Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday

29th Dec 2007
A new life
A blessing
:: Happy Birthday Michael! ::
One whole year ago I pushed you out without any pain medication.
As I lay there with my eyes closed I envisioned a flower opening.
The midwife wanted to give me an episiotomy. What? Already?
After the first one with Little Miss I really didn't want another one this time around so I gathered up my energy and pushed really hard.
After 20minutes of pushing you came out as quiet as a mouse.
I held you on my chest and said "Hello little one"
Now you're not so little and you find many things funny. You laugh at Peek-a-Boo.
You have a light brown patch on the back of your head along with four teeth.
You've even taken your first step unassisted.
So, here's to many more years of cuddles, fun, laughter, and LOVE.
~Happy Birthday My Son ~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas everyone!


It doesn't feel very Christmassy around here (it's Christmas Eve already here)but after you've wrapped up some presents there seems to be a little excitement growing.

That's my sewing corner and my new (old) set of drawers for my crafting/sewing station. I'm soo excited, can't wait to cram it with little bits that I won't be able to find later ; )

I managed to get Little Miss into her tunic this morning with the turtle neck I made before from the same book. We popped over to our neighbours and gave them a box of chocolates and card. I was relieved we came back without a toileting incident as we're training in underwear.


I think she looks very cute in it even if it is a tad bit long.



Have a very Safe and Happy Holiday. I hope you all have a terrific break or just enjoying some special time spent with loved ones.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Japanese Tunic


When I saw this in my pattern book I didn't think much of it.
Until I saw it made in a beautiful plaid fabric from the Japanese Couture Addicts site.

I bought this nice check fabric from an Asian fabric store. It was cheap and it's very light cotton.
Perfect for our summer down here in Australia.

Oh and I figured out why the shorts didn't fit Little Miss. Can you guess?
I forgot to add the seam allowance when cutting out the pattern on the fabric.
You see, all Japanese patterns DO NOT include a seam allowance. You have to add a 1cm allowance and check that some parts require more.

I decided to cut out the 120cm tall size. Little Miss is only 90cms but this would give her more room. Plus, I also didn't add a seam allowance either in this pattern.
I ended up with this. It reminds me of a school girl's uniform / tunic.



Above: Front and Back Views


Tiny little fake pockets. I figured out the easiest way to do this (is to not follow the book).
I took my two semi-circles for the one pocket, put them right sides together and sewed them together in an arc leaving the top open. Then I turned them inside out and pressed them down. Voila, nice little flappy things. (The book said to fold in each semi circle and top stitch them, yeah right) Moving on...


The best way to cut open your button holes is to pin the end of them so the seam ripper doesn't go right through the other end. DO NOT give this task to your HUSBAND. I've tried before and your buttonholes end up funny looking.

So... in the end:
the top part was a little bit too long for her
the skirt part needed to fit higher up on her waist
the neckline gaped a little so it was too big
It fit well around her torso. Not fitting and enough room for air to circulate.
Still, she could still wear it and run around in it without falling down. That's all that matters, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Haircut


Here's my new hair cut (and new sunnies to match)

I was reluctant to cut it short for a long time for a few reasons:

a) I didn't think my face could handle short bangs
b) I imagined having long tresses like Angelina-Jolie
and the infamous
c) My husband doesn't want my hair short

But, I got fed up with it, I didn't care how it looked and I let my brother have his long awaited bob-cut. Well, I love my hair now. I shake it to feel it's lightness whenever I can.

It is now sooooo much easier than having a ponytail or bun each and every boring day.
People seem to say that it suits me and hubby likes it too (bonus!)
Also on the plus side: Showers are faster and so is hair styling.

"How do I style my hair?" I asked my brother, the hairdresser
"Shake it" he says
"Oh" I say and laugh with my sister

I don't think I'll ever have long hair again...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Barcelona (Work) Skirt


Ok, this was one of the easiest projects I've done and it would be perfect for a beginner. You can finish it within a day if you had toddlers or say 2 hours if you had kid-free time.

I really needed a new skirt to wear to work (I'll start part time on Monday) and the Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt pattern seemed the perfect one. Don't mind my daggy home singlet.

To start off I bought some Cavalier Garberdine from Spotlight only because it reminded me of what we used for Home Tech back in high school. At $7.99per metre I couldn't go wrong, even if I did. There were more expensive versions of this black but I thought I'd stick to my budget and buy the nice stuff once I'd worked out this skirt. I totally forgot to buy a matching black invisible zipper and ended up putting a beige one. With that in mind, I thought to myself
'wouldn't it be nice to take some pics for everyone to see how I went with the zip, since it's a contrasting colour?'

So here goes... (p.s it is best to get a matching invisible zipper)

To the left are the instructions straight from Amy Butler. Very easy (tres facile) to do.

Sew in your zip and start your centre seam from where the coils end.
First, I put a small sticky dot label where the pattern indicated the end of the zip should be. You can chalk it in or use a fabric marker but I was using black fabric so sticky labels helped me here.



Next thing to do, you will need to iron your invisible zipper to open up the back part so it's flat. Do you see the two lines at the back of the coils? That's the part you iron. I would start on a low 'wool' setting so you don't burn the coils. Use your finger to push the coils down.
The picture is a bit on the side but you can still see the double row of stitch opened up and it looks squarish (if that makes sense), underneath that part are the coils.


Pin or hand baste one part of the FRONT of your zipper to the FRONT of your back panel. It doesn't matter which side you start with, as they both are the same method. It matters that you position your zipper correctly on the other back panel so it will zip up right.
I aligned the dot with the zipper end and pinned the first part of it in place. Front of zip to Front of fabric.
To start sewing down your zipper, centre your needle on your foot and sew very close to the zipper coil. The closer you are, the less you will see on the outside of the skirt.

You'll get stuck sewing when you get to the end. I only figured out later that it's best to move your zipper foot UP so it frees the space for you to sew the rest of the way down to the end where the coils finish.




Here is the left side finished and my right back panel pinned in place. These are the right sides showing. I made sure that when it's zipped up it was all correct. You don't want to be un-picking your seams.







Here is the back of my finished zipper. You can almost see the extra lines down the end.
And the zipper closed with the inner seam sewn up too.
When I tried it on at this point the waistline was too big. I could have gone down a size to small in this pattern. So I added two darts on the front. It seemed to help. I already sewed up the waistline and found the sides were too big and flowy. So this is how I took the sides in.
I lay the pattern piece on the wrong side of my skirt with the small size folded in. I re-drew in the 'small' marking line on the fabric with chalk. I repeated this step for the other side. I then sewed up these lines to take the skirt in a bit more.
The only thing left for me was to hem the bottom to knee length. There was about 10cm more that I chopped off the end as the pattern is very long. It proved to be difficult for hubby to do for me but he managed somewhat. I ironed it down trying to keep it straight, pinned it in place and sewed up the hem.
You can add a lining but I chose to omit it from this skirt.
Ta dah!!! My very own Barcelona A-Line Skirt.
I hope this helped. There are other versions here and here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And the winner is...



Well, it's now Sunday evening here in Australia. I've been really pleased with the comments and so happy that you like the shorts and my blog. I couldn't wait until I could type out those names, put them in a box, give them a shake and let Little Miss pick one.
So, the winner is trinitylou!!! My sympathies for the others, I wish we all could win every givewaway. I ,myself, have not won one yet so I know the bitterness of not winning.
On something totally off the topic, I gave my hair the CHOP yesterday. You know how it is. You have long hair for such a long time and then you have children. Then, all you do is tie it up in a ponytail every day. I've been wanting to chop it off for a while now and finally decided it was time, plus I'd had enough and didn't care whether it suited my face or not.
I'll post a pic of my new hair do later.
Off to find a contact for trinitylou...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Linen Spot Shorts Giveaway!


Entries now closed.

Today I decided to make some shorts for Little Miss Two +3mts.
*edit: now part of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day. Click on the hand for the list.

I found inspiration from the French site for Japanese Couture Addicts from the Sassy Girls Clothes Japanese book I own. Yes, it's a mouthful. I just wanted more time and luscious fabric.

I really love the plaid tunic and I have always admired the shorts that were made from the pattern. I had bought some double-sided gingham from Leslie (as you do) and had no idea what to make from it. It's like a linen blend and being double-sided I really did want to make use of it. However, double-sided things are not to be... for now.

I digress, I made up the shorts in the usual size (the smallest - 90cm Toddler) and guess what? the darn waist was too small!!! About 10cm too small to be exact. I don't know how or why the pattern is like that. I yanked off her nappy and it just fit. I squished her into it. What a shame. Even hubby liked it alot.


So, I am giving it away! The waist measures 43cms so if you have a skinny 2T you might get away with it. Otherwise, it should fit a 1yr - 1.5T (if that makes any sense)




** Just leave a comment and I'll draw out the winner on Sunday evening and announce Monday morning (AEST 8 Dec) **

I'll get DD to draw a name out of a box. All tags will be the same length so it doesn't matter if you have a longer name.

Off to do my normal duties and clean the house ; )

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lil Cowgirls Lamp


I bought these lamps when we first moved into our home. They matched our walls and were a plain beige with a slightly greenish tint on the base. They also started to come apart.
I bought this Michael Miller Lil Cowgirls fabric a while ago just for this project from Quilt Fabric Delights.
I traced the template for the lamp and glued it in with fabric glue. I think a spray adhesive would have worked better. I should have added a little more to go over the edges. It's been sitting near my sewing machine for quite a while. I mulled over how I would finish the edges. Since it's quite round, the bias I cut wasn't working well. It would wrinkle a little as I pressed it into the edges. Then I bought some frilly edging to put on the bottom but I'd underestimated the length and you know my pet peeve about measuring [blush].
Finally, I used the Ric Rac I bought a few weeks ago. I decided to have some of the edge stick out so that it hides the unfinished edge of the lamp. I used the fabric glue and voila!, a lamp for my little girl's bedroom. I feel so good whenever I see it. I hope she does too.
*Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month. Only 25 days til Christmas!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Colour Pencil/Crayon Roll



Oh wow, I actually started and finished my first Crayon roll for my niece.
The tutorial is wonderfully published at Little Munchkins and it was sooo easy to make.
How could I botch it up, you say? Well, see the white Ric Rac on top?
That's to hide the selvedge that I included on the inside fabric. D'oH.

I thought it was going to disappear within the seam allowance but it didn't. I think the ribbon could have been shorter so if you're out of the full 40cm ribbon, don't worry, it goes around twice, so even if you had 30cm that would be fine.

Anyway, moving on, I really love how easy and pretty this project was. I have to make another one for my other niece. Lucky for me the Crayola Twistables were on sale at Target so they were only like $4.49 each for 12. I had the fabric in my stash so it was a really inexpensive gift.I used a blue/white dot on the outside and a pretty flower fabric for the pocket from Spotlight.

There should be more completed gifts in the upcoming weeks.
We're nearing December already, yikes!

Stand by...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Finds



Found another competition giveaway at Simplify by Camille Roskelley.

I've been drooling over quilts lately. So beautiful.

Christmas is inching it's way over here and I've not cut out patterns or anything.
My fabric (pictured) has arrived from the U.S. They're for my skirts. The pattern for that is on backorder but on it's way to me as we 'blog'. I am so in love with them. Both by by Heather Bailey, the first is Bijoux Tiles and Pop Garden.

To tell the truth I've been busy with some study in Children's Services. It's been taking up lots of my 'spare' time (whatever that is).
I've learnt quite a lot about children's development and I'm a lot more confident in the child care system here in Australia. Which reminds me, must look for a place for Little Miss for preschool.

I've been putting it off. I need to visit a few places and put her on a waiting list.

I found a free bag pattern at Oh Fransson. Elizabeth is sooo talented.
I love the bag. Can't wait to get started.

That's IF I get started..........

Monday, November 17, 2008

Craft for Cambodia



This is a little something close to my heart. I haven't heard back from the lady about my last post about crafting for charity so I decided to go ahead and do something on my own.

I contacted Geraldine Cox of the Sunrise Children's Village in Cambodia asking her about how to go about donating some crafty things for the children in the orphanage.
I was really happy to recieve a response from her and she let me know that it was a good idea, however, some times their packages get stolen : ( so there was no guarantee that they would
actually recieve them.

My heart sunk and I was disappointed for the children but it also gave me an idea. It would be good to auction off items on e-Bay for this wonderful cause with 100% of the proceeds going to the Sunrise centre.

It is close to my heart because my family background is from Cambodia.
Dad (God bless his soul) arranged for us to migrate from the war-torn country back in '77. We didn't arrive in Australia til 1978 where we resided in a hostel with my grandparents family. I was only a baby when I came here and I am so grateful for what I have now.

I keep reminding myself that there are little ones back there who weren't able to escape and have a promised life that I have here. Suddenly my life seems so much more blessed than I realise. Little things become luxuries and I want for nothing.

I don't have any items to sell off yet. If you would like to contribute please e-mail me at:
craftforcambodia[at]gmail[dot]com (do people do it this way due to spamming?)

Otherwise, here is the link where you can kindly donate via PAYPAL.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Photoshop



I have seen a few things that come with the territory of 'blogging'. You probably won't have them all but they are helpful tools. Here are my two:

* Camera : comes in handy because, well, you will want to show people what's happening.

* Photoshop : so you can adjust those pictures you've taken that didn't turn out the way you want, or you don't have a snazzy camera like the rest.

I've been searching in earnest to find Photoshop tutorials because it's hard to use if you don't have to time or patience to learn. Finally, I came across Pioneer Woman, who not only blogs so beautiful and inspiringly, but she takes fabulous shots and is willing to share her Photoshop secrets.

I've just tried the tricks on my two photos above and I'm so relieved to say that each step did work on my version of the software (CS2) which usually never happens.

In the rose photo I blurred the background and did the hard light overlay.
In the dad and bub photo I blurred the background and un-blurred bubby.
It really helps as I only have a Canon IXUS 70 but it's a great little thing.


On a different note, I am awaiting reply from a lady who has her own site which auctions crafty things for orphans in China. I decided a while ago that crafting for orphans would be a perfect way for me to make use of my time. I can't wait for her reply. I am thinking of making another Freya doll. This time I'll try to be more ... careful.

Oh and thankyou Sarah-Jo for your softie. It arrived last Friday and everyone who's seen it thinks it's terrific. It will be hanging on our Xmas tree when we decide to put it up.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Got 15minutes to spare?

If you've got 15minutes of spare time you could try this...



No not laying around, it's what she's on...

We bought this change mat when Little Miss was born about 2 yrs ago.
It is now in this condition. Still clean but you can see it's tearing away from the foam.
We really put it to good use unlike other things you buy for babies.



I had a glimpse at a design from Amy Butler's Sewing for Little Ones. It was green and stripey and soooo.. well... Amy Butler, complete with an overhanging piece to include lotions etc.
I knew I could never replicate anything so pretty but I would at least try to do something decent, if not for me, for Little Boy who always requires a nappy change.

I had this material ready for my niece's curtains but that one would have to wait.
I promised I'd make something and here it is. The cover for the change mat.



So simple, easy, rather pleasing to the eye.

I was thinking of trying to sew in the panels to match the depths in the change mat however, I would want to be able to wash this so it's better if it could be slipped off incase of any mishaps.
I kept the laminated material on the change mat instead of ripping it off.
If I was Amy Butler I would have tore it off but you're talking me here. Impatient, likes to cut corners, hates measuring... hee heee.

It's not bad, ... you should try something like this yourself.

Shir, why not?

She doesn't call it Shir Madness for nothing.
I found a shirring tutorial on Sandi Henderson's site PortabelloPixie.
I thought, ok, why not give it a whirl?

Here are my tragic results.

I had to hand gather as no 'shirring' occured. Very difficult as thread breaks, elastic breaks, my patience reaches breaking point.

This is my next attempt where I tried to get my thread tension right. You can see that some lines have elastic that is a bit loose and curly.
I tried to blast the elastic in an attempt to get some gathering happening but all I ended up with were wet blotches.
I asked some 'blog' friends for advice but none of which worked for me.
This included:
using a tight tension = straight lines and straight elastic but no shirring
winding the bobbin using the machine = no more needle thread getting jammed in my bobbin case but still no shirring
using the longest stitch length = yeah, ok.. still no shirring
Not to say that it won't work for you... it probably will... but in the meantime I have given up.
Off to work on some straight sewing.
If you have any tips please share them. I need to know!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Animal Farm


So, so, so sorry that I haven't had time to show you anything new.
I really want to create but well... it's the little things that get in the way.
On a recent trip to the farm we had lots of fun. I even had some adult conversation.
It was very refreshing to say the least. I should get out more.
We don't have kangaroos or koalas in our backyard, honestly.
You have to travel out into bushland to see any.
Continuing with our love of wood cut-outs

Little rabbits
Ouch, I'm posting while he's pulling my hair and she's laying on me. I'll have to sew during nap time.
I will really will try to get something made by tomorrow afternoon.
Promise.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spring Flowers



I just love love love love love roses. I had hubby plant a whole row of roses during Winter just under the front of our house. They are now flowering and I love their vibrant colours. I took out my trusty Canon and used my macro setting to take these. I wish I was a professional though. My pics just don't do them justice.

I think it's breathtaking views like these which inspire those wonderful designers like Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Michael Miller etc.

Monday, October 27, 2008

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!


GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING

Kathleen of Grosgrain is opening up a new on-line store. Hurrah!!! I wish her all the best. She has a bright future ahead indeed. I wish I had half her talent!

I wanna win these skirts and tops!! Fingers, toes, arms, legs, hair, eyelashes... everything crossed.