Giveaway winner

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Congratulations  Karen! I know you will make good use of the gift voucher, being a fan of Euro patterns and CM fabric.
Thanks for entering everyone, better luck next time.

Buying scondhand

I have another purchase to add to my secondhand list for this year. My old and cheap vacuum cleaner went out in spectacular fashion last week with a flash that shorted out the entire house. This left me with some anxiety (4 kids, carpet, no vacuum, gasp!!)

So yesterday I brought home a Wertheim with a power head and all attachments. The new model of this cleaner retails for about $1500 - the one that I bought secondhand has been re built and has a new motor for a price of $500.

We've spent a bit of time running around the carpet with it and are amazed (and a little disgusted) at how much dirt and dust the new machine lifts.

Secondhand price $130

New price $ 1500

Saving $1000 (!!!)

Total savings tally for 2010 -   $1, 320

Hey, don't forget the giveaway (click on the button on the sidebar). I'll be back later today to draw the random winner.

First Bonnie Babes parcel

Finally ready to go!  For anyone who doesn't know, Bonnie Babes is an organisation that provides support to families who have lost babies either due to miscarriage or stillbirth. A while ago I asked for fabric and other material donations on the Crafty Mamas forum and received many parcels of generosity. I still have heaps left over, so I'll be able to make many more burial gowns and blankets. Many thanks to all who have donated!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, (button on sidebar) it finishes on Thursday.

Softearth giveaway

My lovely friend Marie is having a beautiful giveaway on her blog SoftearthArt. Marie is a New Zealand needle felt artist who makes inspiring art works with wool. She also has an Etsy shop. Here are a few pictures from her world to inspire you.

She is giving away this beautiful needle felted picture of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Marie is blessed to live in such beautiful surroundings.

Pop over and enter her giveaway, it's ending soon!

The Craft and Quilt Fair and handling rejection

I was really excited about attending the C & Q Fair so perhaps my expectations were too high. The last time I went was 2 years ago and basically nothing much has changed. I did make a few purchases that I'm happy with, but as far as inspiration goes the fair did little for me. I guess by going on the last day you would expect some frayed tempers and tired stall holders - I know I would be.

And now to rejection. Yes, I've just had another magazine rejection which leads me to contemplate whether anyone is actually interested in what I do, whether I should be bothering to do this design course, whether I should be thinking I can make it as a designer / artist / craftist?!!
Rejection sure does hurt, but I know I'll get back on the horse - what else can I do? I love to design, I love to make things and I love the artistic skill involved in what I do. So, even minus the accolades I will keep on doing what I feel driven to do.

How do you handle rejection?

A homeschooler's point of view

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List was sent to me yesterday. The author is a little less diplomatic than I usually am but I got a good chuckle out of the article, any homeschooler will understand why.

400th post giveaway!

To celebrate my 400th blog post I've teamed up with Lisa of Crafty Mamas fame to bring one lucky winner a $35 gift voucher to spend in the Crafty Mamas shop. In case you haven't been fortunate enough to stumble upon Crafty Mamas yet (it's ok, we'll forgive you this time!) there is a wonderfully supportive craft forum along with an online shop that will make you ooh and aah!

Just in case you can't imagine how you could possibly spend the voucher I've provided you with a little inspiration straight from the shop.
                                                                     Stenzo fabric

Amy Butler pattern

 Ottobre magazine
Farbenmix ribbon

To enter simply leave a comment, if you blog about this giveaway you receive 2 entries. Please let me know in your comment if this is the case. Please also ensure I have a way of contacting you.

I'll draw a random winner on Thursday 29th July.

Good luck!

Busy, busy, busy!!

I've managed to fit in a lot of sewing and crafting time this week. I'm showing glimpses of something I've been working on to try and impress someone. More about that later I hope.

I love the colour combinations.

I'm so pleased with the finished product. 

This being my 399th post can only mean one thing. 
So.. to celebrate my 400th post (and today - my 34th birthday!) I'm running a giveaway.
Stay tuned, it's a good one!

Mixed berry muffins

               The boy made these yesterday and they were deliciously moist and sweet.

2 cups SR flour
3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
1/2 to 1 cup of mixed berries or any type of berries
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
125g melted butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C)
Combine sifted flour and sugar in a bowl.
Stir in combine melted butter and buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
Lightly stir in berries.
Spoon into patty pans place in muffin tin, fill to near the top for large muffins or 3/4 full for smaller ones.
Cook for about 20 minutes or until turning golden brown on top (don't overcook though!)
Dust icing sugar on top and leave to cool.

This week we......

Made mixed berry muffins (mmm - check my other blog for the recipe).

Celebrated a 1st birthday.

Tried out wet felting (and failed miserably but had a lot of messy fun).

Built block towers and knocked them down, built them again, knocked them down again...

Happy weekend to you all, enjoy your loved ones, families and crafts -  had to sneak that last one in!

God bless you all and thanks for reading :)

Crewel embroidery, I think I'm in love....

I ventured out in the wild, cold and wet evening lastnight to attend a crewel embroidery class. It was wonderful - the ladies were all warm and friendly, the teacher was professional and knowledgeable and the project is really enjoyable. How nice to have a craft session without noise and interruptions!

The crewel design is by the teacher Lyn and the fabric is linen twill from Canada (ooh!) The beginning of the project above shows couching, cross stitch, split stitch and french knots. No new stitches for me, but quite different working with linen and Appletons wool to the usual homespun and cotton. 

I think the more embroidery I do the more I realise it's potential and the more enjoyable it becomes. I love the intermingling of different styles so that you can build on your experience rather than learning completely new skills with each new style of embroidery.

I'll keep you updated with this WIP.

Jalie Men's top

I made this top using light grey Stella from the Crafty Mamas Shop for my husband's birthday. He has been asking me for so long to make him something but I had never "got around to it".  I'm really pleased with the result, the fit is beautiful and most importantly, he loves it!

I really recommend the Jalie pattern, it was easy to follow, there aren't many pieces and it came together in a fairly short amount of time.

You'll have to take my word for it that he is very handsome - I was allowed to post these pictures on the condition that they were "anonymous"!

He has asked me to make some more so now I have an excuse to buy more fabric!

On the home front we have another birthday tomorrow - the little one is turning 1. July is a busy birthday month for our family.

The Melbourne Show planning continues - I'm now agonising over exactly what I will enter (embroidery, a doll, a toy???) and keep changing my mind. Entry forms have to be in next week so I'd better just make up my mind!

Thinking cap on!

I've been inspired by Nic to stop making excuses as to why not and just enter the Melbourne Show Craft   
Competition.  This morning I've been giving it some serious thought and started sketching.
I've always wanted to enter something like this but never really had the time (or maybe the confidence?)

So, at this stage I'm planning on entering a doll and a baby's toy. I'll keep you updated on my progress, methinks this will be fun!

The boy is going to enter the junior cookery section so our surname will be apparent in a few different sections. For those of you who know my surname you realise it is very easily recognizable and often the source of stranger's amusement. I'm not giving it away here, but think famous 17th century apparent lady's man and your'e on the right track. 

Who says direct marketing doesn't work?

I had already decided not to go to the Craft & Quilt Fair - that is until this colourful little piece of promotional material turned up in my mailbox. My resolve weakened, then gave way completely as I leafed through the pages and saw what and who will be there. By the end of the brochure I felt it would be a crime against craftiness to not attend!

In other news, I have one newly arrived nephew with another shortly making his way into the world, so some very warm and fleecy baby blankets were in order. Thanks to Spotlight's stocktake sale they were very economical to make too!

And Mim made her way out from under her blanket (see previous post) to celebrate her 3rd birthday. It was also my husband's birthday so we had a lovely small party for them both.

Nori rolls

Nori rolls (also known as California rolls) are so easy and healthy to make. Not to mention - totally delicious! My husband made these ones this morning. The filling can be as basic or extravagant as you want, we went for basic today.

You will need:

Seaweed sheets
Japanese rice (sushi rice)
Sushi vinegar
These are all available at Asian (particularly Japanese) food stores. Follow the instructions for cooking the rice, we use our rice cooker which does a perfect job.

thin strips of carrot, cucumber, other crunchy vegetable
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Benito flakes (optional)

You simply lay out your seaweed sheets, lay on a thick line of your rice with the vinegar and sesame seeds mixed in, lay your filling ingredients on top of the rice and roll tightly. Brush a little water along the end of the sheet to make it stick.

Refrigerate until soft. Eat and enjoy! My children love these. You can dip the ends in soy sauce if you like.

If you're unsure about the rolling technique I'm sure Youtube would have a bunch of videos. Some people use bamboo rolling mats, but we don't find it necessary.

Easy fix for old pants

How many times do you find the elastic gone in a pair of pants or skirt that are otherwise fine? I saw these cute stripey knit pants at the op shop for a few dollars but the elastic around the waist was useless.

I had a length of fold over elastic (FOE) in my stash and thought of a quick way to fix the pants. I unpicked the old elastic band (admittedly this took a while but I knew it would be neater than just cutting it off). Then I simply stitched on the FOE (I had measured it around my daughter's waist to get the right size first) with a zig zag stitch while stretching it as much as possible.

Have you ever used FOE? I know some of the Crafty Mamas use it for neck binding on t - shirts and tops but of course it's main use is nappy making. Nappy supplies stores stock it.

The odd things our children do! This is how I found my almost 3 year old girl the other day, sitting perfectly still. Can't say I blame her, it gets pretty rowdy here!

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...