Monday, June 27, 2011

sewing room progress

It's slow-going in my sewing room lately. Partly because our house has been full of flu and other illness for longer than I can recall now, and partly because it takes a LONG time to build flatpack furniture when you have 'help' from a 22 month old and a 4 year old!!

Mr E and I pulled apart my old broken Horn sewing cabinet yesterday to use the pull-out section for my overlocker. Now I have to position everything and we can get the benchtop in place. YAY!! Nearly there.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

DIY mini greenhouse

In my attempt to become a 'real' gardener, I have been trying to raise my own seedlings. I've been struggling a little in these attempts, both because of the chickens, and the extreme temperature swings winter in sub-tropical Queensland brings [the last week has seen our daily range from 4-21 degrees Celcius]. Researching online it seemed that other gardeners use mini greenhouses. They are available to buy, but I was not prepared to pay for something I may not use successfully, and the cheap ones looked very flimsy.

I decided to make myself a mini-greenhouse. I found an old metal shelf in the shed we weren't using and set it up on the western side of the house. I thought in this position it would be sheltered enough from the wind and stay warm. But it wasn't temperature stable enough, and the wind was drying out my trays very quickly. So today I covered it with clear table plastic I purchased from Spotlight. I used electrical tape to attach it around the back and sides, then taped a separate piece for a front access flap.

I'm hoping this will improve my seed germination rate significantly. I guess I'll keep you posted as to my degree of success.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My favourite flower

I just took this photo. I couldn't help it. What a perfect rose. My daughter was given it after performing in a ballet concert on Saturday and today it has opened up. The colour is exquisite too, darker orange on the edges of each petal and a delicious apricot in the centre.

I know it's cliched, but I LOVE roses. I love the shape, the variety of colours [there's not one I have seen that I dislike], and I find the perfume intoxicating. Yesterday for our anniversary Mr E sent me this beautiful arrangement of roses. I am going to enjoy them for quite a few days as they open up. Just stunning:
I am planning a rose garden in our front yard. I have been researching them and found I need to prepare the soil well so it will take me a while to get to the planting stage. But it will be worth it. In a year or two I intend to be producing roses like these in my own garden. Ones with lots of perfume.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Funky Ruffled Scarf - knitted

My MIL went to the textile show at the Brisbane Convention Centre last weekend and then came to visit us. She bought some new yarn called Funky Yarn while she was there for herself and me to try out. It is amazing - one ball does the entire scarf and I knitted it in just a few hours. And I'm NOT a knitter, so it must be easy. This is the very first knitted item I have blogged about because it's the first knitted thing I've made since I learned to knit as a kid. Six stitches on the needle, that's all.
The website that was on the information regarding this product looks to be still under construction so I'm unsure where to obtain more. I've emailed them and hope to have some more information about where to purchase it very soon. It's almost like a lacy mesh wound into a ball of yarn, very beautiful. I'm glad we've had some very cold weather for me to try out my new scarf!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Crochet string bag - complete

Tonight I finished crocheting my string bag I've been working on for the past few months. I've been working on it in short bursts while waiting in the car for my kids or watching tv. It's made from actual string that I bought from The Reject Shop, not crochet/knitting cotton. My own pattern, made it up as I went along. I think it will be very useful.

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Organised Pantry

Sometimes I wonder what I've been doing and why there's nothing to show for my time, nothing to blog about, and the house is just as disasterous as it was last week. I decided to sort out my pantry at the beginning of last month and I am proud to say it STILL looks good. This photo was taken after a month of maintaining it. I don't think I've ever maintained a tidy pantry for more than a week before.

But this time I went about it differently. I planned on paper WHERE everything would go [approximately] before I took anything off a shelf. It worked. I decided what my needs were [like breakfast cereals on the bottom shelf so the kids can get their own out; chocolate up high so only I can see it etc.] and planned around them first. My plan had a couple of blank spaces, but then as I sorted things I found I had forgotten about some items, or other things took up much more space than I thought they would.

I know what you're thinking: that woman has too much tupperware!!! I also have a lot of flours and other ingredients on my shelves no one has ever heard of [unless you regularly cook gluten free]. Years ago when I was struggling with how to manage a young child on a gluten free diet while keeping wheat products in the house for the others, I decided to colour-code my pantry and fridge. My dear friend CraftyMummy was a tupperware dealer back then and she helped me to organise it all. I've been buying tupperware since I first got married, she just helped me to add to my collection!!

Every time I wonder what I've been up to lately I open my beautiful pantry and remember I did this. Now I just need the motivation to reinvent a few other clutter holes [I mean cupboards].

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crochet bun covers

A couple of months ago I was complaining that my three ballerinas didn't respect their hair nets and pins as I kept finding them strewn around the house and the nets of course had holes in them!! Those fine Lady Jane hair nets while ESSENTIAL for ballet exams and concerts [it looks like there's no net at all] are NOT GOOD for an 8,6 and 4 year old for their weekly lessons, they get holes in them and are too expensive for single use only.

When I was about 8 and my sister 6 I think our Mum had a similar complaint and my grandmother crocheted us some bun covers in fine cotton. I remember we had two different sizes for our two different hair lengths/thicknesses. I scoured the net and found quite a few free patterns. Here are my first attempts:I got sick of the patterns pretty quickly and just made up my own, once I got a feel for my crochet hook again [I really do enjoy crochet and must pick it up more often]. I whipped all three up one evening in front of the tv. So easy and satisfying to finish something so quickly.

There are some spectacular bun covers online that have beads and sparkles and all manner of pretty additions. When I get my sewing/craft room in order and find my finer crochet thread and beads I may even attempt some. I have absolutely NO IDEA how to incorporate beads into crochet [or knitting for that matter]. Perhaps one of you very talented knitters or crocheters can help me with that puzzle?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sewing Room update

My Ikea Expedit bookshelves are together and attached to the wall of my sewing room. My next task is to fill the shelves with all the sewing stuff that is spread around the house in random cupboards, on the floor of the sewing room and in the shed. Once I have floor space I can get my desks built.

I found a fabulous tutorial to make my own fabric storage boxes for my new sewing room shelves. I haven't been able to find anything that fits the spaces well, and I want it all to coordinate. So it makes sense to make them myself.
Here is the photo that inspired me to coordinate my shelving:

Isn't it gorgeous? I can only hope my shelves will look this neat and tidy all the time. I'm thinking my colour scheme will be pink and white... perhaps with a lime green accent?

Friday, June 3, 2011


There are some crafts that I do with my kids that I think are significant, and then there are the ones that they ask to do again and again. The rainbow cake was one of those silly things we did one day to teach Miss 4 primary and secondary colours. The other day she asked to do it again, almost 12 months since the last time! So I got our our 6 bowls and food colouring and the usual wacky cake recipe, and we started with our three primary colours. Yet again Miss 4 was so surprised at the transformation of yellow and blue into green, and the other secondary colours. But by far her favourite part of this process is licking the bowl.Miss 1 thought it was pretty good too:
If you're going to do this at home here are few tips:

  1. 1/2 teaspoon of food colouring is TOO MUCH for each bowl of 1/2 cup cake batter - it won't cook properly and will send your kids cuckoo

  2. Put your children in old clothes and expect that it will take a day or two to get the food colouring out of your toddler's hair

  3. Start with red [or pink] and pour into the centre of the prepared cake tin, then continue on with the colours in order pouring each on top of the one before, they push the first ones aside. When you turn the cake out, put it on it's top and ice the base so when you cut it a true rainbow will appear

  4. I use plain white butter icing and tell everyone it's a 'cloud' cake, then they get a lovely surprise when it's cut

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


For her birthday this year Miss 4 had a tea party. We set the table with a tablecloth, put little espresso cups and saucers out [just the right size], serviettes, and a red tea pot filled with apple juice.

I decided that a tea party should have tiny finger food so on the table we put:

  • tiny melting moments with pink icing

  • pikelets [50c coin size] with jam and cream on top

  • mini frankfurts from Aldi [they come in a jar and are truly adorable - they're so small]

  • grapes

It worked really well. The kids loved it. There was also birthday cake of course,

and we played pass the parcel. The parents sat down and had a cuppa, and the kids played. All in all a perfect 4 year old birthday party.