Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well the past few days have passed by in a blur.... A mixture of catching up with people, getting things done around the house and preparing for our holiday to Murray Bridge. Between all of that there really hasn't been too much time for craft, but I have prepared a couple of things to take with me to do while I am relaxing in the comfort of Matty's Grandpa's house for the next 7 - 10 days.

I doubt that I will have internet access while I am
in Murray Bridge, so I will not be updating my blog until I get home. But I hope to have a tonne of things to show you upon my return!

In the mean time, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

I hope that you enjoy spending time with your family and friends and have a safe and happy Christmas and New Years period.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Week 32!

I feel good... perhaps even bordering on great! I haven't pre-fainted for a couple of days and as a result I don't have to wear the holter for the next 24 hours to monitor my heart rate - Yay! Here is a picture of us at 32 weeks (erk! my posture is terrible!):

I had an obstetrician appointment this morning and need to have a growth scan done on Monday, but I am fairly certain it is all going to be ok. Darth is really active but the old fundal height is a couple of weeks less than it should be, so the obstetrician wants to have a look in there just in case. I am actually pretty excited as it has been AGES since we saw Darth and it will be nice to see him or her again so long as we don't see any 'bits', as I am still adamant that I do not want to know whether we are having a boy or girl.

In other news, I got splints for my hands to try and reduce the carpal tunnel problem and they seem to be helping a little bit. At least I haven't been waking up due to the pain for a couple of nights, but it is quite annoying still when trying to do craft stuff. Speaking of which, I should be doing some craft now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Project #16 - Owl Mobile (finished)

Well luckily I had a sneaking suspicion that this owl mobile was going to be really super cute, or else I may have given up with all of the problems I encountered (all my own fault, of course). See how cute the owls are:

The first problem I encountered was not being able to find any socks that I liked that matched the colour scheme of our nursery. Once I did find a pair, I couldn't find another pair to match that first pair. Then (because I had made one owl when I bought the first pair of socks), I couldn't find the second sock in that first pair when it came time to making the owls *sigh*. I went out and bought another pair of socks the same and actually found another pair I liked - problems solved.

Well, time got away from me and when I finally got around to making some more of the owls (after purchasing the pattern off the craft schmaft website), I couldn't find that second pair of socks I'd bought in the first sock print. I figured that surely one of the 3 socks would turn up eventually, so I would just continue working on the owls by selecting fabrics for the outer wing parts. That should be easy, right? Wrong!

I bought a couple of fabrics that I thought would suit (and that I could use for bibs if I didn't end up using them on the owls) and out of the 6 fabrics I bought I only liked one of them once sewn onto the sock owls, so I still needed another fabric for the other coloured owl. I went back and bought an additional two pieces of fabric, but only tried one of the fabrics because I was certain that the other one really wouldn't work well. I didn't like that one piece I tried either.

I decided that I wasn't going to buy any more fabric so I had another rummage around in my fabric stash to see if there was anything suitable. After trying another four fabrics I finally caved and tried that single piece of fabric I had dismissed as being unsuitable. As you would expect, I decided that fabric was the one to use! Here is a picture of an owl using this troublesome fabric on the wings:

While I was searching for fabrics I did strike it lucky and found one of the missing 3 socks I needed, right at the bottom of the bag of unpainted dolls house furniture (which of course is where everyone should keep their socks?!?!). Things were starting to look up. I finished all four owls and so just needed to assemble the mobile itself.

The owls are hung off sanded back sticks tied together, so last week I embarked on a 40 minute journey to find the most perfect sticks ever known to man. I finally found them, headed home and had gotten three quarters of the way through sanding them before the carpal tunnel kicked in and I had to call it quits.

Well then I got sick and ordered by Matty to take it easy so another week passed before I decided that it was time to get this mobile finished. I headed out to the shed to get my sticks, only to find that one of them was missing. I figured it had been knocked onto the floor or moved, but after a solid 15 minutes of searching I headed back inside and asked Matty if he had seen it in his travels. He advised me that he hadn't seen it, oh hang on, yes he had. His dad had used it to stir up the paint on the weekend and most definitely thrown it in the bin once he'd finished! It was at this point that I almost threw it all in. Well I did throw the stick and all the owls across the room in a fit of rage, but retrieved them 20 minutes later after I had calmed down a little.

Last night I went on a 'stick hunt' again but didn't have to go far as my sister had a stick that she had used to toast marshmallows with at our last bonfire and boy was it a nice stick (as far as sticks go). Matty, feeling guilty that his dad had destroyed part of my craft project, helped to cut the sticks to length and sand them back. Finally, we strung the mobile together and attached the owls. Here is how it turned out:

Pretty damn cute if I may say so myself! I am hoping Matty is going to hang it in the nursery tonight and I think that will inspire me to get a move on with all of the other nursery tasks I have!

Here is a link to the other post on the owl mobile:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Project #34 - Breast Pads (finished)

A couple of weeks ago I made some breast pads using a fat quarter I purchased at Spotlight and some bits of flanalette and micro fleece that I had lying around the house. The tutorial I used from the web was good, but I thought it could have been better so I decided to create my own!

You will need:
  • Scraps of cotton material measuring at least 5 inches x 5 inches for the outer layer
  • Scraps of absorbent materials (such as flanalette, micro fleece, old tshirts etc.) measuring at least 5 inches x 5 inches for the inner layer (the side that sits on the breast)
  • Scraps of PUL material measuring at least 5 inches x 5 inches to sandwich between the inner and outer layer (this material is optional, but provides a waterproof layer which may be beneficial if you leak a lot)
  • A piece of cardboard to make a template
  1. To make the template you will need to find a circular object roughly 4 inches in diametre. Trace around the object onto the cardboard and cut it out. You will then need to cut a wedge out of the circle, which will essentially leave you with a 'pac-man' looking shape. I made my wedge angle approximately 35 degrees and this seemed to work well. Note: Unless you want to look like Madonna with pointy 'cone' boobs, you do NOT want your wedge points to meet in the centre of your circle. Instead, cut it slightly off centre as this will stop the pad from going into a point when you sew the wedge edges together later on. You should end up with a template that looks something like this:

  2. Next you want to trace the template (ignoring the wedge) onto your material. To make a pair of breast pads, you will need two cotton pieces, four absorbent layers and two PUL layers (optional). The reason we are ignoring the wedge at this point, is that it makes it a little easier to sew if it is not precut:

  3. Next, using only a single pin in the centre, secure the following together in the order stated: Layer 1 - One piece of the cotton material (this is the outer), Layer 2 - One piece of the (optional) PUL layer (place the shiny side towards Layers 3 and 4) and Layers 3 and 4 - Two pieces of your absorbent material. Using either a tight zig-zag stitch or the serger stitch on your sewing machine, sew around the outside of the circle (I am actually using my overlocker in the picture below as it was taken before I decided I like the finish my sewing machine provides more):

  4. Next, place your template back over the sewn layers, mark where the wedge is to go and then cut it out:

  5. Pin the two raw edges of your wedge together and using a wide but relatively tight zig zag stitch, sew together:

  6. Trim off any excess from around the pad (being careful not to accidently snip the stitches) and cut off any loose threads. If you are using microfleece, you may noticed that the edges look a little bit rough around the outer of the circle. This roughness will disappear once you have washed the pads. Here is a picture of the finished pad. Repeat the process from step 3 onwards to make a pair:

  7. Remember to use some creativity! Just because they are breast pads doesn't mean they have to be 'booooring'. Check out these ones I made below - just because I could! Do remember though that using bright materials may result in the pads showing through what you're wearing, so be careful.

Oooh fancy! lol.

If you have any questions regarding the tutorial please let me know!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Project #35 - Crayon Rolls (finished)

I am not sure if I am on a roll this week or whether it's the fact that Christmas is looming over us, but either way I seem to be accomplishing a fair bit on my craft projects at the moment.

While I was sick last week I did a lot of preparation work on some of the projects I was hoping to get finished before Christmas and I have found that this has helped to speed things up a bit. The projects I hope to get finished this week include the:
  • Christmas Traditions book;
  • Fabric breast pads;
  • Owl mobile;
  • Bunting flags; and
  • Crayon rolls.
The most important project on the list above were the crayon rolls, as they are part of the Christmas present for two of our nieces. Knowing that they could take longer than expected with this crazy hand problem I have going on, I thought I had really better get a start on them.

I scoured the net and found this tutorial on the You Go Girl! blog. The tutorial was incredibly straight forward and used bits and pieces I already had lying around the house (such as a hair tie, used to secure the roll together). Rather than using 'heavy weight' interfacing as the tutorial suggested, I simply used an iron on Pellon which appeared to give it enough 'structure' to hold it's shape.

One thing to note is that you may need to use multiple layers of the medium weight interfacing depending on the thickness of your outer material. If your outer material is light, then the material you use for the inner section may show through. No big deal, just make sure you check it's opaqueness before sewing it all together!

Anyway, here is a picture of the crayon rolls completed:


The part that took the longest to complete was the slip stitching of the inner side of the bias-binding. I simply cannot work out how to secure bias-binding using just the sewing machine no matter how hard I try. I may just have to source someone who CAN and have them teach me, as no amount of tutorial following ends in a successful result!

I was fairly impressed with how they turned out and am actually thinking about making another one for our other niece, who's birthday is in February. Let's hope the girls like them!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Front Fence Building Continues!

On the weekend we started the building of the main part of our fence! This is quite a monumental achievement, which you would know if you read the previous post I wrote after we put the fence posts in.

The weather wasn't great on Saturday when we started, but the rain held off enough for us to get 6 of the 11 panels up. Matty's dad is going to come back this Saturday (weather permitting) to help put up the remaining 5 panels. Then it is simply a matter of cutting the excess off each post and doing a bit of touch up work with the stain, before oiling it.

Here is a picture of how the fence is looking at the moment:

Once the fence is up, we will then need to order in a truckload of pine bark, as the stuff that is there at the moment is looking a little worse for wear. I am also going to get a flashy address sign for the diagonal panel so that it is easy to see our house number and street.

We were going to do some more work on the fence yesterday, but we had to take a drive to Tatura (which is in the middle of nowhere) to pick up the chopper bike I got for Matty as a Christmas present

I am fairly certain that if I hadn't put my foot down he would have slept out in the shed next to it last night. I guess I should just be thankful that he loves it so much!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week 31!

I have been a bit slack with posting this week and that is due mainly to the fact that I have been sick. My good old friend Mr. Carpal Tunnel has kept me awake most nights in horrific pain and on top of that I am apparently 'pre-fainting' a number of times a day (pre-fainting is fainting without the blackout, pretty much).

They suspect I just have a nasty virus seeing as my blood pressure is fine (and I usually pre-faint while sitting down lol), but just to be on the safe side they are going to strap me up to a heart monitor for 24 hours next week to make sure there is nothing funky going on there. Good times, good times.

Today I feel pretty good though! I managed to get a straight 4 hours sleep before being woken up by the pain in my hands, which is about 3 hours longer than I had been getting. On Monday I have an appointment with a hand therapist as they suspect I need splints since the pain moves into my arms of a night. Can it get any better?!? lol

At least the baby is nice and healthy and that is the main thing. Here is a picture of us from this morning:

I had big plans this week to make good progress on the nursery, but unfortunately I managed to do very little. I have, however, been doing some work on some craft projects so I might post about those a little later on.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Baking - Part 3

So quite obviously I have been doing little else but Christmas baking since I have posted three times in the last week about my baking creations.

I couldn't not post about my latest endeavour though, which was the sleigh being pulled by the reindeers that I mentioned in the
first Christmas Baking post I wrote.

Here is a picture of the sleigh and reindeers (with the decorated mini gingerbread houses in the background):

I made this for my mum as a thank you for the cookie cutters she gave me a couple of weeks back and she loved it! This morning I got a call from her asking if she could 'lend' it to her friend Donna, as a table centrepiece for the work Christmas party that she is hosting on Wednesday. Of course I said "Yes!"

Tonight I am going to wrap the minature gingerbread houses up and get them ready for delivery to some of my very best friends. Because of the size of them, they make great Christmas presents as they are not too over the top but still require enough effort to make your friends feel special! Here is a close up of one of the miniature gingerbread houses:

Finally, the last piece of Christmas Baking for 2009 was a gingerbread garland. The garland holds 30 gingerbread people and make either good 'last minute' gifts, or tasty treats for visitors that happen to drop by over the Christmas period. I haven't hung it yet, but here is a picture of it loaded up:

Matty and I are already talking about the Christmas Baking for next year and are thinking that it could be time to make a gingerbread village. We will have to see how much motivation I have next year before committing to that one!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Baking - Part 2

Last Sunday I started my Christmas Baking as our Thursday night craft group decided they wanted to decorate gingerbread people as something to do for a bit of fun.

To get started,
we firstly made up more royal icing than 5 people could ever hope to get through, using the recipe below:

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
2 tspns of lemon juice
3 cups of icing sugar

Beat the egg whites and lemon until soft peaks form. Stir in icing sugar until combined well.

Easy peasy! You must remember, however to keep the icing covered or else it will spoil. We just laid a piece of gladwrap over the top of the icing (so the icing and the gladwrap were touching) to stop it from drying out.

I must say, that decorating the gingerbread was a LOT of fun and somehow between all of the coffee drunk and the giggles had, we actually managed to accomplish a fair amount.

Here is a picture of the gingerbread people Amber and Claire decorated:

And the ones decorated by Jess (check out the one clearly on drugs in the bottom row!):

And Kelly's lovely little creations (she was the winner of the 'best try' badge, although we thought she did a lovely job!):

And finally, the ones I did. Although they don't have any eyes yet because I didn't want their eyes to be out of proportion to their body and I was too lazy to mix up some brown icing. That's a job for tomorrow!:

By the time we finished, we had managed to cover the entire trestle table. Here is a picture of them all together, drying:

I have a feeling that this may become a yearly craft activity as everyone really got into the spirit of things and enjoyed themselves.

I am off to put together the gingerbread houses now, but something tells me it isn't going to be nearly as fun doing it by myself!

Week 30!

Only 10 weeks to go and surprisingly it is still all a bit surreal despite getting fatter and fatter with each passing day! Here is the photo from this morning:

This week we had a checkup and while the baby is still measuring a little bit small for how far along we are, it is nothing to be worried about.

Although all was good in baby land, the mum isn't doing so well. I have carpal tunnel in all fingers on both my hands! But I tell you what, carpal tunnel, if you think that you're going to slow me down any then you're in for one hell of a shock!

Next week is our last pre-natal class which I am kind of glad about as I have a million things to do and not enough time! I am hoping to focus a bit on getting things ready for the nursery in this coming week, so I will be sure to post about all that action!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Project #7 - Hooded Towels (Finished) - Tutorial

At last it is time for me to share with you my very first tutorial - How to make a hooded towel!

I have refined the process a bit since my first attempt at making one, so you should be able to get this whole project completed in under an hour.

You will need:

A bath sheet cut into two squares:
  • One square measuring 34 inches x 34 inches
  • Another square measuring 10 inches x 10 inches
A piece of coordinating material (ideally with a pattern that you can sew around - see step 10 for an explanation as to why this is important) at least 34 inches x 44inches. You will need to cut the following from this material:
  • One square measuring 34 inches x 34 inches
  • Another square measuring 10 inches x 10 inches

1. Firstly, take the small material squares (10 inches x 10 inches) and cut them both along the diagonal so that you are left with the triangles to make the hood (see below). Note that you will only need two triangles - one in the towel material and one in the coordinating material so the other two can be discarded:

2. Take the two triangle pieces and with right sides together, pin the long edge. Sew together using a seam allowance of 3/8 of an inch:

3. With an iron, press the triangle so that the right sides of the material are facing out.

4. Next, sew a straight seam along the long edge of the triangle approximately 2 millimeters in from the edge. This is to give it a more 'finished' appearance. You will end up with something that looks like this:

5. Place the triangle on the corner of the towel with the right sides of the towel touching. Lay the piece of coordinating fabric over the top, so that the right sides of the coordinating materials are also touching. In the photo below I have pulled back the corner of the coordinating material just so you can see how it should look:

6. Pin the edges of the towel together and sew around all four edges using a seam allowance of 3/8 of an inch, making sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the towel in the right way later on.

7. Once the edges are sewn together, you will need to round off the top of the hood to ensure that your baby doesn't look like an elf when wearing it. I usually draw a line with air erasable marker, sew along that line and then cut the non-required material roughly 3/8 of an inch above the line:

8. Turn the towel in the right way and pin the opening of the towel closed:

9. Press all four sides with an iron before sewing a seam approximately 2 millimeters in from the edge around all edges. I usually run this seam into the seam that we sewed along the long edge of the hood triangle, as in the picture below:

10. You may notice that when you hold up the towel by the hood, the weight of the toweling fabric causes the materials to pull apart and look as though it is no longer square (you can see an example of this when I blogged about the first towel I made).

In order to prevent this, you will need to sew around the pattern on your coordinating material at random intervals as a means to adhere the two layers together, which is why it is important that you have selected a fabric with a pattern which will allow you to do this.

On this particular towel, I sewed around 8 of the 'splotches' to stop the towel from dropping. I usually like to draw a line around the pattern I am sewing with an air erasable marker so that I have a guide for where I need to sew. I also like to pin around the area to stop any movement:

11. Once you have completed the above step, trim your threads and ensure you have removed all pins. You will then be finished!

Hopefully these steps worked for you. If you have any questions or find any of the steps unclear, please let me know!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saving Challenge : Pram (Update #6) - Target Reached!

Today I made enough money for the pram through the selling of my PDA on ebay - Hooray!! To be honest, I actually ended up making quite a bit MORE than we actually needed:

I figure with the extra $100 or so I will also be able to buy a sheepskin liner too. We will be holding off buying the pram until after Christmas now, in case we are able to find it cheaper in the after Christmas sales.

One particularly good thing is that due to a combination of bad weather and having other things on, we didn't ever get around to having our garage sale. So now, when we do finally get around to having it, we will be able to put that money towards something else... like air conditioning. Oh sweet, sweet air conditioning.

Anyway, I just thought you would like to know that we finally made the target and so Darth will be cruising around in a super pimped-out pram once he or she arrives!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Project #16 - Owl Mobile

When we first found out I was pregnant we started looking around for some nursery decorating ideas and stumbled across this owl mobile on the Craft Schmaft website. I was in love!

At that time the pattern wasn't available, so I bought a pair of socks ready to have a crack at making it myself. Unfortunately I couldn't find another pair of socks that matched the first pair!

Fast forward a couple of months and a new colour (blue) was introduced into our nursery colour scheme, which opened up an array of colour options for the second sock choice. Last weekend I found a pack of socks with 5 pairs in it (all with varying shades of blue), which were perfect for making the other owls.

I went back to the Craft Schmaft website to take another look at the mobile before attempting to make it and was incredibly surprised to find that the pattern was now available! In the interest of supporting small Australian businesses, I bought the pattern straight away.

I was really impressed with the promptness of receiving the pattern via email and was even more impressed with how easy the instructions were to follow. Here is a picture of the owls I have made so far:

Now you may be wondering why I have only made 3 owls and not the 4. Well, to be honest, I can't find the other striped sock! I have searched high and low for it and have come up empty handed *sigh*. I am going to have a big clean up and another hunt around today, so hopefully I find it this time. I can't wait to see the finished project hanging from the nursery roof!