Saturday, March 22, 2014

Painting Apron Presents

We are fortunate enough to live next door to some pretty lovely neighbors. The ones on the left have two girls and were very generous with hand-me-down clothes when Sophie was born. I've made them dresses for their birthdays in the past, but this year I thought I might go for something more practical. I've noticed the girls on the deck painting a bit, so some nice painting aprons seemed to fit the bill.

I got all excited and looked at online tutorials and found some old business shirts of my dad's in the stash that I could use. Hooray! Reusing old things to make fun new things! Unfortunately, I got so excited and carried away, that I had one finished apron and one cut-out-ready-to-sew apron before I remembered that the girls next door will be two and four years old this year. Here is the first one on the pedestal fan which is pretending to be a dress form.

As you can see, or guess rather, this painting apron is big enough to fit a child that is around ten years old. Not two years, or even four years. As I'd already cut out the second, I figured I may as well sew it up anyway and both aprons can be worn in about six to eight years time. Until then, they can either gather dust or maybe just be used as dress ups? I don't know.

In the end, I did make a smaller one for the two year old (because her birthday is in May) which can probably be worn fairly soonish. All in all, great sewing practice (bound the edges of the aprons with self made bias-binding and stitched on the girls first initials to the fronts), but rather disappointing result, given that they are pretty useless for a long time. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Party Food

The heat wave this week has made me feel the full effects of being pregnant. Being 27 weeks pregnant to be exact. Steve says to me this morning that it's all down hill from here, and given that it's 9 am and I'm wanting to have a nap, I am inclined to agree with him. Despite the heat I did manage to finish a few sewing things yesterday which made me feel slightly better about myself (well, finishing them did, the actual sewing, not so much :P). But that's a post for another day.

Today, I thought I'd just share with you that I was really blessed on the weekend as I celebrated ten years of faith. I had spent a lot of time during the week thinking about this and getting ready for it (lots of cooking) and I really enjoyed seeing the people who came along to my strange idea of a celebration.

So glad Melissa had time to take some great photos there, because despite my best intentions, this was the best photo I took of my food (and the only food I took photos of).

That Chocolate Honey Cake was pretty amazing. Second time I've made it (the first being for Chaela's Baby Shower last year) but the perfect glaze still seems to elude me. This time I managed to sift in the flour, so it wasn't lumpy, but I didn't boil the honey and water long enough to start with, so it was nowhere near as tacky as it should have been. Oh well. Here is a better photo (Thanks Melissa!).

You can see the small Blueberry and Cream Cheese Tarts in the back ground of this photo. I also had White Chocolate and Cranberry Biscuits, as well as some delicious fruit. Highlight of the sweets was probably the Caramel Macadamia Slice. So delicious! Savories wise I did the Potato, Pesto and Ricotta Squares (sorry no photos), Cheese Twists (always a favorite) and some dip/dried fruit and nut platters.

The only other thing I have to say about the general ambiance of the party, was that we put up most of my bunting (too bad I didn't get to make some new stuff for the party). I could look out the windows in the dining room and there was a carnival happening in the yard. Yay for bunting! Again, a lack of photos, but you can see it in the background here as Sam waters my herbs.

 On a completely unrelated note, Sophie reached a milestone yesterday and broke her first plate. Well done!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finished Treats

Come tomorrow, will all this be as delicious as it looked today? I hope so. Special thanks to Gloria for helping me with the Potato, Pesto and Ricotta Squares. YUM!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I often wonder if I've done enough in a day. Have I been productive? Do I have something to show for the time spent? Maybe it's my task-driven nature coming through, but I often don't think a day has been worthwhile unless I can list of four or five things that are done.

Today, I'm feeling really tired. It is Grumpy Thursday for Sophie which always makes things trickier. We have people coming round for a thing on Saturday which I'm getting ready for. I vacuumed the house and spent an hour and a half starting to cook sweets for Saturday. (Check out the best Caramel Macadamia Slice I've ever made. Yum!)

At about 12:15, I was feeling fatigued and as I lay on the floor next to Sophie playing with duplo, I may have been wanting 1:00 to come faster so that Sophie could go to bed and I could have a nap. Then, inevitably, as 1:00 rolls around and Sophie is in bed, I'm suddenly struck by the thought: "Have I done enough to warrant a nap now?"

Have I done enough?

I've still got things to cook. I could be organizing dinner. There are three different sewing projects that need finishing, lying on the table waiting for me. Surely I should be doing these things. I could tidy up Sophie's toys (again). The hedges at the front need trimming and the lawn could use a mow. Is there something I could read? Then at least I'd have some progress to report on when Steve returns.

I wonder why I'm trapped by this desire to do things. Why am I continually deriving my worth, or the worth of my day from the list of things I can tick off? I long to hear God say to me: "Well done good and faithful servant." but am I trying to get that affirmation the wrong way?

Lord, help me to put aside the things and do what pleases you.

"The Lord has told you what is good, and what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I've been doing what feels like a significantly increased amount of reading in the last few months. I suppose it started towards the end of last year, when, after not reading anything much for a long time, I decided I'd read Sara Douglass's Axis Trilogy. It had been a long time since I've read it, and the three thick books provided a lot of depth to my otherwise quite shallow reading experiences (Where is the Green Sheep?, Ribbit Ribbit and of course, the Eric Carl classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (both Japanese and English versions)).

After finishing those in I think about a week and a half, it was time for something similar. I hadn't read the David Eddings stuff for a while. In fact, I hadn't read the Elenium and Tamuli Trilogies since I first read them a few years ago, so I started there. There are (quite obviously) three books in each of those and when I finished them, I began on The Belgariad, which has five books. This was then followed by The Malloreon, another five books, and then just this last week, I rounded off with the two companion books for these series (which I'd never read before), Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress.

If you do a count, in the last two and a bit months, I've read eighteen David Eddings books. I don't think I'll be reading them again for a long time. Furthermore, I don't think I'll ever be reading Belgarath or Polgara again. Ever. If you are going to read David Eddings, the Belgariad and The Malloreon are excellent collections. Don't waste your time with Belgarath or Polgara though, because not only do they not add anything (I found) to the story, they also show a number of inconsistencies that I found very frustrating. Not only that, but the style of writing (journal-y style, summarizing around 7000 years of history with a casual wave of a fist :P) is also irritating. I probably would have given up on Polgara (especially after Belgarath), but my OCD and task driven nature would not let me put it aside unfinished. :P

Yesterday, I began and finished Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. It was beautiful. A little slow in parts (mostly due to the nature of it being a re-telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, so you do know where it is going), but very well done with just enough depth to the characters to give them substance, but not enough to take away from the original. Lovely.

What I'll read next I'm not sure, but maybe I'll take a break and make some bunting. That could be fun.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Baby Shoes

Despite what I said two weeks ago when I blogged about making some Pleated Mary-Jane baby shoes, I stumbled across a pattern for baby booties on This Heart of Mine which I thought looked fun. They were much easier to put together because of the style of booties that they were. Given that I'm about to have a winter baby and my first bub will be walking around on the cold wooden floors this coming winter, I thought I'd give it a go.

I took the original pattern which I think will fit a new born to about three or four months, and enlarged it twice to get some bigger sizes to play with. I wasn't sure how big I needed to get for my 18 month old, but I thought I could just make both of the bigger sizes and see how I went.

I used some old hoodies that a friend from church had given me to cut up for material. It was the perfect material for these booties because they are soft, stretchy and warm. Excellent. The biggest size (which will fit Sophie perfectly come winter) felt like they were booties for giants when I made them, and especially compared to the tiny sized ones.

These are so fun. I'll have to put some puffy paint on the soles of the bigger ones for grip so that Sophie doesn't slide around on the floor too much, but that's an easy fix. It took a lot of effort to get this photo of her wearing them today. The moment she knows I've got the camera, she is all about coming to claim it.

Monday, March 03, 2014


Awhile ago, I mentioned that I was making some cardboard car-track boxes to slide under our TV cabinet. That space under the cabinet was big enough for a lot of things to go rolling and missing under. Admittedly, it was also fairly easy to get out again, unless they rolled just past elbow length, then it was tricky.

Excitedly, I came up with the idea of cutting down and reshaping some cardboard boxes to fit perfectly underneath. These could not only keep the things from rolling under, and little hands away from pulling the cords out, but also serve another purpose. I could draw car-tracks on them! Hooray!

So far, the boxes are just covered in brown paper and I haven't drawn anything on them yet. Given that Sophie is only just over one, she doesn't care in the slightest! I put the toilet paper rolls in the boxes because one day I dream of making something like this

But until then, Sophie just likes to play with the pain toilet paper rolls. She throws them about, stands them up, knocks them down, chews on them, all the usual things really. I'm really glad I reinforced the boxes, though it seemed like overkill at the time. My little girl's spacial awareness is not so great just yet, so it's nice to know that the boxes are tough and will make it past this discovery time. 

I feel like there are so many things I could hide in these boxes too - every day could be a fun new discovery! And when the time comes to actually draw on the boxes, getting a new picture or road map would be as simple as a new sheet of brown paper. Talk about multifunctional. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Log Cabin Quilt Part 3 - The Finished Product

I finished it last week, and let me tell you, that binding hides a multitude of sins, as well as highlighting some of them. Tell you what though, I love that it's made from scraps. I love that I used up material and in the process, discovered just how much I have. I love that it's warm and snuggly. I love that it perfectly fits a king single bed (tested by Steve's mum last week).

I know the people who will use it won't be looking at the stitching and commenting about how the stitch lengths are uneven, or the lines wobble. I know that the bright colors and backing fabric will make me want to look at it for a long time and feel good. I know that despite it's mistakes and inaccuracies, I've made a quilt that I love and I learnt a lot doing it. Yay!

Click for Part 1, Part 2, an Interlude and Reflections on the journey that was making this quilt.