Monday, August 18, 2014

FOR THE LOVE OF RUFFLES .....

What can I say, I love them ...... especially when they adorn little girls clothing. There's something fun, feminine and just a little bit cheeky about them !!!!


This little outfit turned out so cute !!! I think it was a Simplicity patterns (I'm too lazy right now, to run upstairs and check). It certainly wasn't a quick make, but so worth the time it took to create. If you need gathering practice, then this pattern is for you ...... you gather literally yards and yards of fabric in order to create those cute ruffles. 3 layers of ruffles on each pants leg, a ruffle at the bottom of the tunic, and then as if that's not enough, the tunic skirt is heavily gathered, where it attaches to the bodice.
I do love the two fabrics together, especially because they're not juvenile fabrics as such, yet they work so well together, in a cute, little girl way.

I hadn't made buttonholes in a long while either ....thankfully it was like riding a bicycle - you don't really ever forget ..... you just need a little brushing up on those rusty skills.

It's been so much fun, getting back in front of my sewing machine .... I really need to do it more often :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

APRON APPRECIATION ....

In reality, do women really still wear aprons in the kitchen ? I've been asked this question a number of times, and my answer has to be YES !!! I know many women who still wear them, and I've been asked to make a number of them for different people ..... they are not only the domain of our grandmothers.
I love my aprons ..... I put mine on when I make breakfast, and if the day doesn't require that I go out, it only comes off after dinner ..... Yes, it's a useful little piece of fabric, for sure :-)

It was time for a new one ..... constant wear and tear can make them look grubby pretty quickly. Not a big deal - I can whip them up pretty quickly, and the style choices are endless. My latest apron creation is a combination of two patterns ........ Uh Huh, remember what I spoke about yesterday ...... reworking patterns to get a different look, and more bang for my buck? This dear friends, is what I'm talking about !!!


This fabric literally jumped off the shelf at me, in Joann's .... I love its freshness. Never let anyone tell you the color of your binding isn't important ..... I put black bias binding up against this fabric, and it just dragged the fabric down, made it look really blah. The green on the other hand, just makes it pop. The skirt was from one pattern ( love the petal shape), while the bib top was from another.

On another note ...... Have you ever heard of a Pastry Cloth ? Now, these may well be the domain of our grandmothers :-) I came across a tutorial for one on Pinterest the other day ....... Where have they been all my life !!! Anyone that makes cookies or pastry needs one of these ...... I'm in the throws of making one ..... I'll be sharing it with you, just as soon as it's done !!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

VERSATILITY ...

Patterns can be pricey .... I'm talking the Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls ones. In saying that, I never buy them, unless they're on sale. Thankfully between Hobby Lobby and Joann's you can usually get them on sale,  if you're patient and in no great rush.
Recently, in order to get better bang for my buck, I've tried to think beyond the basic pattern .... I've tried to think of ways that I could possibly change it up, give it a slightly different look.
I did this with one of my latest creations .....
Remember this pattern, from a few posts back ...


This was the best 99c I've spent in a long time. I've used it so often since buying it, that the paper pattern is starting to look quite ratty - I'll be copying it onto polytrace shortly ..... that'll ensure it lasts a whole lot longer.


I  had spotted THIS BEAUTY on Pinterest, and wanted to recreate something similar ...
So what did I do, that was different ....
I didn't add the little pocket piece to the front (the bit that allows you to fold the bag up into the perfect purse sized shopping bag). Instead,  I marked out a grid pattern on the front, and cut out heart shapes using a cookie cutter (even more bang for my cookie cutter buck !!!) as my template. I added batting to the body of the bag, and appliqued the hearts onto the front .... the batting makes the bag more sturdy, and gives it a lovely, quilted appearance. I then made a lining for the bag, using the same pattern piece (fitting this was a little tricky, but it all came together in the end). I changed the way it was constructed, so that there would be no raw edges visable once the bag was completed. Finally I bound all of the edges with bias tape. I found that doing this part by hand gave me the neatest finish.

This bag is perfect in every way, for carrying all sorts of goodies. It's outside fabric is duck cloth, so it's hard wearing. It's roomy inside too :-) I have a feeling that this bag may just be the perfect carry all for a winter project ....... a knitted winter blanket perhaps ?

Friday, August 15, 2014

KARL THE KOALA BEAR ....

Isn't he the cutest ..... this was the second koala amigurumi pattern I attempted. The first had such promise (well, it's picture suggested it had promise), but it was a disaster..... it looked nothing like it's picture ... in fact Hubby thought it looked like a sloth !!! Enough said :-)


This little guy was a really "Fun To Crochet" project. His little shoes and bowtie just make me smile. You can get yourself this koala pattern HERE, off of Etsy. His pattern was easy to follow, and was very specific .... love it when they pattern writer tells you just where to place those cute, little eyes !!!!
The only change I made, was that I made his tummy patch 2 rounds bigger ..... I just felt the original one was a little too small ...... it could have been that I stuffed Karl fairly firmly ..... I like my amigurumi creations to be firmly stuffed.
He, could very easily be made into a She ..... pink shoes and a pink hair bow !!! He'd make a super cute gift for a little person too.
Go ahead, give him a go !!!

Hoping the weekend ahead is full of fun and relaxation ....... exactly as a weekend should be !!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MY MIND IS A JUNGLE .....

I've been out of sorts for the past few weeks - REALLY out of sorts. My mind is a jungle of thoughts and questions, while my heart just hurts. Maybe by writing it all down, I can make some sense out of it all, gain some perspective, or just clear my head.
The opening line of the sermon at Church this morning summed it up so well ..... We live in a broken world, but there are times when the world just seems more broken !!!

Sitting reading through the news websites a couple of weeks ago, I had to stop .... I felt I'd reached a point where I couldn't read anymore. What I was reading was affecting me far more than was normal (and I know that I'm not alone in this. My best friend and I were talking about this subject, just the other day) ..... death, destruction, war, hatred, poverty, prejudice, and so the list goes on. I can't remember when last I heard any good or happy news, and I mean that in all honesty. Nothing good ever happens anymore. I've cried torrents of tears over the state of the world, and life in general, over the past few weeks.

My faith is fragile too - I struggle to reconcile a loving God, with everything going on around me, but in my heart of hearts I know He is good, and has this mess.

I've spent hours wondering how best to answer the questions (and there have been A LOT of them) my kids ask about the sorry state of the world - I want to answer them honestly, but at the same time, I want to protect them, so they don't become discouraged. I guess the question is, "How do you explain the injustices of life to kids, when as adults we don't understand them?"

The only thing I think I can do right now, is to give my all to those closest to me .... love them, protect them, and pray that brighter days are ahead for this world.

I've got some deadlines to meet this week ...... there'll be plenty of time spent in my "office" this week. I'll be sharing the results with you soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SWEET SIXTEEN ....

Monday was Brit's 16th birthday .... however, she woke up feeling really yukky, after a night spent throwing up !!! When a child asks if it's possible to put her birthday out by a day (presents included), you know she must feel pretty darn awful !!!
Yesterday dawned, and she was back to her usual self ...... Yay, let the birthday fun begin !!!
She had chosen a visit to Dallas World Aquarium as her birthday outing. We like this particular aquarium a lot. It's so well laid out, and it's visually gorgeous, with plenty to see.


 The Birthday Girl with her Daddy and brother ... look how pretty it is. In the greenery behind there were monkeys and birds everywhere.


 This guy looked miserable - he had a friend sitting next to him, who insisted on rummaging through his fur, looking for a tasty morsel.


 The otters are elusive .... they often don't show themselves. There have been many times, we've visited and they've been nowhere to be found ..... cuddled up in their den I would imagine. Yesterday they were swimming in their pool quite happily. Never easy to photograph, yesterday, I got lucky ...... we were standing on a walkway behind the otter pool, when this guy decided to hop up out of the water, and take a break - fantastic photo op for me !!!!


 This sloth is a new resident to the aquarium .... and a pretty cute one too !!! He hangs out in some trees in the middle of a pathway. He has someone watching him, to ensure he's not harassed (why do people feel they have to do that .... makes me SO mad !!!). Our timing was perfect, he was sitting low down in the trees, and was on the move ...... they move a whole lot faster, than I thought sloths did. He was gorgeous !!!


 So cooperative ...


 And ever so handsome !!! I love these photo's .... to be able to see him that well, was a real treat !!!


So prehistoric !!!


Nemo came out to play too !!! I took about 20 photo's before I managed to get this one ....... Ahh the beauty of the digital age :-)


Little eely type pipefish .... this fairly large tank, looked like a garden full of these cuties. They were fascinating to watch.


 Penguin ...



Seahorses .... they fascinate me. There were a few tanks of different types. Pot bellied seahorses, that were pregnant (the photos I took at that tank weren't great), then teeny, tiny little ones (the particles floating in the tank were nearly as big as them), and then these beauties !!!


Me and my "babies ..... where has the time gone? I can't believe she's 16 already, it doesn't seem possible !!! She's a sweetie of note, and brings us so much joy. Being her mom is a privilege, and I thank God daily for blessing us, with her .... Love you Baby Girl !!!


She requested a chocolate cake with fresh strawberries as her birthday cake ...... I'm going to be honest - this cake was disappointing !!! I think if you like very rich, dark chocolate, then this is a recipe for you, but for us it was just too much. I wont ever put fresh strawberries in the middle of a cake again either - we didn't like the flavor it gave the cake.


She blew out the candles, we sang Happy Birthday to her, and she cut her cake. After we'd all tasted it (and decided it just wasn't our cup of tea), we ditched it !!! We have a year to find and taste test other cake recipes !!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

BLOWING UP PUMPKIN HEAD .....

What happens when you blow this up .....


Well, you get this .....


This "little" guy was part of a gift, that I sent to my friend Val, for her birthday. It seems odd to many of you, I'm sure, but for our group of zombie doll swappers, it makes perfect sense :-)
I took the teeny tiny pattern to Office Depot, and got them to enlarge it ..... the head pattern piece fills approximately 75% of an 8,5" x 11" sheet of paper. He was fun to make. I crocheted a long length of chain stitch with the red yarn, to use for his brains !!!

Hope your day is a sunny, summery one :-)