Saturday, 13 November 2010

Pageant Day!

After a trip to kmart yeilded only a t-shirt for Madelyn and nothing for Austin, I pulled an all nighter sewing his from scratch. When I saw all the Ben10/spiderman rubbish in the boys section and not a single plain t-shirt that wasn't black, I remembered why I had bought his from the girls' section last year when I made their appliqued Christmas pyjama sets. Unfortunately this year all the girls' tops had puffy sleeves which kind of gave away that they weren't meant for the boys.

To add to my frustrations, I went to the sewing shop to get more stabiliser yesterday morning, and came away with a heap of tear-away, only to realise it was the cut-away that I had run out of, and the one I needed for knits. I decided to give it a go anyway while Madelyn had her nap and Austin was happy to sit on my lap pressing the start button. Unfortunately I discovered the hard way thast tear-away is no substitute for cut-away when it comes to knits. The hat and the lollies looked like something Madelyn had coloured in, with the colours way off the outlines. So I rushed back to the sewing shop when she woke up for the right stabiliser, and still had to do both designs and make the t-shirt after they were tucked up in bed for the night.

The looks on their faces in the morning were worth the heavy eyelids though when they saw the tops layed out for them on the couch this morning. We fed and dressed them and got down to the bus stop hoping to stay out of the rain, where they sat still for a brief moment for me to take a picture or two. (We didn't catch the bus in the end - we got there early but it just didn't come so we had some tears from a very bus-happy boy!). The shorts and skirt were in their wardrobes from last summer, and the clip I made for Madelyn yesterday morning. They looked very cute, all Christmassy and loved the pageant, Madelyn pointing out all the butterfly floats and anything pink, and Austin very excited when the jolly man in red arrived.

Austin's t-shirt is the same pattern I used for the EB clothing swap earlier this year (simply because I already had the pattern trtaced out in his size). It is the "Sulo" t-shirt from Ottobre 3/2010.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Swap set revealed

Here is the little summer set I sent over for 4yr old car loving Tom, the son of Anna, creator of TillyTom Designs. I must admit, sewing for a WAHM who makes and sells gorgeous kids clothes was a little daunting at first, but I just pretended I was sewing for Austy so my nerves dissappeared, which was easy given that our boys are both 4yrs old and similar in sizing.
I think the t-shirt was my favourite part of the set - I am just such a sucker for a raglan, and I do like blue on little boys. I nearly used the pale blue as the main colour, but I know how grubby my boy gets and decided that the navy was more practical.

The shorts took a little longer than I expected - all that topstitch detail, and lots of pockets (those gusseted ones on the sides were a little fiddly, but I think the effort was worth it. I tried them on Austin but he wasn't thrilled, telling me "You forgot the bit that keeps my ankles warm - I will get cold!" I think he was happy when I told them they weren't for him, mind you, we were having some very chilly days before I left for the US, and until today, I thought I had brought the glorious Michigan weather home with me.

The trim fabrics used for the applique on both the shorts and top, and for the front pocket inserts and side pocket gussets is some wonderful new Riley Blake stuff. So great to see his fabulous boy prints, and I stocked a little up to do something fun for Austy.

Please don't be disheartened by my long time between posts - I am working on projects, I promise. However our computer has held on longer than it should have (just) and really needs to get ditched for a new one. That's right, my laptop died ages ago, and now the main PC has had it, and reboots itself every few minutes making posting rather frustrating. Now I just have to get my miser of a husband to agree to getting a new one... I am STILL waiting for my new laptop! (He has Scottish blood - need I say more ;))

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

EB Sewer's Kids Clothing Swap

Moday was opening day fro this swap, where I sent this:

Okay, so that doesn't show you much, but I will blog it properly when it has been received. I sooo wanted to keep the t-shirt for Austy, so another is on the cards especially for him this time!

Here is what I received from Tina, for Madelyn. She read my notes on Madelyn very carefully and knew anything with cupcakes would go down well, and teamed it with a very sweet handmade clip to match.

The clip was being clutched by an eeensy meensy little panda bear that I haven't been able to photograph - it's a new favourite for Maddy! I opened the parcel whilst giving her the bedtime feed last night. It wasn't enough to make her stop feeding (she is a little milk mad!) but she started giggling and clutched him to her chest as soon as I showed her.

It is VERY hard to get decent pictures of her these days (and at the moment it is especially difficult since she is unwell) but I managed to capture her "dancing" in her new dress. Not a brilliant picture, but you can at least get an idea of how it looks on her.

Please excuse Penelope on in the background while I got the back shot - it was the only way she would stand still! The dress looks so cute on her, just a tad tight and short (she is a bit bigger than the average 20 month old and quickly catching up to her brother). It seems the warm weather is a while away yet though, so hopefully that will give me a chance to modify the waistband to include buttons (there were some tears getting it on and off) and move the buttons down on the bodice so it adds a little more length as it only just clears the nappy. I hope you don't mind Tina - I just don't think it will get worn how it is as it is just too hard to get on and off.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Another baby gift

Finished just in the nick of time (and gifted still damp!) for a relative's baby shower yesterday, was this "Small Things Romper" in my hand dyed Appletree colourway (with BWM "Stone" trim). Super snuggly, and quick to knit, this is fast becoming one of my favourite baby patterns, and knitting with a hand painted yarn always makes it more interesting.

If I had more time, I was contemplating making apple tree themed fimo buttons but alas time is something I can never seem to find much of (perhaps it is my poor time management, or perhs I just get a little too ambitious sometimes!). Nevertheless I think these buttons I foiund at my local sewing store fit the bill perfectly, and keep the garment unisex. I am thinking to make a little teddy bear or bunny "blankie"with the animal head done from the contrast and the blankie part done with the left over hand painted wool. I will be making up the pattern as I go, but have a month before the baby is due, and some long hours in planes and airport terminals that I should be able to fill with knitting now that they have decided that knitting needles are unlikely weapons!
I am off to Michigan again, thistime on my own for work as I did when Austy was 2. It's going to be harder to be away from my little cubs this time though, since there are 2 of them now, I have never left Madelyn over night and have ALWAYS fed her to sleep at night (yes, still going with the breastfeeding). However a rushed decsion at work last week had me booked to fly out next Saturday, and no time to wean her, so the poor little princess is going to have to deal with me gone and no more breastfeeding to sleep all at once. I will be back by the end of the month, but arriving home oin a Sunday afternoon and expected to show up at work at 7:30am on the Monday morning, so I can't even take a day to "reconnect". Luckily I haven't gotten around to putting in my form to go back to work on Tuesdays, so I will keep that Tuesday as my last Tuesday off work before I have to start going back to full time work.

I also finished this little apricot wrap jumper for Madelyn from one of my favourite knitting books. It is a bit big and falls off her shoulders a bit (hoping next winter it will be perfect for her) but other than that I love the effect of the cables and lace. Unfortunately the little Miss has not been too well lately - an ear infection and cold the last two weeks and just as she finished her antibiotics for the ear, the coughing started and she now has MORE antibioitics for acute bronchitis, so I decided not to bug her with sitting still for a photo this time.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Why do batteries go flat at the wrong time?!

I finished three little baby sets (2 in size 3-6m for the on-time babies and 1 in 0-3 for the tiny premmie) for my mother's group babies to give them all at this week's catch up on Tuesday. The last one, for the premmie, was finished at around 1am on the tuesday morning, so the only photo op I had for them was just bere we were about to go. Unfortunately, this is not the best time for photos as Madelyn LOVES to go to "baby gwoop" and can't get out the door fast enough. Couple that with the light on my camera flashing to say the battery is low, and the result is some very average rushed shots of only 2 f the said outfits! My favourite - the little dinosaur themed set for the littlest baby missed out on getting captured s the camera switched off and we had to go. I wonder if I can get the proud mum to snap a shot for me of the cutie modelling them. Hmmmm... Please excuse the poor photo quality and colour.

Here is the girlie set for the first bub that arrived for our group's second generation of babies, Rosie. Madelyn loved this, and while it looks like a pair of shorts, they are light weight trousers in a very soft light denim. I had to lay this set out about three times before snapping this shot just in time for Madelyn to grab them again. She picked them up, held them against her and said "Madewyn's baby girl cwoves". I told her that they were too small for her, and for a tiny baby instead. She replied "Too small for Maddy. Madewyn grewed" Clever chook, isn't she? At 20 months she now indulges in many a conversation and is a fashionista. Today I had to pull out three sets of clothes because she couldn't make up her mind which set she wanted to wear, and the set I had put out for her was apparrently no good! Where on earth did this come from!? She doesn't get it from me, that's for sure.

Here is the second set for or biggest 2nd group baby, Archie. I made this set first, so the pocket is a little high (my own pattern being tested out as baby gifts).

As you probably know by now, Madelyn is a girlie girl at heart, and loves all things pretty. She now has enough hair for hair clips! And it's even getting a little curl to it which is soooo cute. I had bought a couple but when they kept getting lost and Madelyn kept insisting on wearing them, I decided to buy a bulk lot of supplies and make my own. Here are my first trial clips and I have since made several more. I plan on selling the excess along ith some sets like the ones pictured above either on etsy, or perhaps doing some market stalls. While I don't get a lot of sewing time for myself, the Dad in the house has promised to give me kid free time to sew or make clips if it's for markets, so we'll see how that goes! I'd like to also sell some of my Mei Tai's but they take a lot longer to make so I figured I needed some quick and easy items to make a good stall/online shop.

Of course, I am still plagued by the wool dyeing bug,and have another skein over the airer as I type. Here are the little test pieces all set and dried, and hopefully the h the colours will come out on the skein. I have decided to call the colourway "Climb up my apple tree" that cool kids' Target ad was on TV as I dyed it and I found myself singing along to it and realising that it fitted the colourway really well. This was supposed to be for a unisex newborn gift but I am not sure if I want to keep it for myself now. I really like it!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

I'm still here... really...

So many cute little newborns have been showing up in my life recently, with the birth of 3 little second borns into Madelyn's mum and baby group, and a new little niece for us.

While I haven't had a lot of crafting time lately (things are just very busy with an active toddler, an exuberant boy, a house to keep and a job to hold down), I have managed a couple of little things. While our new niece Evie Rose was promised more handmade goodness when I eventually get to it, I did deliver this little outfit to the hospital. When Carina Spencer's baby rompers (both the Small Things romper and Gift Wrap romper) [rav link]started popping up all over ravely, I just NEEDED to knit one of them. It was a tough decision but I decided to go with "Small Things" for ease of putting on and off a tiny newborn, and I thought it looked a bit more girly (knowing my sister was having another little daughter). I dyed up the wool myself, using the colours that reminded me of sweet sugary cupcakes, with swirly butter frosting (there are hints of strawberry, vanilla, lemon, and some blue and green for sprinkles) served with a tasty cappuccino (hence the coffee colour). Madleyn has a serious thing for cupcake adorned clothing, and so for me, I think baby girl = cupcakes! I was going to embellish the back of the romper with a little cupcake embroidery but ran out of time and decided it was pretty cute as it was anyway. Instead of adding the embellishment, I cast on a matching little aviatrix hat [rav link] - a very clever and practical pattern for a newborn noggin! I just love this pattern and really should get one done for Madelyn as she insists on going out on the "wing wings" (swings) when I get home form work and the cool evening air is settling in for the night. Austy would look cute in one too, but DH has decided that he is too old for a beanie (given that it does not get super cold here in Adelaide like it does in other parts) and reminded me that it's a struggle to get him to even wear a jumper some days.

I loved working on the romper, and was really happy with the cupcake inspired wool, even though at first I thought there was too much cream in it. So when Madelyn asked for pyjamas for baby Stella I knew exactly what to do:

I made up the pattern as I went, and it could probably use a couple of short rows in the backside area, however it does the trick and I am quite pleased with myself for managing to develop my own knitting pattern, even if the design is rather plagiarised! The size and shaping is very different from a real baby, so I pretty much had to go alone, with the naked doll on my lap to try it on every now and then as I made shaping changes.

I also participated in another Ravelry swap, this time a colour swap. I was going to make a knitted hat in a semisolid blue, and then add blue things as that was my recipient's favourite colour, however she mentioned that she'd like to try a chocolate/pistachio colourway, so that set the theme. After dyeing up the wool (lovely squishy & soft woolganics 10ply) I scoured her favourites list and found a frog pattern that looked fun to create. Using the pretty green wool from The Dyepot that came as a sweetener for a lost parcel (much appreciated, although totally not necessary - I was extra spoilt there), I came up with Larry. And so the frog theme continued with a froggy appliqued drawstring bag to deliver it all in, and a few freddo frogs. Again, I was running behind my crafting schedule so didn't get a chance to snap any photographs before I hand delivered it to Mel's place. Lucky for me, Mel takes wonderful photographs so I can share.

The sewing machine has seen some action lately too, although I was a bit miffed with my sewing after making a pair of robot embroidered cords for Austy and finding them miles too big (note to self: Austy is certainly not a size 5 in pants!). They were a pain to put together with lots of piecing and curved sewing, but at least they are too big and not too small, so have been relegated to the WIP pile to finish next year (I just need to do the hems so will do that when I know how long his legs will be for next winter). To give me that push back into sewing that I needed, I made this little pinnie for Madelyn from Ottobre (nothing like sewing a pretty little dress to lift the sewing spirits). The pattern may look familiar - it's the same one used by Little Munchkins when she made us a newborn gift for our baby girl. Much simpler to make than those pants, and a pleasing result (although I still need to add a press stud to the ribbon area to line it all up - it closes with hidden resin snaps a little higher than the ribbon).

There has been other progress here too - if you check out the photo above you'll notice that our walls are whiter and the skirting is no longer unpainted wood! That's right - the 70's look (wood panelled walls) has totally gone from our family room (YAY!!!). Thanks to my wonderful DH who had decided I'd nagged him enough about the paint that had been picked, bought and sat in our shed for 2 years. I love it - so much fresher now. I'm still working on him to let me change the curtains (he's worried about the cost, even though I will do them myself).

Also, I have to share my latest dye up. I just love this colour which is slowly turning into a dress for my adorable little girl (who is now as chatty as her big brother - where did my little baby go?!)

And finally, I finished that cute little Ottobre top off with the buttonholes and buttons it was waiting on, and made my favourite "easy pants" for her with some cord that was on sale at Spotlight. Super snuggly and warm, and the size 2 is the perfect fit. This is a boys pattern that I have made several times before, but it seems to have more nappy room than any of my girl's patterns so I think she needs some more. Fantastic quick gratification, and very practical for my very own "Dirt Girl". Her little stockings all have worn patches in the knees - I think these pants are seriously Maddy proof with the double fabric in the knees, and more stainproof than baby pink!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Purple People Eater

I made this little jacket back in January but because it was so huge, therre was no hurry to find buttons. I took my time and found these gorgeous flower buttons and now it fits better and it's cool enough to wear it. I love it with this set as it makes the purple butterflies stan out on her pants and top.
This cardy is called "In Threes", a pattern available in ravelry. Unfortunately it wasn't tested well prior to pattern release and lots of people found that the sizing was off. This is the 12m size, but much closer to 2yrs (Maddy is in everything size 2 now as she's so tall - 87cm and growig like a weed!). The pattern is now at V5 which should have fixed the sizing but I was one o the earlier knitters who made the first version.

It gapes a biunder the armpits as you can see in the pic at the piano with her brother. The good thing is I should get two winters out of it unless she grows out of it lengthwise.

I have started giving Austy piano lessons which should have him well prepar for a proper teacher when he gets to school. He has always loved music and I have always wanted for him to learn piano - perhaps I am living through him, giving him opportunities I never had as a kid (I love the sound of the piano). I had lessons when I was at uni, doing two levels before I moved to Adeliade and had a horrible teacher who had no time for me - I think she preferred teaching kids - she was very strict with me since I was an adult and took a lot of enjoyment out of it for me. Never the less I played what I could when Austy was a baby, often setting him up beside the piano in his rocker, bassinette or high chair and just getting him used to the sounds. Yesterday he watched intently as the tuner did his work and was humming along when he stuck each note. I was amazed at how close he sang the notes as most kids his age sing quite monotone.
So far he knows about where the high notes are, where the low notes are, can identify going up/going down, knows about half steps and full steps, knows his finger numbers and is practicing moving them independently, and has been introduced to notes and rests (reading music). He knows about beats, and can tell me how many beats you need to play for each type of note. Next I will start to teach him the letter names of each of the keys. Not so long ago I thought that because I couldn't play piano well, I couldn't teach him a thing, but I have since learned otherwise. He is a fantastic student listens intently and concentrates very well when I ask him to do things. I am so glad I am able to encourage is love for music at such an early age.
Youtube has been invaluable with giving me great teaching tips and ideas, and giving him videos of concerts to watch and real pianists playing beautiful music. He loved i at the end of the tuning session yesterday when the tuner played a few songs (very beautifully might I add) to test if the tune would hold, and gave a hearty applause when he had finished! The tuner was delighted with his audience.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Little Hoot, Big Hoot

Here is a pair of Milo vests fresh off the needles. DH won't let me put Austy's on him - says it's too girly, so I snuck in a photo op at the park late this afternoon. It would look better with a navy top under it or a collared shirt but with my haste I had to go with what he had on.

Madelyn's is made from that gorgeous gradient that Celia gifted me with in the last ravelry swap. Everything about it is perfect. The wool for Austy's was dyed by Cela too, and I love the colours, it's just DH that doesn't! No wonder everything in Austy's wardrobe is brown, red or navy. It's too hard to judge what DH might think otherwise!

I also made a coupe of newborn vests as "tide me over" pressies when their quilts weren't finished in time. I must get my finger out and finish those quilts but I just don't feel good enough about my sewing right now. I am in the middle of a pair of Ottobre pants for Austy which were turning out well ntil I did the fly, and now they are screwed up in the corner of my sewing desk as it just didn't go quite right. I should have done it my normalway but I followed the Ottobre instructions - never again! When I know how to do something next time, I am doing it my way.

I am still going with my decluttering a little bit at a time, and we will soon have a lounge room that is useable, and my sewing corner will be more organised and pleasurable to work in :) Keeping up with the washing and housework and having it all done with time to spae for decluttering is taking up more time than I thought and therefore eating a chunk out of my craft time, but I am getting there and it's nice having a house that people can "drop in" on without feeling like the worst wife/motherhousekeeper in the world. I am also making sure I spend time on me - something I have neglected in a long time, doing thngs like spa baths, baking my favourite treats, home fascials, manicures etc. and knitting in front of my favourite TV shows. I am trying to keep away those guilty thoughts of things unfinished and just working on things when I have the time to enjoy them. Hopefully my new routnes and decluttered home will find me some more time for the sewing machine too!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Retro sewing book give way

To the first person to comment with "I'll take them!" (in Australia only)
The pink children's clothes book contains drafting information as well as some very retro patterns. Maybe there is someone out there who could use them to create their own modern take on them.
The Simplicity book on the right has fasion tips (fabric selections and design elements to suit your build), measurements (including standard measurements tables) and alteration instructions, along with lots of techniques.
I am decluttering my home in an effort to get on top of things again and find more time for the things I love. I nearly threw these out but thought someone else might get something out of them. Back to the decluttering.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

How I am spending Mother's Day

Up to a beautiful sunny morning, hugs from the kidlets, a little playdough playing, swinging time, and then MUMMY TIME! Andrew is out at the park with my babies right now, and I am QUILTING! Ahhhh... bliss. Singing along to the Foo Fighters as I go. I am determined to fill the day with my favourite things.

Plans for an afternoon tea with Mum and Nanna, and then out for dinner with the inlaws. Then home for a nice relaxing evening with hubby.

Hopefuly your Mother's day is filled with equally blissful moments. To all the Mums out there, wishing you a wonderful day.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

It's a swap... I mean wrap!

My mailman has been super delightful this past week:
I got my Family Roots Coop yarn (yummy First Beach and Emily colourways), a 10ball pack of Patons Serenity DK cotton/bamboo that I got off ebay for a song to make something for ME for next Summer (knowing my pace with big things I thought better to start sooner than later plus I couldn't pass up this great deal), and a WONDERFUL swap package from Celia for the 100g Challenge swap. I got TWO scarves as gorgeous as each other, both wonderfully soft, plus a skein of her scrummy gradient yarn, and some stitchmarkers. For Madelyn she sent this super duper cute hat, and Austy was thrilled with a book about the movie Monsters Inc (his favourite!!) She did some FABULOUS stalking!

For the Ravelry 100g challenge swap, I sent this little bag of goodies over to Kelly.

This is my prototype project bag, that I am thinking of making some to sell on etsy or madeit. They close with snaps rather than a zip because if you are working with straight needles you might need to poke them out the top corner of the bag. These little bags are designed more to keep multiple WIPs seperate in a larger knitting bag (thought up when I recently had to detangle three projects from each other after one of the kids threw my knitting bag to the floor!). A better solution would be to finish one WIP before starting another, but you know I could never do that! I thought there might be others out there like me.

I lined the bag with a contrast fabric and put a second contrast in as a pocket that can be seen through the window when the bag is empty. I made this bag with sew in interfacing to stiffen it, but I think I would much prefer to use an iron on medium weight interfacing (but I used all that up on Austy's bag so I didn't have it on hand). The finished bag isn't much different but it would be a heck of a lot easier to sew! Especially with that PVC window.

Here is the shawl that you can see in the window of the first bag shot. My first ever knitted shawl, and I even tried out beads for teh first time. I didn't do so well on the 100g part of the challenge as I still had a bit left after adding extra repeats in the body of the pattern. I planned to add an extra border repeat to get more beads involved and use up more of the skein but after Milo attacked it, and I had to start the border again, I couldn't risk continuing past the pattern's border length with a deadline fast approaching. Nor did I think I could face frogging again - and I think Milo was drawn to the sparkle of the beads so the quicker it was off the needle the better!!!

This picture shows how I have placed 6 beads on each of the points.

And as I showed you last post, I was working on a pink swap too. This is my last sneak peak of the pink stuff.

And a reveal of the bag itself (since I don't think my swappee is checking my blog). I have included extra gooodies like lollies, pink sticky notes (with roses on them) a smiggles pen,and the knitted washcloth and pink beaded row counter I showed you earlier.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Retro baby

According to DH, this outfit makes Maddy look very retro. I finally got around to finishing those pants, that despite being quick and easy, sat at my sewing desk unfinished for a couple of weeks. I hate doing ruffles but love the finished look.

They are a little long at the moment as I added length so they would last my little sunflower more than a week or two. She just keeps zooming up and is already 86cm tall - the size of an average 2yo girl, despite being only 15m. Unfortunately there are no decent pics due to it raining outside and my camera needing things to sit still for more than a split second when I take photos indoors.

I dyed up some more wool too, this time to be given away as a part of the ravelry pink swap. (But I must admit I dyed extra to make something for Maddy, which... ummm... errr... is already on the needles along with half a dozen other projects - woops).

This skein of handpainted wool will join this facecloth and row counter in a package to my swap partner next week.

I just need to turn this little owl into a bag to send it all in first.