Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We have a winner..........and a tutorial

Well I finally sat down today and wrote the tutorial.  It's my first, so please, please let me know what you think - constructive criticism is warmly invited! 

Especially let me know if you're having any problems following my instructions.  I'd hate to think a child out there was being deprived of letting their artistic ability run wild all because mama couldn't work out how to make that Art Satchel! 

Seriously though I think it is a pretty straight forward, simple pattern.  Give it a go, and when you're finished contact me and share the results - I'd really love to see your version :)

On to the giveaway winners.............

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So that's Amelia from Duyvken
 "They are fantastic Fran! Well done. I've seen a lot of those art rolls but I think yours is the best designed. The girls look so chuffed!!"
Tania from Myrtle and Eunice
"Way. To. Go!
Fran - these are FANTABULOUS! They would work so much better for my kids than the rolls we have - especially with the sketchbook packed away with the crayons. Genius. Genius, I say!"

Congratulations lovely ladies and a big thank you to all of you who entered.

 This post has been edited by the author. 
The free tutorial has now been removed.  Please see this post for more info.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things that make you go m.m.m.m.mmmmmm

I'm always on the look out for yummy recipes which are suitable for (or can be modified to accomodate) the various food allergies we have to contend with in this household.

This is one such out, they are addictive!  And I have it on good authority* they are very much like a rice bubble bar available at a supermarket near you (at an exorbitant price).

Saltana & Puffed Rice Crispies

Line a 20cm x 20cm cake tin with baking paper.  Place 375g of puffed rice cereal into a large mixing bowl.  Add 100g of sultanas and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and stir to combine.  Place a 250g packet of white marshmallows, 60g copha, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of water into a microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave on medium high until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Add the melted marshmallow mixture to the puffed rice and stir to combine.  Spoon mixture into prepared tin and press mixture down with the back of a spoon.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Cut into squares and serve.

Great for the occasional lunch box treat or for children's birthday parties. 

Variations include substituting saltana's for 100's and 1000's or dairy free choc chips. 

*straight from the mouth of my nine year old nephew

I also baked this Chocolate and Banana Bread yesterday......................scrumptious!  Spread a slice with marg, pop it in the microwave for afew seconds and I'm in heaven! 

You can find the recipe in the March 2010 edition of Australian Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

So that Miss B could enjoy the fruits of my labour I substituted butter with margarine, used Orgran's "Egg Replacer" instead of well, eggs and made sure I used a chocolate that contained no dairy (Woolworths Home Brand dark cooking chocolate).  No one would ever know the difference - it truly is Scrumptious! 

In fact I'm enjoying a piece with a cup of tea right now..............

Monday, February 15, 2010

On-the-Go Art Satchel Giveaway

Well this project has been in the pipeline for some time now.  Since just before Christmas to be exact. 

Wanting to make Miss A a handmade gift, I was thinking about the things she likes to do.  Miss A LOVES drawing; I could wallpaper her room with all the drawings she has produced.  So I decided to make Miss A an On-the-Go Art Satchel.  I stayed up well into the night a couple of days before Christmas designing and then making Miss A her handmade gift. 

I've seen lot's of very lovely handmade drawing kits/wallets/rolls around but wanted to come up with my own unique design.  I decided I wanted to make something that Miss A could manage all on her own, from carrying it, to opening it, using the drawing apparatus and packing it away again.

Miss A has certainly been putting her's to good use, toting it everywhere with her including on the bus, in the car, to the doctor's, when we eat out - it even comes to church with us! 

She discovered she could hang it over the headrest of the front seat in the car and have her crayons at her fingertips for when we are out driving....clever little chook.
  • I settled on twistable crayons as no sharpening is needed and I don't have to worry about texta's marking the car seat/tablecloth  etc.
  • I used a standard A5 visual arts diary due to it's availability (readily available at every art supplies, discount variety store, department store out there)
  • I settled on a button/loop style closure to make it easy on little fingers who may not have mastered the art of tying yet
  • The shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around - wherever! 
So yesterday Miss B expressed interest in having her very own On-the-Go Art Satchel. 

What better way is there to spend a rainy Sunday Valentine's Day, with a couple of kiddies nursing colds, then behind the sewing machine making something for someone you love?

We picked out some fabric together and I got stuck in.  After all the cutting this comes together very quickly - I'd say an hour or two depending on the number of interruptions you have :-D

So you like it?  Think you know someone who might put one to good use? 

Great, 'cause I've knocked out a couple of extra's just for two lucky reader's.  And to show these are not a gender specific gift I've made them using fabrics which work equally well for boys - yay!

So all you have to do to be in with a chance to win one is leave a comment here on this post.

To increase your chances of winning and get extra entries in the draw just become a follower of my blog (worth 1 entry) and/or blog about this giveaway(worth 1 entry), that'll give you three entries all up!

edited to add: if you are already a follower of my blog, post a separate comment saying so and you will also get a second entry into the giveaway!

Make sure to leave a separate comment for each of the entries you qualify for.  I'll be using to pick the winners so if you don't leave a comment for each entry that you qualify for you will only get one chance instead of three (or two, whatever the case may be).

Entries for this giveaway will close next Monday evening, say at 8pm (Sydney, Australia time).

A couple of notes: the Art Satchel will not include the crayons or Visual Arts diary when posted to the winner's - to cut down on postage costs for moi.  As stated above the Art Satchel is made to fit a standard A5 Visual Arts Diary and a pack of 10 twistable crayons, both relatively cheap and easily available - eek, hope this hasn't put you off.................
Also, as this item includes a button I'd say it is not suitable for children under the age of 3, please bare this in mind.

And don't despair if you don't win because I will be posting a tutorial on how to make your very own On-the-Go Art Satchel in the next couple of days...........................

Good luck!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weekend crafting and a new book!

I thought that after a full week of school (which she is loving with a capital L) Miss A would be keen on having a quiet week-end at home doing a whole lot of nothing.........

Boy was I wrong!  She came into my bed on Saturday morning (as she has done every morning since she could get herself out of bed) and declared we were going to make flowers.

And make flowers we did.

Lot's and lot's of paper flowers........This is Miss B's collection.

This is Miss A's

Miss A came up with the rose bud design herself, using lot's and lot's of tape to get each one just right.  Well that's the fun part isn't it, using up plenty of tape!  The full blooms I made, using this tutorial.  I just twisted the pipe cleaner around the centre of the paper.  Sooo addictive.

Who knew that pipe cleaners, crepe paper and tissue paper could come together in such a beautiful way.
In case you can't tell I'm alittle bit in love with these paper flowers.  Every time I walk past my new display I feel all happy and skippy :)

Miss A decided taking photo's of our new arrangement on the mantel piece must be the thing to do - well mama's been snapping away.................

And in other news, I've finally got in my hot little hands a copy of the coveted Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule

a signed copy no less!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One per Month - February

For this month's One Per Month challenge I've chosen a relatively new addition to my craft book library, Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy.

I've gotten off to a flying start, having already made Miss A a 'double-sided hat'.  I used cotton drill for one side and gingham for the other.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out! 

And an Art Smock for school using the 'Nightdress' pattern.


I used cotton drill for this as well.  I find it to be hard wearing, affordable and it comes in a great choice of colours both plain and patterned.  Miss A is loving yellow at the moment - I let her choose the fabric for things I make for her (sometimes with a bit of gentle persuasion thrown in :D)

I appliqued her name on the front of the smock using fusible webbing.  For some unknown reason I then decided to hand stitch it in place instead of my usual machine stitch...................  It's been a VERY long time since I blanket stitched anything. 

After getting off to a shaky start (read: not knowing what the heck I was doing and getting VERY frustrated), I had a flick through my wonderful McCalls Sewing In Colour (circa 1964) which my dear sister picked up by the side of the road during a council clean up, along with McCalls Needlework in Colour - absolute gems I tell you, I figured out what I was doing wrong and after stitching around several letters found I was actually really enjoying this hand stitching business! 

I've found both patterns to be accurate, easy to follow and really good sizing for my 5 year old.

I still have afew projects in mind from this book, whether I will get to them this month or not only time will tell!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From little things big things grow

I've spent the last few days stealing a bit of time here and there to make this little quilt for a friends brand new baby girl.

I went to the Just Remnants shop in Marrickville last week and found these Lecien Merry Bon Bon fat quarters for $5 each - perfect, I thought, they will be great for a little quilt for Molly!

My plan was to keep it really simple, you know, trim the fat quarter panels down alittle and just add a nice wide border to bring it up to size.  Well of course one thing led to another and this is what I ended up with....

I really love it.

The finished quilt measures 47" x 29", a good cot sized quilt.

I wanted something that wasn't too pink and girly and everything other than the Lecien fat quarters I already had in my stash, so it came together quite nicely I think.

In an attempt to stick with my keeping it simple idea, I decided to forego binding and use the method Joelle Hoverson uses in her super quick and easy baby quilt from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts
I backed it with the same fabric I used on the front for the sashing.

I personalised it by adding a love heart which I printed the baby's name and date of birth on using Matilda's Own Inkjet Printable Fabric - I love that stuff.

Monday, February 1, 2010

To a new beginning

Miss A's first day of school finally arrived, in her own words, "I've been waiting my whole life for this".

Yes our lives have now changed dramatically - but I'm cool with it..............................

The obligatory shot

Miss A's first school work

You go girl!