29 June 2012

Mini Gathered coin purse

Last weekend I used Noodle-Heads idea to make these gathered coin purses to give as presents.
As coin purses they are OK, and you can just about fit a card or two in the pocket inside, but the zip across the top make it hard to get said card in and out. 

So any future ones will be just a little bigger.
They still came out very cute!

(Apologies for the bad photo! I was going to take more but packaged them up to post/give before realising I hadn't) 

The top one is a leaving present for a friend moving back to the northern hemisphere.
Its full of Australiana- fake tattoos, little Australian flags on tooth picks, and balloons with the southern cross on them. A little reminder of their time here.

The lower one is a birthday present. I was at a loss for what else to include, but then I found some pretty-decent-for-the-money nail polish in Target ($2 a bottle). I bought me one in blue, tried it that night and loved it, so went back the next day and got a glitter red, glimmer red and a black, and some nail-art transfers in black and white. They fit perfectly, so it ended up being a lovely little colour coordinated package. 
As usual, it cost more to post than to make, but I'm used to that!

My blue sparkles- it lasted at least two days without chipping, which is a miracle for me!

I plan to make another clutch following the tutorial more closely, as it will be perfect for uni. I already use a basic version, which started out life as a large pencil case, but something more organised would be very useful! At the moment it contains lots of loose cards, paper money, coins, pens, my phone, my inhaler and keys, all mixed together. A pain! But really handy to throw in my rucksack in the morning, then take it out with me for lunch or what ever and know I have everything important. 
I'm thinking I'll use the blue and black polka-dot combination, as I think its gorgeous.

26 June 2012

Cold, productive winter nights

We've had a really cold, if not miserable weekend, and while yesterday was a bit warmer it was much more miserable.

On saturday I spied this fabulous flannel material, and knew I had to have some for new PJs. 
The dino ones have shrunk slowly, so now they graze my ankles, and the ones I made last year from froggy fleece are awesome, but a bit too warm to sleep sometimes.

I want to use the left overs from the PJs in another project (the fluro pink is a hint there), and I'm keen to get on with that, so needed the PJs made so I knew what I had left to work with.

So last night I got home from work, made that great comfort food of Toad in the Hole, and while that was cooking I got on with the PJs!
 They are nearly done, and probably only took me an hour. I'm getting better!
Because I wanted to preserve as much left over fabric as possible, I split the pattern so that the crotch and legs are separate pieces, with the pattern going in different directions.
All that is left to do is finish the leg cuffs. I couldn't decide if I want to make elastic cuffs, to stop the legs riding up in the night. I think I do, so I'll get onto that and take some piccies!

Oh, and 
Toad in the Hole

Serves a greedy one, or two if you maybe add more sausage.

Sausages (I used pork and leek)

75g plain flour.
75ml milk
35ml water
1 egg
salt/pepper to taste

Put the sausages into an oven proof container. I used a loaf tin because the "hole" - actually yorkshire pudding- rises best in something, metal that transfers heat.

Cook sausages until almost done.

Mix up batter by whisking together all ingredients other than the sausages!

Check fat in pan. If your sausages were like mine and quite lean, you need to add enough oil/fat to cover the base well. I used olive oil, but I would have preferred duck fat or dripping if I had any, as that gets hotter.

Arrange sausages and pour batter around them. 
Place in a hot oven (mine goes up to 225 degrees) and don't open the door until batter has risen and is crispy. Probably about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it! Everyone has different preferences for yorkshire pudding. I love mine crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside, so you be the judge of when its ready!

Serve with peas, broccoli and gravy for a hearty warming meal!

25 June 2012

Midwinter ride - Bikes for Africa premier

On Sunday I went for a lovely but long (for me, anyway) bike ride.
It was a lovely day. All blue skies and sunshine, but cool enough to ride comfortably.
I left home at 9am... headed to UWA to the up market. Wandered around the markets for a while looking at the handmade goodies. Its amazing how much people will pay when you package it up nicely and add a "hand made" label!
Then I headed out to the coast, to cycle down the path their instead of the main roads.

Cottesloe Beach

Surf lesson

One of the many sudden stop signs on the bike path

I headed all the way down to Fremantles Port Beach, where I stopped for lunch of the gourmet meat pie I bought at the market.

Iconic flour mill

Beach access

Another random stop

Arty Port Beach photo :)

I was going to Fremantle to watch the premier of my good friend Haps film 
about his time working with Bikes for Humanity and Bicycle Empowerment Network Namibia.

The bikes for humanity (Perth) president introducing the film.
Hap answering questions about his journey.

Once that was over, I headed back North along the river paths.
Perth seemed so far away! 
About this point I hit the sour worms I brought with me for an energy boost. 

But it slowly got closer

How cool is this shared path! Out over the river.

The Canning river bridge.
Getting there...

Finally in South Perth 

 And finally home about 5:30.
Tired, but content.

66km all up.
Pretty much doubled my previous highest total, but as it took me so long it wasn't too tiring. 
I was ready for some stew for tea though!

23 June 2012

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!

This morning I went out (fabric) shopping on my bike. The shop is 6km away, and its a nice easy ride down the cycle path along the railway line. On these kind of rides, I admit I use a lone, quiet earphone and listen to podcasts as I toddle. Just loud enough so I can hear it, but am still aware of everything around me.

I'd just loaded up my bike with my haul, when a podcast started - Life Matters was having phone-in on the state of cycling in Australia. It made me think how fully I have taken up the car-free lifestyle in the last 6 months
My bike... she has no name, but gets well used! 
Note chain guard and storage front and back

I don't go fast, I have a bike with a chain guard, basket and rear rack. I have eight gears, which is more than enough. My bike is heavy, but sturdy. You will never see me dressed in those horrible Lycra suits! 
I am not one of those cyclists with all the mod cons. The bike I chose because I liked the look of it and the handle bars meant that my not-quite-healed-right broken elbow doesn't ache after >10km. I can fit a good amount of shopping on it, though I do need to invest in some panniers for summer so I can ditch the sweaty back-pack.

We live in the inner suburbs, and most everything is done on the bike or on foot, including my commute (26km per day) and shopping (usually a 6km round trip). We live near the station, so we do use public transport sometimes, which leaves the car as a conscious decision if we know we'll be buying bulky things (haven't quite managed the Asian skills of bike balancing!) or if its somewhere out of the ordinary.
The bike is now the norm!
I do still hate the roads but we're well served with paths in my particular part of Perth so I can mostly avoid them. I just try to act confident, keep my lines steady and be very aware of my surroundings when I'm on the roads.
Sadly, the lovely bike path goes to within 500m of the fabric shop/major road,
then just stops!

I have some "special" bike clothes, mostly to make myself more visible for morning commutes in the dark, but usually I wear what I'm wearing anyway. 

One of the things I bought at the bike shop was some fluro-pink ripstop nylon that kind of made my eyes hurt when it was laid out to cut, which I plan to use to make a high vis bib and some arm and leg cuffs to make myself a bit more visible without needing a whole other bulky outfit. The joys of working in the mining industry means I can salvage high vis stripes off my old work gear to add some night visibility too.

My commute is faster on the bike (35-40 minutes each way depending on wind direction) than rush hour traffic (at least 45 minutes) or any public transport (50 minutes), so "not having time" is a really rubbish excise as far as I'm concerned!
I can use the shower facilities at the uni gym for free, though its a bit of  a detour. My heart rate is generally around 135 bpm, so its pretty gentle, but I still burn around 600 calories a day. and it gives me a good hour of light exercise at least 5 days a week. 

 What I love the most is being re-overtaken by the "I'm a real cyclist"s who have all the gear but are still going slower than me, realise they've just been overtaken by a two-wheeled horse so burn off out of embarrassment! SO much fun :D

And above all, I enjoy it! I never really liked cycling as an "exercise"; I would much rather run. But as a means of transport its great. Even in the rain! 

22 June 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No... its another sorbetto! Honest.
Though when does a pattern get so far removed from its original that its just its own pattern?
I made this a couple of weekends ago but havn't got around to wearing it. We're having some really cold weather here in Perth (less than two degrees in the mornings!) but I decided this top goes nicely with the cream jacked lilac scarf, so I'd finally give it a go.

I've had this fabric in for about a year... its really soft and drapey, and I love the colours and pattern. I got it in the sale at Spotlight for about $4 per m, which is awesome considering how nice it feels and how epic-ly wide the bolt is. It was earmarked for a dress, but since I'm aiming to sew more things I will wear I decided to make a top for now. There is plenty left for a dress when I finally get around to it!

I love the way the print works, just about catching the blue stripe again just off the shoulders.

So... how did I change it?

  • The usual addition of a couple of inches to the length and bust darts that are more like the size 18 on the pattern.

  • No centre pleat (just fold that portion off the pattern when you lay out)

  • I faced the neckline with hidden bias tape for the first time. I think I stretched it while I was adding it, but I like the way it turned out.

  • I made the back slightly longer than the front.

  • I added kimono sleeves. Now, this picture looks really dodgy, but its basically what I did! I just eyed them in, and after cutting out the front I realised that there was no way the sleeve would fit if I cut the back out the same, so the back sleeves are an odd shape to add in some extra material. You can't see, because I matched the prints up, but if you look close from above the shoulder seams don't go straight across the top.

All the internal seams are french, as this fabric frays really well. So well that I managed to trap lots of frayed material into my french seams, so spent a while after it was done snipping visible threads from the outside...

The hems are done with my narrow hem foot.

Heres the back, and also my office!:

Yes, I know its a mess. 
I'm a student...

And since you made it so far, heres another taste of "practical fashion"
Riding my bike to uni at 6am, in the dark, on the coldest and shortest day of the year:
It worked! My ears and nose and neck stayed toasty warm :)

20 June 2012

Fathers Day 2012

This year we went bulk with the Fathers Day cards...
It was the first time they were really from both of us, but we kind of left it late because Australian fathers day is totally different to the rest of the world (in August, I believe), so the shops weren't full of trash ;)
I tried to choose pictures that mainly reflect the dominant relationship, but also include the new -in-law ness this year.

This is what we ended up with:
(from moonpig.co.uk)

Yes, I know. Two cards that both say *You* are the best.
Ah well.
They're the best. 

The Boys dad is a Tea fiend, so what better than a matching mug?

My dad likes his beers, so he got some Black Sheep with personalised labels.

Sadly Moonpig underestimated demand, and couldn't fulfil demand for the weekend.
I got a very nice email explaining the situation, refunding my money and offering 20 pounds (my computer doesn't have an easy Stirling key!) credit to use to either re-order the beers to arrive after the day, or for anything else. I reordered, and still have money left :)
They're due to arrive today. Fingers crossed they arrive OK! 

19 June 2012

Carlsberg must do commutes...

Because I think mine must be perfect!
What better way to start/end the working day than by watching the dolphins playing in the river.

I see them maybe 2 times a week, and always try and stop and watch.
Life is too short not to watch the dolphins :)

It looks like they've got babies! The littlies were getting a bit over excited when I first stopped, but then the boat came over and scared them a bit and they started behaving themselves again.
But in this last video you can see one of the little ones getting a bit out of control and somersaulting out of the water at about 13 seconds in.
Too cute!

15 June 2012

The fashion of the field

Fieldwork is not a place for fashion... its a hard place to even look half decent.
For example:

In my defence, it was a semi flooded mine. It was wet up mid thigh for sections. I didn't want to get my boots wet because they aren't high tech instant dry ones... I didnt want to get my trousers too wet because I knew that while they are relatively high tech instant dry ones, they weren't likely to dry off in the drizzle.

Hence borrowing some wellys from a colleague who didn't want to go in, and rolling the trousers up as far as they would go! The hard hat and light were necessary, though the pink polka dot elastic was admittedly a personal addition.
I do love the wellys though! And they kept the water in, so acted like a wet suit against the cold water!

Maybe I should work on some field clothes for September...

10 June 2012

Belated Jubilee Celebrations

So, I know I said that we weren't doing anything to celebrate the Jubilee, but it turns out I spoke too soon! My friend was away working for the jubilee celebrations, so had a belated "Best of British" dinner party.
We sat in a bunting lined kitchens, eating British favourites off a Union Flag draped table, while listening to the last night of the proms on CD.

Toad in the Hole with onion gravy.
Rhubarb Crumble and cream.
Jubilee "Strawberries and Cream" fairy cakes
After 8s

What more could we POMS want?!
And got to wear my Jubilee Sorbetto again too!

(apologies for the rubbish phone picture!)

09 June 2012

Baby Boy Collection - Winter 2012

I have a  baby shower to go to next weekend, and the mum-to-be was a little sad to discover she was having a boy. So I decided my present would be some cute boy clothes, to show her that boys can be fun too!


Introducing the "Baby Boy" collection, Winter 2012:

Froggy Slippers, 
to keep those little tutsies warm.
Perth does get cold!

Robots Invade -
 Bright and cheerful, perfect for a play date. Who says boys can't do ruffles?

Jungle Safari:
For the intrepid explorer-to-be.
 Yes... I know I havn't sewn those buttons on yet. But I will :)

Lifes a Beach:
For those more formal occasions, when style is  a must!

All these were made with Rae's Big Butt Baby pant pattern. So adaptable!
I cut the 3-6 month size, so he can grow into them a bit. I tried to make the legs as adjustable as possible, so the cuffs can be folded right up while he's small, and gradually folded down as he grows.

I bought the baby-grows and added simple embellishments to make a complete outfit.
How cute is that little bow tie?!

07 June 2012

New Patterns!

Since my stash of fabric is growing, I decided to treat myself to a few vintage patterns from BessieAndMaive on etsy.

Butterick 9804 - Since I decided I needed more easy wearing clothes, I thought this might be a good buy. 4 variations, which will probably get made out of cotton lawn or some of all the slightly shear poly I've been stashing (such as this one I got for $1 from the Salvos!). I love the neckline in view C!

Simplicity 8702 - I liked the simple lines of this dress, and it can be shortened into a top easily.
I'm thinking it might go well made from this slightly stretch cotton from the sale last weekend (I think it was about $3 a meter)

And then Style 1157. I loved the bodice on this dress- very different from anything I've made before. 
I love it in the mustard colour in the middle!  

And for this I might play with the direction of these oversized spots/scallopy stripes on the different pannels. $2.50 a meter! 
Or maybe some plain black with coloured/white piping?

Now the question is... which first?!
What would you do with these patterns?