Saturday, 30 March 2013

pin sticks be gone...

a little deadline procrastination has resulted in my sewing a pin cushion finally! in all my years of crafting i have never had one getting by with jars, tins and regular pin sticks.

master pitter is very fond of things that could result in injury so pins scissors and quick unpicks have been locked away....until now......

the pins are free to rest in the softest linen cushion with french knots to keep them company. i included a loop so it can hang on the wall away from interested hands when not in use and the base has a magnet for swiping up any strays.

we have a hazy light today so i will photograph more at a later date, thinking of making more and adding to my shop stock plans.

now i am more convinced that i need to treat myself to some clover patchwork glass head pins just to add to its soft pearly character....ohhh and i have lots of patching in my future too.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

handprinting update.....

now everything is printed and posted and i managed to squeeze in something little into each parcel i can do another big reveal......yes i did reprint, late one evening and it was so much easier, mild temperatures made all the difference.  i managed sharper edges and smoother ink and will have to add a little more flexibility into printing next time around.

the grey/black/blues stayed as they were i loved them. i managed to mix a lovely teal and printed a small swatch onto grey cotton to send off to Leslie (seems only fair she should get a little extra for her organizational work, i am sure you agree!)

i also mastered my colour panels and decided to go with shades of greens as two of my swappers had yellow,green,blue as their colour preferences - try as i may i could not find a way to mix them to my pleasure....but here is what i ended up with.....

fingers crossed and maybe my legs too hoping everyone gets a little joy when their packages are opened. 

a little easter on the way...

hopefully there will be two little girls with smiles when these eggs get 'cracked' open ................

i am rather partial to big brooches on little girls and these scrappy dappy rabbits (yes one is in its egg already) will be fun year round i think.  the eggs are simply cut from old packaging paper, then add a few stripes of washi and sew closed.  to make the stuffed egg in one go i stitched about 2/3 the way around the unfilled egg and then inserted the rabbit, ears folded and continued back to the start.  i also find when stitching paper it help to set your stitch length to 4/5 unless you want to make a rip-able perforation.

in other eastery news miss pitter had a rabbit bonnet made. i used the cozy winter hood pattern from oliver+s little things to sew. and like a slew of crafty others i drafted my own pattern to convert the ears from the original bear shape to floppy bunny ear.  you will find a picture of this cheeky rabbit over on my instagram feed (over in the side bar there....) in truth the bonnet has barely been off with the only exception being sleep time and for trying on by other want to be bunnies.

and there are a couple of bunnies, Bernice and Bertram we shall call them (the basil pattern from hop skip jump) well on there way to completion in time for egg delivery day. i'll pop pictures up when they can see, have articulated arms and lovely pink noses ready for sniffing.

Monday, 18 March 2013

quick off the hook

a friend had run out of creative puff with a sea of new babies around her and sent out the call for help for something little and lovely. i jumped into my woolly stash and hook in hand and milk and cookies on the side set to work.....

the oak button is from here, they have a lovely selection and caring service. i am trying to find some blank cuts to make into hand drawn brooches for the eventual shop any suggestions?

and that's right a few more photos in manual mode

Sunday, 17 March 2013

a long hot wait...

we have had a long run of hot days and nights, the littles have not slept well, the bigs had not slept well. everything slowed right down. the essentials were done and not much else.

that being said my best friend and fellow swapper drove out for our printing date earlier in the week and we stopped and started our way through our printing, lunching and entertaining 3 littles all who wanted to 'stamp'.

my plans for lovely blogging photos of printing processes, our lovely quiche and salad lunch and the necessary cups of tea and louise slice all fell away as trial and error and a travelling timetable took precedence.  i took a moment of quiet yesterday while one pitter slept the other adventured and i battled to get out some coloured prints i was comfortable with (love will never happen for me if it is not grey). i may still take another spin on the stamps tomorrow if the opportunity presents itself.........colour is hard!!!

but that said this is what i will be popping in the post if that fails. after another press (ironing in 36 degree = not fun), trim and suitability lovely wrapping.  i hope everyone gets the piece they may have eyed up!

next time around i will definitely participate again but make the change to screen printing as i really did love the sharp edges from my paper stamping, which after lots of fussing i just could not achieve on the fabric.  i think possibly it was a mistake to pre-wash the fabric? 

i have a few plans for making this week, we will see how we i am printing again i can not like the last print, any takers?

Friday, 8 March 2013

time to retire...

it has happened, the last teatowel passed to be by my nanny has dried its last dish.  some rough calculating has it at least 10 years in service.

''a dandy dryer linen'' rest in peace, or maybe pieces, i can't bring myself to toss you in the bin, you will be folded and meet some new friend in a box waiting for a second go.

i only have a few other bit from my nanny and poppy left, treasured bits used every week bits

the 1/4 c flour scoop moved from her flour bin to mine, likewise with the shaker. the whisk i bought back for them from travels in sweden, they loved, i love it and my kids love it. the skewer was made by my poppy, there are only 4 left in the family, this is mine, its wonderful bend is actually fantastic for checking cakes.  the rolling pin it handles long dispensed with is fantastic for working inside tins, the wood is so smooth.  all kitchen type things

my nanny was famed for her virulent pink raspberry slice, her egg collection and for only ever have driven a hay truck never moving out of first gear.

she was one important lady in my life so i hope you all have a wonderful international womans day thinking of those who made a difference in your life.  

and remember never discount the power of a good slice it often starts a good chat .

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

putting the tools down..

i have finished carving my stamps for the hand printed fabric swap.  now i am not as fond of my first (that roundy fellow in the bottom right of the picture) but as a set they make sense and i am itching to get some ink on them.  my lovely friend and i have a printing date next tuesday which will be fun especially considering it will involve the little people underfoot (fun = possibly disastrous.)

the fabric will be line drying today and i am hoping for a cool night to iron in the next few days

now i have used ezi carve blocks this time around although i was sorely temped by the japanese wood blocks,  next time i will make the change if i am planning to do larger stamps. i will be working with my coping saw and some ply i have stashed away to make three baking plates for the 3 feathers.

and you get to see this last photo as i took it on manual settings and am pretty impressed with myself.  i have a few carving tips to post but not today.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

fabric a go go ..

as i am already go on the hand printed fabric swap the second go is the umbrella prints trimming competition.
the trimmings competition started on the first of march and after mulling over my pack for a few months a little crisp breeze blew in the other day and suggested an idea to me.  now i do not think this little plan had a hope of winning big, but i do know if i can make it a reality there will be three possibly four snuggly pitters in this home.
there will be some creamy linen and %100 alpaca wool along with most of the trimmings pack.  the other two trimmings pieces will likely end up as a spiffing pin cushion.
and i can say i am more than i little tempted to get a second pack and see what pops into my head.
i will be making the most of the 31 of may deadline.  if you want to join in please do, you can find the details here.  you may note that voting is done via pinterest so do pop over and follow me here and the voting board here.

Monday, 4 March 2013

hand printing far so good

 carving tools and ezi carve blocks
 feather stamp components
 zen rock stamps
 first time with permaset inks
 100 % cottons
and some late and lovely christmas presents

Sunday, 3 March 2013

the fabric swap is under way

maze and vale fabric sample pack

maze and vale fabric sample pack
today was the big day.... hand printed fabric swap group announcement, i was pretty excited, kids at christmas excited really and after bustling though an assortment of homely duties i popped inside to see the email from Leslie in my box, did i rush  i made a simple lunch of ham and cheese toasties and chocolate milkshake and sat down ready to really enjoy the moment.

what i was not ready for was the first name on the list.....Leslie herself, if i were still capable of flipping and cartwheeling (i feel i should be able to cartwheel but think that nobody needs to see it) it would of happened then.  no i just sat there smiling myself silly.  i do feel like a little bit of a Leslie Keating/maze and vale stalker and will be happy to finally meet her in person at the next finders keepers market in melbourne.

now looking at the rest of my swap buddies is no less intimidating (oh how i have to brush up my blogging skill set) here are there links and few things i found that i love from each of them

Krista from Spotted Stones. Krista has whipped up these, i just bought the pattern last week and can't wait to get onto them.  she can do this in an hour, i am in awe and have yet another pattern to buy and she is from what i can see something of a quilting goddess.

Kylie of Paravent. oh this is what she did today, i am definitely going to do some practicing. She also made herself this t, i love the stunning colour and hope i can mix up something like it for my prints. and last but not least i am cheered by the fact that i am not the only one who has to commit to finishing things off

Sarah from SarahWaterhouse.  i am more than a little smitten with her fabric bundles and it makes me more excited that i have a fat quarter whinging its way to me and her waves, oh the waves have me all at sea.  Sarah also has some great straight forward how its done posts on her blog here and here for me just starting out i am thankful for creatives who share so openly.

and of course 

Leslie herself of maze and vale, i picked up a couple of sample packs (pictured above) a week or so ago  (follow maze and vale here to keep up to date when these pop up into the shop, they go fast) and pop over  to her shop to pick up some fabric and one of her dropcloth artworks

bake a cake

we are experiencing a shower of new babies at the moment, it makes me feel so far away from family, cuddles and really being able to help these new moms, some of my favourite people in the world!

alas all i do is offer an tip or two via skype and send bundles of handmade goodness in the post.  if i was around this little cake (cakes get tried by the littles in our house, muffins, loaves and tarts are refused flat even if overflowing with chocolate) would be winging its way to every mom.

asisde from it rather healthy ingredients there are a few other plus points to this cake

it is very little people helping friendly, only two bowls, easy cup measuring with pouring and sprinkling required

here is what you will need

in your dry bowl (the biggest one you have if you have to choose, everything will end up in here)

1 c quick cook oats
1/2 c wheatgerm
1/2 c shredderd coconut
1/2 c currants
1 c flour
3/4 c wholemeal flour 
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg   - or just 2 1/2 tsp of the closest spice you like

mix these all together with clean hands or a spoon/fork/spatula, whatever works

in you wet bowl

2 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla esseance
1/2 c greek yougurt
3/4 c lowfat milk

whisk these together and at the last minute add 1 tsp of baking soda mixed with 2 tbsp of boiling water.

poor the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to a porridge like consistency and poor into a lined cake tin (about 25 cm diameter, but anything around that size will do the job) and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of raw sugar

bake in a preheated 160 c oven for approximately 55 minutes (i say start checking around the 40 minute mark the first time you bake it).  when checking you want to have a clean but moist skewer. rest in the tin for five or so minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

i clearly covered mine in buttery goodness but it would be equally lovely with a blanket of lemon and passionfruit curd or a dollop of greek yougurt.

you can slice and freeze and then revive with a light toasting, and by all means make it in a loaf tin, I don't for the reasons of cake bias noted above and the fact that one of my housewife failings is the lack of a suitable tin in my overflowing baking cupboard.  i will let you peak in there one day, beware the clanging avalanche, as one of my goals for the year is to actually used them and enjoy the sweetness of a perfectly pretty little wonder cake.

oh my that went on.... but if you got to here enjoy the cake.