Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Orchid Enthusiasts - a dangerous hobby

Jandakot Airport's plans to clear bush to put in an access road threatens the Caladenia Huegelii. 45 percent of known specimens are found on this piece of land.

This is our friend Clive's car. He was out taking photographs.
The rather aggressive bulldozer drivers obviously noticed his WANOSCG (Western Australian Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group) sticker.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little purple caterpillar

We had a heat wave last week. 37.9 degrees in October! It got me thinking about summer sleeping. In our dink days we put separate air conditioning units in to our bedroom and the living room as our roof was too low for ducted. The house gets hot and the house gets cold. In winter Moonshine sleeps in a fleece sleeping bag and flannelette sheets. (Home made when I wondered if Rainbow woke at night because she was cold - No it didn't help her sleep!) In summer I always slept Rainbow in a singlet and nappy. Moonshine is a little different. She likes pressure. She was a baby who appreciated being swaddled and now sleeps in a sleeping bag and firmly tucked in. Also the main way we help is by holding her in her bed with our whole arm resting along her body.
So I re purposed some size 2 singlets (a pack of 5 brought for Rainbow but never used) extended with a panel fabric from my stash. Closed at the base with a drawstring.

(She can't lie still in it.
The whole time I fed her prior to her sleep she was jumping around,
pushing her feet off the fabric)
(Look she's doing the lying like a frog that babies do! So cute!)

Moonshine is wearing it for the second time tonight. The first time she wore it was a day sleep and she put herself to sleep without help for the first time in weeks.

I'm thinking of sewing 4 more but I need to iron out some problems.
I had hoped that I could just pull it on over her head but found the panel doesn't fit over her head even though I had
  1. Sewed the panel (a very stretchy knit) so that the stretch ran across, the same direction as the singlet's stretch.
  2. Used a fine zigzag stitch on the machine recommended for sewing knits.

This lack of stretch at this join also means I can't do a nappy change without undressing her as I can't pull the bottom up over her nappy.

Putting it on feet first is fine and hopefully once I stop feeding her all night I can stop night time nappy changes without dealing with wet sheets. It also means I could just end it with a seam.

I'm only concerned though that it will stretch the neckline. So how can I change that join. I don't want to gather the panel as I want it to be firm fitting. I did wonder if I could sew the bottom of the singlet and the panel on either side of a wide piece of elastic. It would look ugly but would it work. Any ideas?

I wonder

Why is there a spider and a shark dwelling in Rainbow's underwear drawer? The spider moved in three weeks ago but was recently joined by the shark. What do they talk about?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flower Princess

This gorgeous idea is from Zoe at Playing by the Book.

We had fun making the crown (while Moonshine ate nasturtiums) and then acting out the story of "The Frog Prince" (3 times). The finer details were a little lost on Rainbow who was very keen to share her dinner, her bed and a kiss with the frog. Once the kissed frog magically turned into Prince Bilby she wanted the frog back to play with them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Multiflora - a versatile floral brooch tutorial

I love this fabric. I wish I brought more of it. If I buy fabric without a purpose in mind, I normally buy 60 cm - enough to make a pair of pants or a dress for either girl. This is the fabric I just used to trim the top to match Rainbow's ice cream pants. It was initially used for a pair of pants (first for Rainbow but now worn by Moonshine) with matching applique top . That t-shirt like many of Rainbow's tops was too stained to hand down. Two contributing factors
  • Rainbow's favourite food as a baby was bolognese and she ate an awful lot of it. Actually at one point that was practically all she would eat.
  • Neither of my girls particularly like to be spoon fed. Moonshine wont even open her mouth unless she's holding the spoon (usually with her hand over the food). So from an early age Rainbow fed herself. It was a disgusting affair that no bib could contain. Thankfully most of that stage was over summer so at least there wasn't long sleeves to contend with and at dinner time I'd often take her shirt off before dinner and pop her straight in the bath afterwards. (The upside now Rainbow is a hearty and independent eater.)
The Idea
With this in mind I started making a fabric flower to sew on a t-shirt to go with Rainbow's ice-cream pants. I had made the petals and pinned them onto the shirt when I thought "What if I made it as a brooch?" A brooch also has the advantage of being able to be worn in many ways and by either girl (or me)
So here it is
worn on a t-shirt (with those pants) No smile today, Moonshine.
pinned on a skirt

pinned on a hair lacky
or on a head band or on a hat.
I'm also fancying the idea of a purple one for me to wear under the bust of a v-neck top I have but will have to raid Mum's scraps.
The Materials
  • fabric scraps - I used three different fabrics for the orange flower and two for the pink flower but would easily work with one fabric. I used fabrics with similar colours but you could used any fabrics that look good together.
  • co-ordinated thread a brooch pin (I used a safety pin as it was on hand)
  • a matching button - plastic is fine but I covered my using this tutorial (This is really easy and fun! Trust me
The Process
I used a 1/8" seam allowance.
1. Cut out 5 large petals and 5 small petals out of one piece of fabric. Pin these to another piece of fabric right sides together. Don't cut out yet as the big fabric is easier to manoeuvre under the machine foot. 2. Sew around the curve of each petal starting and ending with a few back stitches. Don't close the bottom (straight) edge.

3. Cut out the petals and turn right side out. You could iron it. I simply rub the edges between my thumb and fore finger to help it sit nicely.

4. Machine baste (largest straight stitch + low thread tension) along the bottom (straight) edge.

5. Pull the bobbin thread tight. Then tie off the threads at each end.

6. Cut a small circle of fabric to form the brooch's back. Pin it right sides together to the other fabric. Sew it together, starting and ending with a few back stitches and leaving an opening.
7. Turn it right side out. Pin the opening closed and top stitch around the circle.
8. Pin the large petals onto the circle so they overlap and the gathered ends meet in the middle.
Sew in place. I used a zig zag stitch.
This is what it looks like from underneath.
9. Pin the small petals on top as for the big ones. For this flower I placed the little petals between the big ones. For the orange flower I placed them directly on top. I'm not sure whether one looks better than the other. Sew.
10. Sew a button on top to cover gathering. Sew a brooch pin underneath.
I'd love to see any you make.

What came first the chicken or the egg?

This is another blog that I'll probably regret writing. It doesn't really fit under the bilbification label. People without little children 's eyes gaze over when mothers of babies talk about sleep.

Moonshine's separation anxiety has been building up over the last few weeks and with it the return of her sleeping problems. It's frustrating - she is the most delightful happy little baby - until sleep time. The mere sight of her cot starts her crying. The same little baby who since about 4 months has pushed and kicked and thrown herself backwards to avoid sleeping in arms will now some days choose to sleep on the breast or in my arms rather than in the cot. What came first - Is she not wanting to be put in the cot because she doesn't want to be apart or does she get increasingly anxious because she's overtired from not wanting to sleep. The chicken or the egg.

Moonshine is getting oh so close to crawling. I'm guessing she's about two weeks away and will eventually crawl to reach food dropped by Rainbow. She's stretching from a sit to all fours to reach something and has a real motivation to reach things put out of her way. Does separation anxiety cause motivation to crawl. Or does the motivation to crawl make her realise that Mama can move out of her reach and cause the separation anxiety. The chicken or the egg.

The last few days Moonshine has started that endearing stage of wanting to climb her Mama. No longer does she want to sit beside me instead she wants to pull herself up to stand. Once standing she smiles and chats or snuggles in. Does separation anxiety fuel this desire to stand and eventually walk.

Am I looking in the wrong nest?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Girly girly girl - 3 Tiered Skirt

I really like this skirt. I think this is the type of skirt I'd have loved to wear it. It calls to me. Everytime I walked past it draped over the sewing machine, I'd pick it up and hold it up against me.
Doesn't Rainbow look so grown up!

It's the result of another tutorial.

It's a funny process. When you cut the pieces out they seem enormous. I kept thinking no way will this fit. Even after gathering the bottom tier and joining it to the middle it still just seems so big.

It is really quite straight forward but it took me several attempts to gather the bottom tier (which is very big). What did I learn?
1. (having done the frill tutorial) Iused machine embroidery thread as it is much stronger.
2 To make the stitch length as long as possible and the thread tension as little as possible.
3. Pull the bobbin thread not the top thread.
4. Pull very very gentle, otherwise it tightens the threads too much in one area.
5. Secure the threads by sewing three stitches before starting to adjust the gathers.

I also learnt that if I use the zig zag to overlock I can create a rolled hem. The instruction manuel actually said it means that the stitch is too small but I think it makes a very neat finished edge.

Sultana and Cornflake Cookies

These cookies are really good. They have that crispy, chewy nature of choc-chip cookies which I guess is the lovely combination of sugar and butter. Not exactly the 'healthy' baked goods I had planned when I searched for cornflake and sultana cookies but absolutely delicious.
Go on try them

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Icecream Pants and Spotty Dotty

(Don't you name all of your outfits!)
A few finished outfits to parade. It's more challenging getting a posed photo of Rainbow then it is making them! Both of these outfits are from the same pattern. I'll write it in when I get a chance. I use to avoid both button holes and zips but I'm really pleased how well the zips went in with these tops - particularly the pink one.

This one was meant to have a much wider band around the base but this was the fabric I accidentally miscut. I really like that fabric and wish I'd brought more of it. Moonshine is currently wearing the pants I made from it when Rainbow was little. These are also the pants with the permanent ink mark on them. Doesn't that stripy fabric remind you of summer citrus sorbet.

I particularly like this outfit. Colourful and fun. Girly but still practical for climbing and running and doing all the things kids 'should' do. Though this one does border on looking almost a little too much like a clown! I had fun embellishing this one with some on-line tutorials. Isn't it wonderful what you can find in cyber space. The fun ruffles are from . I can really see myself using this one many more times. I also used her tip of using thicker thread for the gathering basting today on another project involving gathering a very long piece of fabric .
Don't you love the pockets. These are from . I got quite a thrill from making them They look very professional for something very easy. For child sized pockets my measurements were
for the top band - cut one rectangle 2" x 8 ½". For the pocket squares cut two pieces 4" x 5 ½".

Friday, October 9, 2009

Little Furry Green Frog

I did it - I finished Moonshine's overalls in time for going away. The weather has been so glorious this past two weeks since we returned that she hasn't worn them since the trip and may not - though they have a little room to grow lengthwise so I'm hopeful they will still fit come autumn otherwise they may be worn on spring evenings out.

When I brought the pattern Rainbow loved overalls but had outgrown the pairs she had been given. At the time she was fairly newly out of nappies so I liked the Velcro closure to enable her to easily undress. I wanted something a little warmer so I used cord for Rainbows and a fake fur for Moonshine. Given the more wintry fabric I removed the side ties and replaced them with a simple shirring elastic loop and button and removed the ankle gathering. Moonshines is also missing the pocket partly because I was in a hurry and partly because an 8 month old has no use for a pocket unlike a 2 year old who can store anything from rocks to sausages in hers.

Rainbow's are too short and about to be retired until Moonshine grows big enough. I can't see myself making more overalls for her as her love of overalls has been outgrown by a love of ballerina skirts and fairy dresses.