Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the Making

I'm a little bit excited about what is in the making right now. It's not finished and I don't want to give away too much, but it does include some of my favourite thing to sew. I'm trying to take more progress shots than I usually remember to take, but since I'm working on it predominately at night, the photos are pretty ugly.

Making things is fun though, and I love to see it come together. Some nights I lay it out and I'm daunted by how much there is left to do, and other times I'm spurred on and think it's nearly done.

There is a lot of thinking to do with this project. There are a whole lot of steps that need to happen before other things can be sewn. So far, there have been no mix ups of the order that require unpicking, but I'm really trying to think things through so I don't make any mistakes that do require unpicking. So far so good.

Even though we don't really celebrate the slow, sometimes painful, making process, I'm glad to be in it, because it reminds me that God has me in the making. I've been reflecting on this a fair bit lately. I've been following Jesus for over thirteen years now, and it occurs to me that it's a long road to eternity. The making process is not always easy or glamorous. Not something that we often photograph, but it's a process, and each step is one step closer to that finished product.

So here's to being in the making, and to the fabulous end product I'll have to show you, hopefully soon.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Kindy Dress

Sophie asked me if she could wear a dress to kindy before the holidays, but she had such a great time at kindy playing and painting, that whatever she wears is inevitably going to get completely trashed. She has plenty of dresses, but they are all pretty lovely, either made by me (like this one, or her Easter Dress, or her Bear Dress) or my mum (recently this gorgeous new Japanese-print dress, and a dinosaur dress), and I wasn't ready to risk any of them just yet.

Enter the Ikea fabric that I'd bought a long time ago. We are talking a long long time ago actually, like, in the Time Before Children. I bought it so long ago that they don't even stock it anymore. It's so cool though. I made the most basic dress I could, (which I've made before, here and here) and then let the girls colour it in.

I helped with the colouring too.

After it was coloured, I sewed it up, iron it and washed it, as per the instructions (to set the ink). Now, Sophie has a kindy dress!

It's perfect. She wore it the first day back after the September holidays, and also the second day back, which was photo day. Yes, two days in a row. It was totally trashed after the first day (as all of her kindy clothes are) and I had to wash it, but she was pretty insistent about wearing it for photo day, so I didn't mind too much. I mean, when your kid really wants to wear something that you made for photo day, you can't complain right?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Too Fast

I've been thinking about blogging for about three weeks now. I'll see things that remind me, or make me think: "I should blog that", but for some reason, the actual blogging has not taken place. We have been really busy, and, for the most part, sick. I guess the sickness is pretty self explanatory, but the busyness of late has been more than the usual.

Allow me to explain. Back in March, my younger sister was up from Melbourne and we were all having family dinner. It was a Friday night. Parents, us, Fiona, Sarah, her Steve and Hugo. The topic of Christmas came up. Fiona had realised she would have time off this Christmas and asked about our plans. It was a strong likelihood that Sarah and I (both married), were going to be spending Christmas with the in-law sides of the family, not in Brisbane.

So Fiona announced she wouldn't bother coming up then, but travel somewhere else. At which point my parents said they would also travel, since no one was going to be a round. And suddenly, in the strange commotion that is a loud semi-Greek family having dinner, we were talking about a white Christmas and Sarah was looking at air fares.

By the following Monday, people had begun to book. In less than a week, everyone was going.


In fact, we had organised air fares and accommodation in about two weeks. Then it took me a good three months to get my head around the fact that we were actually going. Passports were organised and the months ticked closer. (Honestly, the passports have so far been the funniest part; getting the girls to stand still for their photos. They took it so seriously, and I was dying of laughter as they over compensated with every movement. "Don't smile" was translated for Rachel as "scowl at the camera". "Sophie, tilt your head up a little" meant "look directly up at the ceiling with your entire face". Words can not describe how hilarious it was; they were just trying so hard.)

Then Steve came home from work one day and said he'd been asked to go to Seattle for six weeks. I can't say too much, because details are not finalised and there are some NDA's floating around, but suffice to say, I'm so proud of him and the work he has done to be selected to go. I pretty much have the best husband in the world. He was even leaning towards saying no because it would mean leaving me alone with the girls for six weeks. Such an amazing opportunity though.

So we re-looked at our travel dates. Now, Steve was going to be flying back from Seattle on a Sunday, and we would all be flying out to Budapest (on an extremely long 24hr flight) the following Friday. It just didn't seem like a great idea. So we looked at options and all of a sudden, we are extending our two week holiday by a week to include some time in the US.

What is this madness!?

It is madness. I still can not get my head around it. 2017 was supposed to be relatively quiet year!

Anyway, we've spent the last few weeks now planning not only for a white Christmas, but also time in LA and trying to figure out what it will look like to have Steve gone for six weeks. If the three weeks away with the girls wasn't complicated enough, it's even more complicated knowing you have to plan most things before Steve leaves so you can do it together.

We also have some small trips planned before we go too, can you believe it? We've had one already - heading up to Bundy for a long weekend for strawberry picking with friends. That turned out a little differently to what we expected but was a generally lovely time.

Our other getaway is for Steve's mum's 60th, which is at the end of October. Actually, Steve will leave for Seattle from there, so we have to pack a beach suit case for all of us, a Seattle work suitcase with whatever else fits for Europe for Steve and then I've got the left over suitcase with the rest of the Europe things in it at home. Can you see how this is more busy than usual? I'm so looking forward to that weekend though, with Steve's mum and John, Aroha and the kids too.

I think next year will have to be a quiet one, because this year is racing towards the end and it's all happening just a little too fast for me. Anyway, I'll endeavour to be a little more on top of things in the weeks to come. And really, when Steve is away, I'll have no excuse right? Because I'll have loads of free time in the evenings for productive things like blogging. :P

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I made some skirts for the girls. I got some remnant fabric at Spotlight when I was in there getting elastic. It was only $2, so I got the meter. Half for each child I figured. But Sophie is taller now, so I paired hers with some leftover purple from her Easter Dress. Then I added ribbon, just because. 

It's pretty and swishy and just a bit long, but means she'll get a lot of wear out of it right? Rachel's isn't finished yet, because the half meter wasn't long enough for her either, and I'll need to lengthen it somehow. Still working on that.

Anyway, in an endeavour to take more interesting photos of the clothes I sew, I took these the first time Sophie wore the skirt on our trip to the Workshops Rail Train Museum at Ipswich. She's wearing a new shirt too, which is good, because it almost makes up for her grubby kindy shoes.

Sophie did have a little bit of fun posing for the photos, but in the end, never really held still long enough for a superb one. Not sure how other bloggers do it, but I suspect there are bribes involved.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Shades of Blue

When one has decided to mass produce for one's child, it is my strong recommendation that the material chosen, is all the same, or a very similar colour, thus enabling mass production to occur without having to change the thread on one's sewing machine. 

This was certainly the case for the quick sewing I did last weekend. Sophie needed new shorts for summer (and boy is it coming in quickly this year!) so I asked her to choose material from the stash (still trying to use it up before buying more) and got sewing. I was able to cut everything out on a Saturday morning and sew two thirds of it Saturday night. I ran out of elastic and needed to borrow a pattern for the last pair of pants, so the final sewing happened the following Sunday night.

Can you see what I mean by it all being the same colour? I had blue thread on Sally the Sewing Machine the entire time. So fast. Sophie got four new pairs of shorts. Three of which are Sycamore Shorts Patterns, which is my go to basic shorts sewing pattern (see?) I left the pockets off two of them (the blue flowers and the pink-ish one, but put them on the owl pants, because I had the coordinating blue (left over from Rachel's Easter Dress). The owl fabric I've used before in an Izzy Top for Sophie.

When I measured out the fabric, I noticed that I had just enough of the blue/owl combination to make one more pair of shorts, though slightly smaller, so I made a pair for Rachel. I kind of like the mix of the shorts and pockets being alternating.

And since I was making something for Rachel I decided I'd make her a dress too, just because I could. I have heaps of this blue with white flowers material left over too, at least another two meters I think. Actually not sure where it came from. The pinky material came from a lady at church.

The final pair of shorts were Clover Shorts, which are by far fancier in construction, although I left out the pockets, sash and belt tabs for easy sewing. I still did the cuffs though. I don't know where this fabric came from either, maybe the haul from my friend Kurt recently? But there is also loads of this still. I'll be making more shorts out of it in the future!

Friday, September 01, 2017

Winter Garden Spoils

So much grows in the winter. It surprises me, though I don't know why. Maybe because people rave about spring being the happening time for growing things. Meh.

This years growth of snow pea plants has far surpassed last year. When you water things regularly, and it gets enough sun, the growing really happens by itself. Originally I had some trellis up and my Dad convinced me it would need more, and it turns out he was right, because they have grown past the extra trellis.

The tomatoes next to them have also taken off, and not just cherry tomatoes this year! Actual tomatoes too! Unfortunately there is bad news, the possums have discovered the garden and are eating the parsley like there is no tomorrow. They also ate a whole half dozen strawberries that we had growing too. Rotten possums.

The other things we've got growing next to the snow peas are these beans. To be honest, I don't know what it is, but I will clue you in on how to grow your own unknown beans!

Give your children a pack of dried soup mix beans to play with. And some lentils and kidney beans and chick peas for fun too. Watch them pour these beans from container to container, enjoying the sound they make and hording as many as they can fit into an ice cream bucket.

Then watch, or don't watch, as they ignore your instructions to keep all of the beans in the large container and on the mat that you have placed in the yard, and cart the beans all over the place. Then wait as the beans are dropped and left in all sorts of places. Realise that you can't possibly pick up all of these teeny tiny dried beans and figure that the birds will pick them up.

A few weeks later, after the rain and sun have done their job, you will find a fair few of these dried beans have actually germinated and spouted in your yard, or in the garden or in the cracks between the pavement. Then you can pick them up, plant them in your veggie garden and wait and see what grows.

Who needs to buy seeds or go through a complicated germinating process, when your kids and nature can do it all for you?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


At the sewing machine again.

I actually had started this what feels like ages ago. It was week one or two of term (so back in July), and I was wandering around the house looking for something to do. With all of my assessment submitted (still haven't had everything marked yet), and all the kids settling into term really well, I didn't have anything to do! Madness!

Anyway, I promptly spent two weeks of spare nights cutting up jeans and shorts for another jeans quilt. Again, I'm working through carefully hoarded, I mean, collected, material and getting rid of stuff by actually using it, rather than letting it get dusty. I wish I had counted how many I cut up, because there were a lot. This one will be bigger than the other two, because I'm are aiming for it to fit the queen bed, rather than a single.

Anyway, after the cutting and measuring and recutting and remeasuring was done, it all sat around for a few weeks while I procrastinated. I didn't really have enough space to lay out the squares to get an idea of how it might come together, so I waited until I went to my parents place and did it there. Then it lay around for another couple of weeks while I procrastinated some more. This time I was thinking that it was going to take ages to sew everything together and I couldn't possibly do it while the kids were here because they would surely mess up the pattern and my layout etc.

Finally I bit the bullet. Steve was going to be out one night and I really wanted to get the pile of fabric out of the way before the kids did decide to investigate the bag it was in, on the floor, in the dinning room. And when I started, I got it done in about an hour and a half of sewing. Which is not long at all.

Despite that, it's not big enough. It needs at least another two strips of squares. I did a look through to see if I had any jeans left. I do, though the final two strips won't be as full of variety as the rest, because they will probably be out of the the same pairs of jeans, unless I want to unpick some of the other strips, which, let's be honest, is never high on the agenda. Anyway, maybe I'll put the half-completed-but-at-least-sewn-together quilt top away and procrastinate some more. I seem to have given myself some kind of wrist injury or RSI from being an parent-type-adult and I should probably rest it some more before I go cutting up things and doing more damage.