Making a lot of nothing

Blah! Little Miss gave me a very early mothers day present in the form of her nasty bug. I remember my brother telling me that having kids is like having your own personal germ incubators and now I understand what he meant.

We’re all but over it now and I stopped by at a garage sale today that had bags and bags of unwanted bits and bobs from someone’s stash. I scored a couple of bags and am enjoying fishing through the treasures. Included is some doll hair, which reminds me, I am way behind on my contribution for a doll drive, making dolls to be sent to Uganda. Little one is keen to be involved with that project and I had better make one extra to keep to ease the separation from our creations.

Proper pictures and another tutorial soon. Meantime, anyone seen any neat sewing tutorials for little girls lately? Maybe a twirly girly skirt or I’m liking tunic tops just now.

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Making New From Old

Its been one of those weeks fortnights. Aside form a bit of Easter chaos, Easter Monday litle miss got struck with what I thought was flu. Late that night her temperature went up and luckily I listened to the niggling feeling and called our lovely GP in the morning. We caught the beginnings of pneumonia early enough for the antibiotics to work pretty well. She’s closing in on her usual health, just tiring a bit faster than usual.

So, nothing much in the way of craft but while she was on bed rest I did tackle the overflowing cupboards and have a big clear out – a pile for the Salvos, a pile for ebay and some to re-engineer. Here are two womens pieces bought from a garage sale that I planned to make into something fun for next sumer for my 4 year old:

Tunic / minidress in need of a hem

Shirred strapless Minkpink sundress

The first I am thinking a simple strappy sundress most likely, I may have to edge that hem with a bit of broderie or similar for the sake of extra detail… or else bead/sequin those flowers one quiet evening (like I get any of those). The second maybe I could cut above the lower line of shirring (you should see the typo I almost left there, the r being next to the t and all) and add straps for a sundress, then use the leftover line of shirring (r, use the r key!) as the top of a skirt. Why not use someone else’s work after all.  Any other ideas?

Might take a little while to get to this – I can feel my daughter’s lurgy starting to take hold – the early mothers day gift that keeps right on giving. I plan on making up a big batch of chicken soup to see it off before it gets a hold. After last mothers day in hospital there’s no way I plan to be anything other than full health this year! If you have a great recipe, I’d love to read it.

Meantime (with apologies for the long-winded post, more tutorials soon I promise), I am love, love, loving the creations at Project Run & Play. Definitely worth a look. I might just get myself in gear and join in.

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Little Girl’s Easter T-Shirt








I finally appliqued a t-shirt to go with the easter skirt… I cut out two little bunnies from the bunny fabric I used fro the skirt and hand drew a bunny template for the larger one:







I tried turning that the right way up and it kept turning back… maybe its because we’re in Australia! Anyway, I used some Heat & Seal ironed on the back of the fabric before cutting the shape, then ironing onto the t-shirt (it is worth using a ruler to place these so they are level). I satin stitched a little rabbit nose and ran a running stitch around the larger bunny, then used a button for the eye. I took a white pom pom from a length of pom pom trim for the tail (cause if you can’t have fluff when you’re 4, when can you?) All very simple and one very happy 4 year old.

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Hot Choc Cross Buns

I usually make hot cross buns on good Friday but for some reason my little helper has lately decided that any dried fruit except cranberries are to be avoided at all costs. What goes well with cranberries? Chocolate of course. This recipe works well with traditional fruit as well so you could always substitute or make half & half. These came out beautifully light. I used a breadmaker machine but the ingredients should work fine by hand as well.

Put in the machine:

1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon of water

1/3 cup softened butter

6 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 teaspoon of grated orange rind (optional)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups of bread flour (or plain flour plus bread improver as per packet instructions)

1 tablespoon dried yeast

Set the bread machine for dough and then at the end of its cycle, mix in 1/3 cup cranberries and 1/2 cup dark choc chips (white choc is really good too). Divide the mix up into 16-18 pieces and gently roll into balls. Place 2cm apart in a lightly greased pan (about 9 x 13 inches is ideal). Put in a warm, dry place to rise to double its size (about an hour is ideal). Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F. Score crosses on the tops of the buns with a sharp knife (you could also make paste crosses at this point if preferred). Bake for 15 to 18 mins – the buns should sound slightly hollow when gently tapped.

When still warm, mix 2 teaspoons of milk, 1/4 cup of icing sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice or water (this should make a runny glaze). Brush the mixture over the tops of the buns. Put on a tray to cool (or just eat warm).

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Chocolate Rice Krispie (Bubbles) Crackles

These are great fun to make with kids – no baking required!

Melt 150g / 6oz dark chocolate, 125g / 5oz butter and 1/4 cup golden syrup (corn syrup should do fine as an alternative). Mix in 3 1/2 cups Rice Krispies (Rice Bubbles), 3/4 cup shredded coconut and 1/2 cup icing sugar. I put them into cup cake cases placed in patty pans/small muffin pans (the cases aren’t essential but they’re going to kindy and it sort of helps to contain things!) filled almost to the top. Then make small indentations into the top to make a nest shape. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours (I did overnight).

You could just put the mini eggs in now but since they have to travel to kindy, I thought it better to set the eggs in place. I made a fudgey icing by melting 50g / 2oz chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter then mixing in 1/4 to a 1/3 cup icing sugar to make a soft paste. Put about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in each nest and squidge the eggs onto it to keep them in place. Cool. Decorate with cute chicks.

And of course, the important final step – decide who gets to scrape the bowl..

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The Not-Just-For-Easter Girls Skirt Tutorial

Spotlight had this wonderful rabbit fabric  – in fact they had a couple of different colour and layout options on the same theme. I picked some up to make a skirt for Ness (age 4) thinking, well, I’ll have a pattern somewhere that suits it.

Famous last words. When I looked at my patterns though none seemed right so I decided to wing it a bit. I’d made a few skirts in a simple style but wanted 2 layers. Of course, being for a 4 year old, the twirlier the better. Other than that, the plan was to keep it simple. Until my young co-designer got in on the act. After careful negotiation, we reduced it to a layer each of ricrac and ribbon plus a tulle ruffle at the bottom (I swear that took me longer to figure out than the rest put together, I could have done it a much easier way looking back).

I made this skirt as I went along… a few bits I could improve next time – hey, I’m a sewing novice so there’s plenty of scope to refine this! Hopefully I’ll be doing a matching top tomorrow – another one I should have just done without consultation, because now there’s some serious negotiating needed if I am to get this done without tears (mine or Nessie’s) before Easter. D’oh!

First up I cut the fabric: 2 waistband pieces, each 4 inches x 15 inches (inc 1/4 inch seam allowance). This is for size 4  – should be easy to adjust. You could use hip measurement and add around 4 inches plus seam allowance, then divide by two, for the width – maybe add an inch to the height for upward of age 6ish. Or try just measuring a similar skirt that fits, when extending the waistband to full stretch, then add seam allowance.

Top layer I did 9.5 inches depth x 31 wide times two. I just went with roughly double the waistband length. I wanted this layer to be an inch shorter than the bottom layer, so that was cut at 10.5 x 31 inches (times two pieces). For taller girls you will want to make it longer of course.

For mine I also cut 2 pieces approx double the width and 3 inches deep of tulle, this is optional and does slow down finishing a bit.

Next I sewed the short sides of the waistband right sides together and finished the edges, then did the same for the top and bottom layers of the skirt.

I also finished the lower long side of the waistband and the top of both the top and underneath layers.

Next I ironed a 1/4 inch fold on the waistband and then a 1 inch fold. I stitched close to the edge of the lowest part of the casing, leaving about an inch unstitched for the elastic.

Next I hemmed the top layer of the skirt. I sewed a long basting stitch about 1/4 inch form one long edge of each piece of tulle (do not back stitch), then pulled the bobbin thread gently to create a ruffle, gathering to fit the bottom of the skirt. Next I ironed a fold 1/4 inch from the bottom of the bottom layer and then another 1/4 inch fold. I positioned the gathered tulle into the 2nd fold (facing the end of the tulle towards the waist at this point – sorry no pic of that) and pinned it, then stitched.

I then folded the tulle back so that it peeks form the bottom of the skirt and basted it down before positioning a ribbon around the bottom of the skirt and stitching it (this also then stitches the tulle into place neatly). Would have been fine to just hem or to add the tulle without messing around folding it into the hem as it does not fray and doesn’t need finishing – but this worked too.

I also added ricrac to the top layer at this point. Then I sewed a gathering stitch to the top of both the upper and underneath layers of the skirt and gathered them to fit the waistband. I put the layers (inside out) with the right sides facing the right side of the waistband (waistband on the inside) like this:

I pinned the layers into place and then stitched them. Turned right way in, it will look like this:

I cut a piece of 3/4 inch elastic one inch longer than Ness’s waist measurement. Next I put a safety pin on one end of the elastic and used this to ease it through the waist casing. I overlapped the elastic by around 3/4 inch and stitched a square to reinforce. I evened out the casing around the elastic until it was even and then stitched the casing closed. Et voilà! Hopefully I’ll get a pic of it being modelled in the morning amidst the chaos.

Well, my experience of blogging is less than sewing but I’ll try to get up to speed soon and get this looking a bit prettier! Meantime, if you use this, I’d love to see pics.

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