Dec 31, 2010

Why make one when you could make many...

Hmmm... Its that time of year again when some of us make resolutions, some with the knowledge that come mid February (or even sooner) it will be forgotten and some with a wholehearted belief that this year will be the year they stick to their guns and keep that new years promise to themselves.

Me? I've never been huge on new year resolutions - sure I might formulate a half-hearted kind of resolve but it normally falls into that first category mentioned above that is forgotten by February. This year however, I want that wholehearted belief that this year WILL BE MY YEAR! And just so you are all forewarned, I am going to totally utilise the power of accountability, because I figure that if you all know what I am aiming for this year I will be so much more inclined to actually achieve my goals.

DREAM BIG... BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & ACHIEVE GREATNESS! (I am definitely going to have to do a stitched photo canvas with this saying to remind myself - I ♥love♥ it!)

I have decided that along with the power of accountability I am also going to embrace 'the odds'. What are you talking about I hear you say? Well, 'the odds' is simply about increasing my odds of success... by not making one resolution but many - sure I may not achieve them all (but then again I just may) however I figure I am bound to achieve at least SOME of them and therefore my resolutions will have been given a degree of success and purpose.

So, if you're at all interested here they are (and yes, I am just making these up as I go - it's the best way to do it, isn't it? And besides I imagine most of us are more than aware of just what those nagging things are that they want to change).

I will constantly remind myself that I made the declaration that THIS IS MY YEAR to...

...become healthier (and yes this means losing weight but I don't want it to be my traditional barrage of diets, fads and yo-yoing weight loss & gain, I want it to be a lifestyle thing).

...become more organised... no, not just more organised... I WILL BECOME AN ORGANISED PERSON!

...find more balance in my life - spiritually, financially,physically and on a whole with my family and really in all aspects.

...enjoy THE NOW by not stressing and worrying unnecessarily about what the future may hold, by just trusting that I will follow the right path and therefore should always remember that it's the moments that make the memories, so I really need to be IN the moment.

...have more HAPPY DAYS and be reminded that I can choose my mood, my reaction, my outlook on a situation and therefore I CAN create and I CAN choose to have HAPPY DAYS despite whatever life may throw my way.

Okay, little intermission here... those resolutions above I am thinking are ALL very achievable as they are ones where 'the buck stops with me' so to speak... the following are a little more superficial I guess but still, they are goals...

This year I aim to:
...tame my internet addiction (just kidding but kind of not really - I think this may fall into the whole balance thing, I need to time manage it and treat it a little like a scheduled thing rather than an anytime thing, mostly).

...redecorate/remodel this 1960's untouched gem (read: seriously outdated, only borderline functional) of a house that we moved into 6mths ago - all on a SUPER TIGHT BUDGET - honestly I don't think I could stand a whole year of grey, black and pink vinyl tiles adorning the bathroom and laundry walls. Hubby & I have renovated a couple of times before but always with the luxury of two incomes whereas I promise you (and I will blog about it) this renovation is going to be done with as little money spending as possible.

...hmm that above aim is really a biggie it includes a back deck, exterior paint, bathroom, kitchen and laundry remodel, some flooring in need of an update and a host of little pesky things too...

...rediscover a love of running for fitness and relaxation - RELAXATION??? (that's my brains current innate response to running and relaxation being mentioned in the once sentence). Prior to kiddies I had after many years of equating running to mental torture (that annoying voice that keeps telling you it hurts, why don't you just walk a bit, I cant breath, I think I'm going to have a heart attack, I need a bra not only to support whats up top but a whole kind of whole body sling thing to stop the jiggling, ooh I've got a stitch, I cant run anymore... hmm I'm thinking you get the picture) actually found that it could be relaxing if I just stuck with it enough to find the pleasure in running with just your thoughts and ponderings for company. I want to run a 2.4km (1.5 miles) in my pre-child time of 10mins 38sec - ooooh that's going to be tough, but hey I've got a whole year right?

...set up an etsy shop and actually commit to giving my home business a planned and dedicated chance.

...a family holiday to the beach (back to where we used to live up until about 6 months ago) to catch up with old friends and spend some family time away from the everyday. be satisfied with all that I have been blessed with - a beautiful family, a home, freedoms, love and peace - but to be driven enough to want to improve my life and surroundings whilst being grounded enough to know that true happiness and contentment comes from the heart and all things intangible not from monetary wealth or possessions or social standing.

Well, I think that will just about keep me busy for the moment... in my opinion resolutions are a fluid thing - constantly changing and adapting - I imagine that I will have many new goals through out the year and I hope that you all have a wonderful, safe and happy new year - may it be filled with memories that make you smile, laugh, cry, and revisit from time to time to know that this is life and it truly is a gift.

So, as the sun will soon set on 2010... BRING ON THE NEW YEAR!!!

***the photo's in this post are just a few photographs that I really like which I've taken at various places over the last few years that have the ability to take me back to where I was at the time they were taken - I love that about photographs***

Dec 30, 2010

My little HOUDINI...

That's right I have my very own houdini! AKA my gorgeous but cheeky Little Little Miss M:

Aww... (bias alert warning here) isn't she just gorgeous? Yep... but trust me I've come to know that cheeky smile and that slight glint in her eyes... it usually means "Mummy, I've been up to something, probably something I shouldn't have been up to and you've kind of caught me out here. So, how about a great big innocent smile to remind you of how adorable I am and take your mind away from the whole caught out business" 

Now back to the houdini thing... seriously I have a NAPPY (DIAPER) HOUDINI on my hands here. This little gorgeous has the ability to strip down to a bare bot in a matter of seconds no matter what the overclothes! Hmmm.... So I say to her, "Miss M, where is your nappy" and this was her reply (bearing in mind my little 19mth old still prefers to use body language than spoken word):

The other night I went in to check on her before going to sleep myself and found her all tucked into a ball like a little snail... bare bot in the air and nappy nowhere to be seen - am beginning to think some toilet training may be in order!

Anyhow, that's all for today folks... but do check back in soon I will be turning this here $1 thrift shop find...

...from an drab adult knit to a super funky toddler dress (well, its just a mental picture at the moment... but if you choose to trust me its looking pretty super funky in my mind!!!) hopefully with an easy to follow tutorial so you can do the same.


Dec 28, 2010

Sewing photos to make a Canvas & Fabric Photo Display...

Today, during the girls afternoon nap and this evening, I managed to get a little project I'd been meaning to do prior to Christmas completed. I am a little at a loss as to what I should call it so I settled on a 'canvas & fabric photo display'. Nothing like just describing it!

Again, much like the double layer twirl skirt, this project began as a mental image of a finished product in my mind but with no real direction as to how I would achieve the final look!

Here's a look at the finished project so that you know what I was working towards:

 The lens flare on the above photo totally wiped out my face (which, for the record, I don't really mind because I'm not that keen on having photo's of me on here) ... but in the interests of making the project look at least half decent - and with much internal umming and ahhing, to-ing and fro-ing, yessing and no-ing, I have buckled and included the next shot with me included... there done! Just don't expect to see my face gracing here again any time soon - it's just me and a weird secrecy/privacy thing I've got going on, kinda feeling a little intimidated by having my face out there (not that anyone probably really cares but) there's a quiet confidence that comes from being somewhat anonymous.

Oh and check out this fabric:

It is a 100% cotton canvas type decorator fabric and I just love the gold and black floral design... BUT what made me love it more was that it was marked down to $2 a meter (and its 145cm wide [57"]). I loved it so much that I bought a great big roll of the stuff (a few months ago now) and have had visions of having this fabric and colour scheme becoming a bit of a theme around the house with canvas' and cushions in the living room, drapes in the dining room and who knows what else. One thing is for sure - you will be sure to see this fabric popping up here and there in future posts - I have an ENORMOUS roll of the stuff to use!

Well enough talk, here's how I did it:

1. Choose canvas (mine was about $5 from the discount store) and apply two coats of spray paint to surface including the edges (I used gold -also bought at the discount store $3.50, to tie in with my fabric).

2. Decide how you want the fabric to lay - either horizontally or vertically; and how much of the painted canvas you want showing to determine the size of fabric strip you'll need (Remembering to allow for the fabric to have extra length to wrap around the sides to the back of the frame where you'll staple gun the fabric later). I wanted my fabric to run horizontally and to cover most of the canvas with the gold paint to serve more as a border. I also wanted to have a somewhat 'shabby' style with frayed fabric edges so I tore the fabric rather than cutting it.

Just a close up of my frayed attempt at 'shabby' style :P

This is how I wanted the fabric to lay - I was almost tempted to
 end the project here as I don't mind how it looks as is!
3. I played around a little with my photo editing program as I wanted the photos to have a little bit of an aged and colour faded look as I thought it would sit better with the fabric print. I did originally think I was going to do the photos in a sepia tone but it just lacked any 'pop' and kind of blended into the background a little too much whilst the full colour just seemed wrong. I printed off the photos, one with the word 'Peace' (this one went on Little Little Miss M's photo), 'Love' (on the photo of darling husband and I) and the word 'Happiness' (on Big Little Miss M's photo).

4. Now at this point I was still toying around with just how I was going to attach the photos to the fabric and canvas. My first thoughts were to use PVA glue in a kind of modge podge fashion but then after a little experiment with an extra photo print and fabric off cut I settled on actually sewing the photo onto the fabric. You'll need to play around with the photo placement and use a disappearing fabric pen to mark your final placement.

5. I did quite a few practice runs with a spare photo and fabric scrap. I tried out stitching with a sheet of baking paper over the photo to protect it - but discovered I didn't really need it, I just relaxed the presser foot by one setting. I tried a few different stitch styles - zig-zag, decorative and blanket stitch- but settled back with the zig-zag because sometimes less is more. I found it helped to just go slow with this step to ensure the photo was feeding through evenly, but otherwise this step was so easy that I'm positive I will do more projects with stitched photographs.

 6. Once you have sewn all your photo's in place its just a matter of using a staple gun to stretch and hold the fabric in place.

7. Now flip it back over, admire your craftiness and WOO HOO do a little victory dance!

Now I'm actually pretty impressed with how this turned out... I feel like craftiness is contagious because since I started on this blogging endeavour I really feel more inspired and creative than ever before.

Like it? Leave a comment, become a follower or pop back again soon to see what I'm up to... but whilst you're here check out some of my other sewing/crafting tutorials. I promise at some stage to make this blog a little more organised - perhaps with tabs to sort our 'sewing' from 'craft' and 'tutorials' - but bear with me I'm still learning to get my head around HTML code and also just how to do different things on this here blog of mine!

Double Layer Twirly Skirt

For a few days now I have had shirring on my mind... but I had an idea to do vertical shirring rather than the usual horizontal shirring. My vision was for a double layered skirt with the top layer being given a scalloped kind of appearance through the use of spaced vertical rows of elastic thread.

Here's the result... not 100% what my mind was envisioning but not too far off it!

And now, if you think it's worthy of recreation... here's the how to (bearing in mind once again that I'm still a bit of a newbie to the whole tutorial thing - I am trying to cut down the length of the tutorial to hopefully be a bit more to the point):

Now for a basic guide to a skirt I used the fabulous tutorial 'lazy days skirt' found at Oliver + S. I just adapted it somewhat as I wanted two layers.

Firstly, I cut my fabric for the skirt body (as detailed in the lazy days skirt pattern I used the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage and cut the desired length plus 2"). For my two layers I cut one of the spotty material and one of the floral exactly the same. The other portion of floral fabric I used to make some bias tape. (Another fabulous tutorial on making your own bias tape can be found here at Prudent Baby)

Using my over locker I serged the two skirt pieces together at the top both with right sides facing up.

I then folded, pressed and top stitched the bottom hem of the outer floral layer (two folds so that the raw edge of the material is hidden in the hem). 

At this stage the fabric is still one open piece of two layers. I then used a disappearing fabric pen to mark where I wanted the shirring. For this skirt I decided to have two vertical rows of shirring approximately 6" apart running from the outer layers hemline to about 2/3 of the way up towards the waist. It was a little bit of a guesstimate really as to how much or long to do the shirring because I wasn't sure how much it would pull the top layer up.

Now I wanted to join the side seam of the top layer only. To do this I flipped the top layer inside out whilst leaving the under layer facing right side up. I serged the floral fabric together being sure not to go onto the under layer.

Then I did the same with the under layer by flipping the top floral layer to be right side up whilst the spotty underskirt was wrong side up and right sides together (does that make sense??) and serged the side seam.

I then hemmed the spotty under layer with the bias tape I made to co-ordinate with the floral fabric.

I then folded over and pressed the top edge of the skirt in order to create the casing tube for the elastic waist band. The width of your elastic will determine the depth of the fold. Sew the casing ensuring you leave an opening big enough to feed the elastic into and through.

Once you have fed the elastic through and stitched it together and closed the opening you are pretty much done. You might find that you need to just give the elastic shirring a couple of bursts of steam with the iron to get it to scrunch up a bit more.

Ta Daa!! Done... yep... you guessed it... time for a victory dance!

As usual, its late as the only time I really get to sew uninterrupted is when my lovely girls are asleep, which means you'll have to come back later to see my Big Little Miss M strutting her stuff in this little number... I might just add a couple of embellishments to the skirt and maybe jazz up a matching t-shirt!

Things I would do different next time:

I think I would make the underskirt just a little shorter as I kind of imagined it just peeking out rather than being quite as exposed as this one. But all in all I am quite happy with the end result and I think it would look better if the waistband was actually done in the under skirt material to give it a little more contrast.

Like it? Let me know... I love getting some feedback and if my instructions are not all that clear let me know about it so I can try to improve them... otherwise Cheers for now & come visit again soon to see what I'm up to!

Oh, and don't forget to check out some of the awesome links on my side bar to some absolutely fabulous link parties :)


Dec 25, 2010

Christmas Tidings...

As Christmas Day draws to a close here in Australia it is really just dawning in many corners of the world... very short & sweet today.

Wishing everyone, where ever you are, who ever you are with and however you choose to celebrate, a very joyous, safe and special day - one brimming with moments that create the memories of a lifetime.

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."  ~Roy L. Smith

Wishing everyone a heartfelt Christmas...


Dec 23, 2010

Silence is Golden…


The girls are both having a nap this afternoon – that’s right the TWO of them AT THE SAME TIME – oh for the rare pleasures! I love them both so much I could never adequately put words to the feelings they create within me however it is nice to sometimes just sit back and enjoy the silence.

It has gotten me thinking about different moments that my girls have made me laugh and think just how wonderful, special and untainted the world is through a child’s eyes’. Here are a few of them:


I am forever running late where ever I go, no matter how well I have planned and on one such morning I was getting particularly frustrated as it seemed as soon as I had dressed one lovely the other had chosen to disrobe. This led to me exclaiming in a rather exasperated and strained voice, “Oh Geez! We are running SOOO LATE it’s not funny!” To which my 3 y/old Big Little Miss M turned, looked me in the eye and with the most serious look and equally exasperated voice replied, “But Mummy, I’m NOT laughing!” It certainly made me laugh.

Another morning, planning a trip to the nursery to buy some plants for a new vegetable patch with the hopes that if the girls grow their own vegies they will eat them. I say to Big Little Miss M, “Hmmm… what plants will we get to go into our garden?” After a moment of serious thoughts she rattles of some of the usuals, carrots, potatoes, peas. Then her eyes light up and she exclaims, “I know… A CUPCAKE PLANT… because then I can pick them and eat them yum yum! One with cherries on top!”

Whilst eating a particularly decadent and so not diet friendly dessert I say to husband, “This is so yummy it’s making me sick” to which Big Little Miss M says, rolling her eyes, “Well, just stop eating it then mummy.” Hmmm, if only I had the sense of a three year old…sometimes!

DSC07714My little 18mth (nearly 19mth) old makes me laugh too but not so much with words but expressions and actions. She’s a little more full on than her big sister ever was (I think the term they’ve nicely used to describe her at playgroup is ‘boisterous’). She’s still learning to talk but has the most biggest photo smile and actually says “CHEESE” for the camera. I love how at dinner time I just need to say “Dinner’s ready” to then hear her calling and running for her sister to bring her to the table too, She cant quite pronounce her big sisters name but calls her  “Wawa” which is kinda cute because its not too far off what big sis used to call herself before learning to pronounce her own name.

I love that my girls have such different personalities and I love seeing flashes of what I’m sure they will be like when they grow. They have such compassion and love for one another (when they’re not tugging at either end of a disputed toy, screaming like someone is pulling their nails off!) and I just know they will grow to be fantastic friends, allies, co-conspirators and supporters of each other.

I already cherish the small moments and memories their innocence and youth bring to my life. It’s still nice though to have these quiet moments every now and then to just sit down in the silence and remind myself that although at times they can produce feelings of superb insanity (seriously, there are times I think my head is literally going to explode) they are the most special, fantastic, beautiful gift in my life and I wouldn’t change one crazy, trying, laughter-filled, teary or awesome moment for anything! (Oh, except I may just have gone back in time an hour or so and moved my camera out of their reach in order to prevent what has now become an awesomely unusable piece of digital camera wizardry)


With that said I really should see if I can fix this camera… my post looks so very sad and drab without some photo glam! Hmmm…. time to scour my photo files to jazz it up with a few oldies!

Dec 21, 2010

The Purple Petunia Pillow Case Dress (with a twist)


Another pillowcase dress (they are just soooo quick and easy to whip up – and being summer here in Australia they are just perfect for this warm weather BUT also great in winter with a skivvy and stockings or leggings).

Here’s a tutorial of sorts… bear in mind I’m still relatively new to the blogging game (only about 2 months into it – but ♥LOVING♥ it!) Any feedback, comments would be kindly taken and any FOLLOWER’s would be so appreciated! I hope to do more tutorials soon…

Anyhow, here’s how I did it (sorry I haven’t included measurements/sizes but I’m sure you’ll figure it out):



Fabric, Ribbon, Elasticised Thread & usual bits & pieces like thread, sewing machine, overlocker (optional), scissors, rotary cutter etc.








I folded my fabric twice – in the picture to the left there is horizontal fold along the top edge of the fabric and then a fold along the right vertical edge against which the top is placed. This means you will cut both a front panel and a back panel on the fold at once.






I used a top that fits my daughter for a rough guide to size my dress pieces.









Place fabric right sides together and serge (you can do a zig zag stitch if you don’t have an overlocker) side seams of dress together and then I like to also sew a straight stitch just in from the edge of the serger stitching.







Cut two lengths of ribbon long enough to cover the armpit edges of the dress. Fold in half lengthways and press to make easier to sew. I use a pin as in the picture through my ironing board cover that allows the ribbon to pass through at the size I want… makes the job easier and avoids getting any pesky steam burns!

DSC07784 DSC07785

I then folded the hem line and pressed twice as in these pictures to hide any raw edges (you could do the hems prior to sewing the side seams – I guess it’s just a preference thing).



Sew hemline close to the upper folded edge to hold it down nicely (you could topstitch it with the right side of fabric facing up but I just find it easier to do it with the wrong side facing up).






Then using the cut and pressed ribbon pieces enclose and sew the armpit edge on either side.








Then I overlocked the top edge of the dress (usually I would just do a similar thing to how I did the hemline but alas I did not allow quite enough for such a seam at the top edge).









Fold down top edge of dress (neckline) with enough width to create a casing for the necktie ribbon and press and then sew.




I then marked a guideline using disappearing ink fabric pen for the top line only of my shirring (my line was about 2” down from the lower armpit but it will vary depending on the size).







Then using elasticised thread I shirred 4 rows (after using the guideline for the first row I then just used the stitch line and the edge of my presser foot as the guide for the next three lines). Now everybody seems to have their own technique for shirring – Me? Well, I don’t cut the thread or elastic between each row but I do backstitch the start and end…. I guess I could do a tutorial at some point on shirring but maybe I’ll leave that unless I get enough of an indication that its warranted (hint hint Winking I love comments, feedback & followers )

Then all that’s left to do is measure a length of ribbon long enough and feed it through both casings to tie at a bow on one shoulder… Stand back… Admire… and cause I love doing it – complete a little Victory Dance YAY its done!!!

DSC07819I have decide I just ♥LOVE♥ this vibrant petunia fabric – it had been sitting in my stash for far too long but I’m glad I used it tonight. Stay tuned for some photo’s in the morning of Little Little Miss M wearing this one … I think her big sister just may turn PURPLE with envy… lol, its late here and I’m no comedian so its time for bed now! Please let me know what you think. I am hoping to start sewing to sell in the New Year but I’ll keep you posted on that one!

Oh, and in case you missed it… the twist to the pattern/dress was the shirred high waist!

I have loved sharing this tutorial, so please, if you use this tute to make a creation please link back to here so others can find it, share it, use it, whatever (and create yourself some good karma – heaven knows its good stuff!) and also…. I’d just love to see any creations you make via linked comments! THANKS

As promised here are a few, ultra cheesy photo’s of my delightful Little, little Miss M (I think she LOVES the camera!).


I love how photo’s of my two lovelies can make me smile and feel all warm inside!

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