Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello

I'm really pleased to see a few comments even though I've been so slack here of late, thankyou very much for your supporst. Thanks be to God, I'm gradually feeling better and now have more good days than bad. I finished off a little doll yesterday, she is very cute but the camera memory card has gone AWOL (I'll be consulting husband about that when he arrives home!) I'm still working on my custom dolly but am putting alot of planning into her outfit as I want it to be special.

It is wonderful to be on the verge of another new year with all its rewards, challenges and surprises. I don't make New Year's Resoloutions as I try to make resoloutions whenever I deem it necessary, instead of once a year. A simple resoloution is "I'm going to be better". Can't go wrong with that!

Now, can anyone help me out with this....
4 children means vehicle changes. We were going to convert our wagon with extra seating in the back, but are also considering a van. We are open to having more children, so a van would be inevitable eventually, but is it worth changing over now or waiting? We've only had the wagon 18 months and a van would set us back financially - what did you do?
Any thoughts please?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby news!

Yes, we are expecting baby no. 4 sometime in August next year! I'm very excited but have also been terribly sick, hence my continual absence here. Feel free to leave your pregnancy nausea tips here, there may be one I haven't tried yet!
I'd also love to hear from anyone who has had repeat caesarians as is unfortunately the case with me.

Today we are trying to make preparations for Christmas which has been seriously hampered by my condition this year, but we've managed to make decorations, do the tree and are making marshmallows. The lunchtime bread is made and cooling. We're keeping our food fairly simple this year too, my dear husband has to work Christmas day but there are prawns in the freezer and a lasagne (kid's request) in the works. Husband will make his famous truffles as usual. We will attend the vigil mass tomorrow evening.
What a lovely time of year, I hope yours is too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rain, glorious rain!!!

22 hours and its still going! Water poured into the tank all night and the garden is totally soaked.
I heard on the radio that some areas have received nearly 100mm, and more heavy rain is expected later today and tonight. Thankyou God!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The perfect pet?

We've had Polly a couple of months now and she is just wonderful! I never knew rats had so much personality (ratinality?) and are so easy to care for. She does not require special food, just what we eat or have in the pantry. She gets let out and played with every day, but if we miss a day its no drama, she's still happy. She is very clever and cute and excellent for children (you have to watch the little ones who like to "squeeze"!)

Her enclosure is a simple plastic crate with a baking rack as a lid (my husband's ingenuity). Her drink bottle hooks over the side and she drinks when thirsty. Her bedding is ripped up newspaper (we simply keep the free local papers and use them) which is changed roughly ever 3 days. Rats do not smell, they are very clean, but the bedding has to be changed often. If we go away we simply give her to someone else for a couple of days and she's fine.
She is lovely, I highly recommend a rat if you want a low maintenance, cheap and rewarding pet.

What I've been up to

I made this skirt in sewing class, it turned out beautifully. I splurged a little on the fabric ( considering I normally but from the bargain table) but it was worth it. Its very much my style.


I made this dress out of scraps in sewing class, but I'm not keen on the colours and it looks a bit like a nightie. DS was happy to put it on for the photo opportunity, but refuses to wear it now. No surprise there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

library haul


One of my favourite places to spend time is the library! I go in to drop off as many books as I can carry and leave in the same fashion with a fresh load. And thats just for me, the kids have their own library bags to fill. We're really lucky to have access to 2 of the best libraries I've seen. It allows me to indulge in my book fascination without spending a cent (oh alright, I do get overdue fees sometimes!)
The good news for today is the Rudd Government anouncing they are handing out money for Christmas. For us, with 3 children and a low income, that translates to $3000!!!
The idea is that we spend it to improve the economy, but of course it will be added to our slowly decreasing home loan. What a lovely surprise, it takes my husband a long time to earn that much money.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update

Its lovely to see these hollyhocks in flower after trying to grow them for so long (darn harlequin bugs keep killing them!)

I haven't been well of late so haven't been able to spend any time here. I thought I'd better drop in and let you know I'm still alive! I have nothing crafty to show either, although I am working on a couple of things.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're back!

Where are all your stunning holiday photos I hear you ask?
Well, things didn't go exactly according to plan. Getting the tent up was time consuming but fine. The problem was the weather. It rained. It blew gale force winds. It was freezing cold. It even hailed!!!
So our first tent expedition was a miserable failure, as you can imagine with 3 young children, a tent and terrible weather there isn't alot you can do. We were constantly walking back and forth to the toilet blocks. We are so glad to be home!
We spent one night at my Uncle's Bed and Breakfast, which was really lovely, especially a hot spa and beautiful, big, comfortable beds.
While we were away the chooks got out and wreaked havoc in the garden, all the corn, beans and other vegetables have been chewed right down and they've scratched dirt and plants up everywhere.
Today we're resting and unpacking and thinking we might have had a better holiday if we'd stayed home!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bye for now

We're going away tomorrow for over a week for a well earned break at our favourite seaside destination. It will be interesting to see how we go in our new tent (we haven't even tried putting it up yet!) The weather isn't looking too promising but as long is it doesn't bucket down, which is highly unlikely, we should be fine. Its our first holiday in 2 years so we're really looking forward to it. My husband has a lot of fishing to catch up on!
So... the Etsy shop is closed while I'm away. I'm looking forward to making some new dolls when we return. I'm in the mood to make some cute little ones, I always prefer making small items to large.
Whatever you're doing over the next week I hope its wonderfully inspiring and joyful!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meg

I always love finishing a doll and moving on to a new one. Meg is going in the Etsy shop.








Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today is Saturday

I just realised I have 100 posts on here now, makes me think its nearly time for another giveaway. Hmm, I'll have to set my mind to that one.

I went to a craft market this morning, it was interesting but not overly impressive. Once you know how to sew and craft yourself it really changes the way you look at the things people make to sell. I can't help thinking "I could make that so easily!" and generally find the standard of work medium to low. On the other hand, some stalls are of a very high standard. I guess it would be different if you were attending craft markets in a wealthy suburb, of which my suburb is certainly not and shoppers tend to look for bargains.

I've put the link for Little Jenny Wren here before, but I think it deserves another printing. Not only are her dolls magnificent, her blog very interesting and her surroundings beautiful - she is also a really nice person!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I said a prayer for you today
And know God must have heard,
I felt the answer in my heart
Although He spoke no word!

I didn't ask for wealth or fame
(I knew you wouldn't mind).
I asked Him to send treasures
Of a far more lasting kind!

I asked that He'd be near you
At the start of each new day;
To grant your health and blessings
And friends to share your way!

I asked for happiness for you
In all things great and small.
But it was for His loving care
I prayed the most of all!

- Author unknown

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hannah!


Meet Hannah! She was a real labour of love and took the best part of a week to fully complete, but she turned out wonderfully. She is
made with the usual natural materials and the wool used to knit her hat and scarf were locally produced in Victoria. She is 18 inches tall. Definately my favourite so far! She is in the Etsy shop now.
SOLD - Thankyou!




Baking Monday



Congratulations to Kylie, the winner of the Crafty Mamas October competition. She crocheted a cute tea cosy.

This morning was perfect for baking so I made bread and fruit buns. Its cool here today with a little rain. I will be going out shortly to plant beans while its not too dry.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cloth doll making tips


Here are a few tips that might help you out if you're a beginner:


1. Do an internet search on the type of doll you're interested in to get ideas and hints and an idea of materials you might need.


2. Use good quality materials if you can afford to. If you're scared you might mess up the first one or two, try making them out of inexpensive calico or something similar first.


3. Use small machine stitches when sewing up the body, I set my stitch length to number 2.


4. I find it much easier to fold the fabric in half, draw the body design on, then sew and cut out last. This way you can control the pieces more readily and can get really fine seams when you cut it out.


5. Draw the outlines for the body on with a dark pencil so you can be precise when sewing.


6. For sewing tight curves I use the rule of stitch, stitch, turn. For larger curves the rule is stitch, stitch, stitch, turn. Leave the machine needle down in the fabric whilst turning, and make the turn gradual, not sharp.


7. Take your time to make your doll, rushing or stressing is not enjoyable.


8. If you find yoursef getting frustrated with any aspect of your doll, leave it for a while. You will have a fresh perspective when you come back to it.


Any questions? Well, I'm still learning more all the time, but ask anything you like and I'll try to answer.


On my sewing table today....


Besides the sprawling mess I have 2 dolls I'm working on. I haven't started their outfits yet but have knitted a doll scarf and will do a matching hat with my lovely rainbow wool. Also have a top from sewing class to hem. The dolls take up a lot of time but are so rewarding.
Whatever you're doing on this Saturday I hope you are relaxed and happy.
God bless.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shorts


I came to a compromise with eldest daughter concerning her attire. She refuses to wear a dress (I actually managed to get her into a skirt for mass last weekend!) so I made her some "pretty shorts" instead. The pockets were a real selling point, she is such a tomboy! She keeps telling me to give all her dresses away to other girls ( actually she got the idea from me, I was trying to get her to wear one). So now I'm working on youngest daughter, she wears a dress every Sunday with no socks and messy hair (she pulls socks off and hairstyle out). Sigh...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Etsy treasury

I got a nice surprise when I logged on today, my little Milly doll has been featured here .Thanks to oritdotandolls . Very flattering!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spick n' span day!

Every now and then I feel that I'm going to turn exremely insane if the house doesn't get into order. The proclamation "Its spick n span day!" can be heard (enthusiastically bellowed by yours truly) followed immediately by groans (from children).
The deal is - no schoolwork for the day, but you have to work in return!
The best part is that it is now the afternoon and I have time to blog, read to the children and hopefully sew up that pair of shorts that eldest daughter is desperate for.

Oh, while I'm here I'll mention the Crafty Mamas competition is ending soon, so if you have an entry for the "English Garden" theme, now is the time to get it in!

Au revoir for now....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Books

My mother in law has loaned an excellent book to me, I can hardly put it down. It is about a Christian woman's journey through prison and labour camps under communist rule. I love to read these true stories as it teaches me so much about myself and my own life. It reminds me of how selfish and materialistic I am and that my faith needs to be so much stronger. My life is so easy and I take it for granted. The title of the book is "The Pastor's Wife" by Sabina Wurmbrand.

On the sewing front I made a nappy cover and notebook cover yesterday, both of which turned out nicely. Now I'm waiting on my next Winterwood delivery so I can start on some more dolls and fill up my sad little Etsy shop.

My husband has cruised the garage sales this morning and come home with a bunch of action figures (enter very happy son!) and some excellent big lattice screens for the garden. Our new water tank arrives on Monday, can't wait! Now all we need is some rain to fill it!

I hope you have a wonderful and productive weekend.
God bless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A busy house is a happy house!

This is Milly, she is 8.5 inches tall and was such a joy to make.



She is going in my Etsy shop.








These are always a favourite with the children.






Monday, October 20, 2008

The garden

Sweetpeas are finishing but still very pretty


Robinia in flower




Roses on the patio







Dolicus (spelling?) in full bloom



It is very dry out there at the moment, but still so much beauty to behold - I just had to share a little of it!














Saturday, October 18, 2008

Phew!!

The past week has been a flurry of visitors, appointments and social engagements with a little desperate catch up on housework thrown in (no I haven't caught up yet) so I have nothing new to show and tell. The only time I used my sewing machine was at sewing class, but there are projects on my (long) waiting list. I did work on some doll designs on paper though, so thats something at least.

Something has got me thinking. It seems a group of women cannot get together without discussion turning to husbands. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with that, but I've noticed the talk is never really positive. It bothers me. No, my husband is not perfect, but does that mean I need to advertise his personal flaws to a group of eager women? Wouldn't that be an abuse of trust in our relationship?
If someone needs to have a genuine and quiet talk about their marriage I'm all ears, but I just don't know what to do/say in this group situation. I understand that for many women they are so frustrated with their husbands that it just becomes a habit to speak of them this way, but honestly it only makes me feel sorry for the husband who doesn't know a group of women are belittling him.
How about this....... if you are in the habit of airing your dirty laundry to others, each time you feel a complaint coming on, stop yourself, and instead think of something he does that is great, or something you really love about him, and tell others that instead! Easier said than done? Try it once and see if it helps!

Until next time
God bless you all and thanks for reading!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jen

I've taken a new direction with my dolls, and here is the result of the first new design. I like a lot of aspects about waldorf dolls, but wanted to make them in my own style. I absoloutely love working with the natural materials and hope to make a lot more. Jen is going into my Etsy shop.





Friday, October 3, 2008

Bye baby bunting.....

I made this little cutie for youngest daughter today to prevent her carrying off (and chewing upon) her sister's new doll. This one should be better for chewing, more sturdy and the hair won't pull out. I was given the lovely velvet fabric by someone who didn't want it anymore. Its wonderfully soft. I couldn't get a good photo, but you get the idea...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Little doll

Just had to post my first project with my new materials, which I loved using! Pure wool is like a dream after using polyfill for so long! I haven't made a doll like this before but I enjoyed it and plan to make more, though I'll probably be tweaking my pattern for a while to get it the way I want it. She's 8 inches tall.


Crafty Mamas Competition

I'm very pleased to be offering the prizes over at Crafty Mamas this month. The theme is "English Garden" and here are 2of the prizes, the other is a chunky beaded necklace. Pop over and take a look!



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One by one...

is what Mother Theresa always said. She could have been overwhelmed when she arrived in India and witnessed the enormity of the task before her, but instead, she went to a person who was dying in the street, picked him up and took him to care for him. We can learn so much from her.
If you don't start somewhere you won't go anywhere.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lookie what came in the mail...

I love getting parcels! This one came from Winterwood Steiner Inspired Toys and I plan to make some little dolls. I've never used pure wool as stuffing before, it feels absoloutely beautiful, 3 year old dd couldn't get her hands off it! I've also never used wool felt before, only acrylic so I'm excited about that too.





More exciting news... we have honeyeaters nesting in the jasmine! They've just hatched, there are 3 chicks. They are one of my favourite birds and the first one to nest in our "becoming established" garden. They're very fond of our honeysuckle, red hot pokers and echium.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And speaking of dear old Nanna, this is a doll she gave to me to pass on to my girls. The doll was a gift to Nanna from her mother when she was 4 years old - she is now 82! I named the doll Sylvia after Nanna, she wears a lovely knitted outfit including underdress and underpants. Her eyes close when you lie her down.


Knitting!

I've finally given into my curiosity and borrowed a book on how to knit from the library. My Nanna did teach me some basic knitting when I was young, but she always did the casting on and off for me. I've made a start and it looks ok thus far, I wish I had a knitting friend to help me! I'd like to make little hats and cardigans for the children and (of course) dolls clothes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A top

I made the bulk of this in sewing class and finished it off at home. It turned out very well and fits beautifully, thanks to my teacher who is a dressmaker and drew up a pattern to my measurements. My husband loves it on me too - always a bonus!



I'm doing some rearranging and organising today, which inevitably leads to extra cleaning! Its always worth the effort when its finished though. Hope you're having a nice day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spring garden

Its lovely to have so many flowers this year, now all we need is some more rain!



Echium





Native Broom

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fabric covered tin




I had thought of putting a tutorial up for this, but didn't really have the time. Its an old coffee tin that I'll use for craft ribbons and bits & pieces. It took me ages to figure out, but it turned out really well. I love the fabric too, I'm a real sucker for florals!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goldy hair

Just finished this one today, its amazing how long one doll can take! Her face is hand embroidered, the dress is partly lined, and her hair style took a bit of fiddling!



Its a rewarding pastime though :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Little dress and holidays?

I've just started sewing classes again and finished this off lastnight. The fabric was left over from a bag. Cute huh?







Now, the holiday.......
My husband has time off in November so we decided we desperately need to go away for a few nights. Upon contacting our usual holiday accomodation at our regular destination we find they have raised their prices rather substantially. So, after much brainstorming we came up with the idea of buying a large family tent (we have a tent but its too small for all of us) and hiring a tent site at the caravan park. We have never stayed in a tent with 3 small children so this could be a very interesting experiment. We figure if it works out well we are saving ourselves a lot of money for future holidays by hiring a tent site instead of a cabin or house. Now to find a tent.................

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mock prawn cakes

My husband dubbed them that as they tasted like prawns! Very easy to make, here is what I did:

1 & 3/4 cups of jasmine rice
1/2 cup of peas
2 eggs
small tin red or pink salmon
seasonings of your choice
breadcrumbs

I cooked the rice in the rice cooker and let it cool for a while. Stir in the peas and drained tin of salmon. Stir the eggs in with a fork. Stir in seasonings (I used salt & pepper and garlic salt.) Form the mixture into patties or little balls, coat in breadcrumbs. Fry in a hot pan with olive oil.
They're very nice with mayonnaise.

Simple and cheap!

Dying computer

I have to face the fact that this computer is dying. A new computer has now been relegated to the top of the evergrowing List of items to be Replaced. I had hoped that we would have a piano by now, but once again it will have to wait as a computer is "needed" more. So it joins the List along with the bedroom blinds, bookshelf, mower, vacuum cleaner.... Anyway for now, I'm trying not to use it too much in the fear that the next time it won't work!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mt Buller

The boys had a great time at the snow and made their first snowman which drew a lot of attention from passersby wanting to take photos! It was an expensive trip but well worth it, the weather was beautiful that day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monster blood tattoo

Have you read these yet? I highly recommend that you do! These are the best fantasy novels I've read for a long time (so what if they're written for children, LOL) I'm impatiently awaiting the release of book 3 now. Have a look here if you're interested.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A sneak peek

At what I've been working on for some Crafty Mamas competition prizes. Hopefully I'll finish by the weekend.







The kids have all been sick, the girls are on antibiotics for throat infections. Thankfully they're on the mend now, hopefully tonight I'll get some uninterrupted sleep, I'm pretty exhausted now!
DH is taking the boy to the snow tomorrow, his first time, very exciting. I'm looking forward to having some concentrated time with the girls. I'm going to try this carrot and banana cake recipe for them to take with them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stuff

Oops, just realised how long it is since my last post! I've been spending less time at the computer lately which I think is a good thing. I was just stuffing some dolls (4 on the go at the moment!) but got fed up with the poor light and sore back, so here I am.
I just came across the blog belonging to Little Jenny Wren, a fellow doll maker and lover, her little knitted dolls outfits are just beautiful. I must learn to knit one day!
While I'm here I will request prayers that are much needed for our politicians. Within the next couple of weeks a bill may be passed that will decriminalise abortion. The most shocking part of this bill, if it is voted in, is that it would allow abortions up to full term! Please pray for the politicians who support this bill - that they may have a change of heart and for the politicians who don't support it- that they stay strong in their convictions.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Angel wallhanging

What a relief! This has been an ongoing project that is now thankfully finished, I just got lazy with it half way through. I didn't like trying to figure out all the measurements to fit the pieces either (maths is not my strongest point!) Anyway, its pretty and its going in the girl's room.




Friday, August 8, 2008

Doll for niece

I've been having a bit of a break from the computer to spend more time on other pursuits, dial up connection is so slow!!
Anyway, I've made a gift for one of my nieces confirmation on the weekend, yes its a doll!
Its very hard to photograph these brown skinned dolls but they look so lovely in reality.






I attended a Catholic homeschoolers parent support night lastnight which was very good. Its wonderful to be around people who share the same goals in life, and there were many ladies I had not met before. I will be trying to attend this meeting every month now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Needle case tutorial

I can't believe I put off making this for so long, thinking it would be difficult. It was easy! So here it is for all of you......

You'll need:
Cotton fabric for cover measuring 12 x 6 inches. Also a piece of this fabric measuring 5.5 x 4.5 inches for the pocket
Contrasting fabric measuring 12 x 6 inches
Wadding measuring the same
Piece of felt or doctors flannel measuring 4 x 5 inches



Fold the two large pieces of fabric in half widthways and press, open out again.
Overlock (serge) all edges of the pocket piece. Fold all these edges in once and press them down. Pin the pocket to the right side of the contrast fabric (for the inside of the needle case) to the left of the middle fold ( see where I'm pointing). Pin the piece of felt to the right of the fold.




Pin the wadding piece to the wrong side of the cover fabric.




Sew around all sides, then sew 2 parallel lines down the middle, either side of the middle fold.




On the inside piece, sew 3 sides of the pocket, leaving the top open (it won't be a pocket if you sew it closed!) Then sew (I've used a machine blanket stitch) across the top of the felt.




Lay the cover piece on top of the interior piece with right sides facing. Sew around 3 sides, leaving one end open for turning. Snip off all the corners and turn right way out, poking out the corners (use a knitting needle if needed). Now, fold in the raw edges of the end and press. Topstitch around the outside of the case, stopping when you come to the middle rows of stitching, skip over these, then keep sewing around. Give the whole thing a good press and you're done!!




Here is the finished outside which would look lovely with a ribbon tied in the middle. I don't have one handy, but if you do you may want to use it!




And here is the interior. Now you won't have to go searching and growling for your needles!




I hope you like this tutorial and find it easy, but if not, please let me know if changes would be beneficial. Thankyou!