Friday, October 26, 2012

Elijah's Elephant

John's sister, Nic, had her first baby recently.  My lot were delighted to have a cousin and began thinking about what we could give as a "Welcome to the Family" present.  After I made my Scottie Dog, Robert suggested making an elephant which, knowing how much Nic likes elephants, I thought was a great idea.

So we used the same blanket and method.  I took lots of pics in case any one might be interested in having a go themselves.  Hopefully they are pretty self-explanatory.  

Draw your choice of animal onto large paper, remember it will be a bit smaller once you take your margins into account.  Cut out and trace onto old blanket, don't forget to cut out ear shapes if you want flappy ears!

I blanket stitched around the ears...

Stitched the eyes...

Everything in the right place...

I sewed the ears on so that they flapped over his eyes, then ironed them back into place and topstitched, catching in all the ends of the blanket stitch.

His tail is just a length of a foundation chain.  All stitched up I realized his trunk got a bit skinny, will need rectify that next time I make one...

We also made some bunting for his room.  Hopefully it will be the right colours...

As modeled by Elijah's biggest cousin!

We had a lot of fun thinking and making, hope Elijah enjoys his welcome to the family!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To dye or not to dye...

My Mother has been white haired for as long as I can remember.  She is a very sensible woman who used to give me advice about buying good shoes, always making sure you wear a well-fitted bra and moisturising your neck.  And then she talked about growing old gracefully, all of which I absorbed as a teenager.  It was only relatively recently that she said "I wish I'd dyed my hair years ago".  Well, I nearly fell off my chair and felt my whole world had been turned upside down!  Here was this woman that I had listened to (she might fall off her own chair at that revelation...!) suddenly wishing she'd done things differently.  I was all prepared to do the "growing old gracefully" thing when it happened but then I started to wonder if I would have regrets in years to come too? I've only started to get some greys in the last couple of years (I used to pluck them but I think the whole "pluck them and they come back with 10 of their mates" thing might have some truth to it, so I have given up!) and have begun to wonder if I should start down the road of dyeing my hair...

When we first came to Australia I found the magazine I'd spent years looking for.  Notebook was a mag for grown ups who like a bit of this and a bit of that, not too many glossy ads, lots of helpful hints and tips.  Sadly it is no longer published.  But in Feb 2010 there was a great article by Susan Johnson about grey hair and how it affects women.  The opening paragraph reads "When day begins to turn to night on our heads, our most common response is to run for cover.  Instinctively we recognise the first grey hairs indicate the light within us is slowly fading".  I'm not sure I feel that strongly but certainly I am learning to accept that I am no longer 18, or even in my twenties, or thirties for that matter!  I'm not sure it really bothers me all that much, in fact I think I might be more bothered about having to fit in regular appointments with a colourist and the amount of money it will cost.

A friend, and local 'journo', wrote this great article recently and I managed to find it today.  I have been very impressed with how she went from almost black to grey, and she looks fantastic.  I too have had conversations with the kids about whether or not I should dye my hair and I was very surprised by the responses.  It was a unanimous NO.  The main reason given being that if I did it would mean that I was too concerned about my appearance...  Hmmm.  I wasn't entirely sure how to take that one, I'm not a total scarecrow!  Apparently it was meant in a nice way and the kids like that (unlike Dad - heehee!) I'm not always preening and fussing in front of the mirror.  I asked if they thought it would make me look old, to which they replied "You are."  Nice.

I have enquired about doing something when I got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago (another emergency appointment after attempting to cut it myself again, I never learn), the lovely hairdresser had some helpful and reasonably priced suggestions, but I'm still not entirely sure I want to go down that route.

What do you do?  Any tips, sage advice, funny stories?

Monday, October 1, 2012


Now I know all you expert seamstresses do this all the time and are thinking "Yeah, so what?" but for me this is a big deal!  The last time I made a skirt was 1987, from a rectangle of fabric with a piece of elastic through the waistband, no pattern and lots of help from my 'bestie' (the lovely Helen) who was very proficient.   I bought this pattern over a year ago and have been too chicken to try it out until now.  It's the McCall's 5430 which seems to have flikr and web pages devoted to it.  It claims to be a 1 hr pattern but I managed to make it over the space of 3 days.  Bearing in mind there are 5 children at home on holiday, I think that is pretty good going.

I hadn't intended to buy fabric but those crafty types in Spotlight ( see what I did there?) had cunningly placed this right at the entrance in full view.  I couldn't resist, didn't really try very hard, if I'm honest.   I figure it will make a fun skirt for Spring and Summer when it's too warm for trousers and shorts just won't cut it.  I went for option C, never one for frills and flounces.

I am delighted to say that I made no mistakes!  No cutting disasters (just as well, as I guessed how much fabric was required and guessed wrong...), no unpicking, no sewing upside down - thank goodness for the tip on someone's blog!  It is a little snug, but with Summer on it's way I will be dropping some of my hibernation weight so should be perfect.

My next plan is to attempt a semi-circle skirt with some other gorgeous summery fabric, got to make the most of this weather, not sure how much longer we'll be able to enjoy it... ;)

Picking mandarins

And this is how all photo shoots end up in this house.

I won.