Knitty Teddy

Amelia with the small Teddy that she knitted

For several months Amelia has been knitting this dear little teddy, a smaller version of the one she made last year.

Arden, almost 3 months old.

She made this one for a special little person, her cousin Arden, who is just shy of 3 months old.

Arden with his knitted teddy

And the teddy is just the right size for him.

I’m pretty impressed with Amelia’s efforts, and it warms my heart to see how much my three kids already love their little cousin.


"Bunny Suit Man" Lego Mini Figure

I was reading somewhere recently that a Hipster is someone that always wants to be ahead of the trend, enjoying something all on their own, ahead of everyone else.  Hipsters tend to move on when people saying “hey this is cool” start joining them, because they want to find the “next cool thing”.  Nerds, on the other hand, revel in being part of the pack, all saying to each other, “isn’t this cool”, “how awesome”.  Nerds enjoy belonging.

I really liked that definition.  I am a nerd.

"Bunny Suit Man" Lego Minifigure close up

For my birthday, Luke and the kids gave me an ipad2, a collection of grammar posters from “The Oatmeal” and this “Man in the Bunny Suit” Lego minifigure. I was very excited about all of these presents, (see I told you I was a nerd) and especially touched that Luke and Rory spent quite a bit of time in Target, feeling every minifigure pack, until they thought they had found the “Bunny Suit Man”.  Amelia had told them that I had mentioned a wish to add him to our family collection.  We now have a full window ledge, with 25 minifigures.

32" blocks - a 4 block quilt WIP

Lately I have been working on a baby quilt, made with extremely large, 32″ blocks.  I have been using the 10″ squares from a layer cake as a starting point, with 6 additional fat quarters, (cut into 10″ squares).  The layer cake contained just aquas and browns so I added the pink for extra girlishness.  There will be just 4 blocks that make up the quilt.  While trimming the half-square triangle units to size, I made a cutting error.  I used some of the “lazier” words in my vocabulary to express my feelings at that point.

"Man in the Bunny Suit" is pointing his carrot at my "cutting error" repair

I had accidentally removed an extra half inch strip, and only had 1″ scraps to repair my mistake. “Man in the Bunny Suit” is pointing his carrot at my “cutting error” repair.  I think I did a pretty good job at fixing it.  He gives you a little idea about the scale of the block too.

Baby Girl Quilt with 32" blocks.  Work in Progress

The moral of the story is to never trim your block when you are on the phone.

Have you ever made a similar “cutting error”?


Vase of Gerberas

It has been ages since I last posted, and life has been full of everything except creating, but I think I say that every June.

There have been two more family birthdays, A Country-Car-Rally-Family-Reunion, an amazing running effort, several visits from the tooth fairy, and lots of nasty Gastro.

Poor Rory woke up in the very early hours of the morning, on his birthday, with a bad case of it. It was really miserable, and there was definitely no cake.

Rory in the cross country race

He managed to bounce back enough to run the following day, in the “Divisional” cross-country, and came 8th out of the 32 under-10 boys that ran.  Pretty amazing considering that he was recovering from a day of being sick, and not eating. That boy just lives to run, and he was desperate to compete, so I let him run after a promise that he would stop and walk if he felt sick.  Ha – he sure showed me.

Rory on the Run

This was actually Rory’s third 2km race in the cross-country series.  At school he came 1st in his age group, and Amelia came 6th in hers, (which was a 3km run) and the both went onto “District”.  At “District” Rory came 2nd out of about 70-80 boys in his age group, and Amelia came a respectable 17th in her group.  The t0p ten place-getters always go on to the next run.  Tomorrow Rory runs in the “Regionals”.

Michaela with her two bottom teeth missing

Michaela has had 3 visits from the tooth fairy in the past few weeks, after loosing her first three baby teeth.  This photos is of her with just the bottom two missing, but the top middle-right tooth is now missing too.

Cinammon Cake with Trogdor Silhouette in icing sugar

4 days after his birthday, (after several other members of the family recovered from Gastro too) Rory finally enjoyed this birthday cake, which he made.  For a humorous touch he added a silhouette of “Trogdor the Burninator” on top.  What?  You’re not nerdy enough to know who Trogdor is?  let me help you out…

Next time I post, I will show you more evidence of just how nerdy I am, because at my age, it is all about embracing my inner nerd!



Happy Mothers’ Day

CWA Classics

Mothers’ Day is one of those days that can be sweet and cuddly, or really, really hard.  If your Mothers’ Day is one of the latter, I hope you can find a way to get through it, without feeling like tearing up the cutesy cards in the supermarket.

I’ve had a pretty lovely start to my day, with pancakes, squeezed into the schedule before the male members of the family departed, to a cold, wet morning of junior footy.  I’m pretty lucky, and I know it.

The photo above is misleading, because I took it a while ago, and it has nothing to do with today.  I gave Luke the “Country Women’s Association Classics” cookbook, for our 14th anniversary last month, and he and the kids have been rewarding me with delicious fare ever since.  That tasty morsel (actually rather large morsel) is a home made Monte Carlo biscuit.  The favourite so far has been the Lime cake (pg 379) which we have had a few times, thanks  to the gift of some home grown limes from my friend Kym, who also gave me the beautiful roses.

Self portrait of me

This is a little sketch of me that I drew yesterday for something that I am working on.  Usually I draw from life, or by looking at photos that I have taken, but with this one, I “cheated” as I had a photo on a layer underneath my drawing.  I wanted to be quick.  Even with that help, it is hard to get facial expressions right – I’m still not sure about those lips.

Pencil self portrait

This one is a drawing that I did a few days ago, which I was going to use, before I got too lazy about unearthing the scanner.

I find it much easier to work with pencil, because the shading adds so much detail, but when I need line drawings for things like embroidery patterns, I have to find a way to distill the details.

Usually I make a pencil sketch, scan it into Photoshop, transfer it into Illustrator, and redraw over the top of it with my handy pen/tablet.  I’m getting faster at this step, but the pen/tablet still feels nothing like drawing on paper.  The best thing about it is the way you can scale your images.  I love to make very small sketches, but I can make them much larger, and add more detail if I need to.

How often do you draw?

Well hello again!

Arden with the Bunny I made him

What you see here is my beautiful nephew Arden, in a photo taken by the hospital photographer, with the bunny that I made him – how special is that!  What you also see here is a newborn baby who does NOT have a hole in his heart – something that was looking like a possibility until last week.  Massive sigh or relief!  Arden is now 6 weeks old, and is such a beautiful baby – just the kind to make you entertain idle thoughts about having another, (only idle thoughts though).

Dance Bag for Michaela

Michaela has taken up dancing this school term.  We rush straight from school, to dance class, where there is just time to change into her dance gear, so she needed the perfectly sized bag to hold her clothes, tap and ballet shoes.  Here is what I came up with, a simple drawstring bag, (impeccably finished with french-seams, la-di-dah) where the drawstrings are also the shoulder straps.

Micahela's dance clothes

When we went to purchase Michaela’s dance gear, it came in about 6 different shades of pink, black and purple.  The pinks were all cool pinks or that bubblegum pink colour, no warm peachy pinks.  I was very pleased when she told the lady in the shop that her favorite colour was purple, I thought it was the nicest colour there for her warm colouring.  Of course her bag had to be purple to match!

Michaela dressed for dance, adn Rory dressed for footy

When she was trying all her new clothes on, Rory came home from a game of Football, and I snapped a shot of them in their different gear.  I really liked the juxtaposition.  All that was missing was Amelia in her Taekwondo gear, or her Choir uniform.

Do your kids have lots of uniforms?

Easter Break

Baby Dragons or Lions

This Easter we all went along to enjoy the Bendigo Easter Parade, which I have written about before.  I love the way that the Chinese culture is firmly established and embraced by this parade, (The parade first featured a Chinese section in 1893) down to the smallest participants.

Picnic Blanket

We arrived early enough to get a very comfortable vantage point, which was on a grassy little hill, (and even though it doesn’t look like it in this photo, we could see very well).

Sewing while waiting for the parade

I was pretty happy to get there early to wait, it just meant more time devoted to my Wheel of Fortune Quilt.

Chinese Banner at the Bendigo Easter Festival

There was eventually plenty of other textile inspiration to oooh and ahh over.

Sun Loong, the world's longest Imperial Dragon

Luke, got this great close up of the head of  Sun Loong, the worlds longest imperial dragon.

Michaela "swallowed" by a Chinese Lion

The highlight of the parade (for us) was not really captured on film very well.   You will have to imagine that under the fluff and sparkles is an excited little girl.  Michaela was “swallowed” by one of the one-man Chinese Lions.  She didn’t stop laughing, and jumping for glee for several minutes.

There has been plenty of other school holiday fun in the past week, and not much crafting, which is as it should be. The kids return to school tomorrow, so I may have more sewing to show you soon.  Are you able to keep up with making things when your kids are home?




Baby Arden, 1 day old

Meet Arden David, my brand new nephew.  He was born on Tuesday afternoon, weighing in a 2.3 kg (5 pounds 1 ounce).  He spent his first 24 hours in the NICU, after some initial difficulties, but had just joined his mother again on the ward when we arrived to visit yesterday.

Arden David, 1 day old

Only Mum and Dad (Liz and Julian) have had a cuddle at this stage, (due to his time in the NICU)  but my kids all enjoyed having Arden hold their fingers, in that lovely way that babies do.  Rory is particularly chuffed that his new cousin is a boy.

Arden has an unusual set of parents, in that both of them are from a pair of twins.  What was lovely about our visit was that I arrived, (Julian’s twin) at the same time as Jill (Liz’s twin).  It was kind of nice that it worked out that way.

At the moment, I am fairly overwhelmed with emotions, and especially with the notion that all babies are a precious gift, and such a miracle.


Visiting Amelia on camp

Amelia and her Dad

Last weekend we drove down to visit Amelia, who was away (for over a week) at camp.  There was an opportunity for families to spend 2 1/2 hours visiting their camper, and having a picnic lunch.  Amelia was having a wonderful time, and was very happy to show us around.

Amelia and Michaela with "Patch" the guinea pig

She was able to introduce her siblings to “Patch” the guinea pig, who was a big hit.

Amelia and Rory with "Patch" the guinea pig

It was also an opportunity to get some lovely candid photos of the kids.  Although this is not technically a very good photo, (into the light as it is) I love the way these two are looking at each other.  They were listening to the funny little noises that the guinea pig was making as it ate some grass.

Amelia and her Mum

It was great that we were able to visit, and see what kind of experience that Amelia was having, and to witness what an affect it was having on her.  She seemed very grown up, and much more independent (9 days of camp will do that to you).

Thankfully she arrived home yesterday, just in time to visit her brand new cousin in the hospital, something she would have been crushed to miss.

It is lovely to have her home again.

Jeannot Lapin Redux

Aqua Baby Bunny Softie

Last weekend I revisited this bunny, which I first made 3 1/2 years ago.  I wanted to try making it a little larger, because I thought it would make a nice, simple Baby toy, as it has no dangerous parts.

I used some lovely Moda “Grunge” fabric which has a lot of visual texture, akin to furniture with lots of layers of paint.  Amelia, who is definitely not a baby, (at 11 years old) was smitten.  She generally is with anything that is in the Aqua part of the spectrum.

Late this morning I placed that Bunny to wait on her bed, after returning from depositing her for departure for 9 days of camp.

Amelia, next to the bus

I am very excited and a smidgen apprehensive for her.  There are a handful of kids from school going with her, (chosen randomly) but the bulk of the other kids are strangers.  The camp will take her right outside her comfort zone, as she will have none of her particular friends with her, and 9 days is a long time for your first camp.  She is going to do exciting adventurous stuff like rock climbing and canoeing though, and we can visit her for 2 hours next Sunday.

Amelia's Bed

Until she returns, Jeannot Lapin (Bunny Rabbit) will occupy her freshly-made bed, and thoughts of her will, no-doubt, occupy my mind. It will be strange to be apart for one of my children for such a length of time.

Square Emerald, Bezel set Engagement ring

In fantastically unexpected news, my engagement ring, which was missing for 20 days turned up (and now I have a better photo of it)!

I had all but given up hope, as I really thought it had slipped off my finger while I was out, but all along it was hiding in a box we keep in our laundry, that holds outdoor toys like skipping ropes and kites.  A box I go to rarely, and will probably not disturb over the next few months as the weather starts to turn cold.

So many people have told me of their “lost jewellery stories” of recovery weeks, months and years later.

Have you ever had a long-lost object turn up again?



Tips and Tutorials for Grace (a new sewer)

Sewing kit for Grace

My niece, Grace, who is 13, has an interest in sewing and has just been given a sewing machine.  For Christmas, I put together a little kit of sewing supplies, for general sewing, and the requirements to make a small project I designed for her.  She lives in another state, so I can’t really teach her in person, so I have written instructions and directed her to this post.  All the tutorials and links below are for her, and correspond to some of the instructions I have written for her.

Sewing notions for Grace

I made the little bag to hold everything (which I am very pleased with) using this tutorial...

I had lots of fun picking out things in her favourite colours.  I used my tutorial for the star-fruit cushion to make the pincushion.  For the smaller size, you just start with 2 1/2″ squares.

The whole sewing kit

The project I wrote instructions for, was to embroider her name, to fit inside the photo frame.  She has 5 versions of her name, in different fonts to choose from.

Grace – here is a video on how to separate 6 strand embroidery floss…

This is how to make a starting knot in the end of your thread – I love this one, it is a beauty…

How to back-stitch…I would suggest starting with the method where you stab each stitch through, in two separate movements per stitch, rather than one.

Finishing knots – I like the third version myself…

Here are some other projects to try…

Double sided headband (Amelia made this one the other day)

A variety of Drawstring Bags

or another

A quick place mat how-to with diagrams

which are a follow up to this post

Spring Ruffle Top…You might need a little bit of help working this one out – I have never tried it…

Perfect Box Pouch…these look really cute, and would make a nice pencil case, but you will need to buy a zip…

Some patchwork…

String Quilt Blocks

A “string” block – the ones above are ones I’ve made using the tutorial here

You can see more about mine here

Wonky Star blocks

Wonky Star…here is the tutorial.  The wonky stars above are ones I made into a quilt for Indi.

Good Luck and have fun Grace!