Sunday, September 29, 2013


Those of you who are seasoned swappers, will be familiar with this term. For those who aren't, well, they are the little extras that accompany your main swap item. Making the Tuck Ins for any swap. is often my favorite part. I take the opportunity this gives, to try out new ideas, or to make things that are just plain fun !!!
Val's Voodoo Doll Pincushion Swap, was no exception. We were asked to send 3 Tuck Ins, to accompany our pincushions. It's always a good idea to take your partners likes and dislikes into consideration when choosing them ..... It's really not  fair to send the girl who is on a strict diet a truck load of chocolate !!! I also usually try and tie them back to the theme of the swap.
Here's a peek at the Tuck Ins I included with this latest Swap package ....

Yes, you guessed it, I've been at it with the freezer paper and paint again. I found this cute little guy courtesy of Google. This time I used his shape as a mask. A fabric top hat, button eyes and a gem topped pin complete his embroidered look.  I lined it with a funky batik type fabric, and this time, I included a little Bits & Bobs bag, that clips to the inside of the tote .... I REALLY like this tote !!!

Who doesn't like a Mason Jar !!! But one with a pincushion top, that's filled with goodies ...... Well, that's pretty close to perfection in my book. I found that friendly little voodoo zombie creature at the Dollar Store .... the perfect addition to the jar.

Quick, easy and budget friendly, is the key to Tuck Ins ..... Hopefully I ticked all of those boxes :-)

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Ah .... thought it was time, that I should stop by again !!! The weather is slowly  (and I mean VERY slowly ...another 94 deg F day for us today) turning, and my fingers are itching to haul out my yarn and needles .... this was a fun and easy project to kick off the knitting season.

My lovely bloggy friend Val is hosting another swap ..... A Voodoo Doll Pincushion Swap. We're talking a fun, nothing serious little swap.
Here's what I made .... Isn't he cute !!! I used THIS SWEET PATTERN to create him. He is fairly big by pincushion standards - around 8" high, but I love my pincushions big .... more space to put ALL of those pins and needles I own :-)
I used worsted weight yarn (number 4), and size 5 (3,75mm) needles to knit him up. I stuffed him very firmly with poly fil. I decided to put him on my standard pincushion base, just to give him stability, and it worked like a charm.
He is a quick knit. I did make his legs a little shorter than the pattern asked for (I cast off in the 27th row as opposed to the 37th row, as the pattern instructed you to do).
I've decided though, that he is a little too cutsey for the likes of my swap partner ... so I'll be making another pincushion for her today.

What do you plan on spending your day doing today ..... hopefully it will include something crafty or creative.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Yesterday just had a baking kinda day feel about it !!!
I love to include a treat in the kids lunchboxes ...... but the thought of including those store bought baked goodies, honestly makes my toes curl !!! However, just to keep it real, I'll readily admit that sometimes I do ..... it's quicker .... more convenient.... and sometimes I'm just too lazy to bake something !!! Yesterday was not that day though :-)

I found two scrumptious looking loaf cake recipes on my journey around Blogville recently. I like loaf cakes for so many reasons ..... there's no need to fuss about a frosting .... they're easy to slice and pack ..... they really are the no fuss alternative to cakes :-)

 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
I really don't like pumpkin pie !!! But a good pumpkin loaf cake, or pumpkin scone, is a different story. This is a moist, yummy loaf cake, that has chocolate chips in it. If I did anything different next time, I might reduce the chocolate chips to 1/4 cup, and increase the amount of ground cinnamon and cloves slightly.
THIS is the recipe I used.

Golden Syrup Loaf Cake
Hubby loves this loaf cake. It is a simple, tasty cake, that gets its sweetness from the golden syrup (this is not the same as pancake syrup. It is much thicker, and has a totally different taste), and not from sugar ..... that is a big added bonus in my opinion. It tastes good spread with a little butter .... mmmmm !!!
THIS is the recipe I used.

I'm considering the possibility of changing up my neighbor/friend Christmas gifts this year. Instead of the usual cookie platters I bake and put together, I'm toying with the idea of making loaf cake platters. Baking 3 different loaf cakes, and presenting them all nicely wrapped on a platter ...

 Hmmm decisions, decisions !!!
What do y'all think? Is that a gift you'd like to receive?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


My cousin teaches littlies (3-5 year olds) at a school in Vienna. The best age group to teach in my humble opinion. I was teaching 3 -4 year olds just before we left South Africa for the States ........ I still list it, as my MOST favorite job ever. I absolutely LOVED it ................ and that was after working for 10 years as a radiographer !!!
She asked me if I could help out by making some dress up items, to coincide with units she'll be teaching. There are a lot of educational companies around, that sell these kind of items, but on doing some investigation, two things became really apparent to me ...
(1) The items are not very well made, and I don't think would stand up to too many years of wear and tear,
(2) These items are horrendously over priced for what you get.
So that being said, I am more than happy to help her out ....... it also gives me the opportunity to use up bits and pieces I have lying around.

First up .... some safety vests !!!
I used THIS PATTERN to get my basic shape. I added 1 inch to the sides, and 2 inches to the length. I also rounded the center front corners. I finished off my edges with black bias tape. The safety vests needed to have reflective tape on them ...... have you ever tried to buy that stuff ..... impossible !!! I made my own layering neon yellow ribbon onto a wider grey ribbon ...... works a charm !!!!

Next up .... a Captain Safety Cape !!!
I love how this turned out. For its lining, I used the little bit of the yellow fabric I used above. Again it's finished off with bias tape, and a velcro closure at the neck. THIS PATTERN is what I used for this. I extended my cape to measure 27 inches from where the pattern piece ended, and it is 24 inches wide at the bottom. I appliqued the "Captain Safety" design on .... I used Lite Heatbond to hold it steady before I sewed it on.

Celebrations, is one of the units she'll be teaching, so Bunny Ears was the next request up ...
These were a ton of fun to make ....
I used THIS TUTORIAL to make these. There were a few things I did do differently ......
I used a piece of stiff white felt in combination with the sticky back felt, and I used glue to secure the ears to the headband, instead of relying just on the sticky back felt.

Last up to share with you today is Farmers Market Aprons ...
This is my own butchers apron pattern. They are VERY quick and easy. I did 5 of them in about 45 mins. They are made of denim and finished off with binding.

There is still lots on the list to do, but oh, how I'm enjoying making all of these items ...... so much fun.

I have included the tutorials I've used, in case there are any teachers out there who may have need of these things. Halloween is also just around the corner ...... who knows, the world may be full of superhero's in need of capes that night !!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The title of this post says it all ......
Another freezer paper stencil tote bag. They have become my "go to" gift of the moment !!!
 There's a current theme emerging too ...... Owls (and little, blingy crowns) !!! How I love those feathered creature. Have I ever told you, that we adopted 2 Pearl Spotted Owls at the Johannesburg Zoo. The first, we adopted to celebrate Hubby and My 4th Wedding Anniversary, and then the second we adopted to celebrate the births of our babies. We named the one adopted to celebrate the kids births, Baby J !!! Yes, it's a long standing love I have for them ..... we've been married nearly 20 years, and the kiddos are 15 and 13 :-)
 The image was a freebie off the internet, and once again I used the Tulip Fabric spray paint ...... purple and green this time. A marbled, purple, cotton lining, and YAY, I remembered to include a label :-)

This tote, is a little gift for a friend .... I hope it brings her many smiles as she uses it.

Monday, September 9, 2013


My Mom asked me a little while ago, if I'd make her a couple of aprons when I had a bit of spare time. She is currently visiting my sister in the UK, so it was the perfect opportunity to get them to her ....... Sadly, if I send  parcels home to her, they stand a pretty good chance of being stolen en route, so we tend to make use of friends and family who travel between the 2 countries.

My model (aka Girl Child), was clearly preferring the off the shoulder look today !!!
I love the fabric I used in the first picture ...... It's fabric I've obviously had for a while, given I found it at the bottom of my fabric trunk !!!! It came from Michaels when they went through that phase, where they sold ready cut 2 yard pieces all nicely folded onto a mini bolt (I love that way of packaging fabric).
The second apron's skirt, I made by sewing jelly roll strips together (this fabric may look familiar from a post I wrote a couple of months back ..... my Ellie Beanbag ) ..... I might just add, that my trusty advisor .... off the shoulder model ..... sweet daughter, declared this NOT to be her favorite !!! I happen to quite like the fact that it's feminine. If Mom doesn't like it, she can always give it as a gift to someone.

Hopefully these aprons will spend many happy hours in the kitchen, creating delicious, tasty dishes, like only Mom can.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


My most favorite swap of the year ...... Val's Halloween Swap !!!
The theme again this year .... A Zombie Doll. A zombie straight out of Alice In Wonderland, to be exact.
I have LOVED  making this doll .... the freedom to be creative it allows you, is wonderful. Let's face it, there really is no right or wrong where zombies are concerned.
My partner listed The Mad Hatter, as one of her favorite characters ...... At this point, let me just pause to give Johnny Depp, a big, hearty Thank You, for being my inspiration ... nothing says Mad Hatter quite like carrot orange hair !!!
 His face is made of paper clay, molded around a styrofoam ball. I hollowed out eye sockets and a mouth cavity, before covering it. His body and appendages, are made of cloth, and to make it easier for him to sit without toppling over, I added a cup of rice to his bum, before stuffing him with fiber fill !!! I designed his clothing myself .... there was a lot of trial and error in the design department, as I had a picture in my head of what I wanted him to look like ..... skintight, purple pants did not fit that picture (they were what I got when I made up the first pair of pants, however) !!!  The "brains", are knitted I-cords. I used fabric spray paint for the blood.

He will be boxed, and headed on his way to his new mama tomorrow ....... it's going to be tough to see him go. I've become quite attached to him, but hopefully she likes him, as much as I do.
It gives me an excuse to make another one !!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Today's post is a little braggy post ....... please excuse me, but I'm a little excited !!!

Do you remember these ...

Well, this is where they were headed ...... hence the deadline I mentioned I had to meet ...
Today, our sweet mail lady dropped this in our mailbox ....
Needless to say I am VERY excited by these results :-)
This is the 3rd year I've entered goodies ..... I've been lucky to place with something I created each year.
We'll definately be having a Family Day at The Fair ....... it is SO exciting to see something you made pinned up  (with its ribbon attached) on display for all the fair goers to see. It's kind of a proud moment.

If you've ever considered entering items into your local State Fair, I'd strongly encourage you to do so ...... it's so much fun !!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

TIWIT .... TE .... WHOO ...

I've been playing again, with the freezer paper !!!
This time I used Tulip Fabric Spray Paints ..... I purchased a little tester pack a while back, when I had a 50% off coupon. The pack has seven 4oz spray bottles of basic colors ...... they are a lot of fun to use :-)
As Halloween is not too far away, and I have a great love of all things owl (and you can NEVER have too many tote bags), I decided to go with this design. Once again, I embellished the design with a little embroidery, and some bling. I couldn't find the crown I wanted, but it turns out that I really do like this alternative. It was a pendant, that I disassembled a bit, and turned upside down.
I lined this bag too ...... they just seem unfinished to me if I don't.  It's a five minute job to do it, so no excuses really. I went with a funky, fun Halloween print this time.
I love labels, and would really like to get into the habit of using them more often. I found this cool stamp in the dollar bins at Michaels, marked down a further 50% !!!! Who can resist .... I know !!!
I had a scrap square of muslin, that was headed to the dustbin. Instead, I ironed some applique paper onto the back of it, and stamped the image onto the fabric, using Staz On Ink ....... that ensures the ink doesn't do odd things when it touches the fabric. I then took my little alphabet stamps (also a dollar bin find), and stamped my name .... Voila, a cute label. Once I finished stamping it, I cut it out using pinking sheers, and ironed it onto the bag lining. The best bit ..... I still have some of the fabric left ..... backed and ready to go, when I need it :-)

Hope you all enjoyed a lovely, long Labor Day Weekend ..... Ughhh, I guess we'll be answering to the alarm clock again tomorrow morning !!!