Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tuesday catch-up

Phillipa's disappearing 9-patch Christmas placemats (basted, ready for quilting) - Christmas present for her sister

Look how beautifully Belinda's Kookaburra is coming along!

My 2nd beaded wineglass cover complete! 

So I started the 3rd..

And by the end of the morning, I was "half way" (as far as rows go, not as far as 'stitches' do...)

Gingernut Banoffee Tarts - yum!

Tuesday craft @ my house!

Phillipa's gorgeous disappearing 9 patch bedrunner (not complete)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Funky Christmas Stockings

Only 37 days until Christmas so thought I had better get organised and start making some of the Christmas projects I had on my 'to do list'. The patterns I downloaded from or I can drop them off if anyone wants to make any.

All you need is some green material, red material, ribbon, glitter felt and cotton to sew them together. I make six of them in a couple of nights so for those of you who are more adept with the sewing machine it won't take you long at all. They are just a little bit different, while still being Christmasy.

I hope my neices and nephews love them. I hope my ratbags love them too. If you see them please don't tell them!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Christmas Tree tea pots

After a trip to the Guildford Heritage Markets I was inspired to make these cute little Christmas Tree garlands for the school P&C. Two pieces of felt cost me $3, the material was left over Christmas material I had at home, the tea bags were still in the cupboard from Tracey's Kitchen Tea and the crochet cotton was kindly donated by Tracey.

Cut the tea pots out, sew a little square of material on, glue the little message on, add the string to the top, pop a tea bag in, I used one's that came in their own individual sachets and you're done.

Message reads 'On Christmas Day, At half past three, Make yourself a cup of tea, I'll think of you, You think of me, Sitting around the Christmas Tree.' Forgot to take individual photo on camera. Have one on the phone but if you know me you will know I have done well to make this post let alone get a photo from my phone to the computer. That is a whole other tuturial with Tracey.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Stitchin' sisters

Now that school holidays are over, it's back to routine (thank goodness!).. which means we're back to our Tuesday "Stitch n Bitch" craft mornings, yay! 
I spent the morning pressing seams, because my MIL broke her ironing board and I had all my Harry Potter quilt tumbler strips to press as well as my Christmas table runner squares.

 Belinda is doing an amazing job on her Kookaburra cross stitch - look at that birdie! She'll have it finished in no time, seriously.. she's only got his eye and the rest of the branch to go, I think (including some gum leaves?). Belinda did mention that next time she'll pick something that has more colours though! (as opposed to shades of the same colour)
 And Phillipa managed to get about 4 stitches done on *her* cross stitch in between making coffee, talking and feeding hungry children!
Sisters in matching aprons!
 Phillipa and I decided to catch up again on Wednesday so that we could get a little more done, and probably because we've been suffering craft day withdrawals and needed more than the hour or so we had on Tuesday. We were joined by Phillipa's sister Sandra, who needed to finish off her own Emmeline apron - having borrowed Phillipa's pattern (previously blogged about here). The girls looked so cute in their matching aprons! And I'd also like to give Phillipa's spinach pie an honourable mention - it was AMAZING! Because Phillipa can't have egg she added some sundried tomato and olive to the ricotta, feta and spinach (which she picked fresh from her garden!) and instead of filo pastry she used puff pastry. Total food win. I ate 2 pieces.
As for me, I laid out my HP tumbler strips in order, measured them and cut my horizontal sashing strips to size (with margin for error - I'll trim them up when I sash them all together) and laid out all my Christmas square pairs so that I could turn them into Christmas four patches. I'd been hoping to get back into my sewing room so that I could move on to the next phase, but the week conspired against me and I'm pinning all my hopes on tomorrow!

I also ironed my calico for the centre piece of the table runner (which needs to be embroidered) so hopefully when I make it into my sewing room tomorrow I can get it all sorted out to the point where I can be embroidering at next Tuesday's stitch n bitch! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

At home soy candles

Inspired by the soy candle making day on Friday my sister in law and I made our own candles at home Friday night. We had rummaged through second hand stores finding tea cups and saucers, little parfait glasses, mini coffee sets etc for our candles and were really happy with the results. We purchased 3 kgs of the soy wax and had plenty left over for next time. The colours we used were honey and purple and we decided not to add any fragrance as they have their own lovely scent. From start to finish it took us about an hour. Unfortanately for my sister in law we had done so much shopping over the last two weeks she didn't have room in her bag to take them home. Lucky for me! Might give them to her for Christmas. Ha!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Soy Wax Candle Making

Yesterday Linda, her sister-in-law Tracey, Phillipa and I attended a soy wax candle making workshop at our local family community centre. Kym came along to play crèche nanny for us, which was super lovely of her. The course was run by another girl in our playgroup session, Kylie.
Jugs of wax waiting to be melted
The first thing we had to do was measure and melt our wax. This took AGES. Infact, the melting took probably as long as the rest of the process altogether.

Linda sticking her wick into her jar
The "first round" of candles we made were a gorgeous lidded jar and a maxi light (as opposed to a tea light.. it will apparently burn for around 12 hours).  While we waited for the wax to melt, Kylie showed us how to stick our wicks into our jars, and showed us our colour and fragrance options.
My prepared jars and my essential oil blend (from home)

Kylie demonstrating how to check the temperature
 There were two ways to add colour: liquid concentrate and solid colour blocks that you grate/shave in. Linda went with the liquid concentrate and boy was it concentrated! She used a single drop and she had the most gorgeous, vibrant magenta while Phillipa and I shaved a tiny amount of solid colour into ours and got lovely pastel shades. As for fragrance, Linda chose "Dragon's Blood", Phillipa used a combination of Citronella & Sweet Orange essential oils and I had brought an essential oil blend that my MIL makes called "Peace" which has Patchouli, Lime and Peru Balsam.
Phillipa's first candles

Linda's first candles (She had a bit of extra leftover wax and needed more containers!)

Phillipa shaving colour into her wax
The "second round" candle we made was a frosted square open topped jar. Linda went with a vibrant teal colour, and I think Egyptian Musk fragrance. Phillipa and I both used ultramarine solid colour, with Phillipa going with Grapefruit & Lime fragrance while I went with Sweet Orange essential oil. Funnily enough, all three of us had very similar coloured candles... completely unplanned I might add!
Waiting for my last lot of wax to melt, jar & essential oils prepped.
Some of the other girls (including Linda & Tracey) arranged to purchase supplies to take home so that they could reinforce what they'd learnt at the workshop, but I opted to make another candle at the workshop because we had some extra time. I used the rest of my "Peace" blend, topped up with some Sweet Orange essential oil, but no colour in a gorgeous square lidded jar.
Linda's completed candles

Phillipa's completed candles

My completed candles (minus one maxi light that I gave to Kym)

 As a special thank you for minding the kids I gave Kym one of the maxi lights I made. Overall, we had a great time.. so much so that we're thinking of getting Kylie to bring some supplies up to playgroup before the school holidays so that we can have a holiday playdate to make some more candles as Christmas presents (and some for us, of course!).

And as an added bonus, the soy wax candles made our hands, the car and our houses smell lovely! Now I just need to arrange a romantic, candle lit dinner with my husband as an excuse to light one.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Weekly Stitch 'n Bitch

Almost every Tuesday the girls and I catch up for a pre-Playgroup stitch 'n' bitch. We all bring along whatever project we're working on, chat, drink tea (or cappucinos from Phillipa's coffee machine), eat and talk. There's usually a lot of eating and talking.
First things first, scones in the oven!
Last week Phillipa treated us to our favourite scone recipe with the added goodness of sultanas. I can't begin to describe how much I love fruit scones - I don't know why I always forget to add the sultanas when I make them because I ALWAYS have some in my pantry! While they were cooking we all took turns with the whisk to whip the cream.. my arm was aching, which clearly demonstrates how lazy I've become with all my fancy modern technological contraptions!

The scones were served with this delightful strawberry & rhubarb jam that was all syrupy and perfect for scones as well as the cream (which we did a mighty fine job of whipping - yay for team work!).

Phillipa in her gorgeous Emmeline apron
 I had to snap a picture of Phillipa in her gorgeous reversible apron that she made using the very popular Emmeline pattern. One day soon I'll get around to making an apron for myself.. I even went so far as to buy my fabric (which Blossom & Bean liked so much they've demanded aprons of their own!) but I was still hunting for the perfect pattern. I like the Emmeline pattern, but sadly I'm rather generous in the decolletage area and I'd need to modify the pattern to fit. As it happens I found a pattern that I think will suit, followed promptly by some more fabric that I adored, so now I will have to make 2 aprons (ok, make that 4 once you add in the kids).
Don't you love seeing things you've made being used?
 Then it was time to go and take happy snaps of things around Phillipa's house. Like the tea cosy that I made for her (her choice of fabrics - aren't they gorgeous?). There's this special feeling that you get when you see people using something that you've made, isn't there? And then I decided that we should showcase some of Phillipa's talent.. while most of my projects are still in the planning/have purchased fabric stage, Phillipa actually gets hers finished!
A top for Little Miss J
 There's a pretty top for Miss J, whose favourite colour is orange. I believe that Phillipa has also purchased some fabric to make another top in this design for her eldest daughter, Miss E.
A nightie for Miss H or Miss J
 Then there was the adorable summer nightie that I think is for Miss J, but might be for Miss H. I'm not sure that I could put Blossom in a white nightie, she's too grubby.. but I do love the idea of a traditional white cotton nightie... so clean and so cool.
A dress for Miss H
 And last but not least (and really, not last.. just for today) the gorgeous apple print dress that Phillipa made for Miss H. She will look adorable in those bold colours! But then again, Phillipa's girls are always adorable.
I can see a Kookaburra! 
And don't think I forgot about the actual stitching and bitching part. Belinda is working on a cross stitch project that she rediscovered after 20 odd years in storage. Over the last couple of months it has really started to take shape and I am confident that it will not be another 20 years before we see this project completed!
Cutting fabric for pillows
Phillipa's project of the day was cutting fabric panels in order to make some pillows and a wall hanging for Miss J's bedroom. I anticipate that by next week's stitch 'n' bitch she will probably have finished the pillows!

Kym was working on a camoflage lens cover for her father-in-law to use while taking photos of birds (so as not to scare them), but she refused to be photographed after she saw the photos from the pasta making post! I'll get you next time, my pretty!

And once I stopped happy snapping I sat down to do some more work on my green crocheted poncho that I was planning to wear to WICKED!

While that was the sum of our stitch 'n' bitch outing, Belinda, Phillipa and I also had a little outing to our local Spotlight store on Friday, where we managed to find more fabric to add to our future projects list. Oh happy day!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Pound of Flour

So the girls and I made pasta today.. Just one of those impromptu mommy playdates, you know how it is!

Pasta Dough
The recipe is super easy - 2 cups plain flour, 2 tsp oil & 2 eggs... this is the recipe that my mother has been making for as long as I can remember, but it's too generic to be a family secret ;) We also made some egg-free pasta for Phillipa, which we made the same way, but substituting warm water in place of the eggs, a bit at a time until the right texture was achieved.

Linda & Kym working the pasta machine 

More pasta!

Look at all that pasta!
The plan was to roll out the pasta sheets and then turn ~50% into fettuccine and leave the rest as lasagne sheets. We ran out of bench space jut before we started to cut the fettuccine, so Kym and I went hunting for a broomstick to hang the fettuccine over (old style!).. but Kym came up with a better idea - how about a clothes airer?!

Hanging pasta to dry..

Phillipa hanging out pasta
Best. Idea. Ever.
Then it was time for a quick half glass of wine while we waited for the pasta to dry enough to take home.
I don't know what the others did with theirs, but I cooked the fettuccine tonight (using another recipe of my mother's- Pasta Piselli e Funghi.. which is a fancy way of saying Pasta with peas, mushrooms, cream & parmesan) and I plan to make some Bolognese sauce tomorrow night so that I can put together a Lasagne for dinner on Friday when my mama comes to stay the night.
And incase anyone wants it, here is the Home Made Pasta recipe (.doc file) - let me know if you'd rather have it in .pdf form.