Monday, February 24

Lunchboxes

I've gotta say, I find making lunches for school a real drag! First they seem to need lunch EVERY day, and then on top of that they want variety! No its not really that bad, I just struggle to come up with food that fits our needs - healthy, allergy friendly and no rubbish. Their requirement is also tasty whereas mine is budget friendly.

Mondays is my day to recover and regroup and get ready for the week and get over the weekend. I do all the washing and usually get some baking done. Museli bars are usually on the menu.
There is no particular recipe as it changes depending on what I have. This one has the following: 


Sunflower seeds
Pepitas
Dates
Sultanas
Dried apricots
Corn flakes
Oats
Ricebubbles

I mix that all together.

To bind it, I cook up some butter (about 80 grams), a tin of condensed milk and some honey. I cook it to mix it together, then I add it to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix. The whole lot goes into a lined tray, compact it with the back of a spoon  and bake it in a moderate oven until brown.

 It really is that easy. No nuts tick. No rubbish tick. Healthy tick. Cheap as chips and tasty. This should last me about two weeks as I keep it in the fridge and slice it up as I need it.

Sunday, February 23

French Frock up

A friend had a fortieth last night that was French inspired. The invitation read a french flair, but when we got tot talking it seemed everyone was dressing up,  so a simple neck kerchief wasn't going to cut it. 

A bit of a look on the internet for inspiration gave us these two gems. Marcel Marceau and Coco Chanel. The total cost was $20 and that was for the clown makeup. Between us we had the rest of the stuff. 

The big squirrel was quite a hit. The shirt was in his wardrobe. The pants were my dads and the hat from the boys magic trick box. Even the fake flower was at my parents place. The suspenders were appropriated from a pair of ski pants. (Yes a little short and did play tricks with the big squirrels nuts)
 The gloves were dusting gloves from the cleaning section of the supermarket. All done with the exception of the face paint. A quick Internet search on where to buy it lead us to facepaint.com which coincidentally was walking distance from my parents, where I was collecting my outfit.

Whilst we are on my outfit, I had a choice of 2 from mums place. This one I wore is straight out of her wardrobe. She made the jacket and skirt and had a good bit of wear out of the jacket. It is an upholstery weight fabric, and we accessories with the pearls.

The glasses are my new prescription ones from Spec Savers and the piece de resistance was the hat. This is a felt hat that mum made when we were doing millinery classes. They weren't made to go together, they just look that way.


Two funny things from the night - the big squirrel caught powering his nose in the bathroom.
Me having a friend introduce themself to me (mid way through the night) as they had no idea who I was. Then his jealous wife coming over to find out who I was!! Very funny.

Saturday, February 22

Patterns Review - Vogue 8975


I haven't sewn much for myself of late as I seem to have lost my mojo. More probably because I have lost anyone to do it with. Mr P broke up and I lost my surrogate sister sewer, Mum really can't anymore and even my sewing group of girls have gone to highschool so it is a bit lonely to do it by yourself. 

Anyhow I battled through and on Friday night after basketball I sat and attacked this pattern - Vogue 8975. It is really outside of my usual and I don't have anything like this. I like the pocket and hem detail so I thought I would give it a go. 

I used a grey knit that I had and it takes about 2 metres. The back is in four pieces but quite plain given all the detail at the front. It goes together easily and more importantly is comfortable to wear.

 Good lord - sorry about these photos. (and the state of my mirror) Really not showing it. I made the medium which is a good fit. I only used a one way stretch fabric (it recommends 2) but it isn't a problem.
 I had originally intended to leave it sleeveless, but then I wore it this morning and was a bit cold, so I came home and popped the sleeves in! (As you do) I actually think it will be a  lot more versatile this way. I think I may need another one of these. An easy to use pattern - highly recommend. Now to try the cardi.


Tuesday, February 18

Tshirt refashion


Here is an ultra easy way to jazz up some cheap tshirts. This is a girls tshirt that was all of $1 at kmart. 
I undid the side seams and cut out most of the back. I left a small piece under the arms and shaped up in  an arch to give it some movement. At this point the tshirt is backless with a small yoke connecting the sleeves and the neckline. 
Then I cut out this great owl print. It is a woven synthetic, so I added about 2 inches more that the piece that I had cut out. You can see the extra fabric in the centre back pleat. I also added some length so it has a bit of a tail. 

Now this tshirt will look groovy with leggings or jeans. It would have only taken 30 minutes. 

Monday, February 17

Sewing - Girls skirt McCalls 5459

One of our Faux cousins is having a birthday so we needed a little something extra. She is turning 9 and we have a book etc. but I thought I would make a skirt. She is at that age where clothes are not always age appropriate. For some reason, once you hit size 8, everything is a bit old, and particularly in the girls section a little over sexualised.
This skirt is a great little easy to wear number that would be great in summer with a tshirt or winter with leggings. It has a yoke with elastic at the back. There is no zip. The skirt is half circle which makes it nice and flippy - or really spinny. I made a size 8 yoke but cut the skirt length at a 12 to give it a bit longer life. It is made from a stretch cotton.





Friday, February 14

Thursday, February 13

What a great idea

I have to share this because it really is a great idea. It is one of those things that I had never ever thought of, but when I did it, I thought why didn't I ever do that.

Obviously this is a clock. I bought is online from typo at Christmas and it has literally been sitting in a box in my room since then, but now it is hanging. Not only hanging, but in my bathroom. Yes.
I had never thought of putting a clock in there but it is brilliant. A lady bought a clock at work because her bathroom one had broken and it was like a lightbulb moment.

Our clock is on the wall. You can see it and easily read it from the shower. It is in reverse but very visible in the mirror and from the bath too. This is even better because it has a timer function that if you are really pressed from time it can ring.

I really cannot tell you how lovely it is in the shower to look at the time and realise, yes, you can have one more minute of relax time before rushing off to school.  I cannot believe we never thought of this.

Monday, February 10

Book club

i've joined a book club. I never have been part of one before - this is a group from school and hopefully will encourage me to read more - not just childrens literature.

I dont really know what happens at book group, but they told me the book and I suppose I read it. There must be other fronts for just sitting round and drinking?

I have managed to get through this. I have to say I was worried given the last time I had  to read books was in high school and even back then it was easier to get the movie. I would be interested to see the movie of this, considering it is set in Nazi germany and narrated by death. (That is not giving anything away)

Sunday, February 9

In the swim - part 2

Well they're done and paid for. Not sure if they fit but the bathers are doneski!

I used fushia lycra, fully lined with cotton lycra and top stitched with a fluro orange to give it a bit of a contrast. I used McCalls pattern M9352 which is an oldie but a goodie. I think you can find it on ebay.
They look better on than here in this picture, but I didn't need to model that. Use your imagination.

Saturday, February 8

another fencing tshirt



 When I made the tshirt the other day it left me with some nice words all cut our waiting to be used. Mr P also does fencing, so I thought I would try a top for him - but in reverse. I had a navy mens tshirt in the stash so I ironed on the words which were cut from freezer paper.
Then rather than paint I used bleach, or more correctly toilet cleaner. I had it in a dish and rolled it out. The colour very quickly came away. 

But the freezer paper did its job and gave quite a nice results in a matter of minutes. (I did need to get it int he was quickly to stop the bleaching process)


Friday, February 7

Boys Gift Guide

With a spring in my step, I headed out to the shops on a mission. Birthday shopping. Ugh. Obviously not for my boys but for their mates. This is always quite a challenge because shopping for boys is difficult at the best of times, and when your knowledge of them is limited, it is even harder. Personally I now tend to shy away from Lego packs, especially for a party because there is a tendency for duplication. With Lego out of the mix you need to be a little more creative. I thought I would share with you a couple of the goodies I got:

11 year old boy:
These are notoriously difficult. If it is a big party we tend to all put in to get whatever the boy is into- a basketball hoop or ball, music vouchers, speakers etc. Xandy is the only one celebrating so no option to put in.

The first part is my go to - a hand decorated tshirt. This way I can personalise the gift a little. He isn't particularly sporty, but enjoys fencing, so I cut the 'en garde' on my Silhouette using freezer paper and painted it white on a kmart basic tshirt.

To go with this I got some cycling sunglasses. They come in a good little bag, and we thought they would be useful given the boys are doing bike ed at school in preparation for a cycling school camp.


7 year old boy - twins mate.

These are the ones I struggle with the most, especially since both boys are invited to the party, they both need to do the gifting thing. This particular boy is a bright little button, who has a love of maths. I wanted to get a game for him along math lines.
At the game shop there isn't a lot but I decided on this one- Sleeping Queens which we got for Christmas. Lots of addition in this and simple to play.
From the other twin we got a skateboard. It was on special at Kmart. When giving pairs of presents I like to give something fun and something practical. Then I swap which boy is giving that particular thing.


4 year old boy - into Spy's and Pirates.

There are plenty of spy kits and accessories out there - the big issue is that he is only turning 4. While he is bright, he is still a bit too young for code cracking things. I needed to get creative on this one and realized that he liked to pretend to be a spy, so in reality it is all about the outfit.
A quick trot around kmart lead me to gather this collection of goodies - which tallied up to about $25.
Black tshirt; Black knit shorts; black kids sunglasses; a small torch; binoculars; a stop watch; a black notepad and a black mens toiletries bag.
I wrapped each item with black paper and labelled it with white pen. Like SUPER SPY TSHIRT, SUPER SPY TORCH. This also made the items look like they are meant to be together. Then I packed them all inside the toiletries bag which had plastic zip pockets inside - perfect for keeping all his spy gear together. 


Finally I labelled the bag in the same way.











Thursday, February 6

Crying games

Mum didn't have a good day yesterday. Dad brought her over for a visit, but she only managed the couch. She had a headache and has difficulty managing the pain. When I say that, over the day she took two panadol. One at 2 and one at 4. Just regular panadol - not forte or anything. Just the basic stuff. I say that because I will pop 2 panadol if I have a little twinge before it goes anywhere, or even sometimes, just in case! It obviously got worse, and she was visibly sick. The boys were upset by it and Dad managed to get her home, but of course we were all worried about her.
She is apparently doing better today, but again when you can't see, you don't really know. I went off to my pilates class to relieve some stress and just really to forget about it all. How wrong I was. The myotherapist who treats dad was there and up for a chat. I was telling her about it when my instructor came in. She wasn't really aware of the extent of her illness, because I don't need to talk about it all the time, but in explaining I was getting upset. Rather than moving on and letting me get under control and not cry, she was pushing me more into it (in a nice way).
What she was trying to do was getting me to move through it rather than continuing to suppress it. She put me down the back and encouraged me to cry. Giving me privacy and the occasional prod to keep letting it out. Also movements to help the energy move.
Much as it sounds hippy dippy, it actually worked. I am not cured if there is even such a thing, but it made me feel better. There was no one hugging me trying to console me. I was allowed to just be. The only problem was in opening those flood gates, I didn't know how to close them. I couldn't stop. I was all sooky at home and even at school and basketball training, people are asking for an update and I am bawling all over the place. Not from sadness, just because I can't stop. What was good it that it gave them, and me, the opportunity to talk about it. I'd rather people know and feel able to talk than tiptoeing around. One of my friends recently lost her mother, wrote me a lovely note with this poem:

Hapy little memories go flitting though my mind
All in my thoughts and memories I always seem to find
The picture of your face, Mother; the memory of your touch
And all teh other little things, I've come to treasure so much
You cannot go beyond my thoughts or leave my love behing
Because I keep you in my hear and forever on my mind.

Saturday, February 1

Shop On

I work for my girlfriend in her stationery shop. I say work lightly, because it doesn't really feel like work because it is fun. I say that I get to play shops. I work once a week, have the flexibility to do what I want in the shop, merchandising etc (within reason of course) and then go home. I do however want her to do well and make lots of money. Then at least I can keep playing shops.

Today I got the opportunity to go to the gift fair with her, which is a bit of a treat. This is the smaller one based in Melbourne and unlike last time, we went in with a plan and a much better idea of our customer. We visited our regular suppliers, got some new stock and some top up stock and nothing too
'hipster'.

The main goal of this trade fair, would you believe, is Christmas!! Yes, next week in Sydney all the wholesalers are displaying their Christmas 14 wares to pick. Personally I am so over Christmas that the idea of looking at it is a drag. Having said that we have a much clearer idea of what moves and what doesn't. What is too much and what is a good seller. I think we will have a much better handle on Christmas this year and are ready for the challenge!!