Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Another year over...

I haven't been very good at keeping up my blog lately, in fact I haven't kept up very well with ANYTHING lately. The past couple of months have been very busy as I dealt with going back to work three full days a week with only about 4hrs average sleep each night, my gorgeous boy turned four (FOUR! Can you believe that? Seems like I only had him yesterday!), my darling girl clocked up her first year and of course there was Christmas to prepare for as well. Those that know me know I don't like to do things in half measures, so did my best to plan both birthday parties, and bake two birthday cakes and of course I planned to do way more home made than I had time for and then felt guilty when I couldn't pull everything off.

On the upside we think we finally have found the reason for the sleepless nights - the poor baby was having tummy pains that could last up to three hours straight, right when we should have all been sleeping, due to eating too healthily! Yep that's right - too many fruits and vegetables! She seems to be intolerant to salicylates, a naturally occuring chemical in just about all of her favourite fruits and vegetables. So a strict ban on things like strawberries, watermelon, rockmelon, grapes, broccoli and her beloved "nanas" (sultanas in Maddy talk) was in order and we have now managed to get her to sleep through occasionally in the past few weeks and only waking once or twice the rest of the time, taking less than half an hour to resettle. We are yet to confirm with her peadiatrician, but will be asking for a referral to see him next time we see the GP for her 12m immunisations. The GP was a little less than helpful when she told us her diagnosis, telling me to look up the list of high salicylate foods on the internet. I am feeling quite challenged in the kitchen lately with a coeliac to cater for as well as a little girl with a salicylate intolerance, and need a little more guidance on how to prepare nutricious and varied meals for everyone so am hoping the pead can be a little more useful with his advice.

Now that the sleep issue seems to finally be coming to an end (or at least a significant improvement) I am feeling a whole lot happier, more "normal" and even finding a bit more time in the day where I don't just feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. Coinciding with the New Year, I guess it's a good time to revamp my blog, get crafty again and rejoin the internet craft world by way of blog hopping for inspiration, posting my projecst again and maybe even finding time to chat to my forum friends again without feeling like an outsider wishing she had time to sew like everyone else. I am currently on holiday from work too, so when I start again in a couple of weeks I hope to give it a "second go" and be better able to fit myself into a routine that works for everyone, without letting the housework and guilt pile up again. Here's to a guilt free year ahead!

To tie up some loose ends from 2009, here are the projects that missed out on being blogged as they were completed in those last two busy months:

1. Michael Miller Daisy Ruffle bloomers for Madelyn
I was going to make a matching top with the aqua dots used for the ruffle however the elastic was a little loose on the legs and needs tightening so I wasn't overly happy with them. They'd be cute if I could get around to fixing them. They have cute pink daisy metal snaps at the crotch for easy nappy changes (although I think that was a bit of a waste since it's easier to pull up pants on a baby that crawls away rather than snapping them up) and I worked out how to do the rolled hem with my overlocker to create the ruffle on the bottom. A side note: Madelyn was with me at a cafe wearing these once (paired with the pink lacey singlet top) and someone asked if "it" was a boy or a girl. When I said, Madelyn is most certainly a girl, the woman replied, "Oh, I should have known looking at those pants!"

2. Madelyn's Christmas Outfit
This escaped blogging because I wanted to do a shirt for Austin too, so they both had a handmade Christmas outfit for the Christmas cards, pageant day, and other pre-Christmas events. Madelyn was going to get a pretty dress to wear for Christmas day, but because I never managed to even cut out Austin's green checked shirt (yes, I have the fabric and he pattern all ready!) I couldn't make another outfit for her wihout that Mummy guilt hitting me, so she wore this on Christmas day too. Actually I am sure she was quite thrilled with that since she's still nowhere near walking and would have got tangled crawling through presents and wrapping in a dress!
3. Madelyn's "Little Princess" sleeping bag
Part of our journey towards more sleep included putting Maddy in sleeping bags instead of under covers. We recorded her one night while she slept (we have a night vision camera over her cot - one of our SIDS police installations!) and discovered her crawling in her sleep, much like Austy did at around 7m old, bumping her head on the cot before screaming and waking us all up. So when she wasn't waking with tummy pains, she was waking cold and with a headache. The sleeping bag helped eliminate those wake-ups at least. I have planned to make some more to help out with having to wash this one all the time. This one is probably about a 1.5tog, quilted (on the inside) with cotton/bamboo wadding in between a cotton outer and soft cotton voille inner. I have had the pattern for a while but was reluctant to make one as I had no idea where to get treated cotton fabric - you know how all sleepwear patterns say not to use 100% cotton for the fire risk? Well I pulled out one of Austin's old sleeping bags only to see the red fire danger tag on it, and that was made by a well known and SIDS approved sleeping bag company, with polyester (ew!) batting between the two cotton layers and I figured my sleeping bag would be fine made with 100% cotton. She'd be wearing cotton PJ's under cotton sheets and blankets anyway and it's not like she'll be parading around near an open flame with her sleeping bag on. (Although the government did send us out a high risk fire danger area residents kit a few weeks ago...)

4. 1st birthday bib
It was obvious by the 17th that there was no way I was going to be able to make Madelyn a birthday dress, so I did the next best thing and whipped her up a 1st birthday bib that night, knowing that on the 18th I'd be busy decorating her cake. I used this tutorial that has been sitting in my file of pdf patterns ever since Austy was little... I finally got to make one up, even though it was a little rushed. I covered the front with a layer of plastic, in preparation for quite a bit of cake mess. My little girl surprised me though and actually ate like a little princess for a change. We were all waiting with cameras at the ready to catch those cake smears all over her but they just never happened, with my Maddy breaking off bite sized peices with her thumb and forefinger and placing them delicately in her mouth!

5. Ravelry favourite colour swap
I dyed up some wool/silk and some wool for this in red and red tones, as well as made a plastic covered zip pouch to store knitter's knick knacks in, and collected the rest of the red items for the swap. Unfortunately in my hurry to post it I forgot to take photos, but I did receive a great parcel all the way from Finland, containing lots of aqua things for me.
6. Matching Christmas PJ's for the kidlets
One day whilst browsing etsy I came across a fun Christmas print that came in two colourways - an aqua and a raspberry. Immediately I thought of matching Christmas pyjamas for my babies, using boyish boxer style shorts for Austy and cute ruffle legged bloomers for Maddy. I was even planning to make the t-shirts at that stage and bought the fabric as well as some matching ribbing for the neck and arm bands on white appliqued tees. In the end the deadline got too close so I raced out to Target on Christmas Eve to buy plain white t-shirts to finish the kids' pyjamas in time to wear to bed. Unfortunately there was only a size 6 left in white for Austy, so we wandered over to the girlswear to look for a white t-shirt there. We found the girly style I was looking for, for her but still no white in the size 4 for him. Instead we came across the perfectly matching "celery green" which seemed exactly the same size and shape as the darker green t-shirt I had picked up in the boys section as a last resort. I quickly swapped the boy's tee for the girls as the girl's is a much better match, and Austy was none the wiser. He loves his Christmas PJ's and only switched to a clean pair tonight since he wet through his night nappy last night. I was glad I got these done as it was so cute to see them matching as they opened up their presents on Christmas morning!

I didn't manage to make the Christmas table runner, or the Christmas tree box cover, or Madelyn's Santa sack (to match Austy's with baby's fiorst Christmas photo on the front) like I had planned, but have decided a "Christmas in July Sew-up" is in order for 2010 which should take care of that for next year without causing me undue stress right when I am dealing with two birthday parties and Christmas shopping once again. I DID manage to bake my Finnish Christmas biscuits (an annual tradition since I spent my 17th Christmas in Finland on Rotary Youth Exchange) and two batches of rocky road (yum!).

A belated Merry Christmas to all my blog readers, and a Happy (and crafty) New Year as well. Next post: My 2010 New Years Resolutions!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Buying handmade

I recently discovered this gorgeous romper and hat set on etsy (at ChewChews Closet), and just had to have it! I was actually looking for romper patterns as it seems here in Australia rompers only go up to size 0 and same for our sewing patterns for baby things. Apparently Madelyn is too big to wear baby rompers and only dresses seem to come in her size, but she still hates wearing dresses since she can't walk and they get right in the way of her turbo crawling.

The photos are rather dodgy as it's so hard taking photos of TurboBaby, and she has now decided that backdrops are for pulling down. Wish me luck on my Christmas card photo - I have decided not to use a backdrop for that but get the kids outside in teh garden instead.

You can see the goregous romper and hat, although these blurry photos do them no justice. Darcy did the most wonderful job making them for my Maddy and there is still plenty of room for growth. (I just wish I could keep the straps done up as she is just TOOO active at the moment).

Friday, 27 November 2009

Meet Mr Milo

Excuse the blurry photos. This tiny little guy was a bit wriggly as he really didn't want to be away from his Mum just yet, at only 2w old. Guess who's coming to our house in the New Year! We can't wait to have Milo curled up on our laps, or snuggled up in bed, or especially so in Austy and Maddy's case, running and jumping as we chase and play with him. I have a blanket that just needs darning ends made especially for him, and a couple of kitty toys in the planning. Today I had my very first cuddle - the start of what we hope will be a long and happy friendship of the feline kind! Austin chose his name, and then we chose the kitten to suit ;). I think he was the cutest of th bunch anyway, as the others were black and white (except for one that was more like a dalmation - white with black spots). He is more of a caramel colour rather than the grey he looks in these photos, and is still waiting for his curly fur to grow. Can you tell what he is? I reckon those ears and wrinkly skin gives away his breed, even though his tell-tale fur isn't quite there yet.
He is pweeedy small... just big enough to fit into the palm of my hand with a barrel like belly weighing him down!

Please... no more cancer to take away our beloved pets. We'd like to keep this one for more than the short decade we had our Rottweiler dog Astertyx, and Siamese cat Gryffin - each one lost to different forms of cancer following the birth of each of my two legged babies. DH thinks the solution is simple - no more people babies and the fur babies will stay with us. Hmmmm...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Baby quilt WIP

Snapped just before Seek and Destroy came to totally mess up the shot! You can see a little hand in the corner. I saw her on the way at her superfast pace so had to hurry and press the button before my quilt top was no longer looking like a quilt. The quilt top just needs a name appliqued in the centre and some borders before it can be sandwiched and quilted and sent in the post along with the matching giraffe (made from the Audrey and Maude pattern Helen sent me with the DQS) for a new baby boy.

I surprised myself. I'm the slowest sewer arond. But when I got the chance to sew all night, I didn't mess around! I made 1.5 blocks during the day withkid interruptions and the rest last night. I love the colours in this quilt - the white, creams, naturals and chocolates are left over from Maddy's quilt (still unbordered & unquilted....) and the blue is the perfect cornflower shade. This one will be called "Milk and Cookies" as the blue and white together reminds me of those milk jugs striped with blue that you see in adverts, and the chocolate and natural - choc chip bickies of course!

More detailed shots of Gilbert Giraffe to come when the gift is all ready to send.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I have a kindy boy!

Austin started pre-entry kindy just over a week ago (so has now been to two Friday morning sessions). He absolutely loves it, and listens intently to the teachers (we wish he could do this at home a little more...) and both times has been having too much fun to leave, staying for the playgroup session that follows pre-entry. He has been going to playgroup there all year which we believe has helped the transition into kindy, and isn't too fussed about having us leave.
So what has this got to do with my crafty blog? Remember the MadeByRae backpack giveaway I crossed my fingers to win a little while ago? Well I didn't win, but the cuteness factor of that backpack had me kind of obsessed. I blogged my supplies here, and now can show you the final result.
I used medium weight canvas from kokka called Toyland as I thought this would be good at hiding the dirt that kindy boys seem to attract. The contrast is just a plain lime green drill. I couldn't find any piping to go with the fabric, so made my own (a first for me) which wasn't as difficult as I'd expected it to be, especailly using a zipper foot to stitch nice and close to the cord.
The straps are made with cotton webbing rather than the nylon stuff prescribed in the pattern as I am anti-plasticky fake stuff when kids have to wear it! I also interfaced all the pieces (except the handle) with a light weight fusible interfacing to ensure the bag had shape. I wasn't too worried about the extra thickness, as I knew my machine could hack it with a new denim needle and quilting foot in use.

I decided to embroider his name onto a name label so that the bag could be identified by kindy staff (although somehow they couldn't help him find his bag at fruit time on Friday so I have since showed them...) without being able to give strangers his name as he walks around with the bag on his back. The cute little plane embroidery was one of the standard Janome ones that came witgh my sewing machine, but how perfectly does it go with the fabric?! I just HAD to use it.
The bag is so cute with everything in small scale - those straps are just over an inch wide, and the chair used in the top picture is a tiny toddler chair. I see one of these cute bags in the future for Madelyn too. Not that she could wear it yet, but I'm sure it won't be long as she copies everything Austin does, even trying to put on his goggles at swimming this morning! As she grows older, I will need to carry less with me, and this bag would easily fit a spare cloth nappy, wipes, changemat, change of clothes and a toy or two for short trips out. I put all of Austy's kindy things in there (a change of clothes, small lunchbox, hat and cup) and there was still surprisingly plenty of spare room.
I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable projects I have made all year. The last step was a little fiddly (going around those corners with the piping in place) but the rest of it was fun as I could see the cuteness being created before my eyes! I can't rave enough about this bag pattern, and recommend it to all sewers with a child under 5.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The handmade dress giveaway

How could I not miss out on this one?! I have been eyeing off a couple of these patterns for a while, particularly the Miss Madeleine dress and Miss Lily dress. Too cute!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Madelyn's new dolly quilt!

A quilty little parcel arrived on my doorstep yesterday. I excitedly ripped it open to reveal Madelyn's new dolly quilt!! Made by the very talented Helen in some suitably girly pink and red prints on white, with the most swirly and fun daisies quilted into it, this quilt has made Madelyn one very lucky girl!

Here she is playing "Where's Maddy?" with it this afternoon. We are planning on buying her this cute doll's pram to use it in with a soft cloth doll for her first birthday. Won't it go perfectly with the bright pink dots?

Neatly folded, showing the cute little wonky log cabin on the back:

And all the extra goodies Helen packed in to spoil me!
Some heart shaped buttons, little pink tape measure (probably in one of the kids' hands for this photo), rick rack, shirring elastic (someone has been reading my blog very carefully!) and a cute Audrey & Maude softy pattern to make giraffes for the kidlets. See? Thoroughly spoilt!

I'm not allowed to hang quilts in the house (in fact our walls are COMPLETELY bare!) so shhhhh... here it is hung on our family room feature wall for a brief moment in all it's glory!

And my happy kidlets enjoying the opening:

Thanks sooo much Helen! It's perfect for us.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Party pooper...

Here's my little princess, totally flaked at this morning's birthday party in her new cherry outfit. Check out the leg and arm rolls - her 2kgs lost the other week are most certainly back!

Straight after James' 4th birthday in the park we went for a birthday luncheon for my Mum where she was a little energiser bunny - her and Austy both went into overdrive then so no chance for more photos.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Revealling the Crazy Shrooms (DQS3)

Cass has reported that she has received and opened her little mini quilt I made her, named "Crazy Shrooms". Inspred by her flickr favourites, filled with mushroom quilts, fresh bright colours and randomly pieced blocks, I kind of let the quilt design itself. And this is what it became.

I snuck in a few of my favourite cherry fabrics - some from the cherry oh range, and one very pretty blue and metallic one that I have something special planned for Madelyn (with an ADORABLE set arriving from an etsy seller hopefully this week from the very same fabric).

So when I saw that bright, fun and cherry filled fabric in the same colour scheme as the quilt I just KNEW it was destined to be the backing. I normally like to piece a DQ back as it's cute and scrappy, but this stuff was too pretty to cut up.

The mushroom house has a pieced background and is appliqued after sandwiching by stitching twice around each shape so that the design is noticeable from the back. I used a natural thread for the quilting for the main part with a varigated green for the hilly greens, and aqua on the back. I was going to do some FMQ swirls in the sky or add a butterfly but ran out of time and worried I might ruin the quilt(not very experienced in FMQ!!!)... I think it works like this though. Not too busy.

Oh Cherry Baby!

I finally cut into my "Oh Cherry Oh" layer cake that I bought in the US. I love the fabrics so much it was hard to decide what to use them for. While I had originally planned a small quilt, perhaps for Maddy's pram, I never did get around to it, and decided to just get stuck into it and make a cute little outfit fir her instead!
I also used a little bit (a very little bit - I have been HOARDING this stuff!) on my doll quilt swap, sent to Cass, in time for the big reveal today (however the one my secret partner made for Maddy is still in transit so I haven't one to show off today). So you might spy a little there.

This cute little outfit was perfect for my "me time" yesterday as I took Madelyn around the Adelaide quilt show with Emma and her Gran, but I decided to put a different dress on her instead (making the most of her being able to wear skirts and dresses while she is strapped in her pram rather than getting tangled up as she crawls) since the wind was a little blowy here this morning before it fined up into a rather warm day. Oh well, it's still clean and fresh for her to wear to a couple of birthday parties on tomorrow (with a pair of shorts or bloomers packed for when the skirt gets too bothersome).

The skirt was my own pattern, I kind of made it up as I went along - it made me realise how easy girl sewing can be, skirts are so much easier (and FASTER!) than shorts with pockets, buttons and flies! It's just a simple elastic waisted number with a contrast waist band, quite full gathering and a little broderie englaise edging for girlie cuteness. I was amazed at how big it came out - it fits her now (albeit slightly roomy) but also fitted my nearly 4yr old next door neighbour. On the almost 4yr old it was a tad short though so by the time Maddy is her height it would be best donned with short leggings. Austy is still wearing a pair of shorts I made him at 2yrs old, but to have something last from 10m to 4yrs is quite impressive! I'll probably be sick of it by then, but it will be okay for home as I can imagine it could be quite grubby after 3yrs use. The top was made using a pattern from Ottobre 1/07. I love the top all except the narrow neck opening. As it was I had to cut off my neck binding and redo it while the garment was half constructed when I realised it was going to be uncomfortabley high on her neck. Frustrating! So next time I make it (and definitely will be doing it again) I will adjust the neck openings on the pattern pieces so as not to have this trouble again, and make it looser than this one turned out. The sleeves look a bit odd in the photographs here, and yes, they are , just slightly as I used the stretch as you sew method of getting the right elastic length rather than my normal pre-cut and pin evenly method, to save time. You can't tell when she is wearing it, but I will go back to my more time consuming method, I think as I like things to be perfect.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

A call out to my winners

Unfortunately it seems neither of my blogtoberfest winners have a blog, and neither left a way of contacting them in their comments. (amummy I accidentally thought you were RomiJade by clicking on one of the blogs you followed - your web address in your profile doesn't work). I was hoping to check the winners blog to pick a suitable surprise to go inside the bags. So if you are amummy or mama llama I would love to hear from you so I can package up your bags and get them on their way.

I'll have to redraw if I don't hear anything by the 14th November.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Blogtoberfest 31: It's official!

... that I'm a blogtoberfest drop out!
But I do have some blogtoberfest winners to congratulate.
As promised, a draw was conducted at 5pm today, by my boy, who eagerly pulled out amummy to win the birdy bag I made, followed by ...mama llama (sorry can't find your blog - please leave a comment with a way of contacting you)for second prize - my baby boxy.
Congrats to the both of you and thanks to everyone who entered!

Instead of many crafty things I've been working on getting more of this happening (again) after a tummy bug and her 2kg weight loss (in just 3w) made me have to start again with sleep training.

I've also been working on this for the EB Doll Quilt Swap (to be revealed very soon!):

Helped Austy with this:

Made Madelyn this (still needs leg cuffs, elastic and blocking):

And have been keeping cool with the kids:

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 22: Must... keep... blogging!

Okay, so maybe you noticed that missed day over the weekend... maybe you didn't - but now I've made it obvious!!! I am starting to struggle with the blog every day thing, especially as I haven't had a lot of crafty time lately.

DH is home this week and so evenings are spent on the couch with him as he gets a bit jealous of the sewing machine. But that means I have done a good part of the Baby Chalice blanket to help settle the Madster in her pram on cooler days (I have a cotton blanket but nothing warm since Maddy put a hole in her handknit shawl, except for a crochet rug that Nanna mad Austin, who isn't willing to share). The colours looked kind of pretty on the skein but remind me of a certain upchuck on the rug last year after Austy ate red jelly at a birthday party. Oh well... I shall knit on and perhaps overdye it when I'm done.

Finally the shaggy, fuzzy, sheddy milo vest is off the needles too, ready for the cooler weather we are expecting next week. Hopefully a good wash will remove the majority of the fluff so it doesn't end up as after lunch snacks for Madelyn (who can eat until the cows come home if we'd let her!).

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 21: Off the desk

It was about time I got this lonely nappy off the sewing desk. I normally do them in batches of 3-5 but somehow this one was all cut out and embroidered but sat there until last night, waiting for me to get some motivation to make it. It's hard to see in these awful photos (note to self: it is not a good time to take photos of babies who like to dance, when playschool is on!) but the embroidery says "Princess in Training" - oh so Madelyn!
Aqua blue minky outer with pink metallic quilters cotton tabs for the velcro opening and fully lined with very soft white microfleece. I was going to go with deep purple velour for the inner, but thought that was a bit too "girly overload". The white is just fine.

And at a more still moment, here she is in her Alicia dress and pants set. Sorry the photo is no better...

I was actually impressed with the fit - having made this a size 74cm, and tried it on when I made it (sans buttons) I was sure she was an 80. But this is perfect, much nicer fit for now than the Oilily dress I did in the 80. Glad we have finally got some warm weather to make use of it.
Now the desk is clear (almost - one DQS to finish) for Austy's bag.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 20: Supplies

Destined for a lounge set (shorts and tee) for my nephew's first birthday, and a t-shirt (perhaps shorts if there's enough) for Austy:

Ready to whip up a kindy bag for Austy:
ETA: The fabrics are all from Kelani Fabrics (minus the lime drill from my local sewing store). From top left - Kokka linen -chocolate, Hoffman "In the wild"Animal Land Blue, Hoffman "In the wild" Animal Dots Chocolate, Kokka Linen Toys on Blue.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 19: Nothing crafty

But look who's 10m old today! AND slept through the night. YAY!!!!!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 17: Drama Queen take two

Here's my new wool all dry and one balled (a bit messy because Austin wanted to help)