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Archive for the ‘crafting’ Category

Happy Birthday, Quinn!

A favourite little boy turns 3 tomorrow, so I had the perfect excuse to make a deluxe grab ‘n’ go placemat!

Birthday gift for Quinn

Birthday gift for Quinn

Grab 'n' Go placemat for Quinn

Grab 'n' Go placemat for Quinn

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Fantastic new product

I am always thinking of things to make, as you know. I lean towards items which are practical, functional and fun to sew. If they appeal to other people, so much the better, as selling things means I can fund my fabric habit! With Philippa starting school this week, I have been contemplating items which would be useful for her and, once the art smock was complete, I moved on to lunch time. She has plenty of bags and a perfectly good lunch bag which she used for preschool and does not want to part with. She has always taken a napkin to preschool with her to put her food on, so I decided to upgrade. I have been working on a grab and go placemat that will be useful for school and also for eating out, picnics and the like. I think I have cracked it and I am really pleased with the outcome.

Grab and go placemats

Grab and go placemats

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

The ultimate placemat

These mats are made with 3-4 coordinating cotton prints and the main body is interlined with fleece.  The pocket section is interfaced and holds stainless steel, dishwasher safe cutlery and has a flap to keep it all secure. There is also a pocket behind the cutlery pocket for a napkin – how clever is that! (The napkin can be used to wrap the dirty cutlery in – thanks for that idea, Tracy!) The ties are sturdy and made with one of the fabrics used in the mat, which rolls up neatly for popping into a lunch bag or handbag on the way out. The mats are machine washable and all fabrics have been prewashed and dried to prevent further shrinkage.

Something that will appeal to lots of parents is that this might stop kids putting their food on surfaces which may or may not be clean! We expect children to pick up bugs when they go back to school, but the current concern about the H1N1 virus makes this even more of an issue.

I would love to hear what you think!

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Tonight’s productivity

I have heaps of projects tumbling around in my head and I intend to get to them all, in time, but every so often an idea strikes and I have to work on it right away. Last night and this morning I was working on an art smock with sleeves and I was going to continue with that, until it crossed my mind that I needed a travelling sewing case. I very occasionally go to the sewing shop for a machine lesson or I need to do repairs or alterations for my mum or clients. I normally use an old cosmetics case, which works very well when I need to take my machine along. To cut a long story short, I came up with this:

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Grab and go sewing kit

Contents of grab and go sewing kit

Contents of grab and go sewing kit

The kit is designed to hold my order/receipt book, a pair of scissors, seam ripper, Fabric marking pencil, tweezers, tape measure, thread, needles and pins.

After pondering a zippered pouch with a vinyl front, I decided to modify my crayon roll design, by sewing pockets for the bits I wanted to include and adding an area for pins and needles. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I think I will put business cards in there, too. Now back to that art smock….

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If you have a look over at my Flickr pics, you can see the hat I made for myself this week. It turned out quite well in the end, especially for a first attempt. I will definitely be making variations of this for myself, as I often wear hats and like to have a bit of variety. It will be interesting to see how it washes – most of my other hats are woven paper or straw and I’m not sure what you can do with them once they get dirty, which they inevitably do when you wear them in the garden. Oh, and when you let your children borrow them. And they eat chocolate. And transfer it to your previously pristine white hat…

The pattern I used for the hat was McCall’s M4400. As I made this on a whim, I didn’t have any interfacing handy and just used some muslin I had in stock. I also had to reduce the height of the crown as it was too big for me. The next time I make it, I think I will use medium weight interfacing for the brim and reduce the height of the crown at the pattern stage.

The main issue I had with making this hat was that I broke the needle in my sewing machine, which resulted in an unpleasant and worrisome noise. I took it in to the shop, where they prised the beloved machine from my fingers. It was quite difficult to leave it behind. When I learned that the chap wouldn’t be able to look at it until he returned from holiday some time next week I decided to retrieve it. At least I would have it in my possession. As it turned out, the very, very kind repair man was in the shop at the time and mended it for me while I waited! What an absolute gem! It was just a burr on the bobbin case, so he could do it then and there. I cannot tell you how very happy I was to have my lovely machine back safe and sound and working perfectly again. I felt rather lost without it.

Anyway, all is well now and I have heaps of projects in mind and a few orders to fulfill, too, so it is going to be a fun summer! Crowns, tutus, bedding, another kaftan, lounge pants, handbags, crayon rolls and maybe even some things for me!

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Tomorrow is Pip’s final day at preschool and it is definitely a time of mixed emotions. She has absolutely loved being at Beach Kids and has thrived under the care and attention of the lovely teachers there. We will do our best to have playdates with her friends over the summer, but she knows that come September they will all go their separate ways. As excited as she is about starting kindergarten, she will definitely miss the friends she has made and we will both have to start afresh in September, with all new people.

As a small thank you to the preschool teachers, I have made some coffee cup cozies using a tutorial from the talented Erin over at House on Hill Road. Even though I don’t drink coffee, it will be hard to give these away!

Coffee cup cozies

Coffee cup cozies

We had to go to Tom Horton’s today to buy a drink so I had a cup to test the cozies on – I didn’t want to put the buttons in the wrong place. Of course, while we were there, we had to buy some doughnuts too! Before you get totally disgusted, no, we did not eat them all! A dozen is a much better deal than buying them individually and I cannot resist a bargain!

Doughnuts

Doughnuts

Back to the subject of preschool. As you may have gathered from previous posts, Pip is quite particular about things. She knows what she likes and will not be swayed, even if it means that the preschool “graduation” photos do not go quite as planned. She did NOT like the black gown and, as much as she likes having her photo taken generally, she really did not want to cooperate! She could hardly wait to get the gown off and get back to the normal routine of preschool.

Preschool grad

Preschool grad

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I had my birthday a few days ago, our daughter is turning 5 next week, the gardening season is definitely upon us and I have also been busy sewing birthday gifts for multiple parties, so I have been neglecting my poor blog. I promise to get back in the swing of things very soon, with lots of pictures and news of creative excitement. Well, excitement for me, anyway!

For my birthday, my lovely mother gave me two thread holders. I had 3 clear thread boxes, but they took up quite a bit of space on the desk and I was always putting stuff on top of them. This solution is awesome!! I now have space for 120 spools, which is fine for now. Despite being able to almost fill them both, I find there are a few colours I still need, so when I get those I can shift some of the extra whites to my sewing box. I had to include the embellishment storage unit in the photos because I love it so much!

thread racks

thread racks

The weather has been fantastic for the last few days and we have been spending a lot of time outside. If we didn’t need to feed the children, we would probably be out there until it gets dark. It is such a busy time of year in the garden and so much needs to be done to get set for the season, but I really, really enjoy it. Every day I am thrilled to see what changes are happening, what new growth has come up, what new joy our lovely space has to offer. I feel refreshed and peaceful, even though I know I still need to keep pace with weeding, more seeds need to be planted, etc. We all love this beautiful place. I haven’t been quite as vigorous with the work for the last few weeks, thanks to my injured back, but between us we are managing it all.

Pip’s 5th birthday is next week. I will be back tomorrow with details of the plans for the festivities, as well as some shots of the garden, hopefully! The picture below was taken a couple of weeks ago and it looks different already. The rhubarb in the background has been fantastic this year and I hope we get an equally good crop of cherries. Back soon!

cherry tree and rhubarb

cherry tree and rhubarb

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Update

It seems likely that I have a herniated disk. The good news is that I don’t have to rest too much, just have to be sensible about what I do. If it hurts, don’t do it! The other good news is that it should get better on its own.

As promised, here is a picture of the needlework frame I found at the Community Market, which raises funds for local causes and sells all manner of things. Pip wanted to try it out, so I bought some muslin for her to practice on. She did really well and it was a few minutes before she decided to move on to something else!

needlework frame

needlework frame

My new baby

A very kind and generous neighbour has given me the most amazing gift. We share a love of Harrowsmith Country Life magazine and we were chatting over the fence about a recent article on spinning, when she suddenly asked if I wanted a loom! We thought about, discussed where it could go and decided that we would find a space for it.

loom

loom

Itn’t she beautiful?! Turns out it is a 4 harness floor loom called Nilus and it was made in Canada by Leclerc. I have been reading the books and magazines that came with it and now at least know the names of some of the parts, but I think I am going to have to find someone to teach me how to use it. All in good time! The weaving that is on it is not mine, but will stay there until I figure out how the whole thing works. I will have a flock of sheep and a spinning wheel before you know it!

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