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Archive for April, 2009

These are the finished pieces for a custom order. I made some changes since my last post, adding some additional embellishment to the tutu and to a little vest to complete the set. It must be a winner, as my daughter wants one too, but, of course, she wants to pick her own colours!

Felt birthday crown

Felt birthday crown

Custom birthday set

Custom birthday set

Tomorrow marks one year since my friends, Ann and Karen, opened their scrapbooking studio. They are holding an Open House event from 3pm-6pm, followed by a crop. If you are interested in finding out more, please check out their website, EllaBella Designs. If you are in the Nanaimo area, please stop by and be inspired!

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Even before we had children, we wanted a wooden train set, but couldn’t bring ourselves to pay the high prices of most of the sets. We did get a few pieces from Ikea, but didn’t quite have enough to make an interesting layout. Last weekend, on a whim, we stopped off at a garage sale near our home and scored 2 boxes of wooden train stuff. After a scrub and quick sanding of the rough bits, we found we had to buy a new tote to accommodate it all! Yippee!

Train layout

Train layout

Funky Fashion Day at Preschool

Last week Pip had “Funky Fashion Day” at her preschool. She was very excited about it and this is what she came up with:

Funky Fashion Day

Funky Fashion Day

She really does have her own unique style and I am pretty sure she would wear this on a normal day, even though she is not overly keen on the colour combination of the tutu.

Custom order

A friend asked me to make a tutu and a crown for her daughter’s birthday. Like many little girls, she is interested in fairies and princesses. She has lots of “favourite” colours, which included blues and greens, so I went with something a little different to my own daughter’s obsession with pink and purple. Something along the lines of water nymph, rather than woodland or sugarplum fairy! I found some lovely pale blue, teal and jade tulle and felt in similar shades for the crown. I found some turquoise, floral ribbon in my stash and some pretty shell buttons to embellish the crown. I am not convinced about the “Princess” ribbon, but we’ll see. I hope it fits her mom’s vision, but if not, I will happily head to the fabric store again!

water nymph tutu

water nymph tutu

Birthday crown

Birthday crown

Sewing for me!

I have always been afraid of patterns, which is quite odd, because I really am the sort of person who generally likes to follow the rules, have guidelines etc. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I am becoming more comfortable with them and have finally made a skirt for myself. I think the problem might just be that I don’t want to have to measure myself! My grandma sent me a pattern and it was just the sort of skirt I like to wear: long and flowy. I found a pretty black crepe with pink roses and set to. It served to remind me that I really don’t like to cut crepe, chiffon, georgette etc etc. It moves and shifts and is generally a pain. Masking tape came in very handy to hold the stuff down while I attempted to cut the 6 pieces out. I managed not to bleed on the fabric after I accidentally cut myself with my new rotary cutter. I did the same with the last fresh blade, too. They are so sharp and the slightest touch on your skin reminds you how very careful you have to be!

My new skirt

My new skirt

Science experiments

Breakfast table science experiment with the girls: playing with water and finding what floats and what sinks.

Science experiments

Science experiments

Exploring nature with Grandma

This afternoon the girls borrowed magnifying glasses from Grandma so they could explore nature up close. The bonus of having weeds in the lawn is that they have really tiny, pretty flowers right now! Perfect for magnifying glass practice.

Up close and personal with nature

Up close and personal with nature

Investigating weeds in the lawn

Investigating weeds in the lawn

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Milly’s new skirt

This is Milly posing in her new skirt. It took some persuading to get her to stop twirling so I could take a picture!

Milly in her new skirt

Milly in her new skirt

I am happy to report that Philippa has relented and admitted that she really likes the skirt and would like one too. However, she would like to pick her own fabric this time.

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New twirly skirt

I made a new twirly skirt for Milly today and am really pleased with it. I hadn’t finished it before she went to bed, but she seemed very happy with it, so I hope there will be some fun twirly action shots tomorrow. I used coordinating cotton fabrics, 4 tiers and a simple elasticated waist. I didn’t line this one, as the cottons are a decent weight and also quite soft.

4 tier twirly skirt

4 tier twirly skirt

Milly is 26 months old and, though she can be very determined in her pursuit of chocolate, her desire to clean her teeth herself, do her straps up and pick out her clothes for the day, she has not yet given me the cold shoulder that my beloved 4 year old has done many times when presented with some lovingly hand-crafted garment. My mum swears she was just the same when her mum made things for her and I know she was a very talented seamstress and whatever she made would have been beautiful. Mum vividly remembers scorning the handmade items, partly because she just wanted to have the same shop bought things everyone else had, but partly because she has a fierce independant streak and just wanted to be bloody-minded and stubborn!! I am really not sure why Pippa rejects the things I make and the fabrics I choose. I make things that are girly, because that’s what she loves, but they are often not twirly enough, or she doesn’t like the pattern or the colour isn’t right. She hates the fabric store, so I try to choose things for her, but it is never right. I chose the two fabrics above for her, as I said I would make her a twirly dress. She took one look and said she didn’t want all those other colours on, she just wanted pink. Can’t win. I am not giving in at the first hurdle, this has happened numerous times and each time I swear not to make her anything else. I don’t know why I do it to myself, but after her little outburst I spent the night thinking what I could make for her next! However, I stuck to my guns and made Milly something instead. I don’t expect fawning gratitude, especially not from a 4 year old, but the rejection kind of hurts! Hopefully there will be a more positive reaction from her little sister, who really does deserve some new things and not just hand-me-downs!

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I promised that I would post some pictures of the things I have been making lately, so here goes.

3 pocket lined apron

3 pocket lined apron

This is a lined, 3 pocket waist apron with a deep ruffle, made in quilting cotton with a coordinating pink twill on the reverse. Makes a perfect “hostess apron” to change into when your cooking apron is dirty!

Little girl's lined apron

Little girl's lined apron

Lined, ruffled apron for little girl, made with a floral print quilting cotton and lining with a coordinating broadcloth. It has a single pocket and long straps for tying front or back.

Reversible food catcher baby bib

Reversible food catcher baby bib

Food-catcher baby bib, made with flannel and cotton and interlined with fleece for absorbency and a lovely soft feel. Snap closure.

Tiered twirly skirt

Tiered twirly skirt

Three-tiered twirly skirt in silver crushed velvet with lilac cotton lining and elasticated waist.

Tiered twirly skirt

Tiered twirly skirt

Butterfly print twirly skirt with cream cotton lining.

Luggage tags

Luggage tags

Business card holder

Business card holder

Business card holder with snap closure and 2 pockets. One pocket holds my “business” card and the other holds my playdate cards.

Last one now, I promise!

Elephant and bib

Elephant and bib

Stuffed toy elephant and food-catcher baby bib. A very belated gift for Esme.

OK, so just one more….

Hot water bottle cover

Hot water bottle cover

New hot water bottle cover.

Phew! So, that is what I have been up to lately!

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The first order of business today is to tell you that Grosgrain has a fabulous new giveaway going on at the moment. Click here: GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY to check out the work of this very talented – and incredibly generous – woman.

We had a lovely playdate today with some old friends and some new ones. Pip declared recently that she wanted to see strangers so that we could make some new friends! We had a great time. The children played really well together and there were no tears, which is always good. By the end of playdate they had played cars, dolls, dress-up, had a snack and performed a little dance show for the moms, so I think it was a success!

I sewed up a mini storm this week, trying to get samples made to show my friends so I hope to be able to post pictures over the weekend. I made a little apron, bib, frilled half apron with pockets, small bag and a skirt. I also spent an unfeasibly long time cutting out pieces for a bag I am making for a friend. I will start sewing it together tomorrow. I am going to take my time, as I do not want to have to cut it all out again if I mess up!

It has been very windy here for the last couple of days, but it died down this afternoon and me and the girls were able to get outside for a couple of hours. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and the neighbours’ dog didn’t bark at us. The girls played quite contentedly in the sandbox and let me get on with tidying up the garden after months of winter neglect. I love, love, love being in the garden, digging, planting, planning new beds and working out where the crops need to be rotated to this year. I keep a garden journal so I can keep track of what we have planted where. One day we hope to be a little more organized about it, beyond the planting¬† and growing stages! We tend to get a bit lax around harvest time and I am guilty of leaving things in buckets on occasion! I think I might invest in a hod with a mesh bottom so that I can wash the dirt off outside, rather than filling my kitchen sink with soil.

We grow rhubarb, raspberries, grapes, strawberries, herbs, peas, runner beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions and sometimes potatoes. We also have 3 young apple trees and 3 lovely cherry trees. I would really like to try sweet potatoes this year, too. There are so many things we would like to try! I spent a lot of time last year trying to protect the garden from the ravages of a toddler. We even contemplated fencing it to keep her from eating everything before it go chance to grow to a decent size. The perimeter of the back garden is fenced to keep the deer out, but little Milly was just as destructive! At least she was eating her greens! Poor Brian hardly gets a look in when it come to strawberries, raspberries and peas.

As for flower beds, I think I have almost run out of places to add new ones. My husband will not tolerate me cutting beds into the middle of his lawn, so I stick to the fenceline. I have one stretch left, but we can’t quite decide what to do with it. We fancy the idea of growing some bamboo, if we can find one suitable that will not become too rampant and upset the neighbours at the top of the garden. We need to build a new shed, too, as well as some compost bins, so I don’t think we’ll be getting bored any time soon. Brian was laid off and finished work last week and has been going non-stop on projects around the house. I think he will be glad to find a new job so he can have a rest!

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