Friday, December 30, 2011

Tutorial - easy shirred baby dresses

I wanted something special and handmade for my daughter's first Christmas so I drafted up a simple dress pattern. As complicated as they look they are really quite quick and shirring is totally addictive!

This is the tutorial for the shirring and it worked a treat. My only issue (that was ongoing for about an hour before I face-palmed at my oversight) was that the elastic in the bobbin was not feeding correctly, the elastic was pulled out of its little niche in the bobbin holder and this caused the elastic thread to bunch up on the underside of the fabric. Once I kept an eye on the bobbin, ensuring the thread was in place the shirring went like a breeze.

I kept my thread length at about 2 and had my bobbin tension around 2.5 on my Janome MyExcel machine. It took very little practise to find the thread length and bobbin tension that worked best.

I made 7 dresses in total and an extra top for Christmas day. The top is a little different and a bit fancier but once you have made the basic dresses, you will see how the top was made. The first dress was a bit long, my daughter is only nine months and not walking yet so I didn't want something that would catch her legs. My first attempt was also too slim. It fit fine in the chest but it was not roomy enough to accommodate a nappy bum!

Back of the Christmas top

Just click on the tutorial picture and save to your computer - or Pin it!

We would love to see your dresses, please post us a link if you make your own!

Thanks :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday is Family Fun Night at the "Crafted" House.

One of the biggest things I wanted as a child was family dinners. I just loved the idea of a huge table, everyone gathered, sharing stories of their day, jokes they might have heard, goals and dreams they might have planned. The idea was so magical to me.

When we had Megan (my crafted mini me) I would bring her out and lay her in her reclining highchair. Even if she was asleep we would bring her out, sit her next to us at the table while my husband and I ate and chatted about our day. We did this from birth with all of our kiddies and our dream was to always have these family meal times. But as kiddies grow older and my husband became such an important computer fixer, they started having these social, spiritual or sport commitments and next thing I knew 7 nights of family dinners had turned into 3 or 4.

To keep the dream alive (so to speak) and to dedicate set time for family fun we created Friday Family Fun Night. A night to enjoy together, it didn't matter where we were or what we were doing, it just mattered that we were doing it together and having fun. Sometimes we would go out, sometimes we would grab a pizza and watch a movie but lately my daughter has been having a lot of fun with "Megan's Restaurant"

Here's how it works. We pick a country or cuisine that we would like to try and my daughter and I research until we find a yummy menu. Then we make our shopping list and go on the inevitable treasure hunt for obscure ingredients. This - for us - is half the fun for Family Fun Night.

On the Friday I will pick her up from school and she will come bouncing home - so excited for "Megan's Restaurant". I'll be busy cooking in the kitchen and she will be setting the table - including name tags, "fancy" glassware and plates, serving platter (if needed) organising the bread and the drinks - all the fancy tasks of a restaurant manager :-)

This Family Fun Night we will be having a Brazilian feast.

Brazilian Black Bean Stew recipe found here
Brazilian White Rice recipe found here
Päo De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) recipe found here
Brazilian Lemonade recipe found here

And for dessert, a Lime Pie recipe found here. Now looking at the recipe it does say Key Lime Pie but we can't get Key Limes here in Australia, so really it will be a Lime Pie. Key limes are quite different to our limes, when they are ripe they have a pale green to yellow skin, they are also smaller then the limes we are used to and have a stronger tartness.

Tonight I will post some photos of our Brazilian Feast.

Until then Happy Crafting
From Natalie at Crafted by Natalie.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Apple Valley Creations Giveaway

I think many crafty Mums these days are searching for ways to make a bit of money or even make a living while enjoying the luxury of being able to stay at home with their children. I love to craft things and take part in way to many forum based craft swaps for my own good, but recently I decided that I should at least put myself out there with the hope of selling some items. I am lucky enough to have a local shop that stocks all sorts of vintage and handmade items. The owner kindly agreed to stock items for me and pay me on a monthly basis when anything sells. I also have a facebook page, where I'm hoping to make contact with people from a bit further afield and today, I reached 50 likers!!!!! And as I promiced from the start I'm having a giveaway to celebrate!
You have the oportunity to win this pink owl set - a phone sleeve and a coin/cards purse, including postage. I'm happy to post in Australia or internationally so you can all enter.
What to do:
1. Go to my Apple Valley creations facebook page:
2. Like the page (if you don't already)...
3. Comment below answering the following Questions: Did you make or buy anything handmade this Christmas? What was it?
I will be using a random number generator to pick the winner. I look forward to reading about your handmade Christmas. Draw will be on 1st January 2012 at 8pm EDT (thats Sydney, Australia time). The second bonus is that I'm planning on having a 100 likers competition, so every new person who likes my page brings us one step closer to the next giveaway!
Good luck with the competition and all the best if you too are trying to put yourself out there as a handmade business. - Nilmerg / Elaine

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from your resident Budget Blogger Steff

Wishing all our lovely readers a fantastic Christmas and a safe, properous and happy new year!!!!
I hope to see some photos of Christmas ornaments and centrepieces inspired by my previous blog posts.

Here are some more pictures of Centrepieces I have made for my home, based on the tutorials previously posted:

May you all enjoy opening presents, having yummy Christmas dinners and most importantly spending lots of quality time with loved ones.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from all at Hand Made-n's

Have you aimed for a handmade Christmas? Are you still crafting for Christmas? Did you finish it all yet? Or will you still be crafting when Santa arrives tonight?!
So with Christmas just around the corner, I feel the pressure building. While I love giving handmade gifts for Christmas, I'm just not finished!!!!! I managed to get all the gifts done for others, but the applique t-shirts for my daughters are still only half done (although I'm very happy with how they are turning out) and I've only made one of the 3 fabric world globes that I need to, I'm wondering if I will get finished in time. And then there is the skirt that is half done that I had intended to wear tomorrow, but I think that may remain unfinished until another day! And to top it all off, I've run out of wrapping paper, so the kids and I are off to brave the shops and try to pick up some more! My unfinished projects:
On the other hand, projects that I have completed are:
- Roll up chalk mat for DD2
- Applique caterpiller t-shirt for Friend's daughter
- Applique flower t-shirt for another friends daughter
- Superman Applique t-shirt for SIL
- 3 commissioned I-spy bags (and a 4th one for a birthday!)
- 2 x 18" cushion covers for my Mum & Dad
- A 16" cushion cover for each of the in-laws
- one 18" fabric globe (I'm really hoping to get the other 2 finished today!)
- a chalkcoard scrap t-shirt for DD1 and DD2
- a Dino stuffy for nephew
- Bags of reindeer noses for various friends
- Oreo truffles and oreo cupcakes (still to be packaged and delivered today!)
So all in all, while I'm feeling very overwhelmed with what I still have to do, writing this list has really helped me see what I have achieved. So if you are a bit overwhelmed with christmas, as well as writing the 'to do' list, maybe you should write a 'done' list too, it might make you feel a bit better too!
Have a good one, Nilmerg / Elaine

Friday, December 23, 2011

Foody Friday - Christmas Sweets

For the last Foody Friday before Christmas Im going to share some quick sweets.

(this recipe was given to me by a friend so I don't know the original source)
2 packets Oreo biscuits
250g Philli cheese

Using a food processor or blender, blend biscuits with cheese.
Roll into balls.
Set in fridge.
Coat in melted chocolate.
Set in fridge.

You can decorate these to look like mini puddings

Choc coat or half coat the following
Candy canes
Potato chips

Coat oreos with white chocolate, sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. Refridgerate until set

Have a safe & happy Christmas


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reindeer noses - an inexpensive but cute gift

Hi All, Nilmerg here. Christmas is fast approaching and at 8:30 this morning, I realised that my daughter was going to her last day of preschool for the year. I get on really well with the wonderful teachers and other staff at the Preschool so I was wishing I'd made them something. Then I had a brain wave, why not make them some reindeer noses (inspired by the ever inspiring pinterest)!
What you will need:
1 bag maltesers
1 bag jaffas
small ziplock or cellophane bags
1 sheet of Christmas coloured card
glue & stapler
Ok, so first thing you need to know, there are 9 Reindeers. I know, I googled it and wikipedia told me (!
So you will put into a bag 8 maltesers for the 8 normal reindeer (that's Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen) and one red jaffa nose for good olde Rudolph. Making a huge investment total of 9 lollies per bag. Seal the bag.
Cut your Christmas coloured card into pieces as wide as your bag an at least 3" long. Fold the card in half (so it remains the length of the bag.
Go to your word processing or art programme and find a cute clip art image of a reindeer and a cute font. Combine to form a small sticker sized image and print, see below. (If you don't have access to a computer or printer and you are artistic you could draw and write the labels)
I then chose to rip my little sticker sized descriptions from the paper in an artistic fashion. You could use scissors or even some of those fancy scrapbooking scissors to get a different look.
Glue the cut / torn out piece to the front of the card, then fold it over the top of the bag and staple into place.
And guess what! You are done!!!!!!
The 3 teachers in my DD's classroom were thrilled with their gifts. I think that they appreciated that there had been more thought put into it than just a box of chocolates.
I'll be using this quick and easy gift for all those people who you feel that you ought to give a gift to, but don't want to spend a whole heap of money on. Like the neighbours kids, or your work colleagues kids (or maybe even your work colleagues!), teachers, teacher's aides, acquaintances from playgroups, as a sweet extra treat for those friends children who are not allowed too many lollies, children at your church or community group, and the list goes on.
I hope I've provided you with a quick, easy and inexpensive gift that might come in handy this season. If I don't blog again before the big day, Merry Christmas.
Nilmerg / Elaine

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's time for a giveaway!

Along with Sew, Mama, Sew! Hand Made-n's are joining in the giveaway spirit. This competition is open to international entrants!

 8 x 10 (20 x 25cm) Matroyshka art print. Digitally printed and ready to frame in a standard 8 x 10 photo frame (print only, frame not included). This print will be posted in a firm cardboard envelope so it doesn't get squished in the mail :)
Courtesy of Eveningsong Ink

To enter, please answer the following question in the comments field below. Remember to include your email so I can contact you if you win!

Q: What type of handmade gift would you most like to receive this Christmas? 

The winner will be chosen by random on December 17, 2011 11am (Brisbane, Australia EST. That's December 16, 2011 5pm PST). I know that's confusing! The winner will be notified by email within an hour of the draw and is required to respond with their address within 48 hours of notification or a new winner will be chosen.

We can't wait to hear from you, please share our page with anyone you know who loves Matryoshkas as much as I do :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Love Birds

These simple to sew Christmas birds add a traditional touch to any Christmas decorating; they also make a great gift for newlyweds celebrating their first Christmas together, or why not make some smaller birds as well for couples with a new baby. But don’t just limit these birdies to Christmas! Whip them up in some fun fabrics for sweet little decorations all year round! ~Caitlan

You will need:
·         1 fat flat in your choice of fabric
·         Matching Thread
·         Doll needle (this is basically a very long sewing needle)
·         Four large, two hole, buttons
·         Matching or complementary DMC thread
·         Four black beads suitable for eyes
·         An outline of a bird with a wing, a Google search for “simple bird outline” will bring up heaps of outlines (remember to respect copyright) or simply draw your own. Your bird should have a little wing.

·         Ribbon
·         Stuffing: polyfibre fill, fabric scraps, whatever you can get your hands on.

1.       Cut out four bird shapes and 8 wing shapes, allowing a seam allowance. The easiest way to do this is to pin your fabric, right sides together and trace 2 birds and 4 wings, cutting them out through both layers of the fabric.

2.       Make a loop out of your ribbon and pin it between two bird shapes, making sure the fabric is right sides together and that the loose ends of the loop are sticking out. Stitch around bird, leaving a small opening in the base to stuff. Don’t forget to clip the curves!

3.       Right sides together, stitch each of the wings together. Leave a small gap to stuff. Don’t forget to cut the curves!
4.       Turn pieces right side out and stuff. Use a ladder stitch to close the holes.

5.       Take the wings and work out where you want to attach them, you might like to make a little mark on each side to help you get them straight.

6.       With your doll needle push one piece of long DMC thread through your first button hole, the wing, the birds’ body, out through the second wing and through the button on the other side. Repeat this through the second button whole with another piece of DMC thread. Knot the thread as tightly as possible and tie a bow, trim the thread.

7.       Stitch on the birds eyes.

8.       Your bird is now ready to hang!

Variations: Personalise your gift by embroidering a monogram or date on the bird! Decorate your bird with embroidery, beading or other embellishments. Use a different fabric for the wings that contrasts with the body.
A note on the gift wrap: This nest is made out of wood shavings, made with a plain from another project. Just put the shavings in a box and nestle your birds inside. You could put some cute little objects through the shavings to make your nest like a bower birds!