Friday, 25 December 2009

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..

A Parakeet in a pear tree..

Spot the blue head in the top picture and flashes of orange in the bottom picture. Sorry it's the best I could do. Here in Australia, it is only just Summer and my neighbours pear tree is loaded. The pears aren't ripe yet and when they are there will be a whole tree full of birds. We are lucky to have such fine feathered friends, but they sure can make a racket in the early morning and evening.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

It's been a while. Hats! Not so perfect. Keyka Lou gone Goth.

My advent challenge of posting every day is a bit patchy right now. I have thoughts of blogging during the day and by evening, it is the last thing on my mind. The deadline for handmade gifts is looming and the list hasn't shrunk much.
I have been unwell, with a house full of kids home from school.
Pearl has been up to so much mischief lately I'm thinking she will get coal this year. She is like a sniffer dog when it comes to makeup. Lipstick and Mascara are her current favourites. I will get some pics next time. I am sure there WILL be a next time. After all I have only told DD16 fifty-Bajillion times to put her makeup up high.

This hat was not living up to it's namesake, Make it Perfect, Lazy Day Bucket Hat. Yes, it's good to have a hat that fits. Not so good when it makes your big head look even bigger and like you have an actual big flowery bucket on your head lol. To make matters worse, it neither shaded my nose or neck, sort of defeating the whole purpose.

So it's back to the drawing board on the hat front. Mchats on etsy didn't have time to resize her hat this side of Christmas so I sadly had to look at regular patterns at spotlight. I chose the Vogue 7600. The pattern is cut out ready to go.

The first of the Christmas relatives have arrived. It's beginning to feel a bit like like Christmas!
My son and Nephew are jammin' in the room next to me, music pumping!
My Nieces have been perusing my craft books excitedly choosing some fun activities for the next few days.
Today, Beccy and Jordan played carols on the piano at a local shopping centre which was nice. I made 4 pillowcases for gifts (so I won't show them here now). They turned out really well. I will be making more of those another time I am sure.
I also made this Kekya Lou small clutch in fabric bought especially for a Secret Santa recipient at DHs work.


I made the wrist band a little chunkier than usual. The spots were the best coordinate I happened to have on hand. Next time I will make sure I have something matchy.

I should be sewing but tonight, blogging and laundry won :)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Needlecase winners.. and Kyuuto Amigurumi!

Firstly, this was a very little giveaway and you know, I didn't mind at all. The odds were pretty good. The winners were drawn by scrap paper and are comments 1 and 3, Gemmajoy and Nadine. I will be in touch. I hope you find these useful.

Here 's another little project I am working on. After seeing these cute little bears around the net, I just had to make some for myself. The book is called Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts Amigurumi.
I have all the pieces crocheted, tomorrow I hope I can show you a little rainbow bear completed. The yarn is Spotlight 8ply cotton I had on hand and the needle was a little bigger than called for but if he turns out cute I will try and dig up the right size needle. I just needed a bit of therapeutic cute crafting time :) (without the stress of searching through piles of stuff).

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Kingston Park, Adelaide, SA - a Christmas Beach Picnic.

What a beautiful day. What a beautiful beach. Kingston Park SA, rockpools, sandbars and a sandy beach with playgrounds, free BBQs and grassy shady picnic areas. A well kept secret. Did I mention there is a caravan park with comfy cabins RIGHT ON THE BEACH FRONT. And tent sites right on the grass., a few steps across the sand to the water. Perfect for a summer holiday. And yet, only 20 mins drive to the city centre, tucked away in a little cove of the suburbs.

Searching the rock pools.

A picnic under the trees.


Tjilbruke Dreaming

Tulukudank freshwater spring

Years ago when it wasn't so choked with grass the kids would find little yabbies in the banks.

Only a trickle, but the spring still flows even with little rainfall.

Wise Men came bearing gifts.

My Dad was one of them.

No you can't bring them home, go and tip them back in.

Some sort of marine life eggs?

Ooey Gooey.. What are they?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Most awesome heart skipping bag swap ever!

 The postie left me a package today, it feels like Christmas :) This is from a recent bag swap on Crafty Mamas. I was happy to see the denim as I pulled the bag from the package today. But when I saw the lining and the wallet inside, my heart went a flutter. It is the most awesome vintage seersucker I have ever seen! The lines and crinkles are tiny and delicate suiting the very sweet rosebud print perfectly and providing the perfect foil for the denim.
I am moving the contents of my wallet as soon as I have written this!
Thank you so much Kat aka The Beaded Lady and aka Musikat of Craftymamas fame! Can you tell, I love it?! I might have to turn it inside out from time to time :)



Caramel Corn Mmm!

Jeri has his class party today and was delegated sweets. My standard quick, cheap and easy party sweet is caramel popcorn. We almost always have the ingredients on hand. I made a huge batch so I would have leftovers ;) (This is some of the leftovers in a tiny vintage mixing bowl).

My recipe is:
250g butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can use all white if that's all you have)
4tbsp honey or golden syrup (whichever I happen to have on hand)

You can also add chopped nuts to make it extra delicious but of course most schools have a nut ban.

I make a huge bowl of air popped popcorn which is the equivalent of 6 of the little popcorn measure on the top of my machine. Probably close to 2 cups of kernels. You can decrease the caramel quantities according to the amount of popcorn you have popped. I just thought I'd leave it in big family quantities for a change :)

Use a heavy bottom saucepan. Melt the butter and add the other ingredients and stir on low heat until sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to about moderate and bring the caramel to the boil. It will be all frothy. Adjust the heat to the minimum heat it needs to boil. I forgot to time it, but I think it is just under 5 mins or so until it is ready.
I check by using a spoon and pouring a little off the spoon back into the pot. There will be a dangly bit left on the spoon. I blow on it to cool it then I pull it with my other fingers while blowing on it. There are various stages, sticky thread, soft thread, hard thread. Hard thread is what you would use for toffee. The thread will be brittle and break when you try to bend it. Soft thread (meaning it will bend without breaking but is not  sticky) is good for caramel. Sticky thread is more for toppings and flowing caramel. Of course there are varying degrees of softness and some people love chewy caramel corn and some love it crispy.
You can also tell by colour. When it is a golden brown it should be good. Don't let it go dark brown or it will be burnt. You can also tell by putting some on a cold plate, let it cool a little then poke it and see if it is sticky. Use whatever method you are familiar with or give one or all a try. There is probably an ideal temperature to use a candy thermometer with. I bought one recently but haven't used it yet. Practice makes perfect!
Whatever method you use, keep an eye on the pot as the situation can change very quickly! It really isn't hard though. My DD16 makes this all the time. You soon get used to what it should be like and believe me, you are going to want to make more of this!

When the caramel is ready let it settle just a few minutes and pour around over the popcorn. I have mine in a huge stainless steel mixing bowl. If you use a plastic bowl, the heat of the caramel may well melt it. Stir it around until it is evenly coated. Don't let the caramel touch you or let anyone touch it as it can give nasty burns. If someone gets it on them, quickly run the burn under cold water.

If you leave it a while until it is still hot but touchable, you can grab handfuls and form into balls. You need to work quickly. My older children like to help with this. Once it is cooler, the little ones can help.

If you spread it out on trays, it is easier to crumble up when it is cool if you don't want balls.


And just because, they were there and looked so cute, a gummi bear rainbow:) Do you line your lollies up before munching? I don't normally but they were such nice graduated shades.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Giveaway #9 vintage needle cases

This week, I have two little needle books or cases to giveaway. They are only I trifle really, and I only require a trifle of you, to simply leave a comment.
There will be one for two lucky people. The first is a vintage style that has been around forever. It seems to me that Grannies have been making these for fetes and trading tables since the dawn of time. Along with baskets and bins and just about anything else you can name. I had a lovely chat with the stallholder about his wares and how they were constructed from old calendars, cards, wallpaper and yarn, all donated. Some people had donated bags full of cards and wrapping paper from loved ones who had collected them all their lives.  Our Grannies knew how to recycle long before it was trendy or urgent. Next time I see him I will be buying a waste bin for my fabric scraps. Unfortunately before I got to his stall I had spent most of my cash.

The second is felt with a tiny lace doily handstitched to the front. This came to me as part of a deceased estate.
 Good luck!

Monday, 7 December 2009

101st post 101 button giveaway prize winner is...

Rose.W from Heart of Rose. I just read some great tips on how to get kids to pick up after themselves. Rose was fed up and officially cancelled Christmas for her messy kids. She even packed up the Christmas tree! I'll be interested to read if it gets re-instated and if the messy kids become clean kids in time for Christmas.

Thankyou to everyone for entering and just for hanging around to see what I am up to. I must admit I can be found talking to myself quite regularly but it makes you look so much saner if it appears someone is listening :)

Tonight is our official put the tree up night, but I don't feel like my house is ready for Christmas either. I am trying to find a place to even PUT the tree.  I hope I can find a corner soon and so do the kids. Instead tonight we watched a video about the Wise Men and Nativity and ate icecream.

BTW this really IS the 101st post :D I think I timed that pretty well. I'm glad I didn't have 20 lost drafts in my dashboard to get rid of.

Enjoy the buttons Rose! I have sent you an email.

One more giveaway will be announced tomorrow night. Stay tuned!

Giveaway #8 Keyka Lou Bubble Pouch winner is..

Marianne from Florida in the USA. Her blog is called D is for Dovey though maybe it should be called Q is for Quilty as it is full of beautiful quilts.
Congratulations Marianne, I hope you enjoy your prize. I have sent an email to you.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

80s little girl Party dress to 09 teen skirt

I found this dress at a fete a few months ago and it was quite pretty in a classic style but wouldn't fit any of my girls as is. DD16 found some pretty floral skirts at Valley Girl but clever girl, came to me rather than spend her money there. So off came the full skirt of the dress and out with the zip (saved of course). The bodice is being adjusted for another dress for DD2. The print is much prettier in real life than these pictures show.

add a white tier for a little more length and elastic casing around the waist and voila!

We have some op-shopping planned these holidays for more reconstruction projects. That's my girl! One day I'll figure out how to record and add sound to my blog. DD just finished writing another song and it is pretty good even if I do say so myself. :D

Saturday, 5 December 2009

101 buttons and a confession..

Not buttons for beginners. Literally 101 buttons.

The other night I was so excited when my blog dashboard showed me I had hit 100 posts. So I decided to have a giveaway for 101 buttons with my 101st post for all my (now) 40 faithful followers (that I know of - if you drop by regularly you are welcome to enter). Of course I hadn't taken into account the fact that I had no idea what I was doing for the first few months (maybe I still don't ) and had "lost" posts while writing. I realised that there was a discrepancy between the dashboard and the blog history on this page and figured out why.(They become drafts as they are automatically saved DOH!)

So here I am madly making up the difference before my little celebratory giveaway finishes. Otherwise, who knows, the blog police might come after me or something!

And here is a pic of the 101 buttons you could win for following with me. There is a nice mix of lovely colours in all shapes and sizes, vintage and new. Don't they look pretty? The 101st button is that big beautiful rosy button on the top right of the screen. even the big photo doesn't really do it justice.

So if you haven't commented yet, don't do it here, go back to the original post HERE and thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. I hope I can bring you 100 more posts in the future as varied as interesting as these buttons.

Schwarzkopf, not just a brand..

Last night DH had his Christmas work party. I don't know what possessed me to dye my hair the same day.
I know, I think I was envisioning a glamorous transformation in a bottle :p. Chocolate brown, no less. How could that go wrong? Well, with a brand name like Schwarzkopf (meaning black head in German), I should have known better. That's just what I got. Well as close to black as I would ever want to go.
 I think I look a lot more like my dark haired sisters. I was born blonde and was blonde until my teens. :( So this is a real culture shock for me.
I am exposing my rather messy workspace but I'm sure you won't notice anything past those glossy raven locks haha.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Lilly apron and other Free tutes and PDFs from Mad Quilter

A few people commented on my DDs apron in a recent post about gingerbread. I love this little apron pattern made by Tracy at her Mad Quilter blog. She is extremely creative and has a whole list of FREE tutes and pdfs for you to download and use. You are even able to sew and make for your etsy or market stall if you so desire. How generous is that?

Tracy has some great ideas on her blog including using doilies for pockets.
I have made this for my boys with square pockets and boyish prints as well as upsized it for two of my older daughters.

I thought you might like to download the pattern for yourself here.
Other patterns of Tracys which I have made are the 8 point skirt, one made into a dress, and two skirts.

And one of her latest designs, the cool Michael shirt. Named after her Michael,  this one is made for MY Michael.

There is whole list of patterns to choose from including many that would be handy for gifts and such this time of year. Go take a look!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The 2009 Advent Blog~a~long, more Oppy treasures and a 101 post milestone!

The 2009 Advent Blog~a~long
I had a lot of fun with Blogtober and just found this Christmas blog-a-long so thought I would join in. It will be a challenge timewise as things get hectic closer to Christmas but this time of year there is always a lot to blog about. If you would like to join in, click the link above.

 I'm still working on tidying up and decluttering my sewing room. I can see about 5 square metres of shiny polished floorboards now which is making me feel all happy and shiny inside lol. I still have a big box of fabric scraps to deliver to the kindy or school. I went over the bookshelves some more and collected another two bags of donations which I dropped off at the Oppy this morning. Of course I couldn't resist a peek inside this time. I also couldn't resist this vintage china elephant either! I am pretty stingy so $6.99 from an op-shop hurt a bit but he is worth it! He is up safe on a high shelf away from Pearl's clutches (I hope) so he doesn't meet the same fate as the little china puppy she was given at another op-shop a few weeks ago! He lost his tail on our front verandah step. He didn't even make it inside the front door (sigh).

Then there was this biscuit tin that reminded me of the ones I had been admiring so much over at Poppy Lane. Kali has the most beautiful pictures of sweet vintage things and panoramic and charming Tasmania where she lives. Her home is like a postcard.

Speaking of roses, these two little rosy saucers were just a trifling amount and I am thinking of a little more saucery!

Lastly there is the little rolling pin for Pearl. She will love having her own to roll the gingerbread dough.
 It is quite small and light so I am less concerned about Michael getting concussion ;)

I thought I checked not that long ago, how many times I had posted on my blog, and I thought there was aaaages to get to 100 posts. Luckily today just realised that my previous post was the 100th post because there has to be some kind of celebration. So this will be my 101 celebration post. The other milestone I really wanted for the week was to get to 40 followers. I am only 1 off 40 and that will do... So what can I do but have ANOTHER giveaway. Just for those who are loyal readers and followers that managed to get this far and would like to comment. The prize will be, 101 BUTTONS from my collection! I will draw this late on Monday evening Adelaide time.