Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Conversations with Steve

So Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast remake comes out soon. I can't wait. What can I say? I'm a child of Disney; born and bred on the sweeping songs and powerful story lines of people who fought for true love, family and all that was good and right in the world. Ahh Disney.

Anyway, the latest trailer came out today and I watched it three time consecutively the moment I saw it. Magic. I may have watched it a few more times later on in the day too. Steve comes home, the girls are finally in bed and I excitedly show him the trailer as well (though it escapes me how he could not have watched it the instant it came out as I did).

As we are watching, Steve comments:

"Are they going to show the whole movie in this trailer? This is just like the cartoon. I don't see any reason to go see this, you may as well just watch the animated again."

"Ahh!! But there is so much more depth! Can't you see it!?" I counter with excitement and exasperation.

"Do you mean the fact that it's 3D?" he replies. "Yes, I can see that."

Unbelievable. We continue watching.

"Who's the chick?" Steve says. "Is she someone famous? I don't recognise her."

"It's Hermione." I reply.

"Oh," says Steve. "I can't see it."

We keep watching.

"Ah, I see it now."


Trailer over, and I say:

"Will you take me to see it? I can't wait to see it!"

Steve is silent, already reading some other news article that is apparently more interesting than discussing the trailer in depth.

"Never mind," I say, "I'll go see it with people who also want to see it."

"Good luck finding those people," says Steve.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Tell us the Story

"Tell us the story, Mum," chant the girls, "of the bugs on the car."

"Yes, please!" adds Rachel.

"Really girls?" I ask.

"The story of the bugs on the car," Sophie reiterates.

"Alright," I say. "Once, we were driving to Bundaberg and it was night time, and dark, so we had the headlights on. Bugs come out at night, you know-"

"That means they are nocturnal," interrupts Sophie.

"Yes," I agree, "some bugs are nocturnal. And these bugs came out at night and saw our headlights. 'Ohh, lights!' think the bugs, and they fly over to see the light. But we were going very fast in our car, and as the bugs flew over to see the lights - squish! - they ran into our car and got squished. That is the story of the bugs on the car."

"Tell us the story again!" cry the girls.

I have no idea why our girls love this story so much, but it simply fascinates them. So I have written it here for you. And me. Because one day, I won't remember these little stories and I feel to lose them would be rather tragic indeed.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Corn Harvest

We will definitely be growing corn again. I don't even like corn (generally), but this corn, from our own garden, was nothing short of amazing. I wish I had taken a photo of the corn in full growth in our garden bed. This is the best I've got:

Which is a shot from November (read about it here). The corn ended up growing another one and a half times that tall and took up a lot of space in the garden bed. I learnt a lot about how to sow the seeds next year from this experience.

It was pretty amazing that we could pick it and eat it straight from the garden. Steve's comment was that we could now survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Life goals right there.

Here is the corn in a bento for the girls. They both loved it too.

Friday, January 06, 2017


I'm on a roll here! Look how many posts I've done, and we are not even a whole week into the new year! Actually, so many of these things are backlogs from before Christmas. Ops. I'm really getting to them now because they are my "it's kind of work, but not the horrible Tafe work I should be doing" excuse for work. Oh well. Get ready for a laugh today!

For Christmas, the girls were lucky enough to receive some vouchers for a toy store from some Sydney family. Exciting stuff.

Steve and I took a walk through the store (sans kids) to have a see what we might get for them. A sea-saw for the back yard stood out as something I knew they'd love, but we still had half of the money left and no real idea what to spend it on.

We did a back and forth for a few days until Steve finally suggested that we just throw caution to the winds and let the girls get something. They are only young once right? Though almost all of me was protesting (would they get something long lasting, educational and with many different play options, creativity or imagination?), I relented. Why not? Steve also suggested that he would be the one to take the girls to the shop to get the toys, so I would be getting a few hours of kid-free time in the mix as well. That was definitely a bonus.

So Steve takes the girls shopping. They love the idea of the sea-saw, so that is good. What will they bring back? I wonder as I clean the house in blissful quiet. I was honestly dreading what I thought for sure would show up: something plastic, pink, girly and useless.

Boy was I wrong.

On their return, Sophie leaps through the door brandishing a huge plastic shark, as long as one of her legs from hip to toe. Rachel is close behind, swinging around her a, also ridiculously long, black snake, with yellow and red markings.

"Look at what we got!" they exclaim gleefully.

I almost died of laughter. I have two girls, who, when given the option of any toy they want, come back with a shark and a snake. It gets better, because the animal stuff at the shop was 40% off, which meant they also had money to buy a large box of dinosaurs. That's right, dinosaurs.

I can say that if I had been the one in the shop with them, I would have talked them out of the snake and the shark in favour of an even larger box of dinosaurs, but as it was, Steve ran with it and this is what we have: a shark and a snake, admittedly kind of useless and assuredly plastic, and a great memory for two parents who let them have it. Steve did tell me that they walked past a row of dolls, and Sophie looked at an Elsa doll halfheartedly and commented: "I've got one like that already."

For the record they have been playing with said shark and snake. Each animals tends to bite someone, then gets put outside while the girls proceed to play doctor to the injured patient. Good times.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Dolls House in a Box

The Christmas presents for the girls that I sewed last year were dolls houses, in a box. Years and years ago, when I first joined Pinterest, I saw this awesome dolls house in a vintage suitcase that was just divine. So I pinned it and waited and waited and waited for the girls to be old enough for me to justify making one for them.

They are still a little young, but I did end up making them for Christmas last year because I knew they would get used. We go to evening church, which has no kids-church program at all. The girls have to sit with us through the whole service, which means we have always taken activities and toys for them. This is perfect for that because it all fits into one box and yet has lots of play options. Also, the boxes I got ended up being much deeper than I was anticipating, so we can actually fit even more things in there as well. Bonus.  

Inside each box is a felt doll, and two cardboard walls, that show rooms in the house. The rooms fit into the box lip, making the house. When the rooms need to be changed, there is a little ribbon tab to pull to pop it out.

There is also a little blanket that matches the bed, for when they get tired.

The two rooms are the entry to the house, and a bedroom. Both of the girls got pretty much identical layouts for their rooms, but with subtle differences. Rachel's has the bed on the left, while Sophie's is on the right. The pictures in Rachel's bedroom are of a bee and a butterfly, while Sophie's had a train. I would have liked to do more rooms (kitchen, bathroom etc) but didn't have time. The good thing is that I can always make them when I get the chance, and just pop them into the box too.

I was going to make other dolls for the girls, similar to their current dolls, but smaller (so the fit better in the box). And make a matching wardrobe (of course). But when it came to it, I was hard pressed for time. The girls are also a little obsessed with Thumbelina at the moment, so I knew they would love to have little felt Thumbelina and Prince Cornelius dolls.

I think Thumbelina has the most stupid hair, but I tried to be movie accurate. She starts the story without wings, but gets them at the end when she marries the fairy prince. So I made her wings detachable. Here I was thankful for her stupidly-long hair because it hides the snap to attach the wings.

The girls were delighted with them on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas Dress

Some things about childhood stick with you, and one of them, for me, is Christmas dresses. Every year mum would make my sisters and I a special Christmas dress to wear. Call me sentimental, but it was a highlight, getting a new dress to wear, and it was something I wanted to be able to do with my daughters. 

Of course, my Mum is still around, so I'm in competition with her to actually make the dresses. Especially when she makes them in August (because Mum and Dad travel so much and she didn't want to run out of time come December). It's ok though, the year before last (2015) mum made the Christmas dresses and I made Christmas skirts to compliment things. Here is a photo of Sophie wearing her Christmas dress and skirt at the same time as she decorated the tree.


Last year (sounds so strange saying that when it was only a week ago!), I was really busy, so I wasn't sure I'd get around to making them, but Mum was super organised and did make the girls dresses early. Unfortunately, Sophie didn't grow quite as expected, so even though Rachel's fit perfectly, Sophie's was too big and ended up with no Christmas dress.

While Rachel had a plethora of Christmas attire (new dress (pictured above), hand me down dress and skirt, as well as other red and white dresses that could pass), Sophie had none. At first, I did just put her in one of Rachel's, but it was really not right. A dress had to be made.

Using scraps of Christmas dresses from years past, I pulled together this dress. It's actually the same pattern as my Crib Companions Dress, and the dress I made for Rachel's Birthday. So easy to sew. This one looks different because I colour blocked the front part. It looks cool, but the real reason was that I was using scraps. 

Actually, the dress is really scrappy, even if you can't tell. The front is red with little gold presents, while the back is red with little gold stars. I did have a band on the bottom as well, because when I originally made it I thought it would be too short for her, but it made her look like she was wearing a potato sack, albeit a shiny red and gold potato sack.

Thankfully Mum came to the rescue and ripped it off for me and added that sweet little lacy bit. Perfect. Mum also put the green buttons on, because I hate doing button holes and generally make a huge mess of it.

Christmas dress success!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Commissioned Work

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here we are on day one of 2017. Possibilities are brimming and the future is bright. Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now. 

I actually did so much sewing leading up to Christmas for the girls, but didn't get a chance to take any progress photos and still haven't had a chance to photo the end product properly either. Hopefully soon. In the meantime, here is what I was commissioned to make for a friend of mine. 

Firstly, some simple hand towel things to hang in the kitchen. My friend sent me a tea-towel with a specific print of flowers on it that I cut up and attached to some hand towels. It was really easy and took the least amount of time, even though I was stressing a little about getting it right. 

The second thing was this cool car wall hanger for her nephew. Sorry about the terrible photo, but this is the only one I have of it hanging up. I used this tutorial as my base, but there weren't quite enough details, so some of it was just up to me.

Still, I was really happy with how it turned out from this initial lay out. 

To something that you could easily hang up and store cars in. It was fun working on something that I was going to get paid for, but I have to say that I didn't really love doing it, because of the pressure of getting it right.

I love sewing, and I love especially sewing for kids who aren't going to care if something doesn't fit quite right, If you are sewing something to sell, it's really got to be perfect and right and well done. That means measuring things and using pins and checking and rechecking.

Don't get me wrong. I do do some of those things most of the time when I sew, but not all the time, and I like that freedom. Looking forward to more freedom sewing in 2017. Hello year of changes, it's nice to meet you.