Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jack and his sack

Jack had a great Christmas this year.
Here is a picture of him opening his Santa sack on Christmas morning.

I made the sack for him for his first Christmas last year and it seems that this year he has the hang of it. It is still floating around the lounge room at the moment because I want to make some alterations to the lining. When Jack spots it he goes and looks inside to see if there is anything else in there!

The panel on the front is from a pattern in Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine last year. It was my first attempt at button-hole applique by hand and I was hooked by the time I finished it. The rest of the bag is scrappy patchwork of Christmas fabrics around a few small Christmas panels. It took forever and I hated it from about half-way through until I had it finished. Now I love it but next time I'll use bigger strips. It took hours!

Here is Jack inside his sack last year.

Finished in time for Christmas!

Finished with plenty of time to spare!

This is a shopping tote I made as a Christmas gift. Well, it was originally intended as a birthday gift back in May but has been sitting in the UFO/WIP stash since mid-May. I really wanted to get it finished so made a bit of an effort and got stuck in.
Result - one very big tote bag, one very happy recipient (thankfully) and one less WIP on the to-do list (therefore room for at least four more projects....ha).

The bag is made from a panel and co-ordinating charm squares that I picked up a long time ago from may favourite ebay seller. The lining is green gingham recycled from a doona cover. There is a big pocket and a key clip on the inside and two hidden pockets on the back of the bag in among the squares. I based the design on one of our favourite green bags but it worked out slightly bigger but the recipient said it was just what she needed and started using it straight away!

Please excuse dodgy photos taken at the last minute before I wrapped it up - new years resolution is to learn a few photography skills...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

PJ pants ticked off the list!

Wow - finally finished something!

These two pairs of pants are PJs for Jack. I started them about a month ago and got them mostly finished in a day but needed to finish off the waistbands and hem and create cuffs on the legs. The cuffs were because the pants were far too long (I made a size bigger than he really needed). I was a bit worried that the cuffs wouldn't work because they are a tapered leg but as you can see from the pics they turned out fine. Hopefully the extra length will mean he will get about a year out of them.

Jack likes the ducky ones best. I've had the fabric for about three months and every time he spotted it in the sewing room he would grab it and say "Duck Quack Quack" with the quacking hand actions. I took the photo of him in those ones first and when I changed him into the monster pants he grabbed the duck ones and tried to put them back on.

These were from Kwik Sew pattern 2918 and I think it is a great, simple pattern. I love the shape of the pants and they fit Jack's shape perfectly. The first time I used it I made these cargo pants from a light drill. I did the waist band differently because I had narrower elastic than the pattern specified, and played with the pocket position. I made these in July or August and they have been well worn and have stood up to constant washing and wearing very well.
I'm planning on making some t-shirt tops to go with the pants and will use the top pattern from the same package. I used it to make some long sleve tops for winter. He got a fair bit of wear out of these and once I got the hems figured out it they were quite simple. They were all they same size - just a really bad pic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Halloween Wizard

This is Jack in his wizard costume I made for his Halloween dress-up day at daycare.

The cape is black panne velvet with a silver star pattern all over and it is lined with blue satin. It has a hood and I made a double loop and button fastening at the neckline because I didn't want to risk loose cords hanging around his neck. I made it without a pattern and was surprised how easy it was. I did make it a mile too long because I didn't allow for the weight of the fabric and it has about a 10cm hem - but that means it will fit for years!

The hat was originally a cheap witches hat from Spotlight, but when I took it out of the pack the fabric/plastic of the brim ripped apart from the crown. I decided to pull it apart and use it as a pattern. I used the same wire in the brim but it was rather wonky so the hat ended up with a wobbly shape to the brim.

Jack loved it but the daycare leaders had to confiscate the hat when he started to get a bit rough with it. He puts it on his head and then spins it like a top, and then takes it off, holds it by the point and bounces it up and down. Apparently it is great for whacking other kids with as well.

When I dropped him off I hung around for a while to accept the compliments from other parents - I've turned into one of those mothers and he isn't even at school yet!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My bears..

These are the bears I made for my niece and nephew.

I made the golden one first and named him Grumbles because of his grumpy looking face. He was made from a kit ('Marmalade') bought from SL years ago and put away until I gained enough confidence to start him. He was suprisingly easy but I had a lot of trouble with the nose and pulled it out several times. That's probably why he looks so grumpy! My nephew managed to pull his head off, leaving the neck joint intact. I did a repair job and think next time I will try gluing the top disc to the fabric if possible, and make sure the gathers at the neck are much tighter.

My niece selected the burgundy coloured fur from my stash for her bear and I was pleased because I loved the colour and would have picked that for her anyway. I used a pattern called 'Butterscotch and Cocoa' out of a bear-making book. I named him 'Cran-beary'. The fur was fairly lightweight and stretchy so I had to back it with interfacing so I could sew it together. This gave him a rather leaner look than I had planned but he ended up with quite a nice shape. The nose and face sculpture was much easier this time around.
Both bears have growlers in their bellies. I've had a fascination with growling bears since I was little and love the different sounds you can get. I've got several growlers still waiting for bears to bring them to life.......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Liz's bag

This is a bag I made for my sister for Christmas a while ago. I have another version in the same fabrics half made! It is based on the 'Beauty of a flower' pattern but I altered it to include hidden pockets on the outside, underneath the contrast band, but didn't take pictures of these before I gave it to her.

The contrast band has butterflies appliqued from the green fabric and small purple ribbon butterflies scattered along the length. I wanted to add some beading to them but ran out of time.

Here is close up of the stictchery I did for the front pocket. It was my first ever stitchery from one of the first craft magazines in my stash. I made it long before the bag and had it kicking around until I fell in love with the purple paisley fabric and decided they would work together. The stitchery is on calico and I tea-dyed it to match the creamy-beige in the paisley (another first) and then frayed the edges. I really like the way it turned out and my sister says she gets compliments every time she takes it into SL or another craft/fabric shop. She doesn't sew (yet) but is starting to develop a serious fabric addiction which means great pressies for me and Mum!

I also covered a diary that would fit into the front pocket of the bag in the same fabrics. Another simple pattern and a really easy project that may come in handy for future gifts. However, next time I will make sure I use the really thin pellon as the stuff I used was a bit too thick and made the cover a bit bulky.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My first post

After being inspired by many months of lurking and snooping through other peoples blogs I finally got around to creating my own!

I'm proud to call myself a quilter and sewer although my actual output is pretty low compared to the designs and ideas swirling through my head. My UFO list is getting quite long as I have a habit of jumping into a new project when I'm already half-way through something else.

I'm mum to Jack, 18 months and work full time as a QA Chemist (beverages) currently in a shift role but soon to move to a permenant Mon-Fri role. Hopefully I'll be dropping back to part-time around Easter so I can be a bit more of a mum and less of a grouch! My husband is a construction foreman. We've been married almost five years.

I live on a wonderful bit of acreage between Brissy and the Gold Coast. We have our own patch of paradise complete with dog, chooks, millions of wild birds and a mob of wallabies that visit every morning and afternoon (hence the title of my blog).

The pic shown here is the first quilt I ever completed - as a gift for my sister-in-law. It's a pretty simple design. I bought a kit from 'Faeries in my Garden' and altered the design to fit an extra row of squares. It was supposed to have a hand embroidered border but I thought the colours and patterns were so pretty that it didn't need it. I have another version of this quilt in pinks and yellows in my UFO cupboard. I am 3/4 through the hand embroidery on it and must pull it out soon and finish it off.

The cushions were my own design, made using scraps from the quilt. It was my first attempt at satin stitch applique since year 10 home-ec! I used hand stitching to quilt the cushion fronts and was really happy with the final effect.