Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Used Again

Sophie is actively engaging in the felt books! I am beyond excited. I know the rest of the world may not care, but it means a great deal to me to see her firstly using something that I've made, but also having developed enough to be able to do so. Here she is using this felt book.

She's gone from not even having the motor skills to open the book, let alone pick out the felt, to actually making faces on the pages. That one there, is apparently herself. Yay for growth and development! Change and progress are happening here people, and I get to be a part of it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Doll's Jacket

With the sudden cold snap last week, Sophie informed me one morning that Doll needed a jacket. Kids have that real holistic approach to toys. Anyway, I told her, sure we could sew a jacket, and we picked out material from the scrap box.

There was just enough of this spotty fabric. The blue with white is from some table runners from a wedding. I've made loads of it into bunting in the past (in fact, it was the beginnings of my very first lot of excessive general bunting!) The multicoloured spots were from a party dress Sophie wore last August.

I've never sewn a jacket before, so I did a quick google for a pattern and Sophie helped lay out the pieces. She was a little confused as to why we weren't just sewing, but went along with things. As always I feared making it too small, so I cut excessively large and promised myself I'd use at least a centimetre seam allowance to make it all come together nicely.

Then proceeded to use the smallest possible seam allowance I could so Doll ended up with an enormous jacket. I did cool cuffs with the contrast spots, which was good. The sleeves are about twice as long as they need to be, but I can't take them up because of the cool contrast spots cuffs, which is  bad. Also, I put facings in. What do I know about facings? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Never sewn them before in my life.

I ended up sewing the sides in a heap and even putting a tuck in the back, but it's still pretty bad. When I tell Steve about this, he says: "Don't worry, Doll will grow into it."

Despite the bad fitting, Sophie loves Doll's new jacket. Here she is buttoning up the invisible buttons that I haven't put on yet. It's a win.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Confetti Bunting

Just wanted to share some shots of the cool bunting I made for Mum's 60th earlier in the month. I wish I had taken photos during the day, when it was all set up and there were no annoying fluro lights getting in the way of the awesome, but oh well.

Out of 90 sheets of cardboard, I punched roughly seven good circles. This gave us roughly 630 circles to work with. We sewed them together (random pattern of colours) with some metallic thread on Harriet the Husqvana. It was a bit of an ordeal because the metallic thread was really tricky to sew with and we also had issues putting it on the bobbin. Not to mention that we had kids running around left right and centre too. That almost goes without saying really.

Anyway, what we ended up with was a sufficient amount of excellent confetti-esk bunting. I hung it with some parts just falling down which looked really cool (sorry no photos of that particular feature). When Mum and Dad took it down, Mum diligently folded it carefully so that we can use it again. Hooray!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Cinderella Dress

It's been a long time coming, but I'm excited to share this with you. Sophie finally loves dress ups! Hooray!

Yes, I know she's only two and a half, but as someone who loves costumes and dressing up as someone else for a while, I feel like it's taken ages for her to get to this stage. Now that she's here, I can have loads of fun sewing even more fun things for her! Yes!

That said, I know that my little girl is growing, and is going to keep growing pretty noticeably for the next few years. So I didn't want to make a dress up dress that would fit her now, and not in six months time. That just felt like a bit of a waste. 

To combat this problem, I thought about how to make a dress that would be able to grow with her, so she could wear it for at least a year or two. The best way to address this would be to make a wrap dress, that could expand with growth. I went to my basic Five and Ten Designs bodice and from the size four, I redrew the back pattern piece to make it cross over and wrap around.

I figured this way, while she's still a size two, the back pieces would just wrap tighter and have more overlap, and then as she grows, it will just be less and less. There is still overlap at the size four though, so it should be able to stretch out till at least size five, or maybe even a six if I'm lucky. Could be that this dress will last for four years! That'd be great.

I had a stack of gauzy fabric in my stash, and I asked Sophie which one she liked. I made the skirt pretty long (she nearly stands on it when she runs now) so it will be able to fit as she grows too. To me, one of the essential design features of any pretty dress up dress (especially a Cinderella ball gown type dress) is that the skirt be pretty big and poofy for fun spinning.

This fits the bill. I hate gathering more than ever, and did a lot of hand sewing to get everything in place before I finally stitched it together, but I'm glad I did. It was worth it to see her spin around in it. 

I also wanted the dress to be big because I knew she'd just be throwing it on over whatever she was already wearing. I mean - that's pretty standard for dress ups right? That means that this dress is going to get a lot of wear. Sophie was running around the yard in it when I was taking photos. Also checking the dirt and plants and splashing in water.

Here she is rescuing something from under the fridge the next day too. Quality Cinderella moment.

I did some fancy rolled hem stitch on Olivia the Overlocker for the sheer hem. Some of it worked, kinda. It was about twice the width that I wanted, but whatever I tried I couldn't make it smaller. Also, I had about thirty centimetres to go when something started to not work at all, so if you look closely, there is in fact a small amount of dress that isn't hemmed at all. And I was almost out of thread.

After seeing the way that she ran around the garden in it, I think this is an ok decision, because I can see myself re-doing the hem anyway. Also, the bit that isn't done is wrapped under the top layer when she puts it on, so you can't even see it. Win!

Not to be left out, here is Rachel, posing with our Cinderella book. Cinderella in this book wears a pink ball gown, so that's probably why Sophie's Cinderella dress ended up being pink, rather than the "traditional" Disney blue.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Doll House

We live in a lovely street where we happen to know most of the neighbours. It's been a real blessing. Last week, our neighbours from across the road gifted us with a doll house. Their daughter is a little old for it and they thought our girls could use it.

Sophie was so delighted to see it, and Rachel was pretty happy too. They have spent a considerable amount of time putting things in and out and opening the doors and windows. It's the new thing. But of course, it needed a few extras. I had been planning to finish the Cinderella dress that afternoon while Rachel slept, but instead I found myself sewing with Sophie.

She picked out the material and sat on my lap while I showed her how to keep her fingers away from the needle. We sewed the mattress for the bed and she helped to stuff it. Then we sewed two "blankets" for the dolls and a pillow. Sophie loves to tuck in the dolls. Rachel likes to throw it all out onto the floor.

Even though I'm really task oriented and sometimes interruptions like this can drive me a bit nuts, I found that I was happy to put aside my planned sewing for some quality time with Sophie. The thing is, I love her, and I want her to grow up to be a strong, capable young woman. I want to invest in her, to teach her things. I'd also really like it if the things that I love, she also loved (so the fact that she wanted to sew "like mum" was a bonus).

Even though it was an interruption and put my plans back, the time that I took picking material, sewing with her and helping her afterwards was valuable. It was worth while. It was important. Maybe knowing this is what means I've made motherhood my career choice right now. I want to spend my time and effort investing in these kids.

I'm praying that what I'm leaving them with is more than just sewing though, that it's a life time with Jesus. It's a pretty big deal when I look at it that way, but God always gives us what we need by his Spirit. I know I wouldn't be able to do it any other way.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fun Food

No idea where I saw this idea on the internet, but I gave it a go for the girls lunch sometime last week. I looks pretty funky and from the reaction the girls gave me, it was a bit of a win.

Those fun owls are sitting on a nest of leafy green cress from the stuff Sophie and I grew (post here).

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Life in Progress

It has been a long few weeks. Busy. Hectic even. Sleep deprived, and at the same time, catching up on sleep (is there a word for that?). But I guess it's time for updates.

We had Rachel's party, and then some surprise family visitors from Bundy, then another party, (which we set up for outside, then it started to rain, so we had to set up for inside as well), then some more surprise family visitors from Bundy, then my Mum's 60th party, which had loads of extra family up to hang with as well. One night, Steve got home at ten to six and I was asleep on the couch by six. It was even an effort eating dinner at eight before I went to bed.

I punched about 700 circles out of cardboard to sew into bunting for Mum's party (had to ask Steve if he thought I had done enough, and he did some maths and worked out that I had about 65 metres of bunting, which I figured was enough). It looked amazing on the night, so it was worth the effort. Bunting always does though, right?

I've been looking after the kids (as always), though I've been without Hugo for a week and a half now, thanks to school holidays. And it really feels like a holiday. Two kids, so easy! Sophie and I have been continuing to grow things. The pumpkin seeds have taken off and been transplanted. Despite Rachel's best attempts at pulling them up and eating them each day, they are growing steadily. Hooray!

Sophie is now more happy about the idea of dress ups, so I've made a Cinderella dress for her. Pretty excited about it, so I might give it it's own post. YAY!

Another really exciting update is that I've gotten my act together with publishing my next book. It's taken me a while. Just to clarify, this isn't the one I just wrote and finished a few weeks ago. This next one is a compilation of three short stories (fairy tales) that I had written a few years ago. I've only just gotten my act together with uploading it all to Amazon now. So hopefully I'll have another exciting publication post soon too. (Well now I have to do it soon, because you all know about it. :P)

Anyway, I'd better get off here and go write some thank-you cards for Rachel's presents. Then I can cross another thing off the to-do list.