Monday, October 26, 2015

Slump Over?

The very afternoon I wrote that last post about being in a sewing slump, I went to a friends place with the kids. This friend gave me a pair of pyjama pants that could be made into whatever. Instantly I knew - matching skirts for our little girls!

Went home that night and sewed up two of these babies.

Pretty simple, thought they are not as gathered as I would have liked, but I was being pretty lazy about it all. Just cut the legs of the PJ's off, doubled it and sewed. After making them I wished there had been enough material to do circle skirts, given the poodle nature of the pattern. I like the two layer thing. Sophie loves hers, and it was nice to do a quick sew.

Maybe the slump is over, but I'm still feeling lazy about sewing, so we will see.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sewing Slump: Things That Did Not Work Out

After the epic output of the ABC Book, I am officially in a sewing slump. I need to make something that is not going to take six weeks and countless hours, but even finding the energy to sew something small is taking it out of me.

I think part of the problem is that during the sewing of the ABC Book, I did also sewed some little things (like these skirts) and some bear PJ's and stary dinosaur shorts for Sophie (sorry, unblogged). Which were lovely little stints into success. But I also sewed some things that did not really work out.

Firstly was this overall pinafore type dress for Sophie.

I dug through the stash and found red denim which was really cool. I think mum made Fiona a skirt out of it about ten years ago. I used an overalls pattern from Ikat Bag (long live my favourite blogger!), with the adaptation for girls,

It was all coming together fabulously, when I realised that I'd cut the denim with the stretch in the wrong direction. And that I should really do the top stitching on the front, despite the fact that I'd already sewn the sides together. And then ran out of thread on the bobbin, or the other place thread comes from and couldn't be bothered to get more sorted out.

Then I held it up against Sophie and thought it looked too big anyway, so what's the point? Sigh. When I got it out again for these photos, I remembered how much I loved the material (and that cute cloud print on the lining!) and how great it will look once it's finished. It's only got a little bit of top stitching, a hem and some buttons to go. Surely I can do it. Maybe.

Anyway, the other thing I recently made was a pattern from a friend of mine who blogs over at Twenty-first Century Lady, and has started releasing patterns for babies at RP Original. I bought her Pin-Tucked dress pattern and added a centimetre to it to size it up for Sophie.

Unfortunately, it turned out too big for Sophie, so again, she can't wear it. I was tempted to try making another one (without the extra cm), but I'm feeling rather low about sewing Sophie dresses after two fails.

I know she'll grow into them, so it's not a complete waste, but she needs dresses now! And I need to sew something now! Sigh. Pray that the sewing slump is over soon.

In the mean time, I think I'll do some handyman outside crafting with wood and hammer and nails. Maybe even a saw too. Hopefully that will make me feel productive enough again to get me back to Sally.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ABC Book Breakdown

Here it is folks! For real this time. There are going to be a lot of photos in this post.

Covered and everything! Have to give kudos to my mum for finding all this alphabet material. I had a half a metre of this stuff, and I used every scrap of it for the cover.

Page one, A. Apple, ant and arrow.

Page two, B. Bunting (of course!), bear, bucket, blue, brown and black. Page three, C. Chocolate cake, cherries, cat and car. The wheels on the car actually spin. The shiny silver buttons came from mum's stash and are actually still so reflective (despite being in her stash for a number of years), that if you look closely, you can see me taking the photo.

This cat and car are my favourite things. I don't know why, but they look exactly like I wanted them to.

D for dog, duck and dinosaurs. I had that dinosaur fabric left over from some cool shorts I made for little boys close to us. I also put some on some scalloped cuffed shorts I made for Sophie recently (sorry not blogged about). E for elephant, eggs and eight. There are eight little beads on a string for counting purposes.

F for four, five, frogs and flowers. Again, I've got buttons on strings to help with counting things out. The frogs are very fat. G for green, grey, giraffe and guitar. The strings on the guitar are actually strum-able (though they don't produce sound), but the kids get pretty enthusiastic about that so I don't think they will last very long.

H for house, hats and inside the house, a heart. I for ice cream and igloo.

May as well tell you now, the pages are bound with left over fabric from a quilt some friends and I made for another friend's second bub who was born two months ago, and also left over fabric from my sister's Bike Bunting (see also here) which I made for her birthday last year.

J for jam in a jar and a jug. K for king, kangaroo and kite. The kangaroo is my second faviourtie thing, which again, turned out exactly as I wanted it to.

The joey comes out of the pouch! Hooray! Sophie pulls it out and then says "It's broken!". Not sure why.

L for lollypop, lions and lady bug. That lion material (and the giraffe and elephant from their respective pages) came from left over backing material from Rachel's Quilt, which I've also used before in the Duplo Bag. M for mouse, moon, music and maroon.

N for noodles, (which also kind of looks like a nest), nine and needle. I think this is my least favourite page, because there is ambiguity about what things are, and the needle is hard to figure out. Oh well. O for orange, octopus (the last thing I made, so it's a little lacking in finesse), one, owl and octagon.

P for pink, purple, pear and pig. Q for quiet and queen. I love how the queen looks, though I'm less thrilled with my quiet face.

R for red, rain, ring, rainbow and a rubbery rectangle. I was pretty stoked when I found that material in my stash. It's actually a table protector scrap. The rainbow is from the same material as the elephant, giraffe and lions. S for sun, square (bummed that I didn't make the square silk), six, strawberries, seven, stars. 

Again, the things you can count are buttons on a string so you can move them as you count, kind of like an abacus.

Trains, truck, triangle, two, turtles, three, tigers. T has so many options! Train fabric was a scrap from Sophie's Train Dress, and the truck was from some cool shorts I made for boys birthdays last year. Umbrella, undies, and unicycle. The umbrella fabric was from a dress my mum made for Sophie. Her doll also has a matching dress. 

I kind of wanted to put a volcano on the V page, but figured a vacuum cleaner was more relateable. Actually mum sewed the vacuum cleaner. Originally I'd drawn it, but by the time I'd sewn everything else, I was over hand sewing and figured I could leave it off. Mum came to the rescue and did the stitching for me one morning. Vase and violin there as well. W for white, windows and watch. Again, one of the last things I sewed, so I was a bit slap dash in the location and placement of that watch. I regret it a bit now, but not too much. 

The curtains tie back and also untie. My other regret with this page is that I didn't put a view outside the window. Oh well.

X for x-ray. And fox and box end in X, which is why they are there. Mum (ex-primary school teacher that she is) assured me that this was a fine way to do X. I hope she's right. I am stoked with how the x-ray turned out though. Y for yellow, yo-yo and yacht. Though Sophie keeps calling it a boat, which is correct, but rather misses the point. The sails on that yacht can move because I only sewed one side down.

Page twenty six, Z for Zip and zig-zags. I was going to do a zebra as well, but I was feeling very lazy by this point. All of the lower case letters were chain stitched on too, and mum did a few of those for me to speed things up. Her chain stitching is much better than mine. Le sigh. I also found out that I can only do about four types hand stitches. Thankfully I didn't really need any more than that. 

I put a sturdy reinforced handle on the side which I'm thankful for because it's so big, but also wish I'd put some kind of closure on the other side too. I sewed 45 button holes to put all the pages together into the cover, which works well. Here is where I let you in on a little secret though. I was in a bit of a rush to put the pages in (Sunday arvo, driven by the mad thought that if I get it finished Sophie can actually use it at church that night) and I was being "helped" by Sophie too so even thought I got all the pages in in the correct order (thank the Lord!), they are all upside down.  

See? The letters on the inside cover are upside down there. You can't tell from the outside, but if you hold it so it's the right way up looking from the outside and then open it, you'll be looking at the Z page. Such is life. I could fix it, but I can't bring myself to do anything but admire it at the moment. And lovingly stroke the pages. I sincerely hope that you get the chance to do just that too, because it's a lovely feeling.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's an ABC Book

Here it is. Well, here is a photo of all the completed pages, waiting to be sewn into a book. I originally thought I'd make it for Sophie for Christmas, but I've noticed that she's really into letter recognition of late, so I thought I'd better not miss it while she's excited about it and put the fast forward on sewing it. (Can you find here the sneaky clue photos came from? Click here, here and here to refresh your memory.)

I'll do a detailed post, with better photos, soon. It came together on Sunday, so it is actually finished now, which is a great relief. Sophie loves to look at it, which is even better. I was hand sewing so much over the last few weeks that I actually pinched nerves in my shoulders. Maybe too much sewing is bad for me.... Nah!

Now, before anyone wants to compliment me and say something along the lines of: "Wow, you should sell these," can I just say that it would not be worth it. Sure I made this one with lots of left over material (in fact the pages were an old bed sheet that I cut up (around the random orange stains that were on it)), so there wasn't a lot of cost involved in materials, but if I were to buy alphabet material and all the other associated things to make this book to sell, that would be a huge output.

Not to mention the time that goes into it. I've been sewing for five or six hours a week for the last six weeks. And I've had my Mum helping. Even if I were to say my time is worth something as little as $10 an hour, I'd be wanting to charge $300 just on my time alone. It's nice to think I could make money off things like this, but the reality is, you really can't.

I do know, however, that what I've done for a little girl (and other little children who will also be using this book) who I love very much, won't go wasted. It's worth it to know that she will turn these pages every week for quite a while. That she will remember that Mum made her this book. That it might even last her childhood and be given to her own kids. There is no way I could buy that.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Final Clue

Our household was a bit struck by sickness this week, so I feel I've done nothing, but thought I'd share this to make it feel like I have done something. 

I feel I'm just giving the answers away. Get ready for an epic post soon.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Egg Heads

This is what we grew in the holidays. Sophie called them "Dad" and "Sophie" and pretended "Sophie" was Cinderella, going to the ball. She's creative like that.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Week One

I've been embracing being back at work this week. I know that my attitude always affects the kids, so I feel like if I am positive about having four kids then things are going to be much smoother. And they have been, so this is good.

Part of this has included lots of baking with Sophie. On Friday, we made something that was worth a post. Sophie calls this the Flower Cake. 

It's actually just a sponge with some icing and jam in it, but the part that replicated the picture from the book (Sophie wanted to make a Rose Gateau, which we were missing several ingredients for) was the petals on the top. They are marshmallows cut and dipped into hundreds and thousands.

It was incredibly hard to get a photo of Sophie with this cake. She was too busy licking the icing and begging me to cut her a slice. 

Fun times. 

Friday, October 09, 2015

Water Play

So I've seen ideas for this before on the internet, but as always, it took a little while to come to fruition.

A water play activity board. Made of all recycled materials! The board it's on is actually four pieces of the ply we had up on the windows when we renoed them in November last year. I knew they would come in handy. I liquid nailed them together and then did some reinforcing with some bolts we found in a tool box. Not sure what we got them for originally, but they were excellent for this.

Again, I painted it with some more of the leftover window paint (still have a half a tin! Will it ever end?) All of the containers are recycled ones that I staple gunned on. Fabulous. The girls love it. It's a little high level for them at the moment, but they do love pouring the water and getting wet.

The one downside is that when there is no water, the next logical step for the girls (and other visiting children) seems to be that sand should be poured in. It's not the end of the world, but it is mildly annoying. Anyway, the whole thing is fixed to the fence with only four screws, so it's easy to remove, which will probably happen come winter.

For now, long live summer and water play!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Another Angle

Here is another shot of what I've been working laboriously on for more than the last few weeks.

Any ideas yet? I'm a little sorry I couldn't make the first clue and this one slightly more ambiguous by changing the colours in some Photoshop-type editing program on the computer. I don't know where the GIMP has gone, but I couldn't find it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Sneaky Peek One


Quiet here in the blogaverse because I've been busy (duh), enjoying my holidays (hooray!), and working on things (of course). Here is a small taste of something that will no doubt take a massive post in the future to tell you all about.

Wonder what it could be?