Wednesday, July 28, 2010

time for knitting

I remember when I was about ten Mum tried to teach me to knit. I perfected the art of increasing and decreasing (not intentionally though) and producing lovely (actually not so lovely) holey pieces of work. At the time it definitely wasn't a skill that I felt the need to persevere and master.

Having a little girl in my life, and taking note of all the really cute knitted longies while she was in cloth nappies, and loving cute beanies etc had sparked my interest in maybe giving it another go.
I guess it was also born a little of necessity too - have you ever tried to find a cute kids beanie that doesn't have Dora, Barbie, Thomas or BTB plastered all over it? its near on impossible!

When Nell assured she could have me knit a beanie in a day, I was doubtful. She was up to the challenge, and after having to reschedule our crafty day several times, today we finally managed our knitting day.

It wasn't as hard as I had imagined. With only a few mistakes (seems I possess the ability with any type of needle/hook and yarn to increase and decrease stitches - with out meaning to!!!

By the time Home and away had finished tonight, I had a completed beanie. ( I even managed to bath & PJ the little ones and feed the family as well!)

Its gorgeous.

The wool was hand spun by Nell, and is just divine.
Im not sure where I went wrong (see Nell, I told you I couldnt follow patterns LOL) but it is way too small for Jacinta :( It would make a lovely new born beanie. I will try again though, and both the little ones will have cute hand knitted beanies by the end of winter - Im just not sure which winter ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inspired again

The other day I received the most delightful bag of fabrics from my friend Kayscha. She was having a huge declutter and offered to give away lots of her fabrics for the price of postage (how awesomely generous is that!!!!) It was a bit of a lucky dip, she just filled a bag for anyone interested on a first in best dressed basis. I had no idea what I would receive, and it was a such a thrill to open up a package full of such bright, happy and gorgeous fabrics. Of course I'm keeping some pieces for my scrap quilt, but there were fat quarters, and other large pieces in there as well. Ive already ear marked a couple of prints for summer skirts and dresses for Jacinta.

Surrounded by all that fabric, how could I not be inspired to get out my sewing machine. I started out with a project that I had been meaning to try for ages - journal covers.

Well lets just say that the first one looked gorgeous (floral/stripes), but is a little snug on the actual journal. I tried a second one slightly larger, and pieced together from some jelly roll strips (orange/blue/green) - even though i made it a little larger, somehow it ended up a touch to small again GRRRRRRRRRR. The following day I had another try, I finally got the size right, and now have a gorgeous journal cover for me. (the swirl fabric on this one and the blue/green strip on the last one were the only two bits of fabric that I didn't get from K! isn't she just such a sweetie - THANK YOU!) The one for my blog giveaway was attempt #4 (some what appropriate for a 400th post giveaway) and is defiantly proof of the old saying that practice makes perfect. Well OK, its probably not perfect, but you know what I mean!

Todays project also used a couple of the fat quarters from my newly inherited stash. A gorgeous sunny strawberry print and co-ordinating yellow check for Jacinta's bag, and a lovely bright red fat quarter for the lining of Isaac's bag. The car print is one I picked up on sale at Patchwork apple for $2 ages ago.

I made these tote bags for the kids. Lots of their imaginative play lately has including carrying around dolls/teddies/puppies even wombats. After watching Isaac trying to get the two handles of a library bag over his head (and of course he protege was attempting to find a bag to do the same) I decided it might be safer to whip up a quick easy bag for them to sling over their shoulder.

It really was so easy to make. I know as a beginner sewer even some of these simple projects can seem quite daunting, so I thought I would share how I made mine. If you are a stickler for beautifully finished seams and precise measurements then you might want to stop reading now!!! When I say quick and easy, that's exactly what it is.

2 fat quarters - see I told you it was simple!

1. press your fat quarters and fold in half from the selvage to the centre. As you can see I didn't even bother removing the selvage.

2. From each folded fat quarter cut 2 x 3" strips from the fold to the opposite edge. These will be the handles. You will have 4 pieces when you open them up.

3. Stitch together the short end of each of the handle strips so you have one long strip of each fabric. With right sides of the strips you just made facing each other, stitch along both the long sides using about a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn this tube through and press. Top stitch along both sides of the handle. That's the handle completed.

4. Turn & press a 1/2" fold along both the sides that lay opposite the fold on your fat quarters.

5. Take one of the fat quarters. With right sides together and the pressed edges lined up, sew a seam down both sides. Repeat with the second fat quarter.

6. Turn the fabric that you want to be the outside of your bag in the right way and press. Slide the lining piece inside, match up the tops and pin. Centre the handle on the side seams, slipping it between the two layers. Pin. You can adjust the length at this point by having more of it tucked down inside the bag.

7. Top stitch all the way around the bag. Make sure to back stitch a few times over the handles to secure them.

I added very simple little bow detail to the strap of Jacinta's bag as it was still a bit too long. I also left a lot of the handle down inside the bag, if it survives long enough, it will be relatively easy to unpick and lengthen the strap as she grows.
They have already carried babies, balls, toys, dummies and even some mail for the cubby house letterbox!!!
I think they would make great little gifts, especially with a book or some pencils tucked inside.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

my 400th blog post

A heartfelt Thank You, and lets celebrate with a giveaway!

I never imagined when I began blogging at the end of 2005 what a wonderful world it would open up for me. (The very first post is here - how tiny is my little man!!!) It was before we could keep track of everyone on facebook, and as an avid scrapbooker, I began blogging to keep in touch with a lot of my scrapping friends, and to share my creative endeavours with them and anyone else who was interested enough to pop by.

I soon realised what a wonderful tool my blog was to record our lives. The celebrations as well as everyday life, my monthly letters to Isaac and Jacinta during their first two years of life, the highs and lows, the joy and the sorrow, the family traditions - all the things that make our family who we are.

My blog became an even more important record for me as I slowly drifted away from scrapbooking. I still take lots of photos, and here I can not only preserve them, but the story that goes with them. Many of the snippets of life, that would otherwise pass by and probably be forgotten. As I have rekindled my love of fabric, various other crafts, and homemaking skills, a whole new group of inspiring blogs and bloggers have become a part of my life.

Over the years, I have 'met' so many lovely people through the blogging world. The support, friendship and inspiration out there in blogland is absolutely amazing. I am humbled that I have a lovely group of 'friends' that enjoy reading what I have written, are patient enough to follow along with my photo a day for 2010, encourage me in my creative pursuits, and are kind enough to take the time to leave a comment every now and then.

A huge THANK YOU to each and everyone of you.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my little part of the world - I know there are lots of you popping in, as I write this post, 15705 visits according to my stat counter.

Thanks to all those who have left a comment at any time over the past 400 posts, I really appreciate it, and love reading them.

As a special thank you and a token of my appreciation for your friendship, support and inspiration, I'm having a little give away to celebrate my 400th post. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post letting me know what crafts you enjoy (Id love you to say Hi if you read this, even if you havn't commented here before!) I will draw a winner next Sunday night. The first name drawn out will win this A5 journal cover handmade by me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo a Day Challenge - July

Photo a Day - July 2010
days 16 - 20

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photo a Day Challenge - July

Photo a day - July 2010
days 11 -15

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo a Day Challenge - July

Photo a day - July 2010
days 6 - 10

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Master Chef Influence

Ive always treid to encourage the boys to be involved in the kitchen. I think that cooking is an important life skill for them to aquire. I would hope that by the time they leave home, they will have a good basic knowledge, and be able to fend for themselves in the kitchen (and the laundry!). They are pretty good at trying new foods, and can both prepare & cook basic snacks, cooked breakfasts, simple meals etc.

Nathan, in particular, has always been interested in cooking. Watching master chef most nights seems to have really sparked his desire to create in the kitchen. It helps that he is on school holidays too!

Last Friday night Caleb won a cookbook in a cupcake decorating challenge at youth group. It is filled with yummy treat recipes. Caleb used one of the recipes and made a birthday cake for Monice on Saturday, and it was delicious!

Tuesday Nathan decided he wanted to make something. He choose triple choc brownies - they were SO good.

Not that there was ever any doubt that they would be delicious, any recipe that calls for 450g chocolate is bound to tickle the taste buds!!!

Wednesday he wanted to bake again. There are many recipes he wants to try from the book, but I convinced him to try something savory this time. He decided that he would cook chicken for dinner. He went online, googled chicken recipes and came up with one for a chicken & leek casserole.

We hit the shops for ingredients,and with only a little guidance, and the help of a ski glove to stop his hand getting splattered, while browning the chicken,

he cooked a dinner that was enjoyed by everyone (except Isaac - but pretty much everything served for dinner apart from sausages and plain pasta is considered disgusting by him atm!)

Today he was really wanting to make macaroons from the book. We didn't have all the ingredients, and didn't get down the street, so by late afternoon he decided to for go them and make a batch of Anzac biscuits instead.

He has already scoured the food ideas magazines I had here, and decided on making Cordon Bleu crumbed pork for tomorrow nights tea - cant wait. Now all I need to do is work on getting him as enthused about cleaning up after as doing the cooking -although, if he wants to decide what we are having, and do the cooking, then I'm happy to be his kitchen hand and clean up!!!!

Photo a Day Challenge - July

Photo a day - July 2010
days 1 - 5

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Funky Finds

Want a see funky little something to make you smile and brighten up your day - go and check out this gorgeous and funky crochet trike at Roustabout Art.

I borrowed this photo from the SJs blog, there are lots more over there - go and check it out. I went to high school with this lovely and very talented lady (many years ago!) and Im so pleased that she is blogging, and that Im able to see what she is upto now we have all 'grown up' - its sad that we loose contact with so many people over the years, the internet is definatley a great tool to help make connections with people again!

I just love the idea, and as a beginner at crochet am in awe of how long this would have taken to complete. Amazing!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Photo a Day Challenge - June

Photo a Day - June 2010
days 26 - 30

Photo a Day Challenge - June

Photo a Day - June 2010
days 21 - 25