Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Please Say Hello to Snappy, Stanley and Molly

Here we have Snappy the cheeky crocodile.  He thinks he is a bit of a clown with his sneaky water squirting flower!

Stanley the pocket rocket sausage dog with enough attitude for two great danes.

And last, but definitely not least, Molly our lovable geeky artist.

Alrighty then...they are finally in my shops...and they are all looking for new friends to love them and cuddle them and breathe new life into them!  You can find them in any of your preferred places :: my shop ¦ Etsy ¦ Folksy

As always, I love to receive photo's of these dolls all coloured in by your little, please do send them to me.

I really do need to create a Flickr group for these....!!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ava's Memory Coins - Ta-Dah!

If you remember, I promised a 'big reveal' of these memory coins once I had finished them...well.  They.  Are.  Finished.  A month later.  Yay!!

I used my new 12 colour pack of Posca PC-1M 0.7mm markers to colour them in.  I already had a black one that I drew the outlines with.

If you know what you are going to draw, before you start, I would highly recommend laying your colour down first.  I coloured around and over my outlines, then had to redraw the outlines because the colour kind of blocked the black out.  So, some of the outlines are now a bit messy from double drawing.  Also, try and be as clean as you can when you put colour on.  Our coins looked pretty neat before polishing, but the polish really does show any stray dots of colour up quite a lot.

I used home made beeswax and olive oil polish to seal the wood...protecting it from dirty little fingers.  It was super easy to make and it goes a l-o-o-o-ng way.  There is enough polish left over to seal our dining room table and chairs!  Which are unsealed/polished solid oak...  It was easy-peasy to apply just using my fingers and then polished with an old dish towel.

This is all the polish that I used!  The jar holds 1 1/4 cups of polish.  I really should have made a lot less.

The polish recipe has tips about choosing your oil...well, I used the olive oil that we have in the house, which is Napolina Light & Mild.  It has a very pale colour and is more yellow than green.  The beeswax that I used is left over from some soap that I made and was white pellets.  The ingredients contribute to the final colour.

There are 12 flowery designs, so 24 coins in total.  As I bought something like 200 coins, there are plenty left over to to increase the difficulty.

Ava was given a birthday gift wrapped in the little fabric bag...but it was plain and didn't have any draw strings.  So, we used some Versacraft stamp pads and wine bottle cork stamps to decorate it.  Ava did the front side more-or-less by is a bit messy.  I stamped her name on the front.  {I should really finish that off with "memory game", shouldn't I?}

I did the otherside, let it dry and then ironed it.  The draw string is purple, unwaxed, shamballa cord which I threaded through the little casing with a needle.

One unfinished project finished - beeeeg tick!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Spoonflower Swirly Stripes Fabric

The fat quarter of my Swirly Stripes fabric arrived in the post today.  I am so totally pleased with it!

The background is a lovely greeny-blue (makes me think a bit of summery blue skies...but with a hint of green) and the swirls are more vibrant that fuschia pink.  The base fabric is a natural cotton colour - so a bit creamy-brown.

I ordered my print on the organic cotton knit.  It is so soft and, surprisingly to me, has pretty good recovery when stretched.  I am really, really pleased.

I will put it in the wash a bit later, hang it out and maybe tomorrow afternoon have a little play with it.  See what co-ordinating fabric I have...think about what I will make from it...and if I have the courage I will cut something from it.  Tomorrow.  Maybe.

Or.  Maybe, I will just cuddle it and gaze adoringly at it until I am completely bored with it.  And only then chop it up.

Right now, I sit here with a broken baby toe.  I will spare you a photo - my little toe is sticking out at a slightly odd angle.  [The NHS website says that you can treat your toe at home, unless it is at a 'severe' angle...hence I say 'slightly odd angle'!  I really don't want to go to A&E!]  Baby toe still under a cold pack; fabric strapping at the ready to bandage it to the next toe...once the Ibuprofen kicks in!

Tomorrow, I will hopefully have a Ta-Dah moment with Ava's complete memory coins.  Keep your eyes peeled.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Happy & Sad in the Sunshine

We have been enjoying the most amazing week of sunshine and warmth and open doors and open windows and playing in water and playing in tents and garden picnics and ice cream and exposed arms and legs and feet.

The girls and I have hardly been inside all week.  This is the kind of weather I love.  Sunshine and fresh air on our skin.  Warm air, allowing doors and windows to be open right until we go to bed.  Curtains staying open to enjoy the late evening light.

Sleeping with windows open.  Sleeping under sheets (no duvets) and quilts. every way.

The paeony had opened up.  Almost fully.  That colour!

Yesterday the wind picked up and Ava's tent started blowing around a little.  Next thing it was in the flower garden...where The Paeony lives.  In the blink of an eye, my beautiful paeony was de-capitated.

Petals thrown to the ground.

It must have been quite a fragile flower, because my initial thought was that I could put the broken flower in a bowl of water.  It wasn't to be, with petals strewn e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

If our neighbours hadn't been in their garden, I would have howled.

If the girls hadn't been with me, I would have cried.

Sigh...what a waste....

{Get your little person a similar pair of baby hot-pants that Chloe is wearing!  So soft and comfy and cool in this warm weather.  If you would prefer a different fabric or ruffles or appliqué on the butt, let's have a chat.  I have other fabric in my stash and would gladly send you a photo for you to choose from.}

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sunshine-y Pincushion for the Pincushion Swap

I am really excited to be guest posting at Sew Far Sew Good and House of Pinheiro today for their Pin Cushion Swap.

So, hoppity hop on over there to get my crocheted Sunflower Pincushion tutorial!  You know that you want to make one...or three...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Denim Skirt Re-Invented


I have had this skirt for a too long, if you consider how many times I have actually worn it.  It might be that it is black (am not so keen on black) or it might be that the top stitching is baby-poo brown (do I really need a reminder?!)...or it could be that it hasn't fitted me in too many years.

It has been lurking in my cupboard with the view to maybe doing something with it - dungarees or dresses for the girls...skirt for me...patchwork cushions...I don't know - just Something.

Well, it has become a skirt - for me!  I hardly sew anything for myself.  It's just so much easier to sew for smaller bodies, with no curves, or bulges that need to be cunningly concealed.  It's also much, much cheaper to buy fabric for the girls.  Funny how smaller clothes need so much less fabric.

So, there it is!  This is the front view.  Doesn't look too bad.  Until I see myself in it.

This is the back, with the zip and slit.

To make the skirt, I chopped off the top part of the original skirt - with the zip and pockets.  I also chopped the side seams off, so that I had two pieces of fabric to cut the fronts and backs from.

I used a skirt that I had to get the general shape for this one - slightly A-line, but more pencil-ish.  I used a flat, curved waist band from a pattern that I had {although elastic waist bands can be comfortable, I really didn't feel like the extra bulk it would have given me with denim}.  I never wear my tops tucked in, so am not so concerned about the odd waist band colouring.  I kept the original slit, but chopped off the hem.

I also unpicked all of the icky baby-poo brown top stitching and re-stitched it with a deep red, to match the deep red zip.

The pretty floral fabric around the hem (and lining the waistband) was given to me by a lovely lady on our local Freecycle.  It is very narrow, but I have rather a few metres of it.  I cut the hem trim on the bias.  Probably not necessary, as the hem is pretty straight.  And folded it in half to stitch it on to the denim.  It is a lovely comfortable hem against my legs, especially when I sit - not at all hard like denim might have been.

If (more like 'when') I lose some baby related weight {Chloe is one this coming weekend.  I should really have lost weight, rather than gained by now!!!} the skirt will slip lower on my hips.  But, I think that the length and shape would still be just fine.

Oh...did you notice the pretty wall stickers on the first images?  Those are in Ava's bedroom.  Or what is left of them anyhow.  Note to self - stickers on a 2 or 3 year olds wall - not the best idea!!!!

This is what it looks like now.  I spent ages sticking these on during the last week before Chloe arrived.

This is how it originally looked...from here.  Lots of stickers mutilated and missing.

When both the girls have grown out of the I Love Stickers phase, we might consider replacing it.  But, for now, it keeps being re-arranged to at least look ok.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Little Dishcloth Crochet

It was my birthday give our Flower Daddy an easier time, I have a little crib-sheet in my Evernote...with a few things (mostly books!) that I have been drooling over.  Which he cleverly referred to.

Well, I was given Homespun Style and Poppy Treffry's book.  I still haven't had a proper chance to look through either of these.  Although, I have flicked through Homespun Style a number of times - goggling at the images...such pretty colours and textures and ideas, ideas, ideas!  In my head, my house decor looks like some of the featured houses.  In reality, it is a mess.  Toys, books, projects, clothing, DIY tools/materials, boxes of outgrown toys/clothes strewn everywhere.  If we were to have as much colour and pattern in our house, it would make me feel claustrophobic.  And make the house look like a Real Mess.

{What is the deal with little girls watching themselves wee (when on the toilet)?!  It makes the wee go EVERYWHERE!!!!}

Anyhow, I really would like a bit more colour injected into our house.  In little accessories here and there.  I keep thinking about the cute dishcloths and handtowels in the book.  The cute Crochet dishcloths and Crochet handtowels.  I mean, is that even practical??

Just look at that pile of pretty colours, textures and patterns.  Doesn't it give you the wanties...or is that just me?

I thought, maybe I should give it a go.  With a simple crochet pattern.  That makes a nice thick cotton fabric.

So, this is what I is a little rectangle of Rico Creative Cotton in turquoise (36).  I used a 4mm hook.

I made it like this (UK abbreviations):
Chain 35 (you need an uneven number of chains)
First row - dc in all the stitches, starting 1 ch from your hook (so, 34 stitches).  Turn
Following rows - ch1, dc in the same stitch, *tr in next stitch, dc in next stitch*.  Repeat *-* until the end of your row.  You should finish with a tr.  (34 stitches)  Turn.  Repeat until you are happy with your length.  [in your following rows, you dc in a tr and tr in a dc...make sense?  As long as you finish with a tr and start with a ch & dc, you are doing great!]
Final row - ch1, dc across.
Fasten off and weave in your ends.

The resulting fabric is quite dense and thick.  A little stiff, but not rigid, with decent 'drape'.

I think that it would make brilliant wash cloths - for faces or dishes...but also fantastic placemats!  Can you imagine a table full of pretty stripes or different coloured placemats under pretty coloured crockery?  Flower Daddy didn't think it was a great idea.  But then he does like grey and black and boring man colours...  Or coasters, or, or, or?!

So, here is the whole rectangle.  (My photo's really suck today)  A pretty little turquoise scrap of woven cotton.  Now, the question is: do I have the courage to use this for its intended grubby baby finger/mouth cleaning purpose?

There is one other page I keep returning to in Homespun Style.

I just love this indoor-outdoor space.  Do you see the plants (roses?) growing in the corners?  And the paving slab floor?  It really is just a glorified greenhouse.  I could definitely see myself using one of these.  A pretty and comfy and warm space for us to chill while the girls burn themselves out in the garden....sigh....

One question though: how do you keep the bugs out?!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Another Post About the Paeony

This is a little like waiting for paint to dry....the suspense is just about killing me...

It's been a week since I last posted paeony pictures and I have a sneaky idea that this might just become a regular until the paeony has been and gone - so, sorry in advance.

Something is finding the pretty pink petals a little too delicious.  "Pretty pink" really doesn't do the petal colour any justice.  The colour is deeper than fuschia pink.  Deep like maroon, only more pinky and brighter.  Better colour description anyone?

The bud is still tightly wadded...I am so looking foward to seeing how big and full and frilly this flower is.

I have been stalking our plants - checking all the paeonies (we have 5 baby paeony trees), checking the camellia trees (3 of those!), checking the rose bushes (2) - to see if there are any other flower buds tucked under a leaf somewhere.  The only other flower buds are on the new rose bush, and they are still so teeny, teeny tiny....won't be long until we see those gorgeous pink frilly flowers now!  That one is the Harlow Carr and is a 'Fragrant English Rose'...I only know this because I potted the label with the plant...

Have a fantasmatic Sunday!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Hand Drawn Fabric {Vote!}

Swirly Stripes

I have been wanting to play around with fabric design and Spoonflower for a.g.e.s...well, I finally got my act together and put together a hand drawn swirly, loopy, flowery design.  It is entered into this weeks hand drawn fabric contest....

Please Vote For Me.

The image above is my design - viewed as a fat quarter (21"x18" or 52x45cm).  There are lots of designs to choose from and you can choose as many or as few as you like.  You can vote here.  There are some rather pretty and fun designs there, so worth a browse just for fun.

Oh...and if you are in the Spoonflower fabric buying buying can buy it here!  I am waiting for my sample fabric to arrive in the post...I have 2 little plans for it.  Will keep you posted!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Easy Cheesy Mielie Bread {Recipe} & A Little Outing

We went for a little walk around Harpenden at the weekend.  It isn't too far from home and we hadn't been there before.  It was a lovely outing, especially as the sun made an appearance.

 So much beautiful green space.

 Loads of flags and bunting flying in the breeze.

 A lovely Continental feel - awnings, colourful paintwork...

 A fun shop front display.

 More green space and bunting - Ava was quite beside herself with all the "flags" (bunting).

 Pavement jumping fun with Flower Daddy.

And yet more green space!  With humongous trees!

The garlicky aroma wafting in this vicinity was almost too much for us. 
Love those pretty terraced cottages.
Pretty leaf colours.

At the last minute before we left home I decided that we needed some yummy mielie bread.  To take with for all of us to snack on.  This 'bread' isn't really 'bread' - more like a savoury loaf or cake.  I make this for braai's...and we have a seriously big IOU outstanding with a certain friend - who I like to thank for help (moving fridges, assembling crazy heavy solid oak dining table, moving house, etc, etc, etc) by 'paying' with mielie bread.

A few pertinent South African-ism's...just in case you were confused about anything...
Mielie = corn
braai = bbq

I warn you, this bread is Seriously More-ish!!  I always make sure that we have at least one can of creamed sweetcorn in our cupboard.  When we need this bread, we NEED this bread.

If you are on, you can also find the recipe here:  I have since made a few minor modifications.

Easy Cheesy Mielie Bread
480g self raising flour (or +/- 3tsp baking powder in 480g flour)
50ml sugar
30ml cooking oil
2 eggs
200ml milk
1 (410g) can cream-style sweet corn
100g strong cheese, grated (we like red leicester and a fair bit more than 100g!)
Grated or chopped onion
Chopped parsley (I don't always add this, but either dry or fresh will do)

* Mix flour, salt & sugar
* Beat oil, eggs & milk
* Add to the flour mixture
* Add the sweet corn, half the cheese and half the onion and half the parsley, mix and place in well greased circular pot, or loaf tin, or giant muffin tins
* Sprinkle remaining cheese, onion and parsley over
* Bake at 180°C for 45-60mins - until a skewer looks dry
* Spread with butter and enjoy

We can highly recommend a slathering of apricot jam on the warm bread!