Monday, August 25, 2008

Just a-waitin

The mining company called to say their charter is delayed by 30mins so I am just killing time. We're flying with them to Perth so I can take Jess to the dermatologists tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing the specialists but a bit worried they might hospitalise her again. She really doesn't seem to be responding to the latest course of antibiotics (non-main stream as she's resistant to those already!!). She had swabs taken Monday last week and as of yesterday, a full week later, they're still pending. That doesn't bode well in my opinion.

So hopefully we will be home tomorrow, as scheduled on the mine's return charter. If not, who knows when and how we'll be coming home. See the issue here? *lol*

Lets just hope they fix my girl. No 5yr old deserves to live the way she does, then have comments from people that "at least she doesn't have down-syndrome or something like that". I swear to you, often something else would be a blessing for her.

Back soon, I hope :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Birthday Bliss turned BAD!

Jessica went to her friend Emily's birthday party yesterday (Saturday). It's only the 3rd birthday she's ever been invited to. Emily's mum asked to put their dog in the neighbours yard and made sure she cooked the cake from scratch, had no balloons and checked every pack for nuts and sesame. What an awesomely kind thing to do! I am so pleased she included Jess as I feel she probably gets left out a lot as people are terrified of her allergies. The last parties she went to would have been some 2 years ago.

Emily's bday was a smash hit with the kids and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself over her presents. Then the kids started dobbing, and as they were another came out the door crying. That child's mother jumped up to sort her out with the baby in her arms. She almost threw the baby when she started screaming "OMG OMG!" I grabbed the 6mth old and was a bit lost as to what was going on. At first, none of us saw the blood streaming out of the child's head!! Her mum raced her inside and grabbed a hand towel and was in the bathroom all panicked. I was feeling a bit helpless when I realised that, other than the host, I was the only one who drove the party. I was going to give the mum my keys until I realised how freaked out she was. I passed the baby (who hates anyone but her mum) and talked her into getting in the car. We got to the hospital as fast as we could, and boy am I glad we live in a small town!!! It was a quick drive but it seemed to take forever. The child was alert and asking to go back to the party, the mum was crying and I think she wanted to smack out whoever did this to her little girl. The nurse gave us the all clear within moments. The cut was tiny, and 4-5mm, and she had a nice egg on her head. But she was talking, not crying, not wanting to lay down on the trolley or anything else. So we were sent on our merry way. It turns out they were playing chasey through the house and out the doors etc. It seems another little girl nudged her and she hit her head on the handle of the fridge. One of those older style ones with the stainless steel handles. OUCH! Needless to say when we got back to the party everyone was ready to go home. I helped the host clean up and assured her the injured little girl was fine.

Now, on a MUCH happier not, LOOK WHAT I MADE!

A crayon roll, this is what started it all. I've seen these all over the net and knew I wanted to make one. Emily's mum said she loves arty/crafty stuff so it was the perfect excuse to try it out! I didn't follow a pattern or tutorial. I probably should have as it got a bit of a trapezoid shape to it once I sewed the little pockets. The fabric is some I bought off the Lincraft site under "kids prints".
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An apron. Again no pattern. I just held some fabric up to Jessi and then added some as Emily is at least 2 sizes bigger, then added some more as I wanted to have a gather across the top. Flat aprons look so wrong to me. I cut it at the length I thought was about ok, considering I wanted to add a ruffle on the bottom and when I got to the outer corners I just cut them rounded. Easy.

SEWING TIP: For the ruffle I tore a piece of fabric about 2inches from selvage to selvage, overcast stitched the outer edge then upped the tension on my machine to max, and maxed out the stitch length too, and let the machine gather it up. A great tip I picked up on Craftster!! Worked a treat.

Again, with the pockets I just cut a rectangle with rounded corners. No rocket science here people. They're not completely "finished" as I just left the pinking edges exposed but I like it like that ;)

The strap I again tore across the selvage and sewed it up. It needed some hemming tape or something similar on the back to neaten off the torn edges but I couldn't find mine.

A very basic school supplies scrapbook, covered in brown paper and decorated with scraps from the previous projects. I needed stick glue and couldn't find any, the only glue I had was this horrible BIC School Glue that's blue and dries clear. It's useless stuff but it was all I had. I didn't like my chances of the double sided tape holding down fabric. So it's left marks on the fabric. UGH! Oh well

And last but not least, I have picked up so many wonderful ideas from some truly amazing people and I saw this paint on a blog and wondered if it would be too tacky to give as a gift. I decided that no, home made doesn't make it any less fun for a 6yr old! I emailed the blog owner Mel at Day to Day:One Crafty Mumma to see if I could write a recipe for the child using Mel's post about microwave puff paint. I was getting a bit worried I wouldn't get an answer in time and tried to think of a way to give the paint as a dry mix, rather than as dry ingredients.

First, gather ingredients (PS. Black and Gold Cooking Salt has the texture of sugar!! HUGE crystals and cooking salt is supposed to be super fine. Not happy). That little box is the back of the food dye as it has "colour blending" details. I didn't have any baby food jars and my Neil's parents own the cafe, so I went and stole some of the little containers tey use for gravy ;)

I mixed the salt with the food dye in the little containers. It took a bit of stirring but nothing too hard. Left them in the sun to make sure the salt/sun had absorbed all the moisture. Believe it or not that horrible brown in the middle there is red/blue ie, purple. Hope if makes up as purple!!

Once I was sure it was completely dry I mixed in the flour. It doesn't look very attractive...

I was going to decorate the containers with brown paper and more fabric scraps, I was running out of time. I made a little instructions card, included some cotton bud "paint brushes" and some plastic spoons for mixing. I imagine her mum would need to mix these in other containers as I think it would be too thick in those little ones but who knows what will happen. The kids wanted to get into it right away!! I am lucky enough to know a picture framer and he is happy to offload mount board offcuts to me so I gave her some of those for her artworks too. All up she got 8 colours.

To give this gift I didn't wrap it. There was also a colour by numbers book to use with the crayons, so I layed the books and card on the bottom, put the 8 paint pots on top, wrapped over the apron (so those paints would stay put), placed the stirrers, mixers and crayons, and tied it all up with 2 lengths of fabric. Looked cute! No wasted paper floating all over the place, and she still enjoyed "opening" it. I took the camera and didn't take a single photo while there. Not good!! I don't think anyone took a photo..

So now I am thinking since Feb is a HUGE month in this town for bdays and it's when school just goes back etc, I might wait for some warmer weather and Jessi can have a party. Albeit wont be her birthday, but it will still be fun. And I am so stealing more blog ideas to do it!!! I had fun creating Emily's presents and Emily is sure to have fun with them. Woohoo!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New wardrobe

I've been sewing again. Well, I was gardening on the weekend but I've really hurt my back and can't get back to it just yet. Neil and I went to Kalgoorlie on Monday and we (together, shock horror) chose some plants for specific places in the garden, and got some weed mat to go under the paving I hope to do when my back feels better. We both got haircuts, our main reason for going out of town in the first place.

Jessi needed a haircut too but she was too sick to drive to Kal with us. Her eczema is shitty in a mega way. She's back on antibiotics which makes me so sad. Her skin isn't improving any and all these antibiotics have to be bad for her. She's gone to school today, under duress! She didn't really want to go, but I didn't really want her to stay home. She's starting to play on the "I'm too sore" thing as well which isn't good. We fly to Perth on Tuesday for a dermatology appointment on the Wed morning so fingers crossed for Jessi. This can't be nice for her cos I know I hate it.

I've made Jess some new clothes. She really doesn't need ANY clothes but I am enjoying the process, the new sewing machine, and I love seeing her in them. Plus, other people's comments when they find out I made it is very nice.
This first one is made from cream polar fleece. I decided about 11am Jessi needed something warm to wear to the disco at the town hall cos our town hall is FREEZING! I really don't know why I did it, but I did. So needless to say I stressed out the whole time, finally finishing it about 3pm. The disco was at 5!! I didn't think to look for a zip before starting and very luckily found just ONE 5" zip in the stash. I never realised I needed a lining either so after cutting out the fleece etc went hunting for something to line the dress with. I ended up finding this huge assortment of slip fabric I had got in an op shop bag of fabrics and which I never thought I'd have a use for. I picked a coral colour and it looks really pretty. I also decided to line the hood, which was not part of the pattern. I've never sewn hoods or lining before so the construction was a bit questionable, and the zip is only the 3rd I've ever sewn!
The dress

The lining

A monkey in a dress

The pattern source and another daggy pic of Jessi. She all but refused to stand up straight and thought she was being cute doing a Hunchback of Notredame performance. I wasn't impressed. She does look cheeky though! *please note, I did not deliberately match the colour of the dress, the hair style or the colour of the tshirt under the dress. It was all coincidence!!
The other completed sewing project is a capri pants and top set. The top I chose because it sits low in the underarms and hoped this would help ease some of the rubbing Jess is experiencing with clothes and it hurts her under the arms. The pants I decided to add a cuff to tie into the top. I've never done a cuff before. It took me ages! It probably would have helped had I cut off the part that was supposed to be hemmed on the pants, but that's only just dawned on me. So yes, the pants are a bit big. I also chopped a few inches off the waist before encasing elastic. No kid wears pants that high these days. I really rushed the casing so I should redo that bit cos I spent a lot of time making sure everything else was neat! I am trying hard to spend more time on the process and the finish rather than just achieving the end result. The floral fabric is some I picked up in Perth at the beginning of the year for 50c a metre at a closing down sale. YAY! Pattern was Simplicity 9276, which I actually got for free! The lady from the local op shop gave me 2 patterns. She said the minute they were bought in she thought I might like them for Jessi. She's very sweet like that.

Last night I was going to sew a wrap dress. The fabric smelt really musty so I threw it in the wash instead and opted to draft the 1964 smock pattern instead. I have all these old Aussie magazines which used to come with free patterns. Most of the ones I have still have their patterns!! The trouble is, the only give you the crucial pieces and you have to draft the rest. SO.. I did. I only have to hem the dress then I will show it off.

Jessica got an invite this morning for her friend Emily's birthday party on the weekend. I asked Em's mum if she needed anything and she said no, but that Emily likes making/drawing/painting etc. What kid doesn't?! I bought some crayons, a plain school style scrapbook and a colour by numbers book. I plan to cover the scrapbook and have sewn a crayon roll for the crayons. It's far from perfect. Quite wonky infact. But Emily isn't going to care! I want to make the girls matching outfits only Em is quite a bit bigger than Jessi (size 6, Jessi is a 3-4) and I just don't have much fabric so I don't know what to make. I guess I could just dig out a handful of Jessi's craft supplies and give them to Emily in a tote bag or something. Jessi has packets of dolly pegs and pipe cleaners etc so it's not like regifting, just dividing!! OOOHH... A little pocketed apron would go so well with that! Hmm.. I may have just solved one problem. Only it means sewing an apron and a bag.
I keep wanting to make quick little things like hair clips but nothing really feels right. I do fiddle with it, but reject most. There will be markets in a few weeks for fathers day, I'd love to have had a stall. Maybe I should aim for Mothers Day cos that gives me til May *lol*. I never have the supplies I need. Living here sux so bad at times like that. I have got to start making some money from my crafts.
Well, I have to go get Jessi from school so I will leave it there for now. Hopefully be back later today to show off the crayon roll and the completed 1964 smock. *LMAO* when does that ever happen ;)
PS. Am waiting for a swap to be announced. My first in AGES!
PPS. (I just had to edit to add this *lol*) LeAnna has bought me German sewing magazines since she leaves to go home to the USA soon, and I also ordered 3 Ottobre magazines yesterday. Woohoo!! LeAnna has got me an Ottobre too, thankfully I only ordered summer/spring ones and she got me the current issue which is autumn. How cool is that!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sewing a million miles a minute, and thrift finds

I can't recall if I have shown off the first refashion I did, so here it is hanging in the shade of the tree out the front of my house. I got the idea from user Cheytown on Jessica loves this dress. Nice and soft. She's worn it a LOT in the few days she's had it.

The little model (yes, her eczema is unfriendly at the moment) :(

Refashion attempt 2, from this --->
To this

As I am loving the new sewing machine and it's 50+ stitches, I am enjoying trying them out. Jessi likes this flowery wave so I have sewn it along the top of the bodice and the hem. I decided to try out some lace as straps. There was plenty of the stripe fabric for straps as it was a big shirt. There was also plenty of buttons!! 2 on each of the cuffs, a spare on the tag, 1 on the collar and all the ones down what was the front of the shirt. So I made use of those too. The straps probably need to be bought into the centre another inch at least. They were also about 2 inches too long so when I put it on her I tacked them up a bit.
To tie in the lace straps I made some simple gathered flowers and again utilised all those extra buttons. Two vies of said flowers (one kinda shows the flowery stitch around them hem too). Not great photos!!

The ladies at the op shop thought I was bonkers when size 22 me bought a size 10 ladies skirt. I am pretty pleased with the results!! I don't like the pucker in the front where the tie leads off, but Jessica loves it so I am going to leave it alone. I have no idea what is with her super hero poses. I did ask, she said that's how models do it. Who can argue? I didn't want to make this a halter, Jessica did. I wanted regular straps. Jessi asked to have the ribbon ties at the waist too but I didn't know she wanted to do that when I was in Kalgoorlie and only bought 1m of the ribbon which is all used on the halter. Oh well. (not to mention I wasn't unpicking the side seams to put in ribbon ties!).
And from this--->
To this!! A lovely light Indian cotton ladies Medium sized top, now a (roughly) size 3 girls dress. I simply sewed in the side seams, used a piece cut away from the side seams and inset it in the front top (above all those sequins) to keep her little buttons covered, and pleated the back to bring it in some. Oh, and took in the straps about an inch. At the moment the pleat in the back is being held by safety pins. Jessi is rarely home when I am sewing and I made the first pleat far too small. She could hardly get her head into the dress, and the arm holes cut into her. Will fix it up when I finish blogging about it. Most annoying thing about this recon is that I don't have khaki coloured thread and the green I do have, while the same tone, is much too light.

On to a few thrift finds from my trip to Kalgoorlie the other day. I don't usually show off these finds as I buy so many, but for a change I will. I'm pretty pleased with a lot of them. All I did that day was go to op shops and a craft shop to buy a few essentials. I was only in Kal cos I had to pick up my friend and her new baby from the airport and bring them home. On to the pics!
I really love the DMC book. I paid about $3.50 for it, yay!! Good score. It has everything, crochet, macrame, knitting, embroidering, tatting etc etc. The little Deightons smocking book is cute too. Mainly advertising Deightons thread and iron on smock-dots, but it has basic smocking designs too.
A stack of patterns. All of which I pay about 50c for. Nothing I'm overly excited about in this lot though.

Some magazines, again 50c-$1 each. Some cute dolls in the patchworking mags, the Mon Tricot and Knitting for Australian Babies books are nice. Some cute designs.

Crafty patterns and a free size dress pattern. I've not paid much attention to it, but free size sounds interesting. The Top Kids magazines I paid $1 each for and actually have 37, 40, 41, 42, 44, 48, 50, 51, 52, 54 but somehow 2 of them missed getting their picture taken. Aww :( *lol* These mags are basically all kids clothing from the 90's so some of it's pretty unfashionable. All but one have the pattern sheets though and there is enough useable/adaptable items to make $1 each so worth it.

Crappy handbags. 50c for the UGLY pink thing, and $1 for the ugly black one. I bought both of these for the handles. 50c for those nice pink beads (which extend under the fabric also) is cool, and $1 for those metal handles and the salvaged zipper is all good too.

More clothes to refashion. Most I paid was $5. Sadly, very bad photos and doesn't show off the colours and designs at all well.

I like the light blue on on the left. I doubt Neil will wear it though. He already took 3 of the shirts for himself. I did offer, but he took the 3 most intersting (of course!) *lol*

These shirts are identical. The flash was on for the blue one which looks shocking. The photo I took without the flash didn't work as the batteries died, so this will have to do. They're a mens XL, but sooo big. One a light lemon yellow, the other a baby blue. Paid $5e and they are silk or something very much like it. I have no idea what they are really. Shiny like satin but not smooth and glossy like satin. There is a tag you can see on the yellow one but it only says the maker and a phone number. I looked along the side seams but no other tags to give care instructions or any indication of the fabric. Such a shame. I can see these being a pretty little dress or something to that effect.

Again, shitty looking photos. The one on the left is a ladies broderie anglaise in a mint green (paid $1). Very pretty but also very fine. I've taken this one to bits already and snacked it more than once with the seam ripper. The one on the right is a mens shirt in a wasabi green. I like it a lot! It has lovely textured stripes down it and is a synthetic fabric of some kind. Almost papery to touch.
I got two identical tops on the left. Again, only $1 each in a nice soft blue. Another broderie anglaise type fabric (cos I get suckered in by the stuff every time!) but also embroidered. I've pulled them apart too and the 2 huge darts front and back on 2 tops was monotonous to unpick to say the least. The other is a nice floral print with coloured stripes. I like the print but not as a ladies shirt. It looks so tacky! Hopefully I can find something more fitting a use.

Ladies 12-14 Target brunch coat. Can you see that I am obsessed with broderie fabrics?! I tried to take a close up of the border broderie at the hem but poor light and crap camera equals shit photo.