Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm pleased to say (and as you can see from these pictures here, I'm not lying) that Sophie really enjoyed her Christmas present. There was lots of fun faces made as she pulled off and put on the ornaments. The tree itself held up fairly well too.

She still has yet to work out the buttons, but for now, the fact that the felt sticks is enough. Later on, it was enough that she could chew on the ornaments.

I must say though, that I do love her Christmas dress. It was just the right length to let her crawl around relativity unhindered and also nice and cool for the hot day. Excellent.

Friday, December 27, 2013

So you are probably all foaming at the mouth waiting anxiously for this post, and I do apologise for it's lateness. Some stuff has been going on with my own family and some super close friends that has recently made me a bit distracted (and heartbroken), so please forgive me. (That's right folks, stuff happens in my life that I don't share with the internet, it's called privacy and it can be done!)

In any case, Christmas has come and gone and I can finally share some of what I worked hard on during the year for our friends and family. This is a colour version of the sneak peak I showed back in October. Lovely bright colours! You may even recognise that red-checkered material as something I also have a skirt out of. :) 

Spread out, it looks a bit more like the picture below. A very fun table runner for Christmas. The circles are green felt (which may have begun their lives with the intention of growing up to be coasters) with red chain stitched boarders and yellow stars in the middle. The background material was a remnant I picked up at Spotlight for $2.00 a metre. Score!

I was really happy with how they turned out in the end. I did accidentally cut the wrong size material for the backing fabric, but managed to make something good out of it in the end so all is well.

Another thing I was working on (that again, I did share a sneak peak of) are some Christmas tree ornaments. These again began their lives as felt circles that had button Christmas trees sewn on (by hand) and then were backed and stuffed to give them a fun pillow-y nature.

To give each of them a personal touch, I also embroidered each persons name on the back in gold thread. I was really happy with the results.

I do have one more handmade Christmas thing to show you all, but a) this post has enough pictures, b) I've still got to give one more away (thanks to my sister and her Steve being MIA this Christmas) and c) I seem to have no photos of them anyway (in hindsight, that was a pretty silly thing for me to neglect). :P Don't kid yourselves though, it's mostly reasons A and B that are keeping me from showing you. Not C at all.

Oh, and I have some great shots of Sophie playing with (and eating) her cool Christmas tree and ornaments too! So much exciting Christmas stuff, must remember to share!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Well everyone, here is another before-Christmas look at a Christmas present (I'm just breaking all the rules!). This groovy camouflage tent is for the Pan household and their two boys to play in. I got the material from Ikea (though I feel it is not as fluro-y as this picture makes out...) but turns out I didn't have quite enough. 

Luckily Mum came to the rescue with some kind-of-matching green that she had lying around. Otherwise, you would have been seeing some not-quite-so-matching other material that I had lying around. Seriously, as if I was going to go to Spotlight for a quarter of a meter of material. No thank you.

I love this green strip, including it's fiddly top stitching that I spent a lot of time on to make it look shiny. :) It was worth it. It makes me wish that Sophie was ready for a tent, but alas, she's not really. Maybe it can be her birthday present next year. :)

Looking forward to Christmas tomorrow so all the homemade gifts can finally be reveled! Also because Jesus was born to save us. Cool huh?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Well here is one Christmas present that can be officially shown to the world. There are perks for having kids who are too young to understand what is going on. This year, Sophie gets a felt tree (although, that's more just cos I like it) with a stack of home made felt decorations that she can put on and pull off to her hearts content.

I like to think I'm helping her gross and fine motor skills with this present, what with all the putting on and pulling off that will be happening, but who am I kidding? In all likelihood she will just try to eat the decorations. :P 

I don't know that I mind that much, despite all the hard work I put into them. I even changed the thread colors to match the decorations I was sewing. It made me wish that I knew how to use the automatic threading function that Sally has (which I only found out about in January anyway). :)

Tree idea credit goes pretty much wholely to Martina from Thank you Internet for connecting people all over the world with wonderful craftyness.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Heck Yeah!

This Christmas dress of Sophie's took an hour and a half on a Sunday morning and I think cost me maybe a total of $3.00. If only all of Sophie's dresses would be this great. :P

The bodice is fully lined and I made the pattern myself. The ribbon around the waist ties at the back (just in case I made it too big). That material was half price at Spotlight ($12 down to $6) then Mum got 20% off that and I only bought a half meter. So good. Ribbon was free off some random present somewhere - hording does have its upsides! Kinda wish it were thicker, but you gotta work with what you've got. 

I've been doing other things these past weeks, but I'm exhausted and lazy and have not been keeping good photographic logs of things. Sorry internet. In the theme of hand-made Christmas presents, Sophie's is the last one I'm making, but it's proving to be rather slow going, mostly because I know she doesn't really get it and won't even care if it's not done by Christmas anyway. Still, it will look great when finished, so maybe that will be my goal this week.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Completed: Block of the Month Quilt

I know this isn't photos of Steve as Aladdin, but knowing that you've waited all year for this, I'm sure it will be just as well received. That's right folks, the migraine that has been plaguing me since Monday arvo yesterday inspired me to do something productive despite it's crippling effects and thus I have finished the Block of the Month Quilt for 2013.

Here it is at Sally getting ready to sew that final strip of binding in place. Talk about hard to maneuver, and it's only a small quilt! Maybe I'll stick to baby-sized quilts in the future. Still, Sally did a remarkable job. I've discovered I'm not that great at actual quilting (which is sewing all three layers together (top, batting and backing)). Mostly, I think, because you have to go slowly, which I'm not good at. Also, I don't like shopping, so when I'm in Spotlight looking for that spray-on-adhesive stuff that you can use to help hold the layers in place and I don't find it in the first five or ten minutes, I'm much more likely just to give up and go without it (which is exactly what I did).

I did want to do more of the quilting, but it was hot and difficult and hard to get a lot done when you only have those precious nap-time moments to sew in. Oh well. I bound the quilt in some cute floral material that I picked up in a "Stash Starter" bin at Spotlight (thinking; "I've been here for too long and this will do"). It makes me feel rather accomplished to know it's done. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

I feel that the last six weeks have been a crazy blur and only now am I beginning to recover from it. Back to back visitors and then Steve and I got super sick and when you've got all that going on, the stuff that piles up in your house just piles up. You move it around, you relocate it so you have space on the table to eat, and then move it elsewhere so you've got space to play the piano, but it's just there being messy and irritating. I'm beginning to make a dent in cleaning up that crap today. 

On the other hand, I've also been sewing this week. Behold! Steve is going to his work Christmas party tonight as Aladdin. :D Full costume pictures coming soon, but in the meantime, doesn't the fez look great?? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The visitors are gone. Life is slowly returning to normal. It's been a long three weeks, but I'm glad it's over.

Last Monday I picked up my Japanese friend Michiko and her friend  Yukari from the airport. We went back to my parents for morning tea and then home to drop things off. Then I left them at Garden City while I took Sophie to the doctors - turns out she has a bit of tonsillitis. We had a relaxing afternoon and then Steve took our visitors to frizbee to watch his team play in the finals.

Steve was caught in the rain coming home and after going out to the frizbee finals, woke up Tuesday morning with a full blown cold. The rest of us headed up to Manley. Can I say that after a week of pretty rotten weather, rain and storms, Queensland turned on the sunshine like a pro. It was a long day, morning tea with friends, a walk through Mary Caincross Rain forest and then a picnic lunch before coming back down the mountain, but well worth it. That night I drove them up to Mt Gravatt Lookout. Lovely.

Wednesday and we went out for breakfast, over to indro to go to the bank, up to Mt Cootha for the view (spectacular) and then I dropped them at Kangaroo Point with a well highlighted map of South Bank and the City. They made their own way home by risking the Brisbane trains (apparently an exciting adventure).

Thursday we went out to Lone Pine (which I had no idea was so close!) and saw kangaroos and koalas and some other cool animals (Sea Eagle!). Sophie had no inhibitions about the large kangaroos being so close and was just anxious to get out of her pram so she could touch one. I dropped our visitors off to indro on the way home for more shopping and got home in time for a two hour afternoon nap.

Turns out I was coming down with the same cold Steve has. Friday morning I get up at five to do the trip to the airport feeling like death warmed up. Aside from Fiona, Mum and Dad dropping in Friday morning, it was a lovely stay at home and do nothing kind of day. I did go to youth that night, because I'm a sucker for punishment and I stick to my commitments.

Saturday was another fairly lazy day, though we did stir enough to go and get a vaporizer. Steve and I dropped Sophie off to Mum and Dad's that night for some baby sitting while we went to the Symphony of Legends at the Exhibition Center. Despite being cold and fluey, having blocked noses and sore throats, it was amazing. Just fabulous.

Because I was hanging out with Japanese people all week, I found I'd often come home to Steve and speak to him only to have him look at me blankly, then say; "Paula, English." My only regret of last week was that I didn't bother to charge the camera batteries so I've only got a couple of snaps on my phone.

Today, it's nearly 3:00, Sophie and I are still in our PJ's and I feel no shame. I've done two loads of washing, vacuumed the floors, washed up, made dinner and done a general tidy of the house as well as make the beds. I finished reading Xenocide and watched a movie. The cold is on the way out but still hanging around annoyingly. What a lazy day but, I feel, very well earned.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Steve and I were eating Spanish Chicken tonight, which is chicken and chorizo with roast potato and veg, and Steve comments that I could perhaps make just Spanish Chorizo. I replied that that may not be the healthiest meal, given the fatty nature of the delicious chorizo. He responds with this gem:

"Clogged arteries are healthy, because the heart has to work more to get the blood through, thus getting more exercise and being healthier."

You heard it here first folks. Clogged arteries are healthy.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So I'm pretty exhausted again. Not particularly from doing much, but I thought I'd share with you the story of my life the last few weeks so that you can see I don't do stuff all the time, but get exhausted like normal people anyway. :P

We have had a number of people stop in over the last two weeks and I still have two more people coming in to stay tomorrow. I knew that these three weeks would be nuts, so I spent a large amount of time two weeks ago just chilling.

I watched all of the Lizzy Bennett Diaries on YouTube, which, if you are a Pride and Prejudice fan, is a must. I can't believe I didn't know they existed before now. It was fabulous. A great modern take on the P&P story. The same people are currently making a series called Emma Approved. It is also turning out to be pretty darn good. :)

Fiona came and stayed two Thursdays ago and we had dinner with Sarah and her Steve and Amy. Then the Steve's left and it was us girls. That was so nice. Cannot express how lovely it was to just sit around and chat. So fabulous.

Mum and Dad got back from their five week Europe stint on the Friday, so we all ended up having dinner over there. Sophie spent the day with them and ended up with carpet burns on her knees from all the crawling. Saturday was Steve's birthday and I had brunch with Sarah and Amy (and Sophie) and then Steve and I went to Jame's first birthday, before coming home to have dessert and play games with people. 'Twas fun.

Backstory here; Steve's Mama (grandmother on his Mother's side) passed away the week before, so he took Monday off work to fly to Sydney (and back in one day) for the funeral. Steve's Mum came down on Sunday night to stay with us and I took Steve and Maria to the airport on Monday morning. They came back Monday night and then Maria stayed with us again and we took her to the train station about 10 on Tuesday morning.

Steve had Tuesday off because he was feeling sick. Wednesday, I took another trip to the airport (after my usual early-Steve-drop-off and go to the parents for breakfast before going to Prayer at church) to pick up Steve's other grandparents who were here for a visit. They stayed with us until Saturday. We played a lot of card games together.

I left them at home alone on Friday and went to school to see my grade 12's graduate. It was so nice to see them again. :) Cannot wait to eat Japanese food with them sometime. I wonder if I'm super weird or if becoming Facebook Friends will destroy my image of them, but I think it's worth the risk. I really loved teaching them. Ok, I'll stop gushing now.

I went home via Aunty Chris's and had arvo tea with her. Sophie was getting sick. By Saturday, she had a full blown cold and cough. Poor little girl. Saturday we all went out to John and Aroha's and had lunch together and then the grandparents stayed there (they go back to Sydney on Tuesday) and we went home.

After all that, Steve and I (and Sophie I guess) were so glad to get home and just be here with no one else that after Sophie was in bed, we sat down and watched four episodes of Stargate SG-1 straight with no regrets. We had toasted sandwiches for dinner.

Today, I'm going to go shopping and then we are going to a birthday party (suppling bunting of course :P) and then Steve's on PPT at church and I'm on the dinner crew. Tomorrow, my friend Michiko is flying in from Japan with her friend Yukari and they are staying till Friday morning when they fly to Ayres Rock.

God is good all the time, even when I'm so busy with people that I don't get to sew anything.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Block of the Month Quilt Top

Well internet, you have waited a long time for this. Today, I finally managed to put the finished top of the Block of the Month Quilt onto the backing and wadding. It looks nearly finished to the casual viewer, though when I look at it, although I feel a good sense of satisfaction, I have a little sigh inside because I know that doing the actual quilting and finishing the binding is still a huge task right ahead of me.

Because this quilt is so big now (nearly 1.5m by 2m) it is considerably hard to photograph well. Sorry kids. Anyway, I don't usually do this, but what do you think? I know it is so different to how it began but I like it. :)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

So technically these should be a secret-surprise-thing because they are a birthday present, but the intended recipient is only one so I doubt he'll accidentally stumble on this while web surfing before his party on Saturday. Hello monster finger puppets!

It was a really fun spur-of-the-moment idea yesterday that only took a few hours to come into reality. Good times. I like hand sewing.

Monday, November 04, 2013

I feel so slack about updating. I have been doing stuff, although sometimes not bothering to take photos of the stuff that I'm doing (regret!). That said, sometimes I feel I don't want to post because I think that if people knew all the stuff I did manage to cram into a day they'd feel bad and I don't want that. Sorry people.

Anyway, here is another until-recently-secret-thing that I put together. Remember this?

Well that little sneaky bit is a small part of this:

Which is a postage-stamp-pieced pillow case that I made for my dear friend Melissa for her Birthday. :D Took a while to think of what game-y character thing to actually do, but thanks to Steve's extensive game knowledge I think we hit a win. I had fun figuring out how to actually put it together. Totally forgot to take a picture of it as a final product, but thankfully Melissa didn't. Hooray!

Can you see where the sneaky section is from? Wark wark!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Of all the secret things I've been working on lately, here is one I can finally show the world! Sarah's Steve had a surprise 30th Birthday on the weekend and although mum made the delicious fruit cake, I offered to ice it for Sarah.

Icing the cake itself wasn't too hard, although, it was lucky that Steve was taking a sick day and could do a bit of general supervision for Sophie while I did it because it took a while to get all nice and smooth. The trickiest thing was the bike. The one atop this cake is the third bike that I did and it was the nicest until I put the spokes and chain on - something when wrong there.

Given that I nearly defenestrated this cake after the second bike though, I was happy with how it turned out. Tiff and Maree did the writing on the day. Happy Birthday Sarah's Steve!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Quilting Update

Thank the Lord it is Friday. Things really get crazy when your kid gets sick. :( That said, as always, I'm still ticking things off the to-do list. It's a nice feeling, when things get gone. :) I think, aside from two presents (one which we will buy and the other that will take a half hour to knock up on Sally), the Christmas presents are done.

I ironed this bad boy this morning and by 10:30, every present was wrapped and tagged. I feel it will be a glorious day when I can finally reveal in full detail the wonders that have been so time consuming over the last few weeks. Until then, be satisfied, oh internet people, with glimpses in black and white. 

This is a shot I took earlier in the week of the Block of the Month Quilt coming together. Actually, I ended up cutting the final boarder strips and sewing it together that night. Somethings have moved since then too. Those triangles at the bottom have changed (I think considerably), and I accidentally sew the flowers on the wrong side and couldn't be bothered unpicking it, but it's looking rather nice. Sadly, I haven't taken any photos of it all stuck together. I'm still taking my time admiring it (and considering how on earth the top half managed to be a whole inch and a half longer than it should have been). 

I wonder how many people out there click on this blog wanting something slightly more substantial than my mere ramblings about sewing and occasionally life. Last week I actually consciously thought to myself: "What is the point of life?" And I suppose that much like the writer of Ecclesiastes, I don't really have an answer. We are here today, gone tomorrow, what more is there but to eat, drink and be merry? Well, also fear God and keep his commandments (thanks Ecclesiastes 12:13). 

So I'd best get to it. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Big Squares

So I am nearly finished the things I have to do before finishing the Block a Month Quilt, but I did take a venture into quilting land this weekend to put the boarders on the big blocks for the quilt. I thought: "This will be quick and easy and give me a wonderful sense of getting things done that will subsequently give me the final inspiration to finish off those other things." I was a little bit wrong.

I had measured and re-measured the squares, done the math about three times before cutting the boarder material for each square. What I forgot was that when you have a 16 inch block that needs to become 20 inches, even though you do need 4 inches to get it there, as a boarder, that's not 4 inches on each side, but rather 2 inches on each side. Alas. On the plus side, I only had to trim down two of the squares and unpick and resew one.

This is the one that I got right the first time. :)

Side note - that cube one (before the boarder) is supposed to be slightly rectangular (17 inches by 18 inches), but for some reason, it's actually very square. No idea how I managed that, but it sure made putting the boarder on easier.

Friday, October 18, 2013

So yesterday I was really tired, lying on the couch watching Sophie crawl around and I remembered so many people said to me: "Oh, just wait until she is crawling!" That was back in the day when all she could do was roll around. Now that she's crawling, people say: "Just wait until she is walking!"

Honestly, if I were to continue thinking these things, then I'll be "just waiting" for a long time. Just wait until she is running. Just wait until she can climb. Just wait until she wants a phone. Just wait until she is a teenager. Just wait until she wants to go clubbing.

Yes, every stage of parenting is going to get harder. I get that. But if I sit around "just waiting" for the next terrible thing to happen, I'll miss all the fun of now. All you parents out there who already have kids and keep telling me to "just wait" can stop, thanks very much.

Incidentally, now that Sophie can crawl, yesterday she crawled to her bedroom and sat at the foot of her cot patiently sucking her thumb until I noticed and put her into bed so she could have a sleep. Yep, good thing I just waited for that stage.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ticking lots of things off the to-do list this week! Only one or two more things to go and then I can tackle the Block of the Month Quilt. Hooray!! So much satisfaction in finishing things. Of course, I can't show some of those because they are presents, but what fine presents they are. Even this sneaky look makes me glad.

I see it and think: "I know what this is, but you have no idea. He he he!"

Meanwhile, the latest set of bunting has been finished and is proudly decorating the living room. It makes me want to get out all the bunting. I asked Steve if I could this morning and he said: "I don't think I could stop you." Too right!!

It makes everything more fun!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Basics and Deadlines

So I know in my last post I was all excited about the Block of the Month Quilt and I talked about how I was working on the new design and what not, but the sad news is that though I'm excited about the Block of the Month Quilt, it is the only thing on my to do list that does not have a deadline. Everything else there actually has to be finished by a specific date. So, though I'm excited about the Block of the Month Quilt (and I know you are too :P), it's been put on the back burner while I finish things that actually need to be finished.

Here is a sneak peak at what will probably be the basics of the new layout though. ;)

On to things that have a deadline. Number One - Birthday present for the little girl next door. I don't even know when her birthday actually is, but mid October every year (without fail, since the exact weekend we moved in) the people next door give her a birthday party. So I think it's soon.

I've been pretty slack about giving next door presents for their little girls (they have two), but I do love to sew and it is a great excuse. Who knows, one day, maybe Sophie will get these dresses back as a hand me down. This dress was made with a Five and Ten Designs pattern which I love. Had the material in my stash, so just needed the bias tape and the buttons. Sewed it up in two days (during nap times). Love it!

Other things I'm working on include Birthday presents for people who actually read this blog (sigh, no spoilers sorry!) and more bunting, which will probably be the next thing I tackle after the Birthday Presents. That will be fun (mostly just because it's bunting!).

Sewing has taken a major slow down since my little weapon of mass destruction can not be trusted around Sally or Olivia. Today, she found the tissues and like a good reporter, I took photos of the destruction before doing anything about it. :)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Cooper's 3rd birthday was yesterday and he liked his present (I wish I could say "loved", but the fact that it didn't have Lightning McQueen on it dimmed his response somewhat :P). We set it up in his room for him and then he took it outside to play with. I'm glad he did have a play in it. 

The problem with presents that you've made is that you've invested so much time into them that when you finally give them, you really care weather or not the person you've given it to actually likes it. And it's tricky when you're giving it to a three year old boy. You never can tell with three year old boys. I do think it was a win though.

Last week, as it was October, Ruth and I got together and sewed the final squares of the Block a Month quilt. I didn't bother sewing one lot, because they are just spacers, and I won't be using them anyway because I'll be re-doing the layout of my quilt.

This is the layout of the quilt as suggested. I didn't like it before, but I just thought I'd see, and no, I still don't like it. It's super bitsy. :P The quilt top is pretty massive, and it was way hard to get an actual photo of the whole thing that didn't look stupid, so you'll have to ignore the angle that this is at and use your imagination.

I think I managed to balance the colors well, though the Log Cabins (top left corner, the brownish blocks around the blue) are very dark in comparison to the other bright colors. I still hate the Spring Blooms (the blue spiral-type ones, in the middle right). I played with just replacing the things that I didn't like, (Spring Blooms with some fun yellow squares and the dark Log Cabins with some fun pinky ones) but I still don't like the layout.

I've worked on a new layout, but I'll have to actually put all the blocks into place and have a look before I make the final decisions. I haven't been able to do that yet because it's something that has to be done when Sophie is MIA. Now that she can crawl she is a weapon of mass destruction to most things I like to do. :P

Monday, September 30, 2013

 A busy and productive morning. Seventh thing about to be crossed off my to do list with this post! Hooray!

I finished sewing up the hem on my latest skirt. The way I've folded it for this picture either makes me look super skinny or the pleats look massive. Don't fret, the skirt has neither of these qualities, I just folded it strangely.

Also finished off the June block for the quilt. Finally got some background fabric which I'm pretty chuffed with. :)

And yep, more bunting! This is for the cubby house, so it's not finished yet (I'll measure it first), but I strung it up to get a hint of what it may look like. I love the look. Scalloped bunting is harder to make and I don't like it so much, but it will be perfect for the cubby. Time to go feed Sophie. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

So it turns out Sally has the ability to blanket stitch! Who knew?

I've been working on Christmas presents again, so I can only show a sneak peak, but I'm loving what I'm doing. :D Can't wait to show off the real thing at Christmas time.

I also made a skirt last week which is pretty swish, although I need to take up the hem. No photos of it yet though. Sorry kids. Just bask in the knowledge that I've been busy,

Also painted the door to the cubby house at my parents place. It's all ready for Sophie to have a play. Though, I am going to make some bunting for the outside. Really it can't be considered complete until there is bunting.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Having a baby means that you get a lot of gifts. And I mean a lot. I was watching a friend of mine open the gifts at her baby shower on the weekend and thinking about all the lovely little things that were given to me before and after Sophie was born. Practical things like wipes and wraps, and fun, cute things like onesies and dresses.

I really tried to make sure that if I was seeing someone who had given Sophie something wear-able, that she was wearing it. Or I'd make sure I took a photo and sent it to the person. It was a way of saying thank you, and showing them how much I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gifts. I am blown away by how much people love this. Little old ladies who have given Sophie one dress are absolutely delighted to see her in it.

It makes me think about the gifts that I have given to others, especially gifts that I have made. I love to see people using their gift. Or wearing it. When I see someone using something I've given them, I'm delighted. I don't' have to be referenced or need credit. I just feel good knowing that what I gave them is being used.

Steve and I gave a gift once that we'd made. We had painted three canvases and then collaged them with photos from their wedding as well as the bible verse that they had read. I knew they had wanted something for their walls in their new house, so when we gave it to them and they put it up straight away, I was pretty chuffed.

About a year later and I noticed that they had changed the wall decorations. Life goes on, and I probably wouldn't have even thought about it, but the new art bore a strange resemblance to what we had originally given them. Actually, what they had done was cut out the pictures off the original canvas, and then stick them one some new canvases.

I had a hard time describing how I felt when I realised what I was looking at. Sad that the time had come where they wanted new wall decos, hurt and outraged that they had just cut up something I had put a lot of time and thought into for them. Disappointed that it had meant so little to them, that they could just cut it up (and sadly too, only save the photos, not the bible verse).

Life goes on again, and even that art is gone, replaced by something new, but I was thinking about all of this in relation to gifts today. God has given me gifts, and he delights when I use them. He picked out these gifts exactly for me and he loves to see me use them. He's like the little old ladies who have given me a special dress to wear, and he's waiting to see the photos.

And I think about the times when I'm not using the gifts God has given me. When they are left on the shelf, or put in a cupboard. Or worse, when I use these gifts for things that are not what he wanted. Or when I've cut them up and tried to use them somewhere else, only to find that that's not going to work either. How hurt, outraged and disappointed he must be. How sad he must be, for gifts that never give him delight.

What are you doing with your gifts?

Last week's tangent project was making a Tulip Wrap Dress for Sophie. I got the pattern for a size 3 online somewhere and managed to scale it down for her. I used material from two work shirts of Sarah's to make it. I'll probably never use female shirts again, because they a) have less material than a male shirt and b) are much more tailored to fit. It was very fiddly but I'm happy with the result (though, annoyed that this photo is not centered :P)

I did add buttons on the front, which you can probably just see in the next picture. The total cost of the dress was $1. Seriously. YAY! The shirts were from Sarah, and the bias binding was from Mum. those darn buttons were the things that broke the bank. That said, I did spend a good two or three hours on it (thanks fiddly shirt material :P) so if we are counting time spent... this is an expensive dress. :P

Sophie wore it to a baby shower of a friend of mine, along with a pair of modesty pants. I should have taken photos before we went to the party, but I forgot, and as a result, this was the best shot I had of her in the dress. Everything else she was backwards or moving or crying.

The other thing I made to take to the baby shower, was a Nigella Chocolate Honey Cake. It was easy to make and delicious. I will make this again.

I can't believe I took twenty photos of it, and yet this is the only one that I feel is good enough to blog. Bah humbug! The Chocolate Honey Glaze over the top was a bit lumpy because I didn't sift in the icing sugar - not a mistake I'm likely to make again. Do you like my marzipan bees with their goofy smiles? I'd put them on later next time, so they don't sink into the glaze quite so much.

Friday, September 20, 2013

These little guys live happily in a big pot in my garden. One of the most fantastic perks about having a house is the chance to grow things. I have to admit, there is also a massive downside to having a massive garden/lawn and the associated weeds, but on the whole, I do love the green. I've had the chance to grow lots of things that I never thought I would. Most of these things are herbs (the pot pictured above has Italian Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme).

These herbs were inherited from some friends when they had a move last year and both the parsley and the oregano have gone through phases of great growth and also near death. At the moment, the oregano is having a bad reaction to Sophie's new bath soap. Curash was not a problem, Johnson and Johnson is not so plant friendly.

This mint makes me feel really excited and glad because I grew it from a cut bit that I had left over from some mint I bought from woollies. Just put it in a cup of water, watched the roots grow and then put it in the ground. Now it's thriving. Yep, I know that mint does that, but I still feel good. Life! Hooray!