Monday, March 29, 2010

A different perspective

I would say I'm very against little girls in bra tops. Immediately the issues of sexualisation of little girls and girls as young as 3 developing eating orders in the pressure to look as society expects.
But tonight I saw the other side of the picture.

Rainbow found two breast pads that I'd removed from my bathers and was proudly wearing her boo boos (breasts). As I carefully helped her put her pyjamas on while holding her boo boos in place I momentarily thought about sewing her a bra to hold her boo boos in place. I then watched her sit on my bed and lovingly give her baby boo (breastfeed). I must point out here that all of her and Moonshine's babies are bottle fed despite that Rainbow was a very enthusiastic breastfeeder and Moonshine still is.

I suddenly saw the other side of little girls in bra tops. The desire to be like their mothers and do as their mothers do.
PS This is an old photo - I felt rude offering you another post without pictures. It's of Rainbow pumping not long after Moonshine's birth.

PPS There's still no chance of Rainbow getting a bra top! (handmade or otherwise

Sunday, March 28, 2010


We tried baking 'crackle cookies' the other day. Have a google and you'll find many recipes. You basically roll the dough into a ball and roll in icing sugar before baking. The result inspired a 'crackle art' easter egg.
1. Draw an egg design and colour in using crayon. You want to completely colour in the egg and press quite hard.
2. Cut out the egg.
3. Scrunch it up into a tight ball and then carefully open it out and flatten.

You'll notice this 'rubs' off some of the crayon.
5. Paint over the top. We used water colours but you could use food die or poster paint.

The paint fills in where the crayon was rubbed off and you have a crackled egg.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A long post without pictures!

This is the first time I've had internet since Monday. We had a massive storm hit Perth on Monday. Having had no rain for just over three months we had about 6 cm in about an hour. Our little city doesn't get 'natural disasters' so we're ill prepared. At our house it was very exciting, Rainbow and I had been Rain dancing and chanting during the afternoon. Then when it started to sprinkle Rainbow rushed to get her puddle stompers that she got from Santa but the drips were quickly soaked up by the dry earth. Then as the rain hit we were bombarded with marble sized pieces of hail. (North of the river they had golf ball sized that carpeted the ground. I was running out collecting hail for Rainbow to eat. Then the lightning started so Russell and Rainbow watched from the dining window. It got closer and closer until there was this mighty crack (just like glass breaking) as a strike hit our big gum tree. The effect is amazing the branch exploded, I guess from the moisture inside the branch and there is a trail (about 2 cm across) where the lightning travelled down to the ground. I think we were very lucky not to have our windows blow out. At that point the lights went out. There were more than 60 000 homes without power so we were in the dark until Wednesday night. When we eventually had our power reconnected we discovered the strike had blown up our television (plugged in but not turned on), our alarm system, our phone splitter and our modem. I guess that's why you don't make phone calls during a storm.

On top of that Rainbow has had tonsillitis and Russell and Moonshine have had gastro so I've been bouncing back and forth from one bedside to the other all night long. Over one two hour period I spent ten minutes and two five minute periods in my own bed.

So with out power I've had a imposed break from my sewing and now things are going a little smoother. Thank- you very much Zoe, Trixi and Deb for your much appreciated words of encouragement and advice. I've been paying closer attention to my children's brought knit clothing and it's very interesting.
  • Rainbow has a knit dress that when you pull at the seams they do gape and show the stitches. It's a pricey brand (by my standards though I got it quite reasonably on sale) so I'm reassured that perhaps that is what is meant to happen.
  • Moonshine is wearing a gorgeous knit top today (also a pricey brand - though Moonshine's was second hand) made of a fabric similar to the dress pattern - with rows of hearts and sure enough they have made no effort to match the seams and as Deb pointed out you don't really notice as you don't spend a huge amount of time with your arms up in the air.

I also decided to put away the heart stripey fabric and have a go with a different fabric first to get to know the pattern. I didn't do this initially as it meant changing my overlocker thread and that has it's own challenges. The pattern is quite different to other patterns I've used. The neckline for example has the raw edge zig zagged on the front of the dress where I would have expected it to be done similarly to bias binding on a quilt. I also haven't set sleeves in for a long time. On saying that I think it's looking quite good. I just need to buy a double needle (I haven't used one before) and finish the hems then I'll give you a look.

I haven't learnt from my stripe incident yet. I went fabric shopping on Thursday to try as I was feeling down. After half an hour I was totally lacking inspiration then I remembered my Mum's advice. Choose a fabric that you like and go from there. I came home with a set of cottons to make a ra-ra skirt for Rainbow and this gorgeous print to make a dress for Rainbow. When I got home I realised the gorgeous print is an enormous flower print. Is it going to look funny at the seams? Will I ever learn???

Hopefully I'll get a chance to come visit your sites soon. I've also got a few things I want to share so hopefully I'll get internet soon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

sewing trouble

I had a ‘challenging’ sewing / pattern cutting day yesterday. .I’ve psyched myself out by choosing fabric that is too far beyond me. I’m hoping that someone reading this may have had some experience sewing knits and could give me some guidance or (encouragement). Interestingly the last project I tried making with knits was a long sleeve wrap dress from 2003 which still isn’t finished. I’m hoping if I can get pass this maybe I could return to that dress as I still like it.

Firstly I’ve only used an overlocker (serger) to finish edges. In fact I haven’t used it for years. I’ve just had it serviced and brought new thread. Now I’m trying to learn how to use it for a seam. My biggest problem is that my seam seems to gape when stretched so that you can see the seam. Now I understand that the point of a overlocked seam is because it keeps the elasticity but I’m not sure this looks right.

Secondly I went and made it even more complicated by choosing a stripe. The pattern is also directional so I have to ensure the big hearts face up.

First I folded the fabric so that the pattern matches up. I find the fabric easily stretches which distorts the lines.
After a lot of thinking I worked out that I would need to match the sides along the sewing line not the cutting line. I matched the side seams of the cut front panel and the back template. Then rolled the front panel over 1.5cm so that I could see where the dress seam would lie.

I cut this out and sewed it and realised that though the colours match, the pattern is disrupted at the seam. Straight lines would probably have been easier. After a lot of playing, I realised that because the side of the dress is not perpendicular to the pattern I would have to lie the back piece on an angle rather than along the grain. This would cause three problems
  • pattern would be on a diagonal
  • pattern wouldn’t match on other side seam
  • fabric wouldn’t stretch correctly with movement.
Next I went to cut the shoulders and realised because they go out over the shoulders before dropping to the wrist that I can’t match the coloured stripes at the shoulder and along the length of the arm. I’ve tried to for the length but am unsure how this will look.

Then when I had a go at sewing up I realised the instructions actually started on the previous page and I had started from the third step. I’m kind of ready to bundle it all back on my sewing table.

PS I don’t even know if I like this fabric (especially for a winter dress) and it was expensive by my stingy habits!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stringing Along - part 2

Two more string painting activities.
Gluing with String

Alright strictly speaking this first one isn't actually painting though it works well if you mix 50% paint with glue.

Simply dip in paint or glue / paint mix and place on paper.

In true Rainbow style, her's is a little minimalist.


  • Adding paint to the glue as described at the start.
  • You can use different types and colours of wool.
  • If you have lots of overlapping pieces of string, you can then fill in the shapes that you make with different collage materials.

String Relief

The first activity wasn't really painting and this next activity isn't actually string - it's noodles. We did this one day after having noodles for lunch. You could use any pasta for different effects. Cook as per normal. Now this part is very important - don't rinse the pasta. You need the starch for it to adhere to the paper. If you want to store the pasta to use later - store it in water, in a food container in the fridge.

This activity starts as for the early one. The drained pasta is laid out on the paper. This is Rainbow's work - a worm.This second one we did together. We used a piece of recycled paper and the dampness of the pasta has caused the ink to run. This isn't part of the effect but just a note of interest.

Once it's dry you paint over the whole page. A dabbing motion on top of the pasta is quite effective. You could try painting inside the shapes formed by the pasta or just randomly.

Once the paint's dry you carefully peel off the pasta.

As you can see beneath the pasta is the white paper. Some of our lines are thick in part as sometimes the pasta would pull of some of the surrounding paint. I'd like to try this again with watercolour paints.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stringing along - string painting part 1

This year we're exploring little themes in painting. I haven't really planned it that way but once one material is in the paint caddy it's easy just to keep going. It has been interesting to explore similar tasks over several days. I'm also hoping as the year progresses Rainbow will start doing the "I wonder what would happen if..." thinking along with me.

Recently Rainbow and I have been painting with strings. I'll share the four activities over two posts as I'm a photo short of one activity.

For all of these activities we used poster paint and wool. Other textiles would be great to explore.

String Painting

This is basically using string as a paint tool. Dip the length of wool in a tub of paint. I like to squish it around with my finger to cover it in paint.

Some ideas
    • lie the wool down in a design and then lift it up.

    • rapidly splat the wool up and down.

              • rapidly fling the wool over your shoulder onto the page (Warning: this is very messy and very fun. A similar activity is in this splatter painting post) My three year old found the over arm movement quite challenging.

                String Stretched Butterflies

                  One of Rainbow's favourite art activity is making paint butterflies. You know the ones where you put splats of paint on one half of a page then fold it in half. When you open it you have a symmetrical painting that often resemble butterflies. Well this is a variation.

                  1. Prefold the paper.

                  2. Spoon or squirt some paint on one side, close to the fold line.

                  3. Lie several pieces of string on the page so that both ends hang over the edge and the middle of the strings lies between the paint and the fold line.
                  3. Fold the paper over. Don't press down just yet.
                  4. Get a friend (or Mum) to hold the paper closed as you grab the two ends of the string. (Make sure you grab the ends of the same piece). Slowly pull both ends towards you. Repeat for each string.
                  5. Open up and check it out.

                  Here's another one with different wool positioning.

                  The dragged paint almost gives the butterfly movement. I'll show you a little project using these paintings soon.

                Wednesday, March 3, 2010

                Summer Nature Table

                We're still playing around with our nature table. In someways this table reflects how we spend summer at the beach and down the river rather than capturing the essence of summer in the natural world. The runner is a scarf. The two glass plates were gifts from a girl whose grandmother makes plates and jewellery by recycling glass. The larger plate holds a variety of shells and corals that we've found washed up on the beaching. It also has a couple of tiny mermaid and some glass fish for that enchanting touch and to draw in little ones interest. The smaller trays hold a few seed pods. This is the most evident sign of summer in the bush for many species of plants but confusing as the seed pods are still there for most of the year. I'm not sure what plant there from but these seed pods are helicopter seeds. The seed is at one end and then there is a long wing. Once dried the seed falls from the tree, spinning around to find a new place to land and (hopefully) grow. They are fun to play with as you can throw them up and they'll spiral down. When we came across these a few weeks ago they were scattered under some sheoaks. Rainbow and I spent a while searching around trying to find the tree they had come from. Eventually the green pods still hanging from the tree gave it away. In the background is a card that was given to me and Rainbow's game showing things we see down the river.

                Tuesday, March 2, 2010


                Guess who drew this?

                Yes, it's Moonshine's very first piece of art. She kept at it for quite a while and was very interested in trying out all of the textas. Though in true one year old style she was paying attention to all sorts of going ons in the room as she drew.

                It's got me thinking about how I can include Moonshine in some of my Rainbow and my craft sessions - particularly when she eventually gives up her morning sleep.

                Also as far as firsts go - Moonshine is doing a little walking. I say a little as the most she's done is 5 steps and the steps are not necessary in the direction she's heading. She took her first step about two weeks ago and it (like most of her walking ventures so far) was from where she was sitting to me. She's a true Mama's girl at the moment.

                Something else exciting that's changing around here is Rainbow's drawings. Her drawings appear to be showing her experimenting with conventions. We've seen the addition of sky and some background information and also she's playing around with animals facing side on rather than towards the audience (as you'll see in the next photos). I remember touching on the development of drawing at uni but it's amazing watching it first hand.

                Let me show you this sequence. These drawings are all elephants, drawn about 4 months apart.

                This is mid June 09. This was one of her very first drawings. It has a smiley face, a trunk in the air and a tail.
                This is mid October (I think). It's a bit hard to see but it now has more correctly positioned ears, tusks and a trunk and four legs.

                This was last week. The face is still facing the audience but the trunk is now in the direction it's heading. Absolutely fascinating....

                For me at least!