Monday, December 28, 2009

Sqashed finger update

We did take the squashed finger to the Doctor the day after Robert injured it. Doctor was happy enough with it and didn't have to do anything to relieve the pressure. Robert is using his finger without any problems. It just looks hideous. It looks far worse and more swollen than when we saw the Doctor. I keep checking it for signs of infection and so far everything seems to be fine on that count.

Makes me cringe!!
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

What did Santa bring for you?

T' was the night before Christmas,
I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.

Could it be fat quarter or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I said, with a smile on my face.

And that's when I heard him, "Hi Santa," I said.
"You know....good little girls should be in their beds ."

"I know I should Santa, and now I've got caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."

"Well, let's take a look in this room where you work."
He shook his head quickly, And left with a jerk.

I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear.
"You've got enough stuff, I'll see you next year!"

~Author Unknown

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Accident-prone child


Mum says that there is always one child in the family that is a magnet for disaster. My disaster-magnet son squashed his finger in the door on Wednesday. He still isn't using the finger. I guess if he is still not using it in a day or so I'll have to take him to the Dr.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ottobre 03/09 #21 "Little Fella Shirt" - take 2

Here is my second attempt at the Ottobre 03/09 #21 Little Fella Shirt. As you can see, Robert is delighted... and I am hoping it looks more 'business shirt' than 'pyjama shirt'!!

As with my first "Little Fella Shirt", this one is pretty roomy across the shoulders. Robert is a fairly slight build and I could probably do with going down a size across the shoulders ... however I'm just going to call it 'growing room' for the moment!

The instructions confused me with how to apply the collar binding. I actually finished this shirt off a bit differently to my first "Little Fella Shirt". This time around, I stitched the binding right through all layers, including the shirt back. (First time around I only stitched through the seam allowance, and not the shirt back). Stitching through the shirt back has given me a better finish, however I had to be very careful when sewing to avoid puckers.

Collar binding from the inside

Stitching from the collar binding.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saga of the Xmas Tree applique

I am making my niece a special pillow case for Christmas. My sister has suggested the pillow case can be slept on in the lead-up to Christmas, and then on Christmas Eve it can be left out for Santa to put gifts in.

The applique is my original design. It *should* have gone together like a dream.

My Mum has a rule of thumb for sewing ... if you hold your sewing at arms length and can't see the mistake, then in it is OK. Using Mum's rule the applique passes muster. However, I am rather irritated by the three things that went wrong, however I think most people simply wouldn't notice the issues and I am sure my niece will adore her gift just the same.

The first problem arose when I fused the applique shapes to the backing material. For some reason the Christmas Tree shape puckered up considerably. Thankfully the pattern of the fabric hides it.

The second problem is that my machine didn't like the metallic thread that much. While the front of the applique looks fine, the back looks like someone vomited metallic thread onto it. I'm a little concerned how the thing will hold up after it has been laundered a few times. It may be best if it isn't actually used to sleep on. (Plus I'm not sure how comfortable it would be to sleep on. The applique is quite stiff and the metallic thread a bit scratchy).

The third problem, which you can see above if you look closely, is that the colour from the red fabric has stained the beige fabric and the backing fabric. My fault. I should have pre-washed the fabric. The fabric for the applique is mostly scraps that I was given, and I had assumed it had already been pre-washed. Wrong!! I am now trying to work out if I can rescue it using some "Run Away" or if it will damage the other fabrics.

In the scraps that I was given I found some great little bits of Christmas fabric. Notice the beige "Peace on Earth" fabric, and the red fabric with green Christmas trees. They were both ideal for the project.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ottober 03/09 #21 - "Little Fella" shirt

I haven't blogged for a while as I've been busy sewing Christmas presents. Unfortunately you'll have to wait to see photos of those items!
There is something that I can show you....

Robert is delighted with his new shirt. Actually, he has been very enthusiastic about it right from the start. He chose the fabric and when I told him that I was going to make him a shirt, he gave my leg a bear hug and exclaimed "Geeeeee, thanks Mum!!!!!". (Mental note: make equal amount of boy and girl clothes in the future).

The pattern is from Ottobre Designs issue 03/2009 design #21 "Little Fella " shirt. It goes together like a dream and was quite quick to make. I'll certainly be making more.

The only problem I have had with the shirt is that the fabric appears to be bunching on his chest. He appears to stand with his shoulders hunched forwards, and I think that is causing the problem. (You can't really see the problem in these photos as the fabric is so busy). I might have to work out a suitable pattern adjustment and tweak the pattern.

And finally ... I have had to include this photo as it is so darn cute!! (And for those who are interested, Laura's new Ikea Expedit bookcase is shown in the background).
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Donkey Orchid applique - completed

Applique has been machine-embroidered on by dropping the feed dogs and guiding the fabric by hand. (And yes, all of the seams & border are straight ... it looks wonky from my bad photographic skills)

I am pretty happy with the result. Thankfully I was able to heat-set the fabric crayon at the same time as fusing the applique to the backing fabric. That was a big relief. If I do something like this again I'd:
a) use a different applique backing as the one I've used left a textured cross-hatch appearance to the fabric
b) use a small amount of dark crayon to better define the edges, and create more depth in the applique shapes.
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Donkey Orchid WIP - almost finished

The applique is fused in place but still requires either hand or machine embroidery.

I didn't have quite enough blue fabric so I added a yellow border to the block.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Donkey Orchid applique - WIP

I am currently making the November block for the VirtuallyBeQuilted quiting bee. This month I am being a bit ambitious....
I found a photo of a Donkey Orchid (native to Western Australia), which I edited in photoshop to create a 'pattern' for my applique.
Initially I was going to use multiple fabric scraps to build up the colours ... however I wasn't satisfied with the colours of my scraps. Instead, I have cut the orchid from a solid yellow and have then used fabric crayons to colour the fabric.

Here, the fabric is partially coloured with the crayons. Hopefully I'll finish the rest of the colouring tonight.
I may have one (rather large) problem... The fabric crayons need to be heat-set with the iron.... and the fabric flower pieces need to be adhered to the background fabric using my sticky applique backing. Hopefully I can do both of these things at the same time ... if not I'm going to have a disaster on my hands. (Why didn't I think of that *before* I began????)Posted by Picasa

Vintage fabric

This fabric originally came from Singapore and was given to my Mum quite a long time ago! Mum has very generously given it to me to make something with.
I am thinking of a tunic-style top. It does need some more thought.
As you can see, part of the fabric has been heavily beaded with wooden beads. There is also a number of metres of unbeaded fabric.

The beading will cover most of the shirt front as it covers a length of 16".
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Homade Hommus (Hummus)

Quite honestly, this is the BEST Hommus that I've EVER tasted.

I modified the recipe which I found here.

Here is my recipe:
8 oz dry chick peas (about 3 cups cooked)
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking liquid from the chick peas (add more if required)
garnish with olive oil & paprika

Pick over the chickpeas, removing foreign objects and chickpeas that are black. Add chickpeas to the pressure cooker and cover with a few inches of warm water. Soak the chickpeas for at least an hour.

Lock the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure (refer to your manual for more information). Cook for 20minutes at pressure, then turn off the temperature and let the pressure cooker depressurise naturally.

Drain the chickpeas and reserve the cooking liquid. Place the cooked chickpeas and all other ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth and velvety. Add extra cooking liquid if required.

To serve the hommus: Place it in a bowl, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Paprika.

My kids love dipping salad vegetables in Hommus, so I think this recipe will become a staple in our house. It will be used for school lunches frequently!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gracie's Garden - quilt

Made to honor the memory of Gracie. Butterflies are sometimes used to represent the soul of the departed. I chose pink and purple for Gracie.

It feels good to have completed the quilt. It was therapeutic for me. I sewed ... and cried ... and sewed some more. I hope it provides a small amount of comfort to Gracie's parents. They don't have many physical reminders of her.

I forgot to take photos before posting the quilt, so these are some 'in progress' photos. I bound it in the same purple as I used for the butterfly.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

C25K - Week 4

I'm up to Week 4 of the Couch to 5km running program. I'm pretty pleased with myself as for the last 3 weeks I've gone running every second day. I have a bit of a love/hate thing with the running. As I was running today I was thinking "I really don't enjoy running ... I'm doing it for the exercise and the sense of achievement, rather than because I love it for what it is". However, it is now 2.5hours after my run and I'm feeling great. Invincible. On top of the world. It is a nice feeling.

I must say that I did find the first session of Week 4 a little challenging. The number of minutes running have doubled compared to Week 3. The program today was:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then
Jog 3 minutes
Walk or 90 seconds
Jog 5 minutes
Walk 2-1/2 minutes
Jog 3 minutes
Walk 90 seconds
Jog 5 minutes - walked about 1/3 of this

The total minutes of running has doubled compared to last week ... and the longest run has increased from 3 minutes to 5 minutes.

I'm glad I've done the first session of Week 4. It was a bit of a mental battle, but I now have a wonderful sense of achievement and am (I think) looking forward to session 2.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gracie's quilt

For little Gracie, who never saw a flower grow.

Grace Erica 18/10/2009 - 19/10/2009
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Monday, October 12, 2009

October's block

I've been piecing a block for Bec for October's Virtually BeQuilted (an online quilting bee). Inspiration this month was the following Japanese print.

And here is my design. It was so much fun to make! I think I'll have to make another one of these for myself.

And a closeup of the detail on the kimono.

The applique pattern came from the "Print for Free" section of Ottobre Designs. The PDF of the applique wasn't large enough so I took a "Print Screen" (ALT + Prt Scr), pasted it into Photoshop and resized it as needed.

Almost surviving a Dr appointment

Visiting the family doctor with three children in tow is never easy. Actually, it is one of the few things that hasn't become any easier as the kids have gotten older. I am sure there will be a time when doctor trips are a breeze ... we just aren't there yet.

Today was worse than usual.

Robert has been complaining of a sore tummy for 4 days. It didn't seem to be that bad and we thought it would pass ... however he was crying in pain this afternoon and I decided that I'd better get him to the Dr pronto. I jagged an appointment timeslot which gave me 15 minutes to get to the Doctor's Surgery. Just possible, even with two crying children and a 5-year-old asking a stream of questions.

We'd just settled into the waiting room when Laura announced she needed to go to the toilet. Did I mention she was sitting on my lap? You guessed it ... 1 second warning before she and I were soaked. I abandoned everything (older kids & handbag included) and sprinted for the toilets. Yes, I had a change of clothes for Laura ... but not for me.

THEN the Dr came looking for us while I was cleaning Laura up. Ruby told him we were in the toilets ... so he skipped directly to the next patient. We waited and waited ... and Laura needed to do another wee ... and we didn't make it in time for that one either ... and when I was cleaning her up after Incident#2 the Dr called as again ... and as we were in the toilet he once again skipped us and went to the next patient!!!!!!!!!!!

Cutting the long story short. I hung about at the Dr for about an hour with wee-soaked jeans. During that time the 3 kids made 5 (yes, five) trips to the toilet and we missed the Dr twice.

And the outcome of the sore tummy?

An ear infection in each ear with the pain transferring down to his tummy.

Brown Rice Patties recipe & Menuplan Monday

Brown Rice Patties - vegetarian recipe

4 oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 oz margarine
3/4 cup cooked rice (hot) (approximately 1/4 cup dry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated cheese
2 eggs
1 finely diced onion
herbs to taste

Separate egg yolks and whites. In a bowl, mix egg YOLKS, margarine, rice, soy sauce, grated cheese, onion and herbs. Shape into patties and coat with unbeaten egg white. Lightly oil a frying pan. Cook patties in frying pan until brown all over.

Menuplan Monday

Last week was my first week back at menu planning after a rather long break. It went really smoothly and 'life' was a lot easier as I wasn't spending a lot of time thinking "What on earth are we going to eat??".

This week the two big kids are back at school and we our usual extra-curricular activities commence. PLUS, hubby is having his wisdom teeth surgically removed on Friday and will probably need some soft food for a while.

Baking: All-Bran Health Loaf

Lunches: I'll cook a Corned Beef in the pressure cooker. I am then going to make a heap of sandwiches (just with bread and meat) and freeze them. Then, on the day I use the frozen sandwich I'll add some fresh salad.

Monday: Brown Rice Patties (recipe above)

Tuesday: Meatballs - Still deciding on the recipe. Probably some type of Porcupine Meatballs.

Wednesday: BBQ Rump Steak & Coleslaw Salad
The kids have music lessons after school, so we need something quick and easy for dinner.

Thursday: Chicken & Vegetable Pie

Friday: Fish Cakes & Vegetables

Saturday: Macaroni Cheese Pie (should be suitably soft for hubby post-op)

Sunday: Leftovers

For other menu ideas, visit Organisation Junkie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Couch to 5km (C25K) - Week 1

Photo by Sean Dreilinger

Would you believe I've completed Week 1 of the C25K running program? Week 1 required that 3 times during the week I did a 5min walk, then alternate between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
The day after my first session was the worst. I could hardly move! I then spent over 4 hours walking around the zoo. It hurt. However, I think all of the walking helped as the following day I was feeling a lot better and managed to do the second session.
I also spent the weekend weeding the garden, which certainly wasn't going to help with the stiffness!
I have to say, I feel great. I started the week with a cold and a sore throat, but I pushed through that and I am now this is the healthiest I've feel in about a month. So far my dodgy knee is holding up and I a (mostly) looking forward to my next run.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fruit Slice recipe & Menu Planning

Photo by Ballookey

Fruit Slice recipe

220 grams Self-Raising Flour
120 grams Dessicated Coconut
220 grams Dried Fruit
140 grams White Sugar
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup
125 grams Butter or Margarine
1 large egg, beaten
4 tablespoons Icing Sugar
Juice from 1 Lemon

In a large bowl, mix the flour, coconut and dried fruit.
In a saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt together the sugar, golden syrup and margarine.
Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients. Add egg. Mix together and press into a
greased 25 cm x 28 cm slice tray.
Bake in a moderate oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Ice while warm.
To make the icing, mix icing sugar and lemon juice together.

Cool. Cut into fingers.
Note: This slice freezes well.

Menu Planning

Getting back on the menu-planning bandwagon.... The meal plan come together very quickly as everyone had an opinion on what they wanted to eat. A miracle! Generally they won't make suggestions and I have to come up with everything. This week is the last week of the school holidays. The kids will be going to day-care twice during the week and will need snacks and lunches. There will also be friends over for 'play dates' who will need feeding!

This week I'll be baking Fruit Slice.

Main Meals

Sausages, mash & vegetables

Roast Chicken, roast potatoes & carrots, broccoli - Jamie Oliver style with a whole lemon placed where the sun doesn't shine

Spinach Pie

Meat Pie with homemade shortcrust pastry - I've been trying to replicate the meat pie that my Nanna used to make. I remember delicious chunks of meat, carrots and peas in a delicious pastry case. Unfortunately she didn't use a recipe and I didn't get her to teach me her technique before she died. Last week I made a pie with homemade shortcrust pastry (following the CWA cookbook). I added random amounts of meat, veg and stock. It wasn't quite the same as Nanna's, so I'll make some modifications this week.

Spaghetti Bolognaise (pressure cooker)

my No Pastry Quiche - I'll do a filling of bacon, pumpkin and zucchini
Fish Cakes with lots of parsley :)

- Homemade Pizza
- Chicken & Avocado Sandwiches
- Chickpeas, salad & feta cheese
- Baked beans on toast
- Cheese & salad sandwiches
- Toasted cheese & tomato sandwiches with salad
- Homemade Foccacia

For more menu planning ideas head on over to “I’m an Organizing Junkie“.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October planning

Photo by Great Beyond

Over the last few months I've had the feeling that life has been getting away from me. I've been feeling stressed due to conflicting demands, such as work vs family and my personal time vs family needs. I feel that my time has been consumed by 'putting out fires' rather than being prepared for things in advance. It is clearly time to do some forward planning.

Tasks for October:

  • Meal planning & freezer restock

    Having meals planned out certainly makes cooking and shopping flow more easily. I will reinstate my weekly meal planning and I'll incorporate some meals which will help restock my freezer.

  • Exercise

    OK, I confess. I really don't enjoy exercising. This is one task that I always let slide. However, I know that I will feel better and have more energy if I start exercising, so I really must make time for it. I am going to do the "Couch to 5km" program (or C25K as it is commonly referred to). The Couch to 5km program is designed to get you from 'couch potato' to running 5km in 9 weeks. It uses interval training and there are a number of podcasts to support it. I'll be using Podrunner's "First Day to 5K" podcast to help me along.
    I did begin this program about a year ago, however I hurt my knee and couldn't continue. This time I'll take more care to stretch, and hopefully my ageing body will cope!

    Edited to add: I'm pleased to report that I have just completed my first C25K session :)

  • Balance between 'me time', 'family time', and 'partner time'

    This is a hard one. I guess it is something that will always be a bit of a struggle. Hopefully this forward planning will help rebalance things. I think I need to allocate certain evenings to certain tasks.

  • Christmas planning

    Each year I intend to be organised for Christmas, and each year it is a last minute rush and things (like Christmas cards) don't get done. This year I will spread the Christmas things out over the next few months.

  • Plan kids activities

    I need to increase the number of planned activities that I do with the kids. We have been doing the same old things too frequently and it is showing!

  • Reread & Implement- "Time Management for Manic Mums" by Alison Mitchell

    Time Management for Manic Mums is a book that I have found incredibly helpful in the past. It has some great ideas on prioritising your time and fitting things in between the children's demands.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unveiling R's block

R received her block this morning. I'm very impress with Australia Post ... they took less than 24 hours to deliver the letter.

I did have a lot of trouble with the centre point. I couldn't get all of the points to meet. One side is out be a few millimetres. I don't think it will be noticeable once the block is pieced together with all of the other blocks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Glimpse of R's block

Last night I completed R's block for the Virtually BeQuilted quilting bee. R hasn't seen them yet, and I can't spoil her surprise, so you'll have to wait for a little bit longer. I can, however, give you a little glimpse. Just a teeny tiny one.

I made the block using the technique of Foundation (Paper) Piecing. For those of you who don't know, it involves sewing your fabric to a piece of paper.

Part of the pattern for R's block. This element forms about 1/16th of the block.

When you use foundation piecing, your fabric is placed on the unprinted side of the paper (with the wrong side of the fabric touching the paper). You then 'flip' the pattern over, and sew from the printed side of the paper. The lines on the paper are your sewing line.

Two pieces of fabric pinned (right sides together) onto the foundation pattern.

There is a bit of an art to getting your fabric pieces in the correct position. I did have to do some unpicking before I got into the swing of things.

Sewing the first two pieces of fabric together. You can just see them peeking out from under the paper.

After sewing the seam from the printed side of the paper, you turn the paper so that unprinted side is up, trim the seam allowance, and press. Then the next piece of fabric is pinned onto the unprinted side of the pattern.

View from the unprinted side, after pressing.

Completed component, which still requires trimming.
Yes, there is some paper peeking out on the corners. In this case, it is OK as my paper pattern hadn't (yet) been trimmed to the correct seam allowance on the corners.

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