Although we are a few days away from the official beginning of Spring, the weather has decided to anticipate the change a few days early, and it is beautiful!! The sort of weather where you want to be outside, pottering in the garden, going for walks and being energetic. I love it! Here’s hoping that it will last and not revert to the gloomy winter conditions again!
Today’s list of finds are well and truly for me to make as gifts, not for personal use! When I had my chicks I had a fabulous nappy bag (diaper bag for some) that my sister gave me – a black, quilted, backpack, lined in plastic lined materials, with great pockets. I found that having my hands free was wonderful. And it didn’t look like a nappy bag. I have written before that I think that diaper bags can be sophisticated, with no little duckies or teddy bears etc. Having this cool black bag meant that I felt a bit groovy instead of completely lost in motherhood. So it is with this in mind that I have collected these patterns for diaper bags. The ‘cool’ factor is defined by the fabric that you choose, and therefore only limited by your imagination!
Feeling compelled to report on the weather, I have to report that it has been beautiful over the weekend! Sunny and dry. The perfect hint of spring, which is only days away now. In fact it has been so lovely that I have been dreaming of a camping trip. The children’s various sports commitments, plus a looming federal election mean that it is hard to find a weekend that is free, but I have the calendar out and am poring over it intently! (I may just decide to leave town for the election, but it is unlikely that any of my friends will join me!)
The two girls played hockey yesterday and it was a joy to stand next to the worlds smallest goalie and to be in the sun without a jacket on. They did well, with the middle chick/goalie saving two goals and the team winning 5-0. In a scene that had everyone smiling she ran out to save a goal, gave an almighty kick that did the job, and landed on her backside. She immediately sat up saying “I’m okay” in a very chirpy voice, the coach ran onto the field and picked her up so she was upright again and the game continued. It was verbally replayed several times over the course of the day, with much mirth. Her big sister did a great job in defending and was also full of mirth about the world’s smallest goalie and her ‘I’m okay’. The boy was incredibly focussed on the whole game and provided non-stop cheering and encouragement for the whole game. We had a great morning together!
Look at that sky!!
The rest of the weekend has been busy with children’s social activities. The middle chick had a party to attend for her best-boy friend on Saturday. That, of course, required a gift. I, of course, had not been shopping. She assured me that he didn’t like drawing enough to warrant a pencil roll. Hmmmmm…… then it hit me – a t-shirt with Star Wars fabric. She approved the concept and was happy with the end result, and a crisis (due to a very tight timeframe) was averted!
While she was at her party the eldest chick had a friend over to play. The visit had been conditional upon both girls cleaning their bedrooms and completing their homework before the appointed time. I am slightly astounded to report that the eldest chick did an amazing job on her room – including vacuuming the carpet. Unfortunately the homework didn’t fare so well as she had ‘forgotten’ to bring it home. Hmmmmm….. On balance, however, the play seemed justified in both households. The two girls decided that they needed to bake. They are both gluten free so were excited to have a cooking buddy. As they pored over books and questioned me about my available ingredients I finally suggested salted caramel fudge (because I had all the ingredients ready from the aborted attempt the week before and knew it would stop the deliberations!) They did a great job, and with a friend visiting, the clean up actually occurred without prompting. Wonders will never cease!
They then decided that, having made the fudge, they should sell it to raise money for breast cancer, which is a cause very dear to the friend as she watches a much loved aunt undergo treatment. After initially supporting them in their concept, a bit of judicious questioning revealed that the audience for the sales was limited to…..me. I pointed out that as I had provided all the ingredients it was a little cheeky to ask me to buy the fudge back. This left the friend a little deflated. But all is not lost! I have since suggested that she host a Pink Ribbon fundraiser morning tea, and that fudge can be part of the menu, and she is now busy planning a fundraising event that will give her a lovely positive focus and a way to help. Ah the complexities of being young women full of ideas. I admire their spirit and optimism and want to bottle it and preserve it for them before they get worn down by life! I saw this sign on Pinterest today and it made me think that I need this reminder so that I can have that same daily optimism again!
Today was another day of socialising. The boy had a visit to the little sister of the eldest chick’s friend and the two of them had a ball playing with puppies, with lego and in a big cardboard box. Then he came home to have another friend waiting for him and the two of them played a bit of Wii, a lot of imaginary games involving spies and sorcerers in the back garden, and then (unbeknownst to me) a bit of re-decorating the eldest chick’s bedroom with marker pen. Another hmmmmmmm……. Luckily it was waterbased!
The middle chick had her best-weekend-friend (they play together a bit at school but on weekends are usually each other’s first choice of friend to play with) over for the day and they explored the mountain reserve across the road, coming home with animal bones, stones, dirt and a beer bottle. They said that they are examining the environment to see if it is being damaged. They seemed to be drawing a link between the beer bottle and the animal bones. Hmmmmmm….. not a lot of logic but a good conversation to be starting!
The eldest chick had the afternoon at another friend’s house and was apparently soundly beaten playing Yahtzee her friend’s father. There was a bit of fake fist-waving at him in the retelling of the story so I think a good time was had by all.
I am sure you are thinking, well, that is all quite lovely, but where is the crafting bit of the story? Apart from the shirt being whipped up for the gift, not a lot of crafting occurred. I have started working on a commission that is a gift for a very special little person for her birthday, so I have all the fabric cut out and the interfacing prepared. Just working out which pieces I was going to use took quite a while. I don’t want to rush it though, so decided that instead of pushing myself I would give the chicks the time that they needed to see their friends, enjoy the outdoors, and catch up on socialising a bit. I am still not back into a good rhythm to dance through life, but I am slowly picking up the beat again (to overuse the analogy!)
The week ahead does not hold much prospect of sewing. The eldest chick has the finals of Wakakirri tomorrow night, and then I am away for a work trip overnight in the middle of the week for two full days. Which, with other sporting commitments, takes me through to Friday before I am likely to be free to do anything…. Hmmmmm…..Rather than being upset about it I am thinking that this will be time to think and plan and dream. Then I can return and ‘do’. Hopefully!
I hope that this week sees a hint of spring (or a touch of fall if you are on the other side of the world) and time to do the things that are important to you.
Well, the suspense is over. I have prepared a list of Friday finds after all. The collection this week is a list of tutorials for making skirts. For grown ups! While many of the patterns and theories and lessons can be used to make skirts for little people, the aim of these are skirts for big people. Like me! I am so over this winter and it’s dreariness. I keep looking at my cotton wrap skirts with longing. Waiting for the day I can wear them with bare legs and sandals. A list of patterns might keep me going until the season is right to wear them again. Or I might find one for a winter skirt! Let’s see.
I know that on my recently introduced regimented blog routine I am meant to post a list of Friday finds on a Friday. I still might get to it later tonight. (I am such a rebel – breaking my own self imposed blog rules!!) My reason for the act of rebellion? Fabric. Of course!
One of those magic slips from the courier company arrived earlier in the week to say that they had tried to deliver a parcel but I wasn’t home. So I trotted off to collect my parcel – which was large – and propped it up in my bedroom (which is fabric storage central at the moment). That was 2 days ago. Two whole days!! This afternoon I finally opened it. The whole order was laminated cottons, and one piece of oil cloth, so it all came rolled on cardboard bolts. I felt like a professional artisan picking up my grown up fabric order! (Yes, yes – it is the small things that keep me going!)
And oh….what possibilities! Look at these colours! So vibrant and shiny under the laminate! I am picturing makeup bags, baby change mats, an apron or two, swimming bags…..oh the list is endless!
Being fuelled with the joy of shiny new fabric (literally) is a wondrous thing. As you may have gathered from my recent posts, I have been struggling for inspiration and motivation recently. A good friend and the MIML both suggested versions of slowing down – considering the option of not having my market stall in December, not making new things for the shop, not blogging for a while. And that made me realise that if I am going to give up things to free up time and relieve stress that these are not the things that I want to stop doing. A lovely realisation! My plan for this weekend is to focus on making things, creating things and dreaming. I love weekends!
The other exciting thing that has happened to remind me that I love creating is an invitation to have one of my overnight bags featured in an online magazine. I am so thrilled to be asked! I want to get some better photos over the weekend to submit, and will keep you informed about when they will be featured.
With that resolve and creative fire in my belly again, I can now report on something far more mundane. I have been wondering about the difference between oilcloth and laminated cotton for a while. The articles I have read haven’t really helped much. Some places say that they are one and the same, while others say they are different. With this latest order I have conducted my own assessment and ordered several pieces of laminated cotton, which I am already familiar with, and one piece of oil cloth. Of course, my experiment is a little flawed as what this website describes as oilcloth is probably very different from the next. However, in this very limited trial sample I can now report that they are very different!
The oil cloth that I ordered is more like a layer of flexible plastic supported by a plastic loose-weave mesh base. Very much man made, water proof, with a high gloss and relatively stiff.
The laminated cotton is cotton fabric with a layer of clear silicone like plastic on one surface. It is more flexible and will still be water-resistant on the ‘shiny’ side, but will absorb water on the cotton side.
Of course they are quite different prices too. Now that I understand the difference in their texture and feel I can see that they will have quite different applications. The oil cloth could still be used for bags, aprons and tablecloths, but it has a very different look and feel, so I suspect that I won’t be using it as much as the laminated cotton.
And there endeth my spontaneous exposition on the different fabrics! Now to think about what to make tonight, and what list of Friday finds I might prepare. Or not this week! Ah the suspense!
One of the things that contributed to my stress over the weekend was the concept of organising book week costumes. Not really a big deal, but just one more thing to add to the list that I thought I should be fulfilling. Fast forward three days and I can report that it is all under control! The boy is going to wear his martial arts outfit and his Jedi knight robe (made by me for his birthday last year) and go as Luke Skywalker. The middle chick is going as Arky Sparkles, the heroine of a series of books she loves (who wears ‘normal clothes’ with a yellow scarf!). That left the eldest chick, who announced that she wanted to go as Susan from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and in fact from other Narnia books. Hmmmmm….. Thanks to the advent of the movies, that was trickier as she had ideas about what she wanted, based on the movie costume, rather than the book description. But – I have done it! A trip to the fabric store where I discovered that everything in stock was 30% off (yay!!) and overcoming my fear of sewing knit fabric (hooray for the overlocker!) resulted in a long ‘medieval’ dress and cloak that took me about an hour in total to make. She is happy and I am proud, so it is a win all round! The middle chick has crafted her a bow and arrow from pieces she found in the house and garden, and she will look great!
With that bit of sewing under my belt I have also pushed on to applique more t-shirts for my Etsy store. I am not thrilled with my photos and need to work on my lighting, but for now, at least I am happy with the shirts themselves!
This week has been a bit disorganized so far, with my planned day off on Monday, and then two half days yesterday and today due to illness of various family members (none of which has turned out to be serious). Despite this the house is still a bit messy…… I am going with the concept of ‘lived in’ to get me through until the weekend when I will tackle it in a methodic way!
The good news is that I am starting to get back onto a more even keel. Some phone conversations with my parents, friends and MIML have helped. Taking the pressure off myself so that I don’t expect myself to ‘do’ everything is the biggest step. Now to maintain the momentum!
The rest of the week is filled with more sports training, and hopefully some full days in the office! I may even get some more sewing done – stranger things have happened! I hope that your week is travelling well, wherever you may be.
My house is unusually quiet tonight. I think it is just the stark contrast with the noisy, busy weekend that makes it seem so peaceful, but I am sitting here enjoying it nonetheless. The three chicks are in bed and hopefully some are asleep. The cupcakes for school lunchboxes are made, half the washing is folded, and, more importantly, I have been able to sew! Which is important as I have been fending off an anxiety attack for a few days.
By the end of last week I was feeling overwhelmed. The list of things that I thought I had to do seemed all consuming, and seemed to grow daily, and the future seemed full of obligations to other people that threatened to remove the last vestiges of time for me. (Luckily my paid work wasn’t adding to my sense of drowning in a sea of tasks – it was just all the other aspects of my life.) On Thursday night while on the phone to the MIML (the winning suggestion from my friend Fliss to describe ‘the man in my life’) I explained that I had to start on making fudge to take to work for morning tea the next day, after finishing making the curry for the annual lunch event at work, and still had to make a bag to donate to the raffle the next day. He asked if I had to make the fudge, and I heard myself saying ‘ of course I have to make it’…… and realised that I had hit my superwoman delusion again. You know – the one where you think that you can do everything, really well, without shortcuts, and keep all the balls in the air while also juggling knives, fire breathing dragons and unpinned live grenades? Hmmmmm…… so I stopped, put the fudge ingredients away, took a bag out of the stash of bags I have already made, and went and lay on my bed. Which was just what is required when you realise that you are vulnerable to more than kryptonite.
In order to avoid having to go and buy this shirt that I found on Pinterest (which I cannot find the credits for so can’t properly attribute), I am taking tomorrow off work to get a bit organised at home, do some sewing, do some planning and just breathe out a little bit. I am getting better at saying ‘no’ to extra things, but am still not great. This week might be time to get a bit of practice in……..
The great thing about now being able to recognise when the walls of my mind are closing in is that I have strategies that I know can work. And thus, sewing has occurred! I had an order for two more superhero capes, but the request this time was for them to be suitable for smaller toddlers. So I adapted the pattern and went to work. And, voila! Two capes, so I now have three little bags ready for delivery this week!
I also had time to sit down and applique a t-shirt. I bought some blank t-shirts a while ago, with the intention of appliquing them…… and they have sat in a box ever since. Actually getting one out and making a start on it removes that from my list of things that must be done! The t-shirts are made from bamboo fibre so are just lovely to work with and will be lovely to wear – delightfully soft to the touch!
I was also able to give the change mat that I shared in the last post, to my staff member who is going on maternity leave. She was impressed with it, and I have a couple of orders for more already! Which may have necessitated a small bit of shopping to buy more laminated cotton………oops!
Another great achievement of the week was heading out to do some market research – literally of markets! Here in Canberra we have markets that are held every Sunday morning called the Bus Depot Markets – held in an old warehouse that was…..a bus depot. When I lived in Canberra about 13 years ago I used to go there regularly, but for the last few years, with three children (one of whom is very lively), and less disposable income, I have stayed away from them in order to avoid temptation. This morning, however, we went for a visit, under the guise of a reconnaissance mission. Part of the information gathering I tasked the children with was to identify which stalls caught their attention, and to think about why. (They loved the idea of this being an undercover mission!) I was also interested in looking at what people used to display their goods on. We went in with strict instructions from me that they were not to ask me to buy anything as we were only there to look……and within 5 minutes I had (without them asking) bought some beautiful soft homemade marshmallows, and gluten free cupcakes! Ah yes – sugar gets me every time! We did have a great look around though. At one stall we had a lovely chat to the stall holders who generously explained that their shelves were in fact folding shelves and very lightweight, where they had bought their trolley from, etc. I love the way that craft people are so willing to share their knowledge! Now I am researching folding shelves……as you do!
As I head into the week, with plans to lighten my load, focus on things that make me happy, and, of course to sew, I hope that your week goes well and that you have achievements to celebrate along the way.
Something about the hint of Spring in the air makes me want to start freshening up the house. Cleaning out cupboards, sorting out piles of paper that need filing, de-cluttering shelves, sorting wardrobes. In the midst of all this I have a hankering for some fresh cushion covers. Given that I have a significant stash of fabric my challenge is to make some without buying new fabric…….could be tough but I am sure I can do it! In support of this, the list of links to free patterns this week are for cushion covers, pillowcases and ottomans. Now to move them from my ‘to do’ list onto my ‘done’ list!!