Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween & Hooray it's the end of Blogtoberfest

We were invited to go trick or treating with Moo's best friend.  Her grandparents live in a neighbourhood that had organised trick or treating.   The houses participating had balloons outside.

All dressed up and ready to go


Look there's a balloon....more candy!!!


Trick or treat!

Thank you!

Now I have to say something to my Australian readers.  First up I am not some crazy American that thinks Halloween needs to be celebrated here.  We just happened to be invited along to this little celebration, and I knew how much my kids would enjoy it.   But I do have an issue with the Australian interpretation of Halloween that it must be scary costumes!  It is NOT about scary costumes. It is just about dressing up.  I personally don't think small children should be dressing up like zombies, the grim reaper, etc.  The reason Moo was a witch was because her best friend wanted to dress up as something scary.  Moo wanted to be the same as her friend.  The costume contest was for the scariest costume which is why B wanted to dresses as something scary. 

The black skirt wearing Mollie is wearing is from an old t-shirt of mine that I chopped up and made into a skirt this afternoon because she had no black clothing.  That is partially because she can't wear black to school and partially because she doesn't like to wear black.  I would have made her a top and done more, but the costume decision was made in the afternoon and we had to be there by 4pm. 

Wow, I can't believe I managed to post 31 days in a row for Blogtoberfest.  Thank you to Cathy of tinniegirl for hosting.   Perhaps you've learned a bit more about me.  Maybe I've scared you.  I will warn you that I will probably go quiet for a few days.  I have some Redondo skirts, Olivia dresses, Antonia tops and Paula pants that are cut and waiting for me to sew.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rainbow dyed Solana pants

Yesterday's blog post was a leg of Solana pants.   I was testing out my idea of dyeing them rainbow.


I had cut a size 122/128 thinking that a 134/140 would be too long for Miss Moo.  I also shortcut the process by not prewashing the fabric.  I think during the dyeing and washing out process that the pieces shrunk. I didn't expect them to shrink much because it's poplin, but when you are sewing multiple pieces shrinkage of a few mm's can add up quickly.   My cutting and sewing are usually fairly accurate.  So now I have a pair of pants that do not fit Moo.  They won't go over her bottom which is why they are unhemmed and have no waistband.  I am not going to finish them right now.   I have a stack of other things that need to be sewn.

If I do these again, I also need to clearly label which piece is which because I am not sure if I mixed up the back middle and front middle pieces.  They are dyed the same colours.  And I need to be more mindful about making sure the purple and blue pieces are dyed so they match when sewn together.

Mollie says she wants a pair, but maybe I'll just give her the pair of rainbow Paula pants that I am sewing in her size.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I spy

with my little eye
something rainbow dyed

And it's not a rainbow redondo skirt.
What is it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm tired

I left the house at 8:10am this morning.  I dropped Moo at school then Will and I went to the shops.  I wanted to get Will's hair cut and pick up something to take to our play date.  After doing those things we went to Will's friends house.  The boys had a great time together.  I meant to leave there with enough time to duck home for a little break, but Will was having fun and I had a hard time making him leave.  I decided that we don't have enough time to go home to have a rest, so I'd go to Spotlight to look for some cotton bias binding and pick up some cotton thread.  Why is all the bias binding polycotton?  After Spotlight I rang my friend to see if she was home, so I could go there for 45 minutes until I had to pick up Moo from school.  She didn't answer initially, but called me back and said it was fine to come over.  She's a very good friend and made me a double shot coffee and fed me cake.  Then I picked Moo up from school, and Moo wanted to do her usual Thursday afternoon ice cream with her friends.  I would have liked to come home, but I'm a nice parent, so we went for ice cream.  We came home, and I sat down for 20 minutes then had to make dinner.  We had fried rice for dinner and then I remembered that I needed to make up Will's bed because yet again the stupid pull ups have leaked at night.  But there was no quiet night on the lounge for me I left the house again and went back to school for a class meeting.  Meeting was good.  I always leave school after meetings and talks feeling reaffirmed in my educational choice.   I arrived home at 10:30pm mainly because I was chatting with my friends and Moo's teacher.

For the record the above is not a normal day for me.  It would kill me to go like this day in and day out.  Totally goes against the grain for my introvert self.  I need a bit of quiet time at home each day!

So this is what you get on the 28th day of Blogtobfest.  I'll try to make more of an effort tomorrow.   Maybe you'll get some photos of some rainbow dyed pieces because I'm sure you haven't seen enough of that yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Oh how I love thee!
Do you have a Microplane?  I think it's the best zester ever.  It's also brilliant for grating nutmeg or parmesan or even chocolate.   I had mine out the other day to grate some nutmeg into my cheese sauce.   My mom tried to tell me how great her Oxo zester was until I bought her a Microplane.  She's a convert.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stop folding the envelope!

My Ottobre Design magazine arrived today!  Hooray!  I just wish the postal service would be kinder to that white envelope.  Mine was ripped in a few places on the edge.  Then the postie folded it and shoved it in the mailbox.  Thankfully my magazine is intact and in good order if a bit bended.  
When I looked at this issue online, I wasn't taken by much.  There aren't many designs that will fit Miss Moo, but after seeing it in person there are quite a few things that would be great for Will.  I love Ottobre's selection of patterns for boys.  If you have a boy, you can not go past Otto for awesome designs for boys.

I'd really like to make this jacket for Will.  
 At first I wasn't sure if I would make it, but after I saw the fabric recommendation (sweater knit aka French terry) and how some of the details were constructed, I really want to do it, but I think I'll wait until we are heading towards cooler weather.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rainbow pretties

rainbow clippie
arrived in the post today.  Not just one, but a whole bunch.

Helen makes these fabulous felt hair clips.  I wish I could say they are all for me, but I asked Helen to make me some to use a thank you gift with my willow & moo orders. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winner - Farbenmix Caroline pattern

And the winner is


Thank you to everyone for all of the lovely comments and visiting my blog! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A little something for moi

Half a bottle of Tamburlaine Riesling and I was thinking that I can't be bothered to post today.  Thankfully I took these photos this morning.   After my last round of willow & moo sewing, I decided to do something for myself.  Of course, I did make Will some shirts, but I wanted something for me.  

I liked the style of this top in Ottobre Woman.  It is a maternity pattern (02/07 #20), but with my size, I figured I could get away with it.  It makes a comfy shirt, but I will admit that I don't like where the horizontal seam hits me.  It's dead centre across my boobs.  The ruching in the side is good though for some extra fabric over my tummy without looking like a tent.   (excuse the look of the top.  I dragged it out the dirty laundry to photograph it.)
I've already taken the cross front from #20 and put it onto the front of #6 to get a regular t-shirt with a cross front.  I've added a bit of length to the top of the bodice, so hopefully the seam will come below my chest.  But I have to wait until I do some more work until I can make up another top.  

I also made a skirt.  It's the Farbenmix Langeness pattern.  
langeness with a florafox
I thought the skirt was a  little plain, so I added a Florafox embroidery, but now I am trying to decide if the skirts needs a bit more embroidery or perhaps some matching Florafox ribbon.  What do you think?

Friday, October 22, 2010

This morning

I looked out my kitchen window and saw this guy and his friend.   He was cheeky and wouldn't let me get a better photo before flying away.
Australia has so many beautiful native birds. When my mom visits, she is always so interested in the birds flying around.   Lorikeets routinely visit our yard. Not as colourful, we also have cockatoos, kookaburras, and magpies around.   And of course, we still have our resident possum who thankfully does not live in our roof!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thanks postie!

A parcel showed up at my door today.

It was my purchase of Hilco fabrics from Lisa over at Crafty Mamas. I was restrained and only bought a few fabrics. I have always adored the La Zagala print, so I had to have that baby cord. I have to admit that I indulged in some of the same print in a sweater knit (aka French terry). It's not here yet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It was about time

My old iron was over 10 years old

old iron
The iron in the photo isn't actually my old iron, but my friend's spare iron which was exactly the same as mine that died.  She gave it to me, so I could keep sewing.  My iron died while I was in the middle of finishing up those Hilde tops!  I was trying to iron on some stabiliser, and I couldn't get it to stick and then I realised that the iron wasn't hot.

So today I went shopping (yes, again!  I also need a vacuum, but I think I am going to put that expense off for a few months) with my friend and bought an iron.  She told me to buy the pink one, and I laughed.  I was looking at purple Sunbeam, but they didn't have that one in stock, so I bought the pink iron!

new iron

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's a miracle

My African violet is blooming!
I was given this plant by one of my dear co-workers back when I was employed outside of this house.  It lived on my desk, and its saving grace was that Heidi was there to look after it.  You see, I am a plant killer.  I don't have a good track record with plants.   But this violet has managed to survive in my house for 5 years.  And it hasn't bloomed for all of that time.  But it's rewarded me, and maybe now I will show it some affection like re-pot it or buy it some African violet food.   I think it likes the new kitchen where it lives.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Super Swirls

Look what arrived on my doorstep today!
lovelies from marie
I participated in a swap over at Crafty Mamas.  The swap was share your crafty passion, and I was lucky enough to receive some yumminess from Marie.   Marie loves to dye too.   She does the most amazing swirl dyeing.  She also included some beautiful hand dyed cord and dot voile.....and chocolate!

Thank you Marie!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All for the boy!

These started as ideas in my notebook.  I love seeing my ideas come to fruition.

Every shirt is the Farbenmix Hilde pattern.  And the fabric is all Stella cotton/spandex knit that is manufactured here in Australia.  I love the colours that they produce. 

Wilfried Waschke available at Huups.

Up to the Stars available at Kunterbunt
Affenbande and Affentheater from Huups  (this is one is a belated birthday gift...Will chose this one for his friend.)

Little Devils from Huups

Kaefer from Zaubermasche

I was thinking about offering these tops for custom order (all the ones sewn here are for Will except the birthday pressies).  My hestitation would be the cost.  Because of the extra steps of sewing the yoke and all of the topstitching plus the embroidery, a top would cost $45-$50.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pattern Giveaway

Would you like to win a Farbenmix Caroline pattern?
I won this pattern from Crafty Mamas, but I already own one.  I definitely don't need two.  It's a great and versatile pattern.  It's a tiered, gathered skirt with leggings attached.  The leggings come in three lengths.

This is the skirt with the 3/4 length leggings.
It is worthwhile noting that the pattern is designed for making the skirt out of knits.  I accidentally made this one out of a woven and it's very snug on Moo's hips.

The pattern is in German, but the photo tutorial on the Farbenmix site is very easy to follow.  

All you need to do to have a chance to win is leave me a comment.  I'm happy to post anywhere in the world.   Giveaway closes midnight October 23 AEST.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shopping again

I know, I know...I've been shopping again.
I had to go to Rozelle with a friend. She saw some cups in the Essential Ingredient on the weekend and decided that she had to have them. I'm a good friend, and I couldn't let her go alone.
rozelle shopping
At the Essential Ingredient I bought a rolling pin (I have a nice one, but it's curved lengthwise and I wanted one that was straight-sided), some muscovado sugar and a couple of kitchen utensils for Will. Herbies Spices is conveniently located a few doors down, so I was able to pop in and grab some spices that I needed.

My friend has mentioned that she saw Adriano Zumbo had a new place in Rozelle (the patisserie is Balmain). It's the new cafe. So we popped in there to have a look. I had to buy some macarons, of course. The salted butter caramel was my favourite. Mollie really liked the chocolate one unsurprisingly.

After shopping in Rozelle we went over to Leichhardt to have lunch. On the way back to the car Will was eating gelato. He was walking just ever so slightly behind me, and I kept turning around to check on him. As we were walking through the shopping centre, I turned back to see Will looking upset and clutching his cup of gelato to his chest with it running down his shirt. I asked him what happened, and he said, "someone bumped me.". So my friend and I start cleaning him up and a woman comes up to us and tells us that a man just walked into Will, made him spill his gelato on himself and then rolled his eyes at Will. She said it wasn't Will's fault at all.
gelato top

Some people are assholes.  (but that woman was very nice)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blank canvases

Tops awaiting embroidery.  Pattern is yet again Farbenmix Hilde.  I really like the look of Hilde for boys.  The fabrics are all Stella knit.

Most of the topstitching is the honeycomb stitch on my sewing machine.  I tried used my cover stitch on one of the tops, but I just couldn't get it stitching nicely.  It does fine on the hems.  It's the topstitching along overlocked seams with three layers where I am having a problem. 

And yes, there is a plan.  I had it all written down in my notebook before I started cutting.  Each colour combination is destined for a different embroidery.   I've left the side seams unfinished because it's a lot easier to embroider a top when you don't have to worry about bits sneaking under the embroidery machine and getting stitched together.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tweet tweet

No, I am not talking about Twitter.  I'm talking about this gorgeous fabric
more new stuff
Yvonne over at Bunte Fabrics had a sale, and I couldn't resist.  I had looked at this fabric so many times.  In a way I wish I had trusted my instinct and ordered it a long time ago.  The colours really pop in person, and the birds aren't too big.  The white one is a knit and the pink is a woven.   I also bought a bunch of iron on velours.   

I'm not sure that I like this blogging everyday thing.  In order to do it, I am revealing how much of a consumer I am!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Editorial Correction

Today we went for a playdate at our friend's.  I could have taken my camera and photographed her overgrown garden.  We came home with some broad beans which the kids picked.
 Angela would like me to state that her garden was in fact not overgrown, but in its natural state.  And I have to tell you that her garden as a whole is beautiful.  It was just the broad beans that had gone crazy and were all over the place in the VEGGIE garden.   And when the Will-zilla tromped through them, well, it looked like a wild animal had rolled around in broad beans.

Tonight I finally got around to cooking them.  Most fortuitously there were broad bean recipes in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Living the other week.
broad bean fritters recipe

Mine came out a little soft.  Perhaps because I didn't have quite enough broad beans.  The flavour was fantastic.  Mollie ate hers and her brother's.
broad bean fritters

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Supahero shirt for a Super boy

One of Will's school friends had a birthday party yesterday.  I'm a nutter and stayed up until 2am to sew the top.  I had all the embroideries already done, but for some reason it took me ages to do the sewing.  It might have been the unpicking of the cover stitching.  The CoverPro decided to play up on me while topstitching.

The top is similar to one that I made back in June.   I used my favourite cotton/spandex Stella knit in Quattro, Nu Kelly, Orange and Blood Red.
The pattern is Farbenmix Hilde.
The embroideries are from Supahero by Hamburger Liebe

I ended up making the Supahero shirt because I had already embroidered the Supahero on some felt, and I hadn't use it.  I have a few different Hilde tops in boy colours with embroideries planned.
supahero hilde1
supahero hilde 2
supahero hilde 3

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Family Favourite

Last night we made 
rice paper rolls

Mollie loves to help.  Will likes to watch.
mollie making rice paper rolls

I grew up in Houston, and there is a fairly good size Vietnamese population there.  In my late teens Vietnamese food was more accessible than Thai.  We used to go to this place in Chinatown because they were open really late and the food was good!  Now they have shiny new digs.  Last i knew the food was still good, but there is something lost when places upgrade.  I like the hole in the wall places with awesome food.

We fill our rice paper rolls with grilled chicken which I marinate and cook on the bbq, coriander, mint, spring onion, rice vermicelli, and bean sprouts.    If you've never made them, they are quite easy and you can find all the ingredients in the supermarket including the rice papers.  Although saying that, I think you can get better rice papers at the Asian supermarkets.

We like them with peanut sauce, but they are also delicious with sweet chili sauce.  I like to make the Chinese Peanut Sauce from the Moosewood Cookbook.  The kids practically lick the sauce off of their plates.  

1/2 cup good peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. sugar
3 medium cloves garlic, minced   (I don't use that much garlic...maybe because I have giant cloves of biodynamic garlic which is quite strong, but very tasty.  I use 1 clove or even part of a clove)
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 to 2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro  (I don't put coriander in because it's in the spring rolls)
cayenne, to taste
salt, to taste (if peanut butter is unsalted)

1) Place peanut butter in a small bowl. Add the hot water, and stir patiently with a spoon or a small whisk until uniformly mixed.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How could I resist?


new ribbon

Florafox from Luzia Pimpinella.  Wilfried Raccoon (waschke) and Helga and friends by paulapĆ¼.   I like having matching ribbon, and since I have Florafox fabric and the embroidery set, I "needed" the ribbon. 

Although I'll be honest...I don't really need any excuse to buy Farbenmix ribbon.  I love the stuff.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

Tonight was the first Thursday of the month, so I was at the Craft Room.  I always take along little projects to work on.  It's just too much to take my sewing machine for two hours.   Tonight I wrote out tags for all the things I've made, lots of rainbow goodies.   I also took some machine embroidery that I had done, so I could pick out the stabiliser.

To attach my tags I used my new twine from The Twinery.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 6 and it's getting weird

See I don't have any completed craft projects to show you.  So I'm going to talk about some stuff that I find amusing.

Have you ever taken a personality test?   You know the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator?

I'm mostly
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.
 But I'm only slightly N and P, so I can kind of be S (sensing instead of N - thinking) or I can be J (judging) instead of P (perceiving).

Without a doubt I am I - introvert.

I've also had "instinctive drives" testing.  This is supposed to be set in stone unlike personality type which can shift and apparently you can modify somewhat.  From my booklet
Your I.D. (instinctive drive) is not necessarily what other people see, but rather, the real drive behind what you say and do.
Here are some gems from my personalised report  (this was done back when I was employed for a big FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) company.)

Some things I agree with and some things I think are totally off base.  (my personal comments are in italics although I'm sure  you'd figure that out fairly quickly)
Sara, you have a rather unique ID in that you are very intensely driven by only one instinct (to kill...just kidding...oh excuse me that is my evil dark humourous side coming out) - the Instinctive Drive to Authenticate.  Indeed, less than 0.2% of the general population are as strongly driven as you are by this instinct.
 What does this mean?
Your way of thinking and operating is completely different to almost everyone else.   Blah, blah, blah, yeah I figured that one out a long time ago.
Some more stuff about being unique...picking appropriate situations, et

At the end of the day, your success and fulfillment in life will depend on your ability to:
(a)maintain a perspective that thrives on the benefits of being a "0.2%" rather than not being part of the "99.8%" and

(b) channel your energies into tasks, roles and situations that require or match your ID
This last point (b) is particularly important because your ID is vulnerable to "being jack of all trades and master of non".  You are quickly drawn to respond to any cry for help and to experience a wide variety of "adventures" (which can be interesting and fun), but the vulnerability is that your energy gets spread over a wide area instead of focused on just a few things.   See I think this is crap.  Anyone who knows me that I am actually quite focused on what I do.  I am clear about what I like doing.  I also don't go running after problems to fix either. 
 But there are some things that are spot on.
My needs:
A crystal clear picture  Yeah, I like to be able to visualise and completely understand what I am doing or what someone wants done.  

an open, candid environment - so let me translate this...I don't do fake, insincere people.  I don't play politics and don't try to outplay me, because I will come back and get you when you least expect it.   

To be needed - I guess I like it, but I don't need to be needed.  Actually it drives me insane sometimes.

Get it right first time - I agree.  I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to do before I do it because I want it to be right.   Sometimes I waste too much time thinking and not doing.

 Variety - Many other people work best when they focus without interruptions, but for you, the irony is that you actually need lots of variety and interruptions to "apply yourself".  Oh so this is why I cut something, I read email, I sew a little then I cruise the craft forum, then sew some more then I go through my Google reader.

Quality that sells itself -  you have an aversion to "being sold" which includes others trying to persuade you around to their point of view instead of letting you arrive at your own decision in your own time.  To you, things should be capable of standing on their own merits and not require "salesmanship" or personality to make up any gaps in the product or purpose itself.
This need is relevant to what you produce personally as well as when other people want you to buy into what they believe or have available as a product or service.  This one I agree with.

So do you feel like you know me any better?  There was more, but United States of Tara is over and I really truly need to sew these waistbands onto these redondo skirts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rainbow pieces

I think I'm starting to become unexciting at day 5.  Today we went for a playdate at our friend's.  I could have taken my camera and photographed her overgrown garden.  We came home with some broad beans which the kids picked.

I don't carry our camera about much.  It's just too big.  I know boohoo feel bad for me because I have a DSLR and lenses and a nice flash.  It's great when you want to set up to take a bunch of pictures, but not so great for in the moment happy snaps when you too are involved in the moment.   I keep saying I am going to buy myself something like an Ixus to shove in my bag, but it just hasn't happened.

So I'll just show you what I am working on.  These are redondo pieces which have been ironed and sorted by size.  You should see what they look like when the come out of the dryer.   Have I ever told you how much I dislike ironing?  (I bet more times than you can count)
ironed redondo pieces

Will has a birthday party on Saturday, and I need to get a shirt made for the present, so hopefully you will get to see something that isn't rainbow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Going dotty

Yesterday the kids and I did some baking from Donna Hay's Kids issue.
polka dot cookie recipe

You need to wear a rainbow silk cape apparently

Will sneaks some m&m's
I have to say I was impressed with Will's effort in placing the m&m's.  

Looking pretty before going in the oven.
polka dot cookies
Cass made these cookies a while back and said that she thought they were a bit plain.  So I have to admit that added a bit more sugar and extra vanilla (and I use very good vanilla anyway).  I also think they could have done with a pinch of salt.  The biscuits are shortbread like in texture.