Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ANOTHER present!!

I'M SO EXCITED!!! Today, Mum and Dad bought me an overlocker!! I haven't got it out of the box yet, I'm hoping to have some time tomorrow to set it up and have a play around. Then I go back to the shop next week for a free lesson on how to use it!



Mum and Dad are very good to me. I started sewing about 6 years ago after my first daughter was born. (I learnt the basics with Mum when I was young, then have done nothing since!).

The first thing I made was a parachute, to use with all the little kids in our mums group when we did music and songs together with them. I've always been of the mind of "why buy something when you can make it?". So I went to the charity shop and bought several old colourful pillowcases and fabric remnants (back then, having recently emigrated we didn't have anything old - I even bought a bag of rags for cleaning!!). Anyway, I then cut the pillow cases and fabric into large triangles, and HAND-STITCHED them all securely together to make the parachute, which is approx 3m in diameter. A friend found out I was doing this, when I was almost done, and lent me her sewing machine to finish off the edge! The parachute was very well used and loved by the kids, and has also doubled as a shade sail in the garden on many occasions, tied to trees and washing lines! I've always been very proud of that parachute and how well my hand-stitching has held up to the endless pulling and tugging over the years!


Anyway, shortly after making that parachute, I had one of our annual visits from my parents (who live in England), and they took pity on me and bought me my trusty Janome!!




Since then I've learnt lots and created so many things - mostly for my two beautiful girls.
Now it's time to learn all about overlocking and hopefully improve on the finishes to my sewing!
Like I said, I'm excited!!!
Jill


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flora the Fancy Dress Fairy

Here as promised are the dress up pictures of my daughters book day at school.

This is who she wanted to dress up as.....



So with a little help from my Mum, and some inspiration from Polka Dot Daze and her beautiful mermaid costumes
this is what we came up with...


I wanted it to be an easy costume for her to take on and off herself. So the skirt is just a basic rectangle with the ruffles along the bottom, and velcro along the waistband, so she can just wrap it around her like a sarong. And the top is just another rectangle of the sparkly material with a couple of handstitches in the top to attach it to one of her 'boob tube' tops.

She loved it and wore it lots at home before the big day at school!

Then today we got to add the green hair to it all!


Jill

Monday, March 29, 2010

Living in the tropics

Yesterday we went down to Innisfail for the annual Feast of the Senses market day. This is a great family day out where you can taste some amazing unusual exotic fruits, see local arts and crafts, there's a heap of entertainment, face painting and lots of activities for the kids.

Since the area around Innisfail is where most of Australia's bananas are produced, bananas feature largely in this market, and we came home with 2 large bags of free bananas! So today I thought I'd better do something with them. After serving bananas for breakfast, and filling everyone's lunch boxes with bananas as I packed them off to school, I then made some banana muffins (which you can see above) and have 2 banana cakes in the oven. And we STILL have more bananas to eat for dinner!!!

Anyway, I thought I would share the recipe for these banana muffins, which was given to me by another stall holder at the markets we go to each month. They are truly delicous and lovely and moist, as their name suggests!

EXTRA MOIST BANANA & RAISIN MUFFINS

3/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup other dried fruit (dates, currants, sultanas, whatever you like!)
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour

Combine the boiling water, bicarb of soda and dried fruit in a bowl. Leave to stand for 10mins.

Preheat oven to 180C.

In another bowl, combine banana, oil, sugar and eggs. Beat well.

Stir the other fruit and the liquid into the banana mixture.

Sift the flours into the mixture and stir to combine.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20-25mins, or until golden brown.

DELICIOUS!!!


Aside from bananas, up here in the tropics we have, of course, the Great Barrier Reef! We recently bought an annual family pass to go out to the reef, and my daughters have taken to snorkelling as if they were born to it. Both of them have birthdays coming up in a few weeks, so we decided to get them reef - themed presents this year.

Last week we took them out to buy stinger suits (jellyfish are around for about 6 months of the year up here, so better safe than sorry.) The suits provide good sun protection too.

We also want to buy them their own snorkel and mask sets - and then there's the problem of how to carry it all when we go out for the day! So I've purpose made a bag. (which I will have to make a second one of so they have one each!)

Having Mum here is great, as we sat down together last Friday, and worked out how to make it - trialling various parts with scrap fabric. Two heads are definitely better than one, and today I used our plan, and made up the first bag!!

This is what needed to be able to go into the bag:
Stinger suit, snorkel and mask, towel, and drawing book and pens for the boat trip out and back!


I made just a basic drawstring fabric backpack, but with a few adaptations. On the outside base and front under the pocket is waterproof yellow material (repurposed from a punctured pool toy!) and a net pocket for the wet stinger suit and snorkel and mask set (also from said retired pool toy). Hopefully this will keep any moisture away from the bag contents.







Inside the bag is a large waterproof A4 pocket (made from an old waterproof matress protector I had kept, knowing it would come in useful one day!) into which can be put drawing books / paper and pens.
And also a small drawstring pouch which clips on the inside to put any money, sweeties or small toys which may be deemed necessary for a trip.





And here it is filled with everything and ready to go! I'm pretty happy with the result. The next one will have minor changes like tighter elastic around the top of the front mesh pocket.
Incidentally the fishy fabric remnants that I used for this bag came from Mary at the markets who also gave me the muffin recipe! Thanks Mary!!
Now as I said, I have my Mum out from England for a few weeks, and am making the most of having sewing skills and knowledge here to learn and make lots!!
Do come back and visit tomorrow to see what she helped me create for my eldest daughter to wear to school tomorrow! They have to go dressed as their favourite book character! I'm really looking forward to it!
Until then....
Jill