Monday, 16 September 2013

We've moved!

Finally, we have our new address in internet-land! Please come and visit, and if you follow, change your settings to

Now that I've made the move, I feel like I can be back active in the blogosphere again! Until now, for much of this year, I've been reluctant to post as it's seemed like I was making a big job (the move) bigger & bigger! Instead, striking technical difficulties, I've decided to make the move bit by bit and leave the existing comments behind. Interspersed with lots of new posts of course!

Hope to see you at my new place, and please leave a comment and let me know you popped by! Cheerio, Shell x

Monday, 5 August 2013

Sewing snippets

There's been lots of sewing going on here lately, and not much blogging! So I'm more than a little behind in sharing. Here's some snippets from my sewing table.

Miss A in her new hat ready for some Spring sunshine!
There's been lots of sun hat making in preparation for my spring/summer 2013 markets. Miss A chose a lovely wide brim, in pink and red Flower Sugar. Miss M wanted a ruffle bucket this year, in pink and blue - interesting how they each chose the style the other had last summer!  As always, they're from my favourite childrens hat pattern - the ever versatile Kid's Hats by Nicole Mallalieu Design.

I've enjoyed sewing a new-to-me pattern, the Design Your Own Pinny by Boo! Designs. It's another versatile number, easy to put your own spin on. Being quite cool around these parts, I've sewn up some cord ones, so far for Miss M and markets. The pattern is cut entirely by measurements, so that's a great quick plus for me, with my rotary cutter in hand!

Miss M loves her pretty Pinny!

And there was more warm winter pretty-dress sewing for Miss A, who needed something suitable to wear to the many parties that start happening for the turning 5 set! So for her, I sewed up a Ruby Ruffle dress by The Cottage Mama. I've had my eye on that one for a long time. It sewed up like a dream, with an I-can't-quite-figure-out-how-this-will-work-but-it did way of finishing the fully lined dress.

It seems I don't have a finished picture of this one!
Of course, when there's parties, there's gifts to give...this set was for a horse-loving Miss 5 friend.

So much girly-ness! No wonder I'm itching to get into some boys sunhat and shorts sewing! 

Have you discovered any new (for you) patterns you've loved lately? Got any long-time faves you keep going back to again and again? Go on, share, you know I love to hear! x Shell

Friday, 2 August 2013

Pinned and painted!

Hello lovely readers, well another wintery week and it's just as well I've committed to doing this, or  I doubt I'd be getting to the blog at all! It's been a week of cold weather and winter illnesses here, with both Misses A and M very unwell, and myself and Mr Sow just trying to hold the bugs at bay. Which has meant I've been largely house-bound with the girls and I'm going a tad stir-crazy!!! I've gotten quite a bit of sewing done at least, as they haven't felt capable of much more than major DVD watching. 

But, we did try some arty activities to break up the monotony!

Firstly, we tried our hand at dot painting, with this one I pinned

From therapy fun zone
You use a cotton bud to paint each dot. It was a lovely peaceful concentrating activity at first, with both girls (and myself) engrossed. Then as per usual, colour-mixing become the focus for Miss M! Miss A, at just turned 5, enjoyed the task but lost focus after about 10 minutes. If she wants to finish her picture off, we'll come back to it another day.

Miss Ms, Miss Ms, Miss As & mine!
Later in the week, we got to something I've wanted to do for months. Take a look at this gorgeous bunch of flowers, one of many fantastic activities to do with your children's paintings by Sarah Tamblyn Designs

We did our messy paintings months ago and they've been waiting for a rainy day! So, we got to work, Miss M on the pipe cleaners and gluing, me on the paper cutting and sticky taping. I had thought the cutting would be another task for Miss A, but whether it was illness or not, she was only interested in seeing the finished product!

And here it is:

We went for a collage to hang in the girls' gallery in their bedroom, but I love Sarah's bunch of flowers as a gift idea. Sarah has other activities, free printables and recipes for kids, plus as an artist herself, makes the most gorgeous art prints for childrens rooms - a site well worth a look!

So I felt very crafty this week! I'll be back soon to share some sewing, I promise! Do you have any favourite ways to keep children of different ages creating and entertained at the same time? I'd love to hear, Shell x

Friday, 26 July 2013

Pinned, planned, posted!

As I do, I've had an idea and I'm jumping straight on it this morning. It all started with Pinterest (what doesn't these days!). I looove Pinterest. I pin away, all these great ideas for things I want to do, things to help teach others to sew, yummy recipes, you name it, I probably pin it! But how much of what I lovingly pin do I actually make? Er, um, embarrassed shuffling here... 

But no more! Starting today, I'm starting a little series here, and I'm going to hold myself to it! Once a week I'll share something I've done from my pin-spiration. OK, I'll never get through everything, but at least this will be a good start.

So to begin, the pin that started me off this morning was this gem:

They're pattern weights, by A Spoonful of Sugar, which interestingly was one of the first blogs I got into before I had to get ruthless with my following and cull many great blogs from my reading list! Go there to find out how to make these nifty pattern weights.

My pattern weights were small tins of tuna and corn from the pantry! Which works well when it's just for doing a job, but has been bothering me lately when the ugly tins pop up in my photos for the tutorials, course instructions and patterns I'm currently working on!  

The sort of thing I don't even think about until I see the photos - ick!
So, a nicely timed visit to the hardware store meant Mr Sow could pick me up some washers for weights, an hour of yo-yo and button sewing (I already had my circles cut out for other projects!) and here we have them - pretty pattern weights!

Another pretty set of pattern weights I'd been thinking about making for a long time were these: 

From Sew Fearless. I still love these but I'm not so inclined to start winding ribbon as I am to make yo-yos. Maybe when I need some more!

So, are you a fellow mad-pinner? Have you made anything you've pinned lately? If you would like to join me in this weekly challenge, share your pinned, planned & posted projects in the comments so we can all check out your successes! Either blog links or comments are welcome.  Happy making, Shell x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sewing questions: to pre-wash your fabric or not to pre-wash?

Whether to pre-wash your fabrics or not, is a big question! With many opinions in the sewing world. Here's mine, developed over my years of sewing and the sage advice of my patchwork teacher.

For making clothing or anything else that will be frequently washed, generally I would say yes, pre-wash. By washing and drying the fabric in the same way you will wash the final item, the fabric should shrink if it's going to. Much better for shrinking to happen before you cut out your pattern than after!

However, if you're using quality quilting cottons (the specialty shop or designer line ones, I'm not talking about Spotlight fabrics here, even though they do now stock some lovely fabric) there's a good case for not pre-washing your fabrics. These modern-day, quality fabrics are not supposed to shrink. The dyes shouldn't run and the sizing (a chemical) helps the fabric handle well for cutting. This is especially handy if you're going to be doing something intricate like patchwork where precision cutting is important. The fabrics feel crisp yet soft at the same time, lovely.

These quality fabrics are organic too - Monaluna fabrics, Havanna.

So what do I do? I pre-wash my fabrics unless I'm launching straight into a quilting project with them at the shop, like I did in a class once!  It's annoying sometimes, especially if I'm itching to make something from my new purchase. But as most of my fabric (mostly all quilting cottons lately) will be used on multiple projects, it's just too tricky to not pre-wash in my case. Because you shouldn't mix pre-washed and not pre-washed fabrics in the one project, in case they shrink unevenly. 

Following washing and drying, I give them a good press and they're ready to use, either straight away, or folded into my stash. Which I can look at happily, knowing all my pre-washing has been done. Happy days!

What do you do? Because you must sew, or there's no way you would read this post all the way through! Have fun, Shell.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Listmania - Favourite movies for a rainy day...

This week, we're linking up with Rach at Hopeful Rae of Sunshine who suggested this great Listmania topic. 

I once spent a heavily pregnant close-to-due-date-day at home alone while Mr Sow worked and Miss A was taken to a birthday party by her lovely Grandparents. That day, I sat and watched movies all day. The blissful rest even took my mind off my itching gravity-defying belly while I absorbed myself in a day of movies I chose all myself. Along with some cross-stitch. I highly recommend the combination to anyone who needs to get out of their own head for a while! And it may or may not have rained...

So I have no idea what I chose, but I know I mixed it up a probably went something like this...
OK, so this is my favourite movie, so what! :)

Love me a good vampire flick

A fave, pregnant or not (I did watch this one again that day!)

Lost count of how many times I've watched this one

And I want to sit down and watch this one fully with my girls soon...from what I've seen so far, it looks like more than your usual fairy tale.
What movie/s would make your rainy day list? I'd love a few more movies to add to my movies to see list :) Shell x

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Relaxing working relaxing

I'm still loving the sunshine of warm winter days this week. So glad we made this move to warmer and slower-paced rural-town life one year ago now.

I've been quiet on the facebook page, quieter still in my sewing room this week. Not that I haven't been working, I've been busily working away on the latter stages of my sewing course which is underway with my wonderful testers this week and for the following 5-6 weeks.

This is a sneaky peek, and good indication of what I've been focusing on when not in business-mode:

Here's how I did just that, in 15 mins for me, savoring a cup of tea in the sunshine this afternoon:

The one-family-car experiment continues to go well. In fact, I'm really enjoying the slower-pace it requires me to take. This morning we drove to our final swimming lesson the usual 50+ kilometre drive away, then fit in errands in the "big town" of Shepparton. I felt cranky, on edge and more stressy than I had all week by the time we were on our way home. There was probably very little that I couldn't have gotten or done locally here in our small town, there's just something about going to "Shep" that makes me pack it all in there. With two tired young girls after swimming, that never goes well! Anyway, no swimming lessons for us going forward for a while, which will mean we really can commit to being a one car family! 

So, school holidays are here, and I will make a few exceptions to make the most of having a second car to see friends while we still have one! I'm loving the idea of train trips though, thinking meeting friends for special outings in Melbourne could be a goer! Are you on holidays? What are your plans? Have a relaxing one, Shell x