Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lucy Pevensie - the costume finished

This blog was started, in part, in an attempt to keep me focused on finishing projects... I'm getting the projects finished, but not getting the blog posts finalised. D'oh that's not how it was supposed to work!

Lets get this one published so there is one less project on my "yet to be blogged" list.

The monster's school festival of stories really well and the costume came together beautifully.

Drawing the pattern for the dress.
Yes - my kitchen bench is my sewing work space.
The banana cake you can see cooling here was
really yummy :)
I used a lightweight pale blue corduroy for the bodice and skirt of the dress and almost identical colour satin and some other gauzy material (can't remember what the label said it was) for the sleeves.

Making the muslin for the dress was a great idea and really helped me to get the sizing right (except for the sleeves - I really struggled with them and they ended up being a bit wonky but they were mostly hidden under the cloak anyway so no biggie.).

Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie
wearing the inspiration
coronation outfit.
The cloak I made with a red velveteen fabric, lined with more of the pale blue satin. There was no way I was going to be able to find a suitable cloak fabric with a similar pattern to what Lucy has so on the outside of the cloak I just used gold fabric paint and a stencil. I also, despite searching craft and dollar stores, couldn't find a suitable gold medallion closure for the cloak so we used gold rope and tied a simple bow.

Overall even though it's not exactly accurate I'm really happy with how it all turned out.

More importantly, the monster was thrilled with her costume, even when the best costume award (to be honest I had no idea they intended to give awards) went to one of her classmates who arrived for the parade dressed in a large cardboard box; she came as the wardrobe! personally I thought it was a rather clever costume choice, but the monster just kept saying "But mum... it's a box! She was wearing a cardboard box!". Oh well... another life lesson for the monster... the important part of the whole exercise was getting her to read the book and ending up with a costume that she was happy with, not to win awards.

Grr! another sideways image! Darn blogger!
The finished costume on the monster as she headed off to school
(Ignore the hideous blue and yellow pokemon bag -
that's not part of the costume! )

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Gift quilt

I had been considering making something special and personalised for our niece's 1st birthday, but in my usual style I forgot until the week of the birthday came around. Oops.

In a mad panic and with a zillion ideas in my head but nothing concrete to work off - quilt, clothes, soft toy - off I went to Spotlight. Of course they had the perfect fabrics to inspire my creative side - gorgeous Eric Carle quilting fabrics! Panels and patterns of caterpillars, butterflies, food and dots all in the same brilliant colours and styles used to illustrate the children's book!

What toddler (and parent) doesn't love the story of the very hungry caterpillar? Its a classic that never goes out of fashion.

With the birthday fast approaching I didn't really have time to get too intricate and I didn't want to risk trying too many new techniques in case I mucked it up so in the end I went with a  fairly simple improvised strip layout quilt.

I took one of each of the thee large panels that show the progression of the caterpillars' life - a tiny caterpillar on a leaf, a large caterpillar and a butterfly;  added wide strips of caterpillar pattern either side and then alternated these wide 'focus' strips with narrower strips of the coordinating food pattern (one red apple, two green pears, three purple plums...). I had initially planned for it to be a cot or lap sized quilt but in the end it came out at something pretty close to single bed size which is fine in this case.

I think it would be pretty difficult to make something ugly with these fabrics, but even so I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's busy with all those patterns competing with each other, but deliberately so.

The finished  Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt (front view)
Grr! blogger keeps rotating it on me - just tilt your head to the left :)

I wanted something reasonably dark on the back of the quilt (compared to the mostly white front anyway) so it could be thrown on the floor or on the grass at the park without worries about stains. I ended up going with a single piece of red fabric with rainbow circles.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt (back)

The quilting was kept really minimal - just stitched in the ditch on all the strip and panel seams plus a couple of extra straight lines following the patterns on the fabric. I hope that's enough. I probably should have done some more quilting, maybe outlined the large image on the panels and some random pattern on the expanses of panel, but it seemed to hold together pretty well.

A solid, bright red binding (machine attached) and a fussy-cut rectangle of the caterpillar fabric for the label completed the quilt.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt (coordinating label)  
The finish of the quilt is still not quite at the quality level that I want it to be, but it works and I'm getting better with each quilt I make.  I learnt a couple of things from this quilt:

  1. I really need to practice and improve my hand stitching - that label probably took longer to attach than it took to make the rest of  the quilt and the stitching is nowhere near invisible (or even particularly neat); and 
  2. I need to try to get closer to the edge of the binding fabric when I'm machine binding.
 I'm told the quilt was well received and has been getting a ton of use over recent weeks which makes me super happy - after all what's the point of a quilt if not to be rolled around on, snuggled with and used? I hope the special little girl that received this quilt continues to enjoy it and gets lots of use from it.


Sunday, 22 September 2013


Lets get back into some clothes sewing. It's not Halloween yet (not that we actually celebrate Halloween in our household) but it is costume time again!

This week the monster's school will be holding their "Festival of Stories" and the children are being asked to dress up as their favourite character  from the book they are studying in class.  I love that they have specified the class study book this time around - previous years it has been open to whatever their favourite character is from any book. With the monster being as indecisive as me it becomes a drama just choosing who she will go as.

The class is currently reading the C.S.Lewis novel "The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe" and the monster has nominated Lucy Pevensie, the youngest of the siblings, as her favourite character (I was dreading that she would choose Aslan or Mr Tumnus!).
Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie
wearing the inspiration
coronation outfit.

After looking through some images from the 2005 movie adaptation of the novel together we've decided on Lucy's coronation outfit.

It should be a relatively simple project - a fairly plain, pale blue long dress embellished with some jewels and a red cloak with gold stenciling.

This project has given me an excuse to visit Spotlight for some supplies and now I think I'm ready to make a start. Living in the tropics as we do I won't be using heavy velvet for this dress but I think the fabric I've chosen will still work reasonably well and give the look we're after.

I haven't found a pattern for the dress that seems exactly right so I'm going to try to draft my own and then make a muslin before attempting the actual costume. I'm using a tutorial from ikat bag for the body sizing and the monster has been very patient standing still for almost an hour as I took all the various measurements.

Now its time to draw it up and get sewing. Watch out for more progress on this costume over the next few days.

Have fun


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

More justification of the pinterest addiction - Food!

Its been a while now since my last post like this but I am still making a conscious effort to not just browse for hours but actually use stuff I find so here's's a few more pinterest reviews. This time the focus is squarely on food.

Raw walnut brownies

Raw walnut brownies by The Wannabe Chef
This one ticks all the right boxes - dairy, egg and refined sugar free, lots of good oils from the nuts. Such a simple idea, super healthy and surprisingly really yummy.

I just processed all the ingredients together (minus the water - it wasn't necessary), rolled the mix into bite-sized balls and popped them in the fridge. I was a bit skeptical because the mix looks really crumbly but I found that as long as they are rolled/shaped firmly there is no problem with the balls holding together, especially after they've been in the fridge for a little while.

Next time I make these I might substitute half the walnuts for almonds or maybe add a smidge of vanilla just to slightly lessen that distinct bitter walnut smell that we got hit with each time we opened the sealed container I had stored them in - the walnut taste was really not that strong but the aroma could be a little bit off-putting if you are not a big walnut fan.

These are a great healthy alternative to chocolate, cake or biscuits when you have that late-afternoon or after dinner sugar craving. Because there is absolutely nothing unhealthy in these it was great not having to be constantly saying no whenever the monster asked for "just another chocolate".

Healthy Gummy Bears

These are the absolute best things ever!! I could eat these all day long.

I've made these a few times now and have tried banana, vanilla-raspberry and mixed berry flavored varieties. Sadly I don't have a mini bear shape cutter so I've had to make do with little cubes cut with a knife but I don't think that affects the taste too much :)

Its so simple
  • 1 Cup  Fruit Juice 
  • 2 Cups Fresh or frozen fruit 
  • 5 Tbsp Unflavored gelatin 
  • 1  Tbsp honey. 
Simmer the fruit and juice together in a pot until soft, let it cool a bit, add honey, puree until smooth. Add gelatin, blend/puree some more and pour into a tray.

Refrigerate until firmly set (I usually just leave overnight), cut into pieces with a sharp knife and transfer pieces to an airtight container. Store in the fridge.

Only a couple of little, but important notes with this one:
  • If you use fruit with lots of little seeds eg strawberries or raspberries remember to strain the cooked fruit before adding the gelatin or your gummy things will be a bit crunchy. 
  • Don't expect these to taste or feel like your traditional artificial store bought gummy bears - they can definitely get "gummy" but its not the same as a gummy bear, and the flavour is that of real fruit, not lollies. They can be as sweet as you make them, but I prefer them a bit tangy so I don't usually add a whole heap of honey to sweeten.

Herb & Citrus Chicken -  Pinned Version

Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken

I made this with skinless chicken lovely legs; other than that it was made exactly as per the recipe.

I thought it was really yummy - juicy, citrus and fresh tasting but the rest of the family didn't enjoy it as much so unfortunately this one won't become a family dinner regular.

Definitely one that is worth a try if your family isn't as fussy as mine.

Slowcooker Apple & cinnamon porridge (oatmeal)

Apple and cinnamon porridge
You remember my aversion to eating in the morning right?  I thought I'd try this recipe in my efforts to make breakfast time less stressful. The idea and the ingredients sound great but sadly this one just didn't cut it.

I set it all in the slowcooker before going to bed and woke in the morning to a heavenly cinnamon smell wafting through the house.

Perhaps I used the wrong variety of apples (I used granny smiths), or maybe the extended cooking time is just not suited to apples because despite the lovely smell this just ended up completely bland and goopy and was a nightmare to clean out of the slowcooker bowl. Great idea, not so great in practice.

Well that's it from me for now. But if you're looking for more food inspiration make sure you head over and check out my favourite new food blog "Baking with Gab" created by my gorgeous cousin Gabby. She makes me hungry just reading her posts and her photography of her delicious delights (and Norman the dog)  is infinitely better than any of the poor quality phone pics that I tend to post here.

Have fun


Monday, 5 August 2013

Show quilt results

After yesterdays' mega-post I decided a shorter, separate post is in order for the results....

It got shown!

I'm probably silly to get excited about that because it is likely that everything submitted gets shown but nonetheless I was excited to see it hanging up on display.

Marble Man hanging under plastic at the show
(Blogger is not letting me post the rotated image grr!
Tilt your head to the right to see quilt as it was hanging)

No prizes (I wasn't expecting any) but when I picked the quilt up attached to it were the judges comments. Having never done this craft/quilt show thing before I didn't realise that I'd get this sort of feedback.

Contrary to my expectations there are some really encouraging comments from the judges. Pretty good for only my second ever quilt I think.

Judges comments - Marble Man 2013
Basically I think it means the judges really liked the design concept but I need to improve on my technique. Some of the things the judges criticised or offered feedback on are things that I was already aware of like the tension balance (probably made more noticeable because I used different coloured top and bottom threads for the quilting) and others are things that I didn't know were required for a show entry (lap quilts must be hand-bound with invisible slip hem stitching??). In most cases the comments give suggestions on things that I can definitely work on for future quilts.

Overall I'm exceptionally happy with how things turned out, so much so that I'm already throwing around ideas for my next one.


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Show quilt

After the weeks of procrastinating pondering and the thousands of ideas and possibilities I  ended up with just a single entry for the local show - the lap quilt. It was only just finished in time but it got done and was submitted by the deadline.

So what did I enter? Do you remember the original concepts from this post? I ended up going for one of the simplest designs, the one I was calling "Marble Run" at the time.
"Marble Run"
My concept design for the quilt
(Drawn using Inkscape)
The design was heavily influenced by a similar quilt by Cynthia of Ahhh...Quilting that I had seen during a Pinterest session.
Inspiration - "Zigzag Ball Maze Quilt"
by Cynthia of Ahhh...Quilting
I wanted to stick with solids for the front of this quilt and use more negative space to keep the overall look simple with clear lines and bold colours. The green, grey and orange fabrics from my stash worked really well with the design.

The green bars were simple, just slash a strip of each shade and stitch them together with the grey, but the circles were another matter. Who would have thought that circles could be so tricky!

Have you ever watched someone intensely playing a computer or arcade game and laughed as they moved their whole body in an attempt to get their on-screen character or vehicle to move how they want them to, avoid an obstacle or jump just that little bit higher? I'm sure I was doing just the same in front of my sewing machine attaching the circles. I ended up sort of appliqueing the circles to the quilt top using an invisible (clear) top thread and for the most part I think they turned out OK, only one of them really puckered but I was able to unstitch it (thanks for the help Jack) and redo without too much drama.

Selected backing fabric.
Once the circles were attached the quilt front was essentially done. The next step was to decide what to do with the back. I originally had ideas of a pieced back with stars or more circles or something, but in the end I opted for a single piece. I think that a single piece gives more freedom in quilting options for the front.  I selected a dark green fabric with tiny darker green polka dots for the quilt back that I think it ties nicely with the greens on the front.

The next big decision was how to quilt it. I wanted to try my hand at free motion quilting (FMQ) so initially I was going to pebble or meander the entire grey background but after trying it on a coaster sized scrap I realised that it would take me more time than I had available and there was a huge chance that it would just end up looking messy. So in the end the majority of the quilt is done with simple straight line quilting (or as straight as I can sew anyway) - diagonal at about 1.5 inch spacing across the background, and closer lines along the length of the green bars.

Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man"
Although the colour and layout of the quilt was pretty striking, I wanted something that would add a bit of depth or interest or quirkiness - something that made it more than just a few lines and circles...enter Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!  Vitruvian Man is much too detailed for my beginner FMQ skills to replicate, but he definitely inspired the embellishment of the quilt.

Each of the orange circles was quilted with silver thread and contains a figure in a star pose. Each figure is on a different angle to give the impression of tumbling down a marble run. Although the figures were inspired by Vitruvian man, they ended up more like wonky clip art silhouettes rolling down a hill in those silly zorb ball things!

Attaching the binding and a label were the final things to do before the quilt was ready to be submitted. Both were pretty simple - the label was just a rectangle of white fabric hand stitched to the back of the quilt with clothes labeling pen for the text and the binding was machine attached. I used a bright orange polka dot material from the same fabric line as the backing for the binding and the machine binding method explained so well by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.

And thus the quilt was finished! With all the little men tumbling down the quilt I decided to rename it "Marble Man".
"Marble Man"
All that was left was to actually work up the courage to submit it for the show.

Stay tuned for submission and the results....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Introducing Jack

I'd like to introduce you to my newest "frenemy". We've been spending  a lot of time together recently so I thought it only appropriate that it be given a name. This is my seam ripper Jack (AKA Jack the Ripper).

I loathe the fact that it is even necessary to have him in my sewing toolkit, but am so very appreciative of how much faster things are achieved using him than if I were to use my pointy scissors for the same task.

Do you have a love hate relationship with any of your tools?

Isn't that patterned fabric lovely? watch out for upcoming post featuring that one.

Have fun


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Learning from organising

With several projects needing to be finished over the next few weeks and an almost unheard of few hours of relatively quiet spare time this evening you'd think I'd be getting  into those projects right? Wrong. I'm procrastinating again and justifying it as organising.

I did start the evening on a slightly productive note - I properly drafted up and worked out material requirements and a cut list for the show lap quilt. I now know exactly which fabrics I'm going to use, how much of each fabric and how I need to cut all the pieces to achieve the end result (for the quilt front anyway). I even have the particular fabrics here at hand all ready to make a physical start on the quilt. But instead of moving on to starting I re-folded and reorganised my entire fabric stash.

It needed to be done at some point anyway, but it probably didn't really need to be tonight. So after several hours sitting on the living room floor up to my neck in fabric I've come to some conclusions:

  1. I need to acquire fabrics less often and sew more often. 
  2. When I do go fabric shopping I should probably limit myself to only the fabric, and the volume of fabric, required to complete the project I'm working on.
  3. When I buy fabric for a specific project I need to actually make that project.
  4. I need to get back into sewing clothing - there's a lot of really lovely garment fabrics in this pile.
  5. I need to quilt more - so many varied quilting fabrics here. I really had no idea that I'd accumulated this much.
  6. I need to take more care folding my fabrics neatly when I get them so I don't need to iron quite as heavily when I decide to pull something from the stash to start a project.
  7. I need a new iron.
I haven't even started on the yarn or the bead stash yet but just looking at them I think I can pretty confidently substitute yarn/beads for fabric in those first three items on my list above.

I really do need to get stuck into some serious creating this weekend so hopefully things remain quiet and I can get some stuff done.

Until later


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Show Quilts 2: Wall hanging / pictorial art decisions

With the lap quilt mostly decided the next one is the wall hanging or pictorial art quilt.

There are so many concepts swirling around in my head at the moment I could probably do ten different quilts! Not that I'm going to - I just don't have the time for that right now.

The show guidelines specify a maximum size of 1.5m x 1.5m but as long as it doesn't exceed that maximum it could be any size or shape that I want. Creativity in fabric choice, embellishment, piecing and quilting technique is encouraged in this category.

Most of my ideas could fall into 3 broad categories - places, animals and abstracts. 


So I could do a stylised landscape. Something along the lines of the one below - simple lines, simple quilting, easily recognisable as a landscape but not necessarily anywhere in particular.
Stylised landscape
Or I could try to recreate a photo image like one of the ones below. It would obviously end up being much less detailed than the actual photos (in reality they would probably turn out a lot like the quilt in the picture above). I do really like the last image though - there's some definite scope for experimenting with different techniques and fabrics, possibly even some mesh or lace to represent the seafoam?

Another one that came into my head the other night that I just can't seem to shake is to recreate a map - I'm specifically thinking about a cyclone tracking map. I'd probably need to simplify it slightly (omit the scale bar and the text used for place names, dates and times) but I can see this coming together in my head - only a few fabrics, different coloured stitching for the coastline, cyclone track and warning circles an possibly a thin translucent fabric overlaid/appliqued on top of the quilt for the grey/shaded area?


How about using mostly a single fabric and using the quilting stitches to give shape, texture and definition? A closeup of a green tree python or a frog in a duckweed filled pond would be perfect for this kind of thing.

Or a more cuddly animal, using faux fur for the actually critter?


While I'm calling this category abstracts, not all of them really are. I guess these are the ideas that just aren't animals or places. As there is the option of doing a slightly more traditional quilt as a wall hanging I've also included those more "quilty" inspirations here.

As I said before - so many options and ideas. I think I might put this one aside for now, focus on getting the lap quilt done first and then revisit it. Four weekends to go until submission date....

Have fun.


A little note on the images in this post: none of the images that I've posted above as my inspirations are my own and I know that I've not credited them to anyone - I've been pulling images of things that pique my interest from the web for weeks but sadly I've  neglected to keep track of where they've all come from - if any of these are yours please let me know and I'll either add credit or remove them if you wish .

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Show Quilts - too many ideas!

So I went ahead and submitted my entries for the show. I couldn't decide which one so I'm entered in four categories!

It sounds like I may have bitten off more than I can chew but I'm not too stressed about it simply because if I do make the deadline then I will have forced myself to complete projects that I had been wanting to do anyway which would be wonderful. If I don't end up with a suitable entry by the deadline for one (or more) of the categories it doesn't really matter; the entry fee for each category was next to nothing so I'm not losing tonnes if I don't make it.

I already know what I'm doing for the bag and knitting categories, those are just a matter of getting stuck in and doing it; the quilt categories though? I have so many ideas running around in my head!

I've entered in two quilting categories:

  • LAP QUILT max size 1.5m x 1.5m
  • PICTORIAL ART OR WALL HANGING, (pictorial quilt must portray a recognisable subject). Maximum size 1.2m x 1.2m. Exhibits must demonstrate some of the following elements: creative piecing, embellishments, creative stitching, and innovative quilting.

As well as the official requirements I've also got a few of my own parameters:
  • Must not be too intricate or time consuming - I've only got 5 weeks to pull this off so I don't want to be spending weeks cutting and piecing millions of tiny little blocks!
  • While being simple in design/piecing they still need to be interesting enough to draw in the viewer/judges.
  • At least one of the quilts must incorporate shades of green solids - I bought several shades of green fabric last weekend and I need to justify the purchase by actually using them in the near future (the other half was with me when I bought them).
  • Must use washable fabrics and no large expanses of pale colour (the exception to this would be if I decide to do a wall hanging or really arty quilt for the 2nd category). If I keep the quilts after the show I want to be able to actually use them.  I don't want to have them languish in a cupboard or drawer because I'd need to clean them all the time or be worried that a small coffee stain or something might ruin the niceness. A quilt is meant to be seen and used and loved.
So with the design parameters in mind I've been looking through all my inspiration pins and playing around in inkscape trying to decide what I'll do.

I've narrowed it down to six options (listed below in no particular order) that would be viable as a lap or baby/cot sized quilt. Some of these are very heavily based on the inspiration quilts but with differences in colour choice, quilting and placement of elements they should end up fairly unique.

Lap quilt option 1:
Green Gradient
Option 1: Green Gradient
Its simple (therefore super fast to put together)
Should be offset nicely with really simple straight line quilting
Is it too simple?
If I mess up the alignment of blocks or quilting even slightly its going to be glaringly obvious when its hung up and on show.

Lap quilt option 2:
Grass Clippings

Option 2: Grass Clippings
Inspired by all the  shattered glass quilt that I've been eyeing off recently.
Intricate quilting probably not needed on the bulk of the quilt..
The slash and strip method to make the blocks doesn't need accuracy or lots of measuring (variation is a good thing with these blocks).
Is it too busy looking?
Will it be too time consuming?
There's a lot of pale fabric (might be possible to invert the colours?)

Lap quilt option 3:
Option 3: Stars
Great opportunities for interesting quilting in the background areas.
I haven't done stars/triangles in a quilt yet - it would be a steep learning curve.
Green doesn't really work with this design (but I could use the greens with the other  quilt category or the bag).

Lap quilt option 4:
Option 4: Bubbles
I love circles
Too retro?
Has potential to look messy.
Perfect circles are tricky.
Could get a bit bulky and stiff where all the circles lay on top of each other.

Lap Quilt option 5:
Marble Run
Option 5: Marble Run
Possibly needs up to 3 different quilting techniques/patterns on the different elements

Lap quilt option 6:
Option 6: Drippy
It looks simple and elegant
There is a bit more cutting and piecing involved in this one than some of the other options

All of the possibilities are probably achievable in the time I have available and I really like them all. Unfortunately there is no way that I will have time to make six different quilts just so I can have the option of being able to decide later which one to enter. See the dilemma?

Which one do you like best?


Ruffle quilt finished

I've been meaning to post this for over a week now... here it is. The final episode in the monster's ruffle quilt saga.

Does anyone remember from earlier posts the fabric I had selected for the monster's ruffle quilt? I had pulled the materials from my stash, bought a few small pieces, salvaged/re-purposed stuff from the old clothes donation pile and even got some at the local op-shop.
You do remember those fabric photos? Well why the heck didn't you tell me at the time that the combination  was hideous? Honestly though I should have been able to see for myself, or at least from the photos above, that it wasn't going to work. I must have had blinkers on because I spent hours and hours cutting and ruffling all that fabric only to lay it all out and decide that it was ugly, really ugly, none of it worked together. I'm kind of glad my old laptop died so I don't feel obliged to post the (now irretrievable) pictorial evidence of this fabric choice/layout disaster.

The monster thought that it needed more purple - bright purple specifically - so off we went to the fabric store in the hope of finding something that would magically tie all those ugly fabrics together into an amazing cohesive quilt. We came home with two possibles - a bright purple fabric with white polka dots and another with coloured spots... still it didn't really work. We even tried using only the bright purples with just the plain pale pink and white fabrics from the original pile.
Fabric choice attempt #3 Purples and pale - not the look I was after
Still no winner it just wasn't coming together like the picture in my head, and definitely nothing like the original inspiration image.

I was getting a bit frustrated and dejected by this point but I'm stubborn and was determined to get a ruffle quilt done for the monster.

I really liked the colour combination in the spotty fabric so I stashed a little scrap of it in my handbag, walked around with it in my bag for over a week, looking at it every time I put anything in or out of the bag and finally took myself off to the fabric store yet again. I found a variety of solids and more dots that I thought might go together with the purple/coloured spots fabric and back to ruffling I went.

Its been a long time coming (2 months overdue by my self imposed schedule) but its finally finished. Hooray!

Its by no means perfect but the monster loves it so much that I haven't even had a chance to retrieve it from her bed to take proper photos of it. I will get around to that at some point, but for now the occasionally blurry, unadjusted phone pics are going to have to do.

It was a long process (made longer by my own poor choices) but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out in the end. I hope you like it too.


More on the ruffle quilt:
Quilting Quandries
Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles

Saturday, 8 June 2013

To show or not to show?

Entries for the local show close next Friday and I'm torn. Do I enter or not? and if I do, what do I enter? I've never entered anything in a show/competition and its a bit of a scary thought but I'm up for a bit of a challenge.

Just to be clear, the entry forms need to be completed and submitted by next Friday but the actual item doesn't need to be finished and handed over until a month later.

I don't really have anything on hand at the moment that is finished and that I think is suitable to show but there are a few projects on my WIP and to-do lists that could probably be done in time.

So below are the entry classes that I've been contemplating - I wouldn't enter all of them, just tossing around ideas at the moment and seeing if any of them would actually be doable.

SEWING - CREATIVE CHALLENGE, make a wearable garment for $30 or less (receipts must be provided) originality is encouraged.
I could definitely make something for less than $30. Whether it would be suitable to enter is another matter entirely.

SEWING - RECESSION REVAMP, Update your clothes, supply a photograph of original garment before make over.  Judged on originality.
I could refashion some old items of clothing. My issue with this category is that I don't have a strong vision yet of what my entry piece would be.

I tend to lean towards clothing refashions that end up as entirely different items - would a clothing item turned into a bag for example be eligible for this category?

So many quilting ideas filling my brain at the moment - art quilts, basic patchworks, table runners, coasters, bags etc. I know how long the last quilt took me and although I'm proud of it, it was nowhere near show quality.

Could I make a show quality quilt in time? And if so what category?

I could possibly enter the knitted vest I've been working on since Christmas. If I actually put in the effort I could have that done in time. I'm really iffy on this option because the vest is pretty plain and simple, I don't know that it would stand up in comparison to some of the fabulous knitted works I've seen displayed at previous years shows.  

BAGS, evening/shoulder, any medium, any size
I don't recall seeing bag entries displayed in previous years so I'm not sure what the competition would be like. I have a couple of options for entry though.

I really want to have a go at recreating some of the gorgeous Bodhi hanbags SS09 collection. If I could pull it off, one of these would definitely be entry material and would fit into the category without any problem, but I'd need to actually pull it off first.

The other more practical option in this category (for me anyway) would be a laptop bag. I replaced my laptop a few weeks ago and sadly it doesn't fit in the old bag. I haven't found an appropriately sized, commercially produced bag that I really like so I was planning on making a custom bag for it over the next few days anyway.. but I'm not sure if a laptop bag really fits into that category - I'm planning a shoulder strap, but would it be considered a shoulder bag?

After all that I'm even less sure about whether I should enter or not. So many options, so little time....

Wow! Monster post with no pics! Are you still here reading?  Sorry about that. Sometimes I think this blog is turning into a diary more than anything else but writing things really does help me get my thoughts into some sort of logical order so as long as you're happy to go along with it all well and good.

Until next time


Friday, 7 June 2013

I want your pants

Pants - image taken from Harris Scarfe website
 Keep your clothes on! I don't want the ones you're wearing right now!

With winter approaching fast if you've pulled out your winter wardrobe and discovered that some of your well loved denim jeans, skirts or jackets don't fit as well as they used to or have reached the end of their useful life STOP! Don't bin them - send them my way! I'd be happy to take them off your hands and I'm even happy to pay for the postage (within Aus) if you're not local so there's no cost to you.

You might even see you favourite old jeans made into something new right here on the blog.

Leave a comment or contact me personally and I'll be in touch to arrange collection or postage.



Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pinned - fighting or feeding the Pinterest addiction?

I've become such a Pinterest addict over the last few months its bordering on ridiculous. I've gone from not even having heard of the site at Christmas to having 12 boards and over 2000 "pins" (check out all my boards and pins here). I could easily lose a weekend scrolling through images dreaming and scheming (with a few laughs and some drooling at pretty boys thrown in for good measure - it can't always be crafting and cooking and homey stuff!).

So I don't feel like a complete addict wasting all of my time on the silly site, I've decided to actually put some of those 2000+ pins to use - try some stuff, make some stuff, generally do something more active than just look. It could be said that its just an excuse to keep browsing the site day after day, but whatever, I'm having fun at the moment just trying stuff out.

So what have I been up to so far you ask?

Well, there was the baked oatmeal casserole that I mentioned in an earlier post.
This is what the pinned image looked like:

And this is how mine turned out (after the custard pouring and cooking obviously):
It was sooo yummy and the smell while it was cooking was just divine - cinnamon and sweet - it was making me so hungry I couldn't wait to try it as soon as it came out of the oven.
A definite win!

Then there was the lemon sugar scrub, billed as giving you "Super Silky Summer Legs".
I really wasn't sure about this one as I mixed it up. How could anything so simple (its only got 3 ingredients)  and obviously foodstuff have this magical effect of making my super dry, nasty legs silky and summery? Well I was definitely proven wrong. My legs felt awesome after using this - it exfoliated so well and made my skin feel so nice that I ended up using it all over - legs, arms, face.

There were a couple of really minor downsides to this one:
  1. The bathroom ended up kind of oily, its impossible not to slop this goopy stuff around when you're scrubbing this all over yourself. Even followed with a bit of a wipe with soapy cleany stuff  and a scalding hot water rinse down the shower walls and floor still felt a tiny bit oily - really it was barely noticeable, but I was warning everyone else in the house for the next 2 days to be very careful not to slip when they showered .
  2. Although my skin felt wonderfully smooth and moisturised I felt like every time I got even slightly heated (pretty much any time I stepped out of the air-conditioning here in the tropics) that my pores, especially my legs, were oozing olive oil - they weren't, but it felt like they were.
Even with the downsides, the benefits of this one outweigh the negatives for me. I might use a bit less olive oil next time and be more careful not to slop so much around the bathroom but I'll definitely be using this again.
Another win!

As with most of my web-browsing the monster has been looking over my shoulder a lot and has gotten really interested in macramé/beading/bracelet making - I've now got a whole board dedicated to jewellery, string & rope stuff and a shopping bag full of embroidery and crochet thread in every colour of the rainbow not to mention boxes of beads all over the place. We're working through some of the different type of friendship bracelets together - no pics of these, they generally get taken to school and gifted to the monsters friends almost as fast as we can churn them out, but its keeping the monster busy. I'm stunned at how dextrous her little fingers are getting - she's a braiding whiz!

Quiet mum & daughter time creating stuff - yet another win!

There's a few other bits and pieces that I've tried over the last few weeks but most of them are just common sense or practical, boring, cleaning type things that I just needed a gentle reminder about to go and try again so I won't share them all now. There are still quite a few more things on my "To do list" pinterest board so as I get to them I'm sure I'll be writing more about them.

Have fun and beware the addictive nature of Pinterest! :)