Monday, November 30, 2009

A little angel tutorial

For one angel you'll need the following:
1 wooden bead with a hole through the centre (I used a 14mm bead, you can go larger if you wish)
A white chenille stick, 4 inches long
Small wool felt pieces
Scraps of yarn for hair, or you can use carded wool
Beads, sequins etc for embellishing or embroidery floss
Pigma pen or paints
Craft glue

Gather your yarn into 3.5 inch long lengths and tie in the middle with a piece of yarn, double knot it.

Glue hair on head towards the back so it doesn't cover the hole. While the glue is still wet, push chenille stick through the hole in the wood bead so that it protrudes 2 inches out of the top of the head. Allow to dry.



On a piece of paper draw a circle with a 4 inch diameter, it's easiest to do this with a compass or by tracing around a circular object. Cut this out as your template. Fold the circle in half and cut again.
Now cut out 1 piece of white wool felt and 1 contrasting colour using your half circle template. Embellish the white piece as you wish. As you can see, I stitched beads onto mine.


When you've finished embellishing, bend the piece of wool felt around into a cone shape so that the straight edges meet, leaving a small opening at the very top. Sew along the straight edges to hold the cone shape.








Add a little glue to the hole in the top of the cone, then push your chenille stick and head down into the hole so the head bead sits nicely on top. Sew up securely at the nape of the neck and around the neck if necessary. I added some more beads around the neck too.





Your angel should look like this. Take the top of the chenille stick and bend it around your finger into a hook shape for hanging. Now draw with Pigma pens or paints a little simple happy face.






The last step is to take your contrast colour half circle and place it at the back of the angel so that the straight edge runs along as you can see in the picture (I cut some little wavy bits on the curved edge to make them look more like wings). Take a running stitch up the centre of the back of the angel to secure the wings.
Now you can go make her some sisters to hang on the tree!
If you make an angel or any of my tutorials I would love to see the results, please email pictures to me or send a link of your blog so I can see! I'm happy to answer queries too.








Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's giveaway time!


For my Christmas Giveaway (and also coinciding with my 300th post!) I've joined forces with Corrie from Retro Mummy (you know her already, right? Fabulous online store with gorgeous fabrics, books & gadgets - basically a sewer's paradise!)

Corrie and I are offering a $50 gift voucher to spend on anything (yes, anything!) you like in the Retro Mummy store.

So, here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Leave a comment here telling me what would be the first thing you would buy from the store if you win. (This will give you one entry)


2.
Blog about this giveaway with a link back to here. (This will give you two entries)


I will draw a random winner on Sunday 6th December, that will give you a couple of weeks to spend the voucher and totally spoil yourself for Christmas.


Fingers crossed for you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mamu Imke

Yay, I finally finished the Imke top I've been working on, yes, that's me - hello! (what's a photo without a baby attached to your hip?)

A few things I didn't like about this pattern. First, the instructions were minimal and a little unclear, which won't faze you if you're a pro. The second thing is the fit is a bit funny and it didn't come together quite right and needed some adjusting ( or maybe it's just me?)

My third problem was the crappy black and white spot fabric which looked very nice on the roll when I bought it but performs a little like a piece of cardboard. Not great.
Not sure if I like this top but I'll be trying the pattern again with different fabrics as I like the style.
Oh, by the way, I got my pattern from Crafty Mamas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giveaway!

Have you visited A Little Sweetness yet? Tasha is a talented artist with her own fabric range (and a mum to 5!) Pop over and enter her giveaway.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A few art works

As there hasn't been a whole lot of crafting going on here, I thought I'd share some of my art pieces with you. All these were done in watercolour pencil, I hope to do some more some time soon.

This was a gift for a friend.



I was inspired by a french provincial work in an art magazine, so this one isn't strictly original, shall we say "strongly inspired".

This is the least original of the three, I did this one from an art book when I first received the pencils as a gift from my sister and wanted to try them out. The colours turned out beautifully.
I love the watercolour pencil as a medium, it's drawing and painting all in one - fantastic!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

The grass is always greener, ain't it so?

How much time do you spend thinking about the life you'd like to have? How much does this detract from your everyday life?

For me, it's a real problem. I wish I was younger, prettier, thinner. I wish I had a house in the country with an animal menagerie and space for the children to run. I wish people were interested in my designs and I could make a living from this. I wish I could spend more time doing what I want to do..... I could fill the page with this stuff.

But what are all these thoughts, wishes, dreams going to do for me long term? If they motivate and inspire me to live better, then good. But, if they become a weight that I carry around in the form of restlessness and dissatisfaction? - not good.

From a very young age I wanted to be a singer and entertainer. With a little work I was able to make this happen, albeit on a smallish scale. People would be wowed by the fact that I was out there doing this, but let me tell you the reality. Lugging heavy sound equipment around prior to setting up, performing "popular" songs that I personally hated (Kylie, you did me a great disservice!), breathing in the second hand cigarette smoke of a collective room (before the new smoking laws came in), dealing with drunken hecklers, then hauling all that equipment away again before hobbling (high heels - ouch!!) into bed at 3am, only to get up a few hours later to care for my family. Sound glamourous?

I know what I need to do to feel happier, it's just that saying it is easier than doing it.

A couple of quotes I like:

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.
Mother Theresa

Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Angelique Arnauld

I must be off, the baby is crying again, which is a regular and ordinary occurence.

But isn't she extraordinarily beautiful? :)

God bless you all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Which tea shall I buy today?

English breakfast? Earl Grey?

Ginger? Sassafras or spiced?

Rosehip, orange, lemon- iced?

Apple, peppermint, or peach?

Oh, just give me one of each.

Poem taken from "Tea Party Today" by Eileen Spinelli

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Farm

I took a few pictures at the farm to share with you. This house was built by my father-in-law's parents in 1915. He has lived and worked there his entire life.


I was speaking to my mother-in-law about the fact that I never appreciated the land as I do now (having also lived in this area from the age of 12 - 18). She said that when she married and came to live here as a young woman, having lived in Ballarat all her life she missed her original home. One day a visitor pointed out the colours of the various crops (wheat, canola and others) and how vibrant they were. She says now, at the age of 78 that she thinks it's the "most beautiful place on earth".


They had 10 children. I was lucky enough to marry one of them.



I have spent so much time on the farm it is like a second home. It has been a refuge in times of turmoil and I'm eternally grateful to my "other parents" for their kindness to me as an unhappy teenager seeking purpose to my life.


The garden still survives the long and unpredictable drought.





The chooks are always happy, healthy and producing new life and food to nourish.





Times have changed and things are different at the farm now, but I will always hold it dearly in my heart.





Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank you all for your supportive comments and emails yesterday. After I posted it here I thought I may have been overly sensitive and over reacting, but I see from your responses that you understand. Thanks again.

So, what do you do to improve the day when you're not feeling great? You sew, of course! My little one even indulged me yesterday afternoon by sleeping for 4 hours straight! I made her a bib and some much needed nappy covers (she insists on growing so fast!)


I continued the stitchery project I've been working on (yes, you'll get to see it when I'm done :)

And I made some shorts for little half pint. I love this fabric, it's so cheery. Unfortunately she wasn't so cheery when I took this photo (missed her afternoon sleep).



Who needs a pool when you have a bucket? I'll admit it's not quite as fun, but it sure is a lot cheaper.
We're heading to the farm tomorrow to visit my husband's parents so I won't be around for a few days. See you when we get back.
God bless.


Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm peeved (rant post)

I usually take the children to the library on a Friday morning. This morning I had the misfortune of coming across a sourpuss. I was browsing some magazines while holding the baby and watching the 2 girls, boy was elsewhere in the library. The baby was silent, as was the 2 year old. My 4 year old, who is a "handful" at the best of times was rearranging some chairs and playing a chattery game in her usual fashion.
A woman sitting nearby turned to a man also sitting nearby and said something to the effect of "People are so inconsiderate, I can't believe they're so rude!"
I looked at her in surprise, she was looking down and shaking her head. I realised she was referring to me. I looked at the man and shrugged and smiled, the smile was not returned.
For the rest of the time we were in that section of the library (about 5 minutes total!) she continued to shake her head and mutter.
I considered my options and chose to extend my browsing and ignore her just to force her to put up with us and show that I didn't intend to be bullied. Before we left I made my daughter correct all the chairs she had moved out of place, this seemed to annoy the lady even more!

Apart from making me angry, this kind of encounter is very hurtful to me.
It's not just her.
It's the driver who races up close behind my van in an aggressive manner simply because a van full of children does not accelerate as quickly as their sporty little number. (Yes, this happened on the way home)
It's the shop owner who looks me up and down disgustedly when I enter with children in tow.
It's all the people who give me no support (including family) because they think I have too many children and don't approve of my homeschooling them.

I work hard. I'm exhausted most of the time. I get depressed and feel isolated. None of this is easy for me. My husband and I can only rely on each other for help. It means so much when someone compliments me on my family, even a smile of approval on the street lifts my spirits.

OK, there's my rant, thanks for reading.

Old treasures

This cardigan was knitted by an elderly lady I used to care for in a nursing home. She was born with an intellectual disability and was deaf. She was abandoned by her parents at a young age and raised in a home run by some religious sisters. She always had a knitting project on the go and could follow any pattern. All of her knitting was given to friends or charity.


Look at that beautiful trim! God bless you Bernie, you are a treasure.


Having worked in aged and disability care I have seen so many souls languishing, living day to day and waiting to die. Many of these people have knowledge and skills that can't be measured but are not given the opportunity to use. Lets not forget the value of each individual, whatever their stage of life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ayelet's giveaway

Ayelet , a talented Etsy artist is having a giveaway on her blog - a gorgeous little fairy print. To enter you must draw, paint or make a fairy and tell her story. This is my entry into her competition.

This is Bridget the garden fairy. I used to see her sometimes very early in the morning or at dusk, nibbling on the rose petals. She would sip the dew from the petals first. Sometimes she wore a red tunic, but mostly it was this lovely green one with purple and pink striped stockings.

She no longer lives in my garden, she was sent to her namesake, a little girl called Bridget. She was lonely, as there were no other fairies of her type in my garden and she longed for a little girl to play with. I believe she is quite happy in her new home, but takes care to avoid the brothers, of which there are 4.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Playdough and going with the flow....

I woke early this morning and decided to make some playdough. My 4 year old has been "somewhat challenging" of late and I wanted to get her busy straight after breakfast. Sometimes, as a homeschooler, I forget to stop and smell the roses. I forget that I'm in charge and that learning occurs in all different ways.

Normally I expect the boy to start his bookwork by 9am for time efficiency. This morning he took an interest in the playdough, and although my brain nagged at me - "it's past 9am!!" I left him to it.


This led to a few learning discussions. He made a model of a heart, which provided an opportunity for revision of the heart's functions. They made me countless "cupcakes" and "pancakes" and other delights.
They had to share in order to get along, this needs much reinforcement!
They learn to use kitchen tools which improves dexterity.
They learn to clean up after themselves when they're finished.
If you're a fellow homeschooler, or even if you're not, I hope you can find time to "go with the flow" today and remember that learning does not have to come from a book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/2009/11/handmade-dress-patterns-guest-giveaway.html

http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/2009/11/aunty-ollie-100-guest-giveaway.html
Being a huge Miss Madeline fan I couldn't go past this without entering!

Aaah, the beach.

Although I entirely despise the hot weather, I do love getting to the beach with my family. We are blessed that we live not too far from some beautiful and clean beaches (no bay swimming for us!) Yesterday afternoon we had a great time at the beach, I don't know if the children are ever as happy as when they're at the sea.
In my typical fashion, I forgot to take the camera, but found this gorgeous photo by Luka Skracic. We were swimming just to the left of the pier you can see here. I wonder if any Victorian readers recognise the location?

Friday, November 6, 2009

From flaw to feature.

I still make a lot of mistakes when sewing, mostly through lack of focus or simply experimenting. The great thing is when you discover that not every mistake is a disaster and the unpicker does not neccessarily have to be your constant companion. Such a handy tool, but gee I HATE UNPICKING!!
I need some more bibs for very vomity baby and thought I could use some fabric leftovers and make it up as I go along. All went well until I attached the binding and found it was way too thick and looked funny.



I spent ages making that binding in the first place, so the thought of replacing did not appeal. So, I ran a zig zag stitch around the inside of the straight stitch and voila! It anchored the inside of the binding down and balanced out the look.

Now I just need to figure out how to use my new snaps press and I can make a bunch more :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This and that.

When the warm weather comes around my husband gets all excited about juggling because he can do it outdoors in the sun where there's plenty of space. He has used a few different types of balls, then I found this tute. He made some and used them yesterday - he thought they were fantastic.


The Natural Kids team are doing a promo showing pictures of member's hands at work. This is my picture, a small person was able to sneak her little hand in too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

From dress to shorts...

Another recycling project for me. This rather unattractive girl's denim dress into......



A nifty pair of girl's summer shorts. The pocket lining is also from a recycled girl's shirt. I'm loving this free fabric thing!