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January 2009
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March 2009

Together

Sketch-time-2
Tristan came home from school and wanted to sketch together, so we did. Then we added some pastels to capture the colour. Lovely way to wind down after a long day of school and an unusual request for my boy these days so I eagerly participated.

How does one keep these together moments as they grow up and have so many independent interests? As the weather is improving Tristan will go for long walks with me and every walk I cherish too, but I know these one-on-one times will continue to dwindle as he grows. At 10 he's at the age where his wings are sprouting and I have to quash the urge to clip them off and keep him with me, but I'm not that kind of mummy really. What happens when they're teenagers, do you get any "together" moments? Not rhetorical, I really want to know.

When I make any art or craft with children I always learn things. Here I learned that my boy wants to tackle something big, but a smaller subject matters suit him at this stage because he likes detail, which is why his finished piece has three flowers, not 16. I was also reminded to use quality supplies instead of "children's" brands. The pastels we used were too waxy and wouldn't blend. And I also learned that I don't draw nearly enough anymore and I will work to remedy that, thanks Tris :)


I heart thrifting

Heart-front 

Heart-back The piles of thrifted fabrics, boxes of antique lace, embroidery and tins of old buttons often overwhelm my work space and spill out into the rest of the house, but I love them and use them at home and at school.

The cushion above was a Valentine gift for Gracie. A heart cut from a dyed wool, thrifted blanket and scraps cut from damaged lace. The back has a pocket for hidden treats. 

This heart below is a pressie made from a thrifted embroidered cloth. It wasn't a useful size and had a few stains so it got the chop. The other side is a modern piece of floral and old buttons.

Heart-front-&-back

I could spend all day, everyday poking through my boxes, cupboards and tins of found treasure to turn it into something new. Just push a little bread and tea through the door now and then and I'd be *"Happy as Larry".

It's nearly bunny time too, I have plans to use up more thrifted fabrics to make little wool lovelies - a bit like these.

* Don't know who Larry is, maybe he's related to your Uncle Bob referred to here.


Pajama dress and clean boots

Brushed-cotton
So I've just remembered about wwW. Me? It's a brushed cotton dress I got while in Calif for Christmas. I didn't shop much but I think it's Target? I loved the little sleeves, wasn't too sure the grunge throwback flannel is still okay at my age, my lovely mum said it was. It also feels a bit like going out in my pajamas, which I like. Necklace, one of my favourites I've had forever, made by my good friend Cass, she's made all my favourite necklaces.

Boots1

On the feet are suede boots which are amazingly mud free as we're most of the way through winter.

Usually it's a jeans uniform in this grey, misty and cool weather, but laundry needs doing so the pajama dress it is.

On a note of real fashion, I would love to have been able to get to this little estate sale, the images alone are fantastic :)


Pretty little things

Flowers1

A beautiful pressie sent from Nanou in France. I found her through the sublime Resurrection Fern. Nanou doesn't have a blog, but she's clearly an artist, I wish she did so I could follow along with all the beauty she creates. Nanou also included some very cute gift tags and packaged it all so sweetly that I can guess she lives creatively. I wish I spoke French so I could thank Nanou properly. Merci beaucoup isn't enough.

Flower+velvet1  

Gracie and I are thinking this particular flower would make a nice little addition to a handbag using this new velvet we got in the Holland Fabric House sale.

Ballet-slippers

And these are fun little ballet slippers we made using Marina's pattern here. They were simple to make and Gracie loved gluing on the little crystals Marina sent her. Gracie has hung up her ballet shoes because she has decided she's strictly a rock chic so these will be a gift for one of her ballet-loving friends - although something tells me Gracie won't really want to part with them :)

PS, camera is still behaving badly!


Generosity

HC-flat
Apparently I entered a contest on Mique's gorgeous 30 days which resulted in my receiving a box in the post containing this very pretty and very well crafted huge selection of hair clips. I left a comment on Mique's site simply because they were so cute, not realizing it was a giveaway - there's a lesson for lurkers out there.

The very lovely person who made them and sent them to us from the States is Rachel at Little Lesiw. Rachel uses top quality fabrics and ribbons and sells these little beauties in her Etsy shop at amazing prices.

Gracie wanted to photograph the whole set and arranged and re-arranged them herself (this photo is sans one red one.) Pardon the poor photos these days, my camera and I aren't getting on so well.

Stash-winnings 

And if that wasn't enough, I also got a fabric package from Natasha of Hanies in Berlin. She, like me, took part in Katy's stash giveaway. Who was I kidding thinking I could do a bit of de-cluttering and de-stashing by joining this giveaway, not me - no never. She's even thrown in some vintage pieces, thank you Natasha!

The generosity of the blogging community is amazing. In our house we avoid all the bad news driven by mainstream media. We don't watch TV news and only get the paper once a week. I learn about most things online but I can choose what to read instead of having it shoved in my face. Reading about the devastation in Southern Australia due to the fires made my heart sink, but seeing the instant response to help by bloggers and others made my heart sing

I planned to sew up some items to help but felt I'd be too slow so have decided to give a monetary donation instead. For those who can and wish to do the same the Red Cross is an easy place to start. If you need to convert your currency (this Red Cross appeal is in Aussie dollars) I use this converter here.

If you're interested in donating to the Aussie appeal through craft, Meet-Me-At-Mikes has a long list of ways in which to do so. And if you're not in a position to help in these ways, leave a nice little comment on one of the many amazing blogs written by our friends down under, because good thoughts and well wishes are really, really lovely too.


Make your breakfast a hat

Woolie-hat-egg-cozy

No, don't eat a hat, felt one for your boiled egg.

Keep your egg warm and cozy with a woolly hat. This is so simple and effective at keeping eggs snugly that if you're a boiled egg lover you'll run around cutting arms off jumpers.

Here's how:

1. Felt a 100% wool jumper or cardigan in a wash of at least 60 degrees celsius (140 F) with a small amount of laundry soap for wool washes. (I used a child's size 5 cardigan, the felted width was perfect for the cozies but an adult garment would work too, just sew all the way down to the bottom on both sides of the curve for the desired width.)

Felted-jumper

2. When it's dry, cut the sleeves off to make several cozies, or just cut a 10 cm length off the bottom. (Every other bit of the remaining cardigan will be used for more projects.)

Split-image-stitch

3. Trim the end into a curve shape and machine or hand stitch along the curve to close up the top of the hat.

Pom-pom  

4. Turn the hat inside-out and stitch a small pom-pom to the top of the hat.

5. Turn up the bottom of the hat to make a cuff, then pop it on a perfect, four-minute boiled egg.

Adults and children alike would enjoy the simplicity of this project. A pair of these would be a sweet addition to a little Valentine breakfast tray, just remind your hubby to use them when he makes it;)

Find this and loads of other fantastic felt projects linked here at Meet-Me-At-Mikes, there's a Flickr group too!


Five minute pizza dough

Pizza-dough

Ordering pizzas aren't an option for us, no delivery guys would come all the way out to where we live - but that's probably a good thing. Our pizza dough recipe is so easy, I make it by lunchtime and it's ready to roll for dinner. It literally takes only five minutes (not including rising) and tastes amazing.

Recipe:

  • 500g strong flour (I use 250g strong flour and 250g plain flour if the children are going to roll it as this combo is a bit less stretchy and easier to roll but tastes the same)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10g of dried yeast
  • 315ml of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix the yeast with the warm water and add the honey. Stir it with a fork until the mix gets frothy.
In a large bowl stir the flour and salt together, then create a well in the centre of these dry ingredients. Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the well and gather the flour up from outside the well into the well and mix all the ingredients together.

Dump the mix onto a flat surface and begin kneading. Add some flour a little at a time if the mixture is too sticky. Continue kneading the dough until it's smooth (about five mins.) Next form a round shape with the dough, slice a cross in the top of and dust it with flour.

Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it with a tea towel or cling film. Leave it in a warm place for two or three hours until the dough doubles in size.

This recipe makes two large pizzas or four small pizzas. On nights when we get home late from school I roll out one large pizza; I top half with Tristan's favourites (green pesto and mozzarella) and the other half with Gracie's, tomato sauce, mozzarella and various veggies. I then roll out the remaining dough and put it in the freezer for a quick meal at a later date.

Because this recipe makes four small pizzas it's perfect if each child has a friend over - they love kneading the dough, rolling it out then topping it themselves.

EDIT: Thanks Anne for your measurement comment. For American readers try Cooking Conversion Online which converts metric to imperial measures or the reverse. It's fantastic - a super quick way to convert all your favourite recipes - for bread making you can round off measures after converting them.

Www4-2-09 

And as it's "watcha wearing Wednesday" here it is. I can't quite reach high enough to get the front view, a little floral top, the softest tank underneath and a cropped cardi on top. Feet, my Christmas present Aussie slippers and unmatched wool socks.

I love these new sheep skin slippers I got for Christmas but because they have soles on them I've run out of the house for the school run, got in my car and down the track before realizing I'd forgotten to change into my shoes. I've done this not once, three times.

I'm playing along today just because it's sunny! However I don't expect Fi or anyone else will be up to joining in, the news in Australia is just too sad for frivolity. I'm sending happy thoughts to you all.

PS - Tomorrow a quick little felt tutorial, I'm joining the Meet-Me-At Mikes make-along with felt.


A surprise package

Marina's-gift

Look at this pile of goodies the postman brought me on Saturday. A large piece of beautiful fabric in luscious colours. Gorgeous ribbons, wool felt, a sweet notebook, satin cord and decorative crystals.

These were a gift from Marina of the lovely Wink Designs. All I did was give Marina a little advice for making this sweet PDF easier to download. Nothing - just a couple of suggestions via email and she's so kindly sent me all these goodies.

Gracie opened the package so I can't show you how lovely it looked pre-Gracie, but is was also wrapped beautifully. My little seven year old's eyes lit up when she saw the contents, and so did mine. We're going to have a go making Marina's little charm ballet slippers.

Marina's site and Etsy shop are full of lovely, fresh designs and on her blog she shares other tutorials too so go and take a peek.

Thank-you Marina for your generosity:)


A sweet week so far

Tulips

This week has been full of lovely surprises.
I love the way the sun hit these tulips that I had plonked in a jam jar yesterday.

Valentine-by-Lisa
Also yesterday, Lisa of Always Home stitched this new pattern. I only posted the pattern on Tuesday - WOW! Lisa is quite the needleworker, just check out her site.

From-Leah
And I love this sweet package that came in todays post from Leah in Australia. She's my swap partner for a little fabric exchange arranged by Katy. Thanks so much Leah, two of my favourite things, chocolate and fabric! I hope my package arrives to you in good time too.

Can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings, more chocolate I hope - and if the rain stops a weekend walk to the pub :)


A Valentine gift

Picture-Valentine-Tweet
Although Valentine's Day generally comes and goes around here like pretty much any other day I remember gleefully making dozens of Valentine's cards for classmates when I was little, always saving my favourite for the boy I most had the hots for.

The design for this little embroidery pattern popped into my head the other day and I've just managed to get it finished before the 14th has come and gone, though I'd quite like to use it anytime of year. When I stitch it the finished product might be a quilt block.

The seven year old me probably used this "tweet" line when making Valentines all those years ago. I wanted it to hark back to those old little cards with the goofy little puns. I loved making those cards back then and Gracie has her eye on this design for a few Valentine projects of her own.

If you'd like the full-size PDF version of this design leave me a comment on this post and I'll email it to you. It will only be available through the end of February.

The Green Parent magazine has a fantastic new website and has posted one of my craft tutorials from their Christmas edition - it's very simple and appropriate for Valentine's Day. They even included one of my templates for download, handy for a variety of crafts.

3197165024_957a01a18c_o-1And if Valentine's Day is not your favourite day of the year take part in the Black Heart Anti-Valentines Day Contest hosted by Dabbled. I found it via Rachel of Average Jane Crafter who is one of the judges.

To take part create a "creepier" anti-Valentine craft and enter it on Dabbled's site.