Sally Dress Modification

20140724-213235-77555209.jpg
I’ve had this pattern for a while and finally decided to use it this week, spurred on by the current heat wave, to create a light and airy summer dress for Little Boo.

20140724-213447-77687483.jpg
The fabric is this lovely seersucker elephant print, bought from the fantastic Miss Matatabi. Seersucker always makes me think of my own childhood, and sunshine, and ice lollies….. The elephants aren’t huge so from a distance on a running (or scooting!) child it looks summery, pale, chic- then when you get closer the fun element becomes clear.

20140724-213852-77932848.jpg
Boo wore this for an early morning scoot with some fresh lime leggings….

20140724-214005-78005418.jpg
… then whipped them off when the sun came out in full force – ta da!

20140724-214108-78068009.jpg
As the post title suggests, I did make a few changes on this dress. The most glaring is probably the omitted pockets (a major feature of the Sally dress normally). I decided not to add them as Boo still wears her modified cow geranium dress I made last summer with its huge pockets, and I was in a rush to get this done! My version only took a couple of hours to make which is quick for me. I also straightened the outside line of the shoulder straps to make them a bit slimmer. Finally, I made this in between size 4 and 5 ( I just wasn’t sure it would fit over Boo’s big head!), but it does slip down (but not off) her shoulder a little, so I would make a 4 next time. The pattern must be a little more generous than the geranium.
I have to say I absolutely love this pattern now I have finally used it- the lack of closings makes it a really quick sew, and the lines are really simple. I’m already planning my next creation…

A Grrrrroovy Tiger Shirt

20140721-203020-73820478.jpg

I love this shirt, I think it’s brilliant. I think it looks cool, retro, funky, funny, different, smart…. but I can’t take any credit for it. I have to start this post by saying this is a total rip off of a shirt made by the very clever sewer and blogger at madebymamasha. She is also one of the brains behind the fantastic pattern shop Zonen09.

I haven’t sewn for my son for a while, and wanted to make him something he would choose to wear. He doesn’t normally wear shirts as he finds buttons fiddly, but said he would try one with snaps, and when he spotted this great ed emberley fabric he was hooked on the idea. I would have loved to use a true Zonen09 pattern for this, but their digital patterns are not yet available in English, so I used the Sis Boom Ethan shirt pattern I bought in a group purchase. It worked really well. I chose a size smaller than usual to get a slimmer fit, squared off the bottom and added extra interfacing for the snaps.

Just look at my first real go at pattern matching on the pocket- can you spot it? Not perfect, but I am chuffed.

20140721-205737-75457331.jpg

This was my first shirt and with clear instructions was easier than I thought. The cuffs look professional, the topstitching gives it a professional finish, and it has passed the store bought test with friends.

I’m not sure how many shirts I will make, but I did enjoy this sewing and, though all my husband said when he first saw this was ” Now he just needs a moustache and some 70’s sunglasses”, he did ask if I was ever going to make him something.

Here is my boy striking a pose when asked – he hasn’t quite got the cool camera style down yet…

20140721-205923-75563165.jpg

And our very own tiger getting in on the act!

20140721-210018-75618589.jpg

This post comes just in time for Kids Clothes Week- I did make it before, but only a few days so I am counting it… and I am just finishing my next little sew. Hopefully I will have some pictures to share soon.

Independence Day Geranium

20140704-203918-74358848.jpg
Happy 4th July! Today has been hot and sunny and our little UK town has been celebrating Independence Day with fairs, festivities and picnics. We live fairly near to some large US air bases so there is a high percentage of American children at School and pre school here.
America week has been running since Monday and Big Boo has come home with flags, Native American bracelets and head dresses, an American cent (“Now we can go to America one day Mummy- I have the money!”), and hot dog picnics.

20140704-204025-74425530.jpg
I had already bought this fabric with plans of a jersey Geranium dress, and it turned out to be perfect for Boo to wear (along with her red and white striped underwear!) for her pre school celebrations.

20140704-204149-74509205.jpg
I altered the sewing a bit and stitched the head hole first to give a nice finish, then pressed the arm holes in place to sew them up after turning the bodice the right way (I did line the bodice, and it gives the dress a bit more stability). These photos are second day of wearing and I should have ironed the turned up hem and the sleeves, but they do look quite smart when pressed- I promise!

Boo started off happy to be photographed but got fed up quite soon as you can see here!

20140704-204246-74566507.jpg
I hope those of you celebrating today have a great time!

Willow and Co Clover Shorts

20140629-193823-70703889.jpg
Riding high on my success with the Willow and Co Ash Pants I decided to have a go at sewing up another of their new patterns, this time the Clover Shorts. I am so glad I did, these have risen right up to the top of my favourite children’s patterns, along side the Geranium dress. They were so easy to sew, I followed the pattern without any trouble, only making a few changes- no belt loops or sash (the busy material didn’t need them, I thought), and added interfacing to to the front waistband for a little extra stiffness here.

20140629-194205-70925726.jpg
The size 4 pattern fits my tall 3 year old perfectly, and the puffy pleat version adds a little bit of girliness without being too over the top for my tastes.

20140629-194317-70997774.jpg
The pockets are the right size for little hands, and always appreciated for holding collections of stones, conkers and (current favourite) helicopter seeds.

20140629-194453-71093982.jpg
They are perfect for running about on the grass on a sunny day, or for terrorising the new cat (named Sausage by my son!). This fabric is 150 year celebration fabric from John Lewis in the UK. It is quite pricey, but these were made in less than half a metre, and I think it is worth it.

20140629-194706-71226117.jpg
I leave you with a picture of Boo practising her newest skill, the curtsy. Now if only the pattern came in adult sizing….

Liberty zoo print Geranium

20140608-215419.jpg

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and we say… “It’s alright”.

At last the summer has arrived here in the uk, a good excuse for a new Geranium dress for Boo. Back in April I went for a day trip to London with my mother (my first visit since having children!) and we kicked off the day with a visit to Liberty. If you have never been the beautiful building alone is worth taking the time to see, but if you are interested in fabric it is definitely one of those places on your tick list to visit. Liberty floral prints are so instantly recognisable, beautiful and timeless, that I was drawn to them. However, when I spotted this animal print I wanted it immediately. It has that beautiful softness of liberty lawn, perfect for a hot sunny day with a light breeze to catch it.

20140608-220204.jpg

I immediately new I wanted to make one of Rae’s Geranium dresses using it, and I haven’t been disappointed. I made my favourite style- cap sleeves, button back, and as usual simply cut one length of fabric for the skirt and placed the seam at the centre back.

This has already been worn a few times, with leggings on a cooler day…

20140608-220509.jpg

… And today on our country walk looking for damsel flies. I have to add this picture of Big and Little Boo walking hand in hand marching ahead to be the first to spot them. A moment of sibling camaraderie captured forever- or blackmail for my son who ‘does not hold hands with girls’! Oh the things we get carried away with in the sunshine.

20140608-220911.jpg

I hope you have been enjoying the sun wherever you are.
Watch this space for yet another geranium (think I am becoming slightly obsessed).

Willow and co. Ash Pants

20140509-211056.jpg

Have you seen the new willow and co. patterns yet? The look book is full of inspiration and obviously appealed to me as I have succumbed to this pattern while it is still very new – something unusual for me.
.

20140509-213134.jpg

These pants come as part of a jumpsuit pattern, so you also get a top pattern, full suit and these trousers- 3 pieces of clothing all rolled into one! I chose the trousers to make in the knowledge that my daughter most likely would refuse to wear the top as it is a bit frilly around the neck with the ruffles. Also, I like the trousers best- so it’s win win.

20140509-213229.jpg

The pattern was really easy to follow and sew up. I did french seam the front and back centre seams for added strength and top stitched them down so they didn’t rub at all. I even went for the ruffle effect on the waistband (which I thought may be too much, but is actually quite sweet). The pockets were a plus for Boo, though she did comment that she would like them bigger, and next time I think I would use the largest pattern size rather than middle, as she can only just get her hands in them.

As soon as Boo put these on she said “These feel like pyjamas Mummy.” This could be a compliment as they are so comfy, or may mean they end up being worn in bed. I don’t mind if they do as they were so quick to make. I do think I’ll make another pair in chambray which may look a little more like day wear, and I expect they will be worn lots as they are so comfy.

20140509-213347.jpg

Sadly our British weather seems to be hanging on to April showers even though we are well into May, so these photos were taken on a blustery afternoon and are the best of the bunch- taken in 2 minutes flat. Take a look at the funk fly-away hair below!

20140509-213441.jpg

If you need a simple trouser pattern, that could be also used to make summer shorts and pyjamas, then I’d definitely recommend these. Watch this space for more examples..

Twirly Chocolate Fridge Cake

Image

Given the chance Boo would bake something most days.  She likes to crack the eggs, weigh the flour… but she loves to mix.  She’ll mix stones in a bucket, raisins in a pot, ice cream in a bowl.  She pretends to hold a big bowl in the air and mixes up food for imaginary horses or pups.  Sometimes I try to make our creations at least a little healthy (carrot or corguette cupcakes, beetroot cake) but this week she wanted “Chocolate Mummy!”  And however hard I try to shun the pink, this girl does still like the ballet and the jewels and the twirly dancing, so we made pretty, twirly chocolate cake.

Twirly chocolate fridge cake, to be precise.  A really child friendly recipe with no oven, but lots of mixing, naughty ingredients to be taste tested, and art to top it off. I usually make this with lots of glacé cherries (yum,) but my husband is not a fan so we added mini marshmallows from the store cupboard and they add that rocky road chew to balance the biscuit crunch.  There must be loads of recipes like this, but here is mine.  I really recommend trying it, the posh twirly topping is so satisfying to look at (especially as it was artfully created by a 3 year old)!
image

Ingredients:
4oz (110g) butter
2tbsp (25g) caster sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) golden syrup
4 tsp cocoa powder
8oz (225g) digestive biscuits
3 1/2oz (100g) raisins
Cup or large handful of mini marshmallows
4oz (110g)dark cooking chocolate
4oz (110g)milk cooking chocolate
3 1/2oz (100g) white cooking chocolate

First melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cocoa either in a saucepan or (carefully, checking every 30 seconds) in a microwave. I used the microwave and we counted together.

Put the biscuits in a bag with no holes and bash them into little pieces. A few larger pieces add texture, but don’t leave lots of big lumps.

Mix the biscuits, raisins and marshmallows into the butter mix until it starts to stick together.

Line a 1 inch high baking tray, or a flan dish with baking paper. Add the mix to the tray and push it down hard with the back of a spoon.

Now melt the dark and milk chocolate together. I know lots of people do this on the stove, but I find the microwave much easier. Just keep checking on it so it doesn’t burn. Tip the melted chocolate over the cake and spread to cover it.

Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the cake. Take a toothpick (or something similar, end of a chopstick, knitting needle!) and start to twirl in and out of the white chocolate, creating your arty pattern.

Place in the fridge to harden (or if you can’t wait that long, make space in the freezer for an hour).

Take out and take it out of tray easily using baking paper to lift it.

Marvel at the twirly beauty, then chop it with a sharp knife… and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting!
image

She’s Back! … With a Funky Pigeon Pinafore.

image

Wow! Am I really here? Is this the right place? I can’t believe that I am posting again after such a long, long time! It has been over six months since my last post and I had nearly given up on blogging, just because life (as it does) seems to have taken over and my sewing and making mojo seemed to have disappeared. But recently I’ve been taking tentative steps back into the world of crafts, and I’m feeling hopeful that the signs of spring outside will help me to restore my enthusiasm and creativity. I’d apologise for my absence, but expect it is of little consequence to you, I’m just glad if you are here, giving me another chance (or, in fact, if you are here for the first time).
image
The last few months have been a roller coaster for me, with my eldest starting school, adjusting to life with one at home most of the time, birthdays to plan and, more notably, the last few months with, and passing away of my wonderful daddy. I’m not going to dwell on things here and I’m not making excuses, just explaining.
Anyway, I’m going to jump in with a new dress I made a few weeks ago for Little Boo – the funky pigeon pinafore.
image
If you have had a browse here at all you’ll know about my love for the geranium dress (thank you Made by Rae!). However I have decided to create a new silhouette for my recently 3 year old, especially now that she is slimming down and growing up. I will definitely return to the geranium, but it’s fun to mix in a new style. This dress was actually based on the bodice from the geranium, but you could use any bodice pattern you have to hand.

I simply drew around the bodice pattern, then extended down at a slight A-line, basing the length of the skirt on a current dress. Simple! I do like simple.
image
The overlap at the back extends down the length of the dress, making a nice detail. I managed to find some buttons that match this fabric perfectly, and used contrasting thread to sew them on. I used a contrast button at the top too as a feature.
This could be made just as easily with poppers down the back, or a zip, but it is great practice for sewing button holes!
image
I made this dress with no sleeves, which is perfect for spring as it can be layered with a top underneath, and a cardi on top. Come summer it will work fine on it’s own.
You could even make this dress fully reversible if you wanted to… Using the bodice and adding a lining cut exactly the same means all seams are covered, and buttons can be used on each side. I simply kept a plain lining as I always end up preferring one side of a reversible item.
There we go, short, sweet, simple. My first new (returning!) post. I hope to be back again soon (much sooner)!

Strawberry Creams

Image

I thought I would share these oh so simple strawberry creams as they are perfect to make when you have a really sweet tooth AND are so easy to make with toddlers too.  We made these on the spur of the moment today following a mammoth play dough session, most of which my daughter spent making heart shaped biscuits to bake in her toy oven.  When I asked if she would like like to make some real strawberry sweets, I think I got the fastest EVER response from both children – “Yes!” (No time to add please!). 

The great thing with these is that little ones can join in with the whole recipe, though I sadly didn’t get any pictures of mine making these as I only decided to post this when I searched on Pinterest and didn’t find a pin on these already (crazy I know). 

So, to make these you will need:

25g melted butter

225g icing sugar (confectioners)

1 teaspoon milk

1 teaspoon strawberry essence (I use silver spoon)

A little red food colouring

Image

This is so simple you can simply sift the icing sugar (I don’t even bother to sift!) into a bowl with all the other ingredients. Add colouring a little at a time and mix until you get a ball that you can then knead to spread  the colouring evenly and to smooth it out. The children love to see the colour emerge and the smell of the strawberry.  If it won’t ball up, add a little extra milk, if it is too sticky add extra sugar.

Now all you (or your little helpers) need to do is roll out onto a board dusted with icing sugar (so it doesn’t stick), grab your cutter (mine used play dough cutters- which we thoroughly cleaned first) and place your hearts onto a bit of grease proof paper or tin foil on a board in the fridge for 20 mins to cool and harden.  You can see these aren’t perfect versions… they really ARE child made, but if you take a little time yourself they can look very pretty.

Image

Finally, remove from fridge, pass to your child, and watch them devour in one go.  Beware, these are sugartastic fun fun fun but, hey, you are only a child once (and I like to relive my favourite childhood memories myself once the little ones are in bed)!

If you have followed carefully you’ll have noticed these are spookily similar to peppermint creams! You can be as creative as you like, change the flavour (vanilla, coffee, orange…) change your shapes (ghosts, snowflakes, dinosaurs). Let your children have fun with them.  We made some of these last valentines for Big Boo to take to pre school.  I’d love to see some of your own creations if you make some – let me know If you do.

 

Blanket fit for a horse!

ImageWe interrupt this sewing with an important news flash – a horse has been spotted in the Suffolk area with neither blanket nor eye mask to protect him from the sunshine in the current balmy weather. Cue Super Sewing Mummy – to the rescue!

Poor Maximus! If any of you have little girls and know the film Tangled (Disney’s take on Rapunzel) you may recognise this fine beast, if you can manage to spot him under his disguise!

ImageLittle Boo helped me (watched me) measure up Maximus, cut the curve around his neckline, attach the fluffy fleecy lining and add Velcro straps.  She did manage to poke out the corners once the blanket was turned.

ImageAnd once it was carefully placed on his back did she squeal in delight? Yes… but this was quickly followed with an impatient “Cover his eyes, Mummy!”.

Cue a tiny eye mask, fastened with elastic. Now look at that stallion – doesn’t he look fine!?

ImageBoo had to put on her matching skirt and get Maximus ready for a walk in the pushchair to get him to have a sleep in all his new cosy gear. Worked a treat for her too… which left me with a little quiet time to work on my real sewing project in preparation for Autumn.  I’ll be posting soon.  Yee-ha!

Image

Lazy Lavender Cupcakes

image

Lazy days, lazy sunshine, lazy fun and lazy cooking – what a great way to spend your summer!   With their subtle aroma of lavender, these cupcakes manage to relax you with their delicate flavour, and are so simple to bake that you could make up a batch right now to enjoy with your afternoon tea.

I’ve been noticing lots of lovely crafts and recipes popping up using lavender recently, and decided to make good use of some of the beautiful plants growing in my neighbour’s front garden at the moment.  The bees are in nectar heaven, but Big and Little Boo are not so keen on their visiting (there are ALOT of them, and Big Boo did get stung by one on holiday) so helping mummy to collect lavender was a brave task which was rewarded by helping to make these cakes, as they are so simple they are child’s play!

imageAll of the recipes I found were either biscuits (I can cook a good cupcake, but my biscuits never seem so great) or called for lavender to be infused overnight with milk. I’m sure this does develop a much stronger lavender flavour, but I am rather lazy and impatient too, so if I want to make lavender cupcakes, I want to make them NOW. With this in mind we simply made up our favourite basic cupcake recipe, and added about 2tbsp of lavender flowers.  Guess what? They worked a treat, beautiful, light and subtly flavoured and scented- enough to be noticed but not overpowering.

If you fancy a go, here is the recipe we used:

100g sugar (I used half and half but caster sugar is fine, or granulated if you don’t have caster)

100g self raising flour

100g butter

2 eggs

Good vanilla essence, just half the lid.

2 tbs lavender flowers, removed from stalk Some of mine were still fresh and some had dried but both seemed to work)

imageWe mixed the sugar, flour and 1tbsp lavender in the mixer first to pound the lavender a bit and distribute it. Then we added the softened butter and eggs (which Little Boo loves to crack) and finally mixed in the rest of the lavender, saving some of the fresher flowers to scatter on top of the cakes once the mixture had been spooned into it’s cases.

imageThey were cooked at 180 degrees for 19 minutes (that’s my oven for you), left to cool then promptly devoured – the only part of the process that wasn’t lazy!

I do warn you though- eating these cakes may bring out the superhero in you!

image

Holidays and hunting for fossils.

Don’t you just love the summer?  I’ve just returned from a great holiday with my family, 16 of us, four generations, all under one roof- no arguments- just fun, relaxation, good food, sea, pool and sun. With 7 children (ranging from 2 to 11) you never know quite what is going to happen, but everything went pretty smoothly and nobody wanted to leave at the end of the week.

imageMy son was in his element as our holiday home was on the Jurassic coast, and if you read this blog you will know that he’s a real dinosaur obsessive. We visited a dinosaur museum, and with a real life palaeontologist on hand (my father) we had to try our hand at a little fossil finding.

My father brought each grandchild their own geological hammer and safety goggles and I was tasked with the job of making bags for them all.. and here they are:

image They are made with calico fabric (just like my dad’s real hammer bag!) and I used iron on transfer paper (which was really cheap from Ebay-about £2.50 for 5 sheets and I used 2) to print an ammonite design and name from the computer and then iron them onto the fabric once made.

I am super impressed at the transfer results, not only do they look quite matt, rather than shiny, but there is no obvious line around the ammonite, (I cut really close to the image as recommended on the transfer paper instructions). If you have a go, just remember to flip any text so that it is mirrored, otherwise your words will be back to front when you iron them on!

image The children were so excited when they looked inside the bags, and what child wouldn’t love to wield their very own hammer (after a health and safety talk from their grandfather of course!)? I have some resources left and am thinking of a new, bigger dinosaur bag for Big Boo’s ever expanding dino collection.  I’ll try and make a simple tutorial with more details so watch this space.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my budding palaeontologists, ready to go with their bags, and in action hunting for their own ammonites.

image
image

Oliver and S Ice Cream tunic.

image
I took the plunge and finally bought this fabulous ice cream dress pattern from Oliver and S. I have been coveting it for a while, and finally succumbed after seeing Gail’s lovely new briar rose version (see it here)- I don’t think this lady ever creates something that is less than perfect. This time I think my version is pretty good too – having a great pattern to follow does help rather a lot!

image

If you haven’t tried any Oliver and S patterns yet, I really do recommend them, they are easy to follow with helpful hints and tips.  The only change I made was to use some elastic for the button loop rather than matching fabric. After my last creation for Big Boo (the cargo shorts on the previous post which I made in age 4 and he can only just squeeze into), I decided to err on the side of caution and made a size 4 for my big 2 1/2 year old. You can see there is plenty of room to feel the breeze and, when (not if!) I make my next,I may try a size 3. That said I think she can just about get away with this now, and she’s quite happy to put it on (always a bonus!).

image

No scooter test run yet, but this top sure is great for flying a kite, and we have had some perfect summery breezes for that recently – what a great way to spend the summer holidays!

image

And just to leave you with a final photo, I couldn’t resist this opportunity when we stopped off for some yummy Cornish whippy ice cream at the local shop today. Not the best photo ever but a perfect match for her ice cream tunic, don’t you think?

image

Blank Slate Dinosaur Coastal Cargo Shorts

Image

Finally, some clothing for my son! Why do clothes for girls always seem so much more fun to make? I think they are certainly easier anyway.  This was my first foray into welt pockets and a real life functional zip so I am mighty pleased that I have managed to produce a working pair of trousers.

Image

Big Boo was happy to put on his brand new mummy made shorts (I don’t think they will be worn rolled down much) for a couple of reasons:

1- They have black on them, his favourite colour.

2- They have….dinosaurs in the pocket!

Image

I’m one of those mean mums that doesn’t let many image adorned items of clothing into my children’s wardrobes, so this was a big deal.  It was made even better as the giganotosaurus (big dino) kept biting Daddy’s finger when he put it in the pocket….”Do it again Daddy!”

To be honest as I was making these I was almost cursing my decision to buy the pattern as I had to unpick and adjust the zip again, but I think this was my inexperience rather than problems with instructions. And when I finally finished, I was actually pretty chuffed with the results (even if the zip is a bit duff).  They have passed for shop bought, and passed the scoot test (seems to be becoming the norm clothes test for my children).

Image

The only major issues I have is… they only just fit! I made size 4 based on my slim Jim normally fitting this size, but I’m just thankful that Little Boo likes dinosaurs too, as I think these may be modelled by a girl near here in the not too distant future.

Image

“These dino pants make me want to ROAR!” (And sport funky 70’s hair!)

If you fancy making your own funky boy ‘Coastal Cargos’ find the pattern for sale here.

PS: sorry for blurry pictures, I promise to do better next time. 😦

Geranium flipped!

image

My daughter is a fan of moo cows (yes, and horses too, but they are a little bit more predictable) so when I spotted this fabric I just had to grab some. However once it had popped through my letterbox and was spread out on my kitchen table I had no idea what to do with it – make a bag, use it to quilt… or clothing.  So it sat in my fabric draw for a few months, and every time I reached for some fabric for a new project, this fabric would virtually moo away at me, desperate to be used.  I finally decided what to make when a number of blogs all caught my eye at the same time and I had a ‘flash of inspiration’ type moment (which is unusual for me, I usually mull things over a while before making a decision).  The first was the fab flip pattern series from frances suzanne, and the second was this lovely summer dress I spotted over at Caila Made.  Teamed with my love of the Geranium pattern from Rae I decided to mix the two dresses up and create a cow Geranium with deep pockets in plain black to tone down those crazy cows.  It came together really easily, as I just needed to add in the pocket panels to the width of the skirt.

And my daughter’s initial thoughts…. “Moo cows mama! NO, DON’T WANT TO WEAR IT!”. So this dress did seem as though it was consigned to the cupboard, for the poor cows to be slowly moth eaten, the pockets to fill with dust…until today!

Whilst Little Boo watched tv unaware, I manged to gently ease it over her head and get the poppers done up without her even noticing- result! When she finally realised she simply looked down and said “look, moo cows mummy”, then went back to the tv.

So I finally have some photos to share with you. A few little treats helped her to discover the pockets….

image

“Look mama, sweeties!”

and finally she was smiling in the sunshine, in cows (well, kind of smiling).

image

Even Big Boo commented when he came out of pre school, whether it was, the dress, the weather, or the ice cream that put him ith such a great mood he bestowed this hug on his sister I do not know…

imagebut now it has had it’s first outing I hope it will see many many more.

Easy as ABC Maxi (plus tutorial link)!

I decided to take the plunge and have a go at sewing with jersey…. and I love the outcome! After a good look around on favourite blogs and searching through google, I took a few ideas I had collected and created my own method for making this skirt.  I just couldn’t see why I would need to create a separate waistband of exactly the same width, so I haven’t!  I’m really pleased with the result and have even had a few comments from people I don’t know so I guess it doesn’t look too homemade.

image

These skirts are fab because they can be dressed up or down, casual with a t-shirt or smarter with a necklace and jacket.

The waistband (with this fabric at least) doesn’t add too much thickness around this area (no one wants that…) either.

image

If you fancy making one, click here for a tutorial or on the tutorial picture.  Though some of the explanation seems a bit lengthy, it really is simple.  You just cut two pieces of fabric and sew them up the side.  How easy?  I dare you to make this faster than you can say “wow! What an easy peasy maxi” and see how many compliments you can clock up.

If you like this skirt why not take a look at:
imageimageimage

Salme playsuit, a review.

image

I finally finished my Salme play suit, just in time for the sunshine. I can’t believe that I have seen people walking around in jeans and jumpers in 27 degrees today (I know this is arctic in comparison with some places in America at the moment). I plucked up the courage to wear this into town and it was just right in the heat.

This project wasn’t the most straight forward and if I make it again there will be a few changes, not least my fabric choice. I think this may look great in a chic black crepe fabric, but this thin batik style cotton makes me feel a bit like I should be walking out of an indie shop in 1995 having just brought some incense sticks (did you go through that phase too?).

I made this in a size 10, and although the shorts are ok, the top was way too big and gaping. I ended up trimming a full 2 inches at the shoulders after I had finished and still it is a little on the large size. I am normally between an 8 and 10, but think this was fairly generous.

I also think that the snap fastener suggestion hasn’t worked too well (even though I love snaps, so much quicker than button holes in my opinion!). Because the fabric is quite light I started by using hand sewn fasteners, but was worried they would tear the fabric when pulled apart. I therefore took them all off, added interfacing to the lining of each edge, and used proper snap fasteners (the ones you use a little holder that I bang with a hammer- sorry not v technical). The result is more sturdy closure, but because they are not attached on the outer side of the fabric it doesn’t lay very flat. Another time I would go through both layers of fabric so that the fasteners are visible, but more sturdy.
image

I was able to follow the instructions, though they were much less detailed than previous PDF patterns I have brought (I have been spoilt by Rae’s great photo tutorials) and they were quite sparse in places. Luckily my material was double sided so I didn’t have to worry about wrong sides etc for the pocket construction.

I also added turn ups to the shorts, which worked as my material is double sided.

I think this suit will be fine for playing with the children, and better at the park sandpit than a skirt (no knicker showing concerns), but I still don’t feel 100% confident wearing it.

image
I think it could look great in a more classy fabric, but I wonder whether it would look more finished with some type of collar added.

I have to say I am much more excited by the project I finished just after this, my very first maxi, and it only took me 15 minutes! I’ll blog about it tomorrow hopefully, and try and add a simple tutorial as I made it up myself.  Off for some beauty sleep before we hit the beach tomorrow.

Hooray! My children eat courgette!

image

I’m off on a tangent today for this blog.  My usual content is either sewing or craft based, and I do have a couple of sewing projects ready to share except for the photos (including the salme playsuit!), but I’m waiting on some good weather combined with good timing to take some photos.  Whilst I tap my fingers I thought I’d share a meal with you, such a nice thing to do, share a meal with friends, don’t you think?

This meal has been a favourite with the family for a while now, and is something that everyone likes and is guaranteed to eat (don’t you just love it when that happens). My children will eat vegetables (Little Boo loves them) and do try new things, but Big Boo prefers his flavours unmixed (rice separate, pasta plain etc) and Little Boo loves finger food (i.e anything you can easily pick up – sausages, roast potatoes…). But this meal has them eating with a fork and wolfing down, great when you have visitors! Plus you can pep it up for the adults. I’m not sure where it came from, I think it stemmed from a meal I had at my brother’s in Sweden and developed from there. I know, I know, it isn’t anything amazing, theres no fancy ingredients or clever presentation, but it works, for my family at least, and maybe it will for yours too.

It really is simple, all you need is:

Pasta (dry or fresh, but I used dry as it is better for diets) – preferably one that the courgette can get into, like conchigle

2 courgettes (zucchini)

Parmesan – about 80g is fine for 4

Spring onions – about 3

Basil to decorate

Chilli flakes – to spice it up for the adults

image

It really is so simple, anyone can make this (even my husband!). Just cook the pasta according to instructions (mine takes 11 minutes on the hob). While it is cooking, spray you frying pan, or wok( sorry, I cook everything in my wok- I love it!) with cooking oil – you can use butter if you don’t mind calories. Finely chop the courgettes and spring onions in a blender and add to pan, stir over a medium heat for about 4 or 5 mins until they start to soften, but don’t get too mushy. Turn off heat and leave in pan.  Once cooked add the pasta to the courgettes and stir, then add the parmesan (saving some for little fingers to sprinkle on top at the table) and stir again.  Put in bowls, then add chilli flakes and basil to grown up food.  You can drizzle with balsamic vinegar rather than adding chilli if you don’t like the heat.

image

Present with some yummy garlic bread and parmesan to sprinkle.  Watch children shovel into mouths.

image

A happy mealtime makes a happy Mummy! Hope it works for you too.  If you have a fail safe kiddie favourite that works for grown ups too, I’d love to hear about it to add to my repertoire.  Happy eating….

A tasty Barbie Girl – cake!

image

Our second birthday cake! My friend and I made this a few weeks ago after a mum admired the volcano cake that we created for Big Boo’s Dinosaur party. Her little girl is princess crazy and we (crazily!) offered to make a Barbie cake for her. The volcano cake turned out so well (I hope you agree!) because it didn’t need to be polished, it was a stony volcano with rubble and lava.

image

The Barbie cake ,however, should be perfection, smooth, no bumps or unintended ripples. Luckily I had my super cake maker friend on hand with some nifty tricks (such as – use cling film to smooth the sides of your crumb icing layer!), but it was still much harder to create a good finish, and we ended up turning the Barbie doll around at the end because the back looked better than the front.

image

Well, whatever we thought, the recipient – daughter and mum – were both suitably pleased with the results and it tasted good too, so all boxes ticked (phew! There is so much more pressure creating for someone else). The only problem is that her friend wants to commission us to make one for her daughter, and we swore we would only make one Barbie cake…

PS: Here is the proof that we did make it. I thought about making a mini tutorial but wasn’t sure people would be interested. If you do want to know (you can probably figure it out yourself anyway, or find one made by a professional!) just drop me a line.
image

A flop to a top.

image

I recently purchased a couple of lovely sewing books by Yoshiko Tsukiori, one of which is the Girl’s Style Book.  The book itself is beautifully presented with lovely clear and simple photos, and some of the patterns really caught my eye.

image

I decided to start with what appeared to be a relatively easy garment, a sleeveless shirt with a round neck (no collar). The plain white linen example in the book looks gorgeous however, having none of that to hand, I settled on this fabric from my stash.  I think I had the idea that the flying cranes would lend a Japanese feel to the top.  I decided to make the shirt in a larger size for Little Boo, but not add any seam allowance (which is NOT printed on the pattern) so it wasn’t too big. Maybe this is where I went wrong.  I don’t think this should affect the actual working of the top and have been successful using this method before, but for whatever reason I came to a BIG problem part way thought the sewing.  I expect you could have some idea what this problem was by now, if you look at the finished top, and know that it is meant to be a shirt!

image

I sewed the plackets for the top as small as I could, already thinking there may be an issue, but when I tried lining up the side seams for sewing, it was clear that the front of the shirt was no where close to touching, let alone overlapping for button closure… Back to the drawing board!

Rather than scrapping the project I added a length of fabric to the front of the top to enclose it and added an ‘easy peasy button closure to the back (look on craftiness is not optional for a a tutorial). I toyed with adding buttons for a fake shirt effect, but decided to save them for another project.

Though this isn’t in my list of favourite projects, I am glad that I have ended up with something wearable as I love the fabric.  I’d love to hear from anyone else who has made this top to find out if theirs was a success.
Just to finish, a few extra pictures of my so compliant model!
image

Open your eyes, Boo!

A new summer skirt…. for me!

image

Hooray! Finally I am starting to enjoy sewing for myself now that I am managing to produce some successful items that I actually want to wear.  I started cutting the fabric for this skirt last weekend and it has taken nearly a week to complete, only because it has been done in dribs and drabs when children were occupied / asleep. I mostly followed the tutorial here , and just tweaked it a little.

Originally I planned it to be a little longer so it hit my knee (and covered my tubby bits that I can’t seem to shift!) buy then I bit the bullet and chopped it shorter in the hope of making it look a bit more modern.

image

It’s lined with muslin, which was cheap at the shop, but I would probably use poly cotton another time as it is much easier to work with.

I love the pockets. They are lined with a pale blue and white butterfly print I had left over in my stash, and I like looking down and seeing a little contrast, just for me to see.  They were definitely worth the extra effort and have already been used lots.

image

Last night I was browsing some of my usual blog sites and founds this fab skirt week competition on crafterhours, so I posted this skirt, my boho maxi skirt, and Little Boo’s spotty elastic skirt. If you hop over there you will find lots of fab skirts along with some tutorials, and you can vote for your favourite skirt to win a prize. There are lots of way more skilled sewers that have entered, but I’m glad just to join in and put my pictures ‘out there’.

crafterhours

Anyway, for my next selfish sew (hey, that sounds like a good title for a regular  blog spot – maybe I should start one and use it to help me expand my own wardrobe?) I am planning on this play suit by salme. Just off to print out the pattern….

Lined elastic waist girl’s skirt, in the sunshine!

A while ago I posted about a lined skirt I made for Little Boo in the lovely Timber and Leaf deer print. When I finished it the weather was just too cold to wear it really, but now…. Hooray we have sun!

imageNow I have made another using the same method in a simple spot fabric, this time a little longer (she is growing too fast!) and I took a few photos as I made to share with you just how simple it is to make.

imageimage

A
A
A
A
A
A
A
A
A

a

If you fancy making one of these just click here or on the photo below for a sweet and simple tutorial.
image

And just to share with you, Little Boo loves new taste sensations (she is one of those children that will chew on a lemon, eat the apple core and all, and delight in the zing of chilli crisps), but bubble mixture … really?
image

“Mmm, what is this fine delicacy? I sense undertones of flowers, lemon and washing up liquid.”

Oliver and S Sailboat Pants

image

At last have made some of these lovely Oliver and S sailboat pants. I have been coveting these ever since I saw this lovely elephant version made by Gail on the probablyactually website (if you haven’t visited before, you should go and take a look – it is fantastic!). I made these in Essex linen and used the size 4 pattern. Little Boo is only just 2, so they look a bit more like short trousers than Capri length, but they are great for when the weather is trying to be good but not quite managing it (we seem to be having quite a lot of that at the moment).

I love the button detailing on the front, nicely modelled here by a very compliant model:

image

“Boo, where is your tummy button?”

However, I am a bit lazy, so next time I make these (which I am sure I will) I may cheat and just sew the buttons on without buttonholes as the elastic in the back means they are not necessary. I may also try a bit of contrast fabric on the sides, or even some piping. I’m desperate to try piping, but can’t find any to buy, so may have to follow a tutorial to create my own, we’ll see.

Of course these have also been tested for scooter suitability and passed the test…

image… and have lots of room for bending. They also have a cute side split in the leg, which you can catch a glimpse of here.

image

I definitely plan to use this pattern again, maybe with some more funky fabric, so watch this space…

A Dinomite Dino Party!

image

Big Boo’s 4th birthday party was last weekend and despite all my stressing (I’m not a natural hostess) all the prep work paid off and we ended up with a really relaxed, enjoyable celebration.  Last year’s dino party was a military procedure planned to the last minute with a whole host of games.  It worked well but was hard work for me as I had to do lots of running around and organising of children.  This year we prepped lots of activities that the children could do themselves and the plan was to intersperse them between free playing.  Luck was with us and the sun came out so the children had free run of the house and garden.

image

The first activity was a fossil excavation in the ‘sand pit’ (which was actually a paddling pool filled with sand). Inspired by some pinterest searching I bought a T-Rex skeleton mould from ebay  and filled it with plaster of paris.  Then all I had to do was bury the ‘fossils’ just before visitors arrived and place some paintbrushes on top of the sand.  Once our guests had all appeareWei sent them down to the garden to do some palaentological excavation work.  Big Boo gave a huge exclamation of “WOW” when he uncovered the tail, and the they laid the pieces out on the grass to (almost!) create the T-Rex once they found them all.  They then buried and uncovered them again, and again and again, 4 or 5 times before they got bored.

image

image

After some more sand play we got busy cracking open the dinosaur eggs that the children made earlier in the week.  I’ve got a tutorial here for making them. The only disappointment here was that the children wanted to crack open more than we had, they enjoyed this a lot.

image

Due to the mid afternoon timing of the party I stuck to nibbles (monster munch a.k.a dinosaur footprints and bread sticks a.k.a dino bones) and sweet treats. The dinosaur nest cakes at the top of the picture were made with lots of help from Little Boo and you will find a tutorial here.  The gingerbread fossil biscuits were made with these great cutters from amazon. They were pricey but we will use them with play dough too. Finally the cupcakes were piped with green grass buttercream icing and topped with a mini plastic dinosaur.

image

We finished with this piñata activity.  These dinosaur eggs did take a few days to make (with stops and starts obviously!) but did end up looking great and were a hit (ha ha!). The children did need a little help to get started but they were all happy to become the baby dinosaurs hatching from the eggs by donning their masks.

image

Birthday wishes were sung as the candles were lit on the volcano cake and a “wow” even escaped from one little boy’s lips as the sparkler in the centre of it started to spark.

image

The children went home with their piñata dinosaur masks and a little thank you bag with some ‘dinosaur eggs’ (mini eggs) and a couple of toy dinosaurs, and we rounded the event off with a beer (my husband) and a Pimms (myself!) – perfect!

If you are planning a dino event for your little one, I would really recommend any of these activities, and you can find links to tutorials to do the activities above or below:

Dinosaur fossil mould from ebay.

Dinosaur eggs to crack open Tutorial.

Dinosaur nest mars bar cakes Tutorial.

Dinosaur skeleton cookie cutters from amazon.

Dinosaur egg piñata tutorial.

Volcano cake tutorial.

Birthday Boy and Volcano Cake

I’m aware that I haven’t posted for a while and I really keep meaning to. Life has been a bit hectic recently, and I have been crafting and sewing lots, but not had the time (or good weather outdoors) to take any nice photos. I’m holding off showing Little Boo’s new outfit until I can get some better pictures of her in it (as we have been back in winter coats and boots here – in May!), but I do have something to share with you here.

imageBig Boo has turned four this week (I can’t bear that he is growing up so quickly). He had a great birthday at the farm with me, his grandparents and cousin. He got a new ‘big boy’ maxi micro scooter – mainly so Little Boo can use his old one which has been pimped with a pink base board – her favourite colour she keeps telling me 😦 . However, his favourite gifts by far were his schleich dinosaurs and his prehistoric reptiles. He would probably have been happy just with his carnotaurus and styracosaurus (it’s crazy when you hear him using all of these names).

imageAnyway, he wants a dinosaur party again this year, so we are planning some new activities so that it isn’t the same as last year. He wouldn’t realise but it is nice for us to have a change. The party is tomorrow so I’ll blog about how they went once they have been child tested. He also requested a volcano cake, so after researching the Internet a friend and I spent yesterday afternoon creating our little masterpiece. It obviously isn’t professional standard, but we were both pretty chuffed with how it turned out, and so is my son. We took pics as we made, so I’ll add a mini tutorial when I have time and I have made a tutorial here if you would like to make one too.. I will be spending tomorrow morning trying to gently persuade him to let me put sparklers in the volcano hole (he’s a bit sensitive about all things noisy and sparky). But for now, it’s time to wrap the pass the parcel….

image

Geranium cat and mouse dress

image

At last some pictures of my cat and mouse geranium dress actually being worn!

image

When my husband walked in from work this evening he claimed he had never seen it before, so I don’t think I have put Little Boo in it many times since I made it. I originally thought it may be a bit more of a party dress, but today I have had so many lovely comments about it that I think it will be coming out a lot more often, plus Boo was quite happy to put it on, and it has the stamp of approval as a full on play dress – great for scooting…..

image

and romping with dinosaurs!

image

This is a bit of an indulgent blog showing off my little girl and a dress pattern I absolutely love but, hey, it’s my blog and I’ll show off if I want to! Better get on with some new sewing…

PS: Click here for more about the dress and a tutorial link at Made By Rae.

Old Jeans To Boho Skirt

image

Another sew for myself, how nice! I spotted something like this on Pinterest and just guessed my way to making it.  The sudden warm weather motivated me to finish it and I wore it to the park today, feeling pretty darn boho.

This is pretty quick to sew and (I think!) is easy to wear teamed with a vest top and sandals. It was good for playing at the park as everything was well covered when bending down to dig sandcastles and crossing legs to eat picnics!

image

If you would like to try making one I have put together a tutorial here. I know I need to get better at taking mid make photos, but hope you can follow it! Have fun.

Geranium Tunic and Matching Shorts

imageWell KCW was sadly a bit of a disaster for me.  Despite plans for copious sewing and fantastical creations, I only managed to complete one item and start one other.  I can use illness as one excuse, but the other reason is because (as this along with some other recent events have made me realise) I just don’t like to sew because I have to.  They joy I get out of creating something for me, my children or friends seems to disappear if I feel I am making things out of duty or requirement.  I know that in some ways I am lucky that I can keep sewing as my hobby, but as soon as the weekend was over I was desperate to get back to the sewing machine and finish my second outfit.  Anyway, at least I completed it and despite Little Boo telling me she didn’t like foxes (I think it was more the idea of getting out of pyjamas that was the issue!) these clothes seemed to go down well.

I’m a BIG fan of the great Geranium Dress from Made By Rae and now have made three dresses from the pattern (deer dress, indigo stem dress, and cat dress).  This time I went for a tunic instead which has turned out to be a great idea as it is really practical for every day wear, especially when teamed up with some shorts!

image

These are a pair of Big Boo’s old jeans that had a huge hole in the knee (how most of his trousers end up). It was really easy to use some of the spare fabric to finish them off and turn this into a whole outfit.  I even made a really quick tutorial here if you want a go yourself!

A Bucket Hat Sewn for Boo

We’re off to a slow start in my house. I have been ill the last couple of days (don’t you just love a jippy tum?) so haven’t been able to make the start I wanted on my KCW challenge. Nap times have been spent in slumber myself and 8.00 bed times aren’t conducive to much sewing. That said I have almost finished my first project. This is my first ever hat and it is by the lovely Oliver and S (you can get the pattern for free on their website!).

image

It hasn’t got the inside ‘bucket’ section attached yet (which will make it reversible) and then it will get a top stitch around the bucket rim near the brim, which will make it look much smarter. One side is a denim chambray and the other navy with a white spot (you can just spot it – ha – if you look carefully). Despite that Little Boo was happy (phew!) to wear it today as the weather has suddenly turned sunny.
I might have a change of plan on my next project now – Big Boo’s immediate comment was ‘Have you made my hat yet mummy? Does it have dinosaurs on it?”. Here we go again….

Pimp my pushchair

image I can’t help it, I just don’t like pink.  Never really have.  Now my daughter does like it (though not in a crazy way, but she is definitely more of a girl than I ever was). I also don’t really do dolls and all the paraphernalia that goes with them, but Little Boo does.  She likes to feed them, change their clothes, take them for walks … so when she got a pushchair she was really happy to have some thing to push around while Big Boo raced off on his scooter.  I, on the other hand – not so keen on the day glo pink.  What’s a mum to do? Bring out her sewing machine of course. Little Boo also loves horses (notice any stereotypes coming out here?!) therefore a compromise was found in the way of this gorgeous Michael Miller fabric. I opened up this tutorial, then added my own tweaks, making it reversible with a grey paisley print on the back (will add photo soon) sewing in elastic at the top as I joined the two fabrics, and using bias tape with interfacing for the straps. And I am quite pleased wiith the end results. Boo is too: image Of course a bag was required to carry baby’s bottles, cups, toys, etc.

image

There really wasn’t much wrong with the old pushchair, this is just my whim, and now  I can feel cool at the park again.