Monday, December 31, 2012

Craft Project a week: That's all folks!

I am so excited that I've actually followed through on the craft project a week challenge that I began at the start of the year.  It's been hard at times to get something made each week, especially when myself or the kids have been sick or there's been lots of other stuff going on.  There's also been times when I haven't really felt like pulling out the sewing machine yet again, but I've done it regardless.  And really, sewing does make me feel better when I get into it - it's just the getting started bit that's the hardest! 

So this is what I have made this year...

For Esme
2 shirred dresses
Shorts and top set
3 pinafores
2 pairs of flared pants
Patchwork skirt and top
1 pair of pyjama pants

For Jacob
1 pair of pants with cuffs
Applique t-shirt
Reversible sun hat
1 pair shorts with cuffs
1 pair of pyjama pants

For Gideon
2 pairs of pants with cuffs
1 pair of big butt pants
1 pair of up-cycled pants
3 appliqued tops
Reversible sun hat

For me
Patchwork skirt
1 pair of pyjama pants

Felt fishing set
2 felt farmhouse bag and animals
Owl finger puppets

Cross stitched dress
6 appliqued tops
Patchwork skirt and top
Shirred dress
1 pair pants with cuffs
3 pinafores
Kids' apron
4 appliqued wheatbags
4 wheatbags
Seatbelt covers

11 sets of sling suck pads
Sleeping set
Glasses case
Up-cycled apron
Granny squares
5 fairy skirts
Fairy wings
Christmas gift bags

Quite an impressive list when I look back on it.  I'm amazed and proud at what I've managed to achieve this year - even with our velcro baby who prefers to sleep in our arms rather than a bed!  It does help to have a supportive husband - I don't think I could have done it without him. 

So...what project to set myself next year??

Nah, I think I might actually have a year off!! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 52 of Craft Project a week: The Very Hungry Little Caterpillar

I've had these Very Hungry Little Caterpillar fabrics sitting in my cupboard for nearly a year now.  I knew I would use them one day but wanted to make sure it was for something special.  When a friend of mine posted some photos of pants she'd made using this big butt pants pattern and some Very Hungry Little Caterpillar fabric I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  A matching top was easy to make too.  I just cut out a circle of fabric with the caterpillar on and then appliqued it on to the t-shirt. 

The front of the pants - with all the fruit lined up

The back of the pants - the Very Hungry Caterpillar
And I can't possibly finish this post without a photo of that big butt in question. The pants are still a little long but he'll grow into them.  It's great to have a pair of pants that fit nicely over a cloth nappy!

Cashew nut cream

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Cashew nut cream is an all round favourite in our house.  We use it as a sweet dip for fruit and as a replacement for yoghurt and cream seeing Jacob can't have dairy.  It's amazing how yum it is with just a few simple ingredients.   

Cashew Nut Cream 

115g raw cashew nuts
125ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1/2-1tsp natural vanilla extract, or to taste

Soak the nuts and 1/2tsp of salt in a bowl of water overnight at room temperature.
Strain the nuts and rinse well.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth (the thermomix is great for getting it really smooth!) Adjust the sweetness with maple syrup and vanilla, as desired.  The cashew nut cream will keep for a week in the fridge.

Recipe originally from Jude Blereau's 'Wholefood for children'. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Apricot balls

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Apricot Balls

2 cups cashews
1/4 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g dried apricots
1 tbsp coconut oil
extra coconut for dusting

Place cashews, coconut, vanilla and apricots into thermomix.  Blend until finely ground (about 1 minute on speed 6) 
Add the coconut oil and mix until it comes together.
Roll into small balls and dust with coconut

The wire comes out.

Looking at this finger you'd never guess that anything had happened to it!  But this is the same finger that, six weeks ago, got stuck in a bike chain and ended up with a deep cut and fracture that needed to be fixed surgically.  I have neglected to update on here what happened though. Almost two weeks after the initial surgery Gideon managed to get his cast off.  When we went the outpatient appointment two days later it was discovered that the bone had actually moved back to the wrong spot.  So Gideon couldn't straighten his finger. 

There was much debate by the surgeons about whether anything could be done.  The problem was that it was now two weeks past the inital surgery and the bones might have already fused together.  Then there was the problem that even if they hadn't that it might be impossible to find the piece of bone that had come off especially given the size of an 18 month old's finger!  We were told it was going to be like 'looking for a needle in a haystack'.  Eventually they decided that it was worth the risk of more surgery in order that his finger might have full mobility.  So we were booked in for surgery the very next day!

It's weird going in for surgery with an 18 month old for the second time.  It's eird knowing what it was going to be like!  We had a long wait to get into surgery and poor Gideon was a bit over it again especially given that he couldn't have a breastfeed to fall asleep. But we got in there in the end.  And the anesthetist was a lot more understanding this time.  I was allowed to hold Gideon in the sling while they put the gas mask on to get him to sleep.  He fought it just as much as last time but at least I was able to hold him close.

This time he was put in a cast up to his armpit.  No getting out of that one.  Or so we thought!  Just over a week after the surgery Gideon managed to break his cast and work it off his arm.  We were told by the plastic surgeons to take him straight to the ED if that happened so that's exactly what we did.  It was only a short wait at the ED as they fast tracked us which I was grateful for.  But the second time (yep, we ended up there two days later when Gideon did it again!) was a 4 + hour wait.  It was really busy and there was a violent patient which was not pleasant at all.  Luckily my little chilled out boy slept for the entire time we were there, only waking up when we redid the plaster.  

The enormous plaster cast!

Two weeks later we had our outpatient appointment again.  All looking good with his finger (awesome!)  The enormous plaster came off and we then had to try and keep a hand splint on his hand for the next two weeks!  He still had the wire sticking out the end of the finger so we had to be really careful that it was bandaged up enough so he couldn't get to the wire.  I think we ended up putting about 3 layers of bandage on just so it took him a loooong time to get to the finger!!

Gideon's finger just before we got the wire taken out.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve and we had our appointment to (finally!) get the wire out.  The wire came out easily and painlessly (I was worried it was going to be traumatic) and the surgeons are very happy with how his finger is.  Gideon is still a little reluctant to use the finger but gradually better.  We have another appointment in 4 weeks but that should be it.  I'm very much looking forward to putting this all behind us now!  No more accidents or illnesses allowed in this family for at least 12 months ;) 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wildlife in our backyard

We get lots of wildlife in our backyard as we live in the Hills with a reserve running along the back of our property.  We've had wallabies in our backyard before.  And we frequently see possums (but doesn't everyone here!), kookaburras, tawny frog mouths and we even have a powerful owl living in our valley.  But it's been a while since we're since an echidna.  In fact it was just after we moved in that we saw an echidna in our front yard (nearly 10 years ago!)  So I was very surprised and excited to walk outside yesterday and see this one.  It was purely by chance that I say it too.  I heard rustling near the deck and looked down (expecting to see the chooks having a dust bath) and was very excited to see this little echnidna.  It stuck around for a while too, alternately burying itself into the ground when we got too noisy and then sticking out it's head.  Eventually it waddled away under our house. 

A video of our little visitor. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 51 of Craft Project a week: Christmas all wrapped up

I really like the idea of having a 'paper free' Christmas.  In previous years I have used various ways of wrapping presents including tea towels and Christmas fabric.  I've been meaning to make up some fabric bags for quite awhile but it's taken until this year for me to actually get them done!   This is a photo of all our presents 'wrapped up' (well, at least the family's christmas presents, still deciding how Santa is going to wrap the kids' presents!!) 

I love this owl fabric - perfect for my SIL who loves owls!

Sewing buttonholes on this slippery fabric was a little more fiddlier but worth the effort!

You may just find me at my local fabric store on Boxing Day nabbing some half price Christmas fabric for next year ;)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

Well, I had the best of intentions to do a lot more posts about Christmas this year - kids activities and recipes and so on.  But alas, it did not happen.  Life doesn't always seem to go to plan (you'd think I would have learnt that by now!) Between Gideon's surgery and numerous appointments at the hospital, school/kinder events and work I just haven't quite had the time. 

But I do want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  May you have a lovely Christmas with your families!  We are planning a (slightly) more relaxed Christmas this year spent with family.  The kids will be getting baby bunnies as their Christmas presents this year (adopted from a rabbit orphanage).  I can't wait to see their faces when they see their bunnies on Christmas morning (they've been talking about getting new bunnies ever since we lost ours just before Christmas last year). 

Enjoy the season everyone - however you decide to do it! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 50 of Craft Project a week: Little birdy tops

This week I've been busy making a couple of little birdy tops for some little girls.  I've made these before so not really that exciting but I think they look quite effective on the yellow t-shirts (even if the yellow does look a bit washed out in this photo!)

My own labels for the clothes I make!

I've just started putting labels on for the clothes I make too.  Chris has been using the FunKey name for his chocolates so I've decided to use that too for the things I make (and it was originally the plan to start up my own business using that name, it just kind of never happened!!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 49 of Craft Project a week: Sweet lil' cherry dress

I saw this two summer sundress pattern a little while ago and knew straight away that I wanted to make it for Esme.  Even better, I already had enough of this sweet cherry fabric sitting in my fabric container (I knew there was a reason I stockpile fabric!)  This cute dress is made using a knitted top and a skirt sewn to the bottom.  Since I am (by my own confessions) not a knitter I commissioned the knitting over to my Mother-in-law.  The skirt part was pretty easy to sew but putting it all together and sewing the ribbon/buttons onto it was a little tricky especially since the knitted part stretches a lot.  I'm thinking of replacing the buttons with red snaps down the track. 

The back view of the dress
It does, however, look very cute on.  And the best thing about it is that it will last her a couple of years!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 48 of Craft Project a week: Little girls' pinafores

I decided to make some little reversible pinafores as Christmas presents for the girls this year.   I love making pinafores as they are really easy to do and look so cute!  Although I had to use a new pattern for the bigger sizes and make quite a few adjustments so it ended up being a bit fiddly (thank goodness for my trusty pattern tracer and cutter aka my hubby). 

Little apple dress in size 2
Little birdy dress in size 5

Little apple dress in size 6

The new pattern ended up making huge dresses so I daresay they will last for a couple of years yet!! Oh well, there's nothing like having clothes that the kids will 'grow into'!
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