Thursday, 12 February 2015

what are these?

Can you guess what these are?
No, not frisbees. Yes, they are edible. Here's another clue.
These are not my creations, though they were made in the kitchen. This is a photo of Jed adding some more 'bits' with royal icing.
I order my disposable icing bags from ebay. Not surprisingly they come from China. It was exciting watching Jed trying to read the Chinese characters written on the outside of each icing bag. I look forward to hearing Jed speak fluent Mandarin one day!
Whilst you may be correct in guessing that these are giant biscuits, they are even more than that. 
They are representations of cells. The round one is an animal cell and the square one is a plant cell. Of course! I can hear you say.
 These enormous biscuits - the recipe is by Bridget Edwards and can be found HERE - were transported to Jed's Science classroom this morning. Part of Jed's assignment required that the cell organelles (or parts of the cell) be presented in some way. The actual assignment sheet provided some suggestions, including making large biscuits.  Now, I would like to think that Jed decided upon biscuits to combine his scholastic ability with his baking skills. However, the reality is that he knows how good these biscuits taste and how appreciative his friends would be if they could be eaten after Science!
 Jed not only has a good knowledge of cell organelles but will also be very appreciative of all decorated biscuits from now on!

And the best part? I have biscuit dough left over. Yay!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

quilting bees

The block I chose to be made by everyone in the bee.
After a great experience participating in a quilting bee in 2013 I decided it was time to go again.

I was so keen that I signed up for two. And signed up a friend for one as well!
One of the quilting bees I am participating in is being hosted by Angie at GnomeAngel and Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts. It is called The Bee Hive Quilting Bee. More on that later when I've actually sewn this month's block! It will look something like this:
Star Plus quilt block
Star Plus paper pieced block. Photo from Kristy at Quiet Play.
I have, however, completed this month's block for the Quilt Club Australia Bee #1. And it was not fun! There aren't a lot of patterns or projects that I have sewn that I have not enjoyed, but this was one of them. One of the aspects of participating in a bee that I like is sewing blocks that I wouldn't otherwise attempt or am interested in. From that point of view it was a good experience.
This block is called Interlocking Seasons and the tutorial we were asked to follow is found at The Parfait Cafe. We were also asked to use soft chocolate brown for the background, a soft pastel grey green for the inner ring and soft pastel pinky corals for the outer rings. These are not my colours at all, so it took me a while to audition fabrics. I really felt the responsibility of making something for someone else!
I found this block very fiddly and, truth be told, I don't like it. I prefer blocks that are more proportionate in their fiddliness-to-finished-outcome ratio. I do, however, think these blocks will make a lovely quilt.

So that makes this a great bee block because the Queen Bee doesn't have to make a whole quilt top of fiddly blocks! So clever. I'm on the hunt for the perfect bee block. Any suggestions? I'm considering a block that I have designed myself. What do you think? Shall I give you a sneak preview?

Friday, 6 February 2015

what teachers really do

I began this blog post last week, but appear to have been swept up in the current of the new school year. While I miss not having Eli at home with me a few days a week, I am making good use of my time, working hard on some things (nothing that involves a sewing machine or fabric!) that have been waiting for a very long time!

Today is the last day of the summer school holidays. Most of us are excited about starting the new school year; Eli will be attending full time and Jed is starting high school.

All the uniform clothing has been labelled, books sorted, bags packed and lunchboxes readied to be filled on Monday. I'm not that thrilled about making four lunchboxes every day, though I willingly do it for my children. Yes kids, I love you so I feed you!

As the school holidays come to and end I thought I'd share something that Zoe made at the beginning of this gloriously long holiday break. It's a book entitled What Teachers Really Do At School.

It made me laugh. I hope you do too (unless you are a teacher exactly like the one in Zoe's book. If you are, you won't be laughing. You will be annoyed that you have been exposed.).
I've taught a few classes over the years where a bed to rest and recuperate afterwards would have been in order!
What? There are cakes in the staff room? Why didn't I know about this?
Zoe was clearly ready for some time away from school, don't you think?

I had a little chat with her just to make sure that everything is fine. And it is. And also to assure her that I am nothing like her fictitious teacher when I am 'Mrs Masson'!!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

pay it forward {do you want to play?}

 I received a lovely surprise in the mail.
I unwrapped this gift from Anthea as part of the Pay It Forward idea that I read about on Anthea's blog Hibiscus Stitches.

Do you want to see what Anthea made for me? Of course you do!

Right, this is the outside. Do you know what it is?
Here it is with one side opened out. 
Ta da! It's an armchair sewing caddy. I love it!!
Anthea took note of the red, black and white colours of my needle book.
 Look how perfectly they complement one another!
Anthea also sent some other goodies. I love them all!
How cute is this? I think I'll wind some pretty ribbon on to it.
Aren't I spoilt?
I am definitely going to be spending some time in my favourite chair!
Thank you Anthea!

Now, would you like to receive a handmade gift from me?
It's time for me to Pay It Forward.

This is how it works.

What I will do:
I will send a handmade item to three people who would like to participate.

I will choose the three people randomly (you will need to be a follower of my blog and you need to have your own blog!).

I won't tell you when I am sending your handmade item - it will be a surprise. This means that you will need to provide me with your postal details. And then wait!

I will make and send your item within 365 days.

What you need to do:
If you put your name forward you pledge to make and send to three of your own blog followers.

You must have a blog. If it's reasonably up to date it will help the person making for you (me!) get a feel for what you would like to receive.

Items don't have to be 'quilty', just handmade (and they don't need to be big and/or time consuming to make).

Once you have received your gift from me you must post about Pay It Forward on your blog and keep the fun going.

So, do you want to play? If so, let me know by leaving a comment saying so!

I'll randomly select three people from those who tell me they'd like to participate. The three names will be announced on 4 February.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

diy kids watercolour paintings {using food colouring}

I love simple, fun and creative activities. Particularly when they involve reading a book.

We recently read the book The Three Monsters Big Night Out by Laurence Bourguignon and Michael Derullieux after borrowing it from our local library.
It is a lovely, non scary story about monsters that was enjoyed by our 5 year old in particular. I wanted to keep the enthusiasm going so I got our water colour pad out of the craft cupboard. Our pad is A3 in size and cost a few dollars.
I used food colouring for paint; a teaspoonful added to a bit of water works well.
After drawing our monsters with lead pencil the painting began. We were working at our dining table, so I tore off some sheets of aluminium foil to place underneath the paintings. I'm sure there would have been a bit of seepage through to the tablecloth otherwise!
The idea was to draw and paint roughly; lines didn't need to be exact and neither did the painting.
 Everyone did a painting. These are Eli's four monsters.
Lily opted for a Star Wars painting.
These were a lot of fun and clean up was only a matter of washing out the paintbrushes and glasses used for the food colouring.

These paintings also look great if you outline them in black marker once they are dry.

So, if you have younger children or are looking after children and need an activity give this a go!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

cushions {cat and star}

Today is my niece's birthday. She is the oldest of all the grandchildren in our extended family and my Mum's favourite. All the other grandchildren won't mind me saying out loud that she is Grandma's favourite.

I like to make something for my nieces and nephews birthday gifts, though it has its drawbacks. In the past they worked out that if I made a messenger bag for one person's birthday it meant that everyone was going to get one on that year. I have recently changed my strategy and now make something less predictable. It's not very exciting being the 7th niece or nephew to receive a messenger bag or a zippered pouch. There's no point in wrapping the gift when it comes to that!
Another niece recently turned 18. We convinced her that we were giving her a pet turtle. Did you know that you need a category 3 licence to keep an oblong turtle in Western Australia? And that you have to be 18 years old to apply for that licence? Anyway, we weren't giving her a turtle at all (though we did make a turtle using a river stone just so we couldn't be called liars!), but gave her the lap quilt that she began sewing a few years ago.
For today's birthday girl I decided to make a cushion. My niece has been an adult for quite a while now and moved out of home some time ago. She also likes cats, so I though a cute paper pieced cat in the centre of a cushion would be a gift that she'd love. I used the free pattern by Janeen who blogs at Quilt Art Designs. The pattern can be found on Craftsy.
Then I decided that I should make another cushion. My niece loves pretty
floral fabrics (and would have been in her element had she been born during the 1980's), so using a floral print from Lily Ashbury's Fancy range was an obvious choice. I thought it might nice to throw her a curve ball and make a cushion that was traditional in design but modern in every other way. I chose a low volume background fabric so as not to scare her too much, and because it has cute little birds on it. Cats go with birds don't they? I chose the Sawtooth star because it looked simple (that decision was made entirely for me) and it is also representative of her name.
I love this cushion so much that I really wanted to keep it for myself. But we are leaving right now to gift both cushions to her.
As usual, I used Svetlana's wonderful tutorial for installing a covered zipper in a cushion cover. Svetlana is the queen of cushions!
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