Archive for March, 2010

Perfect New Mum Gift!

March 28, 2010

Its my friends birthday today. Recently she mentioned that she loves ‘kiss and drop’ at kindergarten because with a two year old and a new baby often the kindergartner is the only one Not in her PJ’s as they leave the house. So I figured the perfect present for her would be a new set of PJ’s.

pajama pants for the new Mum

pajama pants for the new Mum

As I made them I realised it was a great gift for a young mum. Often looking after the kids in the morning means you’re spending way more time in your Pj’s than you ever used to allow yourself. (Its also a totally different kind of morning to the ‘pre-kid’ mornings you spent in your jammies till noon.)
To make them special I secreted in a little ‘pretty’ fabric into the inside of the waist band and the hem line. It always makes you feel like you’re doing something for yourself when you have something on that makes you smile and only you know about it!

waist band lined with pretty fabric

waist band lined with pretty fabric

This lining fabric is all I had left of it and I’d been saving it for something special. Lucky girl! Happy Birthday!

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Laundry Room Makeover

March 17, 2010

I’m searching for green laundry rooms. My husband hates green, he has a right, for some reason every house we buy has been painted a hideous, almost fluorescent lime alien green. Which is a nightmare to paint over. I have a feeling its because people are really trying to get a soft gardeny green and its just hard to do. Anyway, I think green can be good, when its done right. So I’m going to attempt it somewhere it doesn’t matter. The laundry. So far I’ve found these as inspiration:

I love this one, great green too:

green laundry room

Green Laundry Room

I dont like this colour green (ok its more of a minty blue/green) but I do like the laundry:

not the right green

Now there is only a bit of green in this laundry but I LOVE YELLOW, this is cool:

maybe I should go yellow, with a bit of green

Or I could just go with a hint on the wall paper. Actually I’m not going to do that, but I do love the brackets in this laundry:

Laundry, leaf wall paper, wall brackets

great wall brackets

I probably shouldn’t be searching out Laundry ideas at the moment as I have so much other more important stuff to do. Like Bathrooms. Perth really can be a one horse town. Basically if I dont want ultra modern and sleek (and I dont) if have no other choice. Sigh. Laundry seems like a safe space to be right now. I might even be found cowering in the corner next to the whirring washing machine surrounded by bathroom catalogs!

SGG Love

March 13, 2010
Something's Gotta Give Lounge

Something's Gotta Give Lounge

I know, I know the entire world has blogged about their love for the Something’s Gotta Give house and its gorgeous style and their desire to have it for themselves. I’m no different. As the movie ended the first time I saw it, I turned to my hubby (then boyfriend) and said, I want that house. Fortunately he agreed with me and I knew he was the one. Ok he agreed with me but I doubt I had any such epiphany, although surely a marriage based the mutual appreciation of a movie set is bound to last the distance! It is handy that we have similar tastes when it comes to houses and decorating. Well its that or I’m just a big bossy boots and he goes along with it, which is likely….but I dont think its the case.

As I’m getting into the full swing of decorating our new-old house I’m surfing the web a lot for, products, trades, ideas and inspiration. Its a lot easier to plan a renovation at night when the kids are asleep. Our new-old house is far, far, faaaarrr cry from the SSG house, but I think even if I’m just inspired by it maybe I’ll be able to squeeze just a little bit of SSG elegance into my tiny 40’s war home. Tonight I found what I think is the most comprehensive deconstruction of the SSG design and what makes it work. Joni has posted in depth with great attention to detail, making sure you notice all the important elements that make the style what it is. Plus it has the greatest collection of photos I’m yet to see.

Something's Gotta Give Kitchen

Something's Gotta Give Kitchen

Whilst Joni’s post is mostly about how to replicate the style, I find mimicking something never really gets you there in the same lovely way. Its much better to be inspired by and then interpret it to suit you. As part of the blog she shows another gorgeous home that is inspired by the SSG home yet doesn’t copy it and I think I love it more.

Inspired By - the way to go

Inspired By - the way to go

If you love the Something’s Gotta Give home as much as I do, Joni’s post is worth a read!

just discovered

March 7, 2010

Ok so I just discovered the incredible style of Natalie Chanin from Alabama Chanin! It makes my heart sing.

Embroidered Quilted Corset Dress

All that gorgeous, old fashioned, history making stitching and sewing applied to gorgeous couture and homewares. Isn’t it exquisite?

embroidery and beading

She’s from Florence in Alabama and applies traditional sewing methods and techniques to fashion and home. The principle idea of the company seems to be time, quality and tradition. Like a home cooked meal, warming and meaningful.

I will admit the website is a little confusing, the purpose of it seems unsure, and is thus hard to follow. Do you buy the clothes? The fabrics? The patterns? A kit? I think its confusing because you can do it all.

Now its unlikely I’m going to fork out hundreds of dollars for some of her clothing but I’m pretty sure I could buy one of her how-to books and have a go at applying some of those gorgeous fabric treatments to some project of my own.

I think this book looks the most enticing

It looks seriously time consuming but sometimes that’s the fun of it. Partly why I love craft is  that its something that you can put time and love into. Every time I make a gift for someone I spend most of that time thinking about them; who they are, how I know them, why I love them, the things we’ve done together and the things I hope for them in the future. All that mental time and energy goes into what my hands are making. The other thing is craft is kept and appreciated. I love vintage pieces and the history that goes with them. I love thinking about the person that took the time to make the piece and the person they meant it for.

beautifully treated fabric

Now wouldn’t something like that be worth putting energy into and keeping for generations!

everyone needs a matching hat

March 6, 2010

From now on every gift I make is coming with a matching hat.

I was making one of these cute market skirts (tutorial thanks to MADE) for a little friend of mine

Market Skirt

Market Skirt

Market Skirt

Off To Market

As I finished the one I was making as a gift I thought it needed something else to go with it. But what? What do you take to market? A bag? Done it! An applique top? Done it!

I started envisaging a little girl skipping to Market in the sunshine….She needed a Sun Hat. With all our hot hot sun, her mum would never have let her out of the house without her hat on. So I went on a net search and couldn’t find what I was looking for. So I grabbed one of my girls’ hats to see if I could deconstruct it. Lo and behold it actually looked quite simple. Do you know what? It was.

I ended up using the basic principles: 6 iron shaped pieces and two semi circles.

Then using some simple math (ie take the head circumference and divide it in 6, add seam allowances) and a bit of ‘winging it’ I came up with this:

Sun Hat

Matching Sun Hat

My oldest (who is two) was so into the into the idea she’s asking for one for herself and keeps ‘making’ hats for her friends!

hat making

making hats - just like mum

Look out, for the rest of summer we’ll be sun safe and cute in our house! I’m working on one for her now. This reversible sun hat really is a simple project, and so satisfying as it sews up so quickly. If you’re all lucky I might just post how to do it soon!

Here it is ready for a trip to market in the sunshine!

Matching Hat, Market Skirt

Matching Hat and Market Skirt

Towels to Dye for!

March 5, 2010

For our wedding my brother bought us a gorgeous set of white Country Road towels, which I love, and they are lasting beautifully, plus they’re big and luxurious. About 2 years later I found them on sale in Myer, they didn’t have any white so I called my hubby to see what colour I should buy. At the time we thought ‘neutral’.

Towels before dying

Neutral Towels

Based on the idea that if we did a bathroom it would most likely be neutral. So I bought them. About a month later, after a couple of uses they went like this

Streaky towels to dye

The colour went all streaky

Yech. I dont know why, I can’t figure it out. I thought about returning them but then I thought I’d left it to long, and maybe it was something I did to them? There was nothing else wrong with them except the streaking of the colour. Then last year we did that second bathroom. Guess what – not neutral! Grey, lots of lovely greys and whites.

Grey and White Bathroom

Grey and White

Sure my white towels look fabulous but you need two towel sets in the rotation. Otherwise when the white ones are in the wash, hubby just grabs any old towel. That, gasp, shock, horror, DONT MATCH! Ok I know there are worse things in life but who knew it could be so easily fixed.

Dana posted recently about dying fabric. I’ve thought about dying the towels for some time but I’ve never been gutsy enough. I was always worried that it would ruin my machine or be hard work or come out streaky or fade or something. But encouraged by a ‘dye your towels’ from Dana, I took the plunge. I’m so very very excited about how well it worked.

I had to do a few things a bit different since it wasn’t a handful of onesies and apparently you can’t buy RIT dye in Perth, I’m not sure about Australia but I couldn’t find RIT dye in Perth anywhere. So I just chose this Jaquard iDye from Spotlight. The rest was so easy you can do it while you have a cuppa!

Jacquard iDye, Salt, Coffee

Jacquard iDye, Salt, Coffee

I just dyed it straight in the laundry sink. There was no way it would all fit in one bucket and I wanted to dye it all together to make sure the colour was consistent.

fabric dying straight in the sink

fabric dying straight in the sink

The dye I bought has all the traditional methods listed, you could even put it in a front loader but I decided to ‘experiment’. I was a bit worried that Heat was an important part of the process. I didnt want to stick the towels in the dryer. I try really really hard not to use it and its such lovely weather in Perth it seems a crime. So I boiled one kettle of water. Poured this over the dye satchels then added hot water straight from the tap. Its amazing how the satchels just dissolve and the colour bursts out! I made sure all the dye was dissolved by sticking a gloved hand in and mixing, especially across the bottom as it seemed to stick a bit.

Its also really pretty how the colour seeps into the fabric.

submerging the fabric

submerging the fabric

As you can tell I’ve had a whole lot of fun.

Now a couple of people post about this ‘easy’ way of dying and no one mentions the salt/vinegar. People ask and no one mentions whether is gets put in or not. So I decided to put it in. I started to put it in first then thought better and tipped it in after I’d submerged the fabric. I figure for a couple of dollars of salt why not.

Adding the salt After adding the fabric

Adding the salt After adding the fabric

Then I gloved up and stirred it up. I was hoping the dying would get the streaks out too, but I wasn’t confident. I also wanted to make sure all that salt was dissolved. The towels only just fit in the sink (with room to ‘swim’) so I had to be careful of splashing because I’m pretty sure it would stain your grout and most other things if you didn’t wipe it up straight away. I have a couple of dye stains on my arms where the gloves didn’t reach and I got splashed. The rest I wiped as I went and the laundry is none the wiser.

I rinsed and wrung the towels the best I could but they are so big and heavy I wasn’t super successful, in the end I tipped them into a bucked and straight into the machine. I put it on a normal 40C wash cycle and added a scoop of Omo (washing powder). I could see some of the dye in the machine as it washed and there was some splatter on the rim when I took it out but I wiped it down and ran a rinse cycle (water only) and you can’t tell.

rinse cycle

rinse cycle

I then caved in and put them in the dryer. Again I’m worried heat might help set the colour or something, but I only put them in for about 20mins, felt guilty and took them out. They were wet but nice and hot (like an aeroplane hot towel!) I put them on the line and stood looking at them with glee for about 5 whole minutes. They are PERFECT. Streak free, luxuriously fluffy and a beautiful shade of grey, they even seem to shine a little!

DIY Dyed Grey Towels

DIY Dyed Grey Towels

I am a little ashamed about the level of excitement I have over this but it was just too fun, and it worked out so well and it was EASY! Easy towel dying! aren’t they ‘to dye for’?

Look how lovely they are in my bathroom, I like how the dark grey ads a bit of elegance or luxury, dont you think?

easy dyed grey towels

Grey Elegance

Now I’m about to do another bathroom, in our new project house, whats to bet I do something stupid and choose neutral colours.

Unlikely, I do love grey, at the moment.

Baked Lime Cheese Cake: gluten free of course

March 3, 2010

This is the whole post, bake it and you’ll know why, there are just no words…

Baked Lime Cheese Cake

Baked Lime Cheesecake, gluten free

Baked Lime Cheesecake

Base

125g butter melted, cooled

1 ¼ cup ground almonds (plus extra for dusting)

2/3 cup sugar

zest of one lime (optional)

Filling

900g cream cheese

1 ½ cups of sugar

3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (about half a juicy large lime)

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 180C, butter a 10inch springform pan and dust with some extra ground almonds. Don’t be tempted to skip this part, I think the almonds help the cheese cake have something to grip onto as it rises.

Make Base

Combine cooled melted butter, with sugar and almonds, press evenly into the base of spring form pan. Bake 10-12 minutes and cool completely.

Make Filling

Using an electric mixer and a large bowl (this is where a stand mixer really comes in handy) beat cream cheese and sugar on low for a couple of minutes. Add lime juice and beat until smooth. Add eggs slowly, beating well after each addition.

Pour filling over cooled base and bake for 60-70minutes. The cheese cake will become very golden brown by try not to let it burn. Cheese cake will still be a bit slightly wobbly in the middle but will set upon cooling.

Remove cheesecake from oven and put in refrigerator as soon as its cool enough, for at least 8 hours. Let cheesecake sit out of fridge for 10-15minutes then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, and use a spatula to lift gently off base. Cover and return to fridge, or you could just get eating!

gluten free baked cheesecake

get eating!