27 May, 2010

My Creative Space - sew sew

Inspired by Sooz, and on the recommendation of a fashionable friend, I actually sewed myself a pair of wide leg pants last night. In a very forgiving wool blend that hangs kindly, and only being my second Ottobre pattern, I started out just planning to cut out the pattern, then I thought, "Why not? I'll cut out the fabric."

Then of course the little voice starts, "May as well sew the darts and pockets, then it'll be a breeze to finish."

Then "Oh look, the leg seams and crutch take just a moment and these instructions for the fly look pretty easy."

And before you know it, the thing's sewn up, I'm making the waistband fit, and finding a button in the stash that's accidentally perfect.

This afternoon I sewed on the belt loops and whaddayaknow - it's a pair of pants! And they actually fit.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some very homemade bits, but I think I'll get away with it. The fabric is very forgiving.

And in a house full of sick kids with ear infections and coughs, and invisible housework that never ends it feels good to have finished something.

Here is a picture of a happy little sick kid that keeps smiling although her head must be hurting so much.

She doesn't care about the pants. So that's why I'm 'show and telling' here.

Pop over to kootooyoo for more creative spaces.

24 May, 2010

Double meme - because I'm a multitasker

I've decided to participate in both Megan's meme (Monday Mama) and Pip's ("I Made This") just to feel like I've managed something today.

In reality we had a busy night with the girls and their runny noses, they then woke late and I missed my walk with Jen, I tried to cook things that might interest my sicky and finicky babies, stayed in my pyjamas because they were already covered in snot and I figured I had enough laundry to deal with, brought in the washing off the line but didn't get it folded or another load on, I cut all their little finger and toenails (they grow at the speed of light!) and managed 20 minutes lying down next to the toddler before the baby woke us all up again. I've got some alterations to make on the school race day designs I've done now, and then I'd LOVE to sew a little, but I know it's getting late and I'm probably crazy...

Anyway, back to both themes - I do equate the making of pikelets with motherhood -

And also the making of ramekins of baby-friendly bread and butter pudding (love the smell of these) -

And to feel a little more worthy of participating in the meme, this is the linen outfit I made for S from that Japanese pattern book that I mentioned here.

I think I'm happy to iron it because I made it, but honestly, it's linen with a bit of body, so it's washing really well, the ironing takes next-to-no time and she's getting plenty of wear out of it. So glad I made it. I think I'll also be happy when I manage to get S's hair trimmed!

Now, for a little finale.

While I was looking around Pip's links, I stumbled across DeLysh and this terrific video for a "Cherpumple" Cake (think "Turducken", but in cake). Classic.

Have a lovely week!

20 May, 2010

My Creative Space - Denim

More sewing this week. I think I may be avoiding painting. Have to get my mojo back there.

Anyway, I took these jeans that my son had split whilst ice skating on the school trip to Canberra, (had cut the legs off before I took the photo), and made this shoulder bag from the two back pockets -

It's lined with the spotted fabric and I pretty much just made it up on the fly. Didn't realise until I took the photo that the red stitching ties nicely to the red fabric. That was a happy accident. If I did it again I'd spend just a smidge more time measuring things I think. It was a gift for a 12 year old friend.

And then I used this drawing by my 6 year old nephew (of his mum imagining a birthday cake and then getting  one) -

and used a panel from the leg of the jeans to make this cushion as a gift for my sister.

The colours of this delicious Amy Butler fabric that I used on the back dictated the colours of the felt I appliqued on using mainly freemotion machine stitching (pretty dodgy tension actually) and some handstitching. The coloured wool felt was from winterwood. It was fantastic because I could iron it. The white felt is not wool and it's from Spotlight. Wasn't nice to work with at all, but I didn't have any white wool felt. Must remedy that.

There is still some fabric left from these jeans, and it's going back into the stash to reappear another day. I'm loving that one pair of unsalvagable jeans has been repurposed as two gifts that I was very happy to give.

Drop by Kootooyoo for some more creative spaces.

14 May, 2010

Baking Friday

I was looking after stacks of kids today, and they needed to eat so some baking got done.

Firstly this version of the "brookies" bakerella posted about this week. Except I only put in 1.5 cups of brown sugar, not 2 cups, and I didn't have pecans so I added 100g of chopped peanuts. The dough was mixed by hand and was delicious (like chocolately peanut paste - above) but the end result was a little dissappointing. It rose a but too high and was more cakey than fudgy. It also might have been better spread thinner (in a larger pan) and with the extra half cup of sugar. Might give it a second shot (bakerella rarely disappoints). The kids certainly liked it.

Then I managed to whip up two batches of "Miss Dahl's Banana Bread" from this lovely book.

As I'm on a mixmaster hiatus, I can only bake things mixed by hand. I LOVE this recipe and bananas have been really cheap at Coles lately.

Here's my abbreviated instructions:


  • Mash 4 bananas with 75g soft butter.
  • Then mix in 1 cup brown sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 tbsp vanilla.
  • Then add 1 tsp bicarb, pinch of salt and 1.5 cups plain flour.
  • I bake in 8 small loaves for about 30 mins at 180C. If you do it as one large loaf it would probably take about an hour.

Really quick, doesn't need icing, great to defrost a loaf in an emergency (you know the sort of emergencies I mean).

And because it's been such a lovely day here today, here's a pic of two cousins in the chook shed. They played together so beautifully today, which is a relief because S used to wack C on the head with anything she could get her hands on when they were little. And yes, S is stil in her pjs. I think she got out of them at around 2pm.

Now, don't think that it was all a breeze and that I'm totally in control or anything. It's actually easier to bake something simple than it is for me to get to the shops. It's now after 8pm, I started this post around 11am, the house is destroyed and all the kids are still awake.

But I've achieved one thing that I set out to do today - this post! Thank goodness. Now I can sleep more contentedly tonight. Off to parent now. Have a lovely weekend.

13 May, 2010

My Creative Space

A little teaser about a collaborative project I have in the works for Shiny Happy Art. We're still working on things so they'll be just right. Am loving the way I thought things through at the start, but by working with another artist, I'm being stretched to create something that (I hope) is far beyond what I first envisaged.

For more creative spaces, head over to Kootooyoo.

12 May, 2010

A lovely surprise

As I was driving out of our driveway to take the two smallest to the doctor, I knew I had a few minutes so I stopped and got the mail out of the letterbox.

I'm waiting on another Japanese pattern book, but no, there was a lovely, handwritten and decorated envelope for me from... Jenmeister, a blogfriend. And inside, a magic eye postcard (classic) and one of her handmade morsbags - beautifully hand stencilled with a tree no less.

What a lovely surprise! Out of the blue! I used the bag straight away to get some of our gear from the car into the house.

Thank you Jen!

To see more of the good deeds the lovely Jen's doing right now, visit her blog here.

And the little ones have colds, and one has an ear infection, but we're working our way through it. Things are a little bleary around here though.

11 May, 2010

A quickie

I've been pretty flat out so far this week with miserable darling babies (and noses that just run and run), washing that once again threatens to block out the sun, and attempting to do my webdesign homework...

But I wanted to share a couple of links:


This one to the amazing Rob Ryan, a papercutting artist extraordinaire (did you see that Inside Out subscriber cover?) and his team (lucky people) in time lapse. I LOVE papercut art!

And this one, which may help my lovely friends with two kids understand my approach to parenting four. All I can hope to do is maintain my sanity and Kim from allconsuming certainly gets it (although I don't vaccuum hourly - I do think about it every hour, but then I get distracted...).

And that photo at the top - that's my eldest boy on the left. I just LOVE this photo. His team had just won their division of a rugby carnival in Armidale. The joy is palpable. I'm a proud mother.

09 May, 2010

Mother's Day

I just had to post a little excerpt from an email sent to me by a darling friend yesterday - 

"I don't know why I anticipate such a tiring mothers day but I believe it has to do with visiting his mother, meeting my family for a "counting" and having to buy presents and make cards for them because everyone else is too busy gardening and going to soccer and recovering from their week at camp. 

So my pre-mothers day day involved 5 loads of washing, folding and putting away that washing, making cake and food for tomorrow's "Celebration" and of course getting those cards done so the glue will dry on the charmingly hand made thingos..... and I did it all to myself. 

Tomorrow I want them to stop bickering, telling me they're hungry, asking me where socks are and fighting over the socks "because he got the new ones", and for pigs to fly and hell to freeze over . Or maybe a hot cup of tea and to be left alone to drink it all, slowly without a nipper on my nipple. 
Hope your day is, in some small way, for some of the time, sublime."

I could never have said it better myself.

Happy Mother's Day.

06 May, 2010

My Creative Space - FINALLY a Creative Space!

We had a long weekend here this week, Labour Day and all, and having been unable to participate in the 'Creative Space' for the last few weeks (there's been nothing creative happening here, it's been all meetings and school musicals and study and classes) I explained to my husband that I needed to sew. My son explained to me that he needed to work on his magic tricks (read experiments with vinegar, bicarb, salt and fizzy drinks - pic below). Happily we both got what we wanted.

I probably would have also needed to bake, but the mixmaster is in the shop at the moment, due to the fact that even though I know better I stuck a spoon in the beaters - and I've noticed a direct correlation between mixmaster usage and my bottom line (literally - my big wide bottom line). So best that it be taken away for a while.
So back to the sewing. Even though I also need to be painting (it is my year of school-friend's 40th's and I want to give paintings this year) I haven't been happy with recent attempts. So I have fallen back on the predictability of making things with recipes and patterns. There's a much greater possibility of success that way.

Anyway, the weekend involved a complete takeover of the dinner table, rolling out my sewing 'cabinet' (it's a clothes rack thing on wheels) and getting stuck into it. There were a few late nights (even with a helpful husband there's a limit to what can be achieved during children's awake hours) but even though I'm tired now, it's a happy tired.


Here's what got made. Cord pants (above). Fabric from Lincraft.

Two tops (two patterns), and two more bottoms (same pattern). LOVE the japanese pattern book I got from RetroMummy. All these were from that book. The cream japanese print fabric was also from RetroMummy (and on special at the moment FYI). Navy and natural linens from Lincraft. Coloured patterned cotton from Spotlight.

I did make a few mistakes, mainly to do with not reading the pattern properly (it was in japanese, but all the numbers are there in the pictures) and seam allowances. But now that I've made the pants three times, and have learned new ways of doing things by making the tops, I'm no longer afraid of patterns with detail and interesting bits. Everything fitted well and I am seriously happy mum.

Then I made a pair of pants for a groovy newborn (altho they won't fit him for at least a year) from an Ottobre pattern (my first), to go with the t-shirt I bought from Well Spotted, and a stuffed toy I made up - which ended up a bit like a pizza with too many toppings (so has been named "Prince Alfonzo Cooee Popple" - note to self, perhaps pick a theme next time). S cuddled him and settled in for a midday nap, so at least I know he works well.

And I also made a girly stuffed toy for another newborn, which S loved to cuddle, but refused to 'model' for me. So here she is again. Inspired by the softies book, but altered because of my inability to really want to follow a pattern.

I am now feeling complete again. The sewing 'room' has been put away, and tonight we will eat dinner at the table. Life is getting back on track.

For more consistent creative spaces, be sure to visit kootooyoo.
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