Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sew little time!

I made this cute skirt for Liberty a couple of months ago. I used furnishing fabrics because I really wanted to make it but was looking after a couple of other kids that day and just had to use whatever I could find.
For some weeks I've been trying to make her another ruffle skirt. Originally it was to have been to wear for Christmas but after thinking every night up until Christmas Eve that I was going to have time for sewing it just never happened. Not being able to find the right fabric was also a large obstacle. Fortunately, she didn't have to go naked for Christmas as I remembered she'd only worn her birthday dress once and although her birthday is in winter (and Christmas here is summer) the dress was sleeveless so it worked perfectly. Even cuter because her little cousin had the same dress!

And look at that! She even considered her beautiful dress to be versatile enough to go from church to Christmas dinner to the sandpit!

So Christmas day came and went and still I thought I would make her a skirt for my birthday (December 28). She had a new top and I thought maybe I could find some fabric to go with it. I left the Boxing Day sales to those with more money (or maybe credit) than I but headed of to the local fabric store on the 27th after seeing they were extending their 20% off everything sale for another day. The husband gave me time off for good behaviour so I was able to go out on my own, ahhhh, what bliss! I almost turned around and went home when I got to the carpark at the shop, it was lookin' pretty full and the service in there is notoriously slow at the best of times, however I reminded myself that I was ALONE and wouldn't have anyone tugging on my skirt or crying because I wasn't buying any overpriced 'Dora' merchandise.

I even remembered to take the new top with me and after about half an hour of uninterrupted searching through about a hundred bolts of fabric found something perfect. Then unbelievably I was served within 30 seconds of arriving at the counter, that never, ever happens there!

I got home and thought 'I'll start that skirt tonight ' but of course by the time I'd cleaned up after everyone for the fiftieth time that day I was much too tired to think of sewing. So I thought I'd make it the next day before my party. MY party, har, har! Every year my husband invites everyone around for MY party and I spend the day in the kitchen preparing for it...and this year was no different. I didn't let go of my dream to make the skirt until 3:30 though (guests were arriving at 5pm).

However 2 days later I acheived the almost impossible, I made not one but two matching skirts! The second one is for Liberty's 5 year old cousin. In a perfect world I'll be able to find her a matching top. (Liberty's top was $6.99 down from $24.95!! - now that's a bargain in any currency!) So it became a New Year's Day skirt! The pattern can be found here, it's really easy, no really it is easy I wouldn't have made it three times if it wasn't!

I'd like to say I'll make more time this year for all the things I love to do but being a realistic sort of mother I know it'll never happen...so once again I'll just go with the flow and do what I can, with what I have, when I get the time!
Happy New Year!

Crafty Little Christmas

About three weeks before Christmas my eight year old neice asked me if she could have one of my dollhouses. I said to her maybe she should ask Father Christmas for a dollhouse to which she replied,"Oh, I don't think Father Christmas could make anything that good". Well, that just melted my heart and I knew I had to make her something. But being so close to Christmas a whole house was out of the question so I decided to make a little girls bedroom for her in 1:12 scale.

It was a challenge finding things to fill it with. There are no shops here where you can just go and buy dollhouse miniatures and it was too late (and much too expensive!) to order anything online so I had to get making. I built the little bed from scratch and made all the bedding. The bedside cupboard I already had. I scanned a few books by her favourite authors and miniaturised their family photo. The poster above the bedside table and the framed picture by the bed came from a greeting card catalogue. The Spongebob on the shelf cam off a dangly pen.

The picture of the girl on the wall above the chair is one of my clever little sisters paintings made tiny. There's a High School Musical poster because that's what my niece is into. I made little Operation and Candyland games and some Barbie doll boxes. The white shelf was a non-opening cupboard from the two dollar shop which I modified.

The little pencils I made from toothpicks although they were a bit trickier than I expected because the toothpicks were actually too thick so I had to whittle them down.
The candycane, cake and cookie I made from modelling clay.The last time I used
modelling clay I was about 12 years old!
When my niece opened it she just sat there and said,"WOW"! and then she thanked me about a million times. Later on Christmas day she took it over to show her 8 year old friend next door. I saw her again on Boxing day and she had rearranged everything. Her little friend was there and she said, "Tell her what else she can make". Intrigued I asked what else I could make and my niece said, "Oh, she wants you to make one for her".
I hope you all had a Merry one!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bah Humbug!

I have to say I'm well over Advent Calendars. I remember when I was a kid how much fun it was to open a little cardboard door each day to reveal a little Christmas picture. This year I made the biggest mistake and bought Liberty a 'My Little Pony' advent calendar (I only did this because when Noah was little I'd found a Lego advent calendar and it was so much fun). THe 'pony' calendar has a little gift each day. Now when she wakes up at the crack of dawn (5:30am) she comes and stands beside my bed and whines in my ear until I get up to open the calendar with her. I've also had her in tears because her cousins Advent calendars have chocolates in them and she wants to know why I won't let her eat chocolate for breakfast! I've already bought two Advent calendars for next year (half price sale) , lovely old fashioned card ones, no presents or food involved!

Here's the advent calendar I made for myself a couple of years ago - made three others for friends too as last minute gifts! Have just thought right now of someone else who I could make one for but the list of things to make isn't getting any smaller and now I only have three days left. Although making a skirt for Liberty make have slipped off the list. I have a gorgeous piece of fabric but need something else to go with it and just can't find the right thing. I've bought her a 'Dora the Explorer' skirt for Christmas but when we were shopping yesterday and she saw the same one she said, "That's ugly". It was just because of the colour, it's khaki green and I've always told her I don't like that colour...oh dear!

Took my wares to a craft market again on Saturday. The previous two Saturdays Freddy and I had made good sales there. However last Saturday was a bit different - hardly anyone came! So after 6 hours we made $21 and after paying our fee for the stall we came away with $1!!!! W had a good time with the other stall holders though, sales were no better for anyone else. I guess it's all a learning curve and now we know not to go to a market the weekend before Christmas!
I made those 'bah humbug' blocks up there for my sister for a bit of fun. But on the brighter side I'm making happier ones for my neices and nephew, if I get them finished before Christmas I'll show you!
Glad tidings!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pretty Little Christmas Blog Party

I haven't been well so I hope I haven't missed the party altogether! Anyway here's a real little Christmas. It's a dollhouse porch that I just made at my dollhouse club. A lovely lady showed us to build a rustic porch from scratch! I decorated mine for Christmas and will probably leave it that way now and just use it as a Christmas decoration. The little family from our big dollhouse just popped in to say hello! The scale is 1:12 (so if something is 1 foot tall in real life it's 1 inch tall in the dollhouse).

Here's few close-ups. I had to have a little craft sale in there.
There's a little Christmas Victoria Magazine and even a box of scorched almonds on the floor. You can't quite see them but there are even some little gingerbread men cookies on the tray on the chair.
For many years I've watched 'Days of our Lives' and just loved the Horton family's Christmas ornaments with all their names on. A couple of years ago I managed to sketch some ideas while watching the show and made my own. Here is Liberty's, the photography isn't that great, it was late at night and I had to use the flash.

I bought these gorgeous little gingerbread men for Liberty in a half price sale after Christmas last year. My husband is glad to see they're gone from the bottom of our wardrobe! Liberty just loves to bake and thinks these are the best!

I just love this sugary angel that I found for Liberty's first Christmas.
This 'Merry Christmas' decoration I bought a few years ago because it was really cheap. The angel in the middle was actually a badly painted Santa with wings -why oh why? I sent it to my very talented little sister and asked her to repaint the Santa as an angel and this is what she did.

Wel, that was all fun to share. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Cookies

I'm about to go to a Christmas cookie exchange at my sister-in-laws house. A cookie exchange isn't something that I'd heard of here in New Zealand until my brother kindly married a lovely Canadian girl. This year (We're into our eighth year) there are seven of us in the exchange and we are all baking an extra dozen for one of our group who couldn't make this time but has had a very rough year. My cookie making nearly turned into a disaster! I baked the cookies (using my ever popular spice biscuit recipe) and they didn’t look that great but this time I had decided to partially coat them with white chocolate to look like snow (the shapes were angels and churches). So I melted the chocolate (haven't done that before and this probably wasn't a good time to start!) and began coating them and they still didn’t look that great and it was very tricky to get the chocolate on them, so I freaked out and decided I should bake cupcakes instead (that's my new specialty and I'm getting quite good at it!). Yes, that’s right I had already made 7 dozen cookies (Well almost 9 dozen but I got distracted and burnt the last tray). Anyhow I didn’t have enough eggs so I argued with Noah (who finished school for the year on December 9th - way too early) to get him to come to the supermarket with me then got to the supermarket wondering how the heck I was going to package a dozen cupcakes for everyone. I got the eggs and some plastic plates and bags after much deliberation. Got home, threw some butter in the mixer to start the cupcakes and then discovered the chocolate had dried on the cookies and I thought maybe I should try one…well they weren’t too bad…quite delicious in fact. So I decided to use them after all that!!

Now the kitchen is a bomb site. There’s still butter in the mixer and 7 dozen (or so) cookies lying around on the bench.

But at least the baking is done.

I've tried to pretty them up in the picture up there with a Mary Englebreit plate, but I'm not sure even Mary can make them look good.

Anyhow, I've packaged them all up in lovely red bags with Christmas tags and soon they'll be out of my house for everyone elses enjoyment, but now it's back to the mess...

I've signed up for this Christmas blog party over here http://prettypetals.typepad.com/ (not too sure how to put links in yet )which hopefully I'll be able to do a post for on the right day, it's tricky when you're at the bottom of the world in a completely different time zone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Make mine vintage!

Who would have thought I'd be neglecting my blog so soon! All I can say is that it's a very crazy time of the year...so many projects to finish before Christmas and every day a new idea pops up of something else to be made. And way too many friends of mine have birthdays in December. Yep, I know I do too, but at least mine's after Christmas!

Anyhow, here finally is a pic of the blocks I made for myself. I just love, love, love Daisy D's papers, so that's what I used for mine. They're sitting on our servery so I made sure they looked pretty all the way round.

And here's something else I used the Daisy D's papers for. I made these Christmas houses to sell so I wouldn't feel so bad about spending way too much money on all the papers!

The tin stars on top were from a wire garland-ish thing that was meant to go around a Christmas tree. I bought it a couple of years ago in an after Christmas sale and then never really liked it that much, thankfully it was exactly what I needed for these.

The houses were made with more offcuts from Freddy's factory. I got managed to get hubby to cut them into house shapes for me.

Was also selling these little lovelies at a market last weekend. A little girl came along, she would have been about 10 years old and she absolutely loved these little houses. She called her mother over to look at them and then later her father. Then both her parents together. Sad to say her parents were pretty disinterested and I was feeling really bad for her. However about half an hour later she returned with her mother to buy three of them. She said she had to have the library, she wanted a little row of them for the desk in her room. So I said she could have an extra one for free, the hapiness on that kid's face was priceless. I was pretty happy too, that someone loved something I had made just as much as I did.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Tis the Season!

For some reason it really does seem like it was just yesterday I was packing everything away from last Christmas. I'm sure my husband would say that's just because I have so much Christmas stuff that it does take a year to put it all away - ahh, the joys of living with a minimalist!
I helped teach the Mainly Music mums how to make these 'joy' blocks a couple of weeks ago. They're quite big 10cm x 10cm (4 x 4 inches). The letters on the front are wooden covered with scrapbooking papers. Very simple to make and a great decoration. I would have made more for my friends but I don't think there are any more J's, O's or Y's left in Auckland! This set was my prototype and I gave them away to someone less crafty. I have made myself a new set and will post a pic soon.

And here are some little blocks my sister-in-law commisioned me to make to send to her family in Canada.
These are only 4.5cm x 4.5cm (almost 2 inches) but they look rather cute. My biggest problem is finding letters that are cheap enough to make it worthwhile to make them.
I have plenty of ideas for other words...just need a man to chop the wood for the blocks...now that may take 'til Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The little crafter

My daughter never ceases to amaze me with her creativity, I guess it's in her genes. The other night she was larking about being a pirate when she suddenly ran inside and asked for the sticky tape and scissors. She grabbed some paper and all on her own started making pirate accessories. First she rolled a piece of paper into a telescope, then she cut out an eye patch and got her dad to attach a piece of string to it. Then I saw her trying to stick something on her shoulder only to find she'd drawn herself a parrot! Obviously the ultimate fashion accessory for any self respecting pirate.
Love, love , love the parrot!
Ah, yes...the (creative) force is strong in this one.

We almost had a crisis when she asked me to fold her a newspaper pirate hat. I couldn't find any newspaper. Luckily 'tis the season for mega tonnes of junk mail and I found a brochure with big enough pages for a hat. She didn't believe it would work because it wasn't real newspaper but was pretty happy with the result and we heard plenty of, "arrrr, me hearty's" until bedtime.
Oh and by the way, the only reason she's into pirates is because her brother watched nothing but 'Pirates of the Carribean' dvd's for months. She was completely fascinated and is always asking about Davy Jones heart!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The smallish things in life!

The other day I was at my friend Frederica's work. Freddy and her husband own a factory that makes acoustic tiles. I was sitting at her desk - a great place to sit because they have a lolly jar right there - when I spied what looked like a lovely white frame but which turned out to be an acoustic tile. I asked if I could take one home, Freddy looked at me like I was crazy (but she really knows that I am anyway) and said of course I could take as many as I wanted.

The next day was Freddy's birthday so I turned that tile into a frame full of little bits'n'pieces. It was great fun finding little things to put in it.
A couple of close-ups.

I was a bit worried that Freddy would look at it and just see an acoustic tile but she almost cried when she saw it! We both have dollhouses and tiny things are very important to us!

I didn't actually have to buy anything to put in it I had all that stuff! I just love it when I use up stuff I already have, it means I can justify buying more. I was going to put little furniture in it but the spaces are only 3.5 cms square (that's not quite 1 and a half inches) and a lot of the tiniest furniture just wouldn't fit. But I'll find a way. Next I have to make one for Liberty and maybe all her cousins will be getting them for Christmas...and maybe mum would like one...

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Beginnings

Well, here we go! Finally after months of thinking about it I have a blog. Thanks to all the encouragement from Autumn and inspiration from the many fabulous blogs I visit.

Many (far too many) years ago I read a quote from Theodore Roosevelt which said,"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." That quote has stuck with me and really sums up most of the crafty things I do.

My father-in-law recently gave me a huge bag of parquet flooring that he hadn't used in the house he had just sold. I have a dollhouse (more about that another time!) and he thought the small strips of wood may have been useful for making miniatures. After a few days these little number houses are what I came up with. I've put magnets on the back of them but they can also be blu-tacked on to the wall.

And here they are on the wall in my daughter's room. She's four years old and just loves them.

And here's a close-up. You can probably tell I'm a scrapbooker but more about that in the future too!
Sometimes I even surprise myself with what I come up with! I couldn't believe how cute these turned out.

So hopefully with this blog I'll be able to inspire a few more people to do what they can, with what they have. It's really all about having fun and making pretty things!