Saturday, March 30

Traditional Pressure

Back in 2010 we started a new family tradition of Easter PJ's. The weather was getting cooler and the winter pjs packed away for a good 6 months in which the boys usually had grown out of the old ones. It is also a day, similar to christmas where they are photographed in jammies.




Yes I did get them done but not without a bit of pressure. I was settling down from a busy day to watch Shrek with the kids only to have them remind me of their lack of new pj's. It had crossed my mind. I had even bought the tshirts at Big W and found the fabric out of the stash but there the activity had stopeed. That is until 7:30 last night. 

The pants are a simple pattern with no side seam and they were quickly whipped up on the overlocker. The elastic was a simple case and as you can see below - there is no hem as yet. I ran them across the grain to fit the three pairs in. 

The matching t-shirts took a little longer but thankfully the creative gods were on my side.
Cut with vinyl on my silhouette I designed them with Xandy's help. The font is cracked and the guitar is from windings.
In short - write, add guitar, alter guitar for spencer, Lightning bolts for xandy, cut, peel excess vinyl, iron and wear - and into bed after a quick photo shoot. 

Shame they are so shy and retiring!

Friday, March 29

Good Friday

Easter seriously crept up behind me this year. Tiptoed quietly and then this morning jumped out and yelled a massive boo - causing me to jump hysterically.

Today Easter arrived. All the decorations came out and up went the tree from a branch stashed behind the shed. Decorations casually spread around the house to make it all much more festive. 
 A celebratory lunch - this year inside (and thankfully so with Autumn's also surprise arrival) was shared with my family
 Would you believe no one was particularly ready for photos here - everyone has food in their mouth.
It was nice food too. I do have to say something about my floral arrangement. I was going for a carrot look with parsley and mint in the vases. (Also this was all I could find in my garden)

Hope you enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 28

PTPDD- Post Traumatic Play Date Disorder

I saw this definition in the paper today and I am totally suffering. You know, sometimes you have kids over and it is a total joy. Your kids are all the better for the company. The time flies and you don't hear from anyone. Other times - like today - you know even before you walk in the front door that its all going to be hard work.

Here is a brief timeline of my 'experience'

2:30 - School finishes early. Pick up my 3 plus 1

2:45 - Other 2 kids hid from guest and host kid. Never a good sign

5:30 - Host kid in tears multiple times - obvious sign of overstaying guest.

6:00 - Agreed pick up time. Guest already packed up with shoes and all items ready to go home.

6:30 - Placating tired and hungry kids - still wondering where parent is. No dinner arranged.

6:45 - Creating text to parents - worrying if they are ok. Not sent.

6:50 - Relief. Kid picked up. Parent not apologetic nor thankful. My 3 dissolve into pile of tears and hunger

7:30 - Kids fed, bathed and in bed. Me - collapse on couch not to move again for the night.

Tuesday, March 26

From the Machine - new look 6095

Today has seen a trip to Darn Cheap for some black ponte and sewing up a storm. In fact I am all done and ready for a birthday next week. I know, super organised.

After yesterdays shopping experience with K, I knew exactly what she needed for her wardrobe. A basic black dress that can be trans seasonal, dressed up or down and its stretchy and comfortable. I made it sleeveless that she could pop a cardi over the top or when it gets cooler, a skivvy top and a jacket and tights would give you extra warmth. Would also look good with a denim jacket or sleeveless showing off some jewels.

I used this pattern, New Look 6095 sleeveless and top stitched binding round the arms and neckline. I also ditched the zip as it should be easy to pull on.

What size to make was the big issue and I don't ever make to a size I make to the garments finished size. These can be seen in the picture below the garments measurements for the bust and waist and hip.

These measurements are much better at telling you how big or little a garment will end up. They vary so much between makes and designs that this is the way to make things that fit. Also to forget about the numbers of the size. There is no correlation between this number and any commercial clothes whatsoever!

For myself I will usually make a smaller top to my waist. I also tend to need to take some out of the back to the waist. then from the waist to the hip I drift up a size. Then depending on the pattern, I will drift from the hip point to my thighs or saddle bags another size.

Using these measurements, I made similar adjustments for K, just based on her body. I adjusted the size according to her body, and ran it is a little at the bottom. Where I need an aline to hide my bum, she looks better in a straighter style. Now just to hope it fits. 

Monday, March 25


I think I may have found my calling. No really.

A girlfriend asked me to help her buy some pants. She works outside a major shopping centre and I was planning to meet her for a lunch time shop. The brief was to increase her work wardrobe - smart casual - within a very limited budget.

I got there early and started to browse. I started in Myer and there was literally nothing. She is bigger than a 14 and if money were no object I would still honestly say that there was nothing there to spend our money on. It was then I realised my mission had really begun.

I was now shopping with purspose. Going into every shop - especially ones she would never go in. I found some really helpful assistants and I was running from shop to shop putting aside clothes to try on. All she needed to do was arrive, try and buy or not buy. Easy really. And I was having fun - all by myself. Tragic really.

I was in full swing when she met me. I was actually in Millers. She didn't even know where that was, let alone been in to buy things before.  To me, with our brief, it was a little goldmine. They have a  large range of sizes, good basics and cheap prices. If you can block out the barrage of bright nylon prints and the sheer mass of items you can find the black stretch bengaline pants.

I didn't try anything on. I didn't spend any money. She bought a black pair of ponte trousers, quality leggings, 2 trouser and a casual skirt. All for $130. We also found some other pieces for the next trip.

I really had a good time. I was there to get sizes, say yay or nay and broaden her horizons to try on those things that look awful on the hanger, but you end up loving. Getting her to look beyond what is in fashion to find what suits her body. They always say you should do what you love. I really loved this - but how do you get paid to do it?? That is the big question.

Sunday, March 24

Grand Fair

I took a bigger role this year  - working on the sausage sizzle (ugh) knowing the kids would all be fine. They had their wrist bands and were off with their mates and what a time they had. They are all so adventurous and independent. Where have the babies gone?

Saturday, March 23

Baking up a storm

The bitch has left the kitchen!
Baking is not my forte. While I am happy to give it a go, it is not my passion. The end result is fine, but for your own safety, just don't come near me while I am at it.

For our fabulous school cake stall cakes are provided by Prep and Grade 1 parents. With 2 I needed to do double.

Here is my lemon poppyseed cake (from a packet mix) and twice baked cookies - recipe here. 

 The second batch was chewy choc chip cookies - recipe here  and finally Humming bird cake without the walnuts recipe here. (SO EASY and YUMMY!)

Really the drama came down to bad planning. Everything cooked at a different temperatiure. The sink was already full of dirty dishes resulting from the prior impromptu fridge clean out. Every open package in the pantry decided to fall on my head. Not all at once of course - just each time I needed something. And finally - bad time mangement. I really should have started before this afternoon with a delivery time of before 5!

All that being said - they ended up looiking really good. The kids tell me the cookies taste great. Lets just cross our fingers on the cakes.
Here is an early pic of the stall complete with bunting. Looks enticing doesn't it.

Celebrating new beginnings

One of the knitting girls is embarking on a new adventure. She, and her lovely family, have taken the plunge and are sea changing. They have bought, sold up and moved in what feels to me to be lightning speed. Once these guys make a decision, seems the best place to be is out of their way!

Such a new and exciting thing and I wanted to join in the celebration of their new home, but also celebrating their family as that's really what its all about.

 This is their family tree which is papercut using my Silhouette and I really love it.

I designed the image on the Silhouette software, starting with the names in Times New Roman, and literally built the tree around it. The tree is based on a clip art image of a tree which I cut it up and replicated leaves and branches to build the trees around the names. I used the 'weld' tool to join it all together.

To keep the names together I joined the letters with a small line piece which was added individually to the letters to ensure best placement as some  letter by letter as sometimes the letters were joined by leaves or other pieces. Once all the hard work was done, I let the machine work its magic and give me this fabulous cut.

 The white card has some texture to it and with the intricacy of the cutouts, I had to take my time picking out the negative spaces. It was here that I noticed I had missed joining a couple of letters in Julia's name - the u and the i drop out so I needed to keep an eye on them.
 Final decisions were in relation to display. While I really like the subtlety of white on white, it really needs the shadow to set it off.
 I decided to go with a silvery aqua that takes my mind to the sea and is similar in colour to those Julia has been pinning.

Glued down and mounted in a soft silver 8 by 10 frame. 

The silver in the frame picks up the soft shimmer in the silvery aqua paper. The look is softer in real life. I think the next project will be making one of these for me!

Friday, March 22

Honey I shrunk the...

At the art supply shop for some paper for a future project, I got a little sidetracked.
I have seen shrinky plastic projects on pinterest but never seen the product in Australia, until now.
With nothing in mind to make, the internet became an image source.
First I traced a 1940 squirrel light for a brooch with a black sharpie.
Then I brought out my cutters - a 1" circle, the 3" butterfly. I trialled pencils and sharpies with various patterns.

A quick stint in the oven. I love the instant gratification. They shrink so much but get so strong.

Another go with a bit more focus. With 2" and 1" cutters circles for pendants and earrings. I worked with a woodgrain style pattern.

I think with a bit of leather and earring backs these could be a great little gift.

Wednesday, March 20

Shock, Worry - Relief

I was happily browsing in Typo. With time to wander, I laughed at the crocheted bunny ear headphones, when my phone rang.
It was a call from school.
You pretty much know from the first few words whether it is a good or bad call. A good call is they start with "Everyone is ok, we're calling to let you know..." I didn't get that today, so I started to short cut them. With Alexander on an excursion, I assumed he'd forgotten something or been left behind someone given his recent form!
It wasn't him but Benji - with dots, assumed chicken pox. While this in itself isn't too much of an issue - my immediate thoughts went to everyone else. Do my other boys have it? Who else could they have infected. What is the ramifications for Mum - who is doing both radio and chemo? She saw them on Sunday? Oh GOD!

So, I rang the doctor and thankfully got a quick appointment. I got Benj from school and came home and had to ring mum. While I didn't want to worry her, to the same token, I wanted to alert her to the potential danger and so she could be prepared should she need to do anything. It was a difficult call, and of course we were both worried. She was feeling ok today - but tired. It is hard to know what is a side effect, cancer or environmental factors. The weather changes recently have affected everyone so tiredness could be a result of that, or she had a big -active - day yesterday. That could be it. Or she could have a life threatening bout of chicken pox.

At the doctor, we got shuffled into an anti room because we were potentially contagious and the doctor saw us quickly. In next to no time she had disregarded the chicken pox and told us it was a virus. Every time I see this doctor, her diagnosis is "a virus" so she had to find a fact sheet to prove that it was in fact Four virus - in the slap face family. He doesn't have a temperature so it is not contagious. In fact she suggested he go back to school.

Huge relief. Actually that is a massive understatement.

Rang mum on the way home, and amazingly, she felt better!

Spending the afternoon with my pocky little mate who is happily entrenched on reading eggs!

Monday, March 18

Cranky Pants

The twins had a playdate at our place and they wanted to decorate tshirts. A quick trip to Kmart saw us with 3 long sleeve tees and I grabbed a pair of trackies for myself.

While the boys were happy decorating and deconstructing their shirts i pinterested my trackies into my own pair of cranky pants!

Heres how I did it: 

Freezer paper template cut on the silhouette in Victorian Dots font but you could cut it out with a knife.
Ironed the template onto the lower leg of the pants.
Using neon 3d fabric paint, I filled the holes
 Once the paint was dry I removed the template to reveal this:
 I was quite happy with that but I was trudging through the ironing and thought I would give it a quick press to set the paint and much to my surprise it puffed up. Even happier.
I was all set with my Cranky Pants on today to face a Monday morning school run and for a change I didn't need them. 
Maybe these are the anti cranky pants? (Note I already had my matching cranky face on instructing Xandy to take pic!)

Saturday, March 16

Old School Baking

Its really nice to be part of the school community but hat I've found is the more you get involved, the more you need to do!

Our school fair is next weekend and parents of preps and grade 1's are expected to stock the cake stall (yes the one I did the bunting for). This year I just don't think my usual packed cake offerings will cut it, so I have to mix it up - old school.

Rather than searching aimlessly for a recipe, i found this book and went straight to the food section.

 There I found twice baked cookies. I ran a trial today and YUM! Easy, bulk, tasty and crunchy. They tick all the boxes and look good.

Here is the recipe:

this simple recipe makes '120 biscuits- which is their alternative name, Baking buscuits twice allows them to remain crisp for longer. Can be made up to 1 week ahead; store in an airtight container. I made only half the recipe.

500g margarine or butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
400g can sweetened condensed milk
5 cups (750g) self raising flour
1.5 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
.5 cup (100g) finely chopped glace giner

Beat margine or buter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Add condensed milk, flour, lemon ring and ginger in batches. Beat until combined.

Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls, place balls onto lightly greased oven trays about 4cm apart; flatten lightly with a fork. Bake in moderate oven (180 degrees C/350 degrees F) about 10 minutes until light golden brown; cool biscuits on trays.

Biscuits can be arranged closer together on trays for second baking as they will not spread any further. Bake cooled biscuits in moderate oven (as above) about 8 minutes or until golden browm. Cuool on trays.

Suitible to freeze.

Thursday, March 14

She yelled and she yelled.

I do not like to yell....but some days.....In fact if I am totally honest it has been a few days lately where I have done nothing but yell.Today I was so angry and yelling that I almost cried.

We have all been tired and cranky round these parts. it has been hot - not so much hot but humid. To be covered in sweat both day and night is uncomfortable and unnatural to us. We are all sleep deprived from the hot nights.

This morning it was one of 'those' mornings. I was cross because I'd forgotten that we didn't have any food. I know its sill right, but I'd intended to get up early and duck to the shops alone and grab some fruit. But no. I was already behind schedule and surprised to find myself a modern day old mother hubbard!

Light bulb- Lunch orders. I found the price list and filled out envelopes (nope didn't even have brown bags). Money. Money? No change. Went to raid piggy bank only to discover rice (thankfully uncooked) sprayed all over lounge room. Argh!

When cleaning said rice, managed to misplace lunch order envelopes. Rewrite. Poor Xandy can see I am stressed and is trying to help. Anxious for a job I give him the exact change for each lunch order. He mixes it up. Yep there it is - the inconsequential action that caused my to unleash my tsunami of yelling. Yell at kid who wont get dressed. Yell at kid who wont get off computer. Yell at dog for well, being a dog. 

I yelled and I yelled and I yelled.

It didn't make me feel any better.

"I'm sorry" she said. And she was.

Wednesday, March 13

Celebrate with Bunting Part 2

My bunting is for the cake stall at our school fair. The black and white theme will continue on to decorate the cakes - imagine how good it will look when it all comes together!

But for now here is part two of the instructions:

Iron all of your bias tape in half. Do not stretch it as you iron.

The mark the middle of your bias tape - and this will be the position for your first flag.

Open the ironed bias tape and place the top of the flag on the fold mark of the bias tape. The flag should then be sandwiched between the two halves of the tape. Pin lengthwise along this. (Make sure all of your pins face the same way as this will save loads of time when you are sewing them all in) All of the flags raw edges should be inside the bias tape and it will give you a nice neat finish - on both sides.

Now the tricky bit - the placement.  My flags are quite big - finished they are about 28cm (11 inches) long. I wanted a little space between the flags, but still fit all 33 of my flags in to my 10 meter tape.

Working from the middle (as there was an odd number) 1 decided on about a 4 cm gap. By eye this looked the best and was a good fit to the tape.

Once all the flags were spaced and pinned - again with all the pins facing the same way so I can pull them out as I sew, its back the machine for the final stitches.
I matched the threads to the black bias tape and sewed on the edge closest the the flag - away from the bias fold edge.
Again in this step, make sure you do not stretch the bias tape - particularly in the gaps between the flags.

And then hang it wherever you choose. I have pinned this on with sewing pins but I think we will use safety pins on the day.

My little old puppy had to get in the action too - at least she matches!

I have a pdf pattern of my bunting flag but am not clever enough to put it here - so email me and I can send it to you,