Wednesday, 17 March 2010

♥ Review:: Dana's Knee Pad Pants Tutorial

 I usually try to figure things out for myself, but I have such a collection of tutorials I have found along the way and saved, I should put it to good use! And make some cute stuff while I'm at it. And inform you guys of how I went with it.

The first tutorial I decided to follow, my first in a VERY long time, was Dana from Made's Knee Pad Pants Tutorial. Dana is amazing. She is so inspiring to me, and is doing very well for herself simply by blogging about her family and her craftiness!

She also has two gorgeous little kids, a boy + a girl, so there is plenty of kiddie crafting inspo for me there!

I know, I know, it's a pants tutorial, similar to the one I made! But I thought I'd give it a go. She really explains very well how to make a pattern from an existing pair of pants that fid the tyke well. She does things differently to what I do them, I take more shortcuts, but they both turn out the same.

The kneepads on the pants were a fun little twist, and it's cute that you keep the edges raw. You also do some basic decorative stitching that was fun to do also.

I made Vincent's pants from the black plaid I made his waistcoat out of. I used the sleeve of a men's Superman shirt for the kneepads. They went together SO WELL.

Overall, the tutorial is REALLY well written for people who are inexperienced sewers but also is great for those who already know what they are doing. This tutorial is also fantastic for people who are only just diving into the world of sewing for children.

You can see more variations other people have made using this tutorial at Dana's flickr pool, you MADE it.

Visit Dana's blog


Monday, 8 March 2010

Paint Swatch Notebook

Ok. I, Max California, have a severe addiction to paint swatches. I love just standing in front of them at the hardware and just staring at all the colours. Every shade imaginable. And all of them have the most delicious names - Cloudberry, Almond Bloom, Pink Dolly.

When we lived in Brisbane, I was going to paint a feature wall in each room, and I had a great time collecting paint swatches and trying to decide. Well we didn't end up staying there very long, and I was hardly at home to even think about any DIY projects. Now we've moved and we have theopportunity again to paint the walls in our new place, so now i have double the amount of paint swatches.

And I couldn't be happier.

Here's a little DIY project I came up with one day when I grabbed the nearest thing to write on, and it happened to be a paint swatch.

Paint Swatch Notebook

Aren't they cute?

Here's a quick guide on how to make your own::

First, grab all your materials. This includes scissors, your ribbon + lace box, a hole puncher, a pencil/pen, a lighter ((if you're using ribbon)) and your selected paint swatches.

 Punch as many or as few holes along one side of the paint swatch. Lay the first one over the next and with a pencil make a small mark through the hole. Punch the holes lining up with the marks. Repeat for as many litlte pages as you want. I go with about 3-5 pages.

Now thread your ribbon or lace or braid through the holes. Be as decorative as you like, or keep it plain and simple. Double back, cross-over, the floor is yours! If you're usiing ribbon, cut the ends off at an angle, and using the cigarette lighter - just melt the ends a tiny bit. This will stop it for fraying.



Sunday, 7 March 2010

Mohawk for a cold day

So I made this adorable little tartan helmet thing for Vin for when it gets cold out. It's made out of op-shop-bought black wool tartan and lined in red broadcloth. Oh, did you notice the BRIGHT RED MOHAWK down the middle?

You did?

That's pretty cool too isn't it! I'm going to buy longer faux fur, so it will stick up higher. That's right.

This is the only decent shot I could get of the front. I still haven't put a snap on the chinstrap yet, so he pulls it off every second he can get. That's why his hands are full of things :D Yep. Clever mummy.


Friday, 5 March 2010

Pumpkin + Kale Salad

Ok I've got to be honest with you, this one I was very hesitant to try. I'm an incredibly fussy eater, and I didn't like the idea of this thing called Kale ((which I totally thought was a type of seaweed...y'know, kelp...)) or teh idea of raw pumpkin. But I decided to give it a taste test, and then grabbed another helping!!

You could even eat this raw salad on a cold day because the dressing gives it a bit of zing!

Here's the recipe!

6 leaves of Kale - cut the backs of the leaf stem off and tear the leaf  into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup Jap pumpkin - diced
1 tomato - chopped
4 slices red/spanish onion
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
6 leaves sweet basil - chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coconut Oil
Pinch Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together and pour the dressing over the top. 



Ice Magic - The Raw Foods Way

I think I've touched on the subject of my mummy's raw foodism before.

Well instead of creating an entirely new blog for it, I'm going to publish her recipes here! These are delicious for everyone, and it's actually quite surprising how delicious and enjoyable raw food can be.

First off, I'm going to tempt your tastebuds with my mother's version of Ice Magic. She poured it over cold mango and strawberries and it hardened up straight away!


Well here is the recipe, in her words

I am eating a delicious dish of raw food - my very own first Rockmelon I have ever grown and some cut up Nectarine and Peach I got from my $3 box of fruit from my fav vegie store at Whyalla Plaza in Toowoomba. I then made a delicious raw chocolate Ice Magic - all natural products with no chemicals. So it doesn't prick my conscience to have it for dinner. That's what you get when you eat Raw Foodist style. It even got the lick of approval from Max California....
Here's the recipe:

Some raw organic Cacao (approx 2 heaped tsps)
A dash of raw organic Agave Nectar (approx 2 tblsps)
A heap of shredded organic Coconut (about 1/2 cup)
A big dash of organic Coconut Oil (approx 1/4 cup -excellent for weight loss!)

Now spoon or pour it over your fresh fruit salad from the fridge and magic! The chocolate solidifies into an Ice Magic crunch. 

You can get most ingredients from your local organic or health food store. It may be expensive to buy the ingredients initially, but they soon pay off as you use a little bit in everything!


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tutorial:: Waistcoat

I'd like to say this is his first ever waistcoat, but would you believe this is his FOURTH? Yeh, he hardly wears them, but I guess it's because we've been on the move, and I just forget he has them ((or I havn't packed them)). Anywho. I'm going to make a matching pair of pants for this, so he has a cute suit. Maybe a bow tie too. Man he looks so young in that photo.

I will eventually attach a pattern you can download and print out to this, but this tutorial will show you how to draft your own pattern from an existing shirt of your child's!

Let's get going! As always, click on the pictures to make them larger!


Vincent's Grown-Up Pyjamas

As in his first set of proper pyjamas! He won't sleep in these for a while yet I think, he keeps crawling out of the pants ((he could win the speed-crawling championship I'm sure)), but when he's a bit older they will be nice + snug and ready for him. As you can see they are too long in the legs and the sleeves I had to roll up, but man aren't they cute!

I used my basic pants pattern for the bottoms, and Enid Gilchrist's pattern for a beach coat for the shirt. I added this suede cord I had in my embellishments box as a trim around the collar and I added a patch pocket in black with a V appliqued onto it. It was my first applique in a long time and I had so much fun, I'm sure all of Vinnie's clothes now will be appliqued!

I used some red flannelette I bought off eBay that had black spiders and webs all over it.


Tutorial:: How to Applique

When I was in highschool, my mum taught me to applique. I appliqued ALOT of things, mostly faces of Angelica from the Rugrats onto shirts + pencil cases.

Well I hadn't appliqued in forever, until I decided Vincent needed some cute new clothes. Well I'm on an applique-ing bender! You can applique anything, and use any graphic you'd like as an applique. Some that are fun are images from children's colouring-in books. You can get some cute pictures here. Just print them out, cut along the lines and then choose what fabrics you'd like each piece. I'll do a more in-depth applique tutorial for multiple pieces another day.

The following tutorial shows you how to applique. I use this product called Vliesofix, but if you don't have any, or can't afford it, regular interfacing will do. You'll just have to pin it to the item being appliqued instead of ironing it on.

1. Gather your materials. You'll need Scissors, an iron, what you want to applique, and what you want to applique onto. You'll also need a little pattern of what you are appliqueing. I'm going to applique a V onto some white fabric I can later turn into a pocket for Vincent. The fabric that will be the V is the fabric with the small red ants all over it.

The paper under the iron there is Vliesofix.

Vliesofix is a double sided glue paper. It is gluey on one side, and the other side is covered in paper. You can iron the gluey side down to something, peel off the paper and then iron that side onto something else. It sticks things together really well, but for relaly neat appliqueing, I zigzag around the edge.

2. Cut out of the fabric and the vliesofix your desired pattern.

Click on this next photo for a close-up of the texture of Vliesofix ((right))

3. With the right side of the fabric facing the ironing board, place the Vliesofix gluey side down. Cover with an old teatowel and iron. This melts the glue and bonds it to the fabric.

4. Flip the Applique over and place onto the fabric you are appliqueing. Make sure you have it positioned right, then cover with a teatowel and iron.

5. Some sewing machines have a stitch guide inside the lid. My mum's does, and it has a stitch guide for sewing appliques.

It recommends how wide the zig-zag should be ((3-5)), which stitch length I should choose ((0.5-1)), which stitch to set it to ((zigzag)) and which presser foot to use ((F - which on mum's machine is the regular foot))

So I set the Zig-zag width to 4 and the stitch length to 0.5. This makes tiny close together zig-zags like satinstitch.

6. Stitch

The Vliesofix has pretyt much glued the applique to the fabric so you don't need to pin it :)

7. All Done!


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Button -Up Shirts + Skinny-leg Jeans

Hello everyone!

It's been a wild + woolly week up here on the range don't you think? Crazy wind, grey sky. I am LOVING it.

It's really inspiring me to sew what Vincent really needs - winter wear!

So as you can probably see, I've revamped a little here. Not too many major changes, but the Tutorials now have their own little page. You can see it up there just below the header ^ I'll be adding a tonne of new tutorials soon, but I people to test them out to make sure they make sense ya know?

Right now I am writing a basic tutorial for a basic pair of pyjama pants I made Vincent. In the coming weeks I'll be tweaking that pattern to give him different styles of pants. I've already made him a pair of skinny-leg jeans and two pairs of pyjama pants.

Anyway, there should be a tutorial up by the end of the night, as well as a DOWNLOADABLE PATTERN for the pants. I KNOW! How exciting. It's so basic it's hilarious, but it's my first step towards something great. Of course the process wasn't easy, it never is when I attempt something! Dad's scanner didn't work so I had to TAKE A PHOTO of the pattern and resize it manually on photoshop. OH. My. Lord. It took me all day.


I'm also starting a sew-along blog, but I won't post the link to that just yet as I havn't made it pretty yet. I'm going to start with baby gear, because that's what I'm really focusing on right now, but soon there will be t-shirt surgeries and other human stuff.

As soon as Dad fixes the scanner I'll be scanning in some Enid Gilchrist pages for you all to try. They are super cute, and I find pattern-making very fun, so drafting everything from scratch is lots of fun for me!

Well here's some things I've made this week for the main man in my life ((shhh, don't tell Tim!))

Little button-up shirt made from guitar fabric ((click to embiggen!)). I made the pattern from a shirt of Vincent's. I used press-studs up teh front because they are funner and buttonholes really give me the snips!

Vincent's Western Shirt. Same pattern as above, but I added tiny red ric-rac on the pocket and across the back.

I will be making a pattern for you to download of this shirt very soon!


Back of the Western Shirt. I kept the yoke straight across ((baby button-up shirts are wayyy too fiddly as it is to make a shaped back yoke. Although having said that, I will probably make one now!)) and shaped the red ric-rac across the back to make it look like a shaped yoke.
This is the only great photo of Vincent's skinnies too. They are made from grey stretch denim and are just SUPER cute. I need to make them longer next time though. ((Yep, that's a Ramones patch))

I made him a waistcoat too, but I have no photos of him in it yet! He's cutting all four of his top teeth at the same time and it's been going on for quite a few months. I think this week is the week though, I can see they've broken through the skin finally. He has a cold ((maybe due to the weather?)) and is just not sleeping well at night.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Sewing for Vin, and a bit about the Lady that made me ME!

So I finally have my own little computer nook in the dining room. It's pretty great because I use the dining table for my pattern drafting + fabric cutting ((even if it is too low. Do any of you guys get Sewer's Back?)) so I have ANOTHER room I have taken over. Well I have started catching up on all the blogs I used to follow, and damn if they don't just INSPIRE me. Not just with being crafty, but just with being a good mother in general. And to take the effort to take great photos. Well all this inspiration has flown from me and now to my mother!

Let me tell you about my mum first.

My Aunty, My Oma, My Uncle + My Opa. Doesn't my uncle look like Vincent!

She is the strongest, most amazing, inspirational woman I have and probably will ever know. I should probably write a book about her. She was born to dutch immigrants in 1955 and from the word go she had a bit of a hard time in the world. She was the middle child, and the first child in the family to be born in Australia ((She has an older sister and brother, and a younger sister + brother)). She was also the first one born with obvious birth defects. My mummy was born with a cleft palate and a hare lip.

My Oma couldn't breastfeed her, so the hospital sent her home and said if she lives, then we will operate on her when she is older, but she'll probably die. My Opa, the handiest man ever I think ((he built a house once. An. Entire. House.)) had sheep, and they would feed the lambs with these special teats. Well my Opa took the teat off a lamb bottle and put it on a beer bottle ((now my memory of past events sometimes plays tricks on me. So maybe it was just a regular bottle, not a beer bottle. But the beer bottle sounds funner and more inventive!!)) and lo + behold my mum could drink from it! She grew up and my Oma would catch the train for hours and hours from Ballarat to Melbourne where the big hospital was so mum could get operations.

 That's my mum as a tot with her grandfather she called Parker

You know she doesn't even know how many operations she has had? She can't even count them?

So she grew up always feeling like she was ugly and being the middle child had lots of unresolved feelings. But I mean, she made ME, she can't be as useless as she once thought!

Mum moved to Perth with her younger brother, and she ended up moving next door to this rebellious skinny biker dude. She was HORRIFIED when my Uncle Steve made friends with this guy. I mean, this guy had a BEARD AND A MOUSTACHE. He rode a TRIUMPH motorcycle. There is a photo of my uncle Steve and this guy cleaning beer bottles to make a beer wall.

And you know what makes all this even crazier!?

That guy next door, well he's my dad! So mum + dad got married, had a cute wedding I replicated in my own way :), then had me and my sister. Mum started making clothes for us, because it was cheaper. Heck that lady even made MY UNDERWEAR! From scrap fabrics.

I remember running into Oma + Opa's house one day and lifting my skirt up to show off my new knickers I was so proud of. I kept telling Opa how they were made from scraps! Hahah, he was proud too. And thought I was hilarious.

 That's Me in the yellow. She made my dress. HOW CUTE IS IT?

She made mine + Betty's school uniforms when it changed when I was in grade 3. She made the first one which was a test run which ended up being mine! I had white buttons, and everyone else had navy.

As I grew older, my interest in sewing grew. She taught us to sew when I was about 8, and we'd make Cabbage Patch Doll clothes, and if one of our dolls had a hole in it, we'd all pretend we were doctor's and she'd stitch them right up.

Everything that was in fashion/all the kids were wearing at the time, she did her best to replicate ((remember Skorts?)).

   Betty + I dancing. She made our t-shirts and our shorts that a skirt flap across them. We were thrilled because they looked like we were wearing mini skirts

She did her best and man did she do well.

Because during those years since I was born until I was about 16, my mum had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and terrible, terrible depression. Then my dad got CFS and depression also. We had very little money, but I don't have any memories of missing out on anything at all. We had what we needed and mum and dad did their best to give us what we wanted.

Then my uncle Steve who is a naturopath anf my aunty joy worked together and made my mum well. And she has never looked back. She gets up at 5.30am with Vinnie and takes him + Cino the dog for a 1.5 hour walk around neighbourhood. She picks wild dandilion and herbs and things Oma taught her to pick when she was young to make lovely herbal tea with. She goes to work where she works for Disability Services Queensland and looks after people who have intellectual disabilities. She has, since the start of this year, been eating 100% raw and almost completely Vegan ((She does eat some honey to sweeten things)). She is go go go and she never stops.

Anyway, the whole point of me telling you how great my mum is, is to also point out to you that I am unknowingly becoming more + more like her every day. And it's not even a bad thing. Even before Vincent I'd find myself doing things and I'd stop for a moment and go "HEY! This is something mum would do"

Well she has these old-as-the-hills sewing books written by Enid Gilchrist in the 1940s. One of them she had two of, so I snagged it. Even though they look identical, there's a few pages that are different. They were written back before you could amazingly cheap baby stuff, and it showed mummy's how to make patterns from absolute scratch. Literally from a 0. My mum has been drafting patterns from her Burda books ((have you ever seen one from the 80s? It looks like a freaking roadmap. And you had to follow a certain coloured line and use carbon paper to transfer it to your butcher paper)) since before I can remember, and I guess she started with these when I was tiny!

Yesterday and today I have been super inspired by Dana from MADE's Celebrate the BOY month and started pulling out all my fabrics that would be masculine and not sissy and certainly not fabric that Tim would go, "mmmm, bit girlee..." and now I have an entire pile of fabric I'm just itching to start cutting up. But I have to rein myself back a bit and make the patterns first! Yesterday I made a lined little waistcoat for Vincent, and some red flannelette pyjama pants with spiders on them. Today I made Vin a little black + white checked western cowboy shirt, and I've started drafting up a pyjama top for him ((you know like little boys have with the collar and button-up front?)). It's going to look ADORABLE in Vincent size.

Oh and I'm sorry to leave you guys hanging, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to show you guys pictures of Vincent modelling his new gear.

With all the sewing stuff everywhere, it wasn't long before my mummy was telling me about a pair of brown velveteen-like cordorouy overalls she once made me from an Enid Gilchrist book. She even opened up the page and showed me the exact one she made. And I REMEMBER them. not in real life, but I've seen me in them in photos ((I'll have to scan some in to show you!)). So Mum decides she's going to make a black plaid pair for Vincent.

Let me tell you I am ECSTATIC that she is sewing with me. I've been using her machine, as my little sister Betty has mine in Brisbane still, but as soon as I get mine back oooo-weee it will be like a sweat shop.

It's crazy how life just seems to go in a big loop. Here I am drafting patterns for my boy, and who knows, maybe one day he'll be drafting patterns for his kids!