Monday, 10 March 2014

Craft project: ea alis propriis volat

Normally I follow craft patterns as I feel I lack imagination to design my own work. But this week I decided to design something from scratch. If I didn't like the end product then I would just hide it in a cupboard but I actually think I did ok for my first attempt so I am going to share it.

I used my favourite Latin quote "ea alis propriis volat" which translated means "She Flies With Her Own Wings" or "the feminine one flies with her own wings". From what I can tell the quote can be used without the 'ea' but the 'ea' gives a stronger emphasis that it is about a female. I think this quote really describes me well. As a strong independent, single mum I think I really fly with my own wings.

The font for the script came from googling script fonts and discovering a website for designing tattoos. You put in your words, choose a font and then can print it off. This was great for then tracing the font design onto the fabric using a water soluble pen. The website I used was called

 All the writing and thread work were done with 2 strands of thread using backstitch. With the stem of the flower and the body of the butterfly I did rows of back stitch beside each other.  I used a fabric scrap for the butterfly and the flowers were crochet flowers I bought off Ebay ages ago. If I didn't have those to use up, then I would have made appliqued flowers instead.
I am happy with my first attempt and it does match in with my bedroom. Though I did straighten the frame up a little after I took the photo.

Well do you think it turned out ok? How did your first attempts at designing a project go?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Furniture renovation project - small outdoor setting.

I finished another project. This was a cheap outdoor setting I bought to sit on when supervising the kids in the pool. The boys like to go swimming  a lot. Often I join them but some days the water is a bit too cold for me, so then I watch from the side lines.
I painted the setting in a colour called Tsunami. It is a blueish green or a greenish blue. It looks blue in the photos but it does have a green tinge.

They look far more inviting now. Though with a couple of cyclones lurking around and heavy rain expected, I'm not sure when I will get to enjoy them next. I would like to add some more colour into the pool area. I am thinking of some pink and/or yellow pots filled with tropical plants. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Furniture renovation project - desk

I bought this old desk at auction a long time ago. It needed a bit of work but it was very solid and sturdy so worth the money. It sat out in the carport for a long time and when ever the youngest man walked past he would peel off strips of the veneer. It went from a small patch fix to requiring all the veneer to be removed. 

 It eventually got moved to the shed to join all the other projects and mess. After a while I got sick of all the space it was taking up so I started working on it. I spent about 4 hours stripping off the veneer using a paint scrapper. Then I sanded the traces of glue.
 I had to hammer a few nails back into the timber.
 After a couple of coats of undercoat, I painted it white and green.

The final coat of white was done late one afternoon and unfortunately I didn't check the weather forecast. The wet season decided to finally arrive later that night. Three solid weeks of rain really affected the paint drying. I left the draws out for about a week and I thought they were dry and safe to put back in. Big mistake. In our hot and humid weather the draws stuck. Eventually I was able to pry them open but I have learnt a lesson there.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Craft - Map of Australia

On Australia Day I was reflecting that I haven't done an Australian themed craft for a long time.  Many years ago I saw a lovely cross stitch pattern of 'Advance Australia Fair' that I was determined to do in the future. But now we are in the future my eyesight and my patience isn't as good as it once was. Big projects like that will never get finished so I set out to find a small project that was full of colour and quick.

I couldn't find anything suitable so I made this up as I went.  I got out my old school Atlas and photocopied a suitable map. I had to play around with the enlargement/shrinkage buttons to get it to the right size for my hoop. I probably should have shrunk it down a little further but it still looks ok.

 As I was doing this at night, my eyesight would have struggled to trace the image in the traditional manner. Normally you would place the fabric on top of the pattern and trace the shape. But as I was using a photocopy anyway, I just cut cut the template and placed it on top of the fabric and traced the outline with a water soluble fabric marker.
 When I was finished with the outer outline, I just cut up the map and traced the borders of each state.
I have a heaps of DMC threads from when I would cross stitch. I have them all sorted into numerical order in various craft boxes. I also have one box that holds random unknown threads or small leftovers from old projects. I just grabbed out several colours I like from that box. I used 2 threads as I was working on this project. I started with QLD and NT and did shorter rows. I am unhappy with how this looked so for the rest of the states I did one continuous line across from border to border.
Now somehow while I was working on the project I must have pulled the fabric in the frame and distorted the lines. Some of the borders then ended up wonky when I started to embroider.  Hopefully no one notices.

After I finished I trimmed the extra fabric at the back and it was done. I think I might do a kangaroo next or maybe some of our bright colourful bird life. If you have any ideas or seen any easy patterns then please let me know.

Family times - Special lunches for my boys

There are some days in life that we all need a special lunch. I try very hard to make special treats for my boys though I don't know if they notice my efforts. This Valentine's Day I wanted to make sure all 4 boys had a special lunch treat to take to school.

For many years my boys had very limited diets due to their autism. One of my boys would only eat white food and he had the same things for lunch for years. Slowly over time, each child is trying new food. Recently they tried prawns and two of the boys are now hooked. 

I can never be lonely while peeling prawns as I suddenly have extra shadows putting their hands out. I did manage to peel these prawns in secret and wrap them in Cling Wrap. I then popped them in a cupcake patty and wrapped them in Cling Wrap again with a little bow. I heard no complaints about these additions in the lunchbox.  I should point out that there are fridges in each classroom that the boys can put their lunchboxes in. I couldn't imagine sending prawns if they were to sit in a school bag for several hours.

Then I went crazy with a biscuit cutter. I had a little heart shaped cutter and cut up various cold meats and cheeses. We don't usually eat processed meats but this was a special treat and I was hoping the youngest child might show an interest in them. Unfortunately he was more interested in saying "hearts, hearts, hearts" rather than eating them.

I made a massive batch of heart shaped biscuits. There is something very special about the smell of home baking and as a result there was no chance I could make these in secret. The boys kept popping their heads into the kitchen to claim some of these as they came out of the oven.
 Here are some of the finished lunchboxes that the boys took to school.

My attempts will never look as fancy as the photos that you find on Pinterest. Seriously how many hours must it take to create some of those masterpieces. I wish I had that much spare time. And even if I did, I think I would prefer to channel my time into making special meals we can share together. Because the one problem with sending them to school with special treats is that I never get to see the looks on their faces when they open their lunch boxes.

I am now thinking about making some 'green' treats for Saint Patrick's day lunches. I will have to hunt down some natural green food dye and start planning in secret.  I have a friend who also likes to make special school lunches for her boys. We often share photos and ideas so I'm putting out the 'Saint Patrick's Day' lunch challenge to her. Will she accept the challenge? We will have to wait and see.

Edit - My friend is all in for the Saint Patrick's Day lunch challenge. She has declared war. Stay tuned for photos in a future post.