Ottobre 301

Summer sewing - yay!
Ottobre 301 pattern again. This time I left the sleeves off and added binding instead.

Fabrics are white Stella and spotty Stenzo from the Crafty Mamas shop. I used freezer paper and textile medium with Jo Sonja paint to stencil on the little squirrel. The stencil came from here and there are heaps of fantastic stencil potential there!

Embroidery progress

Slowly but surely I'm working on what will be my final piece for my stumpwork course assessment.
Although it's a lot of work I am getting so much out of this project.

 I never really imagined using so many varied techniques and materials in one piece before and am feeling like I have just received my embroidery licence and can do what I want for the first time!

Although it's primarily a stumpwork project I'm incorporating silk ribbon embroidery, beading and surface embroidery. Although I drew a detailed design I find myself deviating from that by experimenting and just "winging it". I can't wait to see the end product, it's really exciting. 

Thank you God for...

I'm going to try to post my thanksgiving here every Friday and would love for you to join in. My purpose in doing this is to remind myself of all the good in my life and to acknowledge that I owe all of this goodness to our Creator. I notice a lot of people say "Thank God it's Friday", so Friday it is!

I'm not so great at maintaining what I start but if some of you join in perhaps I will be motivated.
You can post as many or as little thank you's as you like, with or without photos. Then simply link up your blog post with Mr Linky so we can read your thank you's!

Thank you God for.....

- A renewed motivation to encourage the children in their art and craft pursuits.

- The return of my voice! I really missed singing while I was sick and it feels wonderful to be on the mend.

- Giving me the rare luxury of starting my day with a brisk walk.

- Surrounding me with the encouragement I need at this time to organise my home and my life.

Sewing for the girls

We had a 6th birthday here last week so some pretty sewing was in order. First up - a tee shirt dress adapted from Ottobre 303 Creative Workshop pattern. The pattern and fabrics are from the Crafty Mamas shop.

Little sisters are allowed to get birthday presents even if it's not their birthday! (Or so I'm told)
I used the Ottobre pattern again, this time as a simple tee with contrast sleeves and neckband. 

The birthday dress. To cut a long story short, I used a Sis Boom pattern from the book and was very disappointed with the baggy and ill fitting results. Before throwing the towel in and cutting it up to salvage the special fabric (recognise the skirt fabric Carol?) I decided to totally wing it and try a major fix.

I took the dress in at the sides, added a pleat to the front, added binding to the skirt and eliminated some of the waist bagginess and bulk. Bingo! I have alteration skills I didn't even know I had!

The dress is treasured, and I mean treasured. You know the coolest part? My husband took the birthday girl on a trip to the coast and he said so many people stopped them in the street to admire the dress and her hair accessories (also Mama made). Hearing that really made my day!

I made this hair barrette by deconstructing a faux flower, sewing it back together, adding a button and hot glueing it all to a metal barrette. Very simple, very pretty.

For this one I wrapped a cheap plastic headband in cheap gingham craft ribbon, then glued on the pre - purchased roses. 

If you'd like a tutorial for the hair accessories I'm happy to oblige - just ask!


Sign up to Beating Around the Bush embroidery convention

Drool. Sigh. Would.. so.. love.. to.. go. Sigh.

Encouraging podcasts

I'm so into listening to podcasts at the moment because I can learn and receive encouragement and motivation while I'm doing something else. I like to multitask, so listening while using my hands (whether it's work or creative time) is quite fulfilling.
I thought I'd share some links that might be helpful to you too: has podcasts mostly relating to homeschooling but also to organisation, motivation and family issues.

The Fly Lady website has links to regular blog talk radio programs about organising your home, nutrition, fashion, body image, self esteem etc.

Live 365 gives you access to so many free online radio stations - I could describe some genres but there are just so many! For the children I play nursery rhymes, piano solos and Christian music and for me I love celtic, sacred hymns and whatever I feel like listening to at the time!  Good music can really help to lift the mood in your home, I find it so helpful and inspiring.

I'm having camera issues - I have so much to show but it will have to wait until I sort out the camera :)

Sweet or savoury scrolls

I love an adaptable, easy going, makes it easier for me kind of recipe. I make up one batch of dough that can be used in so many ways.

Cheese and bacon scrolls

                                         Cinnamon, brown sugar and chocolate scrolls.

First, the dough recipe:

5 cups good plain flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 cups nice warm water

Mix all ingredients (I use my mixmaster with the dough attachments but you can also mix by hand). Leave in kneader for 5 minutes or knead for 5 mins by hand. The dough should be really soft and stretchy. Take dough out, oil the bowl and cover with oiled glad wrap. Leave until doubled (usually an hour or so).

Cut the dough in half if you want to mix up your rolls or scrolls.

Cheese and bacon scrolls:
Roll out your half piece of dough into a rectangle on a well floured bench. Melt 1 tspn butter and spread on. Sprinkle with 2 - 3 rashers chopped bacon and grated cheese. Use whatever cheese you like,  obviously a stronger cheese gives a stronger flavour. Roll carefully into a log shape and cut slices. Place on a greased or baking papered tray and bake at 190 degrees celscius until golden on top. Cool on a rack.

Cinnamon and chocolate scrolls:
Once again, roll out your half piece of dough into a rectangle and spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon (to your taste) and grate cooking chocolate over. Roll into log and slice pieces. Place on tray (greased or papered) and bake as for the cheese and bacon.
If you want to get fancy you could drizzle icing, caramel, or sugar glaze on top.

Other applications for this dough:

Roll into little buns for dinner or soup rolls.
Roll into crescents with parsley, chutney, chives, feta, olives.... you see where I'm going with this - you can top it with whatever you like!
Other scroll ingredients could be sultanas, apples, walnut, dried fruits, jam, chocolate........


Beary cute!

I'd love to spend more time making bears, it's really so enjoyable and the results so rewarding. Mohair is an excellent medium, even if it does cost a fortune!

I hand sewed this bear for one of my girls who is turning 6 next week. I used the "Camellia" pattern by Karen Alderson which I bought from Gerry's. The pattern and instructions were great and I actually really enjoyed hand sewing the bear as opposed to machine. I made and designed the clothes.

She is 22cm tall and I suspect will be very well loved!

An interview with Yours Truly

The lovely Sonja has interviewed me for the SHE (Schooling at Home Etsians) team blog today!

I haven't been the most dedicated blogger of late - having your page constantly hijacked so that you can't access it sort of quells the motivation!

I've been using every spare moment to work on my final piece for my stumpwork course and also so handmade goodies for one of my girls who is turning 6 next week. I hope to be able to update and share before too long.

God bless!

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...