Monday, November 30, 2009

the advent calendar

is progressing well.

It's not finished, nowhere near it in fact. But we have managed to finish six of the 25 pockets for the little activity messages to go in.  We added the star at the top of the tree so we know what we are heading towards, and to give it a sort of balance as we worked.  It is made from three layers of felt and hand embroidered with the letter 25.

Underneath the tree, we added a pile of pressies.  The ones in the background have stitching to imitate the twine wrapped around the presents and have  gift tags, one for each member of our family.

The five presents in the front, those with ribbon or ricrac on them, are all pockets. Their little gift tags are free hanging and made from felt and tied with a little embroidery thread.  I must say the writing embriodery program on my machine is making some of this work much much easier!!

And the first of the decorations for the tree. Lily and I made these little candy canes out of squares of white paper and some red texta and sticky tape; easy peasy.  

So now I have a couple of days' grace while we work through the first five days! 

I'll update with our progress later this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

creative space

Given it's nearly December, I decided in a rush of crafting blood this morning that it was high time I made the kiddies an advent calendar.   And as with all spur of the moment projects, this one is currently being created with materials all on hand. My aim is to not buy anything for it at all (apart from thread) but just use what's here.

Lily and I sat down this morning for a little bit of designing and chat about what we would make. I'm not going to share all our plans here, they are rather ambitious and that way if we don't achieve our plan I won't be embarrassed.  Let's just say this calendar may be a couple of festive seasons project.  

Finding a fabric for the background was the first challenge.  Initially I was thinking some calico would be the go but I didn't have enough.  After an extensive rummage we settled on some very pale mint heavy weight denim; 1 metre by 60cm wide.

After an afternoon session at gymnastics with a walk there and back in the rain, I got down to some sewing. This is what we've accomplished thus far. U-huh. doesn't look like much really.  And now that I see the tree from a distance I think I would have liked it to be narrower. Mmm, I guess all that won't be as noticeable once it's decorated.

Construction wise, the tree is made from leftovers from Lily's mermaid skirt, the netting part actually. It is stitched along the sparkly lines to some black interfacing. Of course, the only black interfacing I have is not iron on.  I've then appliqued it to the denim using a 7mm wide satin stitch, ahum.  yep, that's a lot of satin stitch but it really was the best way to do it to get the look I want. 

Things I learnt: 
1. mesh netting is still crap to work with, particularly when appliquing.
2. When working with such a massive applique piece (60cm  tall)  the good stuff is perhaps a little sticky and hard to manage without sticking to other bit incidents. Best to stick with the cheap vliesofix (unfortunately, I had none on hand though)
3. It is Murphy's Law that children always fight and hurt each other when you're in the middle of applique.

Some more progress on this as it happens, hopefully.

More creative spaces over at kootoyoo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

hot and not

I was going to post about a couple of things that I'm loving at the moment but then I stumbled across this meme posty thing over at loobylu and decided to join in, so here we go:


I am so totally in love and impressed with these little bathers that arrived for Lily today from Lil Ludy.  A big yay for sweatshop free, ethically and Australian designed and made bathers featuring one-off prints with a great ethos behind them. I love that they are also fully lined and so completely funky to boot. I'm a little jealous that they aren't mine.

Oh how I love the simple beauty of Chook Leaf shoes.  These two pairs have found their way into our house recently, Lily was desperately in need of a new pair of shoes. I was so surprised and excited when she chose the green pair, my absolute favourite.  Equally exciting was the realisation that I could get a pair too as my foot fits in to the largest kids size.

itti bitti nappies. What can I say?
Very very very happy to have a couple of funky pul outers arriving here for the smiley boy to wear over Summer.  I love the d'lishs but gee, I think I love these more :D 

A little secret surprise I'm putting away for Lily for Christmas arrived this afternoon.  It is a beautiful hand-dyed rainbow redondo skirt from the very talented Willow and Moo. How lucky were we to get a custom with the lovely Sara? How much is Lily going to love twirling in this?!!!


A sour note: I'm a little bugged by people who think it is okay to rip off, steal or borrow someone else's creative idea, design or pattern, be it in whole or part, and call it their own. This is not just something that has and is happening to me, but I see it more and more in the creative community. Be inspired, yes.  Emulate, yes. But don't steal or copy please.  Please be respectful of the fact that creative ideas are property, if you don't go around stealing people's bikes don't steal their crafty designs and ideas. If you do steal bikes, well this probably means nothing to you anyway.

Westfield Shopping Centre Gift Cards: it was bad enough that I had to go there, bleh! But then no major stores in Westfield accept these Gift Cards, very handy indeed. When I finally found one that did that was actually worth shopping at, the card didn't work as it wasn't validated properly. 

Sakata Seaweed Biscuits: and whoever the "genius" was there who thought it was a good idea to "improve" their biscuits by putting crap in them!!! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

oh, the shame, the shame!!!

Every knitter, and probably most crafters, I know has some of these. You know, those long term UFOs that are hidden at the back of a cupboard or stuffed in a corner somewhere in a knitting bag. You pick them up sporadically here and there, mainly out of guilt, which usually doesn't last too long before they are shoved back into their hidey hole.

Well, I'm pleased to say that October was my month for knocking off a couple of these UFOs. Yay for me!! And you know what? They were both adult sized garments!!! Double yay!!  

The impetus for this?  I really really want to knit Laura Chau's Honeybee cardigan.
But I gave myself a stern talking to and decided I wasn't allowed to start another garment for me until I finished the two that were on the needles. And amazingly enough, I actually listened to myself and did finish them.

This first garment is Something Red by Wendy Bernard. Looking at my Rav notes, I started this in September 2007. oops!  

I'm blaming the fact that I frogged a great deal of this for it taking so long.  I knit this out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece as a dk weight yarn on 4mm needles so made a few mods to the pattern sizing. In the initial knit, I didn't like the depth of the armholes. Unfortunately, I only discovered this when I was a good way into the ribbing... so I ripped back and redid them.

Embarrassingly enough, when I picked this up to finish it, it only had four rows to go on the body!!!  I still have to sew the button on though despite finishing it a month ago now.

And I do actually wear it!!!

I'm not so sure why this second one took so long either, as when I picked it up there wasn't a great deal to go BUT I did gain an important lesson in why you shouldn't leave such projects so long. When I was seaming this up (bleh!) I discovered I'd knit two backs, hmm, very handy indeed.

Anyway, this one is the Zig Zag Rib Vest by Jo Sharp.

Initially, when I finished it I was a bit ho hum about it. It is very boxy in shape and a bit shorter than I personally would like.  I can see why the model on the actual pattern is seated.  but you know, I actually have worn it quite a bit around home, I really do like a good vest.  

According to my notes, I actually started this in July 2007.  What was I doing in 2007 starting and not finishing two adult garments?  Who know? 

Now it's time to cast on a few new things, and whistle airily and continue to ignore those few other longterm UFOs gathering dust in my craft room.

Friday, November 20, 2009

the japanese skirt

Today, I was politely informed this morning, I was to make the Japanese skirt.


Would you believe that from all the truly Japanese prints in my stash, this is the one Lily chose?  Amy Butler's Daisychain print.  Superb, huh!

So again, some simple rotary cutting for the basic shapes and another new skirt was to be had. I wish it were mine.  
I had planned a zip for this one, but Lily wanted elastic waist as the zip would be too hard for her to manage.  I decided to go for a separate waistband to cut down on the bulk around the waist that comes from  such a full skirt.

Apparently, it is exactly as she has always wanted and will wear it until she is 18. Awww, I might just make her that dress tomorrow she has planned for me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

creative space

I'm jumping back on the creative space bandwagon in an effort to blog a little more.  Lily has gymnastics on Thursday in the afternoon so I find I don't often create during the day on a Thursday.  Today, however, Lily asked me to make her a skirt, not just any skirt, but one out of Japanese fabric.  Aha, I have a little of that in my stash.  

So off we went to the sewing room to rummage through the fabric bin and choose some fabrics.  Lily unfortunately is easily swayed by all things pink and pretty and her vision of a blue Japanese fabric skirt quickly went out the window when she spotted butterfly fabric. Every piece of butterfly fabric was dragged out and assessed for the job. Mmmm, I do seem to have a lot of butterfly fabric too.

Her final choice was a cheap little cotton which matched up with some cute little pink floral.  Some simple rotary cutting and not too much later we had a skirt.

We also had fun making these little racing car dudes, not the healthiest of treats but lily was so disappointed we didn't get to make them for Toby's birthday party (which we had to cancel) that I could not refuse her.

more creative spaces over at kootoyoo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

what do you get a one year old boy for his birthday?

a little red wagon of course!

And yes, he loves it.   And took it for a good test run today, complete with his teddy in it. We also bought Toby a teddy bear, as Lily pointed out to us that Toby didn't actually have a teddy bear. This was quite disconcerting for her as she has Gwyneth and Andy and I both still have our childhood teddies. How could Toby not have a teddy bear? So now he does. He has this gorgeous fluffy bright yellow bear whom Lily has dubbed Morris.. original, yes indeedy.

It's hard not to feel quite sentimental about your little one's first birthday. I've found myself thinking all day about what I was doing 12 months ago at that moment. Toby was born just before midday on November 12 2008 so a good part of the waking day I was in labour. The rest I think I spent glowing and staring at that gorgeous little bundle.  Even now, at this late hour of the night I am still thinking about it, I know I would have had him tucked under the crook of my arm either feeding or asleep and I would have been still studying him in awe.

He is a sweet little boy, yes he is definitely a boy now with such a strong and funny little personality.  It's hard not to wax lyrical about what a wonderful year we had with him as a baby, but it's so true.  We really have been blessed, and it's all thanks to the chocolate. Oh yes indeed, the chocolate I consumed in pregnancy certainly paid off and delivered us another calm bubba. 

And just to make you clucky, and because it really does blow me away that this tiny little bubba below has grown into that little boy above in a such short space of time; here's Tobias 12 months ago.

Happy Birthday my darling boy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

this time last year...

I was asleep. 
Anticipating the arrival of our little boy.
Hoping the niggles would strengthen over night.
Anxious about the looming threat of induction.
Empowered by the dream of a natural no drug birth.
Enveloped by the love of my little family,
that was about to grow to encompass
and include
one more little person.