30 January, 2010
The working title for the mouse is the Global Mouse, but no doubt Hazel will choose a much better name in time, just like she did for Bobby Robin's teddy! He's about 20cm tall and I've been instructed that pink would be a good colour (does that make it a she?). Personally I think linen with a pink tummy would look great but we'll see if I can get that past the pink police.
28 January, 2010
The first few shots she was a very fierce dinosaur
But that didn't show the design on the dress so I said "hold your arms out to the side please". Note the small plastic dinosaur in her right hand.
Then I realised that hot pink and bright orangey yellow were just not going to photograph well in that light so I gave up. She paused on the deck out of the bright light so I tried again
Then I asked her to turn around so I could take a photo of the birdy on her bum. Instantly it was all about the bum, the bum was wiggled, it posed, Hazel giggled and said "bum" a lot. It's a hot topic amongst the four year olds I've noticed! Here it is in a rare still moment
Then she asked if she could take a photo of Lucy with the SLR. With misgivings, I put the strap around her neck and my hands on her shoulders and got her down the stairs to take it. It was so heavy she could barely hold it up but she managed to take this lovely photo none-the-less. I like how Lucy's head is in focus but the rest is slightly blurry. Don't you just love tabby markings? The more I look at Lucy the more I think her markings are just incredibly exotic - there's spots and stripes and swirls and colour graditons and almost an Art Nouveau aesthetic to it all. But because tabbies are a dime-a-dozen we lose sight of the amazingness. Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like to see a cat for the first time, especially a tabby, and I know it'd be a "wow!" moment. I need to do a good closeup of her face so I can point out the little row of tiny brown spots that go from one row of whiskers, under her nose across to the whiskers on the other side. And remind me to tell you my party anecdote about the blotchy tabby mutation and its spread sometime ;) Scientists, we're the life of the party! And yes Dad, I AM a scientist, no "soft science" cracks allowed on this blog. :P
Then I remembered to take a photo of this neat moss (?) that's growing in a pot that used to house a blueberry that got toddlered during one of my mum's group get-togethers. I've been meaning to try out a tilt-shift on it because it looks for all the world like a small oasis of palm trees, but in the end it looked better just cropped.
I need to go out and try photographing it again, but it started to rain and thunder about then - a lovely end-of-a-hot-day-thunderstorm, although all too brief and then even more humid after the sun came out again! Being from Alberta, a province that doesn't do humidity, I don't handle it very well, although I must say it's very nice for skin!
24 January, 2010
Others like this one just make me smile because it's so lovely
They're worth viewing in their larger sizes just to appreciate the details.
Hazel and I have also been playing a lot of Machanarium which is this fabulous little game from Amanita Design. Essentially you have to solve puzzles to help a little robot rescue his girlfriend from the bad guys and foil their nefarious plan.
Most of the puzzles are too hard for Hazel to solve at four, and several of them are too hard for me to solve at 40 - but that's what cheat sheets are for right? Otherwise it gave my brain a great workout and Hazel noticed lots of little details that I missed so we made a great team.
We reached the end and now we've been going back and playing again just to enjoy the story, the drawings, and the very very cool music. The Machinarium link above takes you to a free demo of three 'levels' and then you can buy the full game + soundtrack if you want. Personally I thought it was well worth the price!
22 January, 2010
04/07/2011 - the site never seemed to go anywhere - but see my recent post here for a couple of great sites that do work!
21 January, 2010
I also made myself a quick nightie based on an old singlet, it's okayyyy but not great. The fabric I used isn't as stretchy as the singlet's fabric so it's a bit tight. I need to play with it a bit before I'd even consider photographing it! The fabric is a lovely burnt orange and hangs beautifully. I was going to use it for a proper dress and I like it so much in this nightie that I'm even more determined to get that dress done!
I took a few photos of the NZ natives in the garden when I was photographing Hazel and the puppy purse:
Flax or Harakeke (Phormium, not Linum)
Flax seed pods
18 January, 2010
The book arrived on Thursday and since I was doing some babysitting for a friend that night I cut out the felt to do the Little Girl's Puppy Purse and sewed it up while I was out. I even managed to forget the book and it still came together without instructions and I had plenty of time to watch lots of really bad tv. Seriously easy project! And very cute
Hazel loves it, mostly for the puppy I think. She's fascinated by the fact that one of its ears flops
The only thing I regret about not having the book with me while making it was the puppy placement, mine is all square and centred, the book's is on an angle and looks a bit more playful. That's so me though, everything all lined up and squared away ;)
Most of the other projects in the book look like they'd be as quick and easy as this one - it's all hand-sewing and simple stitches. Nothing fancy here! Several of the projects are guaranteed to send small (and larger) girls into transports of cute, but there are lots of home decor and personal items like glasses cases, mug cosies etc. for the grownups :) My only quibble with this, and I'm not even sure if it's a legit one, is that part of the reason the projects look so gorgeous is her lovely felt, which the books says is available from her website,
17 January, 2010
*other than that the fusible interfacing on the collar bubbled a bit after a few hot irons. Bugger! Not sure what to do to fix it. Anyone have advice?
ETA: Aieeee!! I jinxed myself! Yes, technically everything was going fine, but the pattern let me down. I had the first sleeve in and sewed up the side and tried it on Mat. The sleeve was waaay too tight around the underarm. So I let it out by about a centimetre and tried it on again. Better but still not great, it had a nasty pull into the underarm area both front and back. I was a bit distraught but Mat was very reassuring and kept saying it would be ok even though I know it's not nice to wear clothes that bind. We both puzzled over why and then Mat had the great idea of checking it against some of his other shirts. We discovered that while the dimensions of the two shirts were almost identical, the armhole needed to sit further in on the shoulder and curve into the body more. I actually had vague memories of mum telling me something similar about armholes when we were initially figuring out what was wrong with the fit. So anyways, I think the situation is salvageable - I'll take a pattern off one of the shirts and recut the armhole and sleeve and start again. Needless to say there won't be any photos tomorrow or Tuesday!
15 January, 2010
Or one of them anyways! My cousin passed on her old wicker doll's pram to Hazel this Christmas. It was a hand-me-down for her too, so not sure how old it is but I love it! It needs a bit of TLC but is otherwise in fabulous condition. When she sent me an email asking if I'd be interested I just about fell off my chair in my haste to reply and say "Yes!"
I spent an hour or so scrubbing the hood with soapy water this afternoon and have come to the conclusion that wicker is bloody hard to clean! I'll get there eventually though! And maximum result too, it's going to look really nice. I think it's important to fix the things that might result in it being badly damaged - like the jury-rigged hinge on one side of the hood and maybe some of the little spots of rust, and to replace that rubbery grip stuff on the handle which has perished away. Otherwise we'll leave it as is, worn paint and all. Hazel got a lot of attention when we went for a walk down to the shops with it a couple days ago. One lady even stopped us to talk about her old pram that she'd given to her daughter!
Week 2 of the 52 Friday self-portrait challenge is here. If you're interested in joining the 52 Fridays Flickr group, we're here!
13 January, 2010
I first started making these little slippers when Hazel had just learned to walk and they're really very simple to make. I can't find the link to the pattern I've adapted, but will find it for when I've got some completed slippers to show. Here's Hazel's chubby little toddler legs in the first pair I made. Eeeee so gorgeous! Even now I could just eat them up. The legs, not the slippers.
I do believe that Jess has this pair as well now, though from memory the green was darker than they show in this photo - maybe they're not the same. I've made so many they start to merge together!
My cup runneth over with the 2+2 blouse as Oliver + S linked to it again in their ongoing series on how to use fabrics in clothing. It's really just so nice when other people like your stuff as much as you do! It's a great bunch of posts that series, if you're interested in making stylish clothes for kids it's all there.
12 January, 2010
Which just goes to show, checking your stats can be bad for your mental health. Let me be a bad example! Still, if I hadn't checked I wouldn't have known of my brief flirtation with publicity :)
10 January, 2010
Actually, I wrote that and then had a fabulous idea for a different header which I'm currently exploring - stay tuned!
09 January, 2010
So here's the first one. It was taken last night about midnight, after I came back from seeing Avatar.
I was up until 1am last night which is hugely late for me these days and then what with Hazel coming into bed with me around 2:30 and the cat throwing up on a rug in the bedroom at some point after that, I feel rather hung-over and crap this morning!
07 January, 2010
So in lieu of anything crafty I thought I'd share one of the things I like most about my blog stats - looking at the location of readers. There are some really neat town names in there! Here are some of my favourites from the last couple days:
Vadstena, Ostergotlands Lan
Schenectady, New York
New Iberia, Louisiana
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Traverse City, Michigan
Ziezmariai, Kauno Apskritis
Are you from any of these places? I want to hear what they're like because I love the names! A couple are familiar, but mostly they're exotic and far-away sounding, especially the ones with more consonants than vowels :) The only one I've been to is Medicine Hat but I can't go past that name!
06 January, 2010
This was a bit of a punt in the dark as the preview on Amazon consisted of one project, a few glimpses, and the list of projects. I don't think I've seen it reviewed anywhere either, but I do like her blog and linen so thought I'd give it a try. Ooooo I'm so glad I did! I'd say I'm keen to do about 3/4 of the projects and desperate to about 1/2 of them - not a bad hit rate I'd say! So I thought I'd just quickly show a few of the ones I've got in mind:
The travel sewing kit - I love the little pincushion in the middle.
Cosmetics bag - I love linen combined with more colourful cottons. I can see this in reds, pinks or yellows too. Or a bigger shoulder bag using the same technique for the bottom third?
This little lamb softie was a total surprise for me when I turned the page, I totally did not expect to find toys in this book! But considering I have a weakness for softies I think it was very restrained of me to only go "Oh!" in a small, girly voice.
I love this sewing machine cover, although since my machine doesn't have a permanant place to live and needs to be carted around by its handle I don't think it's practical at this point. But when I get my own sewing room one day look out!
The button calendar is genius. Even Mat said it was pretty neat. They're attached with velcro, but I think you could something really neat with magnets and a bit of metal in the body too.
So this really gets the big thumbs up from me and I've discovered a couple more projects that I'm interested in since taking the photos, including a great fold-up shopping bag that's very similar to envirosax in concept. I love my envirosax but I also love the idea of something in natural fabrics. Which they do, but at about 5 times the cost of doing it yourself!
05 January, 2010
I think having both this and Twinkle Sews means I actually HAVE to start making my own clothes right? It's a moral duty. The thing I like about the DIYC one is that it doesn't matter what size you are because the patterns are based on your measurements and you build them up from scratch. So way more time consuming to start with because you have to take your measurements (definitely need someone to help take those btw) and then translate those onto paper with associated curves, then make muslins and adjustments and so-on. But once you've got that sorted, well easy-peasey lemon-squeezy as Hazel says. The book starts off with very simple garments - a basic skirt, tshirt, buttoned shirt and pants, and then you build on from there.
So for example you start with the basic T:
(the models in this book are so gorgeous and totally un-retouched btw, I love it!)
and then you progress to this one:
and then to this one:
altering the basic pattern as you go. Same goes for the buttoned shirt (right) from which you can make the two options on the left:
The only drawback to this is that some of the later patterns are based on the body pattern from one and the sleeves from another - but what if you don't want to make that particular earlier garment? And like the Twinkle Sews book, the assembly instructions are minimal and all text. However they're a lot more comprehensive and understandable than the former! Aside from those little issues, I think it's a great way to introduce the idea of making your own patterns and teaching you techniques for customising them as you go. It doesn't deal with how to adapt the patterns for particular body shapes though, like a big bum or no bum, big boobs, wide shoulders and things like that but there are yet more books to deal with things like that I know - first things first! I'm really looking forward to trying this out as I'm determined to make more of my own clothes this year and really enjoy wearing them - which means they need to be properly fitted! I'm wondering if doing a few items out of here would be a good way to work with the Twinkle Sews patterns, just in terms of getting the right sizes and fit.
04 January, 2010
03 January, 2010
I wish she was well enough to tell me about it, but I think I know the story because it struck a chord with me. I'm 99% sure it's Liberty although I can't find the exact pattern anywhere; it looks like Liberty, it feels like Liberty, and it was clearly treasured like Liberty! I'd say she made a shirt out of it and couldn't bear to throw any of it out, there are tiny tiny scraps in the bundle! No-one else wanted it, so the jean and dress hems went out and this came home with me.
It might seem a bit odd that I'm blogging about it, but when I opened up the tissue paper it was like there was a connection between us, over who knows how many years, because I knew exactly how she felt when she wrapped it all up carefully. I'm very fond of my mother-in-law and we get along well, but we're such very different people that we don't have a very deep and personal connection. Now that she's ill there's yet another barrier between us and I accept that it's likely to remain so for the forseeable future. So it's neat that a little bundle of fabric scraps showed me that, although our personalities are quite different, we do share some little quirks!
It's these little connections that make archaeology fun too. I remember on one historic dig in inner-city Sydney where we were excavating a row of terrace houses and we found a wee stash of marbles. They'd been carefully put inside a ventilation grate by the back steps and were a motley assortment of old and new, purpose made and appropriated from the old soda bottles that used them as seals. My co-worker and I just knew, in that moment, that a little boy had hidden them away and for some reason hadn't retrieved them and they'd lain there for maybe 80 years or so, even as the house was razed above them. I wonder if he ever thought about them or if he'd simply forgotten them and moved away? I felt the same when I picked up a Mousterian hand axe from a plowed field in Syria - 70,000 years ago a Neandertal made it, held it and lost it, and there it was in my hand having sat in the ground for all that time. It still sends a shiver down my spine.
02 January, 2010
Can you believe that she's actually voluntarily wearing this?! In the end I gave it to her for Christmas openly (along with her Little Pup toy) and didn't resort to putting it in her stocking. I'm glad I did! She really seems to like it and I'm feeling pretty happy about it in general. It's a cute pattern and I'm sure I'll make it again a few times, both short-sleeved and the long-sleeve option.
I think part of the reason she likes it is that the fabric (My Folklore by Lecien) has squirrels on it and she loves squirrels. We often sing this song, from one of our favourite cartoons, Phineas and Ferb
01 January, 2010
1. Snuggle blanket, 2. Easter bunny, 3. Jess's pincushion, 4. Pink felt bunny, 5. Wonderful package, 6. Felt crown, 7. Chibi rabbits and kitty, 8. Felt mask, 9. More felt rabbits, 10. Sewing Green Slippers, 11. Pencil Roll 1, 12. Fairy crown, wand and skirt, 13. Bag for Hazel, 14. Piggie wheatie warmer, 15. Reversible Bucket Hat, 16. Felt bunny, 17. Loobylu embroidery closeup, 18. Hazel in her Sunday Brunch Jacket, 19. Ikea chair cover, 20. Felt pouch #3, 21. Hazel's drawing on a tea towel, 22. Spotty bag 2, 23. Sewing Green slippers, 24. Card holder 2, 25. Little Pup(s), 26. Amy's Quilt front, 27. 2+2 blouse, 28. Finished sheet, 29. First stamp, 30. Embroidered pouch and shoe bag
I've really really enjoyed my first year of 'public' blogging (I had a Live Journal blog for about 5 years before this), it's been so much more fun and interesting and, dare I say it, fulfilling than I'd imagined! I read in Perogative of Harlots today that 60-80% of all blogs are abandoned within the first month, so for everyone who survived the first year - go us! The link to the stat there is actually a quite interesting article on the stats of blogging, puts it all in perspective really!