Monday, January 30, 2012

Year 2

Aimee's back to school today. 
She is so excited.  She's been aching to get back for the last couple of weeks.
To make it even better she lost her top front tooth this morning!
The tooth fairy will be paying a visit tonight I am sure :)

In a couple of days time I'll be taking some more photo's like this, but I'll have two girls in uniform.
Kindergarten starts on Wednesday.

It's so nice to have two days of Bethany all to myself at home with me before she starts 'big school'.

I love having my girls at home with me, but of course, inevitably, they are off to school. 
Even though Bethany won't admit it, she is so ready.

This is going to be a great year!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I do love a good jumpsuit

I've seen some really cute ones around this season.  I thought to myself it couldn't be that hard to make one.  I asked Aimee if she wanted one, "no thanks" came her response, quick as a flash.  I asked Betty if she wanted one, there was a moment of silence.  "You can choose the fabric" I said.  "OK then" she said. 

I do love the fabric she chose.  My sister gave it to me a couple of Christmases ago.  It was a three way present.  Fabric for me to sew (she knows how much I love to sew) some clothes for Aimee and Betty.  It feels like voile, soft as butter, mmmmmm, but I'm only guessing. 

Anyhow, so I wanted to make a jumpsuit. 
I could see in my minds-eye exactly how I wanted it to be.
So what I did is use a basic pants pattern for the bottom half and for the top I took some measurements of Beths torso.  I cut two rectangles using these measurements, trimmed abit off the top corners to allow for arm holes.  I made facings for the armholes, then turned down the top edge front and back to make a channel for some grosgrain ribbon I had in my stash. 

This makes the shoulder straps - abit like the pillow case dresses you see all over blogland. 

I then turned the top inside out and slipped it inside the pants so right sides were facing and sewed these two pieces together.  I then sewed another piece of matching grosgrain ribbon to the right side of the waistline over the seam, not only for decorative purposes but also to make a channel to run some elastic through to cinch in the waist. 

I added some elastic around the ankles of the pants too. 

If I were to make another one, I'd add a couple of inches to each side of the garment to give it a bit more of a billowy, casual look.  This one is quite fitted and although Beth has room to move and jump around with ease it won't fit her for long.

After I made this one, I decided to have a look around on the internet for a pattern or tutorial and come across afew beauties

What else is a jumpsuit good for if not jumping?!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Watermelon Granitas

Last week Dean took the girls grocery shopping and came home with, among other things, a whole watermelon........ 
So what do you do with vast amounts of not very sweet watermelon?

Make granita of course!

Here's how.

In a small saucepan put 1/3 cup of caster sugar and 1 cup of water.  Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. 
Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes. 
While the syrup is cooling chop up 2 cups worth of (seedless) watermelon and wizz up in the food processor to make puree. 
Combine the sugar syrup and the puree, pour into a metal cake tin, I used a 20cm square cake tin but any metal pan will do, and place it in the freezer.  Every hour or so open up the freezer and pull a fork through the mix to form ice crystals. 
Repeat the process until you have a tray of watermelon ice crystals
- a.k.a. watermelon granita!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I've made afew pattern purchases recently, gearing up for when school starts again.  Bethany is starting Kindergarten this year, so I will find myself for the first time in 7 1/2 years on my own during the day.  I'm really going to miss having the children at home, but I'm sure I won't have ANY trouble filling the time!

The pattern on the left is a vintage pattern, McCalls 7689, purchased from OpalsOwlVintage on Etsy.  I just fell in love with view C.  The ruffle around the neck takes this dress from plain to something special - LOVE!
The patttern on the right, another McCall's, 6354.  Jess from Craftiness is not Optional made this back in August of last year.  I really loved her version.  It looks like such a cool, comfy dress to wear.  I bought the pattern from

Back in December, had a sale on Simplicity patterns - everything 99c!!!!
How could I pass it up?  In the end I narrowed it down to four patterns, because even though the patterns were cheap, I still had to pay shipping.  All up I paid just under $20 - not bad for four patterns :)
So on the left is lisette 2211.  This is a great pattern.  A cute pleated skirt, a tunic and a blouse.  The blouse is what first caught my attention because like Christy I've decided I need more seperates in my wardrobe.
And on the right Simplicity 2226 - love a skirt with pockets!

On the left Simplicity 2117, because I've realised I have mostly A-line skirts in my wardrobe....
and on the right a Cynthia Rowley pattern 2215.  I like the simplicity of this dress.  It looks very wearable, not too dressy - and it has pockets!

I've got loads of fabric just sitting, waiting to be turned into something - anything.

Four days until school goes back.  Six days until Bethany starts Kindergarten..........

Before we get to that though, for those of you in Oz
Happy Australia Day for tommorrow.
Hope the copious amount of water falling from the skies here in Sydney at the moment don't dilute your enthusiasm for celebrating this truly wonderful place we call home!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


of a blouse like this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beach dresses and a Pinafore

Not the most imaginative title - infact not imaginative at all.  But I'm tired so it will have to do!

Today I thought I would post a couple of things I've actually made recently.  Both of these items were started, if not finished afew months ago.

First up are these smashing beach dresses.

I went to a local water park with a friend afew months ago and of course Beth's clothes got wet and i hadn't brought any spares for her.  My friend Lin lent me her daughters beach dress. 

Bethany l.o.v.e.d. it and begged me to make her one.

I found the stretch terry towelling at Spotlight, traced around the borrowed beach dress and sewed it all together.

  I used an old t-shirt to make the lining for the hood and added a couple of extra pockets at Beth's request. 

For Aimee's I did the same but added an inch or two all around to increase the size.  I messed up with the size of the neck hole and it came out too large, so I had to add an extra piece of fabric  back on to fix it. 
It turned out alright and is still perfectly wearable - its only for the beach or pool after all!

I'd actually forgotten about them, but the girls are having swimming lessons at the local pool this week and I found them in the beach bag and realised I'd never posted about them.

Yesterday I spent some time at the machine doing a spot of mending, making dog collars and leads for the girls toy dogs (as you do) and just generally moving bits and pieces from here to there. 

I came across this half made dress, drafted from a pattern in Toni Coward's book
Its the pinafore pictured on the front.

I borrowed the book from the library a while ago and decided this looked like a quick, easy project and it would make a nice, cool dress to wear in the heat of summer. 

It came together very quickly, with a little alteration to the shape of the skirt to stop it from looking too much like a tent.  Then I decided to add in-seam pockets and just eyeballed their placement.  Of course I inserted them too low down to be of any use what-so-ever. 

I got as far as unpicking them and then lost interest in the project and promptly moved on.

When I came across it yesterday I decided to get on with it and finish it. 
All I had to do was sew up the side seams and bind the neck edge, armholes and hemline. 
I wore the dress all day today (hence the crease lines) and I've decided I simply cannot do without pockets so I'm planning to add some to the front of the dress.

The fabric is a quilting cotton I bought from Spotlight a couple of years ago.  Not the best fabric for clothing, but the dress is such a simple style it works ok.  I used a plain grey ready made binding.

Over all - this dress is cool and comfortable. 
Not particularly flattering,
but do I really care about that on a stinking hot Sydney Summers day?
I think not!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a Custom Quilt

Late last year, a couple of weeks before the school year ended, a lovely lady who I work with in the tuckshop at Aimee's school (yes I am a tuckshop mum) asked me if I was willing to make a quilt for her to give to her son for Christmas. 

She explained it was to replace a quilt which her oldest daughter had been given as a baby eighteen years ago and it had been handed down to her son, who was still very attached to it.  Alas though, the quilt was now threadbare (I have since seen the quilt and that is being kind).  My friend wanted to replace the quilt with something her son could use on his bed, but that would also be a reminder of the original quilt.

As this lady is a very lovely lady, who I am rather fond of, I could hardly refuse.

So after some further discussion regarding size, fabric etc. this was her brief:
- a quilt of any size, but big enough to lay across the foot of her sons double size bed
- green on one side, navy on the other
- a ruffle around the edge
- a pocket to keep a piece of the original quilt in
- the word KIKI2 embroidered on it

I sent my friend off to Spotlight with some measurements and words of advice regarding fabric choice.  She came back to me later that day with a 2 metre length of green quilting fabric and a navy single bed doona cover.

This is what I came up with.  Please excuse the rather average photo's, I was madly snapping away as my friend was on her way over to collect the finished quilt!

front of quilt 
The finished quilt measures approx 60" x 75", so about a single bed sized quilt.

I used one side of the navy doona cover to make the back of the quilt

pocket and embroidery

and from the other side I cut a square of fabric from the buttoned edge to make the pocket. 
The pocket is a pure piece of genius if I do say so myself. 
I made it in such a way that I used the existing snap button from the doona cover and made the pocket the right size to fit perfectly within the quilted squares so it blends seamlessly into the back of the quilt.  If it weren't for the white button and the embroidery it would be quite secret!

Embroidery is not my strong point so I kept it simple here.

ruffle and binding
I cut the ruffle from the remaining fabric from that side of the doona cover.
The ruffle I'm quite proud of too. 
Having never made a quilt with a ruffle around the edge before, it took alot of searching the net to learn
a) how to make approx 10metres of ruffle
and b) how to attached it to the quilt
This tutorial from Everything Your Mama Made and More is revolutionary - who knew you could do this with an overlocker!

And this tutorial from Blackbird Designs for attaching a ruffle to your quilt is so simple and clear.
I used the green fabric to make the binding. 
I think it looks fantastic against the solid navy blue.  I actually think I like this side of the quilt best!

 I made double-fold binding rather than single-fold binding as in the tute for afew reasons.  
Firstly it is stronger but also because it cuts out that fiddley step of ironing in the edges of the binding and I think it makes for a neater finish!  I machine attached the binding as I do for all my quilts.  No hand stitching for me thanks! 

When she arrived to collect the quilt, my friend seemed pleased with the finished product, saying it was more then she hoped for.
Today she sent me a lovely text message thanking me for the quilt and telling me her son LOVED the quilt and had shed "tears of joy" upon receiving it for Christmas.

Can't get better then that!