Work in Progress

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paperwork has consumed the past few days. Dull, tedious paperwork. I have no photos to share of that, I am sure that most of you have a little guilt-inducing stack of it yourselves to look at, so let me share some stitching with you instead. This is C's quilt finally being finished. She loves it. Further proof that striped binding makes everything better. 

Hard to believe...

Monday, October 29, 2012

...that Sweetie's this big. My very own little Linus van Pelt.

Log Cabin Framed Birds for Delilah Rose

Friday, October 26, 2012

Once upon a time, let's call it the late '80s, Duyvken was a high school student with braces, fuzzy hair and a shy disposition which meant that she plenty of free-time on weekends. The couple across the street had a very busy social life and two lovely young children who needed a babysitter, and so a very happy arrangement began.
For $7.50 an hour I spent a lot of time and their house and loved every minute of it, even long, late nights watching dodgy music videos on MTV. L and G were pretty special kids with amazingly vivid imaginations and a really strong sibling bond. I loved watching them move from toddlerhood to primary school and then, even though I wasn't really babysitting them anymore, beyond that from across the street at mum and dad's place.
So, when I heard that L was going to become a father I knew I wanted to make something special for that sweet baby. L and his wife, although so much younger than I, have done some amazing things and I am sure there are many more amazing adventures ahead of them so this quilt had to be able to stand up to the possiblity of WOOFing through Europe, be a soft spot for Delilah to lie while mum and dad work in developing nations, fit snuggly in the cot at home in England and be a cosy comfort on long haul flights back to Sydney to visit the Gramps.

Some cotton fabrics, soft minky backing, some embroidery, my first ever quilt ties and several months later and I have finished a nice practical quilt for a much loved baby girl.

Welcome to the world, Delilah Rose and lots of love to L, who taught me that you really can grow up to join the circus, and N who gets to be a mum for the first time which is, HANDS DOWN, the best feeling ever.

With lots of love from your old babysitter, A.

Sewing for the Time Poor

Monday, October 22, 2012

This might be my fastest, and most satisfying project yet. In just a couple of hours I completed a snuggly, ruffly blanket for a sweet new baby girl. And if I hadn't spent so long making the ruffles it would have been even quicker. (Note to self: buy a ruffle foot). 

I used a tutorial from The Little Fabric Blog and the instructions were very easy to follow. She skips over the bit about how to join the two ends of the ruffle strip but I treated it as it if it was regular binding and it worked quite well.

This is their first baby and since they didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl the nursery is quite neutral. They have decorated the nursery beautifully and have put a big tree and owl decal on the wall so I searched my local fabric shop for something pink and owlish and came home with this forest life fabric.

I poured some extra love into this one because baby Emily's joyous birth comes at a very sad time in her family. Will she feel that? Probably not, but she will love playing with those soft minky dots and having those ruffles tickle her sweet little toes.

Welcome to the world, Emily Elize. It's a wonderful place.

..and then I made a mirkin

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yes, I really did. Not intentionally of course but when I sewed the final stitch and laid it on the table the first thing I saw was this...
...and not the badger's tail I was hoping to produce. I actually made about half a dozen of them before I noticed the similarity to the old map of Tasmania. Although these days, with pubic grooming being what it is, perhaps the young folk won't notice?
I was helping out with book week preparations for J's class. His wonderful teacher, Miss M, was gearing the kids up to all be characters from Fantastic Mr Fox, a book they have been reading in class, and I volunteered to help. The kids were making most of the costume in class (masks, hessian bags stuffed with newspaper and a few feathers to make them look like bags full of chickens, empty milk bottles with CIDER labels on them, farmer's hats, etc) and I thought I could assist by sewing up a few furry tails for the foxes and the badgers.
Spotlight had plenty of fur fabric and tape for the waist ties. The fox tails were pretty straight forward but I have no idea what a badger's tail looks like and, in retrospect, I probably should have done a little research before I got started. However, in my defence, I only had Sweetie's naptime to get this done and it really didn't seem like it would be so difficult.
The delightful Miss M has a good sense of humour and the year 2 kids are beautifully naive so, after having a good giggle with me about it, she decided to use them anyway. It was quite a hoot.

It was JW's first book parade and she chose to go as Doodle from the Doodle Bites book. Thankfully, as we already had a croc costume on hand that was much easier. She was an adorable crocodile, don't you think?

6 on the 6th

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweet C celebrated her 6th birthday on the 6th of October and we had a birthday party for her this weekend with a bunch of friends from school. They coloured, played, sang, danced and were completely adorable. We had raspberry rosebud birthday cake and Sweetie occupied himself with Toca Boca games on the ipad when the noise got too much for him. It was lovely. 

Golden Light

The most beautiful golden light came streaming through the house the other evening and briefly we were all aglow.

I tried but couldn't capture it. It was wonderful. The whole neighbourhood was alight.


Friday, October 12, 2012

On the last day of the school holidays we went to Bradfield Park to meet up with Mr Duyvken for lunch. The weather was beautiful and we played and chatted and ate and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the harbour. Mr Duyvken and I got engaged here many moons ago so it is one of our favourite spots. He is very lucky to work in such a beautiful spot. 

This tree with the people sitting underneath it enjoying the shade reminds me of a painting. I wish I could remember who it was by so that I could link to it for you.

We got through this in an embarrassingly brief amount of time. We have 7 serious eaters in this house and fried food is such a treat we didn't want to waste any of it. The scent of sunscreen, the rustle of fish'n'chip paper and the warmth of the sun on our bare skin herald summer and we are ready!

Pillows for Pre-School

Thursday, October 11, 2012

JW's pre-school is an amazing place and we feel pretty lucky that she and C have had the opportunity to spend time there. C was lucky enough to have 2 years of pre-school but, because of where her birthday falls, JW will only have 1 year before heading off to big school. Term 4 has just begun and I can't quite believe that I am turning my mind to orientation mornings, information nights and end of year preparations. With this in mind I have been more aware of how special JW's 2 days a week at pre-school are and how much I will miss this place, and the wonderful teachers there, next year.

One of her favourite things at school is the reading corner. It's a special nook set up for comfy reading and often when I pick her up she is sitting there listening to a story being read aloud. The cushions are looking a little worn so I made a few new ones to brighten the space up for the rest of the time that JW is there and to make it a little cheerier for all the kids who will be there next year. She picked a bright donkey fabric and a striped fabric that I had in my stash and I got to work.

I dropped them off this afternoon when I picked JW up, she was very pleased to see the cushions in their new home. They're a very simple envelope backed cushion cover but they make a big difference to the space. I did a simple tutorial while I was making them so if you'd like to make some too click here for the pictures.
It felt so good to be sewing again.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Heart full.

Envelope-backed Cushion Tutorial

Want to make some very basic cushion covers like these ones I made for JW's pre-school?

1. First, you'll need to cut out 3 pieces of fabric per cushion. One square the same size as your cushion insert adding a 1 cm seam allowance. So for a 40cm x 40cm insert cut out a square of fabric with 42cm sides. And two rectangles measuring 42cm by 30cm.

2. Turn in and iron along one of the long sides of the rectangles.

3. Then turn in 2cm and iron again.

4. Stitch along this fold to make a neat edge for the back of your cushion.

5. Repeat these steps again with the second rectangle and then lay the 3 pieces of fabric out with the right sides together, making sure that the rectangles have a decent overlap. The blue fabric here will be on top of the orange one when the cushion is finished so if you are using 2 difference fabrics choose here which one you would like to be more visible.

6. Pin well, taking special care where the fabrics overlap.

7. Using a straight stitch sew around all 4 edges of the cushion cover.

8. I don't have an overlocker but want to add a little reinforcement to the edges of the fabric so that the covers will hold up to be regular washing so I do a zigzag stitch around all 4 sides as well.

9. Snip the corners, taking care not to knick any stitches.

10. Turn out your cover through, add your insert and...

11.  Pat yourself on the back.

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