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)

Blogtoberfest Day 16: Drama Queen!

Okay, so technically I'm late for today's post since it's past midnight. But I haven't gone to bed yet, so in my rules it's still Friday night ;)

It's way past my bedtime so I'll keep it short. Had a fun day today catching up with my quilty friend Emma, and meeting another quilter Adds, who I've chatted to online for a few years now. The kids went crazy (as they do), bothe were exhausted and ended up going to bed later than usual as I was a bit behind schedule with getting the dinner, bath, bed thing done and the littlest one fell asleep in the car on the way home from getting take away so decided to be wide eyed at 9pm wanting to play.

I was determined to get something crafty done, silly I know, when I have to keep going in and resettling her several times at the moment with "sleep training". It's still wet, but I'm calling it a night, so I give you my latest wool dyeing effort, "Drama Queen". I was going to call it Precious Princess (our nickname for Madelyn, just as Austy was always our "Precious Prince" as a babe), but that pink... wow. I had second thoughts once I saw how vibrant it came out on the BWM 10ply (it's the same pink I used on these shorties but took so differently!) I wished for a moment I'd used the purple I had originally planned to use, but at least this way people will know my baby is a girl when they see this knitted into a pram blanket and draped over her. So, since the pink kind of yelled out and made a fuss, Drama Queen it is!

Shades of pale celery, pale pink, turquoise, deep pink and a touch of cream (and a few lavender bits where the colours blended). The colours should be a bit lighter and prettier when it dries tomorrow and I'll give you another looksie with a daylight photo or two.

Time for bed while all is quiet in the house... for now!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 15: Giveaway Day!

Here it is - finally - very late for my blogiversary, and even later for my 100th post (currently the tally is at 194...oops!). But here it is anyway, in time for blogtoberfest. Since I am sooooo overdue for this I am giving away TWO handmade items so you get two chances to win a prize.

For second prize, I decided to whip up a boxy bag from the fantastic tutorial over at patchyapple. The only problem was, with kids in bed I only had what was in my sewing box to rummage through for materials. And so the Baby Boxy was born! Made with a 7" zip instead of the 14" one, it really is a little zippered pouch. However small doesn't necessarily mean it can't be useful. I can imagine it being a coin pouch or lippy pouch in someone's handbag, or a knitting gadgets (like stitch markers) pouch in a knitting bag, or hold some handy little sewing things for the sewers and quilters out there. This, I thought would cater nicely to everyone that reads my blog. I did, at one stage, think I was crazy doing my first one so small as it was a bit fiddly getting the zip in, but it seemed to work out okay. The handle is the same size as it would be for a full sized version as I figured that your fingers still need to fit through!
The first prize is this cute little buttercup bag - perfect for spring for those on this side of the hemisphere, or to brighten those dark gloomy winter days on the other side of the world. With Christmas just around the corner too, it would make a neat little gift for a friend if it's not your style. This was the first time I inserted a magnetic snap but it was no trouble at all with the very detailed instructions that came with them from Nicole Mallaleui.

The bag is lined with a pretty blue contrast that follows on with the leafy filigree that is on the cute yellow birdie outer.

I also decided to add ric-rack as suggested by the bag designer herself, Rae over at MadeByRae. And the final touch was my first flower yoyo using a clover yoyo maker. I accidentally pushed the centre of the flower to the back rather than the front, but I think it looks even better with a cute little covered button centre anyway - I wasn't too sure about poking the wrong side of the fabric through the centre. If you don't win, or would prefer to make one yourself, you can find the free pattern here. Luckily, it was pretty quick to make as I have had my hands full with the littlest one of late, teaching her to sleep better.
To enter, just leave a comment by 5pm SA time on th 31st October, with a way of contacting you if you don't have a blog and I'll get the boy to draw a couple of names to send these little bags to. An additional small surprise will be hiding inside each bag. Good luck!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Blogtober Day 14: One more sleep

Today's post will be relatively short - not really skipping a day as I did a mammoth post over here to make up for it. We have been having some major sleep issues with Madelyn so I decided that today I would post on the kids' blog rather than the craft one. I will be doing some simple knitting at night for a week or so while we get this new routine to work as I'm going to have to do something to keep my mind off the crying.

For now, let me share a sneak peak of what you can win here from tomorrow (it's 2 separate giveaways).

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 13: Sew, sew inspired!

If you haven't ever stoped by MadeByRae's blog, and you love sewing, I have to say, stop hesitating... it's only a click away!

Remember this backpack? The one I lusted after and crissed and crossed my fingers to win it for Austy who starts pre-entry kindy, just a week away? Well unfortunately I can't win everything I dare to enter and I am already lucky enough to win those gorgeous sewing tapes this week (got to share the handmade love around!). However, I feel like I've had a win of sorts by finding her blog in the first place. I now have my hot little hands on the pattern, and with another rainy day here, what is a girl to do but internet shopping?! So an order over at Kelani later for some cute, durable and dirt hiding boy fabric, (and of course some others while I was there!), and an order over at Nicole Mallalieu's bag supply store for some webbed strap and buckles to make Austy's bag look professionally done, I think I'd better let the credit card recover!

Postie, you will now be officially STALKED so I can get started on the cutest little backpack in the world! In the mean time I shall be drooling here.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 12: Rainy Monday

After three hours trying to get the littlest one to go to sleep without having to be attached to me (in practise for my return to work in the not too distant future), I gave up and let her taste some watermellon for teh first time. She seemed to like it!

Then, to keep the bigger one happy despite being penned indoors, we counted, sorted, stacked and played "Woosh!" with these blocks - part of a Jenga style game I bought pre-mummy time for when the nephews came to stay.

Then they became a zoo...

Don't you love versitile toys?
Having played with Austy for a bit I decided it was time the little Miss DID have a nap, and got a bit more forceful with the issue, rocking her for half an hour and then she finally dozed off. I took the time to vaccuum and mop but also had to stop a few times to sing "Happy Birthday", blow up balloons and pretend to bake a cake - apparently it was his toy Montgomery Monkey's birthday.
After all that I thought I'd sit down for a moment and perhaps cast on for this (in the hope of sunnier spring days to come):

But I got distracted and had to take photos of Austy's knitting attempts. Got to start them early you see!

ETA: Thanks Emma for fixing my photo issues!! From now on ALL my photos will be enlargeable at the click of a mouse. I have changed my order of doing things - upload photos, THEN write the blog post in between the pics. It saves all those annoying line deletions and doesn't stuff up my photos. Amazing! Why didn't I think of that before?!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 11: Sunday Sickie

That's right - I'm chucking a sickie today...

No, I don't have a sick note from my doctor or my mum, but I'm nursing two sick kids and a head cold myself. While I did think of being the life of the festival and blog hopping a bit to share some inspirational snippets from othe festival goers, I simply can't be bothered today. Sorry people. I am too snuffly and tired to do the clicking.

But I am happy to announce I am already a blogtoiberfest winner, thanks to a fantastic giveaway over at Sweet Tidings. So in the true spirit of things, I will finally make a decision on what I will give away on my blog, and you will be able to enter next Thursday, Blogtoberfest 15. Details will be posted then.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 10: Frills and flounce

Okay so this could be classed as cheating - talk about a project one day and show it the next! But I am struggling to play Mum and be crafty every day so this will have to do for today.
This little dress is a touch big on Madelyn as you can see, but at least I know she won't grow out of it in the blink of an eye like she does everything else, and if it really bothered me, I could shift the buttons to make the bodice more snug for now.

Poor Madelyn has a nasty cold (and horrendous cough) so I wasn't going to push her to sit nicely and pose especially after the night we had, but here are some action shots of her in her new dress. As she tried to crawl off, she got her knee caught on it and face-planted... I have also promised her I won't make her any more dresses now until she can walk, unless they are the shorter type of dress that she can wear with little bloomer pants and won't hinder her crawling. She is trying to pull herself up already and the few times I have held her hands her little feet race off in a march, so somehow I don't think she will take as long as her big brother to master that.

PS. Does anyone know why I can never get my pictures to enlarge at the click of the mouse? I used to have it working a long time ago and thought the trick was to not have the photos too large but now that isn't even working...hmmmmm.... any ideas?

Friday, 9 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 9: Glad you said blue!

Just scraping in for today's post before bed (no help from a certain little kitty who nearly got her paw stitched to my baby dress!....oh Jane, she's fine really!). That's right, today I have finally made the baby dress I have been longing to see on my baby girl ever since that edition of the Ottobre magazine landed in my letterbox. I've had the fabric for months.

The main fabric is an oilily reprint I bought from etsy, a slightly indulgent but must have purchase! The contrast is a good quality fine cord I bought to matchat a local dressmaking shop, however when I got it home and sat the two fabrics together for a few days I wasn't so sure they "went". Then I dug the pink out of my stash, something I bought from Spotlight aaaaaages ago for my niece's doll clothes and thought for a moment that it went better, but I hadn't really wanted an all pink dress. It turns out that my first choice (and yours) was right. For one thing the quality matches that of the main fabric (sorry Spotlight lovers, but the quality of that pink stuff was not really up to scratch), and it really pops at the back where the ruffles are.

Sorry I don't have a photo to show as yet. It's buttonhole day tomorrow, and hopefully it will then be ready for some modelling action. My pintucks aren't as neat as I'd hoped but I am using the excuse that it was my first go at them and the busy fabric hid my markings. I still think it will look super cute on, and I did the next size up this time (since this dress only just fit around her chest despite it supposedly being the perfect measurement for her) so this one should last until we are blessed with summery weather.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 8: Furry visitors!

I have been saving this topic for a rather non-crafty day like today when I really don't have much to show. All I did today was go to mothers group, do some washing, wash the biggest furry visitor with Austy, do some food shopping, make baby food and cook dinner (as well as feed a teething baby a hundred times since she won't eat her solids with those sharp little canines trying to push their way through her tender gums).

I also worked on that mochalicious zest blanket but it would be rather boring if I just showed you pictures of that with a few more rows added each day, so I'll save that for when there's a lot more done. So far I'm about a quarter of teh way through. I like the way my pattern is knitting up, I love the chocolate colour, but the wool is horrid. Okay maybe that's an exaggeration but it's certainly not as soft as some of the lovely stuff I have been knitting with lately. As a result I am thinking that it will most likely end up as a pretty blanket for our future kitten's hideyhole, and I have the perefect sewing pattern to make a matching cat tent for it to go in. It should go nicely in our living room and give our newest family member soemwhere to escape to when the kidlets are having their roudiest moments. Our smallest furry visitor has shown us that hideyholes are very imporant for little kittens trapped in a room with two young children!

So now, let me introduce our furry visitors. First up, the big one, who I have featured here a few times before as we love to look after her when her people are exploring the countryside. Meet Lulu, a very playful, very friendly and quite huggable retriever. She loves kids, and Austy always has a ball with her. She's not too fond of baths though, depspite the fact I wash her in a toddler pool filled with lovely warm water and rinse of with fresh buckets of equally warm water. She is always excited to see me bring out the towels and waits for me to tell her "All free" as I unleash her and watch her run madly abnout the back yard and roll on the lawn. She doesn't complain though - I think that she has worked out that she always gets more cuddles after her bath. Once she is dry, I spend ages brushing her (and today I had to use a tiny cat brush as I forgot to ask her people for her own brush when they dropped her off with us) and then she looks like a big fluffy bear with silkn fur that I can't resist wrapping my arms around her and giving her a good squeeze and a pat. She really is a lovely dog.

And this is the littlest one - a new member of the Virgo family, Maggie. She's very quiet, quite timid, but loveable all the same. We haven't seen a lot of her (hence the rushed photo!).
The first day she spent hidden behind the washing machine until I prized her out and stuffed the gap with an old blanket to stop her hiding in there again. Since then she has been in hiding a lot - behind the washing basket, under the shoe rack, under Austy's desk, behind thre different curtains, under the computer desk... We onder where else she might hide tomorrow. Austy gave us a fright this morning as he exclaimed "Maggie's gone outside! I let her out and she's disappeared." as I came back from my shower with Madelyn. We all had a good look, calling her and wondering if we'd even hear her since she has the quietest cry (and the loudest pur to match!) but she wasn't anywhere to be found. Then Andrew saw her, hiding under Austin's desk trying to blend into the wall. She gets brave occasionally and lets Austin play with her, but then he gets a bit too much for her and she has a bit too much carrying around and retreats to a new place to hide. Since our own cat has died, I have been reading Austin "Goodbye Mog". Mog gets old and dies, but her ghost stays to watch over the family when a new kitten arrives. That kitten is a lot like Maggie. Mog calls the kitten a "stupid kind of kitten" because it's so afraid of the family but in the end Mog helps the kitten learn that the family are okay, kind of like how Maggie is adapting to having little children around. Although it did sound a little strange when Austy referred to Maggie as a stupid kind of kitten.... Seriously - who writes "stupid" in a book for preschoolers?!!
Tonight I was reminded what it is like to knit with a kitten in the house as she jumped on my lap, stole my wool, nibbled my needles and chewed on my knee - all in good fun! I kept losing my place and packed the knitting away to give her some cuddles instead. It will be so nice to have a kitten again, I'd love another dog too but Andrew isn't as sold on that one yet as puppies take a bit more time to train and we'd like to take it to obedience training like our last one so we need to wait until the kidlets are a bit older.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Blogtobefest Day 7: Get your scraps out!

After deciding to use up some scrap wool last night, I finally made a start on my EBDQS3! Horaaaahhh! A month of the making time has already vanished into whatever black hole the rest of the year went down, so it was about time I made a start. I knew I wanted to try a bit of a scrappy style as I haven't done that before and a doll quilt is the perfect size to try something new. Those that know me, know I like to plan and control... well... everything, so scrapiness is a little weird for me but I'm enjoying it so far.

Plus, with the minute amount of sleep I've been getting lately (thanks to an adorable but sleepless little girl) scrapiness is probably about the only thing I can handle right now. We think there are more teeth on the way (yes, I KNOW!!! She already has 8 and she is only 9 months old, it's CRAZY!) and these are the worst ever as she is even off her food. Don't worry, she certainly won't fade away to a shadow - the amount of milk she is demanding from me will make sure of it, I just hope I can keep my sanity in the meantime. Last night I had both of them screaming, tring to outdo each other, and it took me ages to have both of them asleep, running backwards and forwards between the two of them, and even that was short lived as the littlest one was awake four mour times before I eventually got the courage to go to bed myself (knowing I'd be woken again as oon as I found that elusive dreamy land).

Anyway enough of my overtired drivel, I have no idea where this little quilt is heading. I sketched up three different plans and kept changing my mind, so hopefully if I pack it up for the night it will have some new directions for me tomorrow. I think all I can manage tonight is to curl up on the couch with one of our fluffy visitors and knit away on my trial baby blanket - Mochalicious Zest, using up those wool left overs I spoke of last night. A friend has a boy on the way so if it turns out okay, he will have it as part of his welcome to the world gift. If not, my next baby (the four legged variety - due to move in just after my birthday) will get it for his basket.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 6: Dyeing for hot cocoa!

I decided to use up some leftover yarn. It wasn't the right colour. So I changed it. Keep an eye out for more news on hot cocoa in blogtoberfest posts to come.
Edited for Susuan:
I use Gaywool Dyes, and a couple of Landape dyes I bought ages ago in a sample pack. This method shown here is the kettle dyeing method, which I use for semisolids only as I have a fear of ugly colours forming when they mix (or perhaps I need more practice :P). This is a fairly easy method, you boil up the wool from cold, turn it down to a simmer and pour on some dye solution in random spots. Don't stir it unless you want even colour. And don't turn it for abou 10 mins as the dye will mostly take in the first 5 mins. Simmer gently for half an hour, rinse, wash, dry and reskein. Enjoy!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 5: Did you know?

For those who trace out patterns that need the seam allowances added on, like those from my favourite magazine Ottobre, did you know that your index finger is the perfect width for a seam allowance? I just trace the pattern off then lay my finger next to the traced line and draw along the edge of my finger to get nice even seam allowances all around.

Sorry for the short post - we had a family day today with it being a public holiday here and therefore no craftiness to show, so I thought I'd share my favourite dressmaking tip.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 4: Happy Birthday Nanna!

Yesterday was my Nanna's 77th birthday so of course I packed the kids up and took them to her place with a homemade afternoon tea. I didn't give her anything I had made this year, but I tried to take a photo of the first quilt I ever made that was her 70th birthday present, all hand stitched (piecing and quilting). I often refer to this one as my first ever quilt as every memory of that 70th quilt was painful as handstitching really ISN'T my thing and I used the wrong batting which meant that even with a leather thimble, I still managed to stab holes in my thumb doing the hand quilting. Austy's little baby quilt was the first one I did "right" and used teh machine for. I try to forget the painful holes in my thumb!

Unfortunately in her gloomy spare room (it was quite cloudy yesterday) and with a wriggly baby in my arms the photos came out quite blurry so I deleted them when I got home and will have to try again another day. I did catch a shot of this one though - my one and only blackwork (or should it be BLUE work?) that I did for her kitchen one Christmas (about 10yrs ago) as she has lots of blue and white china in there.
And like Nanna always does, she sent me home with a little something for one of the kids, this time a sweet little jumper for Madelyn. It's a Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply pattern she did with some yarn leftovers someone gave her, and embroidered by her sister.

Instead of getting crafty today, Austy and I made slime... blue slime.... remind me next time to make it white as we both are now sporting lovely SMURF hands!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 3: The elusive buttons

I decided to finally finish off the Alicia Dress (Ottobre 3/2009) that I made for Madelyn when DH told me I could keep on sewing if I wanted to after I finished off the page boy suit for Matt & Jazz's wedding. I got it all done from tracing to finishing in just one afternoon, but then procrastinated on putting the buttons on as I have a morbid fear of ruining things when I add buttonholes. Crazy really as my sewing machine does a beautiful job of an automatic buttonhole... and since I now know I can use my sewing machine to actually stitch the buttons on, the most arduous task of all can be done by machine.

So last night I pulled it out and do you think I could find those supercute little daisy buttons I spent time picking out for this dress? Of course not. I gave up after an hour of searching and made some little bloomers instead (Eyelet Bloomers Ottobre 3/2007). I didn't really follow the instructions here, just used the pattern piece (got to love a single piece pattern!!!) and added some length to the hem so that I could do a ruffled casing instead of shiring elastic on the legs. I don't have shirring elastic and don't know if I'm game enough to try it yet so I copied an idea I saw on some cute baby leisure pants at Seed the other day (and for less than half the price!!!). These pants have to be the quickest baby pants ever. I will certainly be making more for spring/summer as she can get away with shorter dresses (so as not to get all tangled up when crawling) with a pair of bloomers underneath. Occationally I will let her just wear a cloth nappy butt in all it's glory, but I don't have a gazzillion nappies in every colour and not too keen on things that don't match (call it obsessive compulsive but I like colour coordination!), so only if the nappy matches she can go bloomer-free. (I am a little less anal about the whole nappy matching thing these days but I vaguely recall having a go at DH when Austy was a fewe months old because he used a lime green pocket nappy under a white bodysuit which poked out through the leg holes - I told him only skin colour under white.... now I am just happy that my baby has cloth on most of the time as DH will go for a disposable when he can.)

When the bloomers were done, I forced myself back to the knitting. I say "forced" because I'm not too sure I like this thing in all it's fuzzy wuzzy glory, but I have started it so I should get it off the needles one way or another. I think it'd be cute if it weren't for all the shedding. It's Lincraft Angora Plus, hand dyed by me a while back. It was cheap and I thought it was soft and sheeny (it is) and it passed the cheek test (where I rub it against my cheek and decide if I would want it next to my skin let alone a baby's), but oh the shedding!!! Sadly I don't ghave a cat anymore (you can read about Gryffin here) but my lap was oh so much fluffier than when he was around. I'd better get used to it I guess, we have a cornish rex on the way, and while his fur will be delightfully soft and pattable, I know from experience that it will be fine and hard to get off clothes.

And of course I found the buttons this morning but don't know if I'll make it to the sewing machine with my two kidlets awake.