Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Balls

 These are a great gift idea - I made them for kids ranging in age from 6 months to almost 3, and they all seemed to love them. And as I ended up making seven of them, I am glad they came together reasonably quickly!

Soft and squishy with a fun bell inside for the little ones...

My gorgeous little cousin :)

And fun for practicing kicking and throwing for the older ones - and as they are quite soft, you'd need to throw it really hard to break something, so they are great for fun play inside the house :)

There are a heap of tutes out there for balls like this, but, for what it's worth, this is the one I used.  I did the medium size (was feeling indecisive!). Next time I'd go the large, or possibly even bigger again, especially for 2 and 3 year olds. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Sewing

Wow.... it's been a while since I've blogged... but I have been sewing.

I made the City Bag from Nicole Mallalieu Design. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, indeed, I wanted to keep it! I've just realised I haven't got a photo of the whole bag - oops! Will have to get one next time I see mum (the lucky recipient).

A zip pocket on the inside...

And three open pockets on the other side.

Christmas Tee-Shirts (x 2)

Christmas Balls....(x 7)

 They were a lot of fun!

A memory game (x2) Here it is all tucked away in its bag.
You can see some of the pieces in the above pic - the duck, apple, butterfly.
Such a time-consuming project for what it really is. 

Remind me next Christmas to start sewing a little bit earlier, maybe November. Hopefully that way I won't be up until after midnight Christmas Eve sewing!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My first order

A friend asked me if I could make a chair cover for her mother-in-law. My friend chose the fabric and let me at it. This is the result. To say I am impressed by my handy-work is an understatement! I love it and am inspired to make one for me.

And with some matching cushions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Together Parenting...An Update

Back here I talked about how I took the plunge, put the call out for a tribe, and had my first meet up. That was almost two months ago. I cannot explain how glad I am that I had the courage to take that first step. We have met every week since then without fail. The friendships are growing firmer every week. We have cooked, baked, chatted, cleaned, and cried together (ok, so it was only me doing the crying, but they supported me through it).

It is just so lovely to have such a great group of people to meet up with on a weekly basis, and to not have to rush the visit. To have the luxury of spending at least four hours in each others company. And we have started to see each other more in addition to the regular meets.

It is perhaps a little sad that this is such a big thing, that I am so excited about spending quality time with friends... but I do think it is rare for women and children to get together in this way now. And, it is not only us women who are getting the benefit of each other's company either, the kids get to grow up regularly seeing other adults - my son sees no other adult (apart from me and DH) as often as he sees those in this group. It is delightful to see him become more and more comfortable with them. And of course, there are the other kids! Ranging from not-quite-one, to four, it is so valuable for him to have regular, extended contact with kids both younger and older than him. It is doing wonders for his ability to understand how give and take works :)

Ahhh, Thursdays :) my new favourite day of the week :)  And in case any of the girls read this - you're awesome!

Crayon Wallet

A crayon wallet...


 The perfect birthday present for a little boy who had his fourth birthday party yesterday. He is train-mad, but when asked his mum said maybe something not trainy for a I compromised :)

Here it is all opened up. 10 pencils and one B5 sketch pad, ready to be taken anywhere he goes.

The pattern comes from and is available as an instant download :) And check out her etsy shop for lots of other beautiful products. So many gorgeous things to buy!  

The pattern was very easy to understand, however I upsized it to fit a larger notebook and pencils, rather than crayons. So I still had to play around with measurements. My trial one gets to stay with James, which is lucky as he really really liked it! I was a little worried it would be hard for him to get the pencils in and out but he managed just fine. I'll be making plenty more of these for presents, I do think.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A new top!

This is very similar to the 90-minute shirt tutorial that I tried a while ago (but never blogged as it didn't quite work out - my fault, not that of the tute, which is really quite awesome).  This was actually done from a very old pattern that I got at a garage sale. I cut this top out last year sometime but was too scared to finish it. I've been trying to finish off all my WIPs tho, so attacked this one too. The neckline binding isn't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it for a first go. You may notice that the sleeves aren't finished yet... I want to bind them and the bottom of the top to match the neckline. This is a size one, but it is really quite roomy on my little guy who is now 2.25yo (altho he is quite small).

I will use the pattern from this to fix up the shirt I attempted using the 90-minute shirt tutorial as it was my pattern drafting that caused problems.  Then I will sew up the other two I have cut out ready to go. It's so nice to be able to make tops for my boy - and it really wasn't hard at all. Oh, and the first one only took me 2 hours so the 90 minutes is a pretty good estimate. I think I'll get in under that for the next one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Together Parenting

I recently came across this blog, and I was instantly inspired. Particularly by this post. It's all about getting yourself a tribe - a group of people with whom you can share your parenting journey. It's not about all moving in together. But it is about spending regular time with these people doing regular things. I think that's the key - it's not about racing around and cooking and cleaning in preparation for guests. It's about going on with your day to day life in the company of friends. Invite them over and cook together. Do the housework together.

The way we parent now is so alien to our species. Each woman is not meant to be in her house all day with her child(ren), with playgroup and grocery shopping as her social outlets. Women are meant to gather together and share their days. We need more interaction than what a cuppa can provide.

So, anyway...

Nervous as heck, I put out the call to some local mums that I know. A couple are pretty good friends. I've `cried on the shoulder of one. The others are lovely people I meant through various groups - ABA, Cloth Nappies, EC and so on. We have socialised before but irregularly and on a superficial - clean your house before they come and pretend everything about your parenting journey is absolutely wonderful -  level. It is scary to open yourself up and let people into your real world. I was scared no one would reply to my initial call.

But I got lots of interest. And yesterday, we had our first get-together. So two mums came over for the morning. Old habits die hard, I have to admit I felt compelled to vac before they arrived. Once they arrived we chatted, and we baked. The kids played. Fun was had by all. We have organised to meet next week too. There should be another two women (and their kids) joining us. More cooking is on the agenda. But most importantly, real friendships are being formed.

Thank you so much Cassie for giving me the courage to finally do this!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

From Top to Bottom(s)

From this:

One nice red top with plenty of stretch. Received it from Freecycle and, well, I figured it would look better as undies than a top!

To this: 

3 pairs of undies all cut out and ready to go. Using old clothes, whether they come from the wardrobe, Freecycle or the op-shop is turning out to be a great way to find good quality knit fabrics. 

Only problem I have with this fabric is I realised after cutting that it is polyester not cotton so I'm not too keen on it going on my little boy's bottom. If I'd noticed earlier I would've used it purely to make the leg and waist bands as it has a great stretch to it. I will still make the undies up, they can be spare undies for my bag, the car etc. 

A perfect blog-post would now have a pic of the finished undies, but, heck, I'm not perfect. And I think I've done pretty well given it's just 7.30 on Sunday morning :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Making Life Simpler

Or the big wardrobe clean out lol

In an effort to make my life that much more simple, I am trying to declutter. A cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind, and all that... Plus the less stuff you have, the easier it is to put away and generally keep the whole house neat and tidy (and tidy and neat - any Mr Men fans lol??).

Here is what my wardrobe looked like before (and yes, I am embarressed to be posting this!):

And here is what I managed to declutter:

11 items sitting waiting by the door for someone from freecycle to come and pick them up.

That's just stage one of the cleanout...stage two happening soon.

Hoo Hoo Hooo!

Once upon a time I was quite into card-making, I don't do it very often any more, but a very good friend's birthday prompted me to get out the supplies and see what I could come up with. Nothing very fancy, but I was very happy with how this came out. The owls were cut out of some scrap fabric I got on freecycle, which makes me like it even more :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mr Fun Pants!

Don't these pants just shout "fun!" to you?

They're fun to walk in

Fun to explore in

Fun to dance in

Fun to hide in

And fun to go adventuring with special friends in.

I got the fabric from an op-shop and used this trusty pattern again - size two. My boy is only little so I've had to shorten them quite a bit. I however shortened the pattern a bit too much meaning I had to do a small small hem on these pants. I got inspired and googled "rolled hem foot" and found this youtube video. It made it so easy!  I'm having a bit of trouble with length at the moment as sometimes DS is in training pants and other times in undies. He was obviously in undies when I made the pair of test pants and this caused me to cut the pattern too short. I wouldn't have thought the training pants would make much of a difference, but they do shorten pants by a couple of centimetres.

I really love these pants. They weren't on my to do list, they were a spur of the moment thing and were all the more fun to make because of it! DS also helping sew - he lifts the presser foot lever and lowers it for me at the beginning/end of every seam. He also 'helps' feed the fabric through :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sewing Swap - What I Received

Yay!! I got home from my busy morning out to find a parcel waiting for me!! It was a couple of days late, but it was worth it :)

This is what was waiting for me!

There's a beautiful facewasher on the left - I LOVE this fabric, I keep looking at it and wanting to buy it, but didn't know what to do with it. Now I don't need to lol. J will love using this at bath time. He is right into his animals (maybe b/c he's been to the zoo seven times this year?!?) so it is sure to be a hit.

Here's a shot of the 6 coasters (sorry not the best photo but I wanted to blog straight away). They are all reversible and as it so happens I think both sides will look great on our table.

To encourage J to put his glass on the table (as opposed to tipping it on the floor or throwing the whole thing overboard!) we introduced coasters a while back. It has worked a treat, indeed now if he doesn't have one at his seat he will point at the table and say 'coaster, coaster'. So we use coasters all the time. Only, to date we have been using some plastic Winnie-the-Pooh ones. So these are a massive improvement!!

Thank you so much Kelly :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sewing Swap - What I Made

I recently participated in a sewing swap on EB. It was a great swap as each person listed three or four things that they would love to receive. My partner had a bag as one of her options. So I decided to be brave and go for it! Here is how it turned out :)

Showing the inside. Sorry the photo is the wrong way, don't know why but blogger seems to have turned it...
LOL I have no idea what Blogger is doing to my photos!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


New undies for my little man.

These will be a part of his birthday pressie - he's two next week (where did that time go?!?). I used this link over at I have used this pattern before but it was a looong time ago. They were so much easier this time round (I hadn't been sewing long when I did them the first time).

Here they are next to a shop-bought pair of size 2 undies. They look huge! I made the size 1 - 2 years. He still fits in the size 6m - 1 year I made last time but I figured this size would give him more growing room. I didn't think they'd turn out this big!!

But they are actually ok on. A bit on the baggy side, but they look so cute! Plus, they will be easier for him to get up and down himself if they are a bit looser. And of course, they will last longer!

What do they look like from the back?

Like this!!

I will definitely be making more of these. I've got enough fabric to do another set in reverse colours to these. FWIW, the red fabric is an old t-shirt and the black is an op-shop find. They go so well together (plus we are Bombers fans in this house).

And, for my future reference, I did the seams with the serging/pine leaf stitch on my machine. Here's hoping it holds together well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Dinner Plate

LOL, first post in how long, and it's a pic of a dinnerplate?!? It's for the EB Sewing Swap, some people wanting to make coasters are asking for colour schemes so I thought I'd pop this in here just in case one of them was my partner. If it was - Hi! I'm not fussy, and I'll love anything :)

P.S. I started a new (private) blog today and in the process I selected to use a newer way of editing/formatting blog entries. It is SO much easier. You may see more of me as a result :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas Sewing Part 3

It's not the best photo, but it's all I've got. Here are the cushion covers I made for mum and dad for chrissy. I love how they turned out. I've got some leftover material so will be making them a couple more as a bonus :) I will have to take a photo of them on mum's couch.

And here's one of DS modelling his new hat :) Kinda clashes with what he's wearing, but he looks pretty happy with it all the same.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I've made a bunch of them. I know they are not for everyone, but I like to use the new year as a springboard for change. I like the idea of clean slates, a chance to start again. Having said that, I am not making huge life-changing resolutions and I'm certainly not against making more throughout the year. It's just that the dawn of a new year gives the perfect opportunity to take stock of where you are in life, and where you'd like to be this time next year.

So, what are my resolutions? Remember how in my post the other day I said I love lists? Consider yourself warned!

* write a to do list every evening for the next day, including fun things as well as the mundane
I function so much better when I have a list of things to tick off as I go about my day. Otherwise I get totally overwhelmed with the length of my day and start to go a little crazy

* one pilates or gym session a week
I didn't manage this when DH was working part-time, and now he is back to full-time so it's going to be a struggle. But there is a mum's and kids exercise class in the park that I am going to go to if it isn't too hot. And there's a Saturday morning pilates class I can do if we don't have anything on. I can also book out the little gym at my physio at a time that suits me (which is limited to when DH is home unless DS will sit happily in the pram while I exercise - I haven't tested this yet).

* do shopping every week
This may sound like a weird one, but it's not, not for me! DH has always done the shopping. He used to stack shelves at Coles so he was always so much quicker at it! He and DS have done the shopping together every week since DS was old enough to be apart from me for that long. So it will be a huge adjustment for me to do it each week.

* menu plan each week
We already do this, but I'm going to be taking more responsibility for it, and try to do it earlier than right before bed the night before grocery shopping day! It might be a little more inspired if I am awake when I do it

* cook one new recipe a month
See, as well as shopping DH has always done most of the cooking - he knows how, I don't! Well, ok, I do, but it is a struggle, I'm not confident, but I do find I enjoy it if I am organised and not rushing.

* do 15 minutes of exercise every day
I need to get fit, and I need to lose weight, but I'm not going to go all gung-ho about it. I have a bad habit of not getting out of the house unless I have something that I *need* to go out for, then I get all depressed because I get no exercise or fresh air. So, whether it's chasey in the backyard, a walk around the block (even if it's at toddler pace), or a walk around the zoo (we got memberships for christmas), it's all counted. I'll reassess this one in a couple of months time.

* read 1/2 hour 3 times a week - minimum
I love to read, but I do so little of it.

* blog 20 mins 3 times a week
Hoping this means my poor little blog won't be so neglected. I've not yet scheduled in blog-reading time yet... Need to do that. Hopefully then I'll be less inclined to come on the net randomly throughout the day - I seem to spend more time on here (doing nothing in particular) when I feel I have no time. So by allocating time-slots I hope to be on the net less but be more productive when I am on

* sew 4 hours a week.
Starting small and working from there. Also going to plot in the calendar one day a month for boys day out so I get the house to myself for an extended period of time.

* see one friend a week
Yes, that's another minimum. Again, I get into ruts where it gets too hard to get out and socialise. Well, enough of that! I always have a great time when I make the effort, so this year I am rewarding myself by doing it regularly.

* make one phone a week
I hate talking on the phone. Well, I don't really, but I hate making calls. I have a real aversion to it. I don't know why (I used to be a telemarketer lol, and quite enjoyed the job!). But with all this email, FB, blogging and chatting, the art of the telephone call has disappeared. So I am making myself pick up the phone. Human interaction is good for the soul!

* start printing photos
Digital cameras are overwhelming. Take today for example. Went to the zoo for 2 hours. With a film camera we would've taken a max of 24 photos. Today we took about 90. Sigh.... So I'm going to set aside a night in the first week of each month to print out 20 photos from the previous month. They are going to go in an ordinary album. This way I figure I will have enough for the full year, plus room for extras for special occasions. Did I mention I think about things too much? A few months down the track we'll reassess this one and maybe incorporate some scrapping goals.

Well there you have it, my resolutions. They are all really about the day to day things, the basic stuff that will keep me happy and my life rolling along nicely. There'll be a big adjustment for me this year with DH going back to work full time so I want to set myself so I survive, and hopefully, thrive. I haven't even begun to think about the big important things... that's another post. I think I've revealed more about the real me this week than I have in the entire rest of my blog. Enough for now!

A Sewing Summary - 2009

Here are all my Lists from 2009.

summer hat - DS - just needs lining
summer pjs - cut and pinned
thermal top - DS - cut out - no rush
trackies - me - partially sewn - no rush

The bottom three have been WIPs for a loooong time, maybe close to a year? I'm not particularly motivated to do them...

OOPS! xmas - DS - backpack
OOPS! xmas - DH
xmas - BIL -
fruit bags - lots (me)
OOPS! balaclava - need pattern
PRIORITY: baby block set
OOPS! fancy toddler winter hat - DS
OOPS! car window shades - have fabric
OOPS! pj pants for me
OOPS! something special - DH
fabric mobile
box bag
zippered pouch
zippered pouch - another option
zippered pouch - 3rd option
easy skirt (me)
winter skirt (me)
note book cover (me)
car seat organisers
curtains (me)
toddler apron (late Jan)
note book cover (Feb)

Hmmmm... a little ambitious maybe? A lot still on there! Some are things I do really want to make too - like the skirt for me and those little zippered pouches, and the note book cover and and and.... I think I see my problem! A lot of these will be going straight onto my 2010 To Do list :) Hopefully this year, they will get done.

DONE IN 2009
green truck pants DS
cushion covers x 4 (parents xmas)
tote bags x 2 (MIL, SIL xmas)
Little Explorer shorts (nephew's xmas)
toddler hat x 7 (1 x b'day, 6 x Xmas)
oven mitt - who for??
training pants x 7 (DS)
training pants x 2 (DS)
thermal pants x 2 (DS)
toddler winter bucket hat (b'day present)
bag for EB swap
toddler hat (b'day present)
toddler sweatshirt (DS)
toddler apron (b'day present)
toddler winter hat - polar fleece (DS)
leather/denim toddler shoes (DS)
leather toddler shoes (DS)
duckie pj pants (DH)
duckie pj pants (DS)
apron & pot mitts (Mother's day)
toddler bib with sleeves (DS)
training pants x 2 (DS)
bedtime leggings (DS)
trackies (DS)
waterproof play pants (DS)
soft baby block (b'day present)
nappy (for DS) x 2
bib with sleeves (for DS) x 2
crayon roll x 2 (b'day present)
pj trackies for DS
adult apron (b'day present)
pin-cushions x 2 (b'day present)
pin-cushions x 2 (EB swap)
hoodie for me (sewing class)
toddler dress x 3 (presents)
trackies for DS
Little Explorer overalls (for DS)

WOWSERS! look at that list! It's huge. That's a huge benefit of blogging. If I hadn't made this list as I went I would have no idea that I'd made so much this year. Admittedly, there are heaps of duplicates - especially when it comes to hats and training pants, but still, that is a big list of things. I made heaps more than I did in

QUESTION: The orginal To Do lists in my sidebar have some links in them. Is there an easy way of copying those links into the above summary or would I have to do them all manually? Ideally I'm doing these summary posts so I can remove 2009's lists from the sidebar (so they don't get too long and cluttered), but I want to still have all the links...