Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I am a bit sad that Christmas is nearly here. While I am thankful for the two weeks off work (thanks to working in the Building and construction industry)

I am sad that I will not be able to use Santa as a bribe to make Ella behave herself. The threat of the big red man not bringing her presents has worked a treat.

Wishing all my followers and readers a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

A pillow clutch?

I started out with a gathered clutch. Using this tutorial from the Noodlehead blog. I had actually been shown this version of the clutch by a friend - and I knew I had to make one of my own.

The only thing that I did differently to the tutorial is I added extra fabric to the front - I made it 16" inches opposed to the 13" (or something like that) that the tutorial stated. I think it gives a much fuller gathered effect.

I love the hexies for this clutch and after looking at it for awhile I thought it would make a great cushion.

This cushion cover was so easy to make. The cushion is 23" long and I used the whole of the width of the linen fabric for the gathered front - so hardly any cutting required. Gathered it and then ironed on the thick interfacing. The hexies - all from the Amy Butler Love range are 2". The back (sorry didn't take pictures of that) has 5 covered buttons also in the Love range.

I love the red linen, however, the colours don't suit my house. Not sure what I am going to do with it. Any suggestions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Birthday cake DONE!

At about 9am this morning, after already working on the cake for more than two hours - I asked myself "why do I do this? There was also a few choice words muttered along with "I will never do this again" and "why didn't you just buy a cake like everyone said to"

However, a couple of hours later, a quick Elmo game on the Wii to relax ........

And I know why I do it - I love it!!! I love the result. OK, it is far from perfect, but I love the words "thankyou mummy, thankyou for my cake" followed by tears and tantrums that the cake cant be cut straight away.

There you go, not exactly the same as the original design, but I love it all the same. Totally worth all the effort and I am hoping that it tastes as good as it looks.

Second ever fondant cake DONE!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cakes cakes and more cakes!

No time for sewing this week. I couldn't have made Ella another potential party dress even if I wanted to, as I have been drowning in cakes, cakes and more cakes. I have made 10 full cakes and 40 cupcakes!

Stupidly I told daycare that I would bring a cake in for Ella's birthday for the kids to share - not that I had enough work to do making the mother of all cakes - so my Monday was spent knee deep in cake batter and buttercream icing.

I have not been too happy in the past with my cupcakes, they dont turn out that moist and they always rise too much, and I think the icing usually takes too gritty. These ones turned out totally different and really yummy - the daycare teachers loved them and asked if I had made them or bought them - got to love a nice compliment.

Recipe for the cupcakes

2 eggs
125 gms softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon custard powder
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Throw it all in the mixer and beat on medium speed for 3-5 mins. Make sure you only fill up the cups 1/2 way as this batter does have some rise to it. Bake at 150 degrees for 12-15 mins - will make about 24 cupcakes. You want to bake on the low temp as it will not rise in the way where you get the dome on the top. Some of mine did get the dome, so I knocked the dome down with the back of a spoon when I took them out of the oven.

Now I am in big cake mode - 10 cakes that have been made into 3 separate tiers - now this is where the fun begins covering them in fondant tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Harry man is 7 months!!!!

I actually cannot believe that Harry is already seven months. I know I always start these type of posts saying 'where did the time go', however, this time I feel like the last three months have gone by quickly in one sense, but in another, they have taken a long time.

"this wasn't part of the deal"
My last update Harry was four months old. We had just started the testing to try and determine if there was a reason for his hearing loss. Around this time Harry's sleeping went downhill - actually it was worse than that.

We have had a rough few months, most nights being up at least 5 times, sometimes a couple of times each hour. Nothing made it better, extra bottles, starting solids early. He got another bout of Bronchilitis and that made it worse.

We was so ill, his chest was so wheezy, his cough like a smoker in the morning. Two lots of antibiotics that did nothing.At our wits end, my mum spoke to my faithful GP in Sydney - he suggested the Paedatrician that Harry had been to when he was 5 weeks old.

I didn't think that we would get any answers, but took the appointment anyway. What an appointment that was! The Paed did not think that Harry had bronchilitis - it was REFLUX!!!! I tried to tell doctors that I thought Harry had reflux when he was 5 weeks old, but I was always dismissed.

The wheezy chest, the smokers cough, all from the reflux! What we have been told is that Harry will aspirate the vomit into his lungs, and that will give him basically a lung infection and he will sound wheezy and give him the horrible cough. That night we started him on Mylanta (funnily enough I started giving it to him at 5 weeks, but was told not to as he did not have reflux - so I had a bottle in the drawer) and from then on, we have been back to normal sleep patterns - we are still waking up once a night for a bottle, but we are getting there.
On the food front, it started off OK. We only got to rice cereal and banana. If you gave him anything else, he looked like he was being poisoned. When Harry got sick he refused all food and would vomit up anything you gave him. Under the Paeds instructions we started him again this time with vanilla yoghurt, and slowly we have now moved to a few other basic foods.

On the hearing front - I am a bit overwhelmed here with what has gone on. I think I really need to step away from it all for a bit and dig my head in the sand. I feel like it is snowballing on me.
When we first found out that Harry had hearing loss in one ear, we were told that it was not a big deal and he would have to sit in the front of the class at school and make sure any noisy kids were on his bad side - when we were to his first hearing appointment, I was told that he would have to have a hearing aid.

Harry has been seen by Hearing Australia, who could not tell me if the hearing aid would benefit him at this age, but at my follow up with the ENT, I have been told that they want
Harry to have one - so he is having moulds made on 9th December - OK I can deal with that.

Two days ago in the post I receive letter to say that Harry has been booked in for a MRI under a general anaesthetic - I rung the hospital to see who had requested the procedure only to be told that it was the ENT and it was to have a cochlear implant WTF!!!! - no one told me about this - no one asked my permission to book him in. So that is where we are at.... My head is spinning, too much going through it.

How did we get from hearing loss in one ear to a cochlear implant in what feels like a blink of an eye? I feel I have been blindsided by Doctors - not explained and really not given a choice on what to do for my son.

Anyway back to the cheery stuff - apart from the hearing issues - which I am sure will all be resolved with speaking to the ENT, and the sleeping, Harry is the best little boy you could want. He is so happy (except at 3am - or maybe that it me) always smiling and always chatting away to everyone that will listen.

We have a busy next couple of weeks and then it will be Christmas - looking forward to Harry's first Christmas - maybe I might even be able to get a Santa photo this year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

An overachieving mother????

Why do we as mothers always try to achieve more than we have to and more than is probably expected of us?

I know for me it is the case when it comes to entertaining guests - I always have way too much food - I mean WAY too much food. I don't want to be 'that' person that is talked about for not having enough food, and even though I am not a big eater myself, I always think that everyone coming will eat enough for 10 men.

Anyway back to my overachieving ways - maybe that is not the right word for it - maybe it should be a mother that 'bites off more than she can chew'. What have I done????


OK, well I have not made it yet, but it is my plan for the big 3rd birthday cake.

Close your mouth - I am not going to make all four layers, I know I am silly, but I am not stupid. I know that I would not be able to achieve that, and I know that our guest list is growing, but it is not as big as an Italian wedding. I am going to do three layers!!! The one that I am going to miss out is the stripey layer - the others look pretty easy........

How hard can it be?????

Monday, November 22, 2010

A birthday swap

I don't know why I do it, but I always seem to make a second item from the same pattern straight after the first one. I did it with the O+S jumprope dress and I have done it again with the O+S Birthday party dress.

I did say last time that I was not sure if it was 'the birthday party dress', so I thought I would make another one, but really I did not think that I was going to have the time.

The reason I made another one is for the fabric. I love love love this fabric. It is Alexander Henry 'Otranto' There is a story behind this fabric.

As you are well aware, I belong to the O+S Flickr group. Nicole (one of the other members) put up this picture quite a while ago of her daughter wearing the O+S Icecream blouse. The fabric jumped out at me and I was instantly in love. Fast forward a couple of months and another member put up a dress with some Japanese fabric that I had in two different colourways and Nicole suggested a swap.

Instantly when I saw the fabric I knew it had to be a Birthday party dress.

The fabric is really light weight, so the box pleats dont keep their shape.

The back of the dress isnt crooked - it has just photographed funny

Not the best day for taking photos - Ella did not want to co-operate, but you get the idea anyway.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My New Toy

It is my birthday soon (where have I heard that one before) No really, it is my birthday next month - I can't tell you how old I am going to be, as I have not come to grips with being that old yet.

I will give you a hint, in 1993 when Sydney won the right to host the Olympic Games, I was thinking how old I was going to be when it was the year 2000 - I was going to be 23. At the time I was 16 and could not fathom being as old as 23 - I thought 23 was soooo old.

Anyway to mark my bithday, I thought I would get a new camera. I have wanted a DSLR for a long time. Silly me, when I replaced my camera last year, I bought another point and shoot camera when I should have gotten the DSLR like I wanted.

So here is my new toy - Canon 500D

I love it! Mat did not think you would be able to tell the difference between the old camera and the DSLR, but there is a huge difference (and he is having to eat his words)

I know I like to fill my blog posts with photos - but with the new camera, I guarantee that there will be more in the future.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Its my birthday soon.

My mum has told me for as long as I can remember that when I was less than two years old I used to tell everyone "it's my birthday soon" Ella was not really too fussed with her birthday last year, but this year - that is another story. We have been hearing about her birthday for months and months.

She tells everyone that her birthday is getting closer. When asked what she wants for her birthday she can rattle off a big list of things that she wants, including diamonds, big diamonds - well since mummy does not own big diamonds, I don't think Ella will be getting them for her birthday.

Now I have owned the O+S Birthday Party Dress FOREVER. Actually I think it was one of the first patterns that I bought. I have been meaning to make it, but have never gotten around to it. With less than a month until Ella's birthday, we are in full swing of party planning and what to get her for her birthday. Another major importance for the party is what to wear so it is a perfect time to finally use the pattern.

I love this dress - even more now that I have made it myself. It is a three scissor pattern, but I think that it is easier than that - not one of the hardest patterns that I have used, however, there are a lot of steps, but you need it to get the result.

I love O+S patterns - they finish is always so neat!

The fabric for the main part of the dress is Jenean Morrison - Santa Rosa in Blue from the California Dreamin' line. The trim and inside facing being Bodega Bay in Blue also from the California Dreamin' line.

Not the best picture I know, but after about 50 pictures, both Ella and I gave up.

Covered buttons again from the back. I think the fabric says enough on its own without adding busy buttons.

Not sure if this is the dress for the birthday party yet - I still have a few more weeks to see if I can top this one.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Japanese Puppetshow

I have had the O+S Puppetshow pattern for a while, I have used it a couple of times, but only for the shorts. I have never been overly keen on the tunic. Loving Flickr and being part of the O+S Pattern Flickr Group I have come across a couple of verions that have changed my opinion. I love this version and would make a great winter dress, however it was this version that I fell in love with and inspired me to make my own.

I have changed the sleeve like the first Flickr version I linked. Will work better in winter with something underneath it

This dress, how can I put this. I love it - it is beautiful, but it does not suit Ella. It is the right size for her - 2T, however, it swims on her. She is slim, really slim - she weighs less than 12kg and there is just too much width for her.

Another view to show the volume that this dress has.

In some of the pictures that I took of Ella, the dress did not look as bulky on her, this was when the extra fabric was at the back - how much better does the slimmer version look on her.

The fabric, it is a Japanese import called 'Hoodie Medetai' Japanese Floral in Red. I am quite upset as I only bought 1.5 yards of this fabric and kicking myself I did not buy more. It is so soft and with this dress not suiting Ella, she is likely not to get much wear out of it. Saying that, I am hoping that it will be suitable for a winter dress, with a long sleeve shirt underneath and some tights - that might bulk her out a bit and it wont swim on her.

Edited to add:

I decided to see what the dress would look like with a long sleeve t-shirt, boots and tights.

Bad photo I know, but my camera battery died mid photo shoot

I love this look - tell me what you think, but I prefer it this way. Maybe it is my imagination, but I think it looks less bulky on her.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How can a hexagon be so addictive????

What do you do with these?

You make these of course!!!

I have been intrigued by hexagons for a while. I have read about them many times - mainly from the Film in the Fridge Blog. It seems everyone is making hexagons. There are flickr groups dedicated to them, and upteen blog posts and links. I think before I actually got started, I read most of them.

Most of the blog posts refer to precut papers that you can buy. Well the only place that I seemed to find them (in any sort of decent quantity) was in the States and they wanted four times the cost of the papers to post them. You can download graph paper here. One of the reasons I searched so many blogs and every link was I was trying to find out what type of paper you use when you cut out the heaxagons. I really didn't find anything concrete, but one place said to use thicker than normal photocopy paper - well I couldnt find any, so I used normal photocopy paper and it has worked really well.

Here are some tutorials to get you started - here and here

You will find that they are pretty quick to make and pretty addictive too - but what to make with them?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scrappy Cushion

I am sure that I am not the only one that has an ever growing collection of scraps. I covet my scraps and I actually find it quite hard to go through them and cull anything - even the tiny scraps that would never be good for anything.

I guess they are the connection to the fabrics that I have loved, to the memories of the clothes that I have made, that have been given as gifts, or now too small for Ella, or of favourite fabrics, that all I have left of them is the scraps.

I came across this pillow and I knew that I had to make one. It would be perfect for my scraps.

I have made my strips too big though. As they are so large and take up most of the height of the cushion, I think that each of the fabrics get lost amongst the others. Next time I will need to make them quite a bit smaller, and have more of the linen showing.

This is such a quick project - it was destined for a friend who wants to learn to sew and loves my fabric stash nearly as much as me, however, Ella found it and has claimed it for herself. So I guess I will be making another one soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Take Two

Yesterday I made the O+S Ruffle Halter Top. I love the top, but just was not happy with the finish of it. As it is still crappy weather, and me being me, I decided to make another one with the changes.

This time, rather than having one large top front piece, I added a bit of extra length (1.5") and then I cut the top front piece where the pattern had said to stitch on the ruffles. That way I would have all the seams on the inside rather than the front of the top.

The top is a little shorter than I would have liked - I am sure that I will fix that next time, but I still love how it has turned out and I love the finish of it.

The fabric is from Spotlight - it is quilters cotton, but it is not as thick as normal quilters cotton that I buy - feels cheaper, which is disappointing, as I love the pattern.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Calling the sun.

It seems that ever since we put our pool in (which is now two weeks ago) the sun has gone awol. Thankfully we have not been having the same weather QLD has been experiencing, but we have had overcast skies for the last week or so. Where is the sun??? Where is the warm weather???

Hoping, that I could tease the sun out of behind the clouds, I thought I would make some summer clothes for Ella.

This is the O+S (I don't think I make any other patterns) free Ruffled Halter Top. It is really easy to make, and even though I hate doing ruffles - even they were not too painful.

I did not like the fabric when it arrived from the USA. Sometimes fabrics look very different in a photo as what they do in the flesh, and this fabric was one of those. I bought this fabric in two colour ways - one with baby blue spots (for Harry's cot sheets). I was really disappointed with this one, as the pink was really dirty and it did not appeal. I love it in this ruffle top - and happy that the pink is not too pink.

This top is great for a skinny minny like Ella as the back is elasticated.

My only gripe with this pattern, is I dont think the top is as neat as it could be.

I usually love the details in the Oliver+S patterns. They are finished so nicely, that quite a lot of the time you do not need to use your overlocker as the seams are hidden. This time, I think it could have been finished a lot better. I do admit that I was lazy and did not change the overlocker thread. The bottom of the ruffle only just covers the top of the lower ruffle, you get a glimpse of the stitching, which I dont like.

I will make this top again, but I think it needs a few tweats so that it looks more professionally finished.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jumping Jacks

This is the second version of the O+S Jump Rope Dress. I loved making the first one and seeing people were still adding dresses to the Flickr sew-along, I thought I would make another one.

The fabric for this one is Riley Blake Jacks in Cream from the Hooty Hoot collection.

The only thing that I did differently this time was change the colour of the inner placket to red - so you get a little hint of it when the dress is being worn. I also top stitched the placket in red.