After the worst Winter in Perth in years, I can say that I'm happy that Summer is here. I'm not a great fan of Summer normally because it hangs around in Perth for MONTHS and when you think it is gone it's not. It's a bit like one of those friends who you haven't seen for a while. It's great when you first see them again but Summer truly is like a friend who doesn't know when to leave, and then when it finally does leave it turns around and gives you the finger with a screamingly hot day in the middle of April. And that is why I'm not a summer person. But for the moment, I am loving the early morning sunlight, less washing and Summer fruits.
Every season I buy a few cheap tees and dress them up with a cute appliqué. I look at drawings and motifs everywhere- on fabrics, on wrapping paper and cardstock, even street signs and then do my own version with fabric.
It was icy-poles first (that's what we call them in Australia).
A bit of choc-mint love- such a winning combination.I think the models make them look even more delicious!
Love that sand throwing action.
The green t-shirt is definitely my favourite out of these 2. I used a piece of stripey ribbon in between the yellow and pink to give it the vintage feel.
And yesterday I finished off some butterfly t-shirts. I've posted a tutorial here if you want to give one of these a go.
Fishing Game: Tutorial
Several months ago I quickly whipped up this magnetic fishing game for a good friend's little girl.
Well actually, when I say quickly, it wasn't really quick at all. One of those projects you think will take an hour and 3 hours later you're only half way through. It is such a cute game though and easy to throw in the nappy bag so I thought, one day when I've got absolutely nothing else to do and I find myself with my feet up sipping a refreshing cool drink infused with lemon, mint and ginger, I will try it again. Of course that day never came but nevertheless, I went to work trying to make it a more efficient project. I have come to the conclusion that making 10 little fishies is going to take you a little while but if it's for a pair of chubby little hands whose arms you love to feel around your neck, it's time well spent.
I went into a production line so that I could make it more worthwhile and I've collected quite a pile of fish, some which still need finishing around the edges and some just waiting for a permanent home......poor little sewing table refugees.
Anyway, before I commence instructions for your fish this is what you need:
For the fish:
-scraps of different fabrics (lots of different colours and patterns are best). You need enough of each fabric to do each side of one fish.
-pellon (enough to go on the inside of both sides of the fabric for the fish). Pellon is a type of thin fusible batting. Go on, ask for it at Spotlight or whatever fabric place you shop at. I promise you they will know what you mean.
-zinc plated washers (from a hardware store- not too big,about the size of an average button). Not all washers are magnetic. Stainless steel ones are not. I advise that you have your phone with you when you're in the hardware shop and then ask google if the particular washers you are planning on purchasing are magnetic. Such a nice guy, Google. Always so helpful.
For the fishing rod:
-8"/20cm length of dowel, thick enough for toddler hands to grab.
-Good quality twine
Before you get cracking on the fish a word about the magnet. I had real trouble finding a decent magnet in a hardware shop. I ended up dismembering some cabinet magnets like this:
Because of the blur you can't really see that it has a 4kg pull strength. That is the strongest I could find. Weaker magnets won't have the strength to connect with the washer once inside the fabric, so make sure you get a magnet with 4kg of pull strength.
I just pulled the plastic and the metal off from the outside
Until I was left with this:
The magnet is the dark rectangle on the right with a hole in the middle. Everything else I threw into the tinker tin for the kids to build things with. Anyway, you drill a small hole in the end of your piece of dowel and then thread the string through. Tie a knot in the end which won't allow the string to slip through the hole you drilled. Then you tie the other end of the piece of string to the magnet.
Now onto the fish:
The first thing to do is to make yourself a pattern.... Yes sorry people (still working out how to upload a PDF after my first attempt majorly munted my computer with a giant file which just wouldn't stop growing. I'll try it again, but not today :)
I can hear some of you saying , "I can't draw a pattern. I'm hopeless at drawing." Of course you can do it. Just fold a piece of paper over and draw half a fish along the fold.
Keep it folded and cut along the line you just drew. Unfold it and you will have a nice symmetrical fish. If it looks like it's still got Jonah in the belly, or if it is looking a little anorexic, try again, making it a little fatter or thinner if needed.
Next, you need 2 scraps of the same fabric (for the back and front of the fish). Iron a piece of pellon onto both pieces of fabric and then sandwich them together, right sides facing out.
Put your fish pattern on top and trace around it.
Next, start sewing along the line that you traced, beginning at the point on the head of the fish.
Use a small stitch length and stitch nearly all the way around the outside, stopping when you get to an inch away from where you started.
Leave the needle in the fabric and slip in your washer.
After you've put the washer into the fish continue stitching back to where you started and then go around the fish one more time so that that washer has no chance of escaping.
Once you get back around to the point of the fish, stitch another inch around. Make sure your washer is up in the nose of the fish and then stitch a line across the fish to the other side, so that your washer is tucked safely up in the head of the fish.
Stitch along this line 2 or 3 times.
Now if you are wise, it is at this point that you will get some pinking shears and cut around the edges, about the distance of the green line from the stitching. Pinking shears will stop the fabric from fraying. I however, was not in my right mind. I cut them out with straight scissors and then zig-zagged the edges...
Which has and is taking me AGES to finish them (and it's boring). That's why there are so many homeless fish on my sewing table. So be wiser than me..... Use your pinking shears.
Repeat that process as many times as you want with lots of different fabrics so that you can discuss colours, patterns and textures. Whip up a simple drawstring bag and you've got a great little game for toddlers and preschoolers.
A new baby is always a good excuse to crack out the Janome. My friend just had a baby girl. Her poor mum had an horrific time during her pregnancy for a number of different reasons so I wanted to make her baby something special. I saw her for the first time on Sunday.... yes the tears welled up for a few seconds but I hardened up.
When I first saw these quilts by Alison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew I decided it was definitely a good one for a Copy-Kate. I love the simplicity of the design and the clean look. I find a lot of her quilts a real treat for the eye without being too busy. I limited myself to fabrics which I already had....tried to kerb the fabric buying addiction slightly.
For the back I needed a bit extra than what I had for the backing fabric so I pieced a few rectangles together.
I'm not as yet the greatest quilter, so I opted for easy lines a quarter inch either side of the triangles on the front.
Special thanks to Emily and her skinny little arms for holding up the quilt, and to Abigail for being born.
Harnessing the Power of the Escapee Toddler
I'm sure most mums have had a child who can escape out of most harnessing systems in prams and car seats. Georgie has well and truly reached that point. In the stroller, she gets her arms out, untangles her legs, rolls onto her tummy and then slips out the front of the stroller, all within the space of 5 seconds. Before I know it I just about run her over. And then it's onto carrying the struggling child under your arm all while trying push the stroller. Georgie often goes "boneless" (a wonderful description coined by the children's author Mo Willems) and becomes slippery, almost impossible to hold. Whatever else I had planned in errands goes out the window and I take the fastest route to the car. Too bad that I might of still needed to get apples, bananas, juice, dishwasher tablets, a present for a party on Saturday etc.
During the school holidays I took my children to the science museum here in Perth, like I do every school holidays. I let the boys each bring a friend so I had 6 children all together. I knew that an escapee Georgie would make the day a disaster and cut the fun short. The night before we went, I snickered devilishly to myself as I quickly whipped up this little restraint and thought of the foiled escape plans of the poor toddler.
As you can see she was not happy when she realised that she would be stuck in the stroller. Some may have mistaken it for a pot holder but it did the job and was a big factor in the day being a success.
All was forgiven with an icey pole at the end of the day
and I must say that it doubled really well as a bib.
Unfortunately, we are having dramas in the car as well. Her arms are always out of the straps. I have tightened the straps so much that I can barely get them over her fat little belly to clip in. I rethought the design of the harness so that it could be used in the car seat and came up with this.
It has studs down the side so that it can be used on any types of shoulder straps. It comes just under her chin so that there is no way of her getting her arms out.
It works great in the car, although there is always a protest when I pull it out of the nappy bag.
There has been an unanticipated bonus of using the harness in the pram. If Georgie ever sleeps in the pram it is only ever a short 40 minute nap. The moment she comes out of that first sleep cycle she sits bolt upright and wakes herself up completely. But with her chest pinned to the back of the pram she has resettled on her past 2 pram naps. I've seen her toes wiggle out the end of the blanket and then she's gone back to sleep.....and she's realised quickly that it's no use protesting the sleep because she can't do a thing about it. Makes me feel kind of mean but that's life when you're only a baby.
Here she is in the bike seat on the back of my bike.
The harnessing system on this baby seat is absolutely hopeless. Often when I am riding I feel the weight change suddenly in the back of my bike and turn around to see her standing up enjoying the view while I am riding (yep....."you're such a bad mother" stares from any passers by).
Well not anymore Georgie. For the moment, this little escaping beast has been quelled.
Ladies Harem Pants