Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Cerisy maternity skirt

Cerisy maternity skirt

Cerisy maternity skirt

Cerisy maternity skirt

 My baby bump is still pretty small and I am managing to fit into most of my clothes, except my jeans. However, I am finding the waistbands of lots of clothes uncomfortable by the end of the day. I've seen maternity skirts for sale online and thought about altering my favourite a-line skirt pattern to make it into maternity wear. Then I found the Cerisy Skirt tutorial for an a-line skirt with a knit waistband and thought that sounded super comfortable and just what I needed.  The tutorial has instructions for making a reversible skirt, but I just made mine one-sided .  I used some denim for the back and a chevron cotton for the front. The chevron was pretty thin, so I lined it with a layer of white cotton. I made the waistband extra tall so that I can wear it doubled over now, then up over my bump later on. It is lovely and comfortable (just like wearing trackies). I wear lots of skirts to school, so I can see several more of these being made before I head back to work.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 25 & 26/26 - two longterm projects!

Just popping in quickly to post my final two projects for the year - twins!  They are not quite finished projects, but they were created in 2013, so I thought they qualified :)

Currently just over 14 weeks and feeling pretty good.  I was very tired and a bit nauseous in the evenings until about 13 weeks, but that seemed to be the worst of it.   No sign of the double dose of morning sickness you are supposed to get with twins.  Fingers crossed it continues that way!

The babies are due in late June, but are likely to be here sometime in late May/early June.  We are both very excited about our next big adventure as parents.  Today we have been painting the nursery and once we find out what flavours the babies are, I will make a start on some cot quilts.  Stay tuned for plenty more baby crafting next year!

Thank you for reading along this year.  Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 23 & 24/26 - clay ornaments (two ways)

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with good food and good company.  Our Christmas day ended up being quite busy catching up with my family and Alex's family, and we have enjoyed having a quiet couple of days to potter before the next lot of visitors.  I'm quite surprised that I've managed to complete this 26 Things project with my lack of posting and crafting earlier in the year, but there was a rush of productivity just before Christmas!  Here are number 23 and 24/26.  I'll be back before the New Year to post about my last two special projects...

Baking Soda Clay Ornaments
Baking Soda Clay Ornaments I've seen recipes for baking soda clay all over pinterest and thought it looked like a pretty easy way to make some new white ornaments for the tree.  I also had an idea of making some mini clay Christmas bunting.  The dough sounded ideal (I used this recipe but made a half size batch) - three ingredients, easy to make, the clay stayed white,  you could stamp it with patterns and you could air dry or oven dry it.  Well, this is the story of a pinterest fail!  The dough worked, was lovely to roll out, and easy to stamp.  But, it cracked really badly when it dried (I chose to air dry rather than oven dry so they would dry slowly). They cracked so much that those 6 ornaments in the picture above were all that were salvageable from the entire batch of about 25!  I don't know what went wrong.  It didn't seem to be because of the thickness of the rolled out clay.  I had both thick and thin ornaments crack.  Some ornaments cracked where I had pushed a hole in the for stringing up.  Some cracked where I had stamped them.  Others cracked in random places.

Cracked Baking Soda Clay :(
The ornaments that I did manage to salvage do look lovely.  They did stay white as the instructions promised, but took about 3 days to fully dry.  I painted a couple of them and then sealed them with PVA (white glue).  The rest I covered with PVA and sprinkled with fine white glitter.  These ones are my favourites.  The white glittery stars look lovely on the tree when the fairy lights are on!

Air Dry Clay Ornaments
Air Dry Clay Bunting

Air Dry Clay Ornaments
I was still determined to make my clay bunting, so after some research online, I bought some Jovi Air Dry Clay from Warehouse Stationery.  At only $7 for 500g, I figured if this didn't work either, I wasn't going to be much out of pocket.  But it did work.  Wonderfully well in fact!  Here is my tray of ornaments ready to dry.

Air Dry Clay Ornaments
 I made a paper template for the bunting flags and cut them out with a sharp knife.  The other shapes I cut with cookie cutters.  I used rubber stamps and ordinary crafting ink to decorate them.  Two of the stars are imprinted with a doily that I rolled onto the clay before cutting them out.  They took just over 24 hours to dry fully and then I sprayed them with spray varnish before stringing them on ribbon. I only used about half a packet of dough, so I have plenty left for other projects.  The clay was not as white as the baking soda clay, but it seemed to whiten as it dried.  A much better result - I love my cute new bunting!  I think I might have to make some for birthdays and other occasions so I can have bunting hanging up year round!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 21 & 22/26 - Florentine Slice and Christmas Mince Pies

Florentine Slice and Christmas mince pies I love baking for Christmas, and luckily I have a husband with a sweet tooth like mine who loves to eat my baking.  Win, win.  I bake, and someone else can eat most of it!  This year we will be hosting some of Alex's family for morning tea on Christmas day, so I thought I should make some special festive treats.  These two recipes are favourite Christmas treats in our house.

Florentine Slice

Florentine Slice
An easier version of the traditional Florentine biscuit.  The recipe originally came from one of my mum's Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks, but I have adapted it to be vegan.  The key ingredient is soy condensed milk, which I buy online from the Cruelty Free Shop in Auckland.   I have not tried to make my own soy condensed milk, but I understand it is not too tricky to make, so that might be a project for next year.

400g vegan dark chocolate (I use Whitakkers Dark Ghana or Bittersweet Block)
1 1/2 cups sultanas
4 cups crushed cornflakes (crush lightly in a bag, then measure out)
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
120g red glace cherries, chopped
1 tin Soymilke soy condensed milk

1. Prepare two 28cm x 18cm slice tins by lining with tinfoil and greasing lightly.  Preheat oven to 190degC.

2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave jug, stirring until smooth. Pour half the chocolate into each tin and spread out evenly.  Refrigerate until set.

3.  Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.  When chocolate is set, spread mixure evenly over chocolate.

4. Bake for 15-20 mins until just starting to brown.  Leave in tin to cool.  When cool, cut into squares with serrated knife.

Makes about 48 squares.  Freezes well.

I find that sometimes the chocolate bubbles slightly from being baked.  The original recipe called for cooking chocolate, which I guess can cope with being baked.  After researching similar recipes online, next year I will try to bake the topping first and then "ice" the bottom of the slice with the melted chocolate after baking, to preserve the look of the chocolate.  Despite the bubbles, it is still as rich and chewy and delicious as ever!

Vegan Christmas Mince Pies

Christmas mince pies For this recipe you definitely need a food processor for both the fruit mince and the pastry.

I used Alison Holst's easy fruit mince recipe, online here.  The only change I made was to substitute chopped dried apricots for the mixed dried fruit as I am not a huge fan of mixed peel.  The recipe made enough fruit mince for just over 3 dozen pies (made in normal muffin tins).

For the pastry I used this recipe.  A single batch made enough for 12 mince pies.  I cut the bases out using an 8cm diameter round cookie cutter and the tops using a 7cm star cookie cutter.  I sprayed the muffin tins, put in the pastry bases, put in a dollop of fruit mince and popped a star on top.  I brushed the tops with a little soy milk and baked them at 180degC for 15-17 minutes.  Cool in the tins, then take out and cool on wire racks.  Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 19 & 20/26 - turtle shells and turtle eyes

Our junior show for the Year 0-2 classes (aged 5-7 years) was a couple of weeks ago.  The theme was Commotion in the Ocean.  My class of 20 Year 2 children were given Sea Turtles as our animal.  I had a few offers of help with costumes from parents in my class, but most of them did not have sewing machines.  I enlisted a mum to help with painting the turtle shells and the rest I did myself.

Turtle shells - an oval on the front and an oval cushion on the back, joined with elastic straps at the shoulders and waist

Turtle costumes

Turtle costumes

Turtle eyes - I painted polystyrene balls and glued these to black headbands

Turtle eyes

And here are a couple of shots of the costume on a child so you can see the final effect.  I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.  The kids looked so cute and performed so well.  There were a lot of dance moves to remember, but they were all stars!

I'm still hoping to get to 26 things this year.  I have a few more projects in the works to show you before the New Year, so expect some more posts once school is finished for the year on Thursday!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

{26 Things I Made} 18/26

A new ironing board cover.  Not a very exciting project, but one that was desperately needed as you can see from these before and after shots.  I am almost too ashamed to post the before picture, but it really helps you to appreciate the new cover, so it's here for all to see.  I bought some new felt to line the new cover and used the old cover as a pattern to cut the new one.  Much better.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 16 + 17/26 - Christmas craft

I finished the Turtle costumes for the school show and they looked so cute!  I will be back soon to share some pictures, but in the meantime here is the first of the Christmas crafting.

Some new bunting for the lounge.  I made some bunting last year, but never blogged it and I wanted to make some more this year so that both of our fireplaces had festive bunting.  I used the largest size from the template here and made it double sided.  I cut the striped fabric on the bias to make the ribbon at the top because I wanted it to look a bit like candy canes.

Christmas bunting

A Christmas ribbon wreath.  I actually made this in January but haven't blogged it until now.  I had it on last year's Christmas craft list and I didn't get it finished in time for Christmas day, but I was determined to finish it in the New Year.  I used the instructions here.  It was simple, but time consuming to cut the ribbons, sew them into loops and then glue them onto the wreath form.  I wrapped the polysterene wreath form with ribbon first and then made the hanging loop before I started gluing.

Ribbon wreath

 I struggled with where to hang the wreath. Didn't want it exposed to the elements on our front door, or hanging outwards on a window where we couldn't see it. Then I saw some mantles on Pinterest that had wreaths hanging over the mirror and decided that would be the perfect place. I love how Christmassy our fireplace looks now! Christmas fireplace

Sunday, 10 November 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 14 + 15/26

I am well behind on this project, but I am still hopeful of finishing 26 things by the end of the year.  Term 4 is proving to be quite busy, with end-of-year reports and a junior end-of-year show item to teach to my class, plus sewing the 21 turtle costumes for the children to wear!  I am about to make my prototype turtle costume, so I will be back to share that hopefully next weekend.  In the meantime, here are a couple of baby cardigans for the gift drawer that I knitted in the last school holidays.

14/26: Grey Leaves Cardigan 
Ravelry details here
I am really pleased with how this turned out.  I significantly changed the original pattern to make the lace leaves shorter and make the body less flared.  I used self-cover buttons and I love the pop of colour that the pink polka dots give the grey.
Grey Leaves Cardigan

15/26: Raspberry In Threes Cardigan 
Ravelry details here
Another In Threes cardigan.  I do love how easy this pattern is - knitted in one piece from the top down, with no seaming and minimal ends to sew in.  The buttons are also self-cover ones, using a scrap of cute cherry fabric.

IRaspberry In Threes Cardigan

Monday, 4 November 2013

Tiny Eyes doll giveaway!

I have a few completed projects to share with you soon, but in the meantime - check out this amazing giveaway from Tiny Eyes.  The super-talented Dee is giving away the 100th doll she has made this year, and she is gorgeous!  Visit the Tiny Eyes facebook page here for more details.

Monday, 23 September 2013

{26 Things I Made}: 12 + 13/26

I am way behind on my {26 Things I Made}, but am hoping to catch up a bit in the upcoming school holidays and also with some Christmas crafting I have planned. Here are the latest two additions, some more baby knitting to add to the baby gifts box.

 Some cute Mary-Jane booties to match the In Threes cardigan I made earlier in the year:
(Ravelry link)

Mary-Jane booties

A wee striped Puerperium cardigan, perfect for little babes, as it buttons right down the side, so you don't need to worry about pulling it over their head:
(Ravelry link) Striped cardigan Striped cardigan

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Shop restocked!

I have been meaning to upload some things to my much neglected Felt shop and today was the day I finally got around to it.  I've added some bibs, baby dresses and other bits and pieces.  Click on the image to be taken to the shop.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Alex and I tag-teamed in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago to make some chocolate cupcakes for him to take to work for his birthday.  I realised that I hadn't shared these recipes on my blog, so here they are for all you chocolate freaks, my favourite chocolate cupcake and icing recipes.  I have made these countless times for work morning teas, birthday parties, celebrations or just because I needed a chocolate hit. This makes light, chocolatey, moist cupcakes or cake.  And the icing is rich, fluffy and lick-the-bowl-icious.  Who needs eggs and dairy?

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (or Cake)
(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
Makes 12 cupcakes.  Can be easily halved to make 6 cupcakes (if you want a chocolate hit, but don't want to make a whole batch!)

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar if you don't have ACV)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Sun Valley brand)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degC and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. 

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).  

4. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing.

1. I have made these at different times using my kenwood mixer, hand held mixer and just beating by hand.  I have found that the cupcakes were much fluffier and moister when I used a mixer to beat the mixture rather than just mixing by hand. 

2. To make a cake, pour mixture into a greased 20-23cm round cake tin and bake for 32-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  If you want to make a layer cake, double the recipe and make two cakes and then sandwich with some icing or jam or stewed berries in the middle. You may need extra icing for a layer cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing
(adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

1/2 cup (112g) non-dairy butter (in NZ use Olivani or Olivite)
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa (I use Sun Valley brand - much richer than Cadbury or Nestle)
1 tsp vanilla essence 
3-4 tbsp water or non-dairy milk

With an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the icing sugar and cream for about 2 minutes.  Add the cocoa, vanilla and milk/water and turn the mixer to high speed once all the ingredients are relatively well combined.  Beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) more milk if it is too dry.  Pipe or spread onto cupcakes or cakes.  Lick the bowl and the beaters afterwards!

Makes enough for one 23cm cake or about 12 cupcakes piped. If you are not going to pipe the icing on your cupcakes, you could probably halve the recipe, but when it comes to cupcakes, the more icing the better!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

{26 Things I Made} 11/26: More Slippers

Another pair of knitted slippers - these were a birthday present for Alex.  He has been wearing them round the house at every opportunity since I finished them a couple of days ago.  It's so nice when your craft is well received!

Knitted Slippers
Ravelry details here.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

{26 Things I Made} 10/26 A birthday present

My lovely friend Fi celebrated her birthday this last weekend with High Tea at Martha's Pantry.  I'd never had high tea before and it didn't disappoint, with lots of amazing treats and different teas to try.  She made sure to let them know I was vegan and they whipped up this lovely cake-stand full of sweet and savoury treats all for me (top tip - if you are the only vegan, you get a stand all to yourself!).

Vegan High Tea at Martha's Pantry

As a birthday present for her I made this cosmetics purse (though you could use it for other things too).  It has a nylon lining to help prevent makeup messes and the outside is made from some favourite Japanese fabric I picked up in Melbourne a couple of years ago.  I interlined it with cotton quilt batting to give it a bit more structure because the outer fabric is pretty thin.  I really like the end result and am thinking I could do with one for me too (and maybe some to sell in my Felt shop - a job for the school holidays I think).Makeup bag

Sunday, 30 June 2013

{26 Things I Made} 9/26: Baby Bibs

Some more gifts for new babies.  They have two snaps on the neck so they are adjustable and can be used for longer.  I have been making these bibs for years and they are always gratefully received and well used by the mamas I have gifted them to.  I made doubles of some of these which I will try and list in my very neglected Felt Shop in the next few days.

Baby bibs