Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmasy Goodness

This year I've been completely inspired by all of you bloggers out there are super handy with the sewing machine and more so by those who pledged to not buy clothing but rather make it themselves and where possible, to make it with previously loved clothing or fabric.

Whilst I am certainly nowhere near the skill level required to be making something that I can wear, I thought I would apply the philosophy behind the pledge to the Christmas presents I intended to give.

I have felt for a while now that I had become almost clinical about Christmas gift buying.
I would ask a family member, friend etc what they would like, or I surreptitiously figured out what I thought they could be needing and I'd get it for them.

No problem there really, but, I felt I was missing the 'spirit' bit.

I decided that this year I would be giving 'bags of home made goodness'.

So, I went to many thrift shops and found 'stuff'.
Old table cloths, bed sheets, strange pieces of strapping, doilies, cotton thread, curtains...the works *.

I thought I'd try my hand at chutney making.
A lot of tears were shed owing to the mountain of onions that were chopped, so much so I resorted to wearing my daughters swimming goggles to get the job done with my fingers intact.

A squillion hours of measuring, cutting, sewing (& unpicking!) a wee bit of swearing, chopping, 'mortar and pestling', simmering, and jar sterilising later....

And Here you have...
'Bags of home made goodness'.

Inside each Home Made bag there will be an Apron, an Oven Mitt, Three jars of Chutney (a jar of Apple & Mango for curry, a jar of spicy tomato and a jar of timid tomato) and a bottle of Worm wee (for the garden's consumption - I must remember put that on the label!)

So there it is, my Christmas bags of home made goodness.
The sewing is far from perfect, in fact each sewn item has it's own special 'nuance'!
But I am really happy with them all.
There's a bit less landfill now (hopefully) and I feel like I am 'giving'.
And that makes me feel ace.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, stay safe.


* All fabrics were washed once they arrived at Pippiwillow

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Creative Space - Love Stuff

The word alone can summon all manner of emotion which can translate into many forms of physical expression.

The butterflies in your belly because you're 'in love', the heart wrenching ache when your 'Love' is unrequited and a quiet warm knowing of 'I am loved'. There are many kinds of love.

My friend is soon to marry the man that she loves.
She love love loves him and wants everyone to know, and wants her 'people' whom she/they hold closest to witness the formalising of this love by the guy in the suit.

My friend wants me to sing for them.......
However, she has left the choice of song up to me. Not the easiest task really as there are just so many.
So dear bloggers I am asking you -
"What is your choice of love song?"
I am seeking ideas, the song can be whatever you like, whatever makes you think 'love'.

At my wedding, our friend sang for us 'First Day of My Life' by Bright Eyes. (Please indulge yourself, click on the link and spend three minutes smiling and feeling your heart bubble about in your chest - you'll smile I promise).
Ours was not your usual 'wedding type song'.. But that was our choice we loved and still love it.

I seek song ideas of all styles, types, genres - At best I will have a guitarist to accompany me, at worst I will be A cappella.

So please please please help me and let me know what you have in your "love song cupboard'.

I really need some help with this.

Cheers & I hope your day is full of LOVE
Scoot on over to Kirtsy's today to see who else has things to show and tell today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Productive Weekend

The 'renovation to do list' is being heartily undertaken over here at ours.
We have three months in which to cross off an ever increasing list of 'things to do' prior to us moving out and on to a whole new place.

For five years I have thought about paving a pathway to our side gate and I have now been collecting bricks from deconstructed houses for two.

These 6 days off have been very productive for both the Mr and I, with both of us feeling that we have achieved and that our energy expenditure and fluctuating stress and problem solving (or not solving) levels have been justified.

Quite a while ago I 'built' this house - see below.

I 'paved' a pathway to lead this wee family into their house.
Although I was/am not an expert I figured I could the real thing (paving) a go.

"Why not" I thought, "it is just a different medium".....
  • Sixty five besquillion bricks all moved and put into place
  • An uncountable number of all over body jiving "eeeeek get that bloody red back spider off my hand/arm/boot/pant leg type dances"
  • The shovelling and stirring of cement and sand, the endless sweeping - back sweeping-side sweeping of said sand/cement mixture (yes, all you folks in the know, I cheated and swept it into the cracks!)
  • one broken broom and
  • an unbelievably sore back later....
Bloggers, friends, countrywomen.....I had a dream ... and I have achieved
THIS - all by MYSELF...YAY!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Creative Space-What Logo?

This week I have been ridiculously busy.
Too much working and not nearly enough sewing.
You know those times when you cant think 'where do I start' because you've already go so many things/projects on the go you can't really remember where to pick up again?

This is one of those times.

My head space is simply bursting with the 'to be done' list.

There is the Christmas things, fixing/mending things, just because I want to things, the knitting things (which sadly I have not yet even completed one 'bowl) and of course the practice 'something that I could possibly one day wear thing'.

Not forgetting the 'working away from home thing' that is really hindering my chance of actually achieving completion of any of these 'things'.

I have however, had time for a bit of this...

I won't rant again, I promise, but I thought I'd show you all the result of the question I posed some time ago.
A pre-emptive apology for the dodgy photography here..

And after going through another bag of 'hand me downs' (oh thank you ever re-cycling circle of clothing ) I found some clothes that would fit my small girl but, they needed a bit of a change...

Ta da....

And finally, whilst working away from home has it's down side, I still get to leave the lounge room looking like this

for me to return to and attempt to pick up where I left off.

This is my new (all be it temporary away from home creative space, filled with the makings of Christmas gifts - which by the completion of the huge Christmas creations task I have set my self - will all be made from thrifted table cloths and other thrifted's a deceptively 'organised yet chaotic' workspace in progress.

Head over to Kirsty's to see who else has 'things' to show and tell this week.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Creative Space - Knitted & Felted nest of bowls

My very clever friend Sam is not only a wonderfully kind, caring and compassionate woman but is also now my knitting teacher (that's her hands below showing me what to do).

You see I have sat back here in my land of Pippiwillow, needle felting, sewing with wool felt and more recently playing with and trying to befriend the sewing machine.

All the while watching, with ever greening eye all of you very clever knitters out there.

I have only ever attempted to knit a scarf and I needed my Mum to 'assist' me (which actually means to cast on, off and to sort out all of the dropped stitches-I love my Mum.)

I've always fancied the idea of being able to knit stuff, it seems relaxing, it's very transportable and I shouldn't really cause myself too many injuries with a knitting needle (as opposed to the dry felting needle-stabbing of my fingers type injury I normally sustain).

Sam has been knitting these.

After proudly coming over to play (chat) and to show me her almost completed project I decided I wanted in.

I wanted to learn too.

So, armed with a shopping list I went to the wool shop and purchased
1. The wrong sized double pointed 4 pack of knitting needles.
2. Not enough wool to complete the entire set.

However, I did remember to buy wool that is NOT for the washing machine - so that it would felt. (oh thank you other very clever friend who reminded me that the local school with the Steiner stream was having their school fete this past weekend - this is where I got to buy my wool from!)

Whilst I am away this week I have decided to try to finish my first of seven knitted bowls.

I will also try to start some of the other sewing projects that ought be done prior to the night before the big red fella comes down the chimney.....

Have a lovely week, & hop on over to Kirsty's to see who else has stuff to show and tell this week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My (no sentences on my kids please) Creative Space

Our dislike of branded things here at our place is not a new topic of conversation for this blog.
I haven't opened up this can of worms before though..

My children are beautiful, your children are beautiful.
Why then do people produce items of clothing such as this?

The sexualisation of children well before their natural time, the marketing 'genius' of mass production and big business, allowing our precious children to be exposed to situations and conversations that they can not possibly understand and societies idea of what is 'good looking'.

Where/when/why did it all go so pear shaped.

When did the average age for girls to stop playing with dolls go from 10-11 to 6!

My small girl came in to our bedroom the other day absolutely bursting with pride because she had dressed herself.

Orange and white stripy dress, purple long sleeved T-shirt, rainbow coloured tights, black 'outside working boots' and a woollen rainbow beanie.
I was so happy because she was so happy. I could see how proud she was of her effort - we previously were needing to help with the pulling of the top over the head bit or the tights.. but not today.

"It's because I'm four" replied my small girl when I asked her how she did it all by herself.

Then, right in the middle of my heart almost bursting with singsong happiness my small girl positioned her body in the "model on red carpet stopping for photo shoot" pose, stuck out her tiny bot' and asked "do I look sexy Mummy?"

The world stopped, I could hear in slow motion, my heart sped up to one bazillion beats a minute and my face fell.


She saw my face go from utter joy and elation to disbelief, fright and finally anger. It was as physical as it was emotional and I couldn't stop it.
I was not and am not angry with her, let me clarify that point right now.

How did she learn such a phrase? How did she learn the pose?
I asked the question and she simply said "the Telly".......

We don't let them watch commercial TV, they are only allowed a very finite amount of time watching ABC!!! and even that is on a rare occasion.
How far off "our" plan for raising our kids have we gone since we swapped roles and I went to work full time?
Undo it.
Take it back.
Erase those images and ideas from my daughters head. She is only four years old.

So when we are asked why we don't like clothes with sentences or why the TV will not be on in the presence of my kids - I feel quite justified in giving my answers - even more so now.

I haven't decided what to do to this yet - it was a gift for the small girl for her fourth birthday.

I do like the bird print though.
Any ideas?

Head over to Kirsty's for more creative spaces this week - and you'll likely find blogs about creating beautiful things rather than an anti slogan rant!

Thank-You - this has been quite cathartic.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My (Bon Voyage) Creative Space

I work away from home - A LOT. My beautiful family come and stay with me sometimes - which is pure joy for me whilst they are there.

With all of this trekking up and down highways going on I have seen all manner of travelling luggage.

I got to thinking about the small peoples travelling luggage. We are not 'fans' of branded stuff here at our place which, made getting some 'kids' type luggage really tricky.
So, off to the "Op-Shop' I went.

We found some suitable sized suitcases (big enough for a four day trip & easy enough to 'play with').

I then found my stash of bed spreads and got cutting...... and gluing.

I love these cases now and so do the kids.

They will often 'pack' them and go travelling around the house and garden until they arrive at their desired destination....

Whilst not resolving the 'Mummy working away from home issue', at least the kids now have some seriously funky travelling gear.
Head over to Kirsty's to see what everyone has to show and tell today.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Re-Fashioned Crocheted Cardigan

Like many of you, I really like having the 'time' to go 'Op -Shopping' (which actually means..'not having the kids with me so I can peruse my wee heart out, without fear of one of them - or me, having a meltdown in the shop).

I spied it from across the room and knew that I must buy it.
A bright purple Crocheted Cardigan!
I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with a massive bright purple crocheted cardigan.

It was woollen and heavy. Someone made this! Someone took the time, passion and energy to make it. Someone who liked the colour purple and flowery perfume.*

After seeing so many re-fashioning posts on many blogs and enquiring as to how this was done I had a vague understanding of the 'you just start cutting & don't be scared approach'.

I knew eventually I would do something to it but, for now I was lacking the 'creative vision' that was required. I felt that I should at least have a plan for this fabulous purple creation given the energy it took an unknown person to make it.

Whilst I may have been (at this point) lacking 'creative vision', I wasn't lacking a washing machine, several tennis balls and pairs of thongs.

So, the massive bright purple crocheted cardigan was felted - it required two 'sessions' to get it done and then when I cut off the arms I realised they needed their own special extra 'session' in the felting machine, as they started to unravel!

I am still working away from home several days a week, and this week I decided it was time to do something to this cardigan ..

The arm holes were too tight now for me to wear as a cardigan so I cut them off.

After the felting process it was too short now so I cut the arms along the length and attached them to the bottom of the cardigan. I like the 'choppy chunky' look of the reverse seam along the base.

The centre buttons came off in the washing machine so I didn't need to think about those.
It was clear this was going to be a vest and I wanted the centre closed.

I took the section at the back - the bit that attached at the sides and drew in the waist at the back (so sorry, I clearly am lacking the correct term for this bit). Anyway I sewed that down the front to join the two sections together.
I removed the pocket 'flaps' as I figured it was looking fairly 'bulky' by now and did't want to add to it.

The back of the cardi'/vest was still quite plain and it wasn't fitting snuggly around my mid bits.
I could hear the wise words of women who have inspired and encouraged me to try re-fashioning and so, with heart in mouth I 'just had a go'.

Here is the end result. I think I like it although, it is a little odd but aren't we all!
Today it is getting a public wearing. I shall keep note of the odd looks I receive.

I am venturing off to work again today for several days and I have been given homework to complete in the vain attempt to improve my relationship with the sewing machine and actually - eventually create something that I can wear.
I'm hoping for an 'A'!

* I am sorry, I forgot to take a pre-felting and pre arm removal photograph.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My (small girl's) Creative Space

My beautiful small girl has been watching me create 'stuff' for her entire four years now.

In the lead up to her birthday she requested a "sewing box with cottons and needles for sewing and we can do sewing and you can show me".

So as the fourth birthday approached we went out and found the sewing box of her choosing.

I then filled it with some tapestry wool of varying colours, some plastic 'needles', safety scissors and sequins (apparently they are very much needed by 4 yo girls, I am still not sure why).

Upon the first request to do some sewing I asked the small girl to draw what ever she liked on to a piece of felt, she drew her family.
Small girl, Mummy, small boy, the Mr and the dog*

Threading the needle... This proved a wee bit tricky for little fingers so I 'helped'.

SO with the drawing or 'outline' on the felt I set about with great enthusiasm showing her how to 'sew'.
Poke the needle in, push it through and pull the wool through....anyway you get the idea.

I notice my child's eyes have glazed over, a vacant stare revealing her disinterest, her mind taking her away on some other not so boring kind of adventure.... until she spies the pot of sequins....Shiny, coloured, sparkly teasing alluring sequins.

It was at this time she proceeded to lick them and stick them on her face, arms and legs...

There is now a daily requst to do some 'sewing', which naturally, involves playing with sequins.

I am sure I know who will be completing the 'family picture' for the small girl's first sewing adventure.

Head over to Kirsty's to see who else has some creative 'stuff' to show and tell.


* The dog (Graeme) is the six legged creature, second from the left.
By the way... the picture above is small girl "knitting"

Tea Set Luck

Quite a while ago now I stumbled across a great blog called Dragonfly Interiors I was lucky enough to find it on the day they were having a 'give away'.

'Uber' lucky as it turned out as, I won this oh so lovely tea set.

My daughter still thinks it it for her to 'play' with and can't quite understand why I say that "at this point it is mine to 'play' with".

Thanks again to both Karen and Patsy.

Head over to Karen's blog or web site to see the great items that she imports from both Vietnam and Thailand.

Items such as these and many many more.

With Karen's dragonfly obsession in mind I made her this.....

And Patsy will get this.....

and I clearly need a new 'chuck it in the bag handy camera as this wee one no longer will focus!

Have a great day.


*** Apologies for earlier posting without checking to see if it had all 'worked'...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Creative Space - Formula Tin Toy

Gift giving always makes me feel good.
I feel even better when I have made the gift and I feel especially really good when I have made from re-cycled stuff.
For my Son's first Christmas I made him a toy.

I had noticed that he was getting to that "posting" stage of development e.g. putting things into holes, slots, DVD/CD players that don't naturally go there...

Christmas was fast approaching and still I had made nothing for him.

With the 'postings' in mind and bread in the video player, an idea found me.

I got a formula tin from my friend.

I got the older Sister to do some painting.

Inked and stamped their feet on to the dried painting.

Put a protective clear plastic self adhesive coating onto the painting and attached it to the tin.

I cut a circular hole in the lid.

Purchased a bag of wooden dolly pegs

And finally I advised the Mr that it would be a more meaningful gift for our Son if we were to both (be up late at night as the children slept dreaming of all things Christmas) be painting the pegs.

My Son has just had his second birthday, he still loves this toy as does our daughter. It gave him loads of pleasure picking up the dolls, turning them right way up and then dropping them into the hole...Magically disappearing! Picking them up, turning them right way up(an interesting little trait of his that things must be 'right way up') and putting them into the hole.... and repeat..

The look on his face was/is priceless.
Developmentally, this toy will help build hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills, reasoning and more.

But basically it is fun, easy, and kids love it.

Hop on over to kootoyoo and see who else has some creative stuff to show n' tell.