Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I'm working hard on saying no to people who offer to give me free material. It's hard. Oh so very hard. But I gave in when my friend Megan down the road offered me this doona cover she had picked up at an op shop for $4. One side had big trucks and cars printed on with words, and the other had a lighter blue background with a smaller print of trucks and cars. It was so fun! Who could resist?!

In return for the copious amounts of free material, I made Megan's two kids something out of the fabric. I used some tutorials from Ikat Bag, which I had used before to make the Strawberry Print Denim Dress and another Red Denim Dress. Very helpful.

I love the pockets and piping on Digby's overalls. Those are the best I think. I wish I had more photos. Hadley got something similar, but a bit more girly: an elastic waist skirt with a bib front and cross over straps.

To make it slightly more fancy, I used some yellow piping around the straps and bib front. I've used it before in other skirts (and maybe something else, but I can't remember). Those buttons are useless, because I'm terrible at button holes, but they look good.

Sophie also got something out of this fabulous material. Same kind of thing that I made for Hadley, although she got two. One, which is totally plain and not fancy for kindy.

And the other which has a little bit of piping on the bib front (I didn't have enough left for the straps as well), and some cool buttons, which she is not allowed to wear to kindy.

I've still got fabric left too, so maybe Hugo and Rachel will be the next beneficiaries.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pillow Making

This was one of the things on our holiday list that was possibly the first thing ticked off. I'd been meaning to sew Rachel a new pillow cover for ages, and day one of the holidays was just as good as any day to do it. 

Rachel loved being able to sort through my scrap fabrics and choose ones she liked. I may have helped streamline her choices somewhat, but she definitely had strong preferences about things.

All the straight sewing was perfect for Rachel to be helping with too. The butterfly material is leftover from this skirt I made for Sophie last year. I'm really not sure where the stars came from, the red heart fabric on the back is a bit velvety, and it came from a stack of stuff I got from a lady at church (most of which was crazy upholstery fabric that was crazy to sew with but made great warm quilts for church (read a snap of it here)).

Monday, July 10, 2017


I love making lists. It makes me feel good to know that I'm organised and crossing things off. Lists are fabulous. Usually when we reach the holidays, I've got a list of things to do. Things that are fun, things that are necessary, and all things in between.

These holidays however, started with Rachel's birthday, and I had spent the last few weeks of the school term thinking so much about Rachel's birthday and the subsequent party that I hadn't planned the holidays at all. No catch ups with people, no park play dates, and no things to do. Unusual, but also good, because it meant that I could ask the girls to contribute to the holiday list, because I hadn't already filled it up.

So we made our list together. It was a combination of a bucket list and a to do list. I let the girls suggest pretty much anything, just to see what they would come up with. They wanted to visit a lot of parks, and do random things like stay in their pyjamas all day.

I put a check box next to each thing and did a little drawing so the girls could remember what each thing was. The final list had over 20 things, and I'm pretty happy to say we got most of them ticked off! It was really nice to have let the girls be a part of their holiday planning. Next time I'll put a little two week calendar under the list and they can see how hard it is to put everything into just two weeks.

Annoyingly, one of the most important things which was actually pretty essential to get done, was one of the only things not crossed off. Why is organising passport applications so hard!?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hard to Grow

I don't think that these raspberries were particularly hard to grow. We just planted the plant and it grew. And then raspberries appeared (much to the surprise of some members of my family who shall remain unnamed, who had told me that assuredly it was too warm for raspberries to grow in Brisbane.)

It was all very exciting for everyone, especially the kids.

They were delicious. The raspberries that is, not the kids.

But what is hard about the raspberries, is that when the fruit appears, you really have to watch it carefully, because it goes ripe/over ripe very quickly. Then you have missed your chance to get some delicious raspberries at all.

Thankfully, even though this is mostly the case for our first crop of raspberries, we have still been able to reap some delicious fruit. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Renovation! Wait... no... Just Painting.

One thing about having a house is that it's never really done. Ever. And things are always getting old and falling apart. Our house is full of these things, which we usually put in the "we'll fix that when we renovate" which is code for "five or ten years when we finally put a deck on and do whatever else it takes to make the deck attach nicely to the house". Steve also hopes that we might make the kitchen slightly bigger in the process, so as to accommodate a dishwasher, which is something that I'm not opposed to.

Anyway, we've done bits and pieces, but we were taking a break from renovating for a while. The downstairs toilet had stopped working at least eighteen months ago, maybe longer, and we just attributed it to being old and broken and didn't really bother about it. So low on our list of things we cared about it, and it seemed like a first world problem. I mean, we already have a working toilet in the house, so do we really need the other one? 

Then the brand new washing machine started to not really work so well. I got a washing machine guy in who told me it wasn't the washing machine, so then we got a plumber in to look at things. Turns out the pipes were rusted and thus no water was even getting through. The good news was that fixing that would actually fix the downstairs toilet too, because, as it turns out, the toilet wasn't actually broken, it just wasn't getting any water. 

Now that the toilet was working again, we started using it again. Especially with toilet training kids, it was way easier to access from outside then running up the stairs and into the house to get to the one in the bathroom. But now that we were using it more, I was also noticing something else. 

It was really dirty. The walls and floor, even though they had been cleaned, were just gross. The walls were a dark green colour, which didn't help because it made the small toilet space feel even smaller and dirtier than it was. The floor was a white paint that was coming off to show previous layers of yellow and green; also not attractive. 

So I decided to paint. I guess it was just a first world problem, but paint isn't too expensive, and it would make a huge difference. 

I wish I had more before photos, but I didn't think to take them until I had taken out the cistern, puttied the holes, sanded the walls and cut in the first coat.

It was serious business.

Incidentally, Rachel helped me putty that big hole on the right. When I mentioned it to Sophie and asked her if we should paint the bathroom, she suggested just building a bigger bathroom. I like her dreams, but it just wasn't practical. Then she suggested painting it pink, which was a suggestion I disregarded pretty quickly as well.

Here it is after an undercoat and two coats of beautiful white paint. The work of one weekend. So empowering and shiny. Of course, the shiny-ness of the newly painted white walls really highlights the old-ness of the old paint trims (around the window, door frame and the door itself). Not to mention the floor.

The floor, which now looked so revolting that I started scraping the paint, and took three children to Bunnings to get a tin of cement paint.

Here is Steve getting to it with the gurney, which was much faster, but with some sad side effects. The white paint came up but some of the gurney action splashed up on my newly painted walls, so now I have to do some patch up work on my paint job. It also made the laundry area really flooded.

And the paint that was scraped up got washed outside and then re-stuck itself down. We don't really know what to do about that. My goal was to have the toilet finished by Rachel's birthday next Friday, but I don't think I'll make it. The floor really needs to be scrubbed back some more, and cement paint takes a lot longer to dry enough to walk on. Maybe in the holidays.

I installed that new toilet roll holder too, btw. The kids helped. Hugo was in charge of holding the allen key, which he was particularly excited about and went about pretending to tighten things. Then, as I was changing drill bits, I heard an "Uh oh": Hugo had put the allen key in the hole that I'd been drilling and it had fallen into the wall. He was pretty insistent that I get it out again, but there was none of that happening. Part of the wall, part of the ship.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Birthday Shorts

In other news, some friends of ours had a little celebration for their three year old on the weekend, so I made some shorts for him. 

Both girls helped with these. Rachel with the sewing of both shorts, and Sophie with the choosing of the yellow taxi and the ironing on of said yellow taxi (though I was so stressed about her enthusiasm to iron that I doubt I'll be letting anyone help with such a dangerous part of the process again).

I was lucky enough to have been given this material from a friend who had already cut the shorts out, but never gotten around to sewing them. They were a quick sew indeed. Here's hoping that come summer, they fit well.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Strawberry Print Denim

Once upon a time there was a pair of strawberry print denim pants that were never worn. They were carefully made by a loving mother, but alas, they never went past the drawer. Poor strawberry print denim pants. They never knew their father! Well, maybe they did, but that's beside the point.

The pants languished, far from the light of day. They travelled from drawer to drawer, but never left long enough to be worn. Until one day, another mother pulled them from their obscurity, and looked at them with a new light. 

Maybe, just maybe, this strawberry print denim was never meant to be pants at all. Maybe, if the strawberry print denim took a new and different from, it could reach and fulfil it's potential. No more would it be left in a drawer, but actually taken out and worn! 

So, with a new vision for the strawberry print denim, the mother carefully cut, pinned and sewed. Low and behold, the strawberry print denim became new! No longer confined to a life on unworn pants, but a pinafore dress with pockets! 

Unfortunately, despite now being a fabulous strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets, it still languishes. Though the mother tried to make a size three strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets, the end result was closer to a size five. And the almost size five child that lives in the house did not like the strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets, for reasons completely unknown.

And so the strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets waits some more. Until the little three year old girl who lives in the house that it was originally made for grows up just a little bit more. Then maybe it will get to see some of the brilliant light of day.

On a side note, the mother made the strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets out of the red material that turns every thing else red if you wash it in the washing machine together with other things. Luckily for everyone, the mother also remembered this before any colour changing washing occurred and managed to wash the strawberry print denim pinafore dress with pockets separately so it will not be responsible for any colour changing incidents in the future.

The end.