WAHM ideas

I know many of you who read my blog are stay at home mums, as I am. For the record, I haven't been able to find a way of making a regular income from home even after trying for 10 years! I've tried selling books, second hand clothes, I've even advertised in the local paper to do ironing with a total success rate of 0!!  I've been able to sell a few craft items here and there for the equivalent of slave wages - not very sustainable. I wish it was as simple as following your passions and "what you're good at". However, I haven't given up and I'm more determined than ever to earn money without having to compromise my family by seeking work outside the home.

1. Sell your crafts

2. Online shop

3. Clothing alterations

4. Market stall

5. Childcare (Family day care in your own home)

6. Freelance services (bookeeping, financial services, design etc)

7. Employer arrangement to work from home

8. Write ebooks

sites to check out:





Maybe this will be your year? (and hopefully mine!)

An empty space (sniffle..)

X marks the spot on my work table which is the home of my faithful Janome. As you can see, nobody is home today, nor tomorrow, not the next day either. In fact, this space will be empty for a whole week! A week of listless glances in this direction as I wander past. A week of concocting projects I can cut out in readiness for her return.
Perhaps it's a good thing she jammed and is "in the shop" (in the middle of a doll order I might add!) Perhaps I might finally catch up on all those assignments I owe my tutor, perhaps I'll clean out those cupboards that need it.
I don't think I realised how integral the sewing machine has become to my life, what a great release it is to be able to sit and sew. The lady at the sewing centre said "Oh well, you can have a rest from it for this week" to which I replied "It is my rest!!"

Buy secondhand!

One of my goals for this year is to save money by always looking for a second hand alternative before buying new. Not only will this save me money, but can often mean better quality in the age of the "made in China" sticker. I also think in this throwaway society we waste far too much, and I don't want to contribute to that.

Throughout the year I'm going to keep tabs here on how much I've saved on items that I've bought second hand. Here is the most recent purchase - a used television (no I haven't relented on my views of TV, it's for a new Xbox, not for watching! )

1. Television -

Second hand price $170

New price - Couldn't find an exact price but it would have to be at least $270, more like $300.

Saving - $100

For the record, I looked at used xbox 's but the price was no different, so decided to buy new.

Next purchase - bunk beds.........

Total savings tally for 2010 -     $100

Dyed skirt from scratch and a beautiful artwork

As I mentioned in another post, someone had skirt envy after seeing her sister's old skirt makeover.
This time I made up the skirt as I went along. I started with white cotton lawn, made 3 tiers and an elasticated waistband.

The first dye bath was pink, then, while the skirt was still damp I dipped the bottom hem in yellow to get the graduated orange blending into the pink. The effect I was after was something like a sunset.
It's a little more mottled than I would have liked and next time I'll make the colours stronger, but it's all good experience and plenty of fun.
My husband thinks I should make these to sell.

A while ago I won talented Israeli artist  Ayelet's  giveaway and received this print of one of her artworks yesterday. It's just gorgeous, she has a wonderful style. She's also selling embroidery patterns of her artworks now, head over to her Etsy shop for a look.

Thank you Ayelet, I love it!

It started with one...

It always starts with one. One little hand sewn wool felt bear. "Oh, how cute!" says happy child as said bear is whisked away for a game. Sure enough, in a relatively short period of time, another little face appears beside me. "Mum, bear - make?" She may have a limited vocabulary but she knows what she wants! Once again, said bear is whisked away.
Then the bears need "friends" to play with.
Then Mum opens her big mouth and suggests that, given there are now 3 bears a game of Goldilocks could be an option.
"But Mum, we don't have a Goldilocks!" they chime with shining eyes.

It always starts with one......

Skirt recon

We were given this skirt, it was a size 10, a bit grotty and stained and, well, you can see, not in the best condition. However, "G" could see it's potential and "wanted it!"

First I cut out the dodgy old zip and seam and made an new, zipless side seam. I also cut off the original waistband and made a casing for elastic.

Next came the fun part - dyeing!

It was first dyed in a light turqoise colour and hung out to dry. Then I attempted graduation dyeing with a darker blue by dipping just the bottom hem for 10 minutes or so, wringing it out and wrapping in plastic overnight. Washed out again, hung out to dry and.......

Voila! A brand new skirt with a marvellous twirl factor!

                                                      Guess who else wants one now?

Is bartering dead?

I'm about to find out. I've offered this doll for barter over at the Crafty Mamas forum. I've been thinking for some time about the differences between city and country living, and this is one of them. It's not called bartering in the country though - it's just what you do. For example:

Mrs. Randell has a glut of apricots this year, she gives you a box of them and you give her a basket of fresh vegetables from your garden.

You have excess eggs from your chooks so you ask the Robertsons if they want any. They do, and they have just made a batch of strawberry jam from their strawberry garden so you become the happy recipient of a couple of jars.

Things are really different here in the city. I find it hard to trust people and to take their word. I don't ask people for help because that's just not what you do here. And bartering? Well, that's just non existent here, whether you call it bartering or not.
I'd love to barter more because, to me, it's not all about making a sale. It's about sharing something of yourself and what you have with others and receiving the same in return.
I'll let you know how my attempt turns out!

Hooray! Some sewing to show you!

Not one top finished, but two! I started with the Miss Madeline dress pattern for the top half then altered the bottom half (winged it, basically!) This one had to be "green and purple - my favourite colours!"

This one is the Miss Madeline pattern again, only shortened to make a long top instead of a dress. I prettied it up with some hand applique and embroidery.

A close up of the applique and embroidery. Both of the tops are made from Stella knit fabric which I purchased from Crafty Mamas.

I love making clothes for my girls, I find bought tops are cut way too short for little girls these days and pants are cut too low. I want my girls to look stylish but modest.

A lovely book

(Image from amazon.com)

I borrowed this book from the library and am really impressed. The story is arranged and written nicely, but it's the visual impact that I love. (It may have something to do with the fact that Goldilocks is a doll!)

The doll was made by R. John Wright out of felt. I've read about this technique before but haven't seen one that is so beautiful.
The set for the book was entirely handbuilt in miniature. Looking at it makes me want to start making tiny things!

If you haven't seen this book before, it's well worth a look, my girls in particular are very taken with it.

Get organised!

A few tips from my busy family to yours, in no particular order.

1. Have at least one cooked or prepared dish ready in your freezer. It could be a family meal, it could be pre - made sandwiches, a quiche for unexpected guests. When you cook the evening meal try to make too much, either to freeze or for the next day.

2. If you know you need to go out, have everything you need ready the night before. That means nappy bags fully stocked and waiting, spare clothes ready, pushers packed into the car, any toys and books packed into bags (make sure a toddler can't access them before you leave!), food or drinks in the fridge or freezer, your purse in your handbag - you get the idea.

3. Train your family. "Mum" does not translate to "workhorse" in another language, but you may end up as one if your family is lazy and depend on you for everything. I start training our children to "work" as early as possible by having them follow me around as I work, they quickly pick up on things and want to help. Take advantage of their enthusiasm and give them age appropriate jobs. For example:

My 2 year old gets wet clothes out of the washing machine into the basket (I have a front loader). She also replaces toilet rolls in the toilets. She picks up after herself when directed to. She hands me pegs to hang out washing. She fetches items I need for the baby, and much more.

My 4 year old makes her bed. She tidies rooms. She loves to cook and help with meal preparation. She gets the mail. She puts folded clothes away, and dirty clothes into the laundry, and much more.

My 9 year old has many responsibilities. He cares for and feeds the animals daily. He tidies. He wipes down the bench and sink in the bathroom and ensuite. He takes out the rubbish. He tidies the yard. He sweeps the doorstep, brings in the dry washing from the line, dries dishes and much more. He is a shining example to the younger girls.

4. Don't "double handle". By this I mean, don't open the mail, then put it down on the desk to deal with later. Put it where you want it to go, throw it out, file it, whatever you're going to do with it. Like wise with laundry work, if possible, when clothes are dry sort them straight away. Items that need to be ironed go into one basket, the rest gets folded and put away. Dishes should be washed immediately after meals, don't leave them sitting there.

5. Run to a schedule. You can be as strict or as lax with this as you want, just try to have a regular routine for normal weekdays. My schedule is in my head and is flexible, I don't feel the need to write down a time schedule, but if you think it may help you, go ahead.

6. Kill your TV. Yes, I'm serious, it is the biggest time waster ever. Likewise, be aware of how much time you're spending on the computer and try to cut out unnecessary use. (Yeh, I know, that's a bit rich coming from a blogger!)

7. Prioritize. Make daily lists and check off as you go. Don't worry if you can't complete the whole list (I rarely do), just add it to tomorrow's. At least when it's in writing it won't be overlooked and it feels great to tick off as you go.

8. Have designated places for household items. Put things back in their place when you're finished with them. This is really hard, and takes constant maintenance. It also streamlines your organisation practices in an amazing way and isn't so difficult once it's a habit. (Having said that, my husband is terrible for leaving tools etc. lying around!

9. Prevent clutter. Clutter is crippling to your attempted organisation. Be brutal. If you can't let go of certain things make sure you have the space to accommodate them in a tidy manner. I usually have  a major declutter once to twice a year and do maintenance de cluttering in between. Particularly as our family has increased I have to be ruthless with unnecessary clutter, as we just don't have the space for lots of people as well as lots of things.

10. Put labels on things. A bag of meat in the freezer looks just like a bag of meat in the freezer. Label it when you put it in and find it quickly when you need it. Likewise, if you're packing things away into boxes, label what is in the box. If you're saving bags of kid's clothes for the next one to grow into, separate them into groups then label the size, season, colour, sex -  whatever helps you to know exactly what's in those bags!

I hope these tips help you, I'll be adding more in the future.

New hopes and a sneak preview...

I'm hoping to accomplish my first (ever!) pattern release this year. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. If it goes well it will be the first of many. So, some clues...

                             Little bestockinged feet...

Pretty little dresses....

And chubby little arms....

Have you guessed yet? I know, it's not hard to figure out!

I'm really excited about this project, the prototype has come up better than expected so I couldn't be happier with it.

For me this is also a challenge for this year to stop being so afraid of failure, which often stifles me and prevents me from doing what I really want to do.

Now to get down to some serious pattern writing.........

Happy New Year!!

How wonderful to start the new year with a fantastic storm and a good bucketing of rain! The garden is being gently coaxed back to it's pre - heat glory and the birds are singing again.
My motto is - if it's too hot to drink tea and sew, then it's too hot altogether!

I enjoyed my week off from blogging and am looking forward to seeing what you've all been up to.
I finished this bear in the nick of time for Christmas, he is now snuggled in one of the girl's beds.
He is made from lovely soft velour and stuffed with wool. I knitted his scarf from organic yarn. He's really cuddly. A tip for scarf making for toys - sew them on, or you'll forever be re - tying them!

I don't tend to celebrate the new year, I think some people go a bit overboard. I don't make so called "resolutions" either, but I do think it's a good time for assessing and making new goals.
So.. I do have a lot of goals, hopes and dreams for this year, many of which I'll be sharing with you along the way.

Thanks for reading :)

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...