Monday, 29 December 2014

Handmade Christmas part 2

I bough home a tray of strawberries from the local fruit & veg shop a couple of weeks ago, and made a new batch of jam...

The recipe is from here of course-

We also made a batch of Picalilli vegetable chutney, recipe from the River Cottage website. Must remember to take a photo of a jar of Picalilli. It was made back in November, because it has to sit for 6 weeks before eating! It was hard to wait, but worth it! Lots of lovely chunky veges ( about 6) and spicy mustardy flavours, great with a slice of lightly toasted sourdough, and some cheese for a " ploughman's lunch".

I also made a batch ( about 8 logs) of biscuit salami! It is a heat and mix combo, a bit like the classic condensed milk and Marie biscuit "rum balls" or "blobs" as my sister and I used to call them, but with a few extras like sultanas, dried cranberries and macadamia nuts. You roll it into logs and tie up like a sausage, them cut into slices to serve. Yummy! The other difference is no coconut- I love coconut milk in curries, but cannot stand dessicated/ flaked/ diced etc. coconut. So I use biscuit crumbs instead for rolling. The logs are stored in the freezer, so handy for last minute gifts, or making ahead of time if you are super organized!

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Handmade Christmas part 1

This was going to be made for a birthday a while back, but it didn't quite happen. But better late than never, it will be a Christmas gift instead! She is quite tall ( sitting on a half inch grid if that is any indication). The patten was in a UK craft magazine from last year - "Handmade Living" issue 23 May 2013.

I modified ( ok too short cuts!) the pattern a bit- no apron, no fancy bow at the back, no appliquéd lips & cheeks. I embroidered the eyes & nose, but the cheeks are drawn with blusher- of course! And the lips with water colour pencil. One of the reasons I had put of making the giant babushka was all the embroidery/ appliqué involved with the face, but then I remembered reading somewhere sometime, on another pattern, the idea of drawing on the features with water colour pencils ( yep, as I always say, I have a head full of random stuff - handy for trivia nights and random craft projects!)
She is weighted with a little bag of wheat in the base, so she stands nice and upright for a pillow, or can be used as a doorstop. And yes, keen readers may recognise the purple floral print from previous sewing projects, including a Colette Sorbetto top from last summer.

No sewing this time, baking ( gingerbread) and decorating with royal icing. Can you name the 7 different characters/ objects?

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Craft shopping at Daiso

Have you discovered the Daiso stores yet? Kind of like an upmarket $2 shop. Except that everything is $2.80. And I mean everything. Takes a while to get your head around the fact that there are no price tags, because every single thing is the same price! I popped into the new Craigieburn shops to grab some lunch on the run at work the other day, and spotted a Daiso shop! I went straight to the craft section and spotted sheets of thick- ish plastic. I wondered if it would work to make cutting templates out of, rather than using paper or cut up cereal boxes. And it works perfectly! The only catch is that the sheets are not very wide - about 70 cm by 25 cm.

I cut out a pattern to make fabric buckets, so I can cuut them out with a rotary cutter and make these-

And I also cut out a set of small circles, so much better to cut around sturdy plastic rather than flimsy paper, to make fabric brooches ( photos soon, still sewing !) would work to make your own quilting shapes, and the plastic is see through and comes in about 4 colours. I will definitely be buying more, and replacing all my small craft paper patterns with sturdy plastic. So glad my idea worked! Plus now I just have to go back to Daiso again! Who knows what I might find next time...

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Beans beans beans!

We have been growing beans!

And cooking beans-

And eating beans!

Thanks to River Cottage, broad beans are on the menu, and in our garden for the first time. We will definitely be planting them again next year. The secret is in the preparation - podding, blanching then eating! On sourdough toast cooked with bacon, in salads, a a vege side dish yum yum yum!

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Monday, 27 October 2014

School fete craft sewing

There are about 139 days til our school fete next year, so we need to start sewing for the craft stall! Here are some of the popular items we have made for past fetes. Wallets, wrist cuffs and Critters. I have designed a new range of critters for a couple of twilight markets and fetes now, and we make about 3-4 designs each year.
Might be time to start recycling some previous designs! They are very popular and always sell out - some kids keep coming back to buy the whole set! I provide a finished critter, cut out felt shapes, embroidery thread and buttons to make up about 10 of each critter. Let me know if you would like to make some for school, I am planning on cutting them out & starting to put the kits together at the Menders & Makers craft group at Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood house craft group, next Wednesday night 7-9pm.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Last week's mega crafting effort

Last week the sewing machine and overlocker were running rather hot, sewing up a storm for the market stall at the high school. I made 10 calico bags and stencilled pictures on them with freezer paper-

And I made a few more rope bowls-

There were a couple of other colours, but in the mad rush to get everything done (ie. still printing bags at 4 pm when the market started at 4:30!) I forgot to take photos of the new ones, and two of them sold at the market! I sold one more at work today, and have an order for another rainbow one, but will need to buy another roll of rainbow thread first!
Hoping to cut some more t shirts out soon and get back to making clothes again!

Ps looking for something to do this weekend, checkout the Garage Sale Trail, esp. the Frankie and friends sale in Brunswick, on tomorrow

Also, Moonee Ponds Central school have there Spring Fete on this Sunday, and of course the Stitches and Craft Show started today too!

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

360 sewing

I said I would try and remember to take some photos next time I made some rope bowls. I think these 2 shots give you an idea, it really is 360 degree sewing...

I have made a couple more in different colours, ready for a market stall at Brunswick Secondary after school this Friday - 4:30-7:30. The market is a project organized by the VCAL students, a few stalls, bbq and music from the school bands. Come along and say hi!

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Free sewing patterns

Just had a quick read through my blog list, and on Sewn By Elizabeth I read about a great free pattern deal over at - free PDF patterns til this Friday only. There is a leggings pattern, yay! I have been wanting one of those, will print it out ASAP!

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Monday, 6 October 2014

Dr Who in stitches

I haven't done cross stitch for about...maybe twenty years! But there was a birthday party on the weekend for a Dr Who fan, and as it was a " special" birthday, I figured a special gift was required. So I searched on line for ideas, took a screen shot of a cross stitch someone else had made ( also for a birthday gift I think), enlarged the pic, tinkered around with some graph paper and coloured pencils, and started stitching!
But as is often the case when making a gift, it was finished at the last minute, quickly wrapped and ready to go - I and forgot to take a photo of it finished and framed!

***Menders and makers craft group is on this Wednesday night at RRNH, Made'n' Thornbury Craft market this Friday 4-9pm.
This Saturday is the St Albans church fete, Reynard St Coburg.

Finders keepers craft market is at the Royal Exhibition Building 17-18 October.

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Monday, 22 September 2014

3D sewing and macramé samples

There is something about turning a flat piece of fabric/ paper/ rope - anything really- into a solid 3D object that really appeals to me. Don't get me wrong, I still love sewing clothes, but every now and then I just have to try something a little bit different, outside the square sewing as it were. There has been a discussion on the school FB page about trying - or as is the case for some of us, rediscovering- macramé. So I searched through my craft book collection and found these...

I had a quick run around some local $2 shops on Monday, and bought a sample of ropes/cords to try. I was trying to start the white one, when Tigerboy, looking over my shoulder told me I was doing it wrong! We got it sorted out-

them he made his own sample piece - the jute string key tag above, and started a second one-

Playing around with the cording & string, I remembered seeing a pattern for a string bowl a while back. I found a few patterns online, threaded up some fluoro green thread I have been wondering what to do with, and started sewing...

I LOVE the result! Already planning more, thinking about dying/ painting the rope before or after sewing, trying variegated many ideas! And I still need to try some more macramé too...

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Twin needled t shirts!

I cut out several t shirts the weekend before last, overlocked them last Monday, but only finished one ready to wear...

And I have worn it several times since! It is a modified Peppermint magazine free pattern, " jersey knit top" ; with the neckline from the top in the Simplicity 5867 pattern (50c from an op shop, great pattern with t shirt, pants and zip jacket). The skirt is my mega comfy denim skirt with pockets & yoga waist ( I cut out 2 more of these today, yes I do love my pockets!), necklace also "me made" - I call this one the very hungry caterpillar because that's what the green beads remind me of!
I finished off 1 more t shirt today - a "skirt as top " scoop t shirt. I needed to finish of the neck band and sleeves, so after a helpful chat with Helen at craft group last week, I decided to be brave and try the twin needle today-

Yay! Amazing, I am very pleased with the result. Even if it did jam and break the thread smack bang in the centre of the front of the shirt! Hopefully not too noticeable... Pink was easy to do because I just happened to have a nearly empty roll of pink and a brand new one in the same colour. I will definitely be using the twin needle again!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Crafting part 2

Here is the finished product- 2 "Minecraft" themed terrariums. They were made for birthday gifts, and both were big hits!

The one on in the top, close up pic, was delivered to the birthday girl yesterday- we took it to her house yesterday evening, rather than risk carrying it to the party! This resulted in some entertaining guesses from the birthday girl, who decided the gift must be either "alive, fragile or large" ( her mum knew what it was and was very amused by the guesses!). And she was very happy with her gift, apparently she had recently said she would like a terrarium, so it was perfect timing! I think I might try and make some more, maybe a " mad man in a blue box" theme for the next one...

PS craft group "Makers and Menders" is on this Wednesday night, 7pm at RRNH.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Crafting but not sewing...

I like making stuff, all kinds of stuff, I love sewing but that is a more recent thing really. I have always made stuff - remind me to take some photos of some of my favourite craft books I had when I was a kid.
Anyway, the nearly eleven year old had a couple of party invites the month, and I wanted to do something a bit different for presents. No sewing involved, but I still got my hands dirty. Literally in fact.

Soil and plants involved. And Fimo, haven't used that for many many years. But I don't think I have lost my touch-

More to come next post...

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Craft show stash & markets on tomorrow

Can you believe I did not buy a single skerick of fabric at the craft show last month? I bought some wooden beads - the flat ones on the left at the back were made into a necklace that very night and have been worn once or twice a week ever since! Lego ribbon will be turned into a key tag for the 10 year old, and the dinosaur ribbon will also be used for key tags.

Craft markets tomorrow- Sisters Market is back at the Brunswick town Hall, and the Finders Keepers market was on tonight and is on again tomorrow at the Royal Exhibition building. Melbourne Open House is on this weekend too.
Looking for a craft group/ the company of fellow crafters- come and join the Makers and Menders group at the Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House, this Wednesday 7-9pm. Hope to see you there!

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Friday, 4 July 2014

Swoon scarf neck cardigan pattern

One of the big reasons why I love reading sewing and craft blogs is finding out about free sewing patterns, and reading people's reviews, suggestions and comments about sewing them up. Plus checking out photos of the finished item too of course! So when Lara at Thornberry posted about the Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan, I was very excited- it was just what I was looking for. I have a similar RTW cardi, and was thinking about trying to draft a pattern from it. But no need, because the Swoon cardi is just right! Nice drape, relatively easy to sew - all done on the overlocker, and good for a range of fabrics.
I have worn the first quite a few times already- I had been searching in op shops for a nice "neutral" cardi or jacket for a few months, having identified a gap in my wardrobe. Well, now I have 2 handy neutral tones- a latte shade, and pale grey. And I just made a black one this morning too, ' cos you can never have too many black cardi's/ jackets! The photos are not very flattering, and the flash on my phone ( with a 10 year old photographer) gives a weird pinky glow for some reason...but at least you can see the shape of the jacket better than if it was on a coat hanger!

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

I'd like to be, under the sea...

So of course once I'd knitted the squid, my next thought was...could I knit an octopus too?
Here is the answer-

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Friday, 6 June 2014

Knitted Calamari, anyone?

A lovely friend who well knows my weakness for books, and all things crafty and quirky gave me the book "Knit the city" for Christmas last year. The book is a photo story about yarn bombing in London, and features a couple of knitting patterns featured in the book. I just had to try the "finger fighting stitched squid" pattern.

I followed the pattern for the first one ( on the left) and even made the tentacles a few stitches longer than suggested, but compared to the photo in the book, they do look a bit short. So I just had to make another one with longer tentacles ( squid on the right). Result- a much more satisfying squid look. The 10 year old was so impressed, he has decided he wants one for himself BUT then said "Don't make one for me Mum, you have to show me how to knit, I want to make it MYSELF". Ok! He has not shown any interest before when I have offered to teach him or his brother how to knit, but then I had not known the magic powers of The SQUID!
So it looks like we need to find time for a knitting lesson this weekend!

And I started another project ( oops, that makes 3 knitting projects on the go at once!) when I finished the 2nd squid and thought hmmm- could I modify the pattern to make an octopus....?

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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Pascoe Vale Spinners and Weavers show, 2014

Photos from the show on Saturday. Those spinners and weavers are an amazingly talented lot. Love this funky pompom covered chair?
How I didn't notice it when I first walked in the door is beyond me, but then again, maybe it was because I was admiring all the other wonderful woolly creations on display-

I do like the style of the brown slouchy beanie shown below, as did my friend Janine who bought a pink/ purple/ blue version from the show.
I particularly love the colours of this granny square throw rug, and seriously thought about going back to the show again today to see if it was still for sale! ( I really must learn to crochet!)

And how gorgeous are the colours of these granny cushions! I particularly like the summery colours of the front one.
As always, a beautiful and inspiring show. I resisted the urge to buy some hand spun, hand dyed wool; and just managed to resist buying a granny rug. In fact the one item I did buy (an upcoming birthday gift, not shown here), while handmade, it neither knitted nor made of wool!

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Craft show next month! Are you going?

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Weird and wonderful garden finds

Luckily we spotted this weird creature outside the back door before it was stepped on!

Do you know what it is? It is a case moth caterpillar - carrying its case around! It wandered across the yard - quite slowly, and fascinating to watch, looked like hard work really, dragging its "case" of sticks around. Makes a snail carrying its shell look rather light weight and speedy in fact! It ended up crawling up the front of the cubby house and spent the night there, but in the morning was nowhere to be found. We have to watch our step now, in case it turns up, heading off on another walk again!

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Friday, 2 May 2014

Craft events coming up in & around Coburg

*The Glenroy Art Group have a show on this weekend at the swimming pool hall, Prospect St Pascoe Vale.

*Saturday May 10 is the date for the next "Made 'n' Thornbury" market, 10-2pm.

*The Pascoe Vale Spinners and Weavers annual exhibition and sale is on at the same venue a the end of the month, Saturday 31 and Sunday 1st June 10 til 4. Love this show, have been every year for the last few - beautiful and spun wool for sale, as well as an amazing range of hand knitted items.

*There is a "wool expo" at the Coburg Town Hall, Saturday 17th May, 10-3pm, display by the Hand Knitters Guild.

* Sunday May 25, 10-5pm is the date for the "Markit" at Fed Square.

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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Making t shirts

I have been giving the overlocker a bit of a workout lately. I have been downloading and printing out a few free patterns, sorting through the stash of stretch fabrics, and reading up on sewing blogs for tips and pattern reviews. I started with the scoop top from "Skirt as top" -

The first was a dud,as I couldn't get the neck binding right. This one worked fine! Fabric from Rathdowne remnants - bought recently for this project, 1m $12 I think.
Thanks to some timely posts by Thornberry, I am getting better, using her stretch t shirt procedure.

Then I tried the Jersey top free pattern found on the Peppermint Magazine website. Fabric mostly from the stash-a $10 bag of mixed stretch pieces from Rathdowne remnants last year. I have now made 3 of these, with a couple more cut out. I have even changed thread colour on the overlocker from black, to navy, and now red! Thank goodness for all those wonderful sewing bloggers out there for lots of sewing hints, and also for the Statewide Sewing Centre in Coburg, because they stock overlocking thread, so I can grab a new set of colours when I am doing the fruit & veg and grocery shopping!

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