Wardrobe Wednesday

Last week I logged onto Green Valley Crafts – home of Wardrobe Wednesday – to discover that Clare has introduced weekly themes…and I was way out, but being an English teacher in a former life, I have to admit a penchant for thematic presentations.

This week’s theme was Including something made by Me! And here I am just before we headed out to the car this morning:

The top is from Zara, the cardy an old silk number with lots of girly sequins, from an outlet near York, and the trousers are Topshop…and of course the ubiquitous hiking boots, sorry!

I have to admit that when I began fossicking in the suitcase that is still serving as my chest of drawers until we can find suitable pieces of furniture, I realised that the last time I sewed/made anything for myself it was a stretchy belly skirt when I was pregnant, and it suffered the same body-dysmorphic fate as my other recent sewing efforts.  Seems I always make things too big… So there are no garments made by me in the wardrobe right now, all the sewing and knitting was for the wee guy (much easier).

But I did find this little brooch I made and pinned it on my cardy.

And as soon as I got home from our Dundee shopping outing, I pulled off the hiking boots and here are my feet cosily encased in the cheapy but furry slipper/boots I got when out.  Feeling like a teenager, but OH, so snug!

Check out the other Mamas here at Green Valley Crafts…they are likely to be much more stylishly clad, and more summery too!  Happy Wednesday.

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Charmed By…

With thoughts of creating a thrifty yet homely and hospitable space in Scotland that finally brings ALL our beloved things from around the world into one place, I have been casting about in my spare time for inspiration.  In the meantime, I have also tripped over a few things that have me longing for disposable income.  But since that may be a LOOONG time coming, I will just post them here and come back and daydream over them from time to time.  And you can enjoy them too.

  • Black seems a theme in our meagre decor and I really like how this guy has done it:

  • Am already dreaming of painting everything I find…so I need to have some good DIY tips to fall back on.  This post is really handy.
  • I would LOVE this beautiful stationery…

  • …and I have been dreaming of William Morris for years.  So if anyone feels like sending me this gorgeous book for Christmas…well you KNOW I will love it, hehe.

  • While seeking handmade double espresso cups, I stumbled across these beautiful Japanese-style pottery bowls…love, love, love.
  • Which reminds me of how grateful I was to receive these darling dishes from my sister when she came (not strictly a covet as I HAVE them…but I would love some more earthy gems to go with them…):

Ten Things of Happiness

Right now there is a lot buzzing about in my head…here are few things that are making me happy.  How about you?

1. The wonderful images created by Bianca Gomez, especially the wonderful birds she created for Poolga.com:

2. Cucumbers, they taste so good right now…looking forward to when they will grow in my yard:

3.  Hoping to find a spot in the new house for crafty things, and with this in mind, I want to source some better quality materials on our arrival, like this wonderful plant dyed wool felt.

4. Gingerbread, and the little one’s delight at eating ‘Men’ – especially the overjoyed dance of foodie ecstasy:

5.  The gorgeous images at The Vintage Moth:

4. Finding some good thinking about eating locally has been going on at our destination.

5. My orange mint plant spilling abundantly out on the balcony – not much else can thrive out there, but this little hardy number gives me some hope!

6. I’ve not worn these for years, but they fill me with thoughts of sandy summer afternoons:

7. Slowly a little Autumn wearing for the wee guy is taking shape on my needles:

8. I know I am horribly conservative here, but my feet are so particular, and the last pair of these I owned were SO comfy that I overlooked the slightly less than stylish thing…and I could walk for days in them and they lasted AGES, it is time for some new ones this winter I think:

9. This bag – I know, not terribly practical, but rather lovely all the same:

10.  These guys…they ALWAYS make me happy…

Chalkboard

Credit to our lovely friend Denise almost ENTIRELY for this crafty activity.  She provided the inspiration (though I can’t for the life of me find the link she originally sent) and modeled it in her own kitchen and as a gift for a wee friend of ours last year.  Then she also left me with the chalkboard paint and the frame…so nothing much about this is mine, except the execution.

One day, when we have finally settled into our own place, I vow to paint a wall in the kitchen with communication/creative-friendly chalkboard paint:

Until then, framing some boards to tote about with us will have to suffice.  So I got the helpful guy at Home Depot to cut some particle board to size, sprayed it with chalkboard paint, painted the old frame Denise had left with semi-gloss black paint and tacked the particle board to the frame with tiny 1/2in nails.  I fixed a couple of grips to the back of the frame, put two picture hangers on the wall and hey presto:

I think that rollon/brushed on chalkboard paint may have provided a more robust surface.  So I am keen to repeat the process again sometime soon and perfect the outcome.  It’s in the dining room, so we will use it  for menus…welcoming gestures for friends…other hospitable activities I am sure.  But for now, it is great for entertaining Kaz with images of his favourite animals – for now a Meeya will do!

A Teensy Bit Crafty

Summer doesn’t really make me feel like battening down and spending time being crafty.  But there is some impetus right now to (a) finish up projects before we move so that they are ready for the autumn/winter when we arrive (b) use up some crafting supplies so I won’t have to ship them or dispose of them (shudder) (c) make stuff rather than buy stuff to conserve our meagre resources in the face of impending great expenditure (d) make good use of the little bits of nap time I have each day. So lately I have finished a couple of little projects:

A duvet cover for Kazuo, hardly necessary now, but hopefully useful on the new bed in the new house, he was excited to see the Elephant (‘eeeeeeee’ – that is what they say you know!)

A button-brooch for a gift, inspired by this great gift

A pair of recycled t-shirt  shorts for the wee guy who is currently persistently grazing his right knee and needs things that go down over that precious skin

So that is where I am up to this past week.  I discovered again how much I LOVE my sewing machine’s ability to churn out wonderfully automatic and uniform button holes.  I got re-inspired and cut out about six new projects for upcoming babies and some things I want to make for Kaz before we depart.  AND I finally cast on the jersey I want to knit him for the winter (because we all know it will take me six months or more to come near to completion) to go with this hat.  So plenty to keep me busy.  Better get off here and get cracking!

Hats

Way back in November I cast on a hat for Kazuo for the winter.  I am such a slowpoke knitter, esp when I only do a row or two once or twice a week.  But some lovely peaceful girl-alone nights in the past couple of weeks finally led to the end of the hat.  Just in time for winter to give way to spring with a burst of uncharacteristically HOT days – no need for a woolly hat now Mama!

Since I will not be able to persuade the pop to wear this little creation, here it is being modeled by the living room lamp instead:

It is a version of the flower hat from Susan B Anderson’s Itty Bitty Nursery book that I got at Knitty Couture when I was pregnant.  I knitted it in the 6-12 mths size as the newborn size was really generous and still fitted Kaz’s two-year old sized head this past winter.  But that was in cotton, so this lovely woolly one might not be still in use next winter…we shall see I guess, his head is not growing that much now – we imagine his little body has a bit of catching up to do!  It was knitted on circular needles to begin with and then transferred to bamboo double-pointed needles to finish off – the decreasing is my favourite part and goes really quickly.  Why did it take me all winter though??

Anyway, now it is too too hot, and in good Kiwi-Mama style, I want to shade my wee guy’s face from the terrible effects of the sun.  Once again, debate ensues in the Eason-O’Connor household as Dada insists I am being over-protective and Kaz will survive.  But I persist and make him a hat anyway.

I found this freebie pattern on Make Baby Stuff.  Super easy and quick to run up.  I experimented with my theory that relocating the sewing machine to the kitchen and turning on the noisy extractor fan would mask the sound of my quiet little machine, and hey presto, I can sew when the baby is sleeping!  Yayy.

Here are the pieces cut out and ready to stitch up:

So by lunchtime yesterday there was a new hat to try on when eating the summer lunchtime sandwhich:

And of course it was unceremoniously ripped off (even with elastic to anchor it) as soon as we got to the park in the afternoon…but since he spent most of the time in the water fountain anyway, it would have not been too much protection:

Ah hats…Mama likes to make them…Kazuo is not too keen on wearing them…sigh.

Winter Sewing/Crafting Pt II

Finally my poor sewing machine has made the journey to and from the Brother Repair centre in Tennessee and is home safe, sound and in great working order again.  But the wonderful generosity of Tarah meant that I managed to get a few crafty projects off the ground over the winter – especially given how ill we have been.  In my previous sewing post I mentioned that I had made some cushions for the sofa.  I finished their felt companions recently.  They do look a little duller than I expected, but they help to make the futon a little more curl-uppable.

After receiving my lovely button brooch from friends in the UK last month, I remembered that I had picked up a jar of old buttons while rummaging on the 61 Mile Yard Sale a couple of years ago.  So I ferreted them out and had a sort through.  It was pretty much dross, but I found enough to have a go soon at making a pretty hodgepodge of a brooch like the one I was sent, and the leftovers I glued together this week into some funny  little button/felt pins to brighten up my summer cardies:

I also managed to finally complete the bunting I have been making for Kazuo’s room.  I was in the middle of making his birthday bunting when I received Handmade Home for Christmas.  I hadn’t considered making a bunting a permanent fixture in the home until then, but I loved the idea of the single-word banners in this book.  So much so that I barely made any changes to the original idea on the cover – except to pluralise, use my own font and change the end images.  I’m not too good at dreaming up my own crafty ideas, though I usually use published ideas to fuel my crafts, but then I stumbled across the delightful toadstools that Janelle at Heartfelt was using to embellish her crafts.  They are so lovely and I am totally in her debt for the inspiration – I urge you to check out her Etsy site – her upcycled kids clothes are simply delightful!  Kaz seems quite taken with his bunting (a ‘baba’ – just like everything else beginning with/containing a ‘b’ – there are surprisingly many of those!) and it will hopefully create good dreaming karma in his little space:

We made a trip to Hobby Lobby last week (still so profoundly disappointed with fabric selections in this town…) so there are now a range of spring sewing projects in the pipeline.  Yayy for the return of the machine!  There may be more to come…

Winter Sewing – Part I

Cushions are my latest obsession.  I do go through phases.  They are nice and easy to sew, and I can construct a couple while Kazuo is sitting at the table watching me sew if they are cut out the night before.  Before Christmas, the only handmade Christmas presents I managed to construct were the two cream felt cushions I made for my mother-in-law.  I based the covers on a design I had admired at the 2008 Rock n Roll Craft Show at Third Degree Glass Factory.  I took them with me to London and got some inners from IKEA that fit beautifully and did NOT break the bank.  They looked substantial.

Acquiring similarly priced inners in St Louis is nigh-on impossible.  The cheapest I have found are twice the price of the IKEA inners, and much less robust.  So, with tarting up our plain old living room sofas in mind, I made a foray to my fav local Goodwill and got me a bundle of cheap old cushions that I can recover.  Not something I would do for a gift, but perfect for us as they are made of much better stuff.

Round one I managed to construct this week.  I was fortunate to receive some of the lovely paua-style fabric from Cushla’s that I had coveted in my Christmas Wish List (thanks Mum!) and so I used a little to make panels in the centre of some black cotton.  The cushions all have 12″ zips in the back so that they can come off and be washed.

One thing I want to know…how do crafty Mamas manage to sew with toddlers around?  I know my mother used to set up the sewing machine inside the playpen and have me outside pottering about, but I don’t think that Kaz would have a bar of that, and besides, we don’t have a playpen.  This week, I succumbed to food-bribery (to which I usually have a deep aversion), since I could not stop the pop from trying to use the foot control – kinda unnerving when the machine races away while your fingers are fiddling about by the presser foot!  So I trussed him up in his clip-on high chair, and gave him a couple of these tasty crackers, and one of the tiny gingerbread men we got in the UK.  Not a big treat, and nothing too filling, but diverting enough for me to sew up two cushion covers and keep Kazuo in a friendly state of mind.  We even played hide and seek behind the sewing machine.    But if anyone has any other bright ideas, then I am all ears.  I can’t sew when he is asleep, it is too noisy in our wee apartment.  And he is past being diverted by toys in the high chair, just throws them instantly to the ground.

Well, the cushions made it through production.  Here they are cheering up our rather muted living room:

Crafty Amazingness

Last year when I had a rare crafternoon with Julia (and my sewing machine jammed irretrievably), she was working on the most incredible paper cutting delights with some old Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedias.  Imagine my joy when she presented us with our very own masterpiece for Christmas:

Here is a side view, including the lovely old book binding – I’m pretty sure my father sold Funk and Wagnalls in the 60’s, so it was a doubly poignant gift:

Today I finally made it a wall in our dining room of arty little companions that I had been collecting up for sometime:

Here they are looking very much at home. I am so grateful for Julia’s crafty contribution to our decor!