August 25, 2006

Moving Blogs

Hi Folks,

I'm in the process of moving my blogging to here;

http://thenetherwood.blogspot.com/

And would love it if you would update your bookmarks.

Hope to see you there.

Lexi & Lolly

August 19, 2006

Treats for Nana

Happy Birthday Nana! (My Mum)




Some little Treats for Nana, a needlebook and pincushion in matching fabrics to the craft tote bag I made her for Christmas (which she loves).


And a little peek inside; a wool felt insert for storing the needles. I found some unopened packets of embroidery and wool needles as I was tidying up my sewing room, so popped those inside too. Who knows what other goodies are lurking under the piles of crafting *stuff*?

August 15, 2006

Swap-O-Rama


I swear, after this no more swaps for a while. Love doing them but I think I went a little over board in signing up for so many. And I am a slowly and carefully type of gal (well that's my excuse & I'm sticking to it) so some of these took far longer then I had planned.


This is from the Cooking With Kids Swap & this little package flew all the way to a new home in the USA with Nuttnbunny. The apron is double sided with a hand-applique Gingerbread Man on the front and chocolate brown cotton backing - the pattern is my own (very simple) design.

The binding was a bit tight around the bottom corners, so that it doesn't sit quite flat. Despite my best use of my secret weapon - the steam iron - good for covering up or minimising all sorts of minor stitching faux pas. Perhaps the corners are to small/tight for cotton binding? So much to learn!

This set went to Sam of Four Bags Full for the Work-at-Home-Mum swap & included amongst other goodies a side-snapping hemp/velour/denim cloth nappy featuring machine & hand appliqued toadstools and a shimmery gold fire-fly. Yes, I promise I'll give the toadstool theme a rest....sometime soon.....

The matching basic cotton knit t-shirt (Ottobre Design) was jazzed up with my first ever go at Freezer Paper stencils and fabric paint It's been all the buzz in blog-land for a while now and I could not believe how easy and effective this is! For what it's worth, I thought I'd have a bastard of a time finding Freezer Paper in Australia but discovered that they sell it at Spotlight - too easy. You just need to ask them to cut a length at the counter.





And then there was this - finally in the mail yesterday and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I'm ALL DONE! It's heading for Vanessa of Cute Tooshies, as part of the OzClothNappies Christmas in July Secret Santa Swap. Any excuse for a swap, hey?

The nappy has a core of of the new 'wonder-fabric' bamboo and microfleece lined inner. The outeris made of navy cord with a hand applique/embroidery of our favourite bedtime duo; "Mama Moon & Baby Star". Lolly is rather obsessed with looking at the Moon & Stars up in the sky at night time and has always called it "Mummy Moon". Here's a little song that I made up to sing to her before bed;


Here comes the Moon, lighting up the Night
Here come the Stars, all twinkling in the Sky
All the little children are going to their beds
To close their tired eyes & rest their weary heads


I hand dyed some Organic NZ Merino 8ply yarn to match, using food coloring again. Except the colors didn't turn out quite right as I didn't steam enough so the navy didn't really 'fix' and after a few washes it fixed at a final colorway of lemon, light blue, turquoise with grey flecks color. I think it knitted up really pretty anyway, although I might experiment with winding the skeins for dyeing so the colors a bit more random next time.


This was actually my 2nd every knitted garment and my first every (completed) knitted soaker using Alice's Free Soaker pattern. Talk about ambitious with a swap deadline looming, eh? It took me the better part of a week of crappy night-time TV to finish, but I got there in the end.


If anyone would like some of this yarn colorway I still have a 150g ball available for $15 (which is really just the RRP for the yarn itself) plus postage. It's a lovely and soft organic merino & the colors would be very sweet for a little boy, I just don't have a lot of use for that color scheme myself in our girly-whirly house.

July 04, 2006

Magic Yarn Balls


Here's some of my outgoing mail for the Magic Yarn Ball swap. This is the original skein, my third ever attempt at hand dyeing and definately the best yet.


The last attempt at this color scheme was pretty tragic, with hot pink, virulent orange and lime green - erk! Not quite the look I was going for, I'm definately pleased with the muted down tones in this one though.


I pre-soaked some 100% white wool in a 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water mix and then used a variety of watered down Queen's food coloring dyes to get the shades I wanted. Wrapped in gladwrap and steamed for 90 seconds in the microwave, left to cool and then rinsed out under cold water. And yes, it is most definately very colorfast!


I'm totally in love with this type of dyeing - easy and fast, with materials you can purchase from your supermarket shelves - what's not to love?

And here it is wrapped up with the little treats hidden inside and tied with silk ribbons.

Some of the goodies in the Magic Yarn Ball (sorry about the dark photo, it was getting late) - they are wrapped so as to fall out as you knit or craft with your yarn. Isn't that just a magical gift, as soon as I heard about it at Whip Up I had to join the swap. I think the idea comes from "The Children's Year" originally.

Inside is a tape measure, wool needles, a silver bell for the centre, butterfly and bead stitch markers (I made these at Kat's latest beading night), some botique wool embroidery thread, silk ribbon, bamboo needles and a little "Gumnut baby" - a waldorf inspired needle holder.

My swapee indicated that she was keen to learn to knit, so hopefully this will get her started.

Tell you what though, I was tempted to keep it for myself, those pretty pastel shades looks like sweets once the ball was all wrapped up - yummy!

June 23, 2006

Tiny Gardens


I love gardening - I think every house needs a few pots full of lush green before it even starts to become a home. I know for me it's one of those things that shouts 'homely', a living member of the household, thriving on your love and attention and wilting if you go away for too long.

At the moment we're staying with family while house-hunting for a new townhouse & I feel bereft without my own patch of dirt, or at least a collection of merrily growing potted herbs and vegetables.

Late Winter and Early Spring are gorgeous times for planting and gardening, so Lolly and I have been out and about the last few weeks potting up some of our Spring time favourites. Unfortunately, as we'll no doubt be limited in our gardening oppurtunities in a townhouse it looks like it will have to be container gardening all the way - and a nice courtyard garden is definately high up the list of criteria I have for a new home. Here's Lolly watering in our new snow pea seedlings.

Normally I like to grow from seed, but we we're a bit late getting started this Winter & in order to have a nice showing in Spring we had to cheat a little. I can't wait to see those trellises covered in peas for little fingers to pick in a few months time - nothing says Spring to me like early peas.

Plus we planted in some of the more traditional spring varieties. Usually I'm a fruit/veg/herb girl all the way - I like the most bang for my buck. ;)

But one of Lolly's favourite stories is about a little spring bulb called "Ulba Bulba" who befreinds a late-Winter Snowflake and lets her hide with him under the ground, as the sun begins to melt the snow. Little Snowflake then joins Ulba Bulba in his journey to the surface and is transformed into a beautiful "Snowdrop flower" and gets to play happily in the warm summer sun after all.

It's a gorgeous Spring time story, we got our copy from Golden Beetle books (it's one of their little story and picture books for the under 7's) and I think we're going to wear the print off soon from constant bedtime readings. So while she was at kindy I picked up a pack of "Snowflakes" bulbs - the equivilant for warmer climes and we tucked them in there warm dirt beds for a long Winter's nap. Can't wait to see them shooting out of the ground! The pink tulips were Lolly's choice on a sucessive shopping trip - she's definately a pink type of girl.

June 15, 2006

Back Tack 3 has arrived

Well back tack 3 has landed and what a gorgeous parcel, we were very very spoiled!


This is our new friend, our Back Tack 3 softie all the way from Dawn at More Art, Less Housework. Dubbed 'Coco' by the little one who is entranced by our newest member of the family the "coco cat who did came in box" and I have been told firmly that it is "Lolly's cat - *not* Mummy's cat".

He (she?) is a firm favourite & has even been known to creep into the bed for snuggle time. Ironically, Dawn also packed the most gorgeous wee striped piggy for Lolly - complete with little jointed limbs and handstitching - which barely got a look in & is now sitting on top of my computer. It makes me smile whenever I see it, it is such a sweet pattern.

The tiny bunny is I think the same one that we did, but Dawn's version is resplendent in a lime green waistcoat and a tiny silver stopwatch - he reminds me of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

And right at the bottom of our box an amazing assortment of beads. I actually just discovered yesterday that some of them bear a striking likeness to little lady bugs - will have to try and get some more photos.

Thank-you again Dawn for your amazingly generous package - we *love* it all! :)

June 13, 2006

On a Roll....

Well I must be on a roll of late, have heaps of crafty projects hot off the sewing machine & iorning board. The latest to go is a swap package for Marnie from the OTOCN Craft-A-Long group. This was supposed to be a wish list swap, but I must be cursed with swap partners, as I seem to keep getting the 1 line response to questionares,

"Yupp, anything handmade would be great."



So this is an 'inspiration package' - a pencil roll with watercolor pencils, a fabric covered sketchbook and a little note. All packaged up in a pink, lime green and cute blue bubble print bag - the design for which came from Tiny Happy's Shoulder Bag Tutorial. It has a nice broad strap & should hopefully be pretty sturdy as the pink outer is baby cord.

This is a great little style of bag, I'm thinking of doing some more up as embroidered diaper bags as they'd be great to sling over your shoulder and fasten securely with a button/togle, but still easy to slip your hand into & grab things out while toddler wrangling.

A little close up of the flower decoration. This one is a double layered design that is turned and top-stitched then gathered at the bottom to give the petals a bit of shape. I'm pleased with how it turned out and have plans for even more fancy versions soon!

And another close up of the pencil roll, I've seen this in quite a few blogs around the place but just sort of made mine up as I went along & I think it turned out pretty well, it's made in that cute bubble fabric (thank-you local fabric store find!) and quilted with wool batting.

Anyway, all packaged up and mailed off - so that's another project that's bitten the dust. Now if I could just catch up on all my paid orders I'd be laughing.