Tag Archives: gluten-free

Small bits of creativity

The weekend was full of birthday parties.  Other people’s parties and our barbeque to celebrate the double-digit birthday.  That meant that it was also full of shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and organising.  Not a lot of time for crafting.  Well – not by me anyway!

After a week in which I did very little sewing I was keen to get back into it on the weekend.  When I realised that this was unlikely to happen I looked at all I had made without sewing and wasn’t too disappointed.  Marinated chicken skewers, a Pavlova (the gluten-free dessert of choice!), salted caramel fudge (our all time favourite – made in the Thermomix using this recipe – mmmm mmmmm…..) and I experimented with making a satay sauce that used pureed sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, to accommodate one of the guests who has a nut allergy.  It worked surprisingly well for a recipe that I made up based on what was in the cupboard.  Although the child in question of course wasn’t interested in the sauce the adults all enjoyed it!  It was a great night with a lovely group of friends – there was a bunch of boys in the yard with light sabers, a bunch of girls hanging out on the trampoline, and a bunch of adults on the deck enjoying the sunset, the cheese platter and the wine.  A delightful way to celebrate 10 years as a parent!

Although I didn’t manage my own sewing, the girls did some sewing and are justifiably proud of their efforts.  It is their school swimming carnival tomorrow, and they were both keen to make mascots for their house, which wears green in support of the house members.  So these are the results – based on templates that we drew ourselves.


The middle chick wanted a green owl, so whipped this one up.  (I can also confirm that removing fingerprints from the camera lens does make a difference to your photos!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe monster was lurking in a tree in the late afternoon sun!


Made of an upcycled cushion cover, with scraps from my collection, the green monster is quite cute.  I was particularly taken with the tail that the eldest chick designed – and her chosen pose for the photo!

I also managed to finish the library bag and get it in the mail.  I am happy with the way it turned out and hope that the little person it is intended for enjoys it, and the books it will carry, for many years to come.  It is such a privilege to be asked to make special gifts for little people.


Oh look – the fingerprint was obviously there last week too….

So the weekend finished with the house in order, the week planned out and me ready to start my week of early starts with the babysitter lined up to be at the house by 7am to prepare the kids for school and get them there.    Hmmmmm……. the best laid plans.  All was going well this morning – I woke up to find 2 children snuggled in with me, and managed to get up, get dressed, tend to the chickens, have my breakfast and prepare my lunch without them waking.  When the babysitter arrived, however, all hell broke loose!  The dog was going berserk with excitement at seeing the babysitter (who is also our house and dog sitter) which obviously woke the boy.  He had snuggled over next to his sister after I got up, which had pushed her to the edge of the bed.  So when he started to stir and stretch he pushed her out of bed, and she hit her head on the bedside table, so woke with a fright, in pain and screaming.  So between the screaming, the dog, and the other two children waking and attacking the babysitter with hugs and non-stop stream of consciousness stories it was complete chaos!  Looney Tunes could learn a thing or two from our house.

The good news is that the middle chick got the all clear from the doctor and had a lovely day quietly drawing and colouring and playing on her iPod in my office.  The other two got off to school with no drama and we had a calm afternoon after school.

After all of that I decided that I needed to at least start sewing something tonight – my creativity bug was itching away, floating ideas around in my head.  So I went with pillowcases – and managed to make two!  I can of course tell anyone who asks what I will do differently/better next time, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy them as they are, so will iron them and photograph them properly and put them up in my shop soon.


I am hopeful of a week of sewing after so little over the last couple of weeks, so stand by for a burst of colourful creativity, or alternatively a stream of colourful language if my plans have to change again!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week.

A decade of love

My eldest chick turned 10 today.  I tormented her by saying that it wasn’t her birthday until the time she was actually born – 5.15pm – but we actually spent the day celebrating in a number of ways.  She climbed into my bed early this morning – most unusual for her – and we had quiet cuddles.  Once her brother and sister were alert we opened presents.  She loves her homemade presents as well as her other presents!  We then sat down with the photo album and went through the photos of when she was born and the first 6 months of her life (after which we moved to a digital camera and there are no more albums!!).  The three of them loved seeing her and all the familiar faces (although younger!!), while I sat there quietly looking at my beautiful big girl, and trying to work out where the 10 years has gone.  That first day when she was bruised and battered from her delivery by forceps, and I was so exhausted from a 36 hour delivery seems like yesterday, and yet we have seen and done so much since then, and here she is in year 5, with so much maturity, wisdom and silly giggles.  So today while the rest of the world celebrated love in all its commercial and non-commercial forms, we celebrated a decade of love because she has only brought love into my life since day one.

Of course now I can share the photos of the presents I made her!  She is a big fan of Doctor Who.  I am amused because back when I was at boarding school and we only had two channels of TV, Doctor Who was one of the only shows that we got to watch – and that was in the early 1980s!  The fact that it is all trendy and shiny now is great as a whole new generation gets to discover the Doctor.  I also thought that turning 10 is that first step towards independence and being her own person, so I made her an overnight bag.  She can use it on sleepovers, on school camp, for visits to grandparents, etc.  I ordered the fabric from Spoonflower.


I used the tiny tossed Tardis fabric for the lining and gave her a zipped pocket and two slip pockets on the inside.  I used a pattern from Gingercakes for the bag and it was a great pattern to follow.  It comes with a cottage industry license, so I may make some for my shop down the track.

Then I used some of the leftovers to make the iPod touch cover that she wanted.


She promptly put her ipod straight into it.

Her brother and sister gave her a travel bug ‘trackable’ for use in geocaching.  It is a tag that can be registered, and then when she releases it into a cache she can track where it goes.  The two stones represent her siblings, and she can decide what the target for the cache is.  Her thinking so far is that she will see if it can go to 10 countries and then end up in a cache around the corner from her grandparents house in a country town in New Zealand.  It will be an adventure to follow it – and to see what else it picks up along the way!



She also received phone calls, text messages, emails etc, so was feeling very loved.  Her father delivered presents from himself, his partner and his parents and included a Lego set, so she spent the afternoon building the lego, very carefully, much to the displeasure of her little brother who wanted to be playing with it instantly!!

The birthday girl requested her annual heart-shaped cake, chocolate with dark pink icing, so I obliged.  I did cheat a bit and just add cocoa to a gluten-free packet mix, but it turned out well, so I don’t feel too guilty!  I made her wait until about 5pm before we sang, blew out candles etc.  She was quite tickled by waiting until “I am actually 10 years old”.

Birthday1 birthday2

So a decade of loving my funny, smart, loving big girl has been celebrated with much colour and joy.  It overwhelms me to think of the next 10 years and where she will be in her life by then, but I know that it will be a journey that will be made with love and support, so I am trying to just breathe out!

I hope that you have had a day, week and month filled with love.

Finding a balance

Today should have been a great day.  But it just didn’t get there.  It hasn’t been a bad day – it just hasn’t been great.  I am tired and short-tempered, and the kids have been niggling at each other and nagging me.  I called a family meeting this morning to talk about what we needed to get done today, and how that would give us time to do fun stuff.   Deaf ears all round.  I have battled to achieve my ‘to-do’ list for the day,and  we certainly didn’t have ‘fun’ (although I did manage to get the children their new school shoes and sports shoes and the roof of the shop didn’t fall in when I presented my credit card – phew!)

So tonight, with a headache and feeling a bit sorry for myself I have stopped to reflect on why the day has (in the words of my children) been ‘crappy’.  And I have realised – only days after talking about having a balance, I have lost my balance.  I am trying to do everything that I think has to be done (except housework which I have completely abandoned) and have forgotten for a few moments that these are the days that we are supposed to be enjoying.  It is, after all, the last two weeks of the school holidays, and of my time off work.  So the aim for the next couple of days is to remember to enjoy this time and go and do ‘stuff’.  Maybe a movie, or a trip to the zoo to christen our new annual pass (the best Christmas present from a great friend!).  Definitely some geocaching.

As for why I lost my balance?  The reasons are a bit complex, (including me realising that I had missed a deadline for booking part of a trip for Easter time – drats) but one aspect is that I had far more success with the sale of my bags on my Etsy shop than I ever anticipated.  That is a good thing right?  Last night, as the purchases rolled in, I was getting very excited, and used it as an excuse (with much input from both girls) to order more fabric.  I had dreams about new designs last night.  Today I am almost panicked that I haven’t made more bags to list to replace the ones that sold, and I felt that I had to be at the machine making a pile of bags instantly, therefore resentful that I didn’t make it there until 8pm.

And there you have it.  Turning something from excitement to pressure in one foul swoop – and all of my own making!  So I am going to stop trying to sew every spare moment, and instead go back to enjoying the rare luxury of having uninterrupted time with my children.  (Afterall, I go back to my office job in a couple of weeks too!)  I am also going to remember to sew because I love it, not because I think I need to have things for the ‘shop’.  I have done a little bit of that – and I don’t like the results, and am not proud of the items I have made.  Sewing to meet what I think others want, rather than relying on my creative soul to design something that ‘works’, has meant that I have compromised myself a bit.

So – tonight I spent a little bit of time playing with fabrics that work for me – just because I can.  This is my winner for the evening.


I am having lovely visions of art wallets dancing in front of me – or maybe pillow cases?  Or both!

This doesn’t mean that I won’t be tackling my ‘to do’ list from the linked up project I posted about.  In fact – I am well on the way in ticking things off that list!  I have finished working with the artist-in-residence to design the packaging plates for the ‘shop’.  These are fabric pieces with her drawing and the contact details, that will be then stitched onto the calico drawstring bags I am using for packaging.  I have ordered a yard of it from Spoonflower (yes I do love that site and the potential that it holds!), and in the meantime used some printable fabric to make up prototypes.  I am happy with the way that they have turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wrote the care instructions on the back of the paper tags, then wrapped the parcels up in brown paper and string to be mailed (with thoughts of ‘brown paper packages tied up with string’ singing through my head, as I hope that the contents of the bags do end up being someones favourite thing!)

Of course, one bad day doesn’t mean that the week has been bad!  We have had some lovely moments.  The eldest chick announced that she wanted to bake, without my assistance, and without using the Thermomix (sacrilege!!).  She was very insistent, so I left her to it.  She used my electric mixer, and asked for help putting the biscuits in the oven but did everything else on her own.  I really hadn’t realised just how much she had absorbed over the years!  The end result?  Delicious gluten-free white chocolate chip cookies that disappeared very quickly!  I may have to hand over baking duties to her more often!



The boy has been busy with his usual pursuits, but after seeing me teach the eldest chick to sew yesterday has decided that he needs sewing lessons too.  Could be lethal but I will give it a go!

The plan then, is to remember to keep my balance.  Put the tired cranky mum to bed, and tomorrow bring out the mum who is happy to go on an adventure and doesn’t have a to do list to tackle.  I quite like her!

If you have managed to read this long – thanks for sticking with it!

I hope that you have found your balance.  I would be interested to hear your tips for how you manage to keep your balance.