Thursday, 31 December 2015

Holiday crafternoon plans

New paint from Riot Art & Craft...

Blank raw wooden beads from Spotlight ( have been looking for raw beads for AGES!).

New necklace! ( made a couple for some home made Christmas presents!)

LOVE the copper metallic paint! other colours have a nice matt finish, rubbed with a bit of beeswax furniture polish to make them smooth. Bought more beads & paint at Lincraft sale in Bendigo this week, ready for a crafternoon project catching up with friends in the holidays!

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas everyone

Best wishes for Christmas, have a safe and restful holiday, with ( hopefully) time for some holiday sewing & crafting. I am planning on reading lots of books, making some new summer tops & skirts and playing lots of board games with my family ( there might just be some new games under the Christmas tree!).

* And the magpie up date - Bilbo has started flying lessons, he can take off from my arm & fly about 2-3 metres to the ground now. Trying to catch bugs and practising by stalking leaves and sticks and picking them up. Talks ALL the TIME. And refuses to go to sleep at night until he has had a cuddle & dozes off sitting on my lap!

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Busy busy busy ...its that time of the year again

...when everything speeds up and there are just not enough hours in the day. Like this morning, I picked up the paper from the front lawn, opened it and suddenly though " it just can't be Thursday again, I don' t think I even read last Thursday's paper yet!"
I did manage to do a very quick bit of sewing on Monday night - a home made gift for my son's piano teacher. She is a big Elvis fan, so I made her a " record" placemat/ pot mat,

I had just treated myself to the " Mollie Makes" Christmas special last week, and when I saw this pattern, I knew I had to make one for Christine-

I think it looks even better with the Elvis fabric -left over from making a bag for her Christmas gift 2 years ago! I added a black dot for the centre " hole" - I think it makes it look more record like. I will definitely be making more of these! When I started it my H asked if I was going to make a set, but I said at this point I will be happy to get at least one sewn up ready for the next day!

And the other thing that has kept me busy lately -

Meet Bilbo, who I found on the side of the road last Monday, barely able to walk, I think he fell out of his nest a bit early. Hence the name Bilbo - as he had an unexpected journey!

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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Cook book find, cake baking, and current sewing projects

The JediKid (also known as "The Tall One"; or " Shorty" courtesy of my Dad!) turned 15 last week. So I baked a cake, & my H decorated it. Perfect for a geek/ nerd teen...

( shown with an actual controller for scale & design!)
The tradition in our house is that the birthday person gets to pick where to go for dinner. The birthday boy did suggest Vue de Monde (as if!) ,... but settled for curry at Kake di hatte in Lygon St instead. We parked in a side street and had just started walking to the restaurant, when I spied a pile of books on the front fence of a small block of apartments. A sign on the fence said something like " try a new recipe - free cookbooks, please take". How could I resist?

The cupcakes book is really just fancy smancy ideas for decorating cupcakes, so I might donate it to the opshop. A couple of recipes in the Philly cheese " simply heaven" books look good. Always looking for a new cheesecake recipe to try!
I finally got some sewing done this week, first time in ages the overlocker has been out. I picked up this little retro sewing table a while back, and although I have to store it outside ( in the outdoor loo in fact!) and bring it in the house to use, it is the perfect height for sewing, I don't need to have an extension cord across the floor, and it frees up the dining table for cutting out etc. The bracket for the other side table bit (on the right side) is missing, but I don't have the space to put that bit up anyway.

And what did I sew? - three more scoop tee's of course! i love my last stripe/ print combo one so much, I made a spot/ stripe one, shown in progress here. Will have to remember to take photos if the 3 new tees for next time.

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Chicken love

We have 2 chooks at the moment, one "new girl" Lily, the only surviving "baby" from January, and Amy, who is about 3 years old I think. We let them out in the garden on the weekend, I have to fence them off now the veges are planted, or they would dig everything up!
They still have a fairly big grass area beside the shed to explore, plenty of grass and weeds to eat. But no, they both wanted to be in the same little patch of bare dirt next to the bunny hutch, both having a dirt bath. They were in there for ages, and had such a lovely tine that when they were back in their run hours later, I they had a thorough preen, then sat on their perch "purring".

You can see the dirt all over their backs and wings! They step on each other, and kick dirt over each other (and all through the bunny hutch & her water bowl too!). Happy hens indeed!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Sour cream and ginger cake

Thanks to seeing a recipe over at The Second Hand City the other day ( from a Kyle Kwong cookbook) we have been eating this yummy cake for dessert -

Super easy to make, and all stuff I already had, with a couple of shortcuts like finely chopped buderim naked ginger instead of grated raw ginger, and cream soured with lemon juice instead if sour cream. I was fascinated to see how the cream poured on top of the cake mix before baking would work out, it kind of sinks to a lovely gooey centre in the bottom centre of the cake.

Ginger & sour cream cake
185g butter
1 cup muscovado sugar
3 eggs
7cm piece of ginger, grated OR 6-8 pieces of naked ginger
1 1/2 cups SR flour
2/3 cup sour cream
1tbspn raw sugar

Preheat oven 170.
Line 22cm round tin with baking paper.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs 1 at a time.
Add ginger, blend til smooth.
Fold in flour, mix well.
Pour cake mix in tin, make indentation in top of mix.
Pour in cream, sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake 50 min or til cooked.


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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Cup Day Craft

Watching "Have you been paying attention?" on tv last night, I was enchanted by the crochet flower necklace that Cal Wilson was wearing. Half awake/ half asleep this morning, I was thinking about random craft/ sewing ideas before getting out of bed, then I remembered the necklace. And I remembered buying a selection of these crocheted flowers from the discount table at Spotlight a few years ago -

The colours are a bit "meh" really, which is why I have never done much with them. But now I have a box of fabric dye sprays, so now they look like this!

Plus once sprayed, they become a bit stiff, so it gives them a better shape & structure. Once they are all completely dry I will play around with making a necklace. But first I am going to bake a ginger and sour cream cake, saw the recipe this morning over at the second hand city and it looks delicious!

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hand made halloween

Even though we have had the invitation for weeks and weeks (and just how cool is this for a party invitation?! - pickled eye ball in a jar!)

as usual it was a bit of a last minute "Mum can you make me...?" costume drama in our house this week. Well, actually we did have some plans, the Jedi Kid had his outfit planned since an op shop trip in the school holidays yielded this- and a white dress shirt.

Although I don't think he actually wore this, since I made this mitt for his outfit instead -

I came up with my plan last week, found a skirt at the op shop, cut and painted a white mask from Spotlight, and added a flower headband from the 40% off table also at Spotlight.

Tigerboy took a bit longer to decide, but a quick look through 2 oppies, Savers, and Super Cheap fabrics in Sydney Rd late this week, provided a $1 black shirt, $4 vest and the perfect " bright coloured animal print fabric" ( who knew that would prove to be the hardest thing to find?). Walking back to the car park, I passed a bargain shop with $2 plastic masks out front, I tore the black fabric from around it, cut to make a bit smaller, painted and turned into this half mask ( original on left, new version on right)

An up- past-midnight sewing session had the jacket/ vest and tie made-

I wasn't sure about sewing around the lapel, and kind of used the pin-it-try-it-on- then-cut method (inspired by the cartoon in Susan Boynton's chocolate book about how to make a giant chocolate rabbit - "get a giant block of chocolate and chip away any bits that aren't rabbit- ish").

For the shirt - I suddenly remembered, " hang on, you do know how to sew, you do understand basic garment construction" DUH! So I traced around the black shirt and basically made a front, back, and brand new sleeve from pink animal print flanelette from Spotlight.
Then I cut the black sleeve off from the inside, cut the cuff off the other sleeve (it was a women's shirt with 3/4 length sleeves) and reattached some of the other sleeve, to make it a full length sleeve. Then I quickly made brand new button holes on the pink side, so it was a proper " male" shirt ( why oh why are men's & women's shirts still made with buttons on different sides,as if women still have servants dressing them!?! But men of course are able to do their own buttons up!). Anyway -

Shirt and jacket together - oh, and the tie too!

Funnily enough, while writing this I am watching a doco- movie on SBS2 about Comic Con - featuring people making and wearing their cos-play costumes! I reckon we are all set for Aus Comic Con next year!

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Monday, 26 October 2015

Fete finds and a garden update..

I managed to get to 2 fetes on Saturday- the church near my house had their annual fete on in the morning, then we travelled across town to my neice's school fete for the afternoon. Some kitchen goodies from the church fete-

Balsamic onion relish, red pepper relish and quince jelly (of course!) plus a sweet pot holder which caught my eye.
And some craft books -

2 near new Usbourne craft books, I will probably give to a friend's daughter, and a classic children's sewing book from 1970. I rather like the ghost hand puppet, and the elephant cushion (shown in bottom right corner).
2 origami books for Tigerboy- who gets the urge to try origami every now & then, & the house gets overtaken with interesting origami creations!

Can't you just tell this one was published in 1984?!

The loud fabrics, the Princes Di hair cut, the wide sleeves...

And a few new cookbooks, the combined haul from both fetes-

Yes, there are 3 chocolate recipe books! I have already made a chocolate muesli slice yesterday, from the "Best Ever" book. The "Simply Heaven" book contains "75 Philadelphia recipes for lovers of Cadbury chocolate" - what a delicious combination!

Remember the seedlings I planted a couple of weeks ago? The lettuce are growing well, and the spinach is ready to pick and eat!

The snow peas did not fare so well, as one tub was attacked by birds digging in the fresh soil. I had put wire around the boxes but not covered in the top, so one tub was untouched, but only 2 seedlings survived in the second tub. So I have now planted a tommy toe tomato (also bought at the church fete) in there. Now I need to look up some recipe ideas to decide on the dinner menu for this week, might try out some of the baby spinach leaves!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Twilight market stall

The VCAL students at my son's secondary school organise and run a Twilight Market as part of their program. I had a stall there last Friday, shared with my friend and work colleague Kate.

We had a full day of markets on Friday - Kate was set up at the local Seniors' Festival in the morning, and I joined her there at lunchtime. We had been told the festival was crazy last year, and everybody sold out of everything, but I think the free food and entertainment were more popular at this years' festival, and we sold next to nothing! Thankfully the Twilight Market was better for sales!

One bonus from the Seniors' market was that we were given these gorgeous bunches of helium balloons when we were packing up, they brightened up our stall and helped bring more people over for a look ( and we gave them away to any younger kids still there at the end of the market!).

It was lots of fun, especially with the added bonus of getting to hand pick through the second hand school uniform stall to outfit Tigerboy ready to start high school next year. He is no where near as tall as his big brother was at the same age, so he won't fit into any hand-me- down uniform for a while yet, so I was going to have to buy a whole new set of uniform, just for a year's worth of wear. So I was very happy to find a looks-like-it- has- never- been- worn school jacket!

And how great does our stall look! The green velveteen fabric ( $4 for a 5-6 metre long piece, found at an op shop last year) and wooden boxes ( mine are old ammo boxes I used to keep CD's in) work really well together. My macrame hangers are hanging on an old art smock stand from work which was on its way to the op shop, when I intervened, bought it home and slapped some white paint on it. It is the perfect height for displaying macrame hangers or calico bags. It is definitely more fun sharing a stall rather than going solo, Kate is a market pro now with 3 markets notched up. We are hoping to find one more to do before Christmas!

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Yet another Scoop! ( and another dog & cat)

I know, I know, I think this might be number 11! But I have tweaked the pattern again, this time with a bit less of the " scoop" neckline, and a longer sleeve ( sleeve length dictated by the size of the fabric off cut!).

I think this is one of my favourites! The fabric was a lucky find during a school holiday trip to the Preston market with my sister & the kids (her 2 & my 2). We had a quick wander around the rest of the market, after a thorough look through the first 3 shops, particularly the cake decorating shop, with some serious searching for the perfect sized patty pan for baking muffins!
I had a super quick look as I walked past at the fabric stall, and spotted a box of $2 pieces of fabric. These 2 pieces were so different, but work together I think; and half a metre of each ( plus plain black I already had for the back) was just enough for a top. Plus there is plenty of the stripe left for another shirt or two!

And another treasure unearthed from on top of the piano - a photo of 2 of my childhood pets, Scamp the cat and Ben the dog. Ben looks quite grey in the muzzle and I can see the dark spot of skin cancer on Scamp's nose which eventually claimed his life. We had 2 cats - Scamp and his mother Fluffy; Ben ( Benjamin Brown was his full name, paying homage to his breed - anyone recognize what type of dog he is?); Fred & Chip the budgies, and a couple of rabbits named Honey Bunny ( 2 or 3 in succession); Tommy the turtle ( long necked tortoise); and some fish. There was also - briefly - a fox, and a ferret, but I never got my much longed for horse! Oh, and a wild blue tongued lizard who lived under the house, and used to come out and lie in the sun alongside the dog and both cats!

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

A cat & a dog

CAT - I have found a new op shop recently, went there once when I drove past & saw it was open, bought a dress, a shirt and some great books. Took my 2 kids plus a friends' daughter ( lets call her Miss B) their in the school holidays & bought a shirt I had seen on the first trip, the kids all found some treasures too. Miss B bought 2 tops and a skirt for $5, and found a large grey t shirt with a funky cat print on it. The shirt was too big for her, but we all liked the print - so I said I could make it into a cushion for her.

You can see it was a quite large shirt! I used the a panel from the back of the shirt, plus the piece cut from below the print, to make an envelope closure for the back of the cushion, using the already hemmed edges of the shirt. Pretty happy with the result. Haven't caught up with Miss B yet to see if she approves!

DOG -I had to have a clean up on the study so we could FINALLY get the piano tuned. Among the weird and wonderful things on top of the piano (amongst a few framed family photos!) was this paper sculpture dog I made years ago. He sits about 40 cm high. Unfortunately his tail was nibbled by our previous rabbit; haven't shown him to the current pet rabbit, she will probably nibble on his tail as well, as she loves chewing cardboard!

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Monday, 5 October 2015

Macrame pot hangers and other stuff...

Coming up on Friday 16 October is a Twilight Market at Brunswick Secondary College. The market is organised and run by the VCAL students as part of their studies. I will have a stall there again, similar to the Sussex St Artisan Market - ok, basically selling the same stuff... So I thought maybe I should make something new for this market...
So last week I made a couple of macrame hanging planters!
(left to right)
1. Blue nylon cord plus original birch brand green macrame beads ( an op shop find years ago, 2 bags of macrame beads, green only. Just had to wait for macrame to come back into fashion so I could use the beads!)
2. White cotton rope with green beads
3. Natural cotton rope, sprayed with 2 shades of green dye
4. Natural cotton rope, wet and sprayed with several colours - red/ orange/ blue/ green from memory
5. Blue nylon rope
6 Green nylon rope - stiff & slippery to use so only made 1 of these, using rest of rope for another craft project.
7. Natural cotton rope, sprayed blue & purple.

There is quite a noticeable difference between the rope which was dyed when dry -number 7; and the rope which was dyed when dripping wet - number 4. The colours bleed in together on the wet rope, and are more muted, plus they soak through to both sides of the rope. Whereas the colours sprayed onto the dry rope sit on the surface and look as though they were painted on with a dry brush.

Here is another rope sitting in my "spray booth" - you can see by the wet newspaper and blended colours, the rope has been soaked in water first before spraying the pink and orange paint on. Then I hang it up to dry overnight ( or a few hours in this current heat!) before tying all the knots.

Basic instructions for the pot hangers are from here -

PLUS I will be sharing the stall with the lovely Kate and her beautiful scented candles ( the french pear, & lemongrass candles in my lounge room smell divine!).

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