Sunday, June 30, 2013

Words of wisdom

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.” – Al Lopez

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Freezer cooking

I know everyone leads a busy life but sometimes I really struggle with managing the work life balance. I just always seem to be racing out the door, dropping kids at kinder and school, rushing to work, being intelligent all day (which I clearly am wink wink), rushing out to get to the kids and home again in reasonable time to cook dinners, bathe them and collapse for a little me time somewhere around 8 or 9pm. 

As I'm home for the next two weeks for school holidays, I was thinking of doing a little baking and cooking to freeze for later. 

I love the idea of the 'crock pot' meals that are all made up, kept in bags ready to throw in the slow cooker without any extra work. Yay! Great for winter. 

My homemade folded pies. Kids loved them -
just mince, grated carrot, garlic, herbs, squeeze of tomato
sauce, gravy mix, water and baked for about 30 minutes
until golden. Not the healthiest but a special treat!

I usually make homemade lasagne, sausage rolls, pinwheels, bolognese sauce and pies but I will be researching some more options for easy, kid friendly and freezer proof evening meals.

In terms of baking, I make muffins and easy biscuits (recipes here) but again I will look at more variety. I love this date loaf and banana cake too. I'm not as concerned with this as much as I don't mind whipping something up on a Sunday morning for the week. 

Do you have any great freezer recipes you can share with me? I'm finding inspiration on the following websites and blogs:


Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to follow Lil Pip Designs

I'm sure you have seen a few blog postings around about how to follow your favourite blogs now that Google Reader is leaving us from 1 July. I thought I better make sure everyone is following me too!

Here is how:

Via Bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

You can find Lil Pip Designs here. I've been giving Bloglovin a go over the past few weeks as it seems to be the preferred option for the sewing and crafty community and everyone is raving about it. I do like the interface on the computer but I'm not loving the iPad app which is where I catch up on most of my blog reading (at home, lounging with a coffee or wine). I'm going to persist!

Via Feedly
follow us in feedly

You can search for blogs and add them to your list really easily. I have created all different categories - sewing, quilting, photography etc. I find it really easy to read - like flicking through a magazine. I have heard of glitches though so I might be missing some blogs or posts.

Via my newsletter

I'm not a spamming newsletter sender. In fact I'm rather slack. But I'm making a promise now - I will actively just send one each month to keep you updated on my favourite posts on the blog plus where you can find me at markets or new designs I'm creating. 

Via my newsletter

Then of course there is Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (mmm I need an Instagram button!) or the RSS feed. Click on the buttons above to follow me.

So please stay in touch! I'll make it worth your while.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

 My Monday morning waiting for the train to work. 

Looking down at the station.
You can hardly see people standing there.

The fog was so thick

This was at about 8am in the morning. It didn't burn off until lunchtime.
The country express rushing through.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chores for children

Do your children help around the house? 

I've seen lots of different chore charts and systems but I'm not really sure what would work for our house. We have a pretty busy schedule with me working four days each weeks. Perhaps we dont need anything more as what we are doing is working at the moment. This is what Master 6 and Miss 4 do to help:

  • make beds each day (bit hard for little miss as she can't actually get into her double bed without steps!)
  • clean teeth (ok not a chore but part of the morning routine)
  • pack school bags with lunch boxes, drinks, readers and spelling books if needed

  • put school bags in 'the spot' ready for the next day
  • put empty lunch boxes and containers into the kitchen for washing up
  • get pjs, singlets and underwear out ready for after baths
  • get school clothes out ready to get into them in the morning (this is really important and Master 6 likes to get dressed as soon as he gets up)
  • clean teeth etc ready for bed

  • Master 6 folds and puts away all his clothes, Miss 4 is learning to do this too and often helps daddy hang and fold washing
  • put away cutlery and dishes as required
  • setting the table for meals
  • make their own breakfast if possible
  • every Sunday at 5pm is getting ready for the week - playroom and bedrooms tidied, school bags come out of their rooms, clothes out etc. I don't mind too much over the weekend if there are toys and games left out and just focus on it all out away before the start of the week. 

So essentially this is what I expect from them. There aren't any rewards or payment. It's just what has to get done. We have introduced these things slowly though. Not just from nothing to all this. 

Chore Chart thanks to Tiffany Collins Design
School holidays are different again. Last holidays I gave them a simple chart (they each put it on their bedroom doors) and this holidays I will be using this one pictured above. I sat down with each of them to write on what would be good "daily tasks". I gave them the independence to decide when they did the tasks. The extra jobs included packing away toys, putting away their shoes (this seems to have resolved a huge issue of Master 6 leaving his everywhere!), returning books to the shelf etc. It worked really well for us. They didn't feel like I was nagging all the time and knew exactly what my expectations were and what had to be done by the end of the day. 

Do you do anything specific? Do you have charts or systems or just a set of expectations like me? Or nothing! Would love to hear what others do. I'm hoping this post doesn't make me sound like a cranky mum. I just think it is great to get every member of the family involved in helping!

If you want your own, just google 'free chore charts' and I'm sure you will find something that suits your needs or design tastes.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Pattern Review: Little Girls Purses by Barbara Bazzocchi Designs

Yesterday I did a little crochet and I thought I would share what I made

Little Girls Purses by Barbara Bazzocchi Designs

I'm new to crochet. Something I decided to teach myself a couple of years ago thanks to YouTube. You can see how I started here and I updated my progress including my favourite videos here. 

Well I'm rather sick of just making granny squares (although I really must finish the blanket!) so I have been looking for some simple patterns to try. Plus I'm trying to now teach myself how to actually read a pattern.

I found this gorgeous little purse pattern on Ravelry and thought I would give it a go. I started really well but my 'side seam' seemed to move in a little each row. I think I ended up adding a couple of stitches. You can't tell so I just kept going. I just couldn't master the handle instructions, so rather than 1 single crochet and then 2
single crochet repeat, mine just have a single crochet in each stitch. I can see now that adding the two would give the handle more curve.

I need to educate her on a 'nice' smile
This is a lovely little pattern that can easily be finished in an afternoon. They would make sweet gifts for little girls so I might keep that in mind for the next birthday party Miss 4 is invited too.

I would love to take the concepts that I learnt and make something bigger for myself. I'm kinda inspired to just go for it!

Will I make this again? - absolutely. I really want to master doing it properly. And Miss 4 has requested one that is just pink!

Will I make this to sell for Lil Pip? – no, crochet is just for me. 

Oh it has a button?
Pattern: Little Girls Purses by Barbara Bazzocchi Designs via Ravelry here or via Barbara's blog here.
Fabric: I used a 4.25 hook (pattern asked for 4.5) and I used wool from Spotlight (mmm I'll update tonight when I look at what it is)
Difficulty (1-10 scale with 1 being easy and 10 hard): Since I'm new to crochet I would say 6 or 7 as some of the basic things weren't explained and just assumed you knew but for old hats, easy!!
Time: It took me just over an hour so I can imagine getting faster and doing it quite quickly. A very satisfying creation.

Why did she think this would be a good photo!

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Words of wisdom

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael Leboeuf

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tutorial: How to add pockets to a simple skirt

Welcome to my first tutorial. I'm a little worried about putting it out there. Not sure if you will find it valuable. But I figured that I worked it all out myself so why not share the knowledge. No doubt it isn't original, I don't think much is in craft and sewing. I'm sure in years to come, I will laugh at the photos (on my bed!). I was competing with fading light on a rainy, Sunday afternoon and it was less than ideal. And I have so many! Well I guess more photos is better than not enough. Oh and I promise I own an iron - lol! Anyway, this is how you can add one type of pocket to a simple skirt pattern. 

My favourite basic skirt pattern is the Simple Skirt Pattern by Leila and Ben. I bought it ages ago and love that I don't have to think about all the measurements. Oh and it has another cute little pocket pattern to add to the front. 

How to add pockets to a simple skirt

Step 1: Cut out your rectangle pieces as per your pattern. I made a size 5 for my daughter (I will admit it is a little big for Miss 4). 

Step 2: Create your own pocket templates. I used an old calender so it was on thicker card. You can see my measurements below which work for a size 2-5 pocket. I find with a size 1 pocket that is it too long but you can adjust this. I used a bowl to trace the curve edge.

The smaller piece is the part that you cut from the front of the skirt. You don't want to make this too big. 

You need to cut four of your cotton or feature fabric from the larger piece.

Step 3: Cut two sections from the front of your skirt with the small pocket piece. And yes I should have ironed this!

Step 4: Cut out four pieces of your cotton or feature fabric. Remember that you are only going to see a tiny bit of it peaking out so you only need to worry about what it showing there (I tried to have two little owls). You also need to be careful of your left and right sides.   

Step 5: Cut out the small pocket piece of just two of the four pieces. This will be the pieces that will face your skirt. See the next photo.


Step 6: Place the wrong side of the pocket to wrong side of your skirt and sew a basting stitch close the the edge (I suggest a 1/8 inch). Noticed I ironed these!!

Step 7: Sew in your favourite bias tape (isn't this gingham darling!) or make your own. I prefer to sew it onto the wrong side of the fabric first and sew it down from the front so I make sure the stitches are covered and it looks all neat from the front. 

Step 8: Now sew around the curve of your two larger pocket pieces and finish either with a zig zag or serger/overlocker.

Step 9: Now you can see the front and the only part of the pocket that you will see. Sew a basting stitch along the top and side of the pocket to hold it in place.

Final steps: Finish your skirt as you usually would. Sew both pockets in. Hem the sides. Make an elastic casing. Hem the bottom or add a feature fabric as I have with this one.

As I said, I think this particular skirt is a little big for Miss 4. I also think I'll make the bottom panel shorter. I was trying to showcase the pattern with the little trees, deer and owls.
Watching a lady coming along with her dogs
I think this skirt would look lovely with a flat front to really show off the pockets more too. 

Perfect pockets!
I hope you found this tutorial useful. I hope to bring more to you, including some of my own patterns. I would love to know if you make a skirt using this pattern. I'll have to work out how to set up a flickr group!

I just want to use this pink gingham
bias tape on everything!

Another example with navy cord and white bias
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