Monday, July 24, 2017

Supreme Shorts

During the holidays, one of the goals was to make some more clothes for Sophie. She had put on one of the skirts I made her last year (you can find them here) and I had noticed that it was looking rather short. So time for some new ones. While I was at it, I thought I would try out a new pattern that I had picked up on sale: Clover Shorts by Mouse House Creations. 

These shorts are so fancy and nice. They have loads of options when you are sewing them, and go all the way up to a size 12! Talk about a long lasting pattern. When I was considering fabric options for these, I actually read the fabric requirements on the pattern for a change, not something I usually do, but as Sophie is getting bigger, I'm noticing I need to use more material (obviously), so I was cautious.

After reading the requirements, I realised I did't have quite enough of this green train print to make the shorts. Even just looking at the basic shorts (no ruffles, or bow/sash). I really wanted to use the fabric though, because I knew Sophie would love it, just like she loved her train dress (made from the same material, just in a blue).

So I spent a good hour or so looking through my scraps, finding fabrics that could coordinate, working out if I had enough. The plan was to make the pockets out of the pink, and maybe the cuffs too, depending on how much I had. After all of my searching and planning and phone calls to my sister in Melbourne for coordination advice, when I actually laid out the pattern, I had enough of the green train material anyway!

So I decided I wouldn't waste the coordinating colour that had taken me so long to find, and make the bow/sash after all. I also stuck some pretty pink on the inside of the pockets too. Just for fun. I think it works well.

None of the buttons on the shorts work, but they look cute. The shorts have an elastic back and a flat front, which basically means that that bow will never look as pretty as in these photos ever again, because we have to undo it to get the shorts on. Oh well. These shorts are still the shiny-est thing I made for Sophie over the holidays, and I look forward to sewing more of them with the pattern.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fly Away Dress

Despite trying to say no to people who want to give me fabric, I did say yes to a couple of bags a few months ago. I've no idea where my friend got them from, but there was some quality vintage fabric there. Some of it still pinned to the newspaper pattern, and when we checked the newspaper, it was from the 60's. Specifically Bundaberg in the 60's. They were still using pounds, shillings and pence! 

Anyway, given some of the fabric was a bit sixties, I wanted to make it into a dress that would pay tribute to the 60's somehow, and yet still be cool and fashionable. Luckily, I read way too many sewing blogs and had seen Coffee and Thread's Eleena Dress pattern pop up round abouts. It was pretty perfect for what I had in mind. 

I showed it to Mum, but wasn't going to get the pattern for a while. I had a stack of material so I was in no rush. Then Mum found some other material that she'd bought somewhere along the line that she thought would be perfect for the dress pattern. One thing leads to another and I'm suddenly making a dress a lot sooner than I thought. 

It's pretty lovely, but I think I would put a collar on it next time. I'm certainly planning on putting a collar on when I use the 60's material that's for sure. These photos don't do the fabric justice, because it's really pretty with those little butterflies fluttering around on it. That's why I did the flutter sleeves actually.

Sophie's not super into it, because it's not "twirly" enough. Still, she has worn it once, and I made a size five, so there is room to grow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I'm working hard on saying no to people who offer to give me free material. It's hard. Oh so very hard. But I gave in when my friend Megan down the road offered me this doona cover she had picked up at an op shop for $4. One side had big trucks and cars printed on with words, and the other had a lighter blue background with a smaller print of trucks and cars. It was so fun! Who could resist?!

In return for the copious amounts of free material, I made Megan's two kids something out of the fabric. I used some tutorials from Ikat Bag, which I had used before to make the Strawberry Print Denim Dress and another Red Denim Dress. Very helpful.

I love the pockets and piping on Digby's overalls. Those are the best I think. I wish I had more photos. Hadley got something similar, but a bit more girly: an elastic waist skirt with a bib front and cross over straps.

To make it slightly more fancy, I used some yellow piping around the straps and bib front. I've used it before in other skirts (and maybe something else, but I can't remember). Those buttons are useless, because I'm terrible at button holes, but they look good.

Sophie also got something out of this fabulous material. Same kind of thing that I made for Hadley, although she got two. One, which is totally plain and not fancy for kindy.

And the other which has a little bit of piping on the bib front (I didn't have enough left for the straps as well), and some cool buttons, which she is not allowed to wear to kindy.

I've still got fabric left too, so maybe Hugo and Rachel will be the next beneficiaries.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pillow Making

This was one of the things on our holiday list that was possibly the first thing ticked off. I'd been meaning to sew Rachel a new pillow cover for ages, and day one of the holidays was just as good as any day to do it. 

Rachel loved being able to sort through my scrap fabrics and choose ones she liked. I may have helped streamline her choices somewhat, but she definitely had strong preferences about things.

All the straight sewing was perfect for Rachel to be helping with too. The butterfly material is leftover from this skirt I made for Sophie last year. I'm really not sure where the stars came from, the red heart fabric on the back is a bit velvety, and it came from a stack of stuff I got from a lady at church (most of which was crazy upholstery fabric that was crazy to sew with but made great warm quilts for church (read a snap of it here)).

Monday, July 10, 2017


I love making lists. It makes me feel good to know that I'm organised and crossing things off. Lists are fabulous. Usually when we reach the holidays, I've got a list of things to do. Things that are fun, things that are necessary, and all things in between.

These holidays however, started with Rachel's birthday, and I had spent the last few weeks of the school term thinking so much about Rachel's birthday and the subsequent party that I hadn't planned the holidays at all. No catch ups with people, no park play dates, and no things to do. Unusual, but also good, because it meant that I could ask the girls to contribute to the holiday list, because I hadn't already filled it up.

So we made our list together. It was a combination of a bucket list and a to do list. I let the girls suggest pretty much anything, just to see what they would come up with. They wanted to visit a lot of parks, and do random things like stay in their pyjamas all day.

I put a check box next to each thing and did a little drawing so the girls could remember what each thing was. The final list had over 20 things, and I'm pretty happy to say we got most of them ticked off! It was really nice to have let the girls be a part of their holiday planning. Next time I'll put a little two week calendar under the list and they can see how hard it is to put everything into just two weeks.

Annoyingly, one of the most important things which was actually pretty essential to get done, was one of the only things not crossed off. Why is organising passport applications so hard!?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hard to Grow

I don't think that these raspberries were particularly hard to grow. We just planted the plant and it grew. And then raspberries appeared (much to the surprise of some members of my family who shall remain unnamed, who had told me that assuredly it was too warm for raspberries to grow in Brisbane.)

It was all very exciting for everyone, especially the kids.

They were delicious. The raspberries that is, not the kids.

But what is hard about the raspberries, is that when the fruit appears, you really have to watch it carefully, because it goes ripe/over ripe very quickly. Then you have missed your chance to get some delicious raspberries at all.

Thankfully, even though this is mostly the case for our first crop of raspberries, we have still been able to reap some delicious fruit. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Renovation! Wait... no... Just Painting.

One thing about having a house is that it's never really done. Ever. And things are always getting old and falling apart. Our house is full of these things, which we usually put in the "we'll fix that when we renovate" which is code for "five or ten years when we finally put a deck on and do whatever else it takes to make the deck attach nicely to the house". Steve also hopes that we might make the kitchen slightly bigger in the process, so as to accommodate a dishwasher, which is something that I'm not opposed to.

Anyway, we've done bits and pieces, but we were taking a break from renovating for a while. The downstairs toilet had stopped working at least eighteen months ago, maybe longer, and we just attributed it to being old and broken and didn't really bother about it. So low on our list of things we cared about it, and it seemed like a first world problem. I mean, we already have a working toilet in the house, so do we really need the other one? 

Then the brand new washing machine started to not really work so well. I got a washing machine guy in who told me it wasn't the washing machine, so then we got a plumber in to look at things. Turns out the pipes were rusted and thus no water was even getting through. The good news was that fixing that would actually fix the downstairs toilet too, because, as it turns out, the toilet wasn't actually broken, it just wasn't getting any water. 

Now that the toilet was working again, we started using it again. Especially with toilet training kids, it was way easier to access from outside then running up the stairs and into the house to get to the one in the bathroom. But now that we were using it more, I was also noticing something else. 

It was really dirty. The walls and floor, even though they had been cleaned, were just gross. The walls were a dark green colour, which didn't help because it made the small toilet space feel even smaller and dirtier than it was. The floor was a white paint that was coming off to show previous layers of yellow and green; also not attractive. 

So I decided to paint. I guess it was just a first world problem, but paint isn't too expensive, and it would make a huge difference. 

I wish I had more before photos, but I didn't think to take them until I had taken out the cistern, puttied the holes, sanded the walls and cut in the first coat.

It was serious business.

Incidentally, Rachel helped me putty that big hole on the right. When I mentioned it to Sophie and asked her if we should paint the bathroom, she suggested just building a bigger bathroom. I like her dreams, but it just wasn't practical. Then she suggested painting it pink, which was a suggestion I disregarded pretty quickly as well.

Here it is after an undercoat and two coats of beautiful white paint. The work of one weekend. So empowering and shiny. Of course, the shiny-ness of the newly painted white walls really highlights the old-ness of the old paint trims (around the window, door frame and the door itself). Not to mention the floor.

The floor, which now looked so revolting that I started scraping the paint, and took three children to Bunnings to get a tin of cement paint.

Here is Steve getting to it with the gurney, which was much faster, but with some sad side effects. The white paint came up but some of the gurney action splashed up on my newly painted walls, so now I have to do some patch up work on my paint job. It also made the laundry area really flooded.

And the paint that was scraped up got washed outside and then re-stuck itself down. We don't really know what to do about that. My goal was to have the toilet finished by Rachel's birthday next Friday, but I don't think I'll make it. The floor really needs to be scrubbed back some more, and cement paint takes a lot longer to dry enough to walk on. Maybe in the holidays.

I installed that new toilet roll holder too, btw. The kids helped. Hugo was in charge of holding the allen key, which he was particularly excited about and went about pretending to tighten things. Then, as I was changing drill bits, I heard an "Uh oh": Hugo had put the allen key in the hole that I'd been drilling and it had fallen into the wall. He was pretty insistent that I get it out again, but there was none of that happening. Part of the wall, part of the ship.