Saturday, October 29, 2011

because I simply cannot help myself

Yes, more bugs.
In our window, a friendly daddy longlegs wraps up a fly.
Can you imagine the fascination for three boys?

- Jane x

Friday, October 28, 2011

nang-nang season

Have things around your household taken on new names, thanks to small people?
As a baby Clem pronounced 'banana' as 'nang-nang'. Then it became the word for any desired fruit, said plaintively with outstretched hand: "nang-nang?".

Particularly, these white mulberries which are very sweet. I planted the nang-nang tree and it's pretty huge now and thrives on very little attention, which makes me feel like a semi-competent gardener.

Being a wise 4y.o. this season Clem said "what? They're not nang-nangs, they're mulberries!" but we're all in the nang-nang habit now and he's caught on again.
A few other oddities we have around home:
One of the dih-dees has been very broody for a couple of weeks now and is looking a bit sad compared to the other two. I think that's more likely to happen if you have ones that are not your normal standard brown dih-dee, bred for productivity.

Pung. No logical connection, don't try to figure it out.

Bashi (rhymes with mushy). The kid, not the rat.

And I'd better not forget bobbin.
Today on the footpath Clem stopped to pick up a feather and asked me "do you think it came from the bird's bobbin?" and he sounded so serious I could just about have scooped him up and eaten him on the spot.
Of course he's been positively revolting other parts of the day.
Speaking of which. Now and then I've read bloggers wondering about the balance of what they post, and others post, and how 'real' is the portrayal of lives.
I was wondering about starting a little series of posts showing the flipside of things... the yin and yang, pros and cons or whatever... not to deliberately show awful things or complain or anything; just to show the way things tend to balance out.
For example, love the romance of keeping chickens (dih-dees)? They're pretty, they eat food scraps, lay fresh eggs, make fertiliser. What else? Oh yeah. They attract flies.
I am not going to make that photo any bigger. You don't want to see the detail of this horribly effective fly trap.
But nothing worthwhile is really easy is it? Does anyone want to see the flipsides really?
And do you have any great made-up words in common use at your place?

- Jane x

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Honey Blouse

Yeah, I'm really uncomfortable posing for photos... but at least I managed to cut the fabric so the pink flowers didn't end up in awkward places
The Honey Blouse, by Make it Perfect.

This is the pattern I was so impatient to get my hands on, I ordered it before I knew whether or not I'd won it in a giveaway. Then I did win it, then I had to say oops, I already bought it, so the talented Toni Coward who made the pattern could give it away to someone else.

Still, I think it was worth all that palaver!

I bought my Pattern from Crafty Mamas and I know Earthgirl Fabrics now has it in stock too.

I used an Anna Maria Horner voile that I bought probably six months ago, in a fit of wishing I could build myself some kind of fabric vat and swim in AMH voiles.

One of the loveliest details on the top is the kind of twisted band on the neck and sleeves.

I've always wondered how to get that look, and it's not too difficult, just a bit fiddly handling the layers of twisted fabric and gathers and not sewing the wrong bits together. However, I managed with a minimum of swearing and unpicking.

The top is really comfy. Having just worn it to a hippy music event where I had to sit on the ground, I can say that I was really appreciative of the security and length of the waistband, which covered up the bit that my jeans, er, don't, when I sit down. Well it felt like it did. I wasn't sitting behind me so I can't say for sure.

I made a size M which is my usual average size but with the looseness of the design and my narrow shoulders, I possibly could go down a size. And maybe slightly shorter in length.

I liked how the pattern told me how to finish the seams, and at which point. The way the pattern pieces went together, and the order of the instruction pages, took a bit of getting used to but in the end it is quite economical with paper which is a good thing.
I'm a dork, I'm a dork, I'm a great big dork
If I hadn't been choosing fabric from my stash I might have gone for something plainer, that shows up the shaping of the blouse a bit more and makes it a bit less ultra-girly. (Blouse - it's just not a word I use! But I guess this really is a blouse.) A lovely light linen, anyone? Also, a double gauze as shown on the pattern would be lovely.

I think this will see quite a bit of wear over the coming summer months and I can imagine I might make more in the future. Thumbs up.

- Jane x


Thursday, October 20, 2011

best fabric evah*!

Why am I blogging a badly-posed picture of crumpled shorts I've already blogged about?
Because these 'pyjama' shorts have been worn six days five nights non-stop at the wearer's insistence, and they still look okay.
This means two things:
1. My parenting is questionable.
2. This fabric is awesome.

I am itching to make myself something from the remainder of the fabric. A dress, I'm thinking something shirt-dress style perhaps.

Can I just wax lyrical about this fabric - Alexander Henry Larkspur Painter's Dots in Blue - a little more?
- It's pretty. Clem keeps saying how pretty it is.
- It's gorgeous cotton lawn that feels light and soft yet crisp, doesn't crease much yet presses well, is smooth yet breathable... yum.
- It repels dirt and hides marks. I even spilt a little sparkling red wine on them as I was sewing, whoops, and you would never know. This is glamorous yet practical fabric, folks.

Here are a couple of patterns under consideration for a spottyfrock. What do you think?
This is really quite hard to see properly. Why do they make the images so small on the front? I bought this a while back because I loved the ribbon-tie version.
Now that's better, thanks Simplicity! This looks pretty cool, but may have sack-like potential. Loving all the groovy versions though! The stockings! The shoes! And pockets, hooray for pockets.
And thanks to the Men's Shirt Sewalong I am no longer scared of The Placket. I have made some beautiful, if completely unworn, men's shirt plackets....
Unfortunately I suspect either of these patterns would be best tested in muslin form first. Yawn. Think I might make myself a Honey Blouse first. Starting now, if the small peeps keep watching the telly for a while. In their dirty clothes.

- Jane x

*I reserve the right to throw this phrase around will-nilly for whichever fabric takes my current fancy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

KCWC days six and seven: helloooo Spoonflower organic cotton knit!

Whaddayareckon? I reckon this is right up there as one of my all-time favourite-things-I've-sewed.

The details:
Pattern - Figgy's Tee For Two, except sewn on the overlocker (no exposed seams).
Print fabric - organic cotton knit from Spoonflower, "countryside architecture linen" by Holli Zollinger.
Plain fabric - organic cotton jersey from Kelani Fabric.
Neckband - cut from the unprinted edge from the Spoonflower fabric.

 Design feature! You know, to cover up where I accidentally ended up with the join on the neckband at the front? Sweet little piece of Japanese cotton trim from here, which happened to match the colour scheme perfectly.
Gasp! The twin needle worked. I had a feeling that the special magic needed was my good old 'Blue Magic' Singer 348, whose story I must tell one day. I had lent it to a friend, she brought it back, I tried the twin needle. My devotion to Singers is reaffirmed. Yay.
I bought two yards of this print from Spoonflower, which was my first ever order from them. I also got one of their swatch books of all their different base fabrics, which will be great for future reference. One of the reasons I went to Spoonflower was for boy-friendly prints, particularly ones suitable for tween-age and up. I like the way you can gather a whole collection of 'favourites', and I have a few more good ones I'd be keen to order now.

I love the fact this is organic cotton. And the price, at least with the current AUD/USD exchange rate, was reasonable given that it's organic, and printed to order. It took about a month to arrive but that probably only served to make it more exciting.

Here's a tip: if you want two or more continuous yards of a print, make sure you order it as one quantity of the required length, not multiple quantities of one yard. I had a number of things in my online shopping cart and was umming and ahhing, changing my mind, and in the end just opted for the two yards of this. So I must have changed my order to '2' of this in the cart. Therefore it turned up as two separate cut yards. Not a terrible problem but not quite as versatile as two continuous yards.

The knit is beautifully soft, light-ish but not too flimsy. I will definitely be back for more.

Well, I think that's it for my KCWC, but certainly not the end of my summer-sewing-for-boys. I went out and made appreciative noises at Andy doing an awesome job of fixing the side fence, to make up for my recent sewing binge. "Fwoaarrr" and "that looks soooo much better!" should assure me a bit more sewing time over the next week :)

- Jane x

Saturday, October 15, 2011

KCWC days, um, two to five-and-a-half?

My Kids Clothes Week Challenge efforts have been, er, sporadic, however I think it would add up to the equivalent of around an hour a day. That's okay isn't it?
Yesterday I made these shorts for Jasper, from start to finish. Since they're made of linen, they look like he's been wearing them a thousand years already.

They're my slightly dodgy graded-up version of the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shorts, with added back pockets. The brown linen is left over from a pre-blog dress I made myself, and the pocket fabric is a quilting cotton, bought with grand plans, aaaaannnd... marinating in the stash for a while now.

Next up, and finished today, was the companion piece to Clem's pink pyjama top of my last post. He has some pretty definite ideas about his clothing. I bought some beautiful dotty Alexander Henry cotton lawn at the end of last summer and have been musing about the perfect pattern to make myself a dress. Meanwhile, mister 4y.o. spots it and demands it become his new pyjama pants. To be honest I bought plenty of the fabric and its crisp-drapey-lightness would be simply delicious for summer sleepwear. And, saying yes to the harmless whims of a 4y.o. is easier than arguing about it.

yeah baby, the full self-styled ensemble


totally danceable!
they do the hornpipe!
show us your dancin' bobbin*

Pattern is one I've used several times now, in varying lengths, from Japanese sewing magazine Pochee. They have nice shaping to them, although it doesn't show up as well on this version as I made sure they were big enough for comfy sleeping.

Now, I really want to get to a t-shirt or two. My first order from Spoonflower was delivered yesterday, eek!

Happy KCWC!

- Jane x

* Bobbin is Clem's word for his bottom

Monday, October 10, 2011

this top is made for dancing

I've signed up for the Kids Clothing Week Challenge at Elsie Marley for the first time.
I think I will mostly be churning out a bunch of t-shirts for the boys. I have some good plain white and grey marle fabric to mix up with a few prints, stripes and other colours in the stash.
Clem saw the leftover fabric from my first Miz Mozelle dress and said he wanted a pyjama top made out of it. It's pink, but you know, why not? Summer's coming but he said he wanted long sleeves and clearly I was in a 'just say yes' mood.
I was glad I said yes. It's a lot of photos, and I know I'm biased, but I think it's worth the scroll:

Who was that strange dancing man?
(Pattern was Ottobre Best T-shirts again.)

- Jane x

Sunday, October 9, 2011

on turning four

Four years ago today, not long after midnight, our hearts just about burst for the third time when this little man lay on my chest, blinking at the brand new world.
He was early-ish, 38 weeks on the dot, but we were anxious to have him safely out and welcomed his impatience. Shortly before his pregnancy we had lost another tiny boy, almost halfway along, to the cruel lottery of 'cord accident'.
We never found out the gender of any of our babies during pregnancy but it was no surprise to us that here was another boy. We love three boys. We were meant to have three boys.
My Mum was at Clem's birth. It occurred to me part-way through pregnancy that it would probably be a pretty cool thing to see one of your own daughters give birth, and this was most likely the last time it would happen. We're not a really huggy-emotional family and Mum was all like "oh... no you'll probably just want Andy there," but closer to the time, she came around to the idea and I'm so glad. She and Clem have had a sort of mutual admiration society going ever since. Helped of course by him being the youngest grandchild by four years, and able to Work It.

At four, the notions of birthdays and years and age are still a bit hard to grasp.
"Is it still my birthday?"
"Is it my birthday all day?"
"It's going to be my birthday forever!"
Of course it's not helped by the nine year old who's explaining that technically, he's had five birthdays because you should count the day he was born, blah blah blah.
(Recently Clem pronounced "Mama, I know all the months of the week!")

Being school holidays, some of Clem's childcare friends were not around to invite for a party. So we were just doing a small family gathering, but had a stroke of luck when it turned out all the neighbours' kids were able to pop in. In the end, we had the 'party' without really having to plan for one. Heaven! There was cake and froggy jelly pond and party poppers and sparklers and candles (and bubbles for the big people) and really, what four year old needs much more than that?

Clem's birthday requests were a dinosaur egg that you put in water until it hatches, and all the party accessories as described above, that he made us ceremoniously give to him as presents (eyes closed, hands out, surprise! even though you brought them over yourself from the bench!) in the morning.
Of course when it came time to actually pop the poppers, Clem was too scared. But he's had a lovely time making a 'cup of tea' out of the empty little bottle and all the coloured streamers.

Charlie and Jasper had spent quite a bit of time, unprompted, making him lovely cards and presents. Clem announced with four-year-old grace that the bee Jasper made "hasn't got any face" and tried to open Charlie's delicate origami sculpture. Andy bought Clem a lovely set of Cray Pas and some sketch books to encourage him to draw some more, although it's Jasper who set about filling up the first few pages of sketch book.

There was also some bubble bath, which came in handy when all the friends had gone, and someone who was a bit distracted had a little accident in his pants, and needed freshening up.

Ah, four. Whatever that means.

"One two three four five six glitter glues! Grandma and Grandpa gave me six glitter glues! I'm six!"

- Jane x

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