29 September, 2009
I have looked for it since, but had pretty much completely given up hope of ever finding it - until tonight. Just by chance I clicked through to the Cotton & Cloud blog because there was a very cute lunch tote from there featured on Whip Up and I wanted the pattern. It was late and I was a bit bored so I thought I'd check out the Cotton & Cloud shop and oh I can't say how glad I am that I did! Because there, in all its glory, was as much as Blossom as I could afford (not a lot given the NZ dollar), in all the colourways AND ON SALE. I literally almost fell over. Or off my chair as the case may be. So I now I have some of the pink winging its way to me from half a world away and I'm stoked. Of course I have no idea what I'll make with it - but I'm going to force myself to do something because I'm damned if I'll hoard it and never use it for fear of ruining it or getting it wrong. I've guarded my 20cm strip with a fierce devotion but now I can make a couple little things out of it without fear! Whee!
I'd love to hear of anyone else's longed-for but unavailable fabrics :)
The colour's a bit faded in this photo, but it shows the detail nicely.
28 September, 2009
...I think. Have been laid low with a cold/low-level 'flu (swine? I don't know to be honest) so over the weekend I was in bed feeling like crap. Not as bad as the two previous times I've had full-on flu but definitely more crap than a regular cold. Still feel pretty awful so it's back to bed for me I think! Thank goodness today is one of Hazel's creche days because otherwise she'd be full of beans and healthy as a horse, stuck inside with me while it pours rain outside. Not a good scenario for either of us! I'll be back when I'm feeling a bit better I suppose :)
24 September, 2009
Of course what happened was the kids decorated a few and then buggered off to run around and the mums sat and did some very nice decorating which we ate. I sure can't eat icing like I was 4 years old anymore!
Hazel took some sweet photos of things before we started, I need to upload them off the camera she used. In the meantime here's mine:
I used the sugar cookie recipe here and it's quite nice, although I found this sugar cookie recipe at Blonde Designs Blog today which has cream cheese in it and it looks good.
23 September, 2009
I did most of it in split stitch and a little in stem stitch. I think given the size of it (6cm high), especially the eyes where I used the stem stitch, that I should have stuck with split stitch. The stem stitch has pulled in a little tight on the left-hand eye, which gives it a bit of a Clockwork Orange air. Oh yeah, I like to keep my embroidery edgy man.
I'm really pleased with it though, and I can't wait to do it bigger!
22 September, 2009
Bored/ambivalent bunny eyes
Angry bunny eyes! Or is it more indignant? He sort of looks like someone just butted into the queue in front of him.
21 September, 2009
Or more properly 'Embroidery I haven't started yet but am wildly excited about doing' Doesn't make as good an URL though :)
I won't say what it's for yet, but I can't resist documenting its progress - assuming it goes well! The scale is on the small side but I think my aging eyes can handle it. It's half of a delightful pattern you can download over at Loobylu. I fully intend on doing the pattern again with both figures and at a much larger size, it seems like the perfect project for over Xmas. I'm doing this one in a medium reddish/orangy pink (I swear, that's the technical term, ask any artist!) because it needs to be, but the next one will be a lovely true red.
20 September, 2009
I think what all this boils down to is that when I was pregnant with her I had all these ideas on how I was going to bring her up, like no tv, very little sugar, I'd never yell, our lives would be full of crafts and educational play, and that I'd make most of her clothes (no pink though) to show her how much I loved her. I think I can safely say that most of those lofty aims have fallen by the wayside and I've come to terms with them (except the tv, I feel guilty about that still), so I need to adjust to one more biting the dust! Oddly enough, despite my "failings" I think I've done pretty darn well :D
One dress I did have success with (in the end, perhaps when she realised I'd stopped caring if she wore it or not) was from Handmade Girl's Clothes (ISBN978-4-579-11054-4)
The dress is a very simple halter-neck style, in a thin cotton. I think it's cherries but the colour is more apples.
As with most of these patterns, the details are wonderful - in this case the pocket
I've used that pocket on other things because it was so gorgeous!
I made another dress which, after an initial rejection, became her self-declared favourite, but sadly she's grown out of it! I never took a photo of it so I must squeeze her into it one more time and record for posterity.
19 September, 2009
Hazel and I picked this bunch the day before yesterday down on the trails near our place. In places the forget-me-nots were a carpet of blue, and the buttercups almost as thick. I saw another woman walking with a big bunch of forget-me-nots so I know we weren't the only ones wanting to take home a little bit of the sky!
These little Johnny-jump-ups grow wild in our garden and I love it. When we first moved into our house we had a guy who mowed our lawns every couple of weeks. He fancied himself a bit of a garden expert and explained to us that if we didn't control these pests they'd take over our garden. We recoiled in horror - just like the lawn daisies, they're so gorgeous how could anyone not want scads of them? They make me happy every time I see them.
The neat thing is that they've hybridised with the violas that we've planted in previous years to come up in all sorts of variations on the basic theme. I think the original ones are actually those in the background with more yellow, the ones in the foreground are all ours!
18 September, 2009
I made her a skirt out of fabric she'd really really wanted in the store. She refuses point blank to wear it. I made the lovely spotty jacket. She's refused to wear it several times and had to be bribed to put it on for the photo shoot. Today she refused to wear it again and it was just the last straw. I told her that since she refused to wear anything I made her I was going to stop making her clothes and stomped out of the room. Of course she came out after me declaring it was all a joke and of course she'd wanted to wear it, but that just made it worse because it patently wasn't true. I hid away and cried. Literally. Then I got ahold of myself and we went to the zoo and I managed to get over it. We even had a nice little talk about it and I apologised for having a tantrum and explained why I'd been so upset.
But you know, I'm still not sure if I can bring myself to make things for her. It kills me to say it but why should I play these mind games with her, and if they're not mind games then I obviously have no idea what she likes by way of clothes! What's the point of making things for someone who doesn't appreciate them? I've got loads of people who I could make things for who would. I don't necessarily make things for the appreciation, but it's an important part of the process I think, even on a small scale. I don't think it's possible to invest that time and energy into things that are unwanted. And god forbid that I become one of those people who try and manipulate others into appreciation or guilt. This has turned into rather a whiny and self-pitying post I know (I promise not to become one of those bloggers honest!), but I haven't felt this crap about making stuff for a long long time. I know I'll probably just continue on making things for her because I love it more than I hate the rejection, but I certainly feel wary and less joyful about the process.
14 September, 2009
I gave away one of them not long ago because she just wasn't having any accidents, and wouldn't you know it she went through a 'phase' so I made up another one (and now the phase seems to be over!). I thought it might be useful to document the process because they're really very simple to make and doing it yourself is not only cheaper but you have your choice of fabulous fabrics! Essentially what you have is a cotton top and a waterproof PUL bottom (which rolls around the edges to the top and stops moisture leaking off the edges), with a slightly absorbant inner layer. It's held onto the bed by long flaps which tuck well under the mattress and hold it firm.
What you'll need:
1 x top fabric in 100% cotton
1 x inner absorbent fabric
1 x PUL fabric
2 x fabric for side flaps
A note on the fabrics: Choose good quality 100% cotton for the top, if the fabric has a synthetic component it won't absorb the liquid as quickly, if at all, meaning it's more likely to run off the top and onto the bed. I've used quilting cotton for my sheets. You could use a variety of absorbent fabrics for the inner, in this case I used an old piece of flannel. It doesn't need to hold the moisture for long, just enough time for you to get the sheet off the bed. Finally, the PUL - this is the polyurethane laminated woven fabric that is used in modern nappies/diapers, it's waterproof, thin and flexible and easily washed. It's readily available online from nappy making supply stores and it comes in a rainbow of colours and patterns. I've gone for boring old white because I like the clean edges it gives on the finished sheet. It might be a functional item but they can be aesthetically pleasing! My flaps are made from old polycotton sheets I had hanging around - whatever you've got that is big enough will suit!
A note on sewing with PUL: PUL can sometimes be tricky to sew as it is slippery on one side and has a tendency to stretch. Making sure the shiny side is down when sewing makes a huge difference, the presser foot just doesn't seem to move over it well. If you need to pin, make sure you pin within the seam allowance as any holes outside that will compromise the waterproofness. Use a nice sharp needle too. It's not too bad on this project as it's all straight lines. Overlockers/sergers are handle it brilliantly, although again, make sure it's shiny side down.
*All photos can be viewed in a larger size by clicking through to Flickr and selecting the original size from the 'all sizes' option.
1. First off measure your bed to determine fabric amounts. The cotton, inner and PUL need to be as wide as the bed top plus 2cm (1") for seam allowances. The depth (top-to-bottom measurement) is up to you, the one I made is 70 cm (28") largely because that's the size of the piece of PUL I had left over. Slightly narrower is fine, although you begin to run the risk of the child being off the sheet when the accident occurs. The PUL needs to be 5-6cm (approx. 2-2 1/2") deeper than the cotton and inner fabrics in order to be able to roll up and over the edge. In order to figure out the flap size, measure from the top edge of the bed, down the side and to about half way across the bottom of the mattress. Then add 3cm (1 1/4") for seam allowance and a hem on the far edge. This is your width. For the depth you need to figure out what the finished measurement of the cotton/inner plus the PUL edging will be and add 4cm (1 1/2") for hems. The seam allowances are up to you - I've allowed 1cm (1/2"), and for hemming 2cm (3/4").
The measurements for my single bed sheet are as follows:
Cotton and flannel: 99cm wide and 71 cm deep
PUL: 99cm wide and 76 cm deep
Flaps (x2): 72 cm wide and 73 cm deep
2. Putting it together. Layer the cotton, inner and PUL in this order: PUL shiny side (waterproof) down, then cotton right side down, then inner (in this case right side down because I had to sew two bits together and wanted the seam away from the top). Align the fabrics down one edge - there will be excess PUL sticking out the opposite side. Pin, taking care that they stay within the seam allowance. Shift top fabrics over and align edges with other PUL edge. You will have loose PUL in the middle (see photo below). Sew both edges with a 1cm (1/2") seam to form a tube.
3. Turn right side out so that the fabric side of the PUL is facing down and the cotton is right side up. Edge stitch with the seam allowance on the PUL side. This is one time when you shouldn't iron as you go - it's not good for the PUL! Just pull the seam flat from either side as you stitch.
4. Get the tube sitting nice and flat and then square off the edges. You can see in the photo below how the PUL is wrapped around the edges.
5. Hem up the side flaps making sure they match the finished depth of the tube. I fold the edge and then fold again to give a neat appearance.
6. Pin the flaps to either end of the tube, right sides together, and sew with a 1cm (1/2”) seam. If the PUL is shifting around too much you may want to tack the tube closed within the seam allowance first. Finish the seam by zigzagging if you haven't used an overlocker.
7. Edge stitch with the seam allowance on the flap side.
8. And you're done! This sheet had been on Hazel's bed for 2 days and hasn't shifted at all.
As the sheet is used and laundered you may notice the top fabrics shrinking a bit, making the PUL slightly looser. I find that just tugging them back into shape takes care of that to a large extent. Ironing PUL isn't recommended (it can melt), but you can safely put them through a dryer as long as it doesn't get too hot.
ETA: I forget that people don't know what PUL is because I lived and breathed PUL nappies for a couple years while Hazel was wearing them, it seems second nature! I found this good link to a more comprehensive explanation of what PUL is than mine, and the lady sells it by yard too. I'm afraid I'm pretty out of the loop with the best places to buy it these days, so if anyone has some good links pop 'em in the comments! In New Zealand Greenbeans is probably your best bet, although heck, that might have changed in the last couple years too!
13 September, 2009
10 September, 2009
Of course, getting a four year old to smile nicely for the camera is a job and a half. We started out well - this was the first photo, but she was partly out of the shot. It went downhill from there:
At least you can see the nice collar in this one!
Overall the Sunday Brunch Jacket is really lovely. There were a couple of things that I didn't like about the pattern, particularly the way the sleeve fit
And of course Lucy had to come out and be in on the action, she loves it when we're out in the front yard, I think it makes her feel all brave and part of the pack.
**I asked about this in the Oliver+S forum and it appears that it's simply to reduce bulk at the seam and I guess I wasn't exactly perfect on my seam allowances so the clipped corner on the sleeve didn't match up quite right?
09 September, 2009
Man, it wasn't the looking my age thing that was hardest, it was trying to take a self-portrait with a freaking heavy SLR! Can't find the point-and-shoot anywhere, though I guess one could argue I got more exercise this way :) I also had a bugger of a time finding somewhere that had flattering light on me AND the hat, and as you can see I managed it on me more than the hat. Frankly this was the best of the bunch and I'm not exposing myself to the ridicule of neighbours and passing church groups (who unsuccessfully tried to convert me at the gate) again - today anyways. At least I had a good hat on!
It's the Reversible Bucket Hat from Betz White's new 'Make do or make new' range of patterns. The bonus of it is that it comes in various sizes ranging from baby to woman's medium. It went together quickly and beautifully, I do so love when pieces actually match each other the way they're supposed to. Sadly not always the case with professional patterns! I also like that it's reversible, although in this case I did inside and outside the same - I figured that when one side fades from the sun I'll just flip it inside out and voila! a new hat. The brim is also long enough to curl up at the edges, or just at the front, which looks quite cute.
The only thing I had trouble with was the sizing. The pattern says a woman's medium is a 22" head. I'm a 23". So I increased it 5% but it's too big. It fits great over a ponytail, but I suspect that given a stiff wind it'll sail off. So next time I make it I'll try the 22" size and see how it goes. Can't wait to make several because of course, I won't be able to wear this if Hazel ever deigns to wear her jacket. That would just look too lame.
I did get my own back on Mat this morning though, as he bemoaned the fact that she refuses to read the new Pettson and Findus book she got for her birthday, or his favourite 'The Lamb Who Came for Dinner' (which is truly excellent) and I was able to say "It's because she senses the desperation in your voice". Ha! Take that!
Does this look like something that can sense desperation? Well it can. I love this photo - it's blurry but it just looks so much like her, if that makes sense!
Hazel at 4, originally uploaded by Ansis68.
08 September, 2009
I don't know what these grasses are (and they may be native for all I know) but I think they'd make a lovely fabric print.
There was also a lot of Queen Anne's Lace and it's just so amazingly detailed and complex - not to mention in about 4 different shades of pink! Again, would make an amazing fabric print and I adore the Queen Anne's Lace pillowcase embroidery pattern over at Sew Mama Sew by Alicia at Posy Gets Cozy (one of my favourite blogs!)
I had some focus issues with these shots, I think my depth of field was too shallow and I ended up with weird horizontal bands of focus that looked awful. I obviously need to come to grips with using this technique instead of just doing it and hoping for the best. Miz Booshay I'm not :) Though I'd like to be because she can take a good photo and isn't pretentious about telling how she did it. And if you haven't downloaded PW's action sets for Photoshop from the link above then you're missing something :)
07 September, 2009
Yesterday Mat had to work so Hazel and I walked down to the lovely trail that runs along the harbour edge and had a picnic alongside one of the settling ponds there. We call it Lizard Island because the little bronze skinks come out to sunbathe on the rocks of the ford across the outlet. We stopped by the bakery on the way and Hazel got a gingerbread man and I got an apple turn-over which turned out to be an apple strudel when we got there and opened our little paper bags, and we shared a cheese and ham roll. Hazel watched for skinks and I took in the view across to the city, and down to the bridge and Rangitoto. It was very nice and even the gorse was looking its best covered in yellow flowers and making the air smell like coconut tan lotion. There's a line in a poem my Dad's very fond of that goes something like "golden furze, unprofitably gay", that's what it was. Then we went hunting for plants to bring home and draw. I felt a bit guilty walking home with a huge handful of various things but kept reminding myself they were introduced weeds one and all. All except for this little hebe flower that Hazel picked from a bush near the park. Tiny and perfect. We haven't managed to draw anything yet but we have it booked in for tomorrow.
Hazel "accidentally" cut big holes in the knees of her pants, Lucy's sheepskin and some of her hair. Scissors confiscated indefinitely.What a debacle! Not only did she cut up her lovely stripey merino leggings (as seen in the bag post below), she lied to me about it. Sigh. Not very effectual lying by any means and I know she'll only get better at it (or learn to hide the evidence) but it's depressing none-the-less. Sigh. ANYWAYS, punishments were handed down from above and we move on. That evening she asks if I can make her bunny Foofoo a sweater to keep him warm at night. I say I probably can and she goes to sleep clutching Foofoo and looking particularly sweet and innocent (sigh again). As I was mooching around waiting for the Saturday murder mystery to start (Jonathan Creek, an early one yay!) I pondered the cut up pants and then it occurred to me that they might make a good sweater for Foofoo and I could do it while I watched tv. So I popped Foofoo into one of the legs with the bottom of it at his waist and started cutting. I cut holes for arms and sewed in sleeves. It came out really well!
(and yes, Lucy was as annoyed about being used as a prop as she looks)
I've never just winged it like that with clothes, even for toys, and I was surprised how well it went - the sleeves even have cuffs! Foofoo was dressed and replaced on her pillow to be discovered the next morning with exclamations of delight.
I feel inordinately proud of Foofoo's sweater and slightly better about Hazel cutting up the pants - they haven't gone completely to waste.
I was really keen to make one of the teacup flowers from the same site to go on it, but the peach fabric defied a match with anything in my stash (really not a colour I would normally go for) so today I made a quick felt flower for it from this tutorial here. It was supposed to look a bit like a white camellia but...well it looks flower-like anyways! :D Hazel was quite thrilled with it.
Oddly enough it turns out the bag matches the skirt Hazel chose to wear this morning, not that I realised it until I looked at the photos!
06 September, 2009
I thought I'd make another for her friend Alex's fourth birthday too and congratulated myself on getting on to it so early! It got mostly done and then sat there languishing in a saggy way for want of enough buckwheat and ill-fitting trotters while Alex was in Scotland for 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS it sat around and when she came back the day before her birthday was it done? No. Was it done yesterday on her birthday? No. Is it done now? Yes! Her party is next week and she got a tiny Ponyville pony yesterday so she's done pretty well actually.
I like the buckwheat in these, it holds heat better than wheat and smells better when heated as well. Win win. The pigs are made from cotton towelling and wool felt, so nothing to melt in the microwave. It's hard when you have to take heating into account when choosing materials!
05 September, 2009
The old button box wasn't able to come up with anything for Hazel's jacket, though we did have a fun time trying! If something was suitable there was only one, if there were four then they looked awful. We ended up buying four pink ones. Personally, I would have preferred brown to match the background; but when you are four there is only one colour and that is pink. Or purple. So buttonholes tonight!
03 September, 2009
Mouse mug, originally uploaded by Ansis68.A few days off of everything and a feeling that I need to put something up on my blog means a quick troll through my old photos in search of something appropriate! I found this dodgy photo of a really gorgeous mouse mug I found in a $3 Japanese shop; it went into Hazel's Xmas stocking last year. I bitterly regret not getting about 5 of them for gifts because of course when I went back the next week there were none. Oh well! It's the perfect size for a preschooler and I assume that's who they were designed for. She loves it a whole lot and it gets used for hot chocolates regularly. I should really photograph it properly because it has the cutest little round glaze tail on the back of the mug.