Wednesday, 26 March 2014

the mending pile

 My mending pile never disappears, though recently it was reduced to almost nothing. One of the items on the pile was a pair of jeans for Eli. Handed down from Lily they were fantastic jeans, mostly because they had an adjustable waist. Both Lily and Eli have a very slim build which makes it difficult when it comes to buying pants or shorts that fit. It's a bit tricky running around while holding up your pants with both hands because the waist is too big.

Why were the jeans on the mending pile you ask? Because Lily wore out the knees. I usually throw clothing away when it is completely worn through (after harvesting the buttons!), but the adjustable waist in the jeans prompted an idea.

I cut off the legs just above the holey knees and bound the edges (just like a quilt!). And now Eli has a fabulous pair of shorts with a waist that fits him perfectly.
Old made new again. I love being thrifty. Do you have any great thrifty ideas?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Story Stones

 I thought I'd do a bit of tidying up on the blog (I feel like I do it all day long at home, so I might as well do a virtual tidy up too!) and post some drafts that have been sitting in the wings for a long time.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to story stones by Hannah from Paint On The Ceiling. I love story stones as much as my children do.  They are wonderful for language development, fostering creativity and providing the perfect setting for imaginative stories. And they are so much fun to make!

Zoe, Lily and I have made quite a few story stones since first discovering them. While we have kept lots for us to use at home, they make a wonderful gift for children aged 3 years to 8 years old. They are also a great craft activity when we have visitors in that age range.

We don't live near a river to provide us with beautiful stones, so I usually visit my local $2 shop and buy a bag. There are usually about 20 stones in each small mesh bag. Hardware stores also sell river stones, but they are a lot more expensive (and usually come in a lot larger quantities!).

I like to use Posca paint pens for story stones. They are mess free and come in a great range of colours. I bought mine online, but they are also available in good craft stores and art supply stores.

Once we have painted our ideas on each stone I give them a quick spray with some varnish to protect the paint (otherwise the paint wears off very quickly). This is a great activity to do on a hot day; the varnish will dry really quickly.
And then we play!

mixing bowl and spoon {block}

I managed to squeeze in the March Sew Kitschy block, so I am now all up to date. I love the feeling of mentally being able to tick another thing off the list!

Before sewing up this paper pieced block, I ran over all the lines with a tracing wheel in the hope that it will make tearing away the paper a lot easier. Some people sew over each line without thread in their machine to perforate the lines. A tracing wheel sounded a lot quicker to me (and means I don't have to unthread and rethread my machine!). I don't plan on tearing away the paper anytime soon, so we'll have to wait and see how if it makes a difference.
I adore the cherry fabric that I used for the bowl. The black fabric is also a favourite of mine. It didn't show up very well in the photos, but it actually has charcoal coloured dots all over it. I used the same fabric in the London cushion here. I should probably say that my brother in law and his wife loved the cushion!

Oh, and while I remember, look at what Zoe has been working on:
The squares are all 5". I'll update you as she progresses this quilt along!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

my biscuit tin

We don't 'do' cookies in our house. We are Australian so we have biscuits. Chocolate chip biscuits. Anzac biscuits. Raisin and oatmeal biscuits. All kinds of biscuits, but no cookies. When I finally sat down to catch up on my February Sew Kitschy block I was reminded that Kristy designed February's block as a cookie jar. Despite singing the song 'Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar' as a child with great gusto (my mum is Canadian!), I wouldn't be true to my Australian heritage if I made a cookie jar. So a biscuit jar it had to be!

I was pretty pleased with my free motion 'writing'. Even though I left the white bobbin thread in so that it gave the writing a speckled look.
I like it! I'll like it even more when I wash off the blue disappearing ink!!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

little things

School has been back for four weeks now and it has been busy, busy, busy! I have been sticking to my 'drop and give me twenty' commitment during the month of February but it hasn't been easy!

The day before school started for 2014 I found myself whipping up these little drawstring bags using Svetlana's tutorial.
 As you can see by the size of my hand, they are fairly mini.
 This year on the school book list we were required to purchase a small white board for Lily and Zoe. Of course you can't have a white board without a white board eraser. And if you have an eraser you need a little bag to keep it in. Nobody likes to dirty up the inside of their pencil case with white board marker residue.

While I was playing with drawstring bags Zoe was supervising some cool 'fossils' for Lily and Eli to enjoy. We have had a very hot summer, so frozen animals that needed extracting was a very appealing activity!

It is the first day of autumn here, but we are still enjoying summer weather. It's a swim in the pool and a bbq for dinner!

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