there has been lots of knitting

Sometimes I am on a real go slow with my knitting or a particular project. And then there are times when I’m so motivated to finish a project. That is how I’ve been with this little cardy for my littlest miss. I have just been so motivated to get it finished and she’s been coming over and taking the first page of the pattern to show everyone what I’m knitting. That’s a good sign. Because I did make her a kina and it’s still unworn because she didn’t like wearing it. So we’re feeling positive about this one. I’ve been knitting in the backyard, while getting a pedicure, in the car to the blue mountains, watching tv, in front of the fire, while listening to little people read to me. This has taken me one week so far which is pretty good in my books.

I’m using granny’s favourite by tikki which is a favourite of mine. If you look up #grannysfavourite on instagram you’ll see lots for inspiration with a few real life grannies in there too. And I’ve used Bendigo Luxury 8 ply in bubblegum which I’m just loving. I was using it for the garter stitch blanket square but switched it to this project and it’s such a great pink. But of course I needed more so I’ll be waiting for the mailman to arrive with my order of Bendigo.

And that free  shipping if you spend $50 meant I had to get another couple of balls to avoid postage. The things we do. But with the cooler weather here I picked up some 10 ply in pale pink to make this cardigan for a few baby girls that have been born or are being born. I was having a big clearout and nearly threw out the magazine and then saw how perfect this little cardigan looked. You can also find the pattern online as a download here (US$2.99).

image source

Most of the family are back to school and work tomorrow so I probably won’t get much knitting done but at least I’ve been productive so far…………I hope you’ve been squeezing in a bit of craft time too. I have just started my next project..while I wait for that delivery. It’s another old favourite of mine from last minute knitted gifts, here is the last time I made one.

how to sew a shopping bag holder

For years I’d been saying I must make myself one of these and then I made one and wondered why I’d waited so long. I then made about 12 for my school fete last year. They all sold that afternoon. These are quick, easy, fun and so practical. They sell out at any fete and make a great Mother’s Day gift or just an essential item for your kitchen

 

What you’ll need

1 fat quarter (about 50x55cm) fabric (I used Amy Butler for this project

50cm Elastic (any width)

Scrap of ribbon/tape for hanging loop

Sewing machine

Iron

Pencil, scissors, pins, safety pin or bobkin, thread

 

How to make it

Take your fat quarter and cut off any selvages. With right sides of your fabric together fold lengthways and pin the long sides together (this gives us longer carrier to fit more plastic bags in).

Sew a straight line from the top to the bottom of your long edge that you have pinned together and then zig zag/overlock edges

Now you are going to make elastic casings for the top and bottom of the carrier. Take your fabric to the iron and fold over a few mm’s around one end and press well. Fold over again by a width wider than your elastic and press well again. I like to put the elastic against the folded over section and check that it’s bigger.

Repeat with the other end of the carrier and take to your sewing machine

We are going to sew close to the folded down edge but we are going to leave about a 1inch gap between our first and last stitches so that we can thread through our elastic. Repeat with the other end of the carrier.

Now cut your elastic length to the width of your carrier. Cut 2 pieces

Take a large safety pin and place it in the end of the elastic with a pin at the other end. The safety pin is used to push through your elastic and the pin prevents the end of the elastic getting lost in the casing. Thread through the safety pin first and push through. Taking care not to twist the elastic remove the safety pin and pin and sew elastic closed. I do this with a zig zag stitch and go back and forth a few times

Repeat with the other end of the casing.

Now work out which is the top of the carrier (important if you have a fabric with an obvious design) and you are going to cut about 5cms of ribbon/tape for our hanging loop. I like to have the loop inside the bag but you might like it on the outside. It’s up to you. Using the line of the stitches that you sewed around the bag and with a pin on the loop sew up the casing closed making sure you sew through the layers of the loop as well as the fabric.

Sew closed the elastic casing at the other end of the carrier. Trim all threads and you are done.

These are very addictive.

uberkate giveaway on Instagram

If you pop over to my Instagram page you’ll find a lovely giveaway in time for Mother’s Day. I love wearing my extra small ubercircle and thanks to Uberkate am giving one away. Entries close 30th April and all you need to do is go to the photo on Instagram, leave a comment with the name (or initials) that you’d like engraved on the circle and I’ll pick one winner. It also comes with the sterling silver necklace too.

Good luck!

why I love crochet

This is one of the main reasons I love crochet. Exhibit A. Two crocheted squares (one finished, one almost finished) measuring 10 inches for our schools Wrap with Love project. Each square took one night on the couch while I watched Barbie, Toy Story and so on cuddled up with the kids. Piece of Cake. I’m using this pattern.

And now I present Exhibit B. One garter stitch square that is coming out slightly larger than 10 inches and is taking FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve done this for 3 nights, 2 stints in car line, some morning knitting and I’m still going! About 3 more inches to go. It is nice and squishy though.

So moral of the story is that for the school blankets I’ll be doing crocheted squares from here onwards. Well once I finish the garter stitch square. Wool all came from the stash and mostly Bendigo in a range of colours. I really am loving the grey and pink combo which are the latest colours in Luxury and just gorgeous.

Win a Brother NS55 or a scan n cut this Mother’s Day

I love a good competition and this one really is a great one. You know I am always telling my readers to get a Brother and one of my favourite machines is the NS55. Well now you could win one. Or a Brother Scan n Cut. Plus $3000 in sewing supplies/accessories plus a subscription to Handmade. And if that wasn’t enough there is a grand prize of a crafternoon with one of the crafters (either me, Hipster Mum or Handmade Kids depending on which section of the competition you enter) in the Brother Makes Memories competition.  How much fun would we have. I’ll have to make sure that there is the most beautiful afternoon tea served. And maybe champagne? That would be fun! Be sure to enter the Clothing/Fashion if you want to be in the running for the grand prize with me.

Go to the Brother Makes Memories competition page here for all the details, you can see my video and cute little project. Put on your thinking caps, enter the competition and good luck! I can’t wait to see what everyone makes.

I knew I wanted to make a dress but didn’t have time for drawing up pattern pieces so decided a t-shirt dress was the way to go. You’ll find the instructions here. I also had the best little model for this dress but did have a slight drama in that she didn’t want to take the dress off once it was finished and a few photos were taken. I was hoping to take more photos and keep it on the hanger for a while but that wasn’t to be! She’s wearing it for mufti day this week and just loves it.

Be sure to enter this one as I think the prizes are amazing!!!!!!!!!! Entries close 3rd May so get cracking!

what has been going on here

Well my poor old neglected blog! I do manage to keep facebook and instagram up to date if you ever feel like you are missing anything. I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy with the exception of 3 little ones under 3 which was definitely the busiest time of my life. At least now I can shower each day and leave the house. And I have another little one to look after with this pup who is just getting cuter by the day.

He unfortunately likes to leave me ‘surprises’ on the floor so I never know what I’ll wake up to and suddenly that crate training is making sense since we’ve had to block off the lounge room and keep him away from carpeted areas. His latest trick for 2 days was to run to the top of the stairs, leave me a poo and then slowly make his way down the stairs again. Puppy school here we come. We nipped that in the bud pretty quickly by the way.

We have had such a jam packed few days here.  Friday was my little girl’s first time leading the school in assembly with her class. She introduced the items and did some wonderful singing and actions. There were tears. From me. She loved that microphone. Our Saturday was filled with 2 rugby games, interschool cross country, a kids birthday party and a swimming lesson. Rugby and gymnastics for other kids had to be missed and we plopped into bed and thank goodness for that extra hour with daylight savings. Sunday I went to the most beautiful afternoon for Divine Mercy Sunday where the Bishop said mass, blessed a Divine Mercy image for the church, confession was offered all afternoon, the most amazing singing I’ve ever heard in a church and just a very special 2 1/2 hours of peace and quiet that I really needed. Obviously I didn’t have everyone with me (since it was relaxing and peaceful which aren’t words that go together with taking the whole family to church) and just had my 2 girls who were perfectly behaved. If you haven’t read the story of the Divine Mercy image it’s a special story recently made into a movie here. And I swapped over with my husband who stayed for the rest of the afternoon. I went from quiet and peaceful afternoon to a van full of crazy kids who needed to be taken home via KFC.

Oh and Bendigo released some new yarn colours. Always an exciting time when their shade card is released but I haven’t received mine yet but I had to get some of these delicious new colours. These 3 really jumped out at me and I love the bubblegum and grey, well I love all three of them really. And great to have a darker grey as I think I have used lots of Ghost over the years.

another great Easter Show

After a few years away from the Easter Show it was so great to be back there over the weekend. It almost didn’t happen but I thought it would be a wonderful special treat for the family. And it was. Although I had hoped to surprise everyone on Sunday morning but someone overheard us and we ended up telling everyone the night before. My big girl drew up a checklist of what to pack and when to leave. We all slept in, enjoyed our delicious breakfast and headed out so we could walk in the gates just after 9.

We had a plan of attack. Do a kids ride or two

Scones for grandma. She was a trooper walking with us most of the day and just took a rest while we did showbags. I looked over and she had no sooner sat down than started talking to the person next to her. The CWA ladies outdid themselves again. They seemed to have more space this year but it still wasn’t enough as everyone loves their scones. Those ladies worked so hard and are always serving with a smile. The tables are in hot demand and we managed to get one but it’s always a tight area. They are popular ladies with their scones and tea. Maybe one year they’ll get a bit more space. I managed to get half a scone and it was delicious. As always. I wonder how many the ladies will have made by the end of the show. I also managed to buy their latest cookbook and another teatowel for my collection.

Now I went off looking for the quilts and craft but they’d moved. And by the time we found them everyone was a bit restless so we did the dogs! So cute and we picked up some cute bow tie collars for Chester.

Then we looked at a few of the animals including our favourite….alpacas. They are just so cute. The girls got to pat one and then in another area got to walk them around for a lap which was very cute. It’s not everyday you get to walk an alpaca and I think we might need one for our place. So cute. And we loved meeting the lovely people behind Adagio Alpaca who had a busy stall at the show too.

We did a few more animals. Stopped for some hot chips for lunch and a sweet older gentleman came up to tell us as we were mostly standing that he had 6 children himself so he knew what it was like and there was a nice table over there in the shade. What a nice man. Now at this point we realised that the sky was turning black and we had 9 of us and the car parked a long way away. And we still didn’t have our showbags or had seen the quilts and knitting. And of course everyone was anxious about seeing the quilts and craft. No, just kidding. Only me.

The quilts were all quite traditional but this would have to be the teeniest tiniest hexagon quilt I’d seen

So we headed off to showbags last, 1 each for 5 of the kids and I was having flashbacks to getting the home and away and neighbours bags when I was young and going to the show with my grandma. And just as someone was having a wobbly we were marching out to the exit and heading home. We didn’t lose anyone and it was great to have 2 prams and some older kids to push a pram if one of us was carrying someone. All in all a great day and I think we can wait another few years before we head again…….my feet were aching!

a message for mums this Easter

You know how you see those work from home images with a person on a beach or by the pool with their laptop. Working from home is supposed to be relaxing and wonderful and give you free time and freedom. If you’ve ever worked from home or worked around having a family then you know it’s anything but relaxing. I’m not sure why they show those photos. Starting out working from home was interesting and fun and a good way to bring in extra income. But over the years as the family has grown and responsibilities at home have, there has been less time to work unless I want to go to bed at 1 every night. And I’ve known that my  most important work isn’t paid or what the outside world sees.

Each year for the last few years I’ve thought that particular year would be my last year trying to juggle it all. I’ve imagined my last blog post going live. But somehow I make it through another year and then another. So I can’t say this will be last year working from home but the days I totally ignore my blog and get on with home life are my favourite. Things get done, the house looks nicer, everyone is happy and I can mostly keep on top of things. If the blog is going well and things are in on time then the rest of the house is falling apart. It’s just the way things are.

From the outside looking after a family 24/7 might look boring, monotonous and old fashioned. I’m sure when people look at large families they think how on earth (or why on earth) do you look after everyone and everything. And the truth is that there is so much pressure now on families of every size. Pressures to have money just to have a house or even rent a house and cover the bills. It makes me sad how many families are struggling. With expenses, lack of support, the rising cost of living, disability, unhappy marriages, unfaithful partners, tragedy or health issues. I know there are people who really want to stay home to raise a family just as they imagined but the pressures are too much or family life isn’t turning out as they expected.

But it doesn’t matter if you stay home or work outside the home. Putting your family first before work and other commitments will bring rewards in the long term. Sometimes you just can’t see it through the busyness of everyday life. But take a minute to think about what really is the most important thing in your life and it isn’t your job or possessions but the people around you. I do think the media presents an image of having it all. Being a successful woman isn’t someone who just raises her family or serves other people out of the goodness of her heart. But she is supposed to have her successful business on the side or a career. But really that makes me sad because our greatest work is raising children to be great people and we can’t ignore that wonderful work. It has always been my vocation in life to be married and raise a family. For some people it’s serving others. Don’t forget what you imagined when you were growing up. Don’t forget what it was like to be a child as you raise your own.

On Good Friday I really wanted us to attend stations of the cross and the 3pm service. But after spending all but 10 minutes outside with the little ones we had to decide to split up in the afternoon. I’d do the Saturday night vigil which I love with its 50 million readings (ok about 7 but the kids think its 50 million) and dad and a big kid went to the 3pm good Friday service

And as I was playing outside I felt bad that I wasn’t at church. That I wasn’t a good person because I wasn’t there when I should be at this most important time of year. And I did remind myself something that I often remind myself with. All of the little things that we do for our children do not go unnoticed. The meals we cook, the floors we clean, the clothes we fold (or leave to sit in the basket until we get to it), the hugs we give, the nappies we change and the little (and not so little) jobs that we do within our homes and families are always noticed by our God. I was pushing the little ones on the swing, running around the garden and caring for them and that is good work in itself.

Sometimes we expect gratitude or a thank you and it doesn’t always come. Sometimes we wish we had more ‘me’ time or could do something outside of the house but it’s just not the right time for it. But the most beautiful and rewarding work is raising a family and even if it doesn’t always feel that way it really is.  When I make it to heaven I want to know that I did my best, that I raised good children to the best of my ability and served my family with my whole heart.

Last night I was reading my bible (something I should do more of) and then one by one the 3 older ones asked for a bible so they could read the Easter story. I was thinking to myself well my work here is done. And also reminded that we lead by example and have the opportunity as parents to help our children live good lives, know that there is more to our lives than what we can see and know that someone in heaven loves them more than they can imagine. I hope you have a special Easter with your families and loved ones and use this time to remember why we are here and our purpose in life.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”. He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18: 1-5)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10-11)

and another little cotton rabbit is finished

Here is my 3rd little cotton rabbit all finished. Oh boy this one was a race to the finish line. I was up watching Netflix at the same time and when I trimmed the last piece of wool on the rabbit I checked the time. 1.30am. I wrote a list of things I’d need to do in the morning and went straight to bed. This little one is a bit different from the others. I used the Adagio Alpaca and it was a treat to use. Super soft and a bit of hair (but not too much) made him so lovely. Go down a needle size if you use the Adagio alpaca as I used a 2.75mm for this one.

He has a little jumper (sweater) made from a 4 ply wool from Spotlight and a little button from the stash. He was gifted to our wonderful teacher’s aide and she loved it. This other rabbit was loved by our little girl’s teacher and I’m glad I got them both done by the last day of school before the Easter weekend. I’m also glad to be back into knitting for the kids.

The instructions for the little cotton rabbits are foolproof and I look forward to knitting another one later in the year.

how to make an Easter bunny cushion

Well it’s Good Friday today and I’m home from stations of the cross although I have to admit that I spent half of it listening from the playground. It reminded me of when I had the twins in the playground while mass was on. Now I was hoping this project would be online before Easter and it is. Just. But you still have time to make this cute little bunny cushion. And I think it doesn’t just have to be for Easter as we gifted this little cushion for a little girl’s birthday.

Nice and easy with lots of photos to help you complete it.

Happy sewing!

another little cotton rabbit is finished

Well I’ve been a bit slow finishing this little rabbit off. But isn’t he cute? A boy this time and I’m gifting him.

I loved putting his little outfit together and had to rummage around to find a button tiny enough for his little jumper. I used some 4 ply from Spotlight for the top and it came up nicely.

The shorts were cute too but I didn’t make his tummy big enough so hopefully they don’t slide off. I used some BC Garn for his shorts and they are so soft and silky.

And since I’d already made one little rabbit I found it much easier and faster the second time around to put him all together. I preferred the legs to the shoes on the girl which were a bit fiddly last time and took me quite a while (and I had to do them twice).

Now I’ve got to get the grey one finished before Thursday…the pressure is on. Just 2 legs to knit and his outfit and then I can put that one together.

Ravelry details for my project are here, pattern is available here from little cotton rabbits and if you follow the hashtag #littlecottonrabbits on instagram then you will find lots of cute projects made by Julie of little cotton rabbits and other crafters. And speaking of Instagram,  Chester has been having fun over there. I can’t stop taking photos of him and I’ve been picking him up for cuddles and walking around the house with him and have to be reminded by hubby that he can walk. He’s just so cuddly I can’t help it!

 

and they call it puppy love

Oh we have fallen in love with our little puppy. That’s for sure. He arrived last night and is just the cutest little thing ever.

trying to get a photo at night and when he was still was a bit of challenge. He had lots of admirers and a few squealers which kept excitement levels high. And as you can imagine it was hard to get everyone to go to bed. Or do their homework. At least getting them out of bed was easy because they wanted to spend time with our little Chester.

He is a labradoodle and came down by plane from QLD yesterday. Apparently they were filming an airport/airline show so keep an eye out for him in case he comes up on the tv screen.

The littlest kids love being chased by him and a little someone doesn’t like him to nap. Instead she wants him awake. I did have to bribe her out of his bed with a vegemite sandwich and I’m going to have to get serious about the crate training this week so he gets some peace and quiet. He has a very sweet and playful nature and doesn’t mind the noise or action. In fact from the moment he arrived he was straight into the action. But it’s definitely like having a little baby and the human baby is going to need a little adjustment period as he gets a bit jealous when the puppy is on my lap and he’s not.

But we are definitely loving the latest addition to our family and love him to bits. Keep those puppy tips coming. It’s a steep learning curve. That’s for sure! And so that I don’t bore the non dog lovers with lots of puppy photos I set up his instagram at @chesterthelabradoodle so I don’t lose any of my followers with 50 million puppy photos. It’s kind of hard not to share all the cute moments we are getting here.

And some of the things that the kids have been saying have been hilarious.’Mum are you going to make him some active wear?'(from the 9 year old) and ‘don’t worry  Chester we’ll help you find your mummy'(from the 3 year old) and ” I think Chester loves mum more than me’ (from a few of them but that’s probably because I’m calm and not running around!).

sew your own easter baskets

I had so much fun putting this little project together for Brother. You can find the project sheet with full instructions and photos here.

I made one basket with a ribbon trim and then made my own binding and did a version with bias binding which I think the quilters will enjoy. My girls are using these on their dressing tables for hair ribbons, elastics and jewellery.

But anyone who loves chocolate or lives with other people who love chocolate should have known that the full easter basket in the first photo was never going to last until the next day when I made the second version. Nope. Not much left in the easter egg department.

I hope you enjoy making the project. I even have a cheats version if the corners are too tricky with the ribbon you can just sew them closed for an even easier basket.

knitting teeny tiny jumpers

Look away now if you don’t like weaving in ends. I have a few here that need to be done.

But how cute is this little tiny jumper (you might call it a sweater depending on where you live in the world) for a little cotton rabbit. My knitting (and poor old blog) has been taking a back seat to the school run and other jobs I have going on. This week our little miss goes in for day surgery for her teeth so I’m thinking I’ll be knitting to keep my mind on other things and keeping close to her.

I was thinking it wasn’t too ambitious to knit 2 rabbits for the teachers before Easter but I’m cutting it fine. I’m always a bit last minute in most things. Today I’m knitting the little shorts and tail and hoping tomorrow I can put one rabbit all together.

Top tips? Go for a natural wool for the rabbit (the grey I’ve used is 8 ply alpaca from Adagio Mills and the cream is Rustic in Linen Fleck by Bendigo Woollen Mills), keep all the pieces that still have stitches on one needle, wool stuffing is really lovely inside the finished rabbit, have fun with colours for the outfits, raid the stash for all the yarns because you don’t need a lot to knit each item, and I just make 1 (m1) my usual way as with the tiny needles and thick wool it can be tricky (I found this with the rustic) and it was just getting too tight for me so I knit my usual m1. The instructions are so clear and concise and I think that’s the appeal of the pattern.

Have you started knitting a little cotton rabbit? They are very addictive and very cute to knit………….

fabric sales for a good cause

THANK YOU SO MUCH WE RAISED $650!!!!!!! Thank youxxxx

One of the things I knew I wanted to do this year was raise money for my little girl’s special school. And now I’m starting. Each year the teachers put out a wishlist of items they would like and for my daughter’s class there are a range of items including a large water/sand table that the class can use. It costs $450 and I would like to raise that money. Every day our little girl comes home with a new word or song or sign and it is so wonderful to see how well she is doing. OK, if I think too much about it I start to cry because it’s actually blowing us away. She’s doing that well.

I’ve put up 3 packages on eBay this morning and will do a few more to get to the total of $450. Postage within Australia is free if you purchase the items and 100% of the proceeds are going to the school. You can find the listings here (all sold thank you), here (2 listed again here ) and here  (sold thank you!).

Thank you so much for your support. If you would like me to make up a package with what you are after in either the Lil Red range or something else from my stash (like Flower Sugar, japanese cute fabrics etc please let me know and I’m only too happy to make something special for you to help my little girl’s school and class).