A Picnic Rug

I’m very pleased with this little project.

I’ve spent a long time lusting over pretty picnic rugs, and finally decided to make my own for this Spring and Summer.

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It’s made from a vinyl topped table cloth (for waterproofing the back) and patchworked duck cloth.

This was an easy little project. The most time consuming part was hand stitching the binding. At a fairly slow pace, I knocked this project over in a week.

I bought this ‘beautiful’ tablecloth on ebay for $8. I figured it didn’t matter too much what it looked like, as you wouldn’t see it when the rug’s laid out anyway.

table clothOnce I’d quilted the patchwork top to the backing, I trimmed off the excess table cloth, and then added the binding. I made the binding myself, because I’m too cheap and fussy to buy bias tape.

Here’s a glimpse at how the back ended up looking.

IMG_5508Penny was insistent on helping me take photos.

IMG_5505I’ve been toying with the idea of adding some hand embroidery to my quilts lately, so I thought I’d try it out first on this rug.

IMG_5502It’s not perfect, but practice makes perfect!

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As per usual, I made far too much bias tape, so I sewed around the edges of the left overs, and then sewed the strip to the back of my picnic rug, to hold the rug together when it’s rolled up.

and here’s the finished product.

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IMG_5512I’m so happy with it, and can’t wait to have our first picnic with it!

Abby xx

 

 

 

 

 

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July Roundup

If I had to describe July in one word, that word would be ‘Cold’. Frosty car cold. But aren’t the patterns in the ice so pretty?

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but somehow, not cold enough to slow down our veggie garden! How weird is that strawberry?!

IMG_3704I’ve spent a lot of time this month making baby food, and stocking up the freezer.

IMG_3682Matt’s been tidying up and organising his man cave. I’m jealous and thinking that I need my own man cave!

IMG_3910and working on the pizza oven that I wrote about here.

IMG_3869Penny’s thoroughly enjoyed having Matt working in the yard, and forgetting to close the car doors.

IMG_3868I took advantage of a bargain at the supermarket and bought myself some pretty tulips! I just wish that they looked like that forever, and not as sad as they look now 😦

IMG_3907and I had my hair chopped off, not exactly the way I’d hoped to.

IMG_4011Miss E learned how to sit up this month, and now gets cranky any time she find herself on her back or belly.

She also had her first swimming lesson and absolutely loved it. She spends so much time kicking her legs all the time, that we knew she’d have to be a little fish in the pool!

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I’ve been reading:

I finally finished reading Jane Austen’s Emma. I’m not sure how I’d managed to get so far through life without having read it before!

I enjoyed getting lost in the 19th Century romance, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Pride and Prejudice but I guess that’s to be expected, given that Pride and Prejudice is the far more popular of the two!

I’ve picked up Shantaram again, as I mentioned here, and as I expected, haven’t got very far with it yet!

I’ve been making:

Lots of things it seems!

IMG_3673The Taggy Cube I wrote about here.

princess and bookThe Princess and the Pea playlet I wrote about here.

IMG_3956Some fabric blocks for Miss E to play with.

IMG_3769and work on the crochet blanket continues, a little slower than before, but I’m still going!

I’ve been watching:

Not much really.

Though this little video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed the other day and made me stop and think…

Maybe I should try baking more!

I’ve been listening to:

A couple of weeks ago we went for a bit of country drive to visit some of my family. A four hour trip, and broken radio reception, meant we listened to podcasts on the road.

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One podcast we listened to was a conversation between Richard Fidler and John Safran, an ABC radio presenter and a Triple J radio presenter, respectively. This podcast was fascinating, talking about John Safran’s new book about a murder case in Mississippi. Now I need to read the book! Well played Richard and John!

July, you were lovely!

August, some sun please!

Abby xx

Potato Container Continued

You may recall me talking about the potato container Matt made back here.

Well, we’ve finally bought some straw and put some potatoes in it!

I must point out firstly that we’ve never grown potatoes before, so this is all an experiment and we’re not sure how well it will work. I’ll keep you updated as they grow (or don’t grow!)

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Firstly we separated the container Matt made into two parts, to make it easier to get to the bottom

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and put some mulch and manure in the bottom.

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We bought some seed potatoes, and cut them into pieces. Each piece with one eye on it.

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We then placed each seed potato piece, with the eye facing up, in the bottom of the potato container.

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and took some photos of Penny being cute…

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added a light layer of straw and mulch on top of our potatoes

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potato container mulchedand now we wait patiently for them to shoot up, before we add more layers to our container sides, and put more straw on top.

Hopefully we’re not waiting too long!

Abby xx

 

 

The Princess and the Pea

In an effort to save money, I’m trying to hand make as many gifts as possible. So that I don’t find myself caught out at the last minute without a gift, I’ve started making some gifts to put away, ready for a rainy day.

I found the idea for this gift on Pinterest a couple of years ago, but only got around to making it for the first time just recently. Find the original idea as I saw it here.

I made a simple Princess and the Pea playset, to be gifted with a copy of the book.

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Using some fabric scraps, and bits and pieces I already had, I made eight little mattresses for the Princess to sleep on, and one little princess.

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As you can see, I didn’t worry too much about making the princess perfect. I tend to make a lot of my projects with a lot of trial and error, no measuring, just going by eye. Sometimes, I get wonky results, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Half the appeal of handmade toys is that they are not perfect. I doubt a kid would mind anyway!

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Princess and the Pea without a pea would it? I added a marble to the bottom mattress as my ‘pea’, and for added interest, sewed a little maze pattern into the mattress for the pea to pass through.

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I’ve only made one playset so far, but I’ve bought three copies of the book, so it looks like I’ll be making a couple more to put away in the gift box too. One will probably be for Miss E when she’s old enough, the others will become gifts for someone else.

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princess and book

I’m pretty happy with this little project. It was quick, easy and a lot of fun. I can’t wait to make some more!

Abby xx

 

 

Taggy cube

IMG_3394I cannot be the only Mum with a baby who’s obsessed with tags. Miss E loves them, as you can see above where she’s rolled away from all of her toys to play with the tag on the bottom of her fold out couch.

She likes to play with the tags on clothes, blankets, toys, furniture and anything else she can get her hands on. They really don’t seem all that interesting to me, but since she’s determined to love them, I decided to feed her obsession by making her a taggy cube.

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Using some left over scraps of fabric and ribbon, I simply cut out 6 squares and sewed them together in a cube with ribbons in each seam.

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Before stuffing the cube, I popped in a plastic egg (left over from easter) with a bell inside, and then stuffed around it and sewed it up.

eggThe whole thing took me about an hour to put together, and now I can’t wait to see what Miss E thinks of it!

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Abby xx

 

Sensory Basket

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A few months ago I put together a Sensory Basket for Miss E. I’d planned to start using it straight away, but we’ve really only just started using it recently.

A quick search on Pinterest will give you a multitude of suggestions for sensory baskets but the general idea is to have a little treasure basket full of items of different textures, shapes, sizes and some that make noise. The items do not necessarily need to be toys, in fact, in a quick search around your house will probably find enough items to fill a basket straight away.

I went to my local cheap store to buy a small basket, and some interesting treasures to add to it. Along with things I found around the house, this is what currently lives in Miss E’s Sensory Basket…

basket contents

  • A plastic little egg/person/toy/thing that stands straight back up every time it’s knocked over.
  • I bought a pack of small travel bottles and filled one with water and glitter, another with rice, and the other with beads. These look and sound interesting when she shakes them.
  • A plastic container with a lid to place small items in and shake. When Miss E is a little older we’ll also use this to learn about putting things ‘in’ and taking things ‘out’.
  • A soft bath sponge. Miss E loves putting this in her mouth!
  • Some rough exfoliating gloves.
  • Hair rollers. Again, Miss E loves putting these in her mouth, I can’t imagine anything worse!
  • A silicon mixing spoon.
  • A cheap toothbrush. This would be her favourite item by far! She enjoys chewing on both ends.
  • A silicon muffin case. Also fun to chew on.
  • A stretchy rubber toy.
  • And nesting doll measuring cups.

Most of these things cost about a dollar to buy, or came from my kitchen cupboards.

My plan is to swap and change the contents of the basket every couple of weeks. Other things I might use are:

  • A facewasher. Miss E loves playing with these!
  • Pasta, rocks & sand in the small plastic bottles.
  • Cookie cutters.
  • Small metal bowls/trays.
  • Cellophane in a length of tied up panty hose.
  • (New) kitchen sponges.
  • Pinecones/leaves/rocks (making sure they don’t end up in the mouth).
  • Fluffy toys.
  • Corrugated cardboard.
  • Inflated balloons.
  • A half inflated beach ball.

Keep in mind that as most of these items are not made with babies in mind, the Sensory basket requires constant supervision.

In our house, we only pull the sensory basket out every few days or so, and so Miss E still thinks it’s new and exciting each time. To begin with I would take items out of the basket and hand them to her one by one. Now she gets just as much enjoyment from rummaging through the basket herself, as what she does from actually playing with it all.

Abby xx

 

4 Fantastic Craft Tutorials.


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1. Crochet Giraffe Pattern (My version pictured above)

This was one of the first crochet projects I ever completed. I’d only made beanies before attempting this giraffe. It took me a long time because I had to learn all the stitches as I went, but the end result was well worth it!

2. Reuben The Pink Fluffy Unicorn Crochet Pattern (My version pictured above)

This is the second crocheted toy I ever made. I found the tutorial easy to follow, and love the end result!

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3. Reversible skirt tutorial (My version pictured above)

I made my own Easter version of this for Miss E. It was a quick and easy project that I completed in one afternoon.

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4.  Tissue Paper Pom Poms – (My version pictured above)

These were super simple. They took me about 10 minutes to make, 10 minutes to hang and cost only $9 dollars in tissue paper. Cheap, Easy and the look great!

A longer list might have been ‘Craft projects I’ve started and never completed’. The thrill of a new project is just too alluring to wait until I’ve finished one project before starting the next.

My main project at the moment is the blanket I mentioned here. Amazingly, I’m still going, though I’ve just run out of grey and blue wool, so I may be stalled until my next trip to Spotlight!

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It won’t be long before I can use it to keep me warm, while I’m still working on it. That’s if I’m not distracted by another project in the meantime.

Happy crafting everyone!

Abby xx

DIY Perpetual Calendar

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I wish I was the kind of person that had the discipline to keep a daily journal. I’ve tried to start a few over the years, but I always get a couple of weeks in, and then it seems to get too hard. Realistically, I don’t have time to be writing in a journal everyday (okay thats a lie, I just prefer watching re-runs of Big Bang Theory, browsing Pinterest or playing 2048. So yeah… no time), but I’m not willing to give up on record keeping.

Three years ago I stumbled across this on Pinterest (Oh the irony!) and decided that this was my kind of record keeping. One line to describe my day each day.

Using a small basket, some index cards and some old postcards I made my very own perpetual calendar.

The most time consuming part was dating 366 index cards (can’t forget Feb 29!) and trimming the post cards down to size.

I picked out 12 pretty postcards from my stash, trimmed them down to size, and made them my month dividers. I then simply arranged the cards all in order, put them in the basket, and I was done.

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I keep the basket in the top draw of my bedside table. Each night when I go to bed, I pull it out, write the year on the next line and a quick one line summary of what I did that day.

It’s not all that exciting for the first year that you’re filling it in, but as the years roll by and you see what you did on that same day in previous years it becomes an enjoyable walk down memory lane.

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I’m already coming across memories I’d already forgotten.

Are you a record keeper as well? How do you record the little things?

Abby xx

Building a Potato Container

In an effort to save some money and do our bit for the environment, we’re starting to grow our own fruit and vegetables.

We’ve had fruit trees for a few years, and recently planted strawberries, broccoli, capsicums, chills, carrots and a variety of herbs, but we’ve been holding out on the potatoes until we found the best (cheapest) method.

We finally got there, and all for the grand total of $0!

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Using some old pallets, Matt cut the wood down to size to make interlocking slats that would become the sides of our container.

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He then cut grooves in the tops and bottoms of the slats so that they would interlock.

Penny was keen to help out.

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The interlocking slats will make the container easy to pull apart when we’re trying to get our potatoes out later.

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Now that construction’s complete, we just need to move the container down to the veggie patch and get ourselves some straw so that we can start planting potatoes!

Abby xx

The Nursery

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It’s no secret that Matt and I love a good DIY project. We bought our first home only 16 months ago, and have been non-stop renovating ever since.

From day dot we had decided that the smallest bedroom in our little 3 bedroom home, would one day become the nursery.

The room when we bought the house

As we did with the rest of the house before we moved in, we stripped the old smelly, ugly room and repainted and re-carpetted it.

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Removing the built in robe – most gracefully.

Freshly painted and carpeted.

Freshly painted and carpeted.

and then it looked like this, along with all the junk stored in there for the next year.

So even though the worst of the work was done in the nursery, we had along way to go before this room would look like a pretty little girls nursery.

About two months ago we finished, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

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We painted the room in grey and white stripes, so it could be used for a little boy one day, if we have one.

The drawers are an old set of pine drawers we had in our bedroom when we first lived together. Matt stripped them back, painted them and put on new knobs. I had originally wanted these to be pink, but Matt was adamant that they should be this colour, and I’m glad I went with his choice!

The floor rug is from IKEA. I had searched and searched for months, trying to find a rug I liked for under $300, and then found this for $79! The shallow book shelves are also from IKEA.

I made the triangle quilt hanging on the cot entirely from scrap fabric I had.

The tissue paper flowers hung above the cot were copied from a pinterest pin I found and cost me all of about $10 make.

I picked up the chair on clearance, and sewed two pieces of mink together to make a blanket and bring a splash of colour to the chair. I also made the little cushion on the chair from scrap fabric.

We had so much fun putting this room together. I often find myself sitting in there and admiring our handiwork.

Now we just have to wait these last few days until our little lady arrives to start using this beautiful room.

Abby xx