Friday, March 26, 2010

Name Tags Flickr Group

Sheridan has started a Flickr group for posting pics of the Sew It Together name tags, head on over here to have a look at what some very crafty girls have come up with, and post your own pics as well!
(Warning, names have been obscured to protect identities!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Attention swappers, the bar has been set!

I received an email yesterday from Andi to say that her name tag has finished and posted! Less than 20 hours after she received her swap email! I think Andi has set a new world record for completing a swap in the shortest time ever, and the name tag is gorgeous, click here to have a peek.

Super impressive I say, I haven't even planned my name tag yet!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure Cooking - Fig & Rocket Salad

I needed to use up some beautiful figs before they spoiled, and also had to take something to my Mum's place for a last minute get together, so did a spot of Choose Your Own Adventure cooking.
What I found in the Fridge and Pantry:
Fresh figs
Danish Fetta
Olive oil

Method (snicker, making it up as I go along):
Quarter the figs, toss them for about 2 minutes in a frypan with a splash of olive oil and a drizzle of honey. Turn off the pan and leave the figs in the warm honey mix.
Throw the Rocket in a bowl, place figs on the Rocket.
Break the Danish Fetta into small chunks and sprinkle over the Figs.
Sprinkle a handful of unsalted cashews over.
Pour the olive oil and honey mix from the pan over the salad.

I thought it would need a dressing (which I didn't have, eek!) but actually it was really nice without one. The nutty/peppery flavour of the Rocket was a beautiful contrast to the sweet Figs and honey, the Danish Fetta added some creaminess and the cashews gve it a little bit of crunch!
It was really delicious, I'll be making this one again next time I can get Fresh Figs!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Name Tag Swap update

Hello Swappers!

All the emails have been sent detailing who you are to make a name tag for, so check your inbox! If you signed up for the swap and you have not received an email from me, check your junk mail folder first and if it's not there email me and let me know!

This swap is a bit different in that you are not being 'paired up' with a swap partner and actually swapping name tags with that person. You will make a name tag for one person, and another person will make your name tag. So you won't know who is making your name tag until your parcel arrives in the mail, how exciting!

Don't forget the RED & AQUA colour theme for the name tags, and remember all finished name tags must be posted by 9th April 2010.

Any questions? Don't hesitate to ask, I'm here to help.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Storm and a Wedding Day

On Saturday, The Bloke and I were heading off to celebrate a family wedding in South Melbourne and looking forward to a night in a fancy-pants hotel followed by a lovely sleep-in, late checkout and a leisurely brunch before heading home to the hills.

I had somehow pulled off the seemingly impossible task of arranging to have all 3 kids looked after overnight, and it was to be our first night away together in about 4 years.

I had my hair done, bought a new frock, and was feeling very glam and excited as we set off. We were so thrilled to be able to share in this very special family wedding.

Then the storm hit.

We were on Toorak Road when the hailstorm hit us, we pulled over and sheltered in the car. The hailstones were about as big as large marbles and sounded very scary hitting the car, I was terrified our windows were going to break. After the storm eased, we spent the next 30 minutes or so trying to find a road that was not flooded that would get us to the Church on time. We were having no luck, everywhere was flooded.

We were trying Swan Street when my sister called (she was at our place looking after the Junior Crafter and Poor Point 3). My sister took the kids into the hallway and shut all the doors to protect them from flying glass as the windows were broken by hailstones larger than golfballs. She said the windows were smashed, there was glass everywhere and rain pouring in. At one point she opened the hall door into the kitchen to see what was going on and a large hailstone flew in a broken window past her head and down the hallway!

This photo was taken by my neighbour

We turned around and came home immediately, but I knew it would be at least an hour before we made it home. I called my brother who was only 5 minutes away and he went straight to our house and started the clean up and boarding up the windows.

We arrived home to find:
11 broken windows (in our house and bungalow)
Weatherboards damaged by hail
The shed wall damaged by hail
Our Colourbond roof looks like someone has taken to it with a large hammer
Skylight broken and leaking water into the bathroom

My car (which was in the driveway) has hail damage to 7 panels, but luckily no broken windows so it is still driveable.

I am still unable to contact my insurance company.

We didn't make it to the wedding. We called the hotel and told them what had happened and asked if they might transfer our booking to another night (they sounded doubtful and said they would call me back this week). We ordered take away and stayed in feeling very grateful that it wasn't worse, devastated that we missed the wedding and just a tiny bit disappointed about missing our night away.

I called the mother of the groom and explained what had happened and was relieved to find out that the wedding went off without a hitch and the happy couple still enjoyed their special day despite the storm going on outside.
Congratulations Pete & Beck, we wish you a lifetime of love and happiness, and wish we could have been there.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Name Tag Swap Progress Report

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for the Sew It Together Name Tag Swap! There has been a fabulous response, I'm really thrilled that so many of you want to join in and I am so looking forward to arriving at Sew It Together and seeing all the fabulous handmade name tags, I really am.
I must apologise that I am running a little behind my initial schedule - I have extended the sign up period until tomorrow and I plan to finalise swap partners on Sunday night so you should receive an email by Monday to let you know who you are making a name tag for.

Happy Long Weekend everyone! (if you live in Melbourne that is...sorry interstaters!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The First Birthday

My little man, referred to on this blog as Poor Point 3 or PP3, had his first birthday last week! We celebrated at home with a little afternoon tea for family and one or two close friends, it was lovely (apart from my constant state of shock that an entire year has gone by since he arrived!). Although I shouldn't really be surprised, he arrived after a 2 hour labour and his nickname at home is 'Speedy'!
The Birthday Cake, made by me.

PP3 is the sunniest, happiest little boy you would ever see. He is already walking, he is trying to talk and already has lots of words tucked away in his vocabulary, his favourites being 'more', 'book' 'milk' and 'Dee' which for some reason is the word he uses to refer to both his big brother and big sister (neither of whose names sound remotely like 'Dee').
Happy Birthday my gorgeous boy xx

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to make things Stiff with Curlypops

The great Sew It Together name tag swap is underway, and one of the challenges with making a name tag out of fabric is how to keep it to speak. Nobody wants their name tag flopping about limply on a lapel! So the very talented and lovely Curlypops set about investigating 'all things stiffening' and was gracious enough to write the following 'guest post' here for all our 'swappers' about the benefits of using fabric stiffeners. Thanks so much Cam, we are very grateful to you for sharing your, er, 'stiffy' expertise!

So to begin with, lets all chuckle that I'm going to give you some tips on 'How to make things Stiff'... and leave poor Gypsy to receive lots of weird and wonderful blog visitors from random google searches about all things stiff!

The great thing about the name tag swap, is that we can all think outside the square and do a bit of experimentation (if we choose to). The piece only needs to function as a name tag. It's not an item that is designed to be washed, and doesn't have to serve a particular function (apart from pinning or clipping on, and displaying a name).... which means that there's lots more options for running amok and not playing by the normal rules.

I tried and tested lots of different things, so I thought I'd share what I've learned.

I like to make mess and get covered in paint and glue, so if this sounds like you, then the following options might be fun.

There are lots of liquid type items that can be used to stiffen things (fabric, paper etc). Most of my experimentation has used fabric, as that is currently my favourite medium to work with. I started out with things that I already had around the house:

Please note:

If you choose to use liquid stiffeners, they take a really loooooong time to dry. This might be quite frustrating for a small project.

I've tried dipping fabric pieces in a bowl full of these liquids but they end up quite gluggy. I've had the best result by just brushing them on with a paint brush and then waiting for them to dry. If the finished item is not stiff enough when dry, you can add another layer with the brush.

Water Based Varnish

I've used the Jo Sonja's craft varnishes and also Cabots Crystal Clear from the hardware shop. Both do the same job - Cabots is more economical if you're using litres at a time (which is probably not going to happen), but it's also likely that you might find some in your garage or garden shed.

PVA Glue

Watered down PVA glue also works quite well. About two thirds PVA glue to one third water makes a nice mix.

Fabric Stabiliser

I've tried Sew Stable Fabric Stabiliser which is designed for applique and machine embroidery.

It worked quite well but this is actually supposed to wash out, so don't use it for something that you would like to permanently stiffen.

Fabric Stiffener

I actually found out about this product just simply by googling fabric stiiffener. It suspiciously smells exactly the same as pva glue..... a rose by another name perhaps?

It's designed to stiffen permanently - my advice is to wear old clothes in case of spillage.

The brand that I've tested is Craft Smart Fabric Stiffener, but I've had a tip that there's another one named Stiffy which is really good (I just have to track it down).

Varnishes can be purchased from hardware shops - Stabiliser and Stiffener can be purchased at Spotlight (look in the craft section amongst the various glues and paints).

Fusible Interfacings

Now of course if you'd prefer not to make a huge mess and end up covered in glue and varnish, but still want to get the stiff look, then maybe iron-on fusible interfacings might be a better option.

I don't have much experience with using these but I have have seen the results of lovely things that have been made with them - Vilene S320 -


Last but not least, I thought I'd test out my laminator, to see what would happen if I tried to laminate fabric. I have a home laminator which is not designed for heavy card, only plain paper.

I tested it out with an offcut from a crocheted tablecloth, a stripey piece of light cotton fabric, a piece of black felt, and a piece of heavy brown fabric.

The light cotton fabric and the felt laminated quite nicely, but it didn't work so well for my other two samples.

I hope this have given you some new ideas to try out, and remember to have some fun with it!