Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Creative Space : Thrifty Knitting

As you may know, my knitting expertise is quite limited. So, this week I've started my first ever clothing garment...that's not a scarf or a hat.
The budget being a little tighter than normal this week, did not justify any new wool purchasing.

A library book...

Plus some op shop wool...

= one budget friendly knitting project

Well, it's a start anyway! Just don't look to closely... my knitting is not terribly neat. But, it's neater than it was.

I have to say that I'm beginning to very much enjoy the time-out experience that is knitting. I find if I have dinner on early (thanks to my slow cooker), I have a little time up my sleeve when the kid's get home from school. So I sit on the lounge and knit, while observing the comings and goings of the kid's. It doesn't last long, but it's an enjoyable part of my day.  And sometimes I even get to knit late at night!

For more creative spaces (much more creative than mine!) visit here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Little gifts

For my very petite two year old niece

Here are a few little pieces I made up for my little nieces and nephew. As they don't live nearby the sizes were a bit of a guessing game. Fingers crossed that they fit! Thankfully I know their mother appreciates the homemade items.

The shorts are an exact replica of a pair I made for Luca..just sized down. The little skirt is the same as one I made for Violet.

And then something for the eldest two to have a little fun with...

Pencil cases made with op shop linen tea towels and zippers. I chain stitched their names (I guess my messy stitching gives it a handmade look..)

Now all I need is some colouring books...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old school cookbooks and a biscuit recipe

I love new, glossy, beautifully photographed cookbooks. They are a joy to flick through and  I dream of cooking up the recipes inside. But, the trouble is, unless I make a list of long ingredients and go shopping, I don't end up making these recipes.
Living out of town, a quick trip to the shops just isn't going to happen. So I usually end up turning to those older, plainer types of cookbooks. Two that I own were ones my mother also owned - Women's Weekly Original Cookbook by Ellen Sinclair and The Commonsense Cookery Book. I also quite like the original Margaret Fulton cookbook. There is a newer revised edition, which I haven't checked out. The CWA cookbooks are also a classic, but I don't own one.
What I like about them is that you are quite likely to have the ingredients on hand for a lot of the recipes. Good, old fashioned cooking. You can even sneak some wholemeal flour into the recipes.
Here is a biscuit recipe that is lovely for an occasional treat. I first started making these when I was 14, and often make them for the kid's. From Ellen Sinclair's Women's Weekly cookbook.

Butter Coconut Crisps

125g butter
1 1/4 cups self raising flour ( I usually mix plain flour with baking powder)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Melt butter. Sift flour and sugar into bow, add beaten egg and melted butter, mix thoroughly. Form into small balls the size of a walnut, roll in coconut, and place on greased trays, allowing room to spread. Bake in moderate oven 10 to 15 minutes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Musical rooms

We spent a good part of the weekend changing bedrooms around. We gave up our larger master bedroom and put the kid's in the same room again. Now they have a large room to share. We inherited a smaller room. It really only fit's the bed, but it feels like a restful space, with nothing on the walls and no furniture, besides the bedside tables, to clutter it. The third room I am quite excited about. It has all Violet's things in it (cupboard, bassinet and change table), but she only uses that during the day as she sleeps with us. The computer is in there now also. But, as soon as I have a table available, it is going to house my sewing machine. It will be nice to not have to pack my machine up from the dining table.

 Sorry, I have no photos at this point of time, but here are a few from last week. I will show you the changed rooms later in the week, I promise!

Luca's bedside table as it was

This has remained in Julia's now sits above Violet's things

No longer there - from Julia's room

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bottoms and Books

The other night I stayed up and sewed up some thicker and warmer little pants for Violet. They are the same pattern as the" simple baby pants" ones from this book. Fabric was from the op-shop with the pink lined with fleece and the patterned lined in flannel. It is proving to be a little difficult finding ample sized pants that will fit over a cloth nappy. In the shops it is all about tiny. Sewing up a few pairs is so easy.  I think there will be some more pants making later in the week.

 Another trip to the library this week, with a good pile of books to flick through and do a little reading.

Lot's of tempting knitting patterns in there.

Ah, books and a cup of tea. Heaven!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Children and Craft

I must admit that since Violet has been born I find it difficult to find time to sit down and craft with my oldest two. But they often end up coming up with their own original craft ideas anyway.  Here are a few that I managed to capture.

Julia's version of "memory" cards (unfortunately they got a little wet)

Julia's "handbag"

Taken back in January - church in pastels
Some idea's for time poor craft mums (this is me right now!)
    • Try to save some of your recyclables such as cereal boxes, egg cartons, yoghurt containers, toilet rolls etc. Perfect for gluing paper or things like cotton wool onto (flour and water is a great glue stand-by), adding glitter to,  colouring with texta's etc. My kid's recently made a miniature city out of toilet rolls, drawing on windows etc.
    • I have a big drawer in the kitchen with good quality pencils, pastels and crayons that the kid's can help themselves with.
    • When they get tired of their colouring books, we can find specific things to colour in on the internet. Luca loves tower pictures.
    • Limit television viewing as kid's are more imaginative when they are able to get a little bored.
    • For reluctant boy crafters try paper aeroplanes. There are lots of helpful websites available. Mine love to colour them in too.
    • Provide staples and paper so they can write and illustrate their own story or activity books. Julia thought of this one on her own, and I remember doing this as a kid too. I had my own "series".
    • This site has wonderful little buildings to download and cut out. 
    My kids are fortunate that at the local village school they now have an art teacher who is an artist that does a lot of work in oils. The kid's at the school have done some wonderful charcoal drawings recently.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    My creative Space

    My modest effort this week was my first knitted hat. From this free pattern. Moving on from scarves...finally! I quite liked the cotton, and now looking forward to some true Autumn weather. I actually did the hat upside-down as my seam was not quite up to scratch. It still retained the same shape, as it is, essentially, a square when knitted up.

    And of course the little munchkin was asleep when I finished it. But not to worry, a sleeping baby can make the perfect little model :)
    After years of wanting to learn to knit, and a shortage of any available teachers, it feels good to have gotten this far in the past six months. Though it has been baby steps, slowly, a world of knitting is opening up to me. Perhaps a baby jumper next...

    For more creative spaces click here


    This week we saw a welcome hint of Autumn... then a return to summer weather. There was some harvesting, pastry making, slow cooking and zuppli frying going on.  A gift of freshly picked road side apples. Some seed saving. And I attempted my first jars of pickles.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    A Summer of Sewing

    Thinking back to Summer sewing projects...

    Pretty as a Picture Dress from Handmade Beginnings

    A vintage sheet project - from this pattern (in French, but it all came together nicely)
    A Lazy Days Skirt, sized down
    Another Lazy Day's skirt
    Appliqued bodysuit with Quick Change Trousers from Handmade Beginnings

    Baby Kimono top from Weekend Sewing
    A dress for Miss Julia
    Another kimono top from Weekend Sewing - this time sewn with a vintage sheet

     A gift for my niece, inspired by this tutorial

    It looks as if I've neglected the one boy in the family..but he did receive three pairs of handmade shorts (little boys are just hard to catch to photograph though, aren't they?)

    And now, I'm looking for some inspiration...and time, for some Autumn wardrobe additions.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Washing Days

    I try not to wash every single day, but nonetheless, there is a lot of washing going on in this house. Two school children, a cloth-nappied baby and a husband who works hard outdoors makes for one big clothes basket (or drawer in our case). I need to put on a full load each wash because we rely solely on tank water out here. For the first time ever since we built almost two years ago we have three full 25,000 litre tanks. This is quite unusual for us as we live in a rather dryish area. Last year we had to buy water several times.
    I don't own a dryer. With just a little extra work,  I can always manage to get the clothes out to line dry. If it is raining my house looks like one giant clothes horse, but it is just a little inconvenience.
    Daniel built me an old fashioned clothes line last year. It fit's a lot of washing and I just love the way it looks.
    Sometimes I even enjoy hanging out the washing.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011


    Mending is one of those things. The basket sits there, and every time you walk past you think " I must do some mending". But you don't. And then one day, when the basket is full and you are in the mood, you finally sit down with the needle and thread. It is the one time I allow myself to turn on a little daytime tv (shh don't tell anyone!) and I start mending. A few socks and t-shirts later I am all done. Then I wonder why it took me so long to complete a less-than-one-hour chore.

     It does feel good to have that basket empty once again.

    A sling for Violet

    My first two babies were pram babies. That's not to say that they liked the pram, but at the time I had no idea that an alternative existed. Fast forward 6 years, with a slightly different outlook on babies and lifestyle, this time around I have embraced the baby sling.

    I started off using the hug-a-bub, which I still use sometimes,  and then I made a sling using the instructions from Handmade Home. The hug-a-bug is easier on my back, but takes a little longer to put on. My homemade sling is so easy to pop on and off, but after a few hours can cause a little strain.

    My weekly day in town is so much easier with a sling. I can even sit down for a cup of tea and Violet remains asleep all cozy in the sling. Every morning I pop her in and walk Luca and Julia to school. I still own a pram, but it can be so cumbersome. So I only use it when I have to, such as lunch dates.