Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Skirts


OK, time for a confession. I am one of those mum's who makes her children wear a Christmas outfit - and when I say Christmas, I mean it needs to have red and green in it:) I saw this cherry print a couple of months ago and while not Christmas per se, I thought it would be cute in a Christmas outfit.


Since I didn't have a lot of the fabric the idea of a panel skirt seemed perfect. A friend had seen just such a skirt based on vertical panels (non Christmas) so we came up with a pattern.


The skirt contains eight panels, each a different fabric. I started with the cherry fabric as the inspiration. Middle picked the other fabrics she wanted (all reds and greens, none necessarily Christmas though) while littlest got hers picked for her by yours truly:) We have paired them with pre-made tops that I've embellished.


Fortunately, the girls love them. Once we get past all the Christmas making and craziness I might even make a few more of these skirts for the girls, but in different fabrics:)


Now that the skirts are done, all we need to do is to go get our cheesy Christmas picture in our Christmas outfits with Santa:) And oh, I can cross two more Christmas making projects off my list! Cyndy

PS in case you are wondering, as oldest is a boy a red or green T-shirt is about all I can get him to wear - no Christmas sewing involved:)
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Making


Well, Christmas is just over a week away and I am still at only one fully completed gift (a dress for middle). Clearly I must like/need the pressure and/or am easily distracted/have a short attention span:)

Ok, maybe the picture is not as quite as dire as I have just painted. True, only one gift is complete, but many are in progress like this doll for littlest. I just need to sew the legs on (they are done, just not sewed on), finish the head,  make a few clothes and the linens for the doll bed. So, I just need to focus, focus focus. Right? Or maybe I should be asking Santa to bring me a couple of extra days:)

Hope your Christmas making is doing a little better than mine! Cyndy Pin It

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Place and Yours - Christmas Special


This is a hard one for me. As someone who grew up in the northern hemisphere (the United States) Christmas is about cold, snow, a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate and tacky Christmas lights all over your house. Hot, sunny and going to the beach just doesn't seem right:)


That said I have (kinda) adjusted and besides Christmas in our house is all about the children. No designer colours or decorations, just lots of stuff made by the kids, picked out by the kids, given to the kids, was mine when I was a kid:)


This year we actually have two Christmas trees. One is fake (got it for $12 the first Christmas we spent here) and one is real. This is our first real tree because I am a bit of a Christmas tree snob. It's not that I like perfectly manicured Christmas trees, because I don't. In our house, we used to go out to the Christmas tree farm and cut our own. It was usually wider than it was tall:) It's more that I like a certain kind of Christmas tree (Douglass fir) and it appears they don't grow them here in Australia or if they do they cost a bazillion dollars. But this one was free, just the right price for me to overcome my snobbishness:)


Christmas is also about memories. I love it when we are decorating the tree and the children shout out, that ones mine, or I got that from ____, or ask me about a decoration that predates them. When I was in my mid 30's my mother decided (without telling us children) to move to a themed tree. That meant all the decorations we had made as children, had been given etc... that didn't meet the theme were tossed. My sister and I about had a heart attack, because even at our "mature" age we still loved the memories that all these things represented.


And finally Christmas is about traditions. It's about putting up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving (yes even here:), making Christmas cookies, writing a  letter and visiting Santa, watching Its a Wonderful Life at least once, and getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas day to open your presents from Santa no matter how old you are:)

Merry Christmas from my family to yours and you can check out more Christmas specials here! Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Creative Space

 
Even though I should be focusing on a specific craft project (like Christmas presents) sometimes I get distracted by an idea that I decide I need to try. Recently, I embroidered words on some needlework. It looked awful, so I unpicked it.

I had done the words freehand. But after seeing my results, I thought there has to be a better way. Sure enough a better way occurred to me so I decided I needed to try it out - now. As it was an idea that I hadn't tested and I have other projects I should be working on (like Christmas presents) you would think I would try it with something simple. Not my style, because I decided to go all out and do an entire multi sentence quote complete with a picture (from Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding)!

You will be glad to know that my idea worked:) My words looked so much better. What did I do to embroider the words? I simply printed the words in a font that I liked on paper (make sure to print them in a colour other than the colour you plan to embroider them in) and affixed the paper to the fabric I was using. I then embroidered on the paper/fabric and pulled the paper off when I was finished.


So now that I know it works, its time to get back to the projects I really need to get done (Christmas presents:).

Hope you are not too distracted in your creative space this week. For more creative spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Creative Space - Doll Clothes


If you have been reading for a while you may recall in August I wrote about the doll I planned to make for my littlest for Christmas this year. I finally cut the doll pieces out a couple of weeks ago, but have yet to start sewing them together. I figure I need to do that when littlest isn't around if I want to keep it a surprise:)

I have also started to cut out some of the clothes for the doll. I've decided to go with a palette of pinks, as this is her favorite colour right now, and make some coordinated  tops, skirts, dresses and pants. While I sew a lot without patterns and directions, I am using a pattern for these (they came with the doll pattern) and actually finding it a bit difficult! Not sure if it is me or the pattern directions. It could also be the small size, as I find this changes how you can work with and even conceptualize the material. I was thinking I might be able to sew them while she is around as I can probably fudge what they are with her. Or, maybe since I am finding them a little difficult I need to be sewing them when the littlest isn't around so I can concentrate:)


Either way, I hope you are getting lots done in your creative space this week! For more creative spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Op Shop Finds - Vintage Vegetable Themed Table Cloth


Do you have something that when you see it in an op makes your heart beat a little faster? Your eyes dart from side to side? Your palms start to sweat? Do you have some you so covet that you hope no one else notices your excitement, for fear they will swoop in and grab the item from you?

I do, it's vintage vegetable themed kitchen items of any sort. I love vegetables on anything; cookware, serving ware, table cloths, tea towels, art work, rugs. Yes, on anything.


About a week ago on my way to Spotlight I stopped in one of my favourite little op shops and when going through the table linens found this fabulous vegetable themed table cloth. A little wrinkly I know, but it did need a wash. I've ironed it and am already using it on the children's computer table in the kitchen. I paid $2. Sigh...doesn't that just warm your heart? Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Creative Space


Today is Thanksgiving in the US, so this past Sunday (as it's not a holiday here) we celebrated with all our friends downunder (more here). That means my focus was on getting ready for the party. Lots of baking (boy did the house smell good, sugar cookies, pumpkin pie, turkey:) and lots of cleaning.

I don't know about you, but I don't have a separate craft space, I use the kitchen table and the kitchen island for most of my making. While I clear the kitchen table so we can eat our meals, the kitchen island is a writhing pile of craft supplies and projects. For the party I had to clean it ALL up. It started out well, putting thing back in all the right places, but in the end I was dumping things into boxes/bags so I could just get it done!

Now we all know packing up is easier than unpacking (well, for me at least:) so I haven't returned everything to its home on the kitchen bench yet (I couldn't even find my basket of scissors for 2 days as I couldn't remember where I had moved them too). But as I look at my kitchen island, it's already looking like that writhing pile of craft supplies and projects! I think it might be time to just say "Hi, my name is Cyndy and I am a messy crafter:)"

It's messyalready for a good reason. A friend has talked me into sharing a stall at the Queenscliff Market this Sunday (it's also the Queenscliff Music Festival), so I have been making a few things to replace those I sold at my first market; mostly, some new wool embroidery pieces. Fortunately, I am only having a stall, not one of the market organizers, so not feeling stressful (I am also guessing having had a stall the fear of the unknown is now gone:) So if you are going to Queenscliff this weekend come by the market and say hi!


Hope you are getting lots done in your creative space (messy or not:) this week! For more creative spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Moment - Giving Thanks


As soon as I open my mouth people know there is something a little bit different about me. You see, I am an American living in Australia and the moment you hear me talk my accent gives it away (this will never be a problem for my children:). A question I often get is what I miss about home. The chaos of living with 3 young children doesn't give one much time to miss things, but when I do it's usually the silly little things like an ingredient for cooking, or a word.

But then there are the times of year when I really do miss home. Not surprisingly these are the big holidays, both for the rituals/traditions tied to them and of course, for the family and friends.

One of the biggest holidays in the states is coming up this week - Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving has its roots in the early settling of what is now the US by the pilgrims and their celebrations of the good harvest. During the civil war Abraham Lincoln created the official public holiday, to help heal a nation at war.

Today Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family and friends and to take stock and count your blessings. While only a 4 day weekend, for many this is a bigger family time than Christmas. For me it was about traveling to Ohio to my paternal grandmother's and spending time with my very large extended family (my father is one of 10), seeing Aunts, Uncles and cousins of all ages.

As an American living overseas it has been important to me that my children not only learn and experience their Australian heritage, but to understand their American heritage as well. Our first couple of Thanksgivings here we celebrated alone, but it just didn't seem right to me (why do all that fabulous cooking especially when young children won't eat it), so a number of years ago I decided to make Thanksgiving our big social event of the year. To invite our friends to share in our company, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, and to bring their whole family and a dish to share.

It has become an event I look forward to; this year we had about 45 friends (over half were children) attend our Thanksgiving "extravaganza". We were blessed with perfect weather (which is important both for cooking - the oven is on for about 2 solid days - and where we hold the event - outside, as our house is not large), the food was fabulous and the friends were merry. It made being away from home this time of year that little bit easier:)

So happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends in the States - I miss you terribly and for those of you down under, thanks for coming and sharing in my tradition, and helping me not to miss home so much:) Cyndy

PS We saved one whole pumpkin pie for ourselves - yes, even the children now love pumpkin pie:) Pin It

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Creative Space - Skirts and Dresses


I have finally been able to turn my attention this week to the making of Christmas gifts. Last year I made the littlest and middle a Christmas skirt. I made a simple pattern which featured a top skirt of different panels and an solid underskirt with trim. Both girls really liked the style so since their Christmas skirts still fit I thought I would make them each another skirt in the same style but non Christmas this year. This is little's in  progress - cute strawberries with polka dots:


A friend recently got the ruffle attachment for her over locker and I found a great dress pattern for middle which is the perfect excuse to try it out:)  The plan is to make two dresses for middle and one for littlest in this pattern. This is one of middle's in progress.


So two skirts and three dresses, not a bad start. Wish the oldest (a boy) was so easy:)

Hope you have started on your Christmas making! For more lovely spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Creative Space


This past Saturday was my first market! The market itself was a piece of cake, the five hours went by quite quickly. It was the weeks leading up to the market that were a bit of a challenge. You see, the market wasn't just any market, it was a fundraising event (along with a student art show) at my children's school and I was also part of the committee that helped put on the overall event. Add to that my home commitments and a few other things, like organizing teacher appreciation activities at the school the week before, with trying to get stock together for my own stall and it was a bit overwhelming at the end.

That said, I am glad I had a stall. I got some lovely feedback about my handmade items and learned alot about what it takes to organize a stall. And it looks like I will be able to put what I learned to good use as I will be doing another market in a couple of weeks:)


So you would think with all the craziness leading up to my first market that I might take a bit of a break this week from making, but I didn't. A friend had some relatives visiting from overseas and wanted to give them a few of my items. Problem was two of them were still in progress (some more of my wool embroidery this time as hoop art) so I had to finish them. I pleased to say I delivered them yesterday and they loved them:)

After finishing these and seeing them all together, I am a little sad to see them go, 'cause I love them too. Looks like I will need to make some more for my own walls!


Hope you are taking a bit of a breather this week if you need it in your creative space. For more lovely spaces you can visit here. Cyndy
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Op Shop Find - Dress Up Twins Lacing Dolls


Don't you love it when you are in an op shop and from the corner of your eye you see something tucked away and just can't believe your luck? Recently the littlest and I did a quick stop at one of our local op shops and I saw this lacing doll game tucked in a corner up on a high shelf...for $1!


I thought it was from the 1970's, but turns out it's only from the early 1990's. It comes with all sorts of outfits - tops, bottoms, pjs, bathing costumes, shoes, slippers, hats, aprons, gloves, coats etc.. and lots of laces in all different sizes.


The littlest can do a pretty good job of lacing clothing onto the girl doll. The boy doll is missing, but it's still a lovely little item. The first three days we had it the littlest couldn't put it down; she wanted to take it everywhere! Not sure how long it will last in this house, but am thinking I might have to keep it when the littlest gets tired of it for myself:) Cyndy Pin It

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Creating Success Around the World Blog Hop



Life has been a little crazy the last two weeks. I have been getting ready for my first market (only 3 mores sleeps!) and organized all the teacher appreciation activities last week for my children's school. This is on top of all the normal things I have going on in my life. As I sit in a dazed state what a wonderful pick up today but to get an email from Jill from Creating My Way to Success letting me know that a blog post I wrote for the Creating Success Around the World Series went live today!

This is a worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe. Every Wednesday the hosts on each continent introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world. And you can add your own blog or website to the linky party at the bottom of the post so that others can find you too - a great way to make some new international creative friends!

A big thank you to Jill for featuring myself and Wombat's Picnic, so be sure to visit the post here to learn a little more about me, what I do and why I do it:) Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Creative Space - Bunting Swap


My bunting for the bunting swap hosted by Squiggly Rainbow is finally on its way here and overseas! With all my focus on market preparation I am sorry to say this project got away from me, but I managed to finally finish it earlier this week. So if you are still waiting to get one it could be from me - mea culpa:)

For some reason this project was way harder than it should have been. No, not sewing the bunting, but coming up with the actual bunting design. I knew I wanted to share a little Australiana, but what?

And then the wattle tree across the street inspired me. I have some lovely wattle cotton fabric that has just been waiting to be used. I initially toyed with the idea of embellishing each bunting with wattle embroidery, but it became clear that would require a little more time than I had at my disposal. Instead, I went with pairing the fabric with two of my all time favs gingham and ric rack.

So here they all are before I sent them out. Simple, but I like them. I even made one for myself, as I am planning to make a bunting from all the ones I get in the swap. Not very original I know, but fun to have all that handmade love from so many people in one place:)


Here's hoping you are not as far behind in your creative space as I am in mine! For more lovely spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Creative Space...


This week I have been focusing on making stock for my first market. I can't believe its just two weeks away (she says with a little bit of panic in her voice)! I don't know how people do this on a regular basis. Once a year seems enough for me:)

My strategy is to complete something everyday, but honestly the rest of life keeps getting in the way. You know all those silly commitments you make and those mundane things like getting the kids to and from school, making sure there is food in the house, clean clothes in the drawers, lunches and dinners on the table, clean dishes, a somewhat tidy house. Yeah, that stuff, getting in the way.

Another challenge I have found  is that I am not much of a mass producer; I tend to bore easily and am ready to move on to the next craft project after I make one of something. For me the fun is in figuring out how to make something. After I have done that, it's not quite so fun anymore. Sort of explains why I always have so many projects going at one time and why I don't work with just one medium!


That isn't to say I haven't accomplished anything - I have, just not as much as I would like. So I just need to keep reminding myself that it is all for a good cause. The market is being held at my children's school and will raise money for the school's art program (which, I must say is AWESOME).

So here's hoping there is no panicking in your creative space this week! For more lovely spaces you can visit here. Cyndy

PS in case you are wondering, it's the Ashby Primary School Art Show and Market Day, Saturday, November 5th from 10am-3pm. The school is located at 2 Lawton Ave, Geelong West. If you live in the area come along, it should be a great day. There is a fabulous art show featuring student art, about 25 stalls featuring handmade and vintage items and produce, as well as a cake stall, Indian food, BBQ, coffee and a few fun activities including giant slides and Harley rides! You can learn more at the events Facebook page or blog. Pin It

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Place & Yours




On my (very dusty) shelf:) To play along or see others you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Creative Space


Earlier this year I participated in the Hottie Challenge hosted by Cam at CurlyPops. The challenge was to make a hot water bottle cover to help raise funds for Margaret Pratt Foundation (Research for heart and Lung Transplants). I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to make for my cover - I could see it in my head. Unfortunately, at the time I couldn't find the material (kind and colour) that I could see in my head, so I had to come up with an alternative (don't worry I still love what I did, you can see it here:).

Fast forward to this past weekend. The children and I stopped at one of our regular op shops and guess what I found? The material (kind and colour) that I had seen in my head when I had envisioned my hot water bottle cover, so of course I bought it!

I think this grey colour is the perfect back drop for my wool embroidery. I love using wool embroidery to depict native flowers. I don't really need to make a hot water bottle cover, so I decided to make a pin cushion. I started with a flannel flower. I love how the flower turned out, not so happy about the placement on the material, which I unfortunately cut too small, so not much room for adjustment. I might have to come up with another use for this one (plus, think I need to take the words off, just did that to fill the space, but not happy with it).


I've started a second one, this time giving myself a little more wiggle room:) I am embroidering one of my all time favorites a red bottle brush. The tree by our fence is in full bloom right now and it's so vibrant. I also want to do one in hot pink. There is a hot pink bottle brush tree up the block in bloom that is gorgeous, I just need to get the right colour of wool.



So remember, good things come to those who wait:) Hope you are getting lots done in your creative space this week. To see more lovely creative spaces you can visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Op Shop Find


The littlest and I managed to stop at one of my favorite op shops earlier this week (on the way to Spotlight). The crafting gods must have been smiling down on me as I found 5, yes 5, brand new zippers at 20 cents each in just the right size and colour I had been planning to buy at Spotlight (that didn't stop me from going to Spotlight though:).

I also found a fabulous vintage Sydney linen tablecloth to add to my vintage tablecloth and tea towel collection. And of course a few doilies, because well, who can resist a good doily?

And don't worry, the littlest didn't go home empty handed - she found a Barbie Rapunzel book and a Madeline video:) Cyndy Pin It

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Creative Space...


It's the second week of the school holidays and the demands have definitely caught up with me! Unfortunately, I haven't been as productive as I would like, especially in light of the fact that I have my first market coming up in less than a month!

I have, however, managed to work on a few note cards. In August I made some Sydney Favourite Places note cards for my partner in the Seaweed and Raine Sunshine in the Mail Swap (to see some of the other fabulous swap items made by the various participants you can visit here). I made them using a 1970's book written for children on New South Wales (NSW). I love the colours, the kitschy illustrations, and the facts about places in the book.

The book on NSW was one of a set, and yes, I managed to score one on each state:) How cool is that? This week I decided to make similar note cards to the NSW ones from the book on Victoria. It was actually quite hard; there are illustrations and facts on the front and back of each page so I could only pick one from each page. In some cases I went for colour (like the Moomba one), in other case I went for famous places (like the MCG one). Not surprisingly most of the places featured in the book were in Melbourne. There was one poor little page about Geelong, but the illustration was all gray and it talked about the industrial/port side of Geelong. Not terribly interesting card making material:(



Like the Sydney note card set, I love the way these have turned out so far. I still have a few more to make, but I have encountered the classic "running out of materials while in the middle of a project" problem and need to get some more card stock so that I can finish them off. As a result, this project will probably be in the "in progress" pile for a little while.

I hope you are getting more done in your creative space than I am this week! For more lovely spaces you can visit here. Cyndy

PS For all you footy fans I thought I would share some gratuitous pics from the parade yesterday in Geelong to celebrate our third Premiership in 5 years:)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Creative Space


This week we are on school holidays. In between keeping kids busy/entertained I have been working on stock for my first market which is now only a month away!

As I say those words out loud I feel the panic in the pit of my stomach. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? I also have a list of Christmas gifts and items that I need to make for family and friends! I just need to stay focused and disciplined, right? Right:)

As I am not a one-at-a-time-project kinda person, I have been working on a variety of projects, including bunting, felt food, Christmas decorations, fabric headbands and cards! One of the projects I have enjoyed the most though, is making bias tape.

The last time I made bias tape was about 25 years ago (for a Laura Ashley pattern dress I made for a family wedding - am I dating myself?:) I don't know why it's been so long, because it was really easy and very satisfying as a project. I used the needle in the ironing board method, which is a little bit fiddly, but it worked surprisingly well. The best thing about it was how the bias tape felt - so much better than the stuff you buy! I made it to use on some Christmas buntings I have been making for the market. Not sure I ever want to buy bias tape again:)

I hope you have been getting lots done in your space this week. For more lovely spaces make sure you visit here. Cyndy Pin It

Monday, September 26, 2011

My First Crafty Swap - My Sunshine in the Mail


It's a little bit late, but I am finally sharing what I received in my first crafty swap, the Snail Mail Swap organized by Sheree at Seaweed and Raine earlier this month (you can see some of what I sent to my swap partner here and here).

Per Sheree's hope, it really was a little bit of sunshine in the mail! I received my swap from Christie at Describe Happy. Christie lives in the US, so it was not just mail, but INTERNATIONAL mail - loved that!

The day the package arrived was a cloudy day and as soon as my children saw a package in the mailbox they tried to claim it as their own. As soon as I saw it I disabused them of this notion, and claimed it for my own. I did let them help me open it:)

Christie had done a little tease post, but I resisted the temptation of looking. I wanted it to truly be a surprise, and what a I lovely surprise it was! Christie had definitely been sussing me out. The package included all sorts of little goodies: fabric, origami paper, cheeky birdie labels, a beautiful jade bracelet and some origami corner book marks. The piece de resistance however, was this fab zipper pouch:



How cute is that?! And how perfect for me - wombats on one side and that gorgeous koala fabric on the other. There are several handy little compartments inside as well:)

I have already been enjoying some of my goodies, although I have had to fend off my oldest daughter (age 7) who really wants the jade bracelet and the origami paper:)

A BIG, BIG thank you to Sheree for organizing it all and to Christie for her package of goodies! It really was a little package of sunshine in the mail:) Cyndy

PS if you haven't done a crafty swap you should - I had so much fun giving and receiving:) Pin It
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