Thursday, 29 May 2014

umbrella trimmings

On Monday evening I noticed a blog post from Rachaeldaisy at Blue Mountain Daisy about Umbrella Prints Trimmings. I had never heard of Umbrella Prints before (let alone their trimmings!) and learned that they (Amy & Carly) are an Australian company that produces a variety of organic, printed fabric.

In 2009 Umbrella Prints began their annual competition; participants are challenged to create something from the little pieces of their printed fabric they call Trimmings. Hence, the Umbrella Prints Trimmings competition. Rachaeldaisy used her little packet of Trimmings to create these beautiful fabric wall vases. So creative!

I was so excited about the idea of creating something - anything at all - from pieces of fabric selected by someone other than me that I ordered a Trimmings packet. With a 9am Friday deadline for entering a finished project in the Umbrella Trimmings competition I didn't think I would have the opportunity to enter this year. Until my postman delivered my packet today. Today being Thursday.

I discovered my Trimmings in the letter box just before I started hanging out the washing, so I thought this photo was appropriate.
I ordered a blue Trimmings packet.

After a few more chores I gave myself some time to get creative with my Trimmings. Want to know what I made? See if you can guess.
Left - Lovely wool blend fabric - $1 at the op shop. Right - Trimmings project inspiration
Okay - enough clues.
It's a stick carrier! You know, for the piles of sticks that every young child insists on bringing home from each visit to the park.
Eli has already given it the thumbs up.

Lily trying it on for size and comfort!
Erm...that one's probably a tad too big.
Want to know more about the Umbrella Trimmings competition? Perhaps you'd like to peruse the Umbrella Prints website.

Edit: Have a look at all the creative ideas that have been made from Umbrella Prints Trimmings on their 2014 competition Pinterest Board. Amazing!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

finish power & pure {7 day detox}

I have always been interested in keeping things simple and as healthy as possible, so when Retro Mummy posted about participating in a 7 day detox for your home I immediately volunteered.

I already use Finish tablets in my dishwasher (for which I am very grateful for!), so I am more than happy to trial a new product. I don't always use a tablet however. Every second or third cycle I swap the Finish tablet for bicarb soda. I also throw in about half a cup of white vinegar (or fill up the rinse aid reservoir with it). Doing this still washes the dishes (on a regular cycle) and it also cleans the innards and plumbing of the dishwasher. I have never had a smelly dishwasher!

Of course, the dishwashing tablets are only one small part of my home detox. The most difficult product for me to do without will be my Domestos. I use it to clean inside the toilet bowls. I detest toilet brushes and will not allow them in my home! So, I will just have to find a non chemical alternative. I dug out this book and am excited to see what gems it contains.

I've had it for years, but haven't utilized it like I should.

I'll post a review of how I detoxed my home in a week's time.
 In the meantime, if you have any tips I would welcome them!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

retro mixer

I am behind in my Sew Kitschy blocks. Except for this month. This month I am in front! I paper pieced this block back in October last year to test the pattern for Kristy.

Kristy's patterns are fabulous. She always designs them so that the seams needed are as simple as possible (no 'y' seams). The instructions that are included with each pattern are easy to understand and cover everything you need to know. And Kristy is always happy to answer any queries.

If I were to make this most adorable retro mixer again I would use a different fabric for inside the bowl. Probably a solid grey. Other than that I love it and it fits nicely with my other blocks. And I'm sure will also complement the block I am yet to catch up on!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

saving dolly

Dolly and Eli. Let me assure you that Dolly's soft body was not nearly as white as it looks in this photo!
A few weeks ago when I went to pick up Eli from kindergarten he emerged carrying a dolly. Eli's teacher told me that when they had come across Dolly Eli volunteered me to fix her. Apparently he insisted that I could sew her up and make her as good as new. Eli's teacher, being the wonderful teacher that she is, wanted to check with me first. Despite the dubious look that must have been on my face (but disappeared as soon as I saw Eli's I've-got-a-super-mum look in his eyes), I assured Eli's teacher that I would do my best to restore Dolly to her best.

I think that Dolly's best must have been a long, long time ago. She has obviously provided many kindergarten children with lots of love.

One leg was about to fall off.

 Dolly had a two way rip in her side.
 She was very dirty. No she wasn't. She was extremely dirty. I actually would have preferred Dolly to be carried in a plastic bag, but Eli cuddled her all the way home from school and beyond.

Dolly had a bung eye.

So, I set to work. First I attended to the sewing part. Then Dolly's hair was washed and she was left in a bucket of Napisan to soak for a day. Then Dolly needed to be dried. I got as much of the water out of her head, arms and legs as I could and then popped her outside on the line to dry. Dolly also spent some time on the dryer rack whenever it was on (often at interesting angles so as to work on ensuring that a particular arm or leg was entirely dry inside).

After Dolly passed the I'm-bone-dry-inside-so-as-not-to-breed-bacteria test she was ready to move onto the next phase: cleaning the flesh coloured parts. A Chux magic eraser did the trick.

Here are some before and after photos:
Sewing the leg on was the trickiest part. Not pretty, but I'm confident that leg will stay on for a while.
Clean face.
Clean all over!
Okay, there was nothing I could do about the bung eye!
 But I think she looks lovely, don't you?
I popped into the op shop and picked up some baby girls clothes (our baby girls clothes have been long gone!). I thought a short sleeved onsie and a pair of pants might keep that sewn up leg safe from little fingers.
Eli dressed Dolly when he took her back to school. He was very pleased to be able to present her to his teacher!

The lesson for me? Look beyond the exterior and see the potential. Just like Eli did.

felt crown {tutorial}

The original crown. The 'jewels' are attached with velcro so that they can be chosen by whoever is wearing the crown.
The church I belong to has a Sunday school organization for children under the age of 12 called Primary. The Primary president wanted to encourage the children to sit reverently during a particular part of the Primary programme. She thought that a 'Reverence' crown might help, so I offered to make one.

Of course, I couldn't just make one! These crowns are very quick and easy.

I always think that when it comes to making items that will be used by children they need to be sturdy and washable. So this tutorial will show you how to make a sturdy, washable crown!

It is adjustable to fit small and big heads alike (yes, even an adult with a huge head can wear them!).

Here's what you need:
  • 17cm (7") velcro
  • interfacing
  • felt
  • pre-cut felt shapes (or cut your own!) or other embellishments
Cut two crown shapes from the felt. My crown shape is 25cm (10") long and 16.5cm (6.5") high. Crown shapes can be hand drawn, printed from the internet, or leave a comment requesting my shape and I'll send it to you.
Cut four rectangles 28cm (11") x 6cm (2.5") from the felt.
Cut a slightly smaller crown shape from the interfacing. I used a heavy weight non fusible (sew in) interfacing.
 Don't mind the change of colour in the photos. I started the tutorial with a blue crown and finished it with a red crown.

Adorn one of your felt crown pieces with whatever takes your fancy. Use washable embellishments and sew each one firmly to the crown shape. Don't attach anything right on the edge of the crown shape; leave a 1cm (0.5") gap around the edge.
 Sew each of the two pieces of velcro (one hook and one loop piece) to a felt rectangle. Ensure that each velcro piece is 2cm (3/4") from the end of the felt rectangle.
Sew the remaining felt rectangles to the back of each rectangle that has a velcro piece sewn onto it. Start sewing at the end furthest from the velcro. This end can be left open.
  Make a crown 'sandwich' by placing the interfacing between the two felt crown pieces. I know this is obvious, but I'm going to say it anyway. Make sure your embellished crown piece is on the outside!
 It's probably a good idea to use a few pins to keep everything from moving around. Starting from the bottom of the crown (see photo below) sew around the crown 1/4" from the edge. Don't worry about catching the interfacing - being slightly smaller in size than the felt crown pieces it just sits inside - you're not actually sewing it down. 

Stop sewing when you get to the end - a strap needs to be attached before sewing it down.

 Place one of the head straps inside the crown 'sandwich'. Leave 2.5cm (1") inside the crown 'sandwich' to increase the sturdiness of the straps.

 When placing the strap before sewing ensure that the velcro strip is facing upwards.
Make sure that the velcro strip is facing upwards.
 Sew over the straps a few times to reinforce them before continuing around the top of the crown.
 When you get around to attaching the second head strap, attach it the same way as the first strap, except make sure that the velcro strip is facing down.
Make sure that the second strap has the velcro facing downwards.
If you find that the two felt crown pieces have shifted a little after sewing them together, trim them up and they'll look perfect!
 I've made a few crowns now. They make fantastic gifts for younger children. We gifted two to Eli's kindergarten teacher for the children to wear when it's their birthday.
 If you do make a crown or two, I'd love to see a photo!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

spaghetti cake

Zoe's spaghetti cake
Zoe and I had some fun on the weekend! Our church hosted a talent show, which included a baking category. We decided to enter and enjoyed creating our cakes.

Zoe's cake looked like a plate of spaghetti, but was constructed using a carrot cake, cream cheese 'spaghetti', ferrero rocher 'meatballs', raspberry 'bolognese sauce' and white chocolate 'parmesan cheese'.

The recipe for each component can be found at How to Cook That.

This was my contribution. A cheesecake that looked like a giant Oreo biscuit. The recipe for this can also be found at How to Cook That (yes, Zoe and I love that site! Ann is an extremely talented baker and has some fantastic ideas and recipes. If you are looking for a special dessert or birthday cake, you must have a look at Ann's creations.).
The centre is a no bake cheesecake, while the top, bottom and Oreo details are baked.
 Both cakes were absolutely delicious!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

tail feather bag pattern {a winner!!}

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway. We have a winner! As blogged about previously here, Zoe was given the responsibility of coming up with a creative way of choosing a winner, which was inspired by Rachael Daisy's method that can be found here. 

So, I'm handing the rest of this post over to Zoe, who has taken photos of the selection process and explained how she randomly selected a winner!

Everyone's names were written on pieces of orange or green paper.
 All the pieces of paper went into the box. From there I asked Dad to pull out ten names. The remaining names were put into this jug. Not pretty, but one of Mum's favourite kitchen items.
 From the jug, another ten names were removed. The rest went in to this jar.
 From this jar eight names were pulled out (Eli did this).
The rest of the names were spread out on the table. Using a straw I sucked up papers until only three were left.
 Red, yellow and blue tags were put on three jars and on the last three names.
 I asked Mum to pick a colour. She picked blue. 
The name on the blue paper was... 
drum roll please...

Crafty Tokyo Mama!!

Mum has sent an email to Crafty Tokyo Mama to inform her of the good news. Thanks to everyone who joined in. I will try and convince Mum to have more giveaways on her blog!

PS No Softies were harmed in any way. And the entire family has assured Eli that his softies are not part of the giveaway and will be remaining with him.
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