Saturday, December 31, 2011

TUTORIAL - Kid's travel activity organisers

I made these activity packs back in September.  They were a desperate attempt to keep the kids busy on the plane.  I had no idea just how useful they would be.  We use them all the time.  They are very simple to make, here's how:

Decide how big/small you want your organiser to be.  I found a notebook I wanted to put in it and added 2 inches to each side.  The first rectangle you need to cut from your main fabric needs to be twice as big as this [the organiser is folded in half].

Pick a main fabric, and one or two contrasting fabrics.

I cut my front piece and lining piece according to my notebook measurement [plus 2 inches each side, and double the width].  The cut pocket strips that were the same width but 1 1/2 inches shorter than the last one.  Hem one long edge of your smaller strips [this will form the top of the pocket].

Lay the pockets one on top of the other and stitch down the centre to hold them together.

Fuse a fairly stiff interfacing to your outside cover piece.

Make a closure tab out of lining/scrap fabric.  Add velcro to the tab...
and to the cover:

Put the pocket pieces and cover right sides together, making sure your closure tab is pinned in the correct place inside this.  Stitch around the outside edge leaving a gap for turning.  Turn, press, and topstitch around the edge.

You are finished.  I made four different ones for my kids, and filled them with notebooks, stickers, books, pencils etc.  They have worked brilliantly on planes, while away on holidays, and at church.  I am considering making a slightly larger one for myself to carry things for me to do while I wait at school and dancing etc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I have been wanting to make my own strawberry shopping bags since I bought one a couple of years ago.  I am so thankful to Lier for her tutorial as it meant I didn't have to work out how to make them myself.  I made a dozen for Christmas gifts this year.  They looked so cute sitting all together in a bowl, and were very easy to sew.  It has been difficult to part with them.  Perhaps I will have to make some more for myself!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

God's love...

is bigger than it looks. 

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My niece is getting some lovely new Barbie clothes for Christmas.  She is 5 so she needs clothes that are easy to put on and take off.  So I googled free Barbie clothes patterns, printed the patterns and cut out some fabric scraps.

I have never sewn something so small and fiddly before... it was extremely satisfying to complete, but it's not the neatest job I've ever done.  At some stage I will need to make some outfits for my girls' Barbies, but that means 4 sets.  I think I'll have a break from Barbie outfits for a while!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sewing clothes is fun again.

During my absence from the blog world, I have rediscovered my love for garment sewing.  Being constantly frustrated with the lack of decent clothes in stores has helped me to start sewing again.  I have sewn clothes for all my children, myself, and others.  It has been so much fun, but of course the more I sew, the longer my 'to do' list seems to become!  This is an outfit I made for Miss 4, shorts and a swing top/pillowcase top.  I actually made two identical outfits, one for her and one for my niece, Miss 5.  It's really cute.

I haven't taken photos of the 9 pairs of shorts, 6 skirts, and one after-5 outfit I have made.  I guess I was too busy sewing and then we have been too busy wearing them.  At some stage I will take photos of the bridesmaid dresses that are progressing well. 

If you've never made your own clothes, don't be afraid of having a try.  It's really not that difficult.  Sometimes I use commercial patterns, sometimes I draft my own, sometimes I just cut into the fabric.  It really depends what I am making.  The main thing is to practice.  Start with some kid's clothes, they take less fabric and don't have to fit as well as adult's clothing.  But then move on to a basic skirt or something else for yourself.  You have control over the fabric, the style, and your clothes will be unique.

I have been sewing for over 20 years.  I am so thankful I learnt to sew a long time ago.  You would not believe the number of times I have had to unpick a seam, or throw something out because I had stuffed up.  I still unpick regularly.  But with each mistake, I learn something else, and hopefully won't make that same mistake again.  Making mistakes and unpicking is part of sewing, especially garment sewing.  But I have learnt to embrace that, rather than throw in the towel when I do make a mistake.  Sewing clothes is fun again.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Mr E had wanted to grow potatoes for some time now. But not just any potatoes. Kipflers, Dutch creams, cranberry reds... varieties you can no longer buy at the supermarket. We did some research and discovered you cannot plant potatoes in the same place twice. This can become an issue in the home garden. The answer is to grow potatoes in bags.

I made these bags from a roll of weed mat bought at the local hardware store. I cut lengths from the roll and sewed up the base and sides [with my Singer 'workhorse' machine, NOT my big beautiful Pfaff]. All done in an hour or two, and ready to be filled with compost/potting mix and seed potatoes. 

The harvest was not quite as prolific as we'd hoped, we suspect mostly because we forgot them for a week or more in the heat and didn't water the poor plants.  But the potatoes we did get to eat - WOW.  So yummy.

We will definitely be doing this again as soon as autumn is here  [too hot and humid here in subtropical Queensland to grow potatoes over summer].

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I have decided that you can tell how busy I am by how often I post on this blog.  Since my last post [which I apologise it was a LOOOOOOOONG time ago] I have been so busy living life that the blog was just too much for me to try to manage. 
Now, it is nearly Christmas, the summer holidays are upon us, and I realised that I not only have a blog, but a heap of photos of things I've been up to [and a whole lot I didn't take photos of I may still write about if I can recall anything about them].
So readers, if there are any of you left, thankyou for your patience.  I am back.  I cannot guarantee how regularly I will be posting, as I intend to PLAY with my children during the holidays, but I will try to be more faithful in keeping a record of that play.