Friday, 27 January 2012

Australia Day 2012


Yesterday, we took advantage of the lovely weather and headed off to the beach.


We haven't really done a proper beach trip before, although the boys have been for a nice walk around Nelson Bay.


Amélie however, had never seen a beach before and was quite in her element.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Liz's Quick Currant Cookies


This is my mum's biscuit recipe. I made some this morning. The recipe makes HEAPS of biscuits! I got 120 from this mixture, mum gets about 80, but hers are bigger. You could probably halve the recipe if you wanted, or take half the dough and wrap it in plastic and pop it in the freezer to make later. Or just make the whole batch, because you know they will get eaten anyway.

2¼ Cups Self-Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Cups Brown Sugar
2 Cups Oats
1½ Cups Currants
250g Butter, melted
2 Eggs, lightly beaten

Pre-heat the oven to moderately hot. Ensure baking trays fit in the oven! Grease baking trays.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.

Add sugar, oats and currants.

Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the butter and eggs. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well combined.

Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place onto prepared trays, allowing room for spreading.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I bet you can't stop at just one!


Sunday, 22 January 2012



I can't believe my little girl is one already. I couldn't resist this gorgeous little pram for her dollies, especially since it was on sale at just the right time.


I think Miranda* likes it, too.


We spent some time at the pool on the actual day. Although not as long as we planned, as Maxx was suddenly called away for an unexpected job interview.


The cake (although delicious) was a bit of a rush job, due to the changes in the afternoon's plans, so I didn't take any photos of it, and dinner was late...


... but he got the job, so it was worthwhile.


Yesterday, we had some friends and family over for a barbecue to celebrate, and there was a proper birthday cake.





*yes, the doll finally has a name. We've named her after Miranda Hart.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Roast Pumpkin and Basil Frittata


I've been wanting to blog this recipe for ages. It's perfect for a picnic or a barbecue, or lunch with a friend.

700g butternut pumpkin, roasted
6 eggs
1 cup cream
1/4 cup basil, torn
1 garlic clove, crushed
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
200g feta, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut pumpkin into 2cm cubes. Place eggs and cream into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Fold through pumpkin and remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased and lined 20cm square sandwich pan and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes or until set. When cool turn onto a board and cut into serving sized pieces.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Two Little Boys for Two Little Boys


When Amélie received her doll for Christmas, Liam told me that he would like one too. He was quite disappointed when he found out that the next doll wasn't for him either.


I promised him I would make him one too, and of course, Noah had to have one too. This time I used the "Kinder Boys"* pattern. The dolls remained faceless and without one arm whilst I made their hats and clothes. The boys would never have waited for their clothes to be ready if they were finished, otherwise.


I finished their arms and faces last night and finished off their shirts this morning and snuck them off to the vegie garden before I handed them over, otherwise I would never have gotten to photograph them.


The boys are excited by their dolls!


(You can tell he's an Aussie Kid, by the Vegemite on his face).

*affiliate link

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Knitting Weather


It is supposed to be Summer here, but we've had a lot of knitting weather lately. I've been enjoying the *Dr Who re-runs being played on the ABC and have taken the opportunity to get Amélie's cardigan finished.


This **Kina Cardigan is knitted using Bendigo's Spring Cotton in Spring Rose, which is a beautiful deep pink.


I knitted a size 12 months, and from one 200g ball of yarn, I have about 80g left. Enough for another little project I have in mind...

*Link relevant to Australia only, all episodes already played are still on iView if you need to catch up!
**The website is in French, but the pattern is in English - Google Translate is wonderful for translating French to English

Saturday, 7 January 2012



Oh dear, this blog post would be so much easier to write, if the dolls had names... Anyway, introducing the new Dolly, who is Amélie's Dolly's cousin, who will be going to live with Amélie's cousin.


So Amélie's-dolly's-cousin is the last of the Christmas presents, and will be hitching a ride with Australia Post on Monday.


What an adventure she will have! Actually, I'm hoping that her trip is rather straight-forward and as unadventurous as possible.


Oh, and just for interests sake, here is dolly before I be-headed her and gave her a chin lift.


Can you tell she's had work done?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Belated Christmas Gifts


Another couple of Super-Hero capes with specially designed super hero emblems for some more nephews. Hopefully these will be in the post on Monday. I have one more really late Christmas present to get ready before they go.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Little Lady in Red


I made another shirred dress for Amélie. This time I made a matching hat and bloomers. I really like this red fabric that I picked up from Spotlight the other day. I think red really suits Amélie, you may see more of her in it in the future.


The shoulder-tie detail is actually fake. The straps are plain, with extra "straps" just tied onto them with a bow. If we get sick of tying them up all the time, we can just take them off. Or I could stitch them so that they stay tied.


I also added a ruffle to the bottom, which I ruffled and attached all in one go, using the ruffling foot. I did have a few hiccups, with the needle screw coming undone. I had been warned about this, but it hadn't happened before for me. I wonder if it is because I was ruffling and attaching in one go, or if I was going faster than last time? Anyway, I noticed it doesn't "ruffle" as much when that screw is loose, so if you notice your ruffles aren't as ruffly, then you might need to tighten that screw - BEFORE the needle pops out!


I did a rolled hem along the top and bottom edges of the dress with machine embroidery thread in the upper looper, it gives a nice luxurious finish. I did the rolled hem on the bottom of the ruffle before I ruffled it, so I was hemming a nice, flat piece of fabric, rather than one that was ruffled and attached to a dress.

The hat is from Nicole Mallalieu's book, You Sew, Girl! This hat pattern is the same as the "Kids Hats" pattern by Nicole Mallalieu, but in baby size. These hats are easier to make each time, as you get used to sewing the curves together.


The bloomers I am really happy with. I am going to make more of these. I actually used a shorts pattern and added some to the bottom, and took some from the top. I did a rolled hem at the bottom edge, and then added some narrow elastic about an inch up from the bottom. I also added a couple of little ties at the sides, which was a detail I liked from another pair of purchased bloomers that Amélie already had.

Shirr and Shirr Alike


I'm really liking making little shirred dresses for Amelie at the moment. I love the freedom of not having to use a pattern. I made this one for her on New Year's Eve. The fabric is a cute Japanese fabric, Minny Muu from Lecien, and features French words and little houses, cars, boats, trains, flowers and birds. I've done a rolled hem at both the top and bottom edges of the dress this time, which I think works better than a regular hem.


I would love it if someone could try and translate some of the writing on the fabric, as I have no idea what it says, though there seems to be a lot of references to cafés and travel. Maybe it is just gibberish?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

More Christmas Gifts!


I still have a few bits and pieces from December to blog about. I made this ear-bud case for my nephew, Owen. He's staying with my parents over summer, and had brought his iPod, but forgotten his ear-buds, so luckily for him, this came with a set. I used a tutorial to make this, it was relatively quick and easy to do. Don't be scared of the zipper!


Upon hearing about their sale, and needing a few bits and pieces from a particular range of fabrics (I didn't want them to sell it all!), I popped into Spotlight. As I was standing at the counter, being served, I noticed there was a pattern that I needed, for just $2.50.


The pattern is Simplicity 9958, a 1 hour boxer shorts pattern sized for men, teens and boys. Overall, there are ten different sized patterns, ranging from a hip of 61cm right up to 130cm. They were pretty quick to make, but took me a little more than the 1 hour proclaimed on the packaging. I made two pairs of boxer shorts for my nephews, both in a child's medium size.


I added an adjustable waist to both pairs (not part of the pattern), by adding a couple of button-holes to the waistband and using some buttonhole elastic. This made me a little more confident that the shorts would be a comfortable fit.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Heliographic Art


For Christmas, I received a selection of Sun Dyes from KraftKolour P/L. Sun Dyes are heliographic dyes, meaning that they are sun sensitive, and react to infra-red light. I've been wanting to get some for a while, after seeing a little tutorial for a similar product, over on How About Orange.

The dyes come in a lovely range of colours, I was lucky enough to receive Grevillea, Violet, Citrus, Opal and Fern in the medium sized bottles. I went to Spotlight yesterday, and using my $10 voucher I purchased some plain white broadcloth to use for projects like this.


There was an old door laying around in the shed, which makes the perfect portable table for this kind of project. I should warn you, if you are going to use something and don't want to stain it, you should really cover it with plastic before you begin. The dye goes right through the fabric and there is now a lovely (permanent) button design on the old door.

My fabric was about 40cm x 110cm. I taped my fabric to the door, and then we liberally coated it with the dye mixed 50/50 with water. I used about 60ml of dye to 60ml of water. I have since read other recommendations to water it down more, which I will do next time. I guess the manufacturers want you to use more than you need. Also, when I do this again, after taping my fabric, I might wet it before brushing it with the ink, just to draw out the drying time. There was a little ink left over, but not a lot, so I think my estimate of how much to mix up was probably about right. I would rather waste a little dye than run out mid-project.


It was so hot and sunny outside today, I was afraid the ink was going to dry before the buttons went down. So we put down a row along one edge and the rest were rather hastily scattered across the fabric. Some of the edges were a bit blurry, I think that would be partly due to the buttons not being perfectly flat and light getting under them, and partly due to them being moved around a little. I think the blazing sun was probably also a factor and that the dye had started to develop before we got those buttons scattered.

After leaving the wet fabric to dry in the sun, I brought it in and gave it a good pressing with a really hot iron to set the dye. After leaving it to cure for 24 hours it should be good to wash.

Goodbye 2011, Welcome 2012


1. DSCF1684, 2. DSCF1744, 3. DSCF1035, 4. DSCF1217, 5. Glam Purse, 6. DSCF1362, 7. DSCF1453, 8. DSCF1601, 9. DSCF1612, 10. DSCF1213, 11. DSCF1309, 12. DSCF1496

Wow, what a year 2011 was! January and February were very quiet on the blogging front as I settled in with my new baby girl, Amelie.

Liam started three year old kinder this year, and has grown so much I hardly recognise the boy from the start of the year. He will be doing four-year-old kinder in 2012, and then next year (next year?!) he will be starting school.

My favourite Ottobre pattern of all time has turned out to be the Apple shirt. I have fabric sitting around to make another couple of these, the shape of these shirts is lovely and we always get comments on their shirts when the boys wear them.

I made Amélie two Puppet Show outfits in 2011, one of them using beautiful Heather Ross unicorn fabric, and the other using some Kokka Little Red Riding Hood.

I did lots of pattern testing and proof reading for Nikki this year.

I participated in the Hottie Challenge, helping raise funds for the Margaret Pratt foundation. I also registered as an organ donor. The appliqué design I used for my robot on the hottie was originally intended as an embroidery for a quilt for Liam. I still intend to use it, as an appliqué though, maybe in 2012?

I resurrected a pair of Noah's jeans that had holes in the knees and re-fashioned them as a very girlie pair of jeans for Amélie.

I discovered shoe making, and discovered I can also make shoes from leather, this led to a bit of a leather sewing stint where I also put together a City bag using beautiful lamb-skin.

The Sewing hit of the year would have to be the super-hero capes I made for my boys. I also made a couple of these for my nephews for Christmas. Who knew that such a simple project could bring little boys so much joy?

I knitted up a beautiful Kina cardigan for Amelie, I have another on the needles and plan to make her a winter version with long sleeves as well.

I was so excited to find the free tutorial for these lovely elf-style Christmas stockings, and also whipped up some bunting and gingerbread man Christmas decorations. I have never managed to get around to making Christmas decorations for my house before, it has always taken a back seat to gift-making. I hope to make a tree-skirt for my tree in 2012, and perhaps some felt decorations.

What will 2012 bring? I already have some exciting stuff under-way. Hopefully it will all come to fruition before the year is out.
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