Friday, January 23, 2009

A Nice Bright Olivia

I do enjoy this pattern. Nice and easy. Quick to trace and sew. I actually got this traced, cut and sewn in about an hour and a half. That is fast for me.
I used FOE (fold over elastic) for finishing the neckline as I didn't do the hood. I didn't have enough fabric and as it was a short sleeve dress, I wanted to keep it basic. I thought that the FOE had finally become friends, but after photographing it, I discovered a small amount of the neckline that had missed the stitching. So a bit of unpicking, and restitching was required *sigh*. One day we will be great friends I am sure.
It is a bit long on DD, as I made the 110/116 size. But she loves it already (and not a speck of pink on it!!) She put it on before I had hemmed it, ran around and then went and hid, because she didn't want me to take it off of her lol

At least we won't lose her when we go out shopping! lol


The Perfect T-shirt?

Nearly. If I go up a size, maybe. I do like it, it is comfortable (at least it was when I tried it on) and I love the colour. I think it could be a little looser though - but then it may lose the nice shape it has (and I am more used to wearing looser tops). I really like the neckline shape - it seems rather flattering.
It is based on the Ottobre Woman #5 from 2/2007 - the Rose Top. I used the front and back pieces from this pattern, the sleeves from #3 in the same issue and made my own neckline binding, which was rather adventurous of me, as I haven't sewn a v-neck before. I also lengthened it by 3 sizes, which seems to be a standard for me with Ottobre tops.
After having sewn a few t-shirts, once I had cut the pieces out, I put the magazine away, as I would just assemble it in the order I felt was best lol. It went together easily, I wasn't sure how to make the v, so I just started to attach the neckline and figured it out after I had finished attaching. This worked ok, as it meant that I at least got the v lined up in the correct spot! But I did cause a little pucker in the front (not really noticeable).

I might try this again, but in either a larger size or with a fabric with more stretch (or lycra).

Have a great long weekend and Happy Australia Day to all Aussies!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Lots of crafting happening

Wow! We have been busy. The kids and I did some glass painting - also known as window clings - the other day. I drew the outlines, and let the kids paint inside the design. DD nearly 4yr old needed a fair bit of help, but enjoyed squeezing out the paint and spreading it around. DS nearly 6yr old was rather good and enjoyed swapping the colours around, as you can see in the photos. I also did one of a fish, as I couldn't leave all the fun to the kids!! And today we stuck them on the windows.

I found a pattern for a crochet dishcloth on the web. I am sorry - I have forgotten the web link, if I find it I will add it in later. I used a beautiful bamboo cotton and it is so super soft, I have decided to use it as a face washer. No point in wasting it's beautiful-ness in the kitchen sink. It took just over a whole ball to make. When I make it again, I will make it a bit smaller so that it doesn't use more than a ball.

And today I traced, cut and sewed (shock horror - all done in one day) a nighty from the Favourite Things Nighty Night ladies pattern. As I was using a very thin cotton voile, I decided to cut two of the bodice top front and back twice so that I could use one as a facing. This worked really well, and gives it a bit more stability. When I make this pattern again, I will do the same. I will also make the straps a little shorter I think, they slip off my shoulders a bit. I want to try the pj's as well. I do like how you use the seam allowance between the top and bottom peices to make a casing for the elastic. I umm'd and ahh'd about putting the elastic in, so I tried it on, and decided there was no harm in trying. It looks so much better with it in. It fits better and hangs better. Overall, I am very happy with this pattern, and certainly recommend it.

Hope everyone has a great week.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

My New Bag, A School Bag and Some Soap

Yet another higgledy-piggledy post :)

Last week I made some soap - my first try at hot process. Well, the actual soap seems to have worked, but the essential oil I used, is way too strong. I used Lemongrass, which I found out later is a very strong oil. I also learnt that with hot process, it is possible to use less essential oil, as it isn't changed by the lye, as the stage at which you add it, the lye has already saponified.

They are still hiding under the cubby house in an attempt to cure a bit more and lose some of the smell. I gave one to my sister to try out, just waiting on an opinion.
I didn't take many photos, so here is a quick one.

Yesterday I made some bath bombs with the kids. My first ever attempt, I am very happy with them. I just used some green food colouring and chocolate frangrance oil. They fizz fantastically in the bath - the kids had a ball!

Now I promised a photo of my DD's school bag - the pillow case with handles lol Not a spectacular photo, but you get the picture. The fabric on the outside is from a pair of curtains I found at a church garage sale for just $1!! It is a lovely soft cotton, possibly a drill. The inside is unbleached calico.

And finally my bag. It is made using this free pattern here:
I saw it just the other day, and I knew I had to make it. I wanted a new bag for shopping and I love the fabric so I made it up today. There was a small incident though - somehow one of the panels ended up with a snip in the side near the side seam. So I decided to make a yo-yo (my first) and cover a button to make a flower to hide the injury :) I also covered a button for the closure as I didn't have any that were suitable. I really need to find someones button stash to borrow from :)

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday - we are heading for 40C here tomorrow - not impressed!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Redondo, A Turtle and Some Onions

A motley post for today. I made a Redondo for a birthday present for a soon to be 4 year old girl. I couldn't just leave it as a skirt on its own, so I made a t-shirt to go with it. It was an Ottobre pattern (how usual lol), and I did my first appliqué on it :) It was simple but fun!

Over the Christmas break my son drew this on a Etch-A-Sketch. It is a turtle - so gorgeous :) And I would like put it on a t-shirt somehow, one day.

I also picked my crop of red onions today. Much better than my crop of brown. There was alot of smaller brown ones that I gave to my grandma for pickling. But I should have enough red ones to last me until next year, when I have another crop in and growing.

And lastly, I got a bag made for my daughter, as she is off to kindy this year. And they request them to have a bag like a pillow case with handles lol No photos uploaded yet, so I will add them to the next post, they are quite colourful :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Achievements

Well here we are, into the year 2009. Did you survive the celebrations? I had a great night with my family and friends. The kids played around together and had a very late night.

Do you make resolutions for the new year? I never do, as I know I will never follow them through. But I do make lists of what I would like to achieve over the year. Many people I know (myself included) would like to lose weight this year. For many reasons, be it because they want to feel better, look better, be healthier and set better examples for their kids. Me, it is because I have put a small amount back on (and I mean small, only about 2kg) that is making my clothes a little snugger than I would like. I have a good starting point, as I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. I find the program works really well for me unless I get sidetracked, as I have done lately.
So I have compiled a list of points that I find important in changing your lifestyle to eat healthier and get fitter. Losing weight is a good benefit of a healthier lifestyle. Do not say diet - a diet is not a lifestyle. It is deprivation and is not sustainable.
I hope all those losing weight can achieve their goals in 2009, I know how good it is. So here is the list. Long winded I know, but I try to make it so people don't feel that they don't understand. Though if you want more info, just leave a comment or email me, I don't mind explaining things more thoroughly.

Weight loss Tips

1. Water - try a drink a glass before each meal. When you are hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes before eating anything. If you have trouble drinking water, make it interesting by adding a squeeze of lemon juice or some diet cordial. And use a water bottle - carry it with you everywhere (I am practically glued to mine, I get anxious when I don't have it). It also means you aren't opening the fridge constantly.

2. Plan. Plan you meals, plan your exercise, plan your me time. You make appointments for everyone else, so do the same for yourself. You are just as important! Make up a menu plan for the week (or however often you like to shop). Write up a shopping list and stick to it. Not only will this help you buy healthier, and eat healthier, you impulse buy less too! Make a time to do your exercise - if it is in a schedule it is easier to follow through. Treat yourself to some time out. Whether it be a massage or just some me time to read a book, make sure you do it!

3. Tracking - everything that goes in your mouth, write down. Get a diary and start now. Don't wait until the end of the day to write it down, even the best memories can “forget” that biscuit. Everything!

4. Reward yourself. Don't wait for your main goal - you will get dis-spirited and give up. Work with little goals. Such as, after the first 1kg I will treat myself to a piece of lovely fabric. Then after the 3kg, have a facial (or something to your liking).

5. Stop and wait - when you are eating a meal, stop halfway, put down your knife and fork and wait. 20 minutes is ideal, but I hate my food going cold. So I wait about 1 minute and have a big drink of water. Then if still believe I am hungry, I will continue until I am halfway through that. There is nothing wrong with NOT cleaning your plate!

6. Weigh your food. Find out what the recommended daily intake size is and work with it.

7. Measure yourself. Once at the start and then every month. Measure your: neck, upper arm, chest, waist, abdomen, hips, upper leg and calf. Measurements are a good way to keep track even if you think you aren't losing weight. Sometimes you may be building muscle mass. Yet you are getting slimmer (and fitter).

8. Exercise - I know, bad word. Every little bit is a step forward. Do something you enjoy. Exercise with a friend - someone who will be there even if you don't want to do it, they will make you. Start with 5 minutes a day. Work up adding a little more each day or week (don't procrastinate). I find if I have something to distract me, I can exercise for longer and more efficiently. Right now I am riding the exercise bike to power my laptop as I write this. My heart rate is up, I am sweating, but because my mind is on this, I am quite ok about that (and I hate exercise!!)

9. Don't pick or clean plates. When you are cooking/preparing meals, don't pick! You won't know how much you have eaten, and you won't feel full. Have a snack of fruit or vegies before preparing if need be. When the meal is finished, do not feel tempted to clean your kids plates. Yes it does look wasteful, but better in the bin than making your waist full!

10. Swap your drinks. If you drink full strength Coke (or other soft drinks) swap to Zero or diet/sugar free. It will taste different to start with, but you get used to it really quickly. And limit yourself. If you only drink them, swap each other one with a glass of water.

11. Full fat to light - change your products that you use from full fat to light in fat. So skim milk, light cheese etc. They don't taste bad - and they are better for you. Just be wary of the 'lite'. Not always so in fat content. So read the labels.

12. Don't buy it. You don't need it, you only want it if it is there, so don't purchase it. This is hard to start with, you will pick up so much off the shelves when shopping, but put it back. If it isn't in the pantry/fridge/freezer, you can't eat it.

13. Smaller plates. Use smaller plates for your meals. If you don't have smaller plates, don't fill them to full. Then if you do want to eat everything, you can.

14. Don't skip meals. Very important. Especially breakfast. Skipping makes your body think it is being starved, therefore stores as much fat as it can get hold of when you next eat. See the problem?

15. Snack. Make sure you have snacks during the day between meals. It helps to keep your metabolism running properly. Snack on fruits, vegie sticks, rice cakes and low fat yoghurt. Stick to your serving sizes though.

16. Support. This is one of the biggest things you need. Get support from people. Husbands, friends, family etc. Exercise with kids or your husband. Go bike riding or walk to the park together. Try to stay away from negative people or people who try to derail your plan. You are doing this for you, not them.

17. Treats. Allow yourself some treats. Say once a week have a small bowl of low fat ice cream. Or a small chocolate bar. Don't deprive yourself, or there is a greater possibility that you will binge. If you can be good, have a square or two of dark chocolate each day. But write it down. I went for 2 years without having a Tim Tam when I started. Didn't miss them either. It is possible. Oh, and your alcohol has kilojoules (calories) too!

18. Moderation. The key to most things is moderation. If you exercise in excess you will get sore and then feel unable to do it the next day. If you eat in excess you will feel bloated and maybe angry at yourself and this might make you want to throw the towel. Keep things in moderation and it is much happier all round.

19. Believe in yourself. You can do this, you want to do this, and you will succeed. Whether it takes 6 months or 2 years (or more), it will be worth it in the end.

It isn't a diet that you want to be doing, it is a lifestyle change. You slowly change your lifestyle to create a way of eating, thinking and exercising that you can maintain (with the occasional slip up allowed). If you have a bad meal/day/week, start over with the next meal. Every meal is the chance for a new start.