirational. She's not a large person anymore but her recipes are still really interesting and very comforting. A little waffly on personal stories but the recipes look delicious. Will definitely try them out.

What have you been cooking lately?