Friday, August 29, 2008


My goodness... what a hellish time I had making this wee thingy. Found the pattern over at and thought it looked niiice and easy. Once I got about half way through and started turning things inside out and sewing what seemed impossible, pointless seams, I gave up, ripped them all out, and made it how I thought it should be made. Much easier! Anyone else ever tried the Grab Bag tutorial? Any help??

I love this fabric to bits, which is why I was determined to not let it go to waste. It's Lecien's My Folklore "Forest".... sooo adorable! I'm keeping every scrap leftover to re-use. As I order a bunch of fabric online nowadays, usually from Etsy, it costs me a fair bit of postage to Aus, so I tend to hoard it pretty frugally. It took me a while to get up the courage to cut into this one!

Used a few leftover bits to make a wee baggie for my new bible. Didn't bother lining it, it was a cute and satisfying 15 minute project after the frustrating grab bag!

My boss's wife loaned me an overlocker! (ka-loo, ka-lay!) So i pulled out a piece of soy-cotton jersey I've had laying around for a while, and knocked out this top. It's a midriff top to wear over short sleeves, or just layering in general. It was dead easy! I used a favourite shirt of mine to create a template for the body, and faked the rest. So nice when things turn out the way they looked in my head. Looks a little wrinkled cos I've already been wearing it for a couple days! This piece of fabric was another one I was hoarding and couldn't figure out what to do with. If I had lotsa cash, I would spend a bunch of it at and buy up all their beautiful stretch jerseys (bamboo and soy!).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

visiting the family

Spent this weekend visiting my parents in Perth, probably the last trip we'll manage down there till after the baby's born. Only 4.5 weeks to go now! That 6-and-a-bit-hour car trip is just about as long as I can handle sitting still at the moment. I feel tired today and techincally, all I did was sit on my rear! But no, I did do a lot while we were away, without (what have become) my necessary nanna-naps in the afternoon.

I so prefer the type of bush that's found closer to the coast - for one thing, it's actually interesting, and they have (gasp!) wildflowers! Unlike our patch of red dirt. All these photos were taken on a morning walk with my mum. I thought the little seed pods above looked like little butterflies perched on reeds, with the sun shining through their wings.

Of course, no trip to Perth would be complete without a trip to Ikea! We got together a few last items of furniture that we "think" we need. I'm sure we could have done fine without, but I'm blaming my "nesting" urge. Which, weirdly enough, has so far manifested in a huge creative surge over the last few weeks. I haven't had one of those phases in about 2 years, so I'm milking this one for all it's worth.

Friday, August 15, 2008

dyeing - and loving it!

Ok, my quest for more "interesting" baby clothes continues. After once again walking into the regular shops and sighing in disgust over the wall of blue-or-pink that is almost all that's available to me for this little Mouse, I thought I'd try my hand at dyeing. Insipred by Amy over at Angry Chicken I thought to myself, surely it can't be that hard...

And it wasn't! I'm really happy with the results actually. The green I picked came out even better than I'd hoped it would. The only problems I had were with the lino printing. I've been carving little printing blocks out of lino for weeks now, and every time I have tried them out using regular ink, they've worked really well. I'm unsure if it's the fabric paint, or just the roller I'm using to apply the paint (which is a sponge, rather than the proper, solid roller), but they all came out really faint. This time I did go over them with a brush, just cos I didn't want to waste my beautiful green onesies, but next time.... I think a trip down to the art shop and a discussion with Dannii might be in order! I haven't block printed since I was in high school, so I'm trying to remember all the ins and outs. Tips, anyone?

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I've been saying I'd make my friend's little girl a kimono using this ( ) tutorial, and finally got around to it this morning. I had just enough dark red fleece left over to make not one, but two! I figured even if I don't know the gender of this little Mouse, red is still a pretty good colour to go with.

I love mushrooms! Appliqued a little felt one to the front, might go back and add more detail later. For now I just want them to be finished!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

boxing helena!

My friend Shaun always used to call me that. I never figured out why, but it always made me laugh. It's coming up to his birthday which is why I'm thinking of him, I guess - he would have been thirty two this year.

I still miss you, Shaun. And when I see you afterwards, you can bet that's the first question I'm gonna ask.

Anyway, totally not how I intended to start this post - as I've been sewing this morning! And I've decided to venture into the wonderful world of tutorials! After finding this adorable little tutorial over at applehead , I lay awake at night (as I often do) wondering how I could apply this on a slightly larger scale. See, I've been wanting to buy boxes to fill the shelves in the baby's room, and after seeing this I began to think, maybe I could make my own...

(A side note - "Maybe I could make my own" is a phrase that my mum will be very happy to hear me using, as it's a principle she's tried hard to instill in me over the years)

So without further ado - the modifed Fabric Box Tutorial!!

Firstly, make your pattern. I managed to figure out (and it took a lotta brain cells) that (a) is the height of your box, and (c) x 2 is the width and depth. So in my case, (c) was 10cm, which doubles makes 20cm. I made mine 21cm high (a) and really, (b) is irrelevant. I just thought it looked more professional that way. (d) should be exactly the same as (c). (Wow, I suck at these!)

Next, take your awesome Ikea fabric (Fredrika!) and lay that sucker on there. Remember to double it over first! The edge I didn't name (and clearly should have) should be situated on a fold. My mum is like my dealer - she gets me access to stuff I can't get way out here. Thanks for being my fabric pimp, mum!

Cut that sucker out. Leave about 1cm seam allowance on all sides (not so important on the bottom seam, but still leave a little extra). At this point, if your kitty is weaving around your ankles and demanding that she be given a tidbit, it's probably best to oblige her so she leaves you alone.

Isn't it cute??? Looks like a little kimono.... no, calm down Helly, get this one finished first. That's next in the list.

Do the same with your felt, only don't bother leaving a cm of allowance. It'll help that sucker fit right in. I didn't have any nice, handmade felt, so I went and bought a length of the fake stuff. It'll serve this purpose! (Plus it's three days till pay day, so I went the cheaper option!) Again, make sure that bottom seam is on a fold.

Turn your fabric inside out and sew (a) to (a), like you were closing up the sleeves of a cute little kimono. I used a straight stitch.

Next, begin to curse and beat your machine as the thread tangles continuously and inexplicably. After restraining yourself from tossing it out the door (You'd really like to finish this project and get to that kimono, wouldn't you?) examine things closer and realise it wasn't the machines fault, it was the thread. Apologise profusely and re-thread, all the while promising you won't say such awful things to your beloved machine again.

Um, now.... bring (c) and (d) together. I don't really know how to explain it better, but, to quote a favourite Terry Pratchett line, "It'll be.... obvious, right?". So, sew along and close up the ends. And yes, that's my baby house in the picture. Say hi, baby! It's your first blog appearance!

Before you do that, you should decide which way you want your seam to lay and iron it flat, right? But hey... I forgot. Still, it worked out ok.

Voila! One Floppy Box!

Now, repeat the above steps with your felt insert, Ok, now bung your felt insert in, no need to turn it inside out obviously. Make sure it's gonna fit neatly. Also at the point, check to see whether it's upper edge is shorter than the fabric edge. If it's longer, take it out and trim so it sits about 1cm below the raw fabric edge. This'll become obvious why, because now you have to fold the fabric edge under the felt and pin it, getting ready to sew it down.

Which, when you've done it, should look like this! Yay! I sewed it about 1/2 cm from the edge.

Then, in a mad panicked moment, rush into the other room to check that you actually did get the dimensions right, and breathe a sigh of relief when you see that you did.

Now, go and make more! There now, don't you feel clever? I know I do!