Friday, January 27, 2012

kids backpack - tutorial

The backpack construction is of two modified rectangles joined by a zippered gusset.  Take your main fabric and cut two rectangles of the approximate size you want your backpack to be. 

Fold them in half lengthwise and round the corners to the finished shape.

Take your lining fabric and repeat the process, using the main fabric as a guide.

If you want to applique or embellish the front of your backpack, now is the time to do so.

Cut gusset pieces out of main fabric and lining.  They must be as long as the circumference of your bag.  Cut the gussets in half, then sew together again.  I sewed two zips in, one in each end, and stitched in between.

You will have a long strip with a zip in each end.

Make shoulder straps from lining and/or main fabric.  I attached a short piece of elastic at the bottom of each strap, rather than making them adjustable.

Hold bag front and lining, WRONG sides together.  Do the same for the bag back. Pin straps to back of bag.  Baste.  Add a loop for hanging if desired.

Pin gusset to front and back and stitch.  Bind seams with contrasting binding.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back to school

My kids went back to school yesterday for the 2012 school year.  This is what I've been doing in the last week to get ready:

Washed, ironed, and labelled all the uniforms.

Sorted out the hair elastics, clips, headbands etc.

Covered and labelled all the books, lunchboxes, and other school supplies.

Named and waterproofed the school schoes.

Made pencil cases and library bags.

We have also practiced our morning routine for the last week of the holidays, to help Miss 4 with her transition to school this year.

What do you do to get ready for a new school year?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Garden update

This is my eastern fence garden.  It is close to the pool and therefore we wanted a tropical outlook. 

At the end of spring we planted 18 hibiscus down the fence, ranging in colour from deep reds, through oranges, yellows, whites, pale pinks, and dark pinks.

I am having a little battle with woolly aphids [or perhaps they are mealy bugs] at the moment.  White oil is my weapon of choice, I don't want to use pesticides in the garden as we are trying to encourage as much wildlife [especially birds] as possible.

I am really looking forward to the beautiful hedge this will become.  In this subtropical climate, I expect they will be flowering most of the year.  So beautiful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Retro Apron Tutorial

You will need:
pretty cotton fabric
contrasting fabric for ruffle
fusible interfacing

Cut main fabric rectangle 44 x 13 inches.  Fold in half lengthwise and cut a curve from one corner to the base of the opposite long side.

Cut two pieces of waistband fabric 38 x 3.5 inches.  Iron interfacing to wrong side of bands.  Sew bands together.

Cut ruffle 6.5 x 114 inches.  Join fabric as necessary.  Fold and press in half.  Gather the raw edges and pin to the bottom of the apron.

Stitch apron to ruffle, press seam allowance towards apron and topstitich on right side of apron.

Mark waist side of apron with pins at following:

1.5 <-- 3.5 <-- 1.5 <-- 4 <-- centre --> 4 --> 1.5 --> 3.5 --> 1.5    [measurements are in inches]

Pin pleats and baste.  Attach waistband. 

Cut two ties each 7 x 24 inches.  Sew and turn ties, insert into the opening of the waistband and sew closed.

If you need more explanation, please let me know.  Unfortunately I didn't take photos when I was making my apron. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pin cushion bins

Many years ago I purchased a pattern on ebay for a pin cushion bin, as with a new baby didn't have the mental capacity in my sleep-deprived state to work out how to make one myself.

Since then I have made several - for my Quiltitis pals, for my sewing relatives, another for myself when mine was lost in the last move.  Several months ago my aunt and mum both mentioned that their pincushion bins were worn out.  I think they use theirs for scrapbooking [as a bin only] as well as for sewing and quilting.

These two were replacements for Mum and my aunt.  Mum's is pieced from charm squares that match her sewing room and decor.  I managed to finish them by Christmas... just.

At some stage I will have to make myself another one that matches my new sewing room.  Just another project to add to my 'To Do' list!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marbled chocolate cheesecake slice - gluten free

This is one of my quick stand-by recipes.  It's a very yummy slice that goes together very fast, but looks like you've gone to lots of effort.  If you don't need gluten free, just use regular wheat flour. 

·        185g butter
·        ¼ cup cocoa
·        1 cup sugar
·        2 eggs, lightly whisked
·        1 cup plain flour [gluten free]
·        250g cream cheese
·        1/3 cup sugar, extra
·        1tsp vanilla
·        1 egg, extra

Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease and line a lamington pan (16cm x 26cm) with baking paper.

Melt butter with cocoa. Remove from heat, add sugar and whisk in eggs. Stir in sifted flour and beat until smooth. Pour mixture into the prepared pan.

Beat cheese, extra sugar and vanilla together, add the extra egg. Pour over the chocolate mixture; swirl through with a knife for a marbled effect.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kid's backpack - busy bag

My 3-year old nephew needed a busy bag for Christmas.  His big sister is starting school this year, which means lots of waiting.  I made this little backpack and filled it with loads of special things to keep him busy while he waits.

It was so much fun to sew, I'm thinking I'll make another for Miss 2.  In the meantime I've got a tutorial in motion so you'll be able to make your own little backpack.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Garden update

This is our western fence.  Some months ago I planted tiny tubestock native myrtles down the fenceline.  I am hoping one day they will form a lovely aromatic hedge.  They have more than tripled in height, but it's slow going.  Apparently tubestock seem to be slow until about their 5th year, when they are more vigorous, and with a better root system than regular potted plants. 

Up one end are the lemon myrtles.  They are an Australian native myrtle with the highest levels of citrol in the leaves [even more than lemons].  I LOVE these plants, and intend to do lots of cooking with them... once they have enough leaves that I can safely harvest them without affecting their growth.

Up the far end of the hedge are aniseed myrtles.  They are another native that has an amazing aniseed aroma in the leaves.  Mr E wants to use it for cooking also.  I am not a big fan of aniseed so I may not sample those dishes!!

We wanted cinnamon myrtles for this hedge also, but were unable to source any tubestock.  I am hoping to source some plants for this middle section soon.  In the meantime I have planted some rosellas in their place [hibiscus sabdariffa].  They can be treated as an annual so I will pull them out after they 'fruit' and plant cinnamon myrtles in their place.  

It's going to be a lovely productive hedge.  I am really looking forward to my rosellas in a few months time, and eventually lemon & aniseed myrtle leaves for teas, icecreams and heaps of other dishes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Practice with purpose

I have been teaching myself to play piano for a few years now.  I purchased a dvd course to learn at home, and if only I practiced, I would probably be where I want to be.  Recently I played piano at church [for the first time ever].  I was totally terrified, made quite a few mistakes [thankfully the band covered a lot of those up], and finished much more confident than I ever have been before.

I had forgotten how important it is to have a purpose for playing.  When I learnt musical instruments at school I was in the band or orchestra [depending on which instrument I was playing at that time] and that gave me a purpose for practice.  I find this with craft - if you don't have a purpose for the craft [eg. a gift, to use yourself] you really don't ever get around to doing it.  I imagine this is why I haven't scrapbooked in so long... I forgot the reason why I was doing it.

It is the same with reading my bible.  If I am reading because I think I 'have to' [like it's a rule] I will eventually stop because there's no purpose for reading.  When I read God's word with purpose, I get more out of it, and I won't stop because I see the value in it.  The question is then, how does one read the bible with purpose? 

I read the bible to learn more about God, which is the most important thing I can do in this life.  It is not a self-help book, I don't read it to improve myself.  The more I read, the more I realise it's not about me.  It's all about Jesus.  And getting to know Him better, by reading the bible, is fun, amazing, and life-changing.  Getting into the habit of reading the bible can take practice, but more than anything else in this life He is worth the effort.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 is here.

I don't make new year's resolutions, they always fail.  But I do like to think about the year gone, and what I can do or hope to achieve in the year ahead.  Sometimes it's a home organisation goal, sometimes a review of my craft 'to do' list, or other things.  I'm going to review my blog 'to do' lists, and get them up to date.

Happy New Year.