Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brown Paper Packages

A couple of years ago, I was in a packaging shop in Stafford and saw these rolls of brown paper for sale.

I bought one and it's been very, very useful ever since.

Brown Paper-2

I've wrapped most of my presents over the last couple of years with it. They get decorated with raffia or ribbon and I love the look of them:


Sometimes I use an ink pad and stamp to decorate them, or draw a little design - a Christmas tree or Holly, for example.

This year at Christmas, I'm guessing Lucinda's footprint might put in an appearance.

I also don't really use cards or gift tags any more, but write messages on the wrapping paper. I always hated paying $5 for a Hallmark card which would get read once and then thrown out. It seems such a waste of money and resources.

To top it off, the roll is also perfect for pattern making too.

Who knew a roll of brown paper could be so useful?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My New Chair

I saw this old chair at Lifeline on Monday and something about it appealed to me. Certainly not its brown, stained fabric though.

Chair Before2-2

Anyway, it was $8 so I bought it and stripped the brown covers off and pulled them apart to use as pattern pieces.

I picked out this blue fabric at Spotlight. It's canvas and was $16 a metre. I was looking for something a bit more neutral but my eye kept going back to this one.

Chair After2-2

Ta da! My funky chair all ready to go, for less than $40 (Ok, it's not super cheap but it's not too bad!)

I'm not sure if it's going to stay here, the colour is a bit much with everything else going on in here, colour-wise.

I can hear the female judge from The Renovators now - "You need to edit your room, Edwina"

Seeing as I tend to move furniture around constantly anyway, it can stay here for now until I get inspired to move it somewhere else.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How I Got A Free Overlocker

I've wanted an overlocker for the longest time, but DAMN they're expensive for something you're not using all the time.

The entry level ones are about $600 and up. I started sewing on an 'entry level' sewing machine and learned pretty quickly that entry level was code for cheap, nasty and ultimately extremely frustrating.

A while ago I joined Freecycle. If you haven't looked into it, basically, it's a global club where you can get rid of stuff you don't want any more and pick up stuff other people don't want.

You join a local branch, get put on their email list and you're away.

It's really handy for things that aren't worth the trouble of putting on Ebay but you don't want to see going to landfill.

One of the best things is being able to put out a 'wanted' call. I did just that and am now the proud owner of an old but very sturdy, professional-standard Baby Lock overlocker.


It runs like a dream!

It's just come back from a full service which was a bit of an outlay, but it's still a fraction of what I would have paid for even that entry level one new.

Now, I'm going to give away a heap more stuff I don't need and build up my Freecycle karma in case I need something else major down the track.

Baby Bunting

I've been seeing fabric bunting for sale EVERYWHERE and thought it was a pretty cute idea.

Lucinda will be moving into her own room soon - a room without airconditioning - which means she gets a nice big fan right next to her cot for summer.

Even so, that poor baby ain't going to know what hit her.

Hopefully, having bunting fluttering in the breeze to gaze at will buy me a few extra minutes sleep in the mornings.

I used some scraps of fabric from other projects which is why the finished result is a little eclectic in its colour and fabric selection.

But babies aren't so fussy about being matchy matchy. The more colour the better, really.

Also, I used some 50mm bias tape to enclose the ends of the triangles and string the bunting because I had some already and couldn't imagine what else I would use it for.

If I was going to make this again, I'd probably buy some canvas or something a little heavier in weight as the bias tape tends to flip and twist quite easily.



Claps for baby bunting!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chalkboard Paint

Amazing, the uses you can find for a pot of chalkboard paint. Here's a couple of the places it's currently in use at our place...




Lucinda's Hat, Fail Of The Week

The weather is warming up and I decided it was high time Lucinda had her first sunhat. I could have taken the easy way out and bought one but no - I decided it was a great idea to make one.

Only, I had no idea where to start so I bought a pattern.

Then I bought a metre of love heart fabric in two different shades.

Already, this was shaping up to be quite a pricey sunhat.

I made it over an evening and sadly it's miles too big and kind of makes her look like a lamp, or a flower.

A flower-shaped lamp, perhaps.

Lucinda in hat-2


Lucinda in hat-2-3

The flower child.

Lucinda in hat-2-2

Where'd that baby go?

Hopefully when she grows a little, it'll be a better fit. I was toying with the idea of reducing the pattern piece on the photocopier and making a smaller one, but you know what?

I might just go buy one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Dollhouse

I wrote briefly about the dollhouse I bought at the op shop recently, but have started cleaning it up.

So here are some before photos, which will hopefully one day contrast nicely with some gorgeous after shots...

We're hoping to have it ready for Lucinda's first birthday, which would be next June. We move slow around these parts.






Dan plans to fix up some of the damaged woodwork, which leaves the painting to me. Next job is to finish cleaning up and then start painting the inside timber.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sandgate Stitchers

After a few months of mulling the idea over, I've finally got around to drawing up a flyer and starting to get the word out there.

If you, or anyone you know, lives near Sandgate and is interested in sewing (or some other small and portable craft hobby) then please come along.

UPDATE: I started a blog for the group, so please forward the link on to anyone who might be interested!

Stitchers 600 pixels

A Flower I Haven't Killed

It's a miracle, really. This orchid was a gift when Lucinda was about a month old. Today, she is three months old.

It still looks as good as the day I got it.


Perhaps my brown thumbs are finally going green? Or perhaps orchids are just very hardy...

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We've been away to Eumundi for the weekend - but made it home before lunchtime on Sunday.

The term 'domestic terrorism' - that's about babies, yes? Long story short, Lucinda seems to be having a rough time of it with wind currently, so we cut the trip short.

Who you calling tired?

Anyway, it was nice to get away even briefly...

Captain Oblivious came too. She rolled in something rotten on day one, hour one and was an absolute delight on the car trip home...

Our little terrorist, safely back at home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The $5 Skirt

With the weather warming up and my body somehow not ready for my usual summer attire of cut-off denim shorts (!!) I decided knee-length skirts might be the way to go this year.

But I don't seem to own any. Nor did I have any spare funds to devote to buying or making any.

So, I set myself a challenge: to make a skirt pattern and then make a skirt, without spending any money on new materials. Everything used had to already been in my house.

I had a plain, light-weight fabric in my stash - I paid $4 for a chunk of it a while ago at an op shop.

Next I went to You Tube and found an excellent A-Line skirt pattern tutorial from a user called SweetMaterials (you can search her if you're interested, but oh looky - here's her website here)

I used her instructions to make a pattern tailored to my waist and hips and made the two back pieces as per her instructions.


For the front, I wanted something slightly more decorative due to the plain fabric.

So, I measured a piece of paper to 8cm width and added it to the inside edge of the front pattern piece, so it sits on the fold. Basically, it meant that the front was 16m wider than the two back pieces put together.


Then I drew in lines every 1cm apart, from top to bottom.


I used these guidelines to fold pin tucks on the right side of the fabric - three on each side and then a 2cm panel in the middle. Now, if you're mathematically inclined you might see that this is where I went wrong. I don't speak maths, so I am still unsure BUT I think I probably should only have added a 7cm panel (so the total width of the insert was 14cm). The 8cm seemed to add too much fabric and the side seams were pushed to the back of the garment slightly. I can live with it though.


I sewed down those folds...


...and then finished the skirt with some embroidery stitches to keep the folds in place, bias tape around the top, a hem at the bottom and a zipper at the back.

Skirt Finished-2

And now I have a cute new skirt for summer, for materials that came in under $5! It's the first pattern I've made for my own clothing and I'm hooked...

Ps. How lanky is my baby?? At 11 weeks, she's like a cute spaghetti strand. Clearly, she takes after her father not me!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


You just gotta love it.

Fishing Trawler



Third Avenue



Pacific Fish Bar