Mar 28, 2013

D80: So, so appetising

Like I said...
Mostly making it up as I go.

And I shortened the lip of this one.

In other news, we're away helping the in-laws prepare to move house over the Easter. The likelihood of me getting creative things done is pretty slim so me and the blog are taking a break.

Hoping to see you all slightly heavier from lots of good and yummy food :D

Mar 27, 2013

D79: Tinker

Today's creative efforts were somewhat thwarted again. Making baby foods was going to be my creative task, at a stretch, and I was all ready to argue that it was creative because I would be making it up as I go! Look forward to that, People.

Instead I turned to paper work again and made a mark on the roll of brown paper (something strangely delicious about a blank expanse to spend!) towards a skirt pattern.

A while ago, around 2006, I did a pattern making course at The College of Fashion Design in East Melbourne. (There's a reason you've never heard of it.) The pattern making method they taught was from Greece, called SITAM AB, and used two large square templates with various curves and markings in them. From these, plus a side curve (probably a substitute for a French curve), you could build any pattern piece, provided you knew how to use them. And each base pattern piece becomes your starting template for all others. They even provide books - one on pattern making and one on pattern altering. Once you get the knack of it, it's very quick, and quicker than metric pattern making. It's really very clever, but it does depend on having the rulers, which are rather cumbersome.

My SITAM stuff is currently in the garage. By which I mean, it's just a long long way away.
Today I sourced and found this blog, with its own How to for a skirt pattern, and I'm considering it as a new pattern making experience. The blogger even dreamed of going to the London School of Fashion: Yes, I looked at their handbook on my youthier youth too.

The instructions are for a pencil skirt, but I think I can use it to develop what I want. Anyway, as a result, my creative time was spent researching and learning. Not much in the way of pictures, but there you go; learning can be hard to capture.

Mar 26, 2013

D78: Calling it in

Last night was a bit long and today was a bit stuffed. As a result I haven't gotten a creative thing done, but I did tend to future creative things by shopping during the day. I bought some plain colours to pad out the quilt set I have. I just don't think that 6 different prints is going to provide enough variety across the pattern, and I thought some plains would be good. I might even appliqué something onto the panels. Why not?! Unfortunately, as I've taken the fabrics from the bag, I can see the pink is a poplin but the taupe is not. It's a lovely fabric but it's not the same... Grrr! I didn't notice at the counter. I'm wondering if it matters, especially since it's not quite the colour I'd have liked (this is quite dark, and they didn't have a light aqua). Sigh.

I also bought a red to go with this print. This matches quite well. I'm looking forward to what this might become.

So, as I've done before, I'm compensating with an internet find.

Creative Chicks is a sweet blog I've begun following recently. It's three sisters who create for their homes and families, each with their own style and interests, all very good at what they're doing. I especially like the quilting posts, so that's what I'm linking to here:
I think it's a fantastic idea for a blog and it's lovely to see the variety across the different posts.

Mar 25, 2013

D77: Stealing moments

I'm stealing this as a creative thing today. I made a purée of apple, pear and plum for Bub and, with what didn't fit in the freezer trays, made into an arvo tea with yoghurt and some crumbled French shortbread. Inspired! Yum!

I also stole some time to begin planning the pram liner. Bub and I sat outside on the picnic rug and I took a few measurements to get me started. I'm not yet sure about the construction. I was thinking the layers could be cover/batting-raincoat-material/batting/cover. That way we can flip it over if one side gets wet. However, it might be too thick for my machine. I was wondering about waterproof spray too but would prefer comfy to crunchy - I don't know if that stuff hardens fabric.
At this stage, a paper template is next . That and a research trip to Spotlight should kick it off. Wheee!

Mar 24, 2013

D76: Run

The Run For the Kids happened today so we were occupied for a good chunk of the day watching loved ones, and strangers, run themselves ragged for a good cause.

I managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing around the edges.

And I looked at some reverse engineering and memory games for a skirt pattern. I have pattern making books in the garage but couldn't be bothered digging them out. Skirts are generally the easiest garment to draft... I should be able to get an A-line skirt right, right? I might chuck in a tutorial one day if I feel I've remembered it accurately.

The stats of a few skirts I own and a basic skirt plan for me, like for a toile.

My reminder effort. Skirts begin with a right angle like this,
with your widths and lengths marked out.

Mar 23, 2013

D75: Vanille

These are sablés diamant vanille - french shortbread - from The Cook's Book. It's really an excellent cookbook, done by The Weekly-Times, but it's also a bit funny.

Each chapter is written by a different chef, some of which are a bit different, and they aren't really in a particular order - neither alphabetical nor chronological-by-order (as in, the order you might eat them over the day). Some parts are very thorough, like the meat sections with their careful instructions about bones and preparation methods. And then there is a chapter on Foams, and one on Sauces & Dressings, which is different to the Flavourings chapter. Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, India all get their own chapters, as well as Japan, China, Thailand AND Asia (Asian Noodles & Dumplings, which is different to Pasta & Dumplings). The chefs also pull no punches on ingredients or style. If it needs leaven, chilling twice, acacia honey, a no.9 plain nozzle, Cox's apples, kirsch or mirepoix, they'll say so. Which is kinda cool. I also love the cooking tables of all the different timings for baking, steaming, syrups, etc.

This book was a gift from my sister. I hope it wasn't found in a newsagent, where I would expect to see a Weekly Times cookbook sold, as I imagine it wouldn't get the respect this one deserves. It's really very good.

I've used the ol' burnt orange and cinnamon sugar for the edges. I swear the instructions make bikkies much bigger than the little buttons in their pic (5cm diameter they say. Hmmm.) My father-in-law is unable to have chocolate (tortuous existence) so I try to make sure there's at least one non-chocolate thing should I have done any baking.

I also got a bit of sewing done but I'm not able to share pics just now - hopefully more tomorrow :)

D74: Snipitty Sni-

I cut out the pages and calico for the other fabric book. But that's all - no time for anything else! Outing, outing, guests, outing - today was hella busy! Shall see what the weekend and it's many appointments bring!

Mar 21, 2013

D73: Little book - Animal Friends

I cut out both the book fabrics today. I began construction with this one because I was trying out using calico as a batting.
I wanted to see how it would go with the thicknesses and turning out.

I'm very happy with the final product, though I need practise my hand stitching.
It's a very sweet little book and you can buy the fabric here.

A lovely neat project to nibble on over an afternoon of here-and-there sewing.

Mar 20, 2013

D72: Brown things

Snipped and finished the brown 1:5 bag, only to find it wasn't even in the edge. Again. VIt's a gift I have. Though I think I was a bit out of it because I forgot to clip the allowances and everything.
So unpicking that and lowering the edge is my next job. Le sigh.

And with nothing indoors and parents visiting tomorrow I made the world's fasted-to-make Chocky cake. Still love it.

Mar 19, 2013

D71: Dagnammit

I thought that figuring out this seam allowance caper would align the rest of the bag, like it did for the 1:3 bag.  But it hasn't! IT HAS NOT!

Left: arranged so that the points are aligned.  Right: flat, with no adjusting, points not aligned.

Below is a better pic of the bag with the body of the bag shifted so that the points line up.  It would require the seam on one side to be 1cm deeper at the bag base.  You can see how that would clip off a portion of the left corner, shortening and narrowing that side and making it asymmetrical in the body, just so the tips aren't!

The white line is the seam I would sew to make the points align. It ends 1cm from the original.

I imagine, if I wanted, I could arrange it so that both points have a half cm taken off and it would align the points.  However, at this stage, the only other things I could imagine working are either
  1. try folding from the end, rather than using the maths (this effort) or by tilting the ends away from the centre (first effort), or;
  2. reverse engineering the whole thing. 
I now officially feel that my attention-to-benefit ratio is way off and that, short of breaking a leg and being desperate for occupancy, I shan't be giving this problem any more attention. SNIPPITY SNIP COMRADES!

Mar 18, 2013

D70: Collecting

Bub and I hot footed it to the post office this arvo. Somehow I had her woken, fed, changed and there after 4pm but before 5pm - the window given to us to pick up our parcel. I'm not very good at waiting-till-tomorrows.

My hunch was right: the Spoonflower order had arrived! Squee!

These are my portions of the pack. My mother-in-law has three other fabrics too, all of which will become cushion covers care of me.

Top panel: animal friends - baby book by needlebook; Peek a boo! Book by niseemade.
Left panel: wildflower multi charcoal by cjldesigns; birds slate grey by bunni; Blue Wrens by kampai_designs.
Right panel: A walk in the dark woods by zesti; Circus fun for little one! by bora; En route to 'Bora town' by bora.

The left panel are swatches. I'm trying to find a complimentary backing fabric for a quilt I began before Bub was born. Our cousin gave us a quilt pack from Ink & Spindle as a baby shower gift. It occupied me perfectly in those last few days of intense nesting - somewhere I have a picture of me planning the quilt juuust before Bub arrived. I was hoping to source the binding and backing from somewhere different. I haven't had a chance to pull out the quilt front and compare just yet.

The two bora ones are intended for a pram liner. The zesti one is for Bub - a dress at the least, and maybe something else for when she's bigger.

I am terribly excited about these fabrics. They cannot be prewashed fast enough.

I also finally mapped out the construction method for the 1:5 bag. Another way of phrasing it:
"Fold a long edge two fifths of the way from a corner. Sew along that fold so that four fifths are sewn and one faith is hanging. Do the same from the diagonally opposite corner."

Hopefully I can harness the time bub naps tomorrow to wash and press new fabrics and get UFOs out of the way a bit more! :D

Mar 17, 2013

D69: A steal

A best friend of mine has recently moved house and she's pretty much just up the road. I'm delighted! Hopefully we'll get to see each other more often :D So, true to form, I'm set in mind to make a batch of gift honey madeleines. It crossed my mind to make them with maple syrup, rather than honey, but I thought it's sensible to do tests on ourselves, not friends.

Anyway, it wasn't the smoothest of mornings so I was late getting to hers. I'm still rather tired and sick with a cold, which was exacerbated by today's surprisingly cold weather. (It's really quite bitter and wintery! Seriously, we had the AC on just days ago!) Anyway, in the end getting to the couch tonight almost did me in!
So I'm stealing this as my creative thing, even though it wasn't what I had in mind for today.

What you see here is what remains of the madeleines in our house, plus the yummy chocolate coconut brownies my friend made for my visit. (See how we're friends?) They were her first baking effort in their new oven and turned out lovely and moist, with a thin little crust.

Maybe this proves my tiredness, but I've just realised that I have my friend's biscuit tin, when I took my baking in another biscuit tin... Why didn't she put it all in my tin for me to bring home?
Oh, I see what you did there... OK THEN, WE SHOULD PROBABLY CATCH UP SOON AND SWAP THOSE TINS (wink wink).

Mar 16, 2013

D68: Just around

Very quiet on the craft front, especially for a Saturday. Very especially considering it's been wet and we're indoors most of the day enjoying this blessed cool weather.

Two more circles on the quilt complete. :)

Mar 15, 2013

D67: Another bag

Not the most perfect stitching by far, but neat enough for today :)

Mar 14, 2013

D66: Sneaky bits

I ran out of brown thread is morning so work was suspended until we could nick out to the shops, our second outing for the day.

I also bought some white fabric to use with those fat quarters. While I was out of action, so to speak, I thought I'd trawl Pinterest for some simple quilting ideas and decided on doing something like this Sweet Divinity Diamond Quilt found at The Quilted Fish. The white fabric is for sashing. I think I can figure out a version of this using 6 fat quarters and then use the 7th striped fat quarter as binding. I've also decided that this will be the project where I learning to free-stitch with my machine. That is, to use it with the directionless feed and, like, quilt with it! Eek! Coz, like I said, it's going to be quick, easy and simple. AAAA HA HA HA HA HAVE YOU MET ME?! AS IF!!!

Working on the 1:3 bag, I made the 'handle' tube and pressed the tips ready for connecting. I'm still deciding if helping my friend fix her knitting via FaceTime counts... yeah, probably!

Mar 13, 2013

D65: Symmetry ahoy!

Busy day! Have to mention I went to a baby session at a local cinema and saw Great Expectations. Bub is almost 7 months old and I can't believe its taken me this long to go to one of those. It was fanflippingtastic.

In making news, brown floral 1:3 bag sewn up and pressed. Just needs the handle to be made and threaded on, top stitching to attach it all, and a few hand stitches.

Still can't believe how long it took me to cotton on to the seam allowance thing. Hello Australia.

Mar 12, 2013

D64: Ermagerd

I was very close to saying 'baby photography' was my creative thing today.

But I thought I'd just pin together the other 1:3 bag. I thought "I might fold back the seam allowance first. I wonder if that will make a difference." Just chuck that into the mix, see what happens. You know, run it up the flag pole...

Looking veeerry symmetrical in both the cover and the lining...

How many days have I been working on this already?
Sometimes I wonder how I make it through the day without bumping into anything. No doy.


Bub, delighted to be here today!

From the 2013 summer range, modelled here by Miss Bub Spy, we have the Angel top...

The floral blue and its reverse
The red cross-stitch print...
... and the green Japanese print on the reverse.

Here is the drafting of the pattern, the making, and here are some close-ups of the finished product.

Mar 11, 2013

D64: Successes

The madeleines were a success, as we're the brownies, though slightly underdone.

Press studs and shoulder seams were completed. Oh my goodness, those press studs are strong! I know I didn't want to bother with hand sewn ones, but I worry about tearing the fabric when undoing these, even if they look just as I wanted.

Bub even got to wear her little blue Angle top to the arvo tea but I don't think I got any shots. What the hell, Mum?

I'm tired of pics taken under yellow evening light, so both tops shall be modelled by Miss Bub tomorrow.

Mar 10, 2013

D63: Prettiest Batsignal Ever

Its been a lovely day of making today, even in the yet-again heat (which wasn't that bad in the end).

I managed to safely juggle baby and scissors today, finally finishing the cut for another 1:3 bag and a 1:5 wallet (which I hope was square). But while I had the mat out on the floor with everything else, I cut as much as I could so I could clear it away for a while.
I was able to reshape the brown floral fabric, but the blue stripe was too large to be able to work it square. Luckily the woman accidentally cut too much of that so the loss isn't huge.
I also cut out the blue floral for the Angel top and decided I'd make another with some fabrics I've yet to find a place for. I'm not sure how these appeal to me, but they really do.

Anyway, I found a blue linen in my dressmaking stash to line the floral. If I could figure out a decorative stitch on the machine I'd do that along the bottom and make it reversible.

I'm so pleased I got them done thus far today. They're really simple to sew: the clipping, snipping and pressing take just as much time. Very much hope they're comfortable for Bub.

What's remaining is ladder stitching the shoulder seams and attaching the press studs.
Hand stitching may seem a bit silly for a shoulder seam - I could've concealed the seam if I wanted, or done it by machine any old way. But with ladder stitching I can easily undo the joint and attach some ribbons or some other extension in its place as Bub grows.
The press studs are new for me and I'll be practising on the grey floral wallet.

In other news, we're off to my niece's 16th and my brother's somethingth. I hope to make some madeleines tomorrow but, just in case, I've also done a Donna Hay brownie cake tonight (they'll become brownies once cut tomorrow). The recipe says to take it out once 'set' and the skewer was clean so apparently it's ready. 'Set' is the word I'd choose too. Wish I'd had white chocolate to make the two-tone brownies again, but no one will know what could've been :)

What a productive Sunday!!

Mar 9, 2013

D62: Drafting

[Eek! Wrote this yesterday, forgot I didn't press publish!]

I'm really pleased with the way these two turned out.  I really liked the mild challenge these presented, just right for a sleep deprived person who needed an achievable challenge.  I'm also very glad I have an imperial-unit cutting ruler to square it all out.  I'm not sure how clear I am on the shorts' construction ("5. The straps are made, crossed at the back and stitched together." At the cross over? What?) but figure it'll work out in the end.
The boy's pants, drafted

We generally use fabric nappies (modern cloth nappies) so don't usually have a need for little pants such as the ones with the Angle Suit. However, I should probably make up the pattern just in case as we do have the odd disposable nappy outing and something as a cover would be good for the hot weather.

The Angel Suit top and pattern packets

My fabrics are in the wash as we speak, so I'll focus on the bags and some baking (I hope) before I get around to making anything with the blue floral.

Mar 8, 2013

D61: Snip snip!

A nice light and flexible summer top
My efforts today have been at the cutting board.  First I cut some paper square so that I could have a go at the boy's jumpsuit I showed you yesterday.  I know I said I wouldn't do it, and I shouldn't because it'll be far too big for her as it's for a 10 month old boy and she's not yet a 7-m-o girl.  Anyhoo, it is a nice pattern and I thought it would be a good extension of my pattern-making skills, which are very rusty.

It will also be a good warm up for another pattern from that book I will use - the Angel Suit (just the top).  I'm starting with the boy's one because it is much more square and I think that will make it easier to map as a first go.

I also set out to cut the 1:3 pieces for my other bag, and noticed this.

Not aligned...?

Quilting fabric and dress fabric are not presented the same way in stores. Quilting fabric is usually stored on bolts that are flat and rectangular.  The fabric is folded in half along its width, selvedges together, and wrapped around the cardboard.  Dress fabric is sold from long tubes that are as long as the is fabric wide.  A common practice with fabric shop store hands is to snip cottons at the selvedge edge and rip it the rest of the way.  In theory, it'll rip along the grain, nice and straight.  The woman who sold me these did the same with these quilt fabrics.  I must admit I was surprised to see her do it but quickly thought "Why not?"  Now I think that is why these edges don't align.

It's not a huge big deal but it would matter if I'd bought exactly what I needed: a good 10cm would be lost from straightening by cutting.  If it were that important I'd probably wash it and iron it back into shape.  Mind you, it would be tricky as the misshapen part has been stretched and its hard to shrink flat cotton.

Mar 7, 2013

D60: I made... effort.

It's been really hot here for a few days and it's set to be hot till at least next Wednesday. Tonight we've had a bit of a cool break, but nothing to wash away the heat from the walls.

Bub doesn't sleep as well in these conditions.  So with activities, outings and short naps, I've not had hands or brain very spare today, especially since me and my cold slept badly in the heat too! Curses!

Not to sure about the dark character on the left...
that may be for the back.
Aaanyway, when the dark clouds mocked us this afternoon I decided we'd take another Save Our Sanity trip and off we went to a large complex where the car would be underground and the Spotlight fabric store upstairs.   I didn't even plan to buy anything!   Well, maybe a few fasteners for little bags.  It really was just an outing to visit some air-conditioning.

The good news is: I got the fasteners.

A complete impulse buy was this set of fat quarters.  I thought, people make simple quilts in a few days! I could do that!  But I won't.  Because I rarely keep any sewing project simple.   (Didn't even spare a thought for the poor UFO quilt that's neglected on the couch.)  That said, I hereby dedicate this stash to becoming a simple, quick and easy quilt as a project in self-control.
I bought 2m, just in case.
There. Fixed.

I also found this delightful floral fabric and it looked perfect for a romper for Bub.  The one we've got is perfect for this hot weather, better even than a little singlet as they can be quite warm.

Before I left, I considered my creative thing for the day could be drafting this little outfit from a vintage book preserved by my sister.

You rock, Enid Gilchrist.
It is close to what I want, but not actually what I want.  I'd only be doing it because I'm itching to have something like another romper for Bub. 

If years of watching my mum do random craft at CWA has thought me anything I should know better than to do another It's Like What I Want project.  The result is usually only almost satisfying and the item is duly ignored, buried away, ending up in the op shop bag after a time proportionate to the effort of production. 

Our cardinal rule of craft: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

No, instead I went online and bought these two little numbers.

Butterick Patterns B5625 & B3405, both bought on their website

Much more appropriate.  Now all I have to do is eat my hat until they arrive. (Not my sun hat. Lord knows I'll need that for at least another God forsaken week.  It's autumn, after all.)

Mar 6, 2013

D59: Envelope wallet

Here is a 1:5 lined wallet in the same style and fabric and recent projects. I'm fairly pleased with it - not bad for a first go. Hopefully the next one will be even better!

Mar 5, 2013

D58: Madeleines

"Fill the molds about 3/4 of the way - don't worry, they will spread and rise as they bake."

These madeleines are from Confessions of a Tart.
I've never seen this blog before but it looks rather marvellous. The reason I chose this recipe is because it had so many positive comments and because it includes honey.
A specialty baker in town - Phillippa's Bakery - does lovely madeleines that have a spongey texture and a light honey flavour. I was hoping to get something similar here.

At publication, they're in the oven, obviously massive and I've at least 10mins to go...

UPDATE: omg they're awesome. Wish I'd made a double batch! Just fed Bub and I'm having another before I brush my teeth. Omnomnom!