Sunday, December 12, 2010

Take one "free size" kaftan...

I loved the fabric, and it was half price, so I thought I'd see what I could do with it...

How it looked
on the website

How it looked on the floor

Next step - sew
offcuts together

A little work with the scissors and 
sewing machine, and "Voila!"


A pettiskirt for Jess

Jess' Mum asked me to make a pettiskirt for her for Christmas. She asked me months ago - so when did I start? Last Friday, of course!  But it turned out well - in fact I think it's the best one yet!  The bottom layer is about 12m long. The frill used at least 35m of chiffon ribbon.(Looks familiar? Sue said she wanted one just like the one I'd make for the Greenwich School Fundraiser). Thank you Sue for being my first paying customer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Costumes for a (small) class production of Little Red Riding Hood

When my 6 yr old son came home from school and said he and his friends wanted to perform "Little Red Riding Hood" for the class, I sprang into action.

We needed an axe for the Woodsman (cardboard, tape, tin foil, on a stick), a mask for the (Big?) Bad Wolf (downloaded, laminated, cut and strung with elastic) a no sew hood for Red Riding Hood (from A Simple Nest - thank you!) and a granny's bonnet (old pillowcase, cut into a circle, create a casing for elastic, thread elastic through), and a basket to carry it in. Done!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Halloween in Australia is basically a festival pushed by retailers to sell more stuff. The only way to retaliate is to not buy, but make stuff. And when your son wants to be one of these (a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who), you don't have a choice.

And this is how it turned out:

Whilst nowhere near as complicated as this Weeping Angel costume, it turned out pretty well. The mask is a download from the Doctor Who website, although I altered the colour to match the fabric and laminated it for durability. The wings are from the $2 shop, sprayed grey with a water soluable spray paint. Sheer luck meant they turned out the same colour as the costume.
The body of the costume was made with some fabric scrounged from The Fabric Cave, a remnant warehouse, for $6. It was some sort of polyester. I sewed it into a large tube, leaving the top and bottom open, and spaces for sleeves. I then gathered the shoulders, and made a casing for a ribbon around the neck. So the neck is big enough to step into, then tightens with the ribbon. An elastic band around the waist pulls it in for the draping effect. It was easier to do sleeves than to think about how to colour arms!

Slots were cut in the back to allow the wings to poke out. I also made a casing around the hem and inserted a wire coathanger for weight and shape.

And we painted Thomas' ears grey, and sprayed his hair grey too. Next time we'll paint the hands as well!

Gratifyingly, some people on the Trick or Treat trail recognised what he was dressed as!

More Missoni

Regular readers will now realise I am mad for Missoni. What you see on this site is only a small porportion of the yardage I have of it. I even have a skirt I made a year ago that I have no photos of.  Like the owner of Tessuti, where I buy most of my fabric, I swore "no more". But then the owner/buyer for Tessuti saw this, and like me, she couldn't resist.

I purchased the fabric about 2 weeks ago. That's about the fastest "shop to sewn" garment I've ever made.

Why a jacket/cardigan and a skirt? Because for 1.3m of fabric, you can get both, given the width of the fabric. You could make a dress instead, but I think two pieces is more versatile.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I made a movie!

Thomas came home from school in the final week of term 3 with two bean seeds, which we dutifully planted in cotton wool in a cup. They grew, and one day I noticed that the leaves had turned to face the window. We decided to do an experiment, captured with time lapse photography, to show his year 1 class as news.

Here's the movie on YouTube, made with Windows Movie Maker and some online tools for converting music to the right format.

It's to illustrate how plants turn to the light. The last two frames are the same as the first and (3rd) last frames in the movie (pictured here) to illustrate how much the plant moved - in about 30 mins.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Austin's 3rd birthday

As featured on Babyology!

Have you ever seen those pictures of impossibly glamorous party tables with colour co-ordinated cupcakes and napkins and party favours? Well, I gave it a go. The theme was red, white and (two colours) blue bunting. Thank you to Creature Comforts Blog for the printable cake bunting and cupcake toppers (which also went on the party hats and party favour noodle boxes), to Sally of Tiddalids  for the beautiful fabric bunting (look closely  - or click on the picture to make it bigger - to see it in the tree behind the table), and to Kate Landers Events for the printable "happy birthday" bunting strung between the cake stands.

Tablecloth from Ikea, balloons from Balloons and Blooms, Crows Nest, noodle boxes and party hats from Spotlight, cupcake wrappers from Iced Affair and Kitchen Capers and paper plates from Woolworths (home brand!).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A pettiskirt for Darcy

It turns out that Darcy's birthday is the same day as Austin's, so that seemed like as good an excuse as any for making her a pettiskirt. And I figure the more I make the easier they get????? So much so I have gone back and revised my original tutorial...

My earlier attampts were never as full as the ones you can buy, and the only way around this is to make the bottom layer longer. In my original pattern I had 6 pieces in the bottom layer - ie about 9.6m of fabric. This time I put 8 pieces in - ie 12.8m. The only limitation is the amount of fabric you have and your patience.

You are rewarded with a lot more swing:

And the happy recipient!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Biscuits for the Greenwich Public School election day cake stall

Saturday 21 August 2010 is Federal Election day in Australia, and as my son's primary school was a polling booth, the P&C decided to have a cake stall to raise funds.

I spent Friday afternoon and evening baking and packaging (chocolate chocolate chip biscuits, peanut butter biscuits, passionfruit yo-yos [melting moments], and, in a fit of enthusiasm, apricot and orange  muffins the next morning!) and the P&C had requested we label items with an ingredients list.

Inspired by a recent posting by Emily of Saltwater Kids, I decided to make really nice labels (and I wasn't about to write out an ingredient list 5 times for my 5 bags of  chocolate chip biscuits!).

Because I had a lot to say on my labels, I only printed and cut 2 from each 10x15 photo (which I printed at home, as it was the night before!).

Thank you Emily, and thank you Craft Gossip for pointing me in her direction.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A sundress for Fiji

Spotlight (left) had some jersey fabric, shirred at the top, and hemmed at the bottom. My friend Sarah bought the red and white stripe, which inspired me to buy the navy and white for a sundress for my Fijian holiday.

Sarah kindly marked the hem for cutting (as I stood, as generations of women having their hems taken up have, on the coffee table - Sarah says with wine glass in hand, but it's not true!).

I used the (copious) offcuts for the straps and frill.

Then off to Fiji for some serious location modelling!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rainy day photoblocks

Usually when Dad visits he gets to replace all the blown halogen lights in the house. This left me with a stack of these:

I'd been thinking about making some photo blocks for while, since seeing others on, but didn't want to make them out of fabric.  Nor did I want to make them from wooden blocks, as did Missie Krissie, as my youngest is a "thrower". So small square cardboard boxes were just the ticket.

If I was doing this again I would start by covering the boxes with plain paper and glue, to give a plain base to work on. As it was, I simply sized photos to fit the side of  the four boxes, then using PhotoShop, cut the photo into quarters, and "spread out" the photo on the page before printing. This was so I would have paper to wrap around corners when I was sticking it on the boxes:
Choosing photos was fun. You don't often get photos with the subject isolated; often there is another head in the photo. This can work well, and make the puzzle a bit more tricky, if there is a quarter of someone else's head in the shot too.

They came together pretty quickly, and as a final step, and to protect the print and the paper, I wrapped them in clear packaging tape.
(Left) Austin in a photo block;(right) Austin gets to grips with the photo blocks. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My $21.90 Missoni Scarf

20cm of Missoni Big Jagged Spring @ $89m:  $17.80       
20cm pink jersey @ $20.50: $4.10                              

Wearing your new Missoni scarf to the supermarket on a Sunday: Priceless!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Letitia

Letitia invited me to her birthday party and I volunteered to make the cake. The "party" was in fact a sit down lunch, but after spectacular entree and mains, people wondered what dessert would be. That would be Bronwyn's cake! Lucky I made a big one. My first ever double decker cake!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yo Yo biscuits (melting moments)

My Mum is famous for these, so I want to preserve the recipe for prosperity:

6oz Butter
6oz Plain Flour
2oz Icing sugar
2oz Custard Powder
Cream butter, then add all dry ingredients.

Mix until it forms a cohesive dough; this will take a while. For 5 minutes you will be thinking "there's not enough butter!", but eventually it will come together.

Use a teaspoon to pick up small pieces of dough - about half a teaspoon full (they will expand by about a third on cooking).

Roll dough in your hand to make a smooth ball.

Put on tray.

Use a fork to push ball down and make an indent on the back - but not too firmly.

Bake in a 180degree oven for 10-15minutes, or until they start to brown underneath.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Make icing - icing sugar, little knob of butter, hot water, and your choice of colourings or flavourings (half a passionfruit added to the mix makes a delicious icing).
Put a dob of icing on a biscuit and push another on top - but don't squeeze too hard.
This is why they are called YoYos.
Eat and enjoy!