Wednesday, 16 March 2016

What Are My Amazing Readers Up To?

So, I thought it was about time I again shared some projects from some of you beautiful readers who have used my tutorials to create stuff.  I'm still absolutely astonished that people would even bother to read my posts, but it puts the biggest smile on my face when I receive emails or Facebook messages from people who show me what they've made.  Go ahead ... keep sending those pics to me.  I really love to hear from you.

Today I thought I'd focus on two such projects from just the last few weeks.  Both of these readers have used my Little Birdie Pinafore Tutorial.
Do you remember this one?   My, check out how little Hannah was, and she really did have hardly any hair for the longest time!!  Where do the years go?  Sigh!

Anyway, this was one of my earliest tutorials, and definitely one of the most popular that's still being found and Pinned regularly these days.  It is a fun, quick sew, and I've made probably 5-6 of these over the time since that post.  Most of them have been to use as a Dorothy dress-up, because it's a good one if you need a dress-up tomorrow and don't have a huge amount of time.  Couple it with some red shoes and a Toto in a basket, and off you go!

And a Dorothy dress-up is exactly what the amazing Sarah-Jane has made for her beautiful little one.  Check it out!!!
Sarah-Jane was so kind to send me a bunch of pictures, and I think this little costume is just divine.

And did you notice the shoes!!!!!!  Sarah-Jane actually up-cycled a pair of shoes into sparkly ruby slippers.  Swoon!!!  So, so cool!
Thank you so much for sharing this creation with me Sarah-Jane.

And take a look at this beauty from the lovely Carly.  She has made two of these pinafores.  One for her daughter and another for her niece.  That flamingo fabric is to-die-for, and the lace ... oh my ... the cuteness!  I love how Carly has managed to coordinate the pink and white spot fabric exactly with the flamingo colour.  It couldn't be more perfect, huh!
Thank you Carly for sharing this little piece of gorgeousness!

Oh, and if you've used any of my tutorials or recipes to make something, I'd love to see a pic.  You can contact me via email or on Facebook any time.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Willow Dress

A few months ago now, I was lucky enough to be included in the pattern test for the gorgeous Willow Dress by Nikki of Bubby and Me.

What drew my eye to this tester call were the gorgeous little flutter sleeves, and the chance to mix knit and woven fabrics.  The skirt is made from a woven, and the bodice from a knit fabric.  It makes this dress so comfortable to wear, and easy to get on and off for little munchkins that insist they can do it all themselves, and "don't need your help Mum!".
So I whipped up two of these lovely dresses.  The first was a size 4 for Hannah.  I'm not sure what type of fabric the pink with white spot is that I used for the bodice on this one.  It's very synthetic-feeling, light-weight, and feels like it might have some lycra in there somewhere.  Anyway, Hannah loves it because it feels smooth, so this dress has become known as the "smooth dress!" in our house.
The skirt I made out of a lovely floral cotton woven fabric that I got on sale last year, and that had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to be used up.
I found this pattern so user friendly, and so easy to come together.  I haven't used clear elastic before, but it's a genius way to stabilise the waist-band onto the knit bodice,  especially for the pink knit that was very prone to fraying and laddering.  I think I'll be using that method again.
Anyway, as usual when I find a pattern I like, I just can't stop at 1, so I whipped up this size 7 for Bethany.  The red knit I had sitting in my stash (actually I think I may have stolen borrowed it from my Mum's stash some time ago).  I matched it up with this quilting-weight cotton fabric I have had sitting in the stash because I liked it's geometric print when I spotted it on the bargain table at my local fabric store eons ago.  Bethany has worn this dress a tonne over our summer, because it's just a super comfy and suitable-for-any-occasion type of dress.  
Anyway, so this pattern has now been released, and is available via the One Thimble ezine here.  Thanks for having me on the test Nikki!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

A healthier Valentines Day Dessert Option with Ocean Spray

With this time of year comes all of those New Years Resolutions and trying to make this year a great year.  And luckily for those of us trying to be a little healthier, Ocean Spray has launched a Low Sugar version of it's Cranberry Drink.  I've loved Ocean Spray Cranberry forever, so when I was asked if I'd like to try the Ocean Spray Low Sugar Cranberry Fruit Drink, I was stoked.

So, not really as a new years resolution, but rather as a late-last-year resolution, Daddy and I have been trying to be healthier.  We're not focussing specifically on weight loss or on anything in particular, but since the reality check of Daddy having his cough-mumble-40th-mumble-cough birthday last year, we realised we're not getting any younger and we've been making a concerted effort to be healthier, move more and enjoy the extra energy and good health that comes with all of that.  We've been walking most days (we take it in turns, so that we can go for a walk on our own!!!! Bliss!), Daddy's joined the gym at his work, and has been enjoying some Kayaking, and I have recently started running (I'm doing the Couch to 5k 8-week program to help me get into it, and I'm loving it so far ... just finished week 3).  We're trying to eat fast-food less, and trying to be a little more careful about what we eat. Another thing we try to do is to avoid sugary drinks, and we all know juice is often just as sugary as soft-drink, so it's not always a better option, but water really does get boring, huh!  

Well, the Ocean Spray Low Sugar Cranberry Fruit Drink is a great low sugar option to consider.  It's only 10 calories per serve and is sweetened with Stevia.  If you like the regular Ocean Spray Cranberry Drink, then this could be a great swap option for steering clear of some sugar.
Anyway, I was gifted a few bottles of this yummy drink to try, along with this awesome red cooler bag ... it's already been put to good use when it accompanied the girls and I to the school swimming carnival last week.  Love a cooler bag that looks like a funky red shoulder bag!

We drank one bottle pretty much straight away, and it was a lovely change.  I then decided I'd be a little creative with my next bottle.  I decided to whip up a little dessert, using the Ocean Spray  Low Sugar Cranberry Fruit Drink, and with it's bright red colour, I thought this would be the cutest healthier-option Valentines Day dessert.
I made a Chia and Coconut Pudding with a Cranberry Jelly.  I love Chia, and it's another healthy option we've discovered.  I've made this dessert lots of times before, but the Cranberry Jelly was a fun variation, and just a bit special when served for 2 in a tall glass on Valentines Day.  Oh, and there are a tonne of Chia Pudding recipes around online, but here's how I make mine:

You'll Need:
- Powdered gelatine
- 2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds
- 1 cup Low Fat coconut Milk (tinned)
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup

(Serves 2, because that's romantic on Valentines Day ... it's easy to multiply the amounts to make more though!)

The How To:

1. Pour you Ocean Spray Low Sugar Cranberry Fruit Drink into a microwave bowl or jug, and heat for 2 minutes in the microwave.

2.  Add the powdered gelatine - follow the instructions on the pack as to amounts for setting 2 cups of liquid.  (I added 1 tablespoon).  Mix until the gelatine is dissolved.

3.  Line a lamington or sponge-cake tin with cling-wrap, and pour the juice/gelatine mixture in.  I like to strain it through a sieve to make sure than any sneaky lumps of gelatine that may have remained don't end up in the jelly.  Put the jelly in the fridge until it's set.

4. Grab a couple of champagne flutes, and put a tablespoon of Chia seeds in each glass.

5. Pour 1/2 cup of the coconut milk into each glass, and mix well until all the Chia seeds are wet, and are mixed through the coconut milk.

6. Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup to each glass and mix well.

At this point you just need to refrigerate the Chia Pudding for a couple of hours.  As it chills the chia seeds absorb the coconut milk and become chewy, and this makes the pudding thicken too.

7.  Remove your jelly from the tin by lifting out the cling-wrap, then use a knife to slice into 1cm cubes, then spoon the jelly cubes onto the Chia pudding.

You can then share one with someone you love this Valentines Day, or just eat one and save the other in the fridge 'til tomorrow ... either works fine!!
Anyway, feel free to share your healthy habits for 2016, so I can use them too!!  And I hope you have a lovely Valentines Day with those you love! 

Friday, 25 December 2015

What's Mummy Been Up To of late? ...

Hello lovely people in blog-land.  I'm so behind on the posts I had planned for this year, but I thought I'd fill you in on why I've been MIA lately.  We've had a hectic but exciting time over the last few months, but there has still been time for some crafting, sewing and cooking.  Here's what Mummy's been up to:

Firstly, back in August we decided to sell our house and move to a new place ... not too far away from the old house really, but boy does it take a lot to prepare a house for sale!  And how all-encompassing is moving? ... emotionally, logistically, financially and did I mention emotionally. We only moved a month or so ago, and we're exhausted.  It's the first time we've sold and moved, so we've learned lots throughout this process, and we definitely have a new found respect for those who need to move regularly for work commitments or other reasons.  This is what our dining room looked like in the lead-up to our move ... I think we're pretty lucky we didn't lose either of the munchkins in the piles of boxes towards the end there.
Then we picked our last crop from our veggie garden, kissed our house goodbye (literally ... we're a little nutty like that!) and moved to our new home.
We didn't waste any time, and in an attempt to help the girls adjust and make the new house feel like their home, we got straight into the painting.  Each of them chose their colours (well, Hannah had a little help ... I had to adjust her colour choice from "rainbow walls Mummy" to mauve walls with the promise of some rainbow stickers).
We have since also had new carpet laid, so it was fun to just paint away without worrying about making a mess on the carpet.  The girls loved the painting, and Bethany's edging work was definitely the best ... she's a perfectionist, that girl, and with painting it totally pays off!

Then came all the end-of-year fun like this gorgeous ballerina's little ballet concert.  This included a Rapunzel-themed costume which she thought was the best thing ever!  We love our ballet because it's really low-key and just lets little girls be little girls without the make-up, big concerts, big concert rehearsals or expensive costumes.  

Since June, I've been working on a Christmas swap, the Santa Sack Swap  hosted by Cheryll at Gone Stitchin'.  This was my second year doing this swap, and I'll definitely be signing up again next year.  It's a really fun one.  When I signed up back in June I had no idea that we would be packing up and moving, and I did have a small panic when I remembered that I had committed to this swap which would be due to post off just the week before we moved, but to be truthful, this swap kept me sane during the craziness of moving.  It was lovely to have a project to work on here and there during that time.  

I was partnered with the lovely Noela, and she sent me the most amazing package of goodies.  The girls and I had a brilliant time opening them and marvelling at Noela's very impressive handiwork.

She made this beautiful patchwork tote, which will be just perfect for carrying around some crochet projects I have planned for this coming winter.  The fabrics are just lovely, and ric-rac ... I love it!  Noela is clearly a very experienced patchwork and quilting expert.
My favourite part though, is the beautiful embroidery on the front of the tote ... just perfect given our recent move.

Noela also gave me a gorgeous pin-cushion and sewing caddy complete with a cute little pair of embroidery scissors ... 

... the cutest little snow man christmas decoration ...

... a little felt bag with another amazing embroidery (I'm a beginner embroiderer, and Noela's beautiful stitching just left me in awe!) ... this was Hannah's favourite ... I'm sure she loved it because of the bag, and not because of the goodies inside, right!?! ...

... a beautiful embroidered monogram mat ...

And Bethany's favourite ... a gorgeous Christmas wall hanging, with the most adorable appliqu├ęs.  Bethany carried this around the house to find the perfect position for it to hang so that everyone entering our house would see it.  She just loves this one!

These are the goodies I sent to Noela.  She indicated she would like a stocking this year, so that was my starting point, and the rest just followed!

A Christmas Stocking ... (found the free pattern for this via Pinterest, and thought it was cute for something different!) and a little coordinating Christmas dove decoration.

A Christmas Apron ...

A little shopping list folder, in which I also included a sewing kit ... for those times when there's a wardrobe malfunction whilst you're out and about ...

Some crocheted coasters ...

And a little monogramed zipper-pouch with matching tissue holder (oh, and this is the front of the little folder)
Noela has written to tell me that she loves her goodies, and has put some of them straight to use.  I'm so glad she liked them.  Aren't swaps just the best thing!  The idea of making something for a stranger and making a new friend in the process is just awesome I think.

Shortly after this, we then celebrated Hannah's 4th birthday, just 2 days before Christmas, and she is stoked to tell everyone "Do you know I'm 4 now!".

Even though we've been extra busy this year, I did manage to find some time for our annual Christmas baking treat for friends and family.  It doesn't really feel like Christmas for me until some baking is underway.  This year I made caramels ... they're chewy, smooth, buttery and terribly unhealthy.  Pinterest helped me out and I found this recipe.  I just wrapped these little morsels in baking paper squares and popped a handful into tiny christmas gift bags for each recipient.  Yum!

So, whether you've had a busy time like us, or if you've been able to slow down and fully enjoy the joy of Christmas time this year, I wish you all the most blessed of Christmases, and a fantastic year to follow.  I'll be setting up my new sewing room over the coming weeks, and then I have lots planned including a few new tutorials for the new year, so stay tuned. 

Oh, and this beauty is taking pride of place on display in my new sewing room.  Isn't he lovely!