last week of term

First term of 2014 is over, and the school holidays are here.  The last week of term flew past, but I took some photos along the way.  So this is a snippet of our week (mostly from a sewing/crafty perspective, of course).

last week of term one

  • Patterns arrived from the last Vogue/Butterick/McCalls sale.  One is already cut out to be sewn this weekend, and another has been matched up to fabric.
  • Personal delivery of The Better Bag Maker, by Nicole Mallalieu, soon to be available online and possibly in Spotlight stores.  I took part in pattern testing (and have a couple of excellent bags to show for it that I can finally reveal on the blog soon) and I think that it really is your go-to book for all things bag-making related.
  • Silk fabrics from the Collette Dinnigan end of bolt clearance currently running at Rathdowne Fabrics.  The top two will be scarves; the bottom one will become a dress.
  • Over the past couple of days the weather has turned cooler and autumn has really settled in.  Time to make new stretchy pants for winter!
  • And with winter coming up, time for some new boots (everything at the Diana Ferrari outlet is currently half price).  I live in boots over winter, and was excited when I spotted some coloured ones!
  • Poor little Stella.  She’s sick.  The virus that has been going around and that Clare and I had last week has caught up with Stella.  She’s still on the couch with a vomit container.
  • I whipped up a few tops for Clare to take away on camp with her.  One includes this raglan tee .  It’s a departure from her usual style, but fortunately she seems to really like it!
  • Clare has been busy with the loom/rainbow/whatever they are called bands.  YouTube has been an excellent source of tutorials for a variety of bracelet designs.  You have to love a craze that is this creative, time-consuming and relatively cheap!
  • A quick dress for Stella, from fabric that she chose in a design that she chose.  And now says that she doesn’t like.


talented tween

When I picked Clare up from after school care on Wednesday she proudly showed me the drawing she had just completed.

Clare's drawing

I reckon that it’s absolutely fantastic! In metallic sharpies, about 20 cm square. I absolutely love it. Some friends suggested that I upload it to Spoonflower and order some fabric. Wouldn’t that be great – a garment made for Clare from fabric that she has designed?

owl and penguin and duck

After Karen’s daughters proudly showed off the penguins and ducks that they made during the last school holidays my girls clamoured to follow suit and make their own penguin and duck as well.  Clare does have her own sewing machine, and I figured that I should give her more opportunity to use it.  So we collected the pattern and our supplies and made a start.  Stella sewed two seams of her penguin then handed it over to me for completion.  At that stage there were tears – almost from me as well as from her – but in the end I relented and finished it off.

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In the meantime, I sewed up the owl that was also included in the pattern.

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And on the weekend, Clare was finally able to finish off her duck.  Thanks Karen for the duck fluff!

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There were tears involved in the making of the duck as well – poor Clare thought it was all finished and she had stuffed it before taking another look and realised that one wing was much, much higher than the other! Oh, the disappointment! I whipped out the unpick and she redid the offending wing. Other than helping in minor ways, Clare sewed the duck entirely herself, thanks in no small part to the wonderful instructions that Jodie provides.

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Lots of the materials came from Spotlight. Clare made the duck from a minkee type of fabric, which was harder to sew than a felt or polar fleece but has given a lovely result. We also used a minkee for the white stomach circles. The owl was made from wool that was in my stash, and the penguin was wool/viscose felt from Spotlight. BUT there is a cautionary tale about the quality of the (relatively expensive) felt.

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See all those weird circles appliqued on the back of the penguin? Do you know what they are and why they are there? They are patches – over the many spots where the felt has begun to separate and start to form holes once the penguin had been stuffed. I am VERY unhappy with the quality of this felt, which was bought from the roll and advertised as wool/viscose. I must get around to giving Spotlight some feedback about it. Luckily, the kids aren’t too perturbed (mostly because I did all the patching).

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We are all thrilled with our owl and penguin and duck now that they are done! Great pattern Jodie – just remind me to book my youngest into a class run by someone else the next time that she wants to learn to sew.

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And a quick shout out to a couple of blog posts that I thought were particularly helpful when I was blog browsing on the train and tram this morning:

Christy on sewing fast (because I nodded the whole way through)

LiEr on drafting sleeves (incredibly informative and so well explained!)

and Anne said some really lovely things about me and my blog this week – thanks so much Anne, I am incredibly touched.

If you were wondering what the Lekala-alongers were up to, we’re still cutting out this week.  Well, some of us are actually sewing, and some are still getting fabric, but by the end of the week we all aim to at least have our jackets cut out.  Fingers crossed!


good intentions

Each year I make the girls a birthday dress and a Christmas dress.  Sometimes they are finished only just in time.

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Sometimes they’re not finished in time at all. Whoops. Today is Clare’s 11th birthday! I have been a mum for eleven years now, which astounds me. We’re heading off to the theatre to see Grease – a big surprise for her and for Stella – and yesterday she got her ears pierced.

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Suddenly it seems that she is getting all grown up. But not too fast please! I love you Miss Clare xxxx.

(By the way, Stella’s birthday dress is still waiting too. And her birthday was last June…)


It was only four nights away, but it felt like much longer – in a good way!  We stayed at Jungle Beach Caravan Park, which is between Marlo and Cape Conran on the East Gippsland coast.  It is a simple caravan park and we had an unpowered tent site right at the back of the park amongst the bracken, complete with a contained open fireplace.  Wonderful.  It was also wonderful that the friends we were away with had a powered site much closer to the amenities, playground, pool, and trampoline.  Between us it was the best of both worlds!  There was plenty of wind, sun, sand, flies, rocks, waves, water, sandcastles, boats and boards, toasted marshmallows, trampolining, swimming, playing story games, listening to audio CDs in the car, treats, sunscreen, seaweed, dust, trees, kookaburras, lizards, popcorn, and overall – FUN!

marlo/cape conran january 2014

Now that we’re back I’m getting more prepared for the year ahead, but luckily I’m able to continue relaxing at the same time.  My poor husband is back at work already, earning the dollars.  I’ll be keeping the kids entertained and looking after the home front for the next four weeks before school returns on the 29th January.  And knowing me I will also make time to sew, as well as making time to get some of those “it can wait until the holidays” chores done.  I’m looking forward to 2014 – we have some fun plans ahead (that include a mid-year trip to Thailand)!  And I adore the age that the girls are at.  Primary school aged children are absolutely divine.

bumper thumper

First things first – thanks to all of you for your lovely Christmas wishes and for the comments on the girls’ dresses!  I really do appreciate them.  The girls are wearing their Feliz dresses again today,  so they clearly were a bit of a hit!

Another Christmas Day hit was the presents that the girls received from their grandparents.  As well as the slip’n’slide, they received “body bumper thumpers”.

fun with body bumper thumpers

And clearly, the adults had just as much fun with them as the kids did.

fun with body bumper thumpers


And now I’m going to see if I can get my remaining blog posts for 2013 written so that what was made in 2013 actually gets blogged in 2013. Because there is plenty cut out to be sewn up during the 2014 summer holidays!

every good gift

Santa Photo 2013

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17


Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15



We’re home from a 12 night family holiday to Tasmania.  And I have to say, it was WONDERFUL.  Yes, incredibly cold, but we anticipated that.  So now it’s time to show you my holiday snaps.  Be warned, there are MANY – so click away now if you’re here for the craft and sewing rather than the family stuff!


We took the overnight ferry each way, and slept like babies thanks to the gentle rocking.


The whole family thoroughly enjoyed the Beaconsfield Heritage Centre, especially the old telephones – we had to show the girls how to dial a phone – and the apple sorting machine. It was all very hands-on – the children were encouraged to touch!






There were seahorses



and echidnas and platypus.


There was the beach in winter


There was plenty of heritage, seafaring and convict information, including the bonnet project.



And who else remembers this guy and his movies?


Dead trees had makeovers


The Bay of Fires was beautiful in the winter weather




I performed a miracle of car boot tetris so that the big girl could sit in the front seat due to travel sickness and my husband didn’t have to sit in her booster


We looked at boats



and myriad churches


and loads of bridges




We went to markets and to MONA


as well as having some refreshment of the chocolate variety


Found more sandstone heritage buildings


and rode on a chairlift







We listened to stories as we toured around


and found a honey farm


I found time to arm knit a scarf


and we discovered a wonderful cave (with a river running through it).


Stella was not so keen on the cave


but she was thrilled to find some snow!


We were SO lucky – the sky was clear while we were at Cradle Mountain.




and there was even a maze to lose ourselves in on the last day.


There was wildlife galore – echidnas, wombats, pademelons, possums, tasmanian devils, platypus, and the seahorses – and so many sights to see and things to do. Tasmania we love you – and we’ll be back. But possibly when it is warmer.

new nighties

I thought that Stella’s pyjama party would be a good opportunity to use a recently acquired vintage Butterick pattern to make Stella a new nightie.

vintage Butterick 5067, size 6

It really doesn’t come much simpler than this – raglan sleeves, almost identical front and back pieces, wrists and neckline gathered with elastic, and an optional frill around the bottom. I had some spotty cotton/lycra interlock in stash (from Spotlight, I think) which I thought would be comfortable, so whipped up the nightie – sans frill – and tried it on Stella. She hated it. Didn’t like the “big and wide” sleeves. So I added the frill for extra length, and gave it to Clare.

vintage Butterick nightdress

Yes, that’s a size 6 dress on a 10 1/2 year old girl! The sleeves are more 3/4 length than full length on her, but Clare was very happy with her new nightie! So, to provide Stella with a nightie more to her liking – after all, it was for her party – I pulled out the Oliver + S Hopscotch dress pattern yet again, cut it out in size 6, and lengthened it.

Oliver + S Hopscotch nightdress

I kept things super simple by not adding any fancy trims. The neck band was cut from the same fabric as the rest of the nightie, and I used a small zig-zag to secure the sleeve and bottom hems. I’m starting to feel that I could almost sew up this pattern in my sleep!

Oliver + S Hopscotch nightdress

She was VERY happy with this one. But did she wear it for her party? Um, no. Both she and Clare wore the pyjamas I made them for last winter. But they did wear their new nighties the morning of Stella’s actual birthday!

spotty nighties

This morning I wrote a list of completed projects that are as yet unblogged – and there were more than ten! Hopefully over the long weekend I’ll get a chance to get a few more blog posts written, before the content and details of the patterns and construction processes completely vanish from my memory.

and now she is six

Well, now she is six!  On Saturday we had the pyjama party to end all pyjama parties.  A resounding success!  Eighteen children, a magic show (thanks to Clare and her friend Tara), some magic tricks from Daddy, pass the parcel, musical statues, a photo booth, a fishing game, and an extremely sturdy pinata.




And let’s definitely not forget the cake! (Outsourced, made and decorated by one of my friends).


Oh my little Stella, how can you be six years old already! My energetic, enthusiastic, clever little girl is quickly growing into a big girl. In prep, learning to read and write, jumping up and down with excitement at so many of the things in her life. She is such a joy and source of smiles. We love you Stella!