Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It has begun

Today Moo asked if she could use my sewing machine.  She hasn't really asked before because I had put the fear of god in her about touching my machine.  But she asked today, and even though I really wanted to do my own stuff, I thought it was time.   I drew some lines on some fabric, so she could practice sewing a straight line and get a feel for the machine.  Before I knew it, she was having a grand time experimenting with decoratives stitches.
While I was cooking dinner, she rustled up a few more scraps (from the dress she is wearing which I will blog about soon).  She made a bag.  Then found a strip of fabric and came to ask me how to attach it to the bag.  She went off and did that herself.  When she was done she came to show me her work and told me it was a bag to hold money.  I suggested that perhaps it wasn't the best for money.  At that moment she said, "how about a recorder?"  
And as you can see Col's old recorder fits nicely in the bag.  Moo has started playing recorder at school, so this thought wasn't completely random.

At dinner I said to her that the bag could have been constructed so that you can't see the bits of fabric on the outside.  She then said, "oh yes, I'd sew it inside out."   She has also said that she wants a sewing machine.  So listen up Grandma, I know you read this blog, so start saving.  Your granddaughter wants a sewing machine.  I don't think the youngest princess will settle for anything less than a Bernina. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Criss Cross through the Forest

pants back

qumaira back
close up of the top

otto 01/05 #29

I made this outfit with the intention of the top and pants going together.  But I just wasn't sure about it.  The decision has been made for me because the pants are slightly too big for Moo.  I made the size 134/140 because I was worried if I made the 122/128, Moo would outgrow them before I blink.  She's already inching towards 134 as she is over 128cm.   And the top although a size 134 is quite short in the bodice.  So she is wearing it NOW!   We like our long sleeve tops for winter to be long in the body!   Love the top and will make it again, but I will lengthen the bodice next time.

Pants:  Farbenmix Qumaira (no longer available), fabric from Ikea
Top:  Ottobre 01/05 #29, fabric Flap Happy Asian print from Crafty Mamas

Thursday, July 22, 2010


is a funny thing.

The day I gave a friend a copy of this book
I received an email from a lovely person that I met at the Sunday Craft Room.  She discovered that Sunday that I am a HUGE Farbenmix fan, so she wanted to share some of the ribbon that she won from Farbenmix during the Sew Mama Sew giveaways.
farbenmix fabric ribbons
Thank you so much Amy!  I didn't have any of the Miss Liber-T fabric.  Mollie noticed it sitting on the bench and of course, took an interest in it.  Not sure what it will become.   The ribbons...well, who knows here.  They could end up on shirts, skirts, pants, bags or even a journal cover.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

School holidays show n tell

Moo was given this a while back for her birthday...last year!
To do the design you draw it with these crayons.  I encouraged Moo to draw her design first on a piece of paper.  I knew if she stuffed up the transfer that she would get upset.  I did encounter some resistance with the idea, but she gave in.  The end result is that she was pleased with the shirt.

moo designed shirt

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More holiday baking

Yesterday we had visitors, so I asked Mollie what she would like to bake out of the new Donna Hay Kids magazine.  She choose lamingtons.


I've never made lamingtons.  I always thought the icing/rolling in coconut would be a pain, but it wasn't.   Each of of the kids (Will, Moo and guests) had a go, and then I did the rest before it all got out of control!   I have to say that I was really impressed with our efforts.  They looked like the real deal and were delicious.

Since I think it's rude to show you pictures of food and not share the recipe, here it is.   This magazine also has the chocolate crackle recipe.

Lamingtons from Donna Hay Kids Magazine, Annual 7, 2010

Classic Lamingtons

250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups (225g) plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1 cup (250ml) milk
3 cups (240g) dessicated coconut
chocolate icing
3 cups (480g) icing (confectioner's) sugar
3/4 cup (75g) cocoa
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
75g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 160C (325F).  Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy.  Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour, baking powder and milk, and mix until well combined.  Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm tin lined with non-stick baking paper.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.  

While the cake is baking, make the chocolate icing.  Place the icing sugar, cocoa, water and butter in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut the sponge into 6cm squres and gently roll in the icing to coat.*  Roll squares in the coconut to coat and allow to set on a wire rack.  Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.  Makes 15.

*Use a fork to gently roll the sponge squares in the chocolate icing and the coconut.

My comments:
This recipe makes a lot of icing.  I threw away over half a bowl.  I know that you need enough to easily roll the cake pieces to coat, but it really seemed like a waste to me.  Next time I'll try making half a recipe of the icing.  
Also I added coconut to the bowl as needed rather than dumping in 240g and not needing it all.  I'm really glad that I did that.  I dont think that I went through 3 cups of desiccated coconut.

I used two forks not one to manuveur the pieces.  It worked really well.   I had a pair in the icing and a pair in the coconut.

Will wants to make the Polka Dot cookies from the magazine.  I saw a recipe for caramel popcorn in one of my Bill Granger books which looked appealing to me.  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Been dyeing

I have had pieces of organic cotton/spandex knit cut for a couple of weeks in preparation for dyeing.  I don't know why it took me so long to do it.  I have a tendency to over-think things.  This dye batch I wanted to get slightly deeper colours than I have dyed in the past.  I know it's as simple as adding more dye, but this time I was going to take a more scientific approach.

Sometimes my yellow, turquoise and green come out lighter than my red, orange, violet.  With Procion MX dyes it is a well known fact that you have to use more turquoise to get a similar intensity as other colours.  I don't use Procion dyes, but Drimarene K dyes.  But since they are both fibre reactive dyes, I thought I'd apply a similar principle. 

I weighed my fabric pieces, so I could get my weight of goods.  Funnily enough I could have avoided weighing since I know the gsm of the fabric.  Weighing the fabric did confirm that the knit is 220gsm.   The other reason that I thought I would use the OWG (on weight of goods) is that I was dyeing different lengths of fabric.  I don't tend to use as much yellow and orange, so thought I would only dye 2m instead of 3m. 

Alot of the information on how much dye to use is based on volume which doesn't really work for me as I always weighed my dyes.  For me it is easy and I know I will get reproducible results.    I had a look at some information on the Dharma website and also looked at recommendations for a medium level of dyeing on Paula Burch's site.   And then I decided how much dye to use on those recommendations and my experience. 

Here is the fabric.  The colours are darker than last time I dyed which is expected as I used more dye.

rainbow organic cotton spandex
I think the colours actually look a bit flat in the photo. The green, yellow and blue do go well with the other colours.  

According to my calculations I used
1% OWG for yellow
0.76% OWG for orange
0.76% OWG  for fuschia
1% OWG for turquoise
1% OWG for green
0.76% OWG for violet

I used salt for all of the colours even though sodium sulphate is recommended for turquoise and any blends using turquoise (green).  It is worthwhile to note that I've read that turquoise requires a higher reaction temperature.  I made sure that I added warm/hot water at each step (dye, salt, soda ash) to provide some heat.   I also think that I had the right balance of water.  I don't use lots and lots of water as I don't want perfectly dyed fabric.  I like it to have a mottled hand-dyed look.  The mottling in this batch is obvious without having huge variations in colour.   If you want something perfectly dyed then use a washing machine to get flat, even colour.

Some of this fabric is destined for rainbow sleeve Antonia tops.

Chocolate Crackles

A big thank you to Curly Pops for posting a Chocolate Crackle recipe that doesn't use copha.  I am not keen on using copha because it's a hydrogenated fat. 

The recipe is super simple for me because I always have dark chocolate on hand.  My kids enjoy dark choccy.  See....

The kids love 'em!  I think the biggest boy will like them too if there are any left when he gets home from work.  Thanks Cam!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sweet Dreams

We've had two birthday parties in the past couple of days.  There is a bit of history with one of the birthday girls where we have been giving her pjs for her birthday for few years plus she gets Moo's hand me down pyjamas.  I also think pyjamas make a nice gift.  

For Miss L we have Will modeling her nightdress.  He said he didn't mind, and Moo had already gotten dressed for the day.  In my usual last minute fashion this was the morning of the party, so was in a hurry to snap a photo, so that I could wrap up the present.
nesting doll nightdress
Pattern is from Ottobre Design 06/09, #36.
Fabric is from a co-op
Embroidery is Luzia Pimpinella's Matruschka Pimpinellskova at Huups.
The nightdress is a size 116, so as you can see it's too big for Will.

For Miss T and Miss S we have the same nightdress pattern.  Moo is wearing the one with red neckband and cuffs.  I also made one with pink neckband and cuffs.  T and S are twins.
strawberry nightdress
Fabric is from Spotlight except the neck and cuffs which is Stella cotton/spandex knit.
Nightdress is a size 122, so a size smaller than Moo which is why it looks that way on her.