Sunday, 16 March 2008

A wreck of a week!

Oh dear! This past week has been an utter trainwreck!

It took until Thursday night for Elliot to have a proper sleep - his naps and sleeps had been a nightmare since Tuesday. Mostly this was because of playgroup on Tuesday mornings. It's been getting worse each week, and I should have been more aware of the effects of stuffing up E's nap routine each week. Sadly, I have put in my resignation. It's for the best, but that doesn't stop me being really sad about what could have been a grouse year of facilitating one of our church's four playgroups. :(

So we went for a retreat to our old hometown of Shep this weekend.

I found a discarded local paper and a map of the town, and we mapped out all the garage sales. We ended up trawling about 13 garage sales in all, and brought home some bargains.

We didn't really get to go op-shopping because Andrew had to go off to buy some stuff for Scouts and I was stuck with E, our god-kids, and their maimed, sooky dad. (Don't worry, it's self-inflicted. Scarification which got infected. Yuk!) I only got half a dozen things, but at least I got the details of all 8 op shops in town. I'll be posting my beginnings of a list of the op shops of regional Victoria soon.

We also went to Treasure and Trash where I was able to get a few sewing supplies from the same lady as last time.

I'll post some pics of our awesome haul in the next few days.

For now I must apologise for having done no sewing at all. I have had the most rotten week (sleep-deprived 18 month old does not a happy mummy make). That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. It didn't help that I had reason to try out my whole cloth pad stash. They work wonderfully, BTW, but I have only just enough. I had to wash them every night. Perhaps I'll make another half a dozen. I discovered that I think everyone should be wearing velour knickers. So comfy!

I will be continuing last week's goals to this week. I have been rejuvenated by a much-needed trip home (yes, I still call Shep home after 7 years in the big smoke) and E went easily to sleep at 8pm, so I think we're in for an excellent week.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

March - the plan for Week 2

Week 2 of 'Sewing from Scratch'

I plan to design:
Continue designs for living room cushions.
Finish pattern for E's funky cotton pants. getting there

I plan to make:
2 nappies (green cotton velour and hemp terry, from my own pattern).
2 pads/liners (perhaps try another different pattern).
2 gifts (I know what I have in mind, but again, I can't tell until the gifts are given).
One pair of funky cotton pants for E (a la above design plan). done
Something small and fun for me (I think I need some fabric pampering for moi right now).

I'll check in on this again next weekend. Ciao.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

March Mini-Challenge: Week 1

A blow-by-blow account of the past week...

Today I learnt to use my bias binding foot (I've only had it about 6 months, LOL) and it is super-easy. I need to be able to sew bias binding for a few projects I have in mind.

Today I replaced dead leg elastic in a second-hand BBH hemp nappy, following this tutorial. This nappy has been sitting around for probably close to 12 months waiting for me to fix it. Procrastination rears it's ugly head yet again.

I finished altering pattern for my liners. Nagged DH into snapping my flanny liner (see March 2). Made one candy pink cotton velour liner from the same pattern with 2 hidden layers of bamboo. Noice!

It works out much prettier to have the layers hidden. I just didn't put a seam allowance on the bamboo layers, and sewed them onto one of the velour layers before sewing the two velour layers together. Then I topstitched. Confused yet?

Got nothing done today due to sooky child who took hours to get to sleep.

Snapped Monday's liner, but got nothing done due to still-sooky child. Bad day. :(

Today I made 3 more candy pink cotton velour liners, these ones with a single layer of hemp fleece inside.

One of those is a gift for Dinnae for helping me learn to make nappies. I wrapped it in some apple green cotton velour for a nappy for her in-tum bubba. I made the card myself too.

Started making a flanny nappy from my own pattern, which I altered extensively just before cutting.

Today I finished making my first nappy from my own pattern. It is quite narrow at the front crotch, because I am sick of nappies bunching up in the front on skinny little Elliot. It also has a shorter rise than most of our nappies. It is a simple "inside/outside flanny, hidden layer of terry" kind of nappy. It will have a flanny-topped bamboo booster (again made from old BBH boosters).

I gave Dinnae her pressie (see Thursday) and she loved it. She offered me back the ribbon and the envelope because of the Consumption Challenge. I had a hard time not laughing at her! Gee, it's great when your friends support your crazy schemes.

I made some green cotton velour pads with 2 layers of hemp terry (old Jamtots prefold) in each. They're made from this pattern, and it's longer on one end than the other, which you could put facing forwards or behind, depending on what you want/need.

So this is what they look like unsnapped and snapped up. Nice and comfy. I'll be making more of these for sure.

So, how did I go?
Planned: 2 nappies.
Done: 1 nappy, still in testing phase before altering pattern again.

Planned: 6 liners/pads.
Done: 5 liners/pads. I stuffed the last one up. Oops!

Planned: 2 gifts.
Done: 1 gift.

Planned: Design cushion covers and E's pants.
Done: A little cushion designing, but no pants designing.

I didn't actually meet my goals for the week, but I used to have a teacher who said, "If you aim for nothing you are sure to hit your mark". Think about it for a sec. It's really true. I'm glad I aimed high and got heaps done, rather than not setting goals and getting nothing done (a la last month).

I'll be back tomorrow to write up my goals for the coming week. I have a ripper headache and I'm toddling off to bed. G'night!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Books, glorious books

I thought I'd have a little chatter about some fun books I've been reading lately.

This first one I actually bought the other week. *shock* Bought it? Well, I received a bookshop voucher for Christmas. I had $80 to spend, and it had to be spent within 12 months, so I bought a pilates DVD (my osteopath recommends pilates to develop core strength) and this book. I'm quite sure that spending a book voucher is not in contravention of the Challenge, so there!

DK's 'The Complete Book of Sewing' is just lovely. It covers everything from the uses of different bottons, threads and sewing machine feet, to really complicated stuff like making piping and inserting boning. It really is a 'complete' book. I have referred to it heaps already, and it has been making my pad and nappy sewing easier and more professional looking.

Elliot was given this next book for his first birthday by our minister and her husband. Actually, she wasn't our minister at the time, she was somewhere between being our interim minister and our real minister. How should I explain that, Kiwwi? Not that it's relevant, but I am in a waffling mood. I've been reading too many waffly blogs this morning.

'Joseph had a little overcoat' is a book about a man who has an overcoat which becomes 'old and worn' so he makes a vest, then a scarf... He turns it into a number of things as the preceding item of clothing becomes patched and frayed. I won't spoil the ending for you. It won a Children's Book award, so I will assume you can find it in the library. I like it when Elliot asks me to read this book because 'Joseph' is worthy of 'refashionista' status. How many people have refashioned something five or six times?

And finally I will rave about a book I have not read, but am picking up this afternoon from the library.

'Softies: 22 friends for you to sew, knit and crochet' looks utterly devine. I can't wait to see what sorts of treasures I will be inspired to create from this for my March Mini-Challenge. I saw it on some blogs, so I checked out my local library. They had it in the HQ list (items which are new and about to be put on shelf) so of course I put a hold on it and am about to be the first borrower! Hurrah!

Speaking of the library, I have found it to be even more useful that I could imagine. There are so many books, cds and dvds in their 8 libraries. They also have a library bus which comes to places which are pretending to be country towns, such as my town. I hop on the internet, put holds on everything I fancy, and wait for the emails to arrive, telling me that my books are patiently awaiting my adoption. I am currently 9th in the que for a pilates DVD. That is an improvement on the 11th that I started at. That is why I bought a DVD with my book voucher.

Tell me about some books you have been finding fun and useful during your Challenge. I would love to hear some good recommendations.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

March Mini-Challenge - off and running!

My March Mini-Challenge is "Sewing from Scratch".

As per ColdCloth's advice, I am setting myself some weekly targets and regularly reviewing them. Thanks for all the encouragement on my dismal Feb Mini-Challenge.

Before I get to this week's goals, I want to show you some of the sewing I've been doing in the past few days...

The left one is a pocket-style pad, outer made of an old flanny pillowcase, and a fold-up hemp fleece booster cut from an old hemparoo (GK pocket nappy insert). I bought a packet of snaps at a recent garage sale. Very handy. I found the pad pattern here.

The right one is a liner made of the same pillowcase, and with a single layer of the hemparoo in the middle contour-y thing-o. I haven't put snaps on it yet. Found the liner pattern here. I didn't make it quite right and I have plans to alter it some more to make it exactly how I want it.

Week 1 of 'Sewing from Scratch'

I plan to make:
2 nappies (one flanny, one green cotton velour and hemp).
6 pads/liners (mix of flanny and velour, probably changing the pattern each time until I settle on a design I really like). 3 made so far.
2 gifts (I have some designs drawn up for some pressies for some friends/friends' kids, but they read this blog so I can't actually say what I'm making or for whom until after I've finished and the gifts have been received. One made so far.

I plan to design:
Finish designs for living room cushions.
Finish pattern for E's funky cotton pants (a la WIP list).

This may seem like a lot of stuff to do with an 18 month old running around, but I am doing more in the evenings, and I am learning how to do more stuff while the E-man plays around me. I can draw my designs while he scribbles with crayons, I can measure and cut while he watches Playschool. The only thing I can't do is sew (or put snaps in). He really wants to play with the pretty light-up buttons which beep on my sewing machine. Maybe if I use my ancient sewing machine without lights and beeps and buttons...

Saturday, 1 March 2008


I'm heading off on a nappy sewing expedition right now, and I can't wait to show off my creations!

I have decided to make March's Mini-Challenge theme "Sewing from Scratch". I will be trying to avoid February's disaster by setting goals each week and reviewing them at the end of the week.

I'm the one with the goofy grin on the left. Sharon and Dinnae (pictured with Xavier) and I, spent hours sewing up a storm. Well, perhaps a storm in a teacup because we each only made one nappy. Dinnae was teaching us to make our own nappies. Very fun, but I wish I could contract out the elastic part.

Jack, Elliot and Xavier were playing happily while we sewed. Jack is 16 months old, Elliot is 18 months, and Xavier is 9 days older than Elliot. Jack and Xavier are both expecting baby brothers in the next few months.

Dinnae was kind enough to give us each a copy of her own nappy pattern (which X has since grown out of, LOL!) and we had a shot at that.

I used a flannel bedsheet outer and inner layers (recently op shopped with sock monkeys on them!!!), terry towelling hidden layer and 2 layer internal booster. I decided to sew, turn and topstitch rather than tempting fate by using D's overlocker. I also decided to put cross over tabs and laundry tabs on. Uses more velcro, but worth it, imho. Especially since E is such a skinny little thing.

I used hook and look closures (also op-shopped) and some swimwear elastic I bought new about 12 months ago for this exact purpose (but procrastination is my best friend).

I'm going to put in a sewn-in booster, made from some old BBH bamboo boosters. Some of my oldest BBH bamboos have died painful deaths (I got a bad batch of bamboo outers with the first 2 I bought and Davina was kind enough to send me replacements without wanting the old ones back). I will probably sew a flanny layer over the top of it, just to be cute.

Action shots coming tonight after the bum of truth gives it a test-run. I reeeeaaaallly hope it doesn't swim on him.

I'll be trying out my own pattern next. This adventure has given me some sewing confidence.