Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Creative Space: Witchy Woman Tea Cosy meets Scotsman

Remember my mad client who is married to a Scotsman?  She loved the kilt-apron and chef's hat so much she requested a matching tea cosy for him... and one with a witch on a broomstick for herself! 
What a wicked sense of humour she has. 
Oh, and speaking of, this very same witchy woman saw me yesterday morning and predicted the baby to arrive within a few days.  At 37 weeks, I'm not sure whether to question the quality of her 'eye of newt' or to finish packing my hospital bag!

Thanks again Kirsty for hosting My Creative Space.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Farewell Handmade Heaven, for now.

Today is my last day at Handmade Heaven before our newest Baby Cuggle arrives.

I don't really feel sad, the shop is a wonderful happy place where customers are relaxed and in good spirits.  If they're rushing to find a last minute gift they appreciate help and ideas.  If they're in for a play and a looky at what's new they often stay for ages, chatting and admiring all the gorgeous handmade things.

Gratuitous shot of Crayon Roll by Cuggles!Kids.

A freestyle crocheted beanie by Kylie.  I barely took mine off my head last week.

One of many gorgeous little outfits by Rachael.  She finds the best vintage fabrics!

If they're new to the shop, they gush over what an amazing find it is and when they leave, it is with the promise of coming back with their girlfriends, their husbands, their mothers,  sisters, aunties or their kids.... and they do and they become one of 'our regulars'.

Why not visit Liesa's beautiful shop or blog to see so much more.  You can make it into a good shopping expedition with sustenance just next door at di.licious.

Thank you Liesa for your friendship, your vision, your flexibility, your trust.  I always have so much fun here and today will be no different.

Big hugs and kisses,
Kim : )

Monday, July 19, 2010

At My House: Fun Stuff, Trackies, Fire and Scrubbing!

We've had a break in routine today and are staying home instead of doing our usual Monday run around. I've made Toddler Cuggles a colouring book (instructions at the end of this post) to keep her amused while I nest/clean/bake today, ....

We will crack open the cinnamon scented, glitter playdough (purchased from Kylie through Handmade Heaven) a bit later...

And because it's a bit chilly, we have the fire going and have let the dog inside to indulge in the warmth with us.


Time: 20 mins including time for answering the question - 'What are you doing Mum'? over and over.  

I googled Free Colouring Pages, chose a few images and printed them out. 

Then I covered a manilla folder (tea cup fabric that I've been saving for just such a project).  I sewed the fabric on in the same way you'd attach contact.  I also folded the raw edges over on the inside (see top picture) twice just to make it neat and ironed it before sewing on the longest stitch my machine does.


I added some ribbon through the slits where the bendy tie thing would normally go on the inside to hold the pages in place and so we can keep adding to it.    (Again, see top picture).

Must be time to get some more washing out of the machine.  Why don't you visit Lou's to see what else is happenning today.
: )

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Creative Space: My first Tutorial - Little Birds

Making these little birds is part of my whole 'nesting' thing.  As promised yesterday here's the tutorial.  These are pretty quick to put together, about 20 minutes if you do one at a time, so probably quicker if you do a few in bulk.  I've added pictures and some more detail to an already good pattern which I found here. 


1) Download the pattern, print it and cut out the 2 paper pieces.

2) Cut out your 2 fabric pieces, note one piece is on the fold.
I used medium size fabric scraps (quilting cotton).  My scraps are all shoved into bags, so I made sure I ironed the fabric well before cutting.  This made sure my pieces lined up nicely as there is a bit of shaping to be done.  Don't worry, pretty easy though.

3) Right sides together, pin the pieces together along one side. 
Start with the tail and finish where the dot is marked on the pattern.  It's a bit trickier than pinning two straight lines together but quite easy if you do this - pin one small section at a time, not worrying about the next bit ahead.  Bend the fabric over your fingers one way or the other to allow the curved edges to line up.

4) Sew along where you've just pinned. 
The pattern says to use a 1/4" seam allowance.  That's just over 0.5cm.  I used the edge of the machine foot as a guide.  Don't make it too narrow because you don't want the stuffing to bust the seam. 

5) Pin and sew the other side together in the same way as Steps 3 and 4. 

This is what it looks like now.

6) Pin the head seam.  Sew together using the same seam allowance as before - about 0.5cm. 

This is what it will look like now.  *Note that the tail end is left open.

7) You might want to clip/notch the curves now but it's not really necessary.  Turn it right side out and use a knitting needle (or something similar) to gently push out the point of it's beak and all the curves.  

8) Stuff wadding/tontine through the tail little bits at a time:  
I'm no expert but I take off pieces about as big as 1 or 2 cotton balls, fluff it up just to separate the fibres slightly and then push the first bits right to the end to fill out the beak and so on.  I use a bit of a massage technique to make sure the stuffing is firm, but not jammed in there too tightly.  If it's too tight, it will still work but will probably end up lumpy. 

Here's what it should like like now.

9) Sew the tail closed:
I'm pretty sure most softie experts would tell you to slip stitch (hand sewing - agghh!) this section however I did no such thing.  I folded the ends in about .5 to 1cm making sure the edges joined neatly, then put it under the sewing foot and sewed as close to the edge as possible.  No picture of this I'm afraid so you'll have to trust me that it works.  It won't be invisible like hand sewing but is probably stronger.

10) Admire your efforts and make yourself a lovely cup of tea for being so clever. 

Hope you found this useful and fun.  Please let me know if you have any trouble and I'll do my best to help.

Thank you Kirsty for hosting this fun game of My Creative Space.

: ) Kim

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nesting: The Woman's Way

You may remember Hubby has been nesting.  Now, at 36 weeks it's time for show and tell about how I've been preparing...

...creating some special things...

Tutorial for these little birds tomorrow!

Pictures from a 20c op shop book, in $1 op shop frames, painted white.

...enlisting help to move furniture...

(Thank you Tash)

.... scrubbing the kitchen in a mad frenzy late at night (not a good sign with 4 weeks still to go).

... and, um, falling asleep at every given ......zzzzzzzzzzz.  Huh? Time for a cuppsy tea?

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the little bird tutorial.  : ) Kim

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My (first) Creative Space: Bribery Reward and Corruption

This is my first time playing along with My Creative Space.  It seems too much fun not to join in, so today is the day!  I hope my 'creation' qualifies.... it's a bit different to my usual sewing efforts.

I recently created this Good Girl Chart to tackle some challenges with our Toddler.  It is very free form as you can see.  My first instinct was to divide the page into sections for each day, but this seemed more age appropriate to just have a big space for sticking and more sticking.  It is working wonders for us!  Every morning Toddler Cuggles gets a sticker for not having called out to Mummy and Daddy in the night; another one if she hasn't called out after we leave her room when she goes to bed; and a sticker every time she doesn't squirm or kick my very pregnant belly when changing nappies.

Before starting the chart the Toddler Cuggles and I talked about how it works and I asked her what prize she would like to have after she gets lots of stickers.  She decided on a cupcake.

After a week of collecting stickers we set off to Di..licious and the very proud Good Girl showed her sticker chart to the lovely Renee in exchange for a cupcake with a dinosaur on it.  We then went off to playgroup where she ran around showing all the kids her stickers and saying 'I not to call out Mummy and Daddy in the night!'.

Wow, what an impact.  I like to read into this that perhaps we've taught our daughter about setting goals and how good it feels to achieve something you want.  Perhaps, but then, she's 2 and a bit, maybe it is just FUN!  Either way, we're all happy.  

Thanks for the game Kirsty.  Time for a cuppsy!  : ) Kim

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Dinner that cooks itself: Donna Hay Baked Mushroom, Bacon and Spinach Risotto

I LOVE any dinner that can be thrown in the oven and forgotten about until it's time to eat.  This recipe is a favourite in our house, there is a little bit of prep on the stove and then it all goes in the oven.  Recipe following below if you want to skip over my tips. 

My tips for streamlining this dish:

1) I ask my butcher to take the rind of the bacon and roughly chop it up for me so I don't have to do that part.  (I also ring him when I'm around the corner from his shop and get him to deliver my order to my car as I go past the back door.  One less 'in and out' involving a child and a car seat!).  Gotta love good old fashioned service.

2) Make sure you use Aborio rice, may be an obvious statement if you're a seasoned cook.  I'm not the best of cooks and I did try substituting normal rice once.  It works but takes longer to cook and the result is not as nice as a proper risotto.

3) We have a big 'stove to oven' pan with a lid that I use for this recipe.  If you have one I recommend using it as there is less clean up and saves time transferring ingredients to an oven dish. 

4) I shared this recipe with a girlfriend who is a great cook.  She uses porcini mushrooms and I think she said gruyere cheese... it takes it up a notch in terms of flavour.  If I don't use these ingredients, I use a good amount of salt to season at the end.

The recipe - Donna Hay – Baked Mushroom, Bacon & Spinach Risotto

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 rashers bacon, rind removed, roughly chopped
1.5 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
1 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add garlic, mushrooms and bacon and cook for 5 minutes/ until browned.
Place in a ovenproof dish with the rice and stock, stir to combine. Cover with lid/ aluminum foil
Bake for 40 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and rice is al dente.
Stir through the spinach, parmesan, butter, salt and pepper.

You can also see this recipe on the DH website.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nesting: The Man's way.

Pic from Flickr - no copyright
Help!  Only 5 weeks to go until bub number 2 arrives and my husband and I are both in nesting mode.  I was sick in bed on Saturday with a cold, leaving Hubby and Toddler Cuggles to their own devices.  I'd normally be at work on a Saturday anyway, but when I got up in the afternoon... the house was sparkling!  How did  he do it with a toddler underfoot?  He won't tell me the secret and assures me there was no TV involved.  I'm sure I heard a tanty at some stage, but nothing disastrous. 

Hubby had vacuumed and mopped all the floors, polished the furniture (something I never do), tidied away all Little Miss Cuggles' toys, clothes and general kid-stuff and oh yeah, rewritten my menu plan for the week!  (I let it slide because of how the house looked, because Toddler Cuggles hadn't come and jumped on the bed or disturbed me all day and because he chose only Donna Hay recipes.  He is wonderful at times.  (So far I've resisted the temptation to blog about when he's not!).    

Will do another post about how I've been nesting soon.  For now, it must be time for a cuppsy.


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