Monday, March 30, 2015

Sewing Too Far

Even as I type this, more than a week after the event, I still can't believe I did it. I sewed nappies for Sophie's doll. Sigh. It really seems like I went too far. Has it really come to this? Doll nappies?? It has, but not because of me, but rather, because of Sophie.

Children really do have a holistic approach to their toys. They want them to be fed, and clean and have places to sleep and clothes to wear. I thought mum had gone overboard with the amount of dolls clothes she made for Sophie's dolls. but it seems there was further to go.

For the last few weeks, Sophie has been using Rachel's cloth nappies to "change Doll's nappy". Cute and all, but hardly practical. I was hoping it was a phase, (maybe it is, but it's a long enough lasting one that it was worth what came next,) but alas, no. And so I've made cloth nappies for Doll.

They are really cute. A good use of scrap material.

And rather professionally made (if I do say so myself.)

But I just can't get past the fact that I sewed them. And a reusable wipes pack from the left over felt. It just seems too far.

Oh well.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Train Rides

Even though she's a little girl, my Sophie loves trains. We went and saw Thomas the Tank Engine earlier this year which was such fun, but as she's gotten older, she's grown to appreciate them more and more, and also get more and more excitement out of seeing them.

Last Tuesday we dropped Steve's Dad off at Roma St to get the train back to Bundy, and Sophie saw the big diesel train come in. We've dropped people off there before, but never have we gotten such a reaction. Even just being at the Train Station was a delight for her.

So on Wednesday, instead of driving into the city to pick up Steve, we parked at a train station and caught the train in. We had afternoon tea on the platform at Central just watching the trains arrive and depart. Even though we were there for twenty minutes, I reckon Sophie could have sat for another hour easily.

It was worth the heat and hassle to see both of my girls enjoy the new adventure of trains. Did you notice Sophie is wearing her Thomas shirt for the event? Got to be wearing a Train Shirt when seeing Trains.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pi Day

Last Saturday was Pi Day. So we celebrated with pie.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mega Bento

This is a quick one on the Bento the girls had last Friday when I took them to "Mum's Old Work" for a Japanese festival. I was overly prepared with extra snacks just in case. Not pictured here are the squeezie yoghurt, rice crackers, sultanas and small box of plain crackers that live in my bag "just in case". They didn't eat everything, but gave it a good attempt. What wasn't eaten at lunch, was served up for dinner. :)

I feel people must be getting a bit tired of lunch box posts, but they look so shiny when they are all made that I can't resist sharing them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's Alive: Busy Book of the Year!

At last, the day has come where I can say that I'm finished! Get ready for a mammoth post about sewing something, because the thing I've been working away on for I've no idea how long, has come to completion. I would say that I probably spent less time on it overall than I did with the Picnic Activity Mats of last year, but I was making three of those at once. I think this has been in my head for at least six months. Everything has it's own time right? And the time is now!

Before I continue, I must give credit to whoever it is that blogs over at Forty-Two Roads. I saw this marvellous book on the Internet somewhere (pintrest or google or whatever) and it was really the starting point for my own book. No people, I don't think of these things all on my own. As one of my teaching prac teachers said once; "If someone else has made the worksheet, don't reinvent the wheel." Wise words.

Here is what it looked like on the floor as a work-in-progress. In short, it's an enormous cloth book that focuses on the fine motor skills needed to dress oneself properly in the morning. Doing up buttons, zips, buckles, etc, are just some of the amazing features. For added sentimentality and recycling purposes, each page is made out of firstly scrap fabric from my stash, and also old kids clothes, either from Sophie, or in the rare case or two, from the op-shop.

The cover was simply some green fabric I had in the stash that I quilted onto a piece of calico for strength. The inner cover is a remnant that I picked up on the cheap a while back. I did dream that it would one day make the skirt of a fun dress, but it fit perfectly, so I used it here. The words are embroidered onto a separate piece of fabric that was then bound and sewn on the front (slightly off centre I'm afraid). And I put the handle on before the book was finished being bound too, so it's slightly off as well, but I'm really thankful for it, given how huge the book turned out.

Page one is a dress that mum and dad bought Sophie from Thailand (I think) which she wore for a while, but was ridiculously short on her. The cute collar and scalloping on the buttons meant it was perfect to keep. The backing material is just from the stash.

Page two focuses on belt buckles on the skirt. The skirt itself is actually just material that I used to make Sophie's first Easter dress (not the actual dress) that originally came from some paediatric nurse scrubs from the US. The belt buckles I got off a pair of $4 shorts I picked up at Lifeline, and then I used some scrap material from a shirt I made for Sophie to put it all together. The backing material was from Sophie's Tent, though I also used it to make a shoulder bag. I've still got some left, so who knows what it will become next.

Page three is overall clips. I did have to get these overalls from Lifeline too, because baby overalls don't actually have overall clips. They have buttons (see here for an example). Which is all well and good, but I wanted overall clips, so to Lifeline I went. These were a size 4 that I cut down a bit. This was also the chunkiest page because I wanted the side buttons and pockets to still function as per usual. The backing material is from my stash, which I've actually used before to make a quilt, but apparently never took photos of. Strange.

Page four is snaps, using one of the girls old onsies. I know that more grown up clothes don't really have snaps, but I thought they'd be good practice anyway. The backing material was orginally from Rachel's quilt, which I've also used in the Duplo Bag.

This is a great chance to stop and tell you that I also did my best to sew the clothes in with as much usability as possible. You heard about it on the overalls page (with the pockets and buttons), but here on the onsie page, I've sewn only the back half of the outfit, so you can technically still wear it (though you'd also have the book attached to you...). Here is a photo of Bear wearing the onsie while Doll wears the jeans on the opposite page.

Page five is jeans. Again a pair of Sophie's that she wore to death and my mum patched a few times for her. This has a tiny zip and a button. The backing material is the same as page two.

Page six has Sophie's first Christmas Dress, which has a bow to tie as well as top ties on the shoulders. Lots of tying. Very sentimental and pretty. Backing material is the same as pages two and five.

Page seven, coming to the end, is shoes, teaching about velcro and laces. The pink shoes were from Steve's mum for Sophie (that she actually never wore) and were pretty easy to sew in. The other shoe is one of my old ones that I cut up and sewed in, much the same as Steve's old shoe which made it into the last Busy Book. Backing material again from the stash. I think it was another remnant that I got on the cheap.

The final page, page eight, is all about doing up hair. This was probably the trickiest page to put together, despite not needing to sew on bulky clothes. The material was all leftover scraps from dresses the girls have. The girl on the page originally looked bald at the front, and I am not sure you can really see the arm holding the mirror, but oh well. You get the point. Practice plaiting the hair and putting hair clips in. Easy enough. Backing material is the same as page three.

All of the pages were a medium weigh material, that I thought I should reinforce, so I sewed some other medium weight material on the backs of each page before I started anything else (it was kind of quilting practice and also kind of "use as many cool stitches on Sally as I can" practice). In hindsight, this was overkill. The book is now not only enormous (because of the size of the clothes), but it's also heavy. Very heavy. Thankfully, I had the foresight to put on that handle. But I also imagine it will mostly be played with at home. On the floor.

Sally the Sewing Machine did a colossal job getting though all of the thick layers, but in the end (just as I sewed the, rather thin in comparison, inside lining together, she started making strange noises. She's now at the shop getting a service. I did some hand sewing (the pages into the spine, very tricky because it was so thick) and then took the thing pinned and ready to go to mum's to finish the edge on Harriet the Husqvana.

The thing that I love most about this book is that I thought and thought for ages and ages about how to sew the pages together so that there would be no exposed seams and everything would be beautiful and evenly spaced. I had a brainwave about how to do it one night and it worked. Yes! There are things I'd do slightly differently (it's all about refining the process), but in the end, my crazy idea worked and that's what counts.

Thanks for reading this far! Feel free to comment and tell me that my hard work has not been wasted on a two year old who did actually want to help sew the pages in, or the eight month old who crawled all over my work as I was trying to photograph it.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Distracted Progress

In an effort to actually finish something before I start the next project, I sat down and did some hand sewing today. Yep, Sally is at the shop getting serviced, and in her absence, I resort to hand sewing to get things done. Admittedly, it worked rather well given the way both of my children decided to rebel against their usual sleep patterns, because I could do it while they played and crawled over my work. There are some positives. 

I just have the final binding to do and then I'll be able to brag about what I've been doing for the world to see. Nearly there!

In other news, Sophie's toilet training is still progressing very slowly. It really makes me reflect on our relationship with God actually. I mean, she knows when she needs to use the toilet. Sometimes she'll even declare it openly. But then, when questioned for confirmation, will resolutely say "No".  I was commenting to Steve about how I just wish I could trust her. I wish she would tell me the truth. I don't mind if she's made a mistake, I just want honesty. 

Isn't it the same with us and God?  He loves us so unquestioningly, and wants a great relationship with us. He is always telling us the truth. Yet we often reply with white lies and miscommunication. Or we just don't share what we are going through at all. 

I am humbled again and again by God's great love for us. 

This is not a very eloquent post, I fear (possibly because I type it in the five minutes that the girls are both sleeping and I do so dreading the imminent sound of Sophie waking up), but it's what I've got. 

God loves us. Dwell on that.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

This Moment in Time

I'm pretty beyond excited to talk about what I've been working on in the spare moments, but it's not finished yet. Sorry people. On top of that, Sally the Sewing Machine started to make some very strange noises while I was finishing a part of it last night and I'm a bit concerned for her health and well being now. I hope she'll be ok, but I might take her into the shop or read the manual or something before I sew anything else.

Suffice to say, there has been some quilting involved so far. As well as the use of much of the material from my stash. Hooray!

In other news, remember that before Rachel was born, I got all organised and made a few things including this top for Sophie?

Well now (eight months later) it fits and she's wearing it. I love that it is reversible and I can't wait to make more. Am I addicted to sewing? Probably.