Thursday, February 24, 2011


I have to tell you that i just love craft books.  I am sure that I already have more than I will ever need but that doesn't stop me from buying more.
Last week I travelled to Ballarat to visit a friend (an hour and a half away from here). Happily we had arranged to meet outside Spotlight so I managed to give the credit card a little work out, and bought this book:

I saw it and just had to have it.

This book I saw at Ballarat but thought I would exercise some restraint but all weekend I was thinking about what i could do with such little creatures so I went out early this week and bought it (I am sure it was not really worth the effort i went to to get it LOL!!!)....

I have made two of the little creatures out of it, one just to see how it went and one for my 12yo son.  It must be okay as my 14yo declared it to be really "cool".

A visit to Ballarat would not be complete without a trip to Sovereign Needlework.  They have the most gorgeous threads. i bought some Perle 3 that i had been needing and couldn't get anywhere and then bought some overdyed thread. Gorgeous.  I also happened to see this book and couldn't resist. I haven't done redwork but it is on my very long list of things to do before i depart this earth!!

I already have plans of what I want to make from it.  But I will have to restrain myself as i do have other things on my list beforehand.  I have since found out that i could have bought this book half price from a website where i love to get books from but oh well, an impulse buy now and again is good for the soul, if not the wallet!!

I have ordered another book which I expect to get here tomorrow.  it is a knitting book with very cute baby things in it (i hope!!).  Another thing I saw and couldn't resist when I was surfing the 'net the other day.  I dont live terribly close to craft stores so the internet is a wonderful thing.  i am not sure if DH would agree though!

As for things i need to do; I AM FINISHED!!!!!  The 1860s gowns anyway.  Both are done and are ready to be worn on Saturday night.  My friend's dress has turned out really well and I am told mine is pretty too but it is hard to tell when it is on. I do know mine is very heavy and hers is not, but a swap with me is not in her plans sadly LOL!  And it is supposed to be 29 degrees Saturday but it should be cooler in the evening for the dinner.  I promise to show some photos next week sometime.  Hair is the only thing to be sorted now but as my friend is a hairdresser, I am putting myself into her hands.  My job was the dresses and hers is the hair. Most of my hair will be swept back I believe and then ringlets coming down over it.  We will see.  I am really excited. When do we get a chance to dress up and make ourselves into ladies?  Not very often.  I must admit to being a bit of a girly girl so this is right up my alley.
I am really looking forward to it, it has been a rough week in our house with my son's asthma having a slight turn for the worse, but it is all settled now thankfully.  Health has been an issue for me today but that is a whole other post i think. Thankfully there is always craft to soothe our minds.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

counterchange smocking

I have a weekly sewing group that i go to. It consists of half a dozen women sitting around each other's kitchen tables, sewing and chatting. It is lovely and has been my one night dedicated to me and what i want to do for quite a few years now.  Different things have tried to interfere with it; kids' sporting nights usually, but I do what i can to make it each week. It is wonderful to sit among friends, learn things from them, and chat about family, children etc. 

A few weeks ago some of them wanted to try counterchange smocking, which is something I had never done so I had a go too.  The lady who taught me to smock 11 years ago doesn't believe in samplers and I dont either now.  She has some very good arguments to support this and so as a result, my very first attempt at smocking in her class ended up in a lovely little bishop dress.
So when it came time to try the counterchange smocking, I decided to turn that into a dress as well.  For no real reason, I chose to make it into a size three.  If I had've made it in a size 5 I could have given it to a friend for her daughter.  There certainly is too many things hanging up in my sewing room as it is with no prospects of having an owner any time soon, so to add another one was a bit silly. Nevertheless, a size three it is.  I took it to my group last night to hem and luckily for me one of the ladies had nothing to do and hemmed it for me.  Thanks Helen I owe you!!!  I dont have a problem with hemming, but like a lot of things, if you offer to do it for me, i will not say no LOL!! it meant I got to sit and knit for a baby present I am making.
So, here is the dress, it still needs buttons.

The back has two rows of the red smocking.  It is annoying me though (hence the lack of photos!), as I thought the smocking would match up with the front but the top row of the back meets up with the bottom row of the front. So the second row on the back sits lower than the smocking on the front. It probably really isn't a problem but it is annoying to me as I had planned it, or so I thought, to be the same.  So I have three choices; to do one more row on the front, take one row off the back, or leave it as it is.  I dont think the last option will happen, and i think if I do one more row on the front it will be too low on a child, so that leaves pulling a row out of the back.  I certainly have enough other things on the go so I will leave it for now and decide later.
Before i forget, i will show you my first smocking; it is not perfect by any means, and the doll I had it on has stretched the sleeves, but I am proud of it. My son got croup halfway through the course and i missed a couple of lessons. Thankfully I phoned the teacher as I had no idea that the two step wave and then the five step trellis (the blue rows) made hearts.  They would have been two different colours if I had not have been told that.  That was one lesson learned!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still sewing

Well, I am still going with these 1860's dresses.  What a big job. The skirts have taken me all week, with the petticoats as well. So they just need the hems done now.  I was going to machine sew them and cover the seam with the various ribbons and trims that we have both decided on but the seams are quite low to the ground so that plan may change. Although for one night, it really isn't going to matter that the hems weren't hand sewn; who will see it anyway?
And now with two weeks to go (but who is counting) time seems to be ticking very fast so i need to get a wriggle on and get the tops done for both of us. We are using the same pattern for us both but hers will have long sleeves, mine short, hers will have a round neck and mine will come down into a "v".  Mine should be very easy, I have made this for me before, but hers needs to be taken in in one spot and then let out in others, so it will be a challenge to get it to fit nicely.
And alas; no photos of the material; i can't get a nice photo that shows the colour without it looking too purple (yuk!).  Hopefully when it is made up and we are wearing them, we can get a good one.

So in leau of a photo of my week's work, i thought I would introduce you to the family pet. Her name is Maggie and she is our ten year old Border Collie. She is a lovely dog, we got her when our kids were little. She has never once snapped at them, and the kids did try her patience I am sure when they were little.  She has finally learned that she is not to come out past the side gate, so when we were out gardening last week she plonked herself at the open gate and just sat.  Funny girl!! She does bark a bit much for our liking but is the sweetest natured animal.

She didn't want to sit for this photo; she kept crawling up for kisses!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The secret revealed

This is what I have been making for my kids.  He is a knitted toy and is the main character in one of their playstation games, Little Big Planet. His name is Sackboy and you may have seen him around as they have just launched their second game. 

So, a Sackboy each, sitting on their beds.  I am waiting for them to get home from school, in another 45 minutes, to see how long it takes them to notice them.  I think they will like them. My youngest has been asking for weeks if we could find a pattern online to make some, so I didn't tell him that I had found one.  I think they would be great with jointed arms and legs.  The head is big and heavy and has a stick inside it to keep it up so no joint for that. Down the track, when I have nothing else to do, I may make one for me and put jointed arms and legs into that one.
I have ordered some Sackboy keyrings online and am waiting for those to turn up but don't expect them for another week or so.

Now that these are finally done I am off to sew some period dresses for a dinner in three weeks celebrating our town's 150th birthday.  It should be a lot of fun, but I only found out today that not many people have decided to dress up for it.  I am hoping not to stand out like the only person in fancy dress at a birthday party.  I do know of some others who are dressing the part but not too many.  Maybe the long skirts and petticoats will keep the mozzies away from our legs as it is an outside dinner.  It will be fun to do something so different. 
Little Big Planet is such a fun game and great for all ages.  I like playing it as is but the kids like making their own levels (too much work for me, I would rather play what someone else has spent hours making up!!!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

favourite things

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite sewing things.  Well, two of mine and one of my son's.  My two were both gifts and have proven to be very useful and very well loved.
Firstly is a pincushion that fits on your finger. A friend brought it back from the United States a few years ago. I think it cost her the princely sum of 50cents.  It is made from the lid of a soft drink bottle. So simple, but so useful. It lives with my sewing machine. I showed it to a friend who then made herself a lovely one, covered the bottle cap in felt, it is really pretty.
My next one I recently got for commenting on a friend's blog  Linda's blog. I had never had scissors that i could hang around my neck before and I have found them to be wonderful.  I can sit in my armchair and sew without worrying about the scissors falling down somewhere and being left for the next person to sit on.  They have been wonderful for machine sewing too. I am not sure how I went for so long without being able to keep my scissors safe and close at hand.

This next one belongs to my 12 year old son.  He likes playing around with sewing but we don't make time often enough.  He insisted I buy this on our last shopping outing.  It is a tape measure. Pull on one ear and the tape measure comes out.  Press the button on the back and in it goes again.  I think he is probably a bit too old for this but if it keeps him interested in crafts and using his hands, i will happily indulge it.  He is planning a future of writing computer games so i have no doubt this crafty streak will not last forever.

we did manage to get him onto the sewing machine over these long holidays. He made a cushion cover out of some furry material that he had been given at school.  It wasn't large enough so I added some that I had here. All in all it turned out very well and is nice and soft so is very nice to lie your head on.
He had his first day at High school yesterday, so that was a big step for both of us.  He had a great day but I spent it listless and wandering around, looking for something to do.  He has an older brother there so it is not quite a new and unfamiliar place.  I think he will be growing up now, becoming a teenager.  i am sad to lose my little boy but happy to see the person he is growing into.  Independence is a hard thing; it is something I have always strived to give my kids but it is hard when they then exercise that independence.  He is going to have a great year, as will my older son, who is in year nine and is able to branch out this year with all sorts of elective subjects. 
And while the boys are trying out their independence this year, i will be striving for some of my own, I am determined to get a part time job this year so we will see how the job hunting goes.  Not easy in a small town.