Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Crafty Year in Review

Looking back 2012 has definitely been a very productive year. This above collage reflects about a quarter of the softies, clothing and accessories I have made over the year. However when I say 'year' it is really six months worth of work as I didn't really get my sewing mojo back until June-ish.

Some of my favourites include:

~The Baby-Chibi doll (top right) I made for Harper's first birthday.

~The pillowcase made for Pillowcase for a Cause. This pillowcase was donated to a Perth girl and was featured in an article in Woman's Day.

~I began playing around with embroidery hoop designs and hand stitched felt pieces.

~I mastered the invisible zip when making cushion covers.

~I really enjoy making the fawns (pattern by Melly and Me) and the reindeer adaptation was fun to do.

~I set out to create new softie pattern designs this year and I did, the Christmas Elf, Kokeshi Doll, Owl and Birdhouse were all new ideas this year that became popular additions to my collection.

All in all it was very fulfilling year creatively speaking. I made lots, learnt lots and had a lot of fun along the way. Little cloud factory was a hobby not long ago but I'm happy to say that it's now my small handmade business.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Christmas Outfit

With just one day up my sleeve I finished Harper's Christmas Day outfit today. Seeing as my clothing making experience is still very limited I chose another simple pattern to follow, a peasant top. Initially I was going to make a dress but with a hot day forecast and the fabric I wanted to use being a quilting fabric, the dress idea was shortened to be a top paired with nappy pants.

I used this on line tutorial and pattern and found the instructions to be perfectly easy to follow. I love that this style of top/dress can be made within an hour or so, is easy to slip on and off a wiggly child and can be varied with pockets, trims or belts depending on how 'fancy' you feel. I picked up some gorgeous seersucker the other day so I'm off to make some summer dresses for the girls.



Friday, December 21, 2012

A Very Cute Hedgehog


A few weeks ago I bought the November issue of Homespun, purely for the cute hedgehog softie on the cover. The pattern inside was created by Sarah of Dolls and Daydreams and is really unique and relatively easy to make. The most difficult part of making this softie was sourcing the right fabric. Having never sewn with faux fur before I started looking online for fabric only to discover that a fat quarter was around the $50 mark! I swiftly went to Spotlight but their range was limited and not the greatest quality. My last trip was to Textile Traders, there was a remnant of this white tipped, soft brown faux fur material and at a reduced price. Admittedly I didn't need the entire 3 metre remnant but this fabric couldn't be more 'hedgehog'-like and I certainly won't run out of fabric!

This was my first attempt, it's not perfect, the fur will take a little getting used to and my pinking shears aren't the best cutters anymore but I will definitely be making more. And with an application already pending for a handmade market in March, I'll hopefully be able to get some public feedback in the near future. In the meantime Harper Hedgehog has a new owner.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Snippets

My four year old informs me daily of how many sleeps until Santa arrives. She has written her letter, decorated the tree and given her friends little gifts, it's such a special time of year for her. I wish I could have captured that look of excitement when she received a reply letter from Santa, so beautiful.

Another important recent event was Michaela's 'graduation' from Pre-Kindy (3 year old Kindy) which was an exciting day for her. She has grown in confidence this year and now can't wait to start at the 'big kids' school.

One of the main reasons for buying an over locker recently was to make clothes for the girls. So yesterday I made a quick and simple skirt which is essentially a piece of fabric folded in half and stitched together. Then you create the 'tunnel' at the top for the elastic and hem the base, easy enough for a novice like me. Add a $3 tshirt with a fabric appliqué and here's a cute festive outfit created in a couple of hours. The most difficult part was trying to keep Michaela still while I took photos!

Another Christmas tradition is visiting houses decorated in lights. We found this gorgeous house the other night who are also collecting donations for the Perth children's hospital.

Final preparations for Christmas at our house involve making an outfit for Harper, wrapping presents and cleaning up for our traditional Christmas morning whole family brunch. The weather forecast for Christmas Day is HOT so hopefully Santa will bring some water toys!

PS I have just downloaded the Blogsy app so this is my first IPad post using it. Fingers crossed for when I hit the 'post' button.


Monday, December 3, 2012

The 'New' Sunday Roast

Something a little different from me today, a recipe. We tend to eat a roast meal once a week or so, I like that I can throw the meat and a few vegetables in the oven at 4pm and pull it out at 6pm without having to stand at the hot plate with children running around me legs.

This receipe came from an issue of Real Living and is a variation of the roast chicken. It is still relatively quick and easy and doesn't require the oven being on for 2 hours (nice for summer) For 4 people you will need:

Chicken thighs- skin on is recommended but I use skin off pieces too which works fine.
2 zucchini
2 cloves garlic
punnet cherry tomatoes
rosemary stalks
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 200C
Quarter zucchinis and separate garlic cloves
Add some oil and a knob of butter to the pan (I use a roasting pan on the hot plate which I then transfer to the oven)
Add zucchini, garlic and rosemary stalks to pan. Cook for approx 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Remove zucchini, garlic and rosemary from pan.
Season chick thigh pieces and place in pan, skin side down. Cook for approx 5 minutes or until browned.
Mix maple syrup and dijon mustard in a small bowl.
Turn chicken over and drizzle maple syrup/mustard mixture over chicken pieces.

Return zucchini, garlic and rosemary to the pan.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan as well.
Place in the oven for 40 minutes.
Serve with some crusty bread or salad.
(The addition of red capsicum or mushrooms would also work nicely with this meal.)

Buon appetito!