About Me

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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Turned into Crafty Friday Here

Remember I'd said I was going to hand embroider some bibs as gifts? Well, I've found some beautiful fabric that my rusty embroidery stitching wouldn't come close to so I decided I'd just go with this design instead.

I've taken the template off one of Janae's old bibs and got the technique from the She Sews blog which I must remember to add to my reading list. I am so in love with this I almost wish I had another baby (that's almost wish). And they're SUPER easy. All I need now is to get some velcro to stitch on and we're away.

I also want to find out if I can source iron on vinyl here in Tauranga because, being cotton, these bibs are going to get a bit grubby. And, being cotton, they're probably going to need ironing, but don't tell my mum's-to-be that.

This was the project I was going to start on today. But, being a reformed "bull-in-a-china-shop" I sat down and carefully pulled out the instructions. I got to Step 2 and realised I didn't have any interfacing left. Then I looked at the cutting out layout and lost my nerve. I'll wait until Mum is back from her little holiday to the Lakes and get her to assist me laying it all out I think. I'd hate to make a huge mistake that can't be fixed before I've even started.

And I was up late last night finishing off Sonny. I started this little guy because I had no other wool related projects to be getting on with. I had no idea what was going to be done with him but I started. The day after he was conceived I ran into my friend Jo who was furiously filling a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child and only needed to find "something to love" as she put it. Quite conveniently I had Sonny stashed in my bag and I whipped him out, mid creation, and asked if she'd like to send him off to Fiji. We thought the boxes had to be handed in today so I was furiously knitting until midnight to get him finished. I've now discovered there's another week before the deadline so he's safely stashed away in Jo's shoe box.

If you're interested in sending some gifts to children who wouldn't normally receive any gifts then check out the link and find out where you can get a shoe box. It's a great way to teach your children that there are little ones out there who are not as fortunate as they are. This year I'm going to make a few bits and bobs and the children and I are going to head up to the Children's ward at our local hospital to give some gifts. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just lots of love.

Now I'd better clear away my sewing clutter and find some lunch. I was so eager to get on with creating I completely forgot about breakfast and I'm starving. Have a great weekend!

OH NO!!!!
I was just proof reading this post and hear some strange noises . . . I rushed into the other room to find my beautiful old Singer Sewing Machine (the very one I've just been working on) furiously puffing with smoke. It's now out on the patio (don't want the house to burn down) so that's the end of my sewing for a bit. Better move "New Sewing Machine" up to the top of my 40th birthday wish list I guess.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crafty Monday

Crafty Monday was a little bit low key this week, due to the winter cold. In fact, I did something I haven't done since becoming a mother of three . . . I plucked a DVD off the shelf, loaded it into the player, plonked myself on the sofa and knitted beside the fire. Actually, before I became a mother of three I only did the DVD part because I didn't know how to knit. It's amazing what can be achieved in three years.

So, here is Grandpa. He's the first of the Scarecrow family to land in our home. I can't believe just how many elements there were to make him. And, there's one that I just didn't have the energy or the patience to work out . . . his walking stick. Rogan (Grandpa's new owner) was a little disappointed about this until I pointed out that Rogan's own Grandpa was so fit and healthy he didn't need a walking stick. He seemed happy with that.

And, to top of working through the "nasty cold" quickly has been the start of a little bit of sun kissed skin today. I've been outdoors cleaning out the paddling pools ready for long and warm days, tending the garden as the vegetables grow quickly promising fresh goodness, and putting the sheep into the paddock ready for shearing time. I'd like to be able to say that my lovely little Janae was by my side learning the arts of horticultural and animal husbandry but alas she had stolen off to her big sister's room, gotten into said sister's make up and was merrily plastering as much muck as she could fit onto her little face. And, just prior to this, she had given herself and Barbie matching leg tattoos with my marker pen. Ahhhhh, the sweet bliss of childhood.

And Crafty Monday next week will be a shared event, where some crafty friends are coming by to enjoy my dining table in the sun, eat cake, drink coffee and craft together. Can't wait to see what photographs I can share next week. I haven't had a chance to get the last of the fabric for Janae's dress, and I haven't had a moment to start on my top secret project either but I have decided that I need to make some hand embroidered bibs for my cousin's baby that's due in the next couple of months so hopefully I'll have some more fun things to share in the next week. We'll just have to see if the sunshine gets in the way of the craft!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

When you're ill and need a pick me up . . .

I've been feeling under the weather this week and it's culminated in a very nasty end-of-season cold today, and just when I was thinking I'd beaten the winter chills for the first time ever.

So it's Saturday night. I braved the great outdoors and took the children to the Family Movie Night down at the church and then battled to get three tired bugs into bed late.

The rugby is on: it's the grudge match between New Zealand and France that's been four years in the making. While this is a huge event in NZ life, the All Blacks are winning well and I'm off to bed. But I had to share this delicious treat that I've made for myself to try and feel a bit better.

This Chocolate Chip Cake in a mug is delicious, but it's VERY filling and very sweet. I'd also recommend mixing the ingredients in a bowl and then pouring the batter into mugs because I think one serving of this could easily feed two.

So the belly is full of deliciousness, the paracetamol is wearing off and my eyelids are so heavy I'm having trouble even typing this. Pray that my children do at least one of two things . . . stay asleep until 8am, or call a ceasefire on sibling arguments until at least 8am tomorrow morning.

I am battling my way through Grandpa's body parts for Rogan (a knitted scarecrow doll, not a real grandpa) and I have a secret project hiding away in my drawer in the sewing room that I really want to make a start on as soon as Grandpa is done and I'm feeling more human. More on that next week. Until then, enjoy your weekend and for those of us in NZ, Daylight Saving starts in the morning so don't forget to put your clocks forward!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Angel at my Door

The children and I had been away for the weekend and when we returned home on Sunday we found a box sitting outside our front door. In this box was a collection of children's toys, puzzles and games. And, there was also a Jean Greenhowe knitted doll book featuring a family of scarecrows.

I have been coveting these in Spotlight every time I go in the hope that the $20 price tag has magically become $2 but alas this hasn't happened so far and, as much as I love her patterns, they are way down on the craft purchase list of priorities.

So, needless to say, I've been cajoled into making three of the scarecrow family for my children. As Rogan is usually the last to have anything made for him purely based on gender and his lack of love for pretty little things, I'm making Grandpa for him first of all. It's all going rather well so hopefully I'll have him complete by the weekend.

I have a sewing project to start on Monday. Last week I got a dress pattern for Janae. It's the first sewing pattern I've ever purchased so I'm taking my time over even starting it. I need to get some buttons and a little more fabric and I'll be ready to start on Monday morning.

This week's Crafty Monday was a bit of a blow out. I seem to be suffering from that nasty lethargy that sets in just before summer arrives. So instead of being creative I went out to lunch instead. But I did have a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon where the children were all playing happily and I snuck into my newly appointed sewing room to make this . . .

It's a little handbag that I'd found on Pinterest and reserved some of my left over fabric to make sometime. The instructions weren't all together clear so I had to kind of figure it out but I'm still pretty happy with the finished product. The pattern/instructions can be found here.

What is becoming apparent quite quickly, is that if I'm going to continue sewing I may have to add an overlocker to the top of my birthday wish list. As it's going to be my 40th birthday I'm hoping the birthday fairy might be generous enough to provide more than one thing off my wish list. Here's hoping anyway.

Right, back to the real world. The roast mutton is in the oven and the house is filled with the scent of roasting rosemary from my garden. The children are screaming at each other over some squabble or other and Grandpa is wanting more work done on him before the real grandparents arrive for dinner . . . not to mention the day's play residue all over the living room floor that needs clearing up too. So I'd better leave cyberland now and head off home again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hottie Heaven . . . Tutorial

I had so much fun making a hot water bottle cover for Janae that I just had to make more and then realised that it's such an easy and quick thing to do that I'd share how I do it. So here goes:

Step 1: Get the hot water bottle you want to cover and make your pattern around it on some paper. It's really important to leave a generous seam allowance as once the bottle is filled it is fatter and I had trouble getting Janae's into the completed case.

Pin your pattern to your fabric. I've made one front and two back pieces so that it's just like a slip cover.

Step 2: Pin down the top opening flap of both the front and the back. And turn over 2cm of the two back pieces and sew these all down.

The top flaps will give some strength to the top opening of your cover and a neater finish.

Step 3: With right sides together pin the two back pieces to the front and sew around leaving the neck open. I used a generous seam of about 3 cm because I dont' have an overlocker and wanted to be sure that the seams were well situated.

Step 4: Turn the case inside out and press. That's all you need to do. You can use some kind of device to close your cover at the back but I haven't yet decided what to use. I'm currently debating between press studs or velcro. Buttons would be great, but I need to practice my button holes a whole to more before I do them for real.

And that's all there is to it. I made two in about an hour last night. The Cars one is for Rogan's little friend . . . it's his birthday party tomorrow and he's mad on the Cars 2 stuff since I took the boys to see the movie. He's also the kind of child who has everything he could wish for so I can almost be certain he won't have a Cars Hot Water Bottle. Here's hoping he likes it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crafty Girls

It's been a while since we had our last Crafty Girls get together and last night we re-did a craft that we did a couple of years ago.

I just love this craft because it's quick, it's easy and it's sooooo effective. In fact, I love it so much that I thought I might have to do a tutorial on it.

I have to pop into town tomorrow so I'll grab a canvas and then make one, taking photographs throughout so that you can follow the step-by-step instructions.

I love the pohutukawa flower the best of the two I did last night. (A pohutukawa is a native New Zealand coastal tree that's often called the New Zealand Christmas tree because it flowers over the summer/Christmas months). But I love the cupcakes too.

I have this bare space above my kitchen cupboards that needs some colour and action. I do think these two canvasses might be a little small for up here though.

And this morning was the first time in what feels like ages that the wind hasn't been howling and the rain gushing down at right angles to the ground so I snuck outside to look at my spring bulbs. This tulip was a mothers day present from Mainly Music. And I think God meant for us to get up close and personal with some of His creations, because flowers hide away most of their beauty on the inside.

And I couldn't resist this happy little bee pinching pollen from my lavender. Yum, yum!

Now it's raining again, the washing is hanging limply and wetly on the line and I have two new fabrics begging to be cut out and sewn together so I'd better sign off, get the groceries put away where they belong and get crafting in what little I have left of my day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Crafty Monday . . . on Wednesday

Well, it's been a busy ole time here. Trying hard not to thinking about having a cigarette means that I need to keep busy. And busy I've been.

I started out with this little cushion. I'm continuing to work on my zip skills and added a ribbon down one side too. I love this cushion, but I haven't shown you the back. Due to my complete ignorance of sewing it wasn't until I'd assembled it that I realised the two ends of the ribbon don't meet in the same place. Ah well, I'll know for next time.

I also whipped up this hot water bottle cover for little Janae. She has, until now wrapped her Hottie Hot as she calls it, in a spare pillow case. Again, I'm not going to show you the back. Today I attempted to do button holes. I'm very ashamed to say that they're about an inch difference in height. Also when I assembled to two backs and the fronts I put the button hole side below the button side and then, once I'd sewn it all together the two backs don't even quite meet in the middle. I had to laugh because I don't have any patterns. I'm just following my little brain where ever it wants to go right now.

I can't show you Janae's little top as promised as it got covered in dinner and is now in the wash. But this fabric on her hottie cover is the same as the top.

And finally, it's Crafty Girls tonight and I'm helping Carolyn to run it. It's kind of mandatory that the hostesses provide something yummy for supper so I've turned out these chocolate cupcakes. I found the recipe on the New Zealand Woman's Weekly website here and they're just divine. And the centre cupcake is covered in cupcake paper carnations that match the cases. Hopefully this will bring a smile to someone's face tonight.

No more procrastinating tonight. Four hungry children waiting to be fed and a face to slap on before heading out the door so I'll bid you good evening and catch you again soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I knew that silicone muffin tray would come in handy

I was really inspired by this blog HERE and decided that I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, it was a little more difficult than I'd anticipated.

I blew up my balloon, filled it with water and bunged my warped old candle in a pot. Very excited once the wax had melted and I'd rescued the wick I got dipping. And dipping. And dipping. At last I felt I had enough wax on the outside of the balloon and left it to cool. But what to do with all the left over wax?

Ahhhh, I remembered the silicone muffin tray I'd bought many months ago. I've only made muffins in it once as it's a bit of a pain because it's so floppy and getting the muffins in and out of the oven is so much easier in traditional muffin trays. So they've sat in the back of the drawer for a long time waiting for a use to be found.

I cut my rescued wick into smaller pieces and then began to pour wax into the muffin tray. I dipped in the wick, held on while the wax cooled enough to hold the wick and started on the next one. I wasn't sure if they'd turn out of the moulds properly so I only made four. They worked a treat and look pretty good too.

This morning I added a bit of blue crayon to my left over wax to try and colour it. I'm not so happy with the result though and I can't even show you because the dreaded camera has got flat batteries once again.

I'll show you when I've recharged them. This time to got my pyrex glass bowl and lined it with oil. I selotaped the wick to a knitting needle and let it hang into the hot wax. By the time Janae and I got home from our morning swim it was all set. The big question was whether it would turn out of the bowl okay and it did. So now I have lots of little candles. I'm hoping that I get the gazebo I've got on the top of my birthday wish list in November so that I can have these lovely candles glowing as I sip my evening cup of tea.

And then today I raided my mother's fabric stash. I came home and drew up a basic shirt pattern on a piece of newspaper. Cut out the fabric, sewed it up and made Janae a little top. It was certainly an interesting experiment as each time I made her try it on I whipped it off and added some darts to the back, then to the front. I'm really pleased with the result and now I need a pattern for some shorts so I can make a matching pair. It's going to be the perfect summer pre-school outfit. Again, I'll show it off when the camera's charged.

As it's crafty Monday tomorrow I'm going to make some more of my little make-up bags. I also raided my mother's zipper stash too while I was there. She's going to be a very useful resource in my new venture into the sewing world. Thanks mum!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

She might be vintage but she works a treat!

Look at this gorgeous old darling. This was what my mother got for her 21st birthday. I can't believe it still works, and I can't believe I can work it.

I was going to put this little sewing project off until Monday morning when the children are out of the house and it's all quiet but for some strange reason I just can't seem to resist sewing something.

So this morning I lumbered the "new" old machine onto the table, logged on to my computer and found the blog to make this make-up bag, and got started.

I have had one or two issues, mainly the zip, which I've never done before. The corners were a bit tricky too and my zip was a little be too long. But, with a bit of fudging, I've managed to get it looking pretty good and make it work too.

It has a contrasting lining and interfacing and all sorts of fun and scary bits that I thought I'd never get done, but I'm really pleased with it as a first attempt.

Now I wish I'd got a few zips as I want to make another to get right all the things I did wrong. I think these are going to be great little Christmas treats for my girls and my friends. I think I'll make these and get some glorious little hand creams, nail files and other mummy treats to go in them. I doubt I'll even wrap them . . . maybe just a bow.

Now my only problem is . . . what am I going to do on Monday morning? I'm sure I'll find something.

As it's only 10am on Saturday morning, and as I have only one child at home this morning I think I might melt down the candle that's drooping in my dining room window and try another new trick. I'll keep you "posted"!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finished at Last

Well, I didn't get it done by Thursday but one day late isn't too bad. Things are a little slow around here due to a new medication. I'm a dirty, rotten smoker and it's time to quit so, with the help of ground breaking drugs I'm on my way. Only trouble is, they're playing havoc with my memory a bit (to be honest, memory has never been a strong suit of mine).

But, drugs aside, I've got the cushion finished at last. I'm much happier with it complete than I was with it half complete. I'm not all together sure how I feel about the back but the front is just lovely.

So, instructions:

With centre colour chain 4 and then make two dc into the first chain.
Chain 3 and make 3 dc into same chain as previous dcs. Repeat twice (4 3dc shells and 4 3 chain spaces). Join with a slip stitch in top of starting ch 3. Fasten off.

Join second colour into any corner space. Ch 3 and 2 dc in that space. 3 dc, ch 3, 3dc in each corner space. Join with a slip stitch in top of starting ch 3. Fasten off.

Join third colour. Ch 3 and 2 dc in that corner space. 3 dc between shells. 3 dc, ch 3, 3dc in next corner space. Repeat around, Join with a slip stitch in top of starting ch 3 and fasten off.

Join fourth colour in any corner space. Ch 3 and 2 dc in that space. 1 dc in each dc and in the space between shells. 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc in corner space. Repeat around, Join with a slip stitch in top of starting ch 3 and fasten off.

Repeat last round two more times.

That's your basic square. I join as I go so once you've completed the second square don't fasten off once you've joined with a slip stitch. Place both squares with right sides together and slip stitch between the front loop of the facing square and the back loop of the rear square. This means that you won't see any joining when you turn the squares right side out.

It's probably important to note that I haven't tested this pattern, it was just sorted out as I went along. But it's pretty straight forward. Hopefully, it works.

Now, while I'm watching the first match of the Rugby World cup tonight I'll be making these gorgeous little darlings. They're roses made out of crepe paper. I found the idea here. I had a few issues getting my flowers to look like hers so I've made a couple of changes and have decided to make a wreath rather than a ball as it'll hang better in my home. These are surprising easy to make and quick too. Should have it nearly complete by the end of the first game tonight.

Now I'd better go make the lone child at home on a Friday night some dinner before she starves to death.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can there really be too much of a good thing?

Today I was blessed to borrow a friend's sewing machine, as I've still not hauled my very old, very green 1960s singer sewing machine in to be serviced.

I have been dying to make these flowers properly and today I got the chance. I had decided that I would leave the machine away until the little cherubs had gone to bed, but having the backbone of a jelly fish, I took it out immediately and got cracking.

I'm cheating a bit because I'm showing you my favourite thing from today. This is the most beautiful flower and it's so easy to make.

Now a HUGE note here . . . this is NOT my pattern. I got it from Issue 3 of the Mollie Makes magazine and they have all their templates on their website. It's certainly worth checking it out. You can go to the Mollie Makes website and get the templates here. T

I have a nasty habit when I'm sewing. All of my lose threads I just throw on the floor beside me and hoover them all up once I'm finished. My little table has such sparse space that I don't want to clutter it up with unnecessary rubbish. Although as I look over at it now there's a dolly, some homework, a drink bottle and all my sewing gear. Hmmm, it's a good thing we love our kids.

And this is the flower I made that I hate. Thankfully, as with all the things I make and don't like, Kayley is smitten with it and has claimed it as her own. I don't think she will ever wear it (just like all the things I make for her) but she will stash it away in her desk drawer with all her other "treasures" and proudly show her friends. I'm glad she'll get something out of it. It's a shame all projects don't turn out perfect but failure is okay too.

Now tomorrow I must knuckle down and finish my cushion cover that keeps being pushed aside for quick and easy projects. I am determined to finish it tomorrow so that I can blog it and then give it to it's recipient on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Gorgeous Paper Flowers

Oh no! Another crafty addiciton . . . and no, it's not flower making . . . it's Pinterest. Oh dear, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse. If you haven't been there, this site is a must-see. It enables you to share ideas, tutorials and all sorts of other things we women love. Now it's an addiction for myself and my lovely crafty friends.

So, I decided that Monday needed a name change after spending hours trawling through gorgeous paper flower crafts. Monday is not longer "My Day Off" it is now officially "Craft Monday". And these beautiful carnations were my very first Craft Monday project.

You can find out how to make them here. I cannot tell you how easy they are to make, how absolutely gorgeous they are and how I just want to keep making more. Because I'm not a cake decorator at all, I have decided that these would be awesome on top of a yummy cake that's covered with fondant and then these little gems. Isn't it funny that I don't like carnations as cut flowers, or growing in my garden but that I'm totally in love with these? Maybe it's because I made them. Hmmm, makes you realise how God can love each of us I guess.

Anyway, Craft Monday is under way, so look out for next week. Who knows what will be in store. And the best thing? I've discovered this day far enough out from the next school holidays to be really excited about it.

Oh, and did you see the photo montage??? Thank you, thank you, thank you to Carolyn who sent me to this blog HERE and this wonderful lady shows you how to do it, what software to use and it's so user friendly that I'll be montaging everything for a while. The program also has some great editing tools too. Check it out!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is it really Saturday Morning?

I am surprised that my children allowed me to sleep until 7.30 this morning. I did consider getting out of bed when I heard them up at six but my eyelids were stronger than my legs and the next thing I know I have two little faces looking at me . . . "when are you going to get up?" they asked. Hmmm.

So, knowing I have visitors for morning tea, I hauled myself out of bed and got things sorted so I felt more human than sack of potatoes.

Once the muffins were cooked, washing out and beds made I turned my attention to the tissue paper I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago.

It's no secret how much I love flowers and I've spent the winter knitting them and crocheting them. I've also spent the last couple of weeks going out on to the patio to encourage my spring bulbs along in flowering. (They've responded very well to a little encouragement.) So this morning I wanted to make some tissue flowers.

This was something of an experiment as I'd like to make some big ones for the girls' bedrooms. I have, as yet, no real plan as how they'll adorn the bedrooms, but I like the idea of them.

So I found my Martha Stewart page I've been saving in my favourites list and made these beautiful gems. The link is here if you fancy making some too. They're dead easy, very quick and wholly satisfying.

Now I'll set the table for morning tea around these lovely jonquils that Nanny bought me the other day. They sit with pride on the kitchen table and make me smile even when I don't feel like it. They're the best kinds of gifts aren't they?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Playing Around

It never ceases to amaze me the things I can find to do when I should be going to bed knowing my children will be up by 6am and arguing over something by 6.30. Tonight my bedtime procrastination has been trying to create a photographic montage.

You see, my job, when I used to be more than a mummy, was to design book covers, photographic manipulation and typesetting. My favourite computer program is Photoshop and, while I have all the Adobe packages on my Mac, the computer has finally got to that age where it just doesn't like high speed internet and I can't do fun things like blogging etc. Alas, my laptop has just the basic programs, which is probably a good idea with the children using it too.

So I've been wracking my brains on how I can create lovely snapshots of my works in progress, past projects I've loved and ideas for the future in one image. I've used Paint today. Not the most successful, but what can a girl do on a budget?

So, if anyone has any knowledge of cheap or free software out there that will do a good job on basic photographic projects I'd love to hear about them.

Enjoy your weekend!