Friday, June 29, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

After my Rip Van Winkle experience last Friday where I fell asleep instead of going to the Post office to pick up a VIP (very important parcel ) I finally got there Monday after spending a torturous weekend having something so excitingly close but inaccessible. I didn't take any chances on Monday. I went before work instead. I thought it unlikely I'd accidentally fall asleep at 9 am. 

     And my parcel was there !Oh Happy Day! 

And when I opened the box this is what was inside. 

This is what I've been using for the last 5 years. It makes and receives calls and occasionally lets you send a text. Except that the buttons are so small and close together that if you have fat little fingers (like me ) your text often ended up reading like it was sent in a language other than English . Example: "I will meet you at the shops"often looked like  "I woll mert yot at tge shpps" . I rarely texted because it was a complete waste of time. Nobody knew what I was trying to say anyway. 

This week I joined the legions of people who have a phone that wasn't made when tin cans and string were all the rage for communication. And since I've  already become proficient in swiping and poking screens because of my Ipad I didn't have to go and get a degree in technology before I made my first call. And when someone calls me birds chirp. So freaking cute ! 

I have the internet on there and everything! In fact I have lots of everythings on there I have no idea how to use. 

But I'm going to have fun playing with it all. Assuming my smart phone isn't evil and isn't plotting to take over the world the second I touch the "start countdown sequence" button. 

So this little pile of technology has been my favourite thing this week. What about you? Any favourites to share? 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bella Parade - My First Ever Tutorial !

I'm sharing a tutorial with you today using Bella Solids that will be perfect for the mini chefs in your life. And best of all, you can knock it up in an afternoon.  

I found out that writing a tutorial takes way longer than the average blog post if you want it to make any sense. And I'm still not sure I nailed that part. So,  if you find a mistake or something isn't clear please email me and I'll do my best to help. I took approximately 293,856 photos for this post and still managed to miss things out. 

I'm going to be showing you how to make a super simple kids apron using Moda Bella Solids Platinum, Boysenberry, Strawberry and Berrylicious. If you want some more ideas on other fabrics to match up with these colours you can have a look at my post here .

To make this apron you will  need: 
Bella Solids Fabrics in 4 of your favourite colours cut as follows:
1 piece cut 21inches x 13 inches for the largest part of the apron body 
2 pieces from two of the other colours cut 21 inches x 6 inches for the top and bottom of the apron 
3 pieces from the last Bella Solid cut 20 inches x 3.5 inches for the neck strap and ties 
Embellishments like ric rac or ribbon
1  piece of elastic an inch wide x 13 inches 
I piece of coordinating fabric for the ruffle on the bottom if the apron . I cut mine 4 inches by 40 inches. 
Paper and a marker 
Coordinating Thread for sewing 

This apron is sized to fit an average 2- 4 year old child but it would be easily adjustable for an older child. 

If you're anything like me the first thing you're going to have to do is advise your hapless long suffering husband that you're going to be doing your first ever tutorial today and that you've left it late so you'll be under extra pressure . (I was actually testing to make sure this could be done in an afternoon ) Hapless husband will make himself scarce by manufacturing an errand that requires several hours of shopping somewhere so he doesn't have to see your tears of frustration and hear bad swear words emanating from the sewing room should things go bad. You are ready to begin.

I used an existing apron I bought for three bucks to make this pattern but it's easy enough to make your own. I'll give you the measurements below. 

If you're making your pattern from an existing apron , lay it out on paper and smooth it down. Then trace around it adding a quarter to a  half an inch all round for a generous seam allowance.

Cut out your paper pattern

If you're making this without the aid of a paper pattern , you can use the following measurements. 

Lay your fabrics for the body of the apron out and make sure you like the way they look and then sew the three pieces wrong sides together with a quarter inch seam allowance. 

Press the seams open (I think it's time I bought an new ironing board embarrassing! )

Voila! (That's the only French word I know besides baguette  - so the rest of this post will be in English only )  You should have a piece of fabric that looks like this. 

At this point you can add your embellishments if you want. I started adding ric rac like a crazy lady.

Sew it down. You want to get it as close to the centre as possible all the way along. 

Then lay your paper pattern down on top of your fabric and cut round the paper pattern template. 

You can pin it if you want. I don't, because I like to live dangerously. I use my plastic ruler and rotary cutter to cut the straight edges and then free hand the curves.

Take the piece you cut for your ruffle and fold one long edge over 1/4 of an inch  all the way along the length and press it down with an iron . Then fold it over again and press so you have a nice edge. This is going to be the hem of your apron.

Then sew as close to the edge as you can on the wrong side.

If you're one of the lucky people and have a gathering foot now would be the time to put that on your machine. For the rest of us, set your machine to the largest stitch you have and sew all the wall down the other long side of the piece you just hemmed, making sure you leave a decent size tail with your thread at either end. 

At this point I noticed my tension was completely out of whack but for this step it doesn't really matter. 

Tie off one end where you just did the big stitching. A knot works well and then take the other end and gently pull it to gather the fabric. 

Keep gathering until it measures about 20 inches. Tie off the end in a secure knot. 

Then pin your ruffle to the bottom of the apron as shown in the following picture. When it comes to ruffles I am a classic over pinner !. 

Sew just under the gathering line or it will show when you flip your ruffle right side up...

I double sew this line for extra strength. You can overlock the edges of the ruffle if you wish . It gives a cleaner finish. Turn it over so you can see the front.

Press the front so it lays flat. It'll help with the next step. 

Top sew just above where the ruffle meets the fabric. This will anchor the ruffle in place, and make the seam sit nice and flat on the back. 

Sew on some more ric rac just above the ruffle (which will hide that stitching you just did!)

Now is a good time to square up your apron bottom if you have any excess ruffle or ric rac

Now I;d suggest you use a tiny overlocking stitch to go all the way round the raw edges of your apron. 

Starting at the top side of the apron fold the edges in about 1/4 of an inch on both sides and press.

And then sew them both down 

Take your ties and neck pieces and fold them in half lengthways wrong sides together and press them (so you end up having 3 pieces measuring 20 inches by 1.75 inches) Sew two of these shut along one end and all the way up the long side and sew the other one up the long side only. Turn them right side out of press flat.  The two with one open end will become your ties and the one that has both ends open is going to be what serves as the neck tie.

Take your neck tie pieces and your elastic and thread the elastic through from one end to the other . I use pins to keep it from disappearing inside the tube .

Then sew straight across each end a few times making sure you catch the elastic to hold it in place. Cut away any excess on the  end. 

And you'll end up with something that looks like this 

This is where things can get a little bit tricky because I'm sure I break all the rules when it comes to sewing. I'm about to show you how I attach the ties the "Shay" way. 

Lay your apron out wrong side up and turn your fabric over to make a 1/4 inch hem. Press and place the tie (with the open end )  in under the 1/4 inch seam you just pressed.  (I usually place mine about an inch under the curve) 

 Then flip the tie back on itself over the top of the seam like in the picture below. 

Then we're going to sew two lines of stitching right down each of those sides on the seam. One as close as you can get to the edge of the apron and one as close as you can get to the edge of the 1/4 inch seam you just pressed in. And yes - you're going to sew down over the tie so it gets held nice and firmly in place. (I totally forgot to take pictures of this part so I hope it makes sense. ) 

Then we're going to do the same thing with the neck tie.

Clip your stray threads and stand back to admire your awesomeness!

If you're stopping by from Bella Parade at 13 Woodhouse Road- Welcome. Pull up a chair and have a snoop around while you're here!

I want to say that until I wrote this tutorial (which took at least twice as long as it did to actually make the apron)  I took pattern and tutorial writers completely for granted. So thank you to all the people out there who willingly share their talent and expertise with the rest of us. Especially those who do it for free. You have my never ending admiration and thanks. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

Shoulda , Woulda , Coulda. Are there any more depressing words in the English language?

My plan for this week was to bring you a Favourite Things Friday showing something I've been excited about for the whole week . Something I was having couriered to the post office today and that I was going to pick up this afternoon.

It was going to be in a box just like this....

But I sat down at 1.00pm on the lounge for a little break from my busy day and then I laid down for just a little bit while I checked Facebook , and when I woke up (yes I fell asleep- no surprises there) it was 5.04 pm and too late to go to the Post Office so now I'm going to have to wait till Monday. 

So technically since I'm not in possession yet of what would have been my favourite thing for this week, I've had to choose another favourite, which wasn't all that hard because I've spent most of the week , when I wasn't being super excited about what would have been my first favourite, playing with something that has now become my actual favourite, and the subject of this post. Did that make sense? Is everyone with me?  Are you sitting down ? I have big news. 

This week I bought an airplane.

 In fact I bought 9 of them. 

And then I splashed out and bought 9 airports too. 

And in between holding down my other job I've been flying people around the country and delivering all sorts of cargo. This week I even transported a mummy and some secret government documents. 

Damn Miss P for mentioning Pocket Planes this week when she was over for dinner. I've become a bit obsessed with it. Like I need another time sucker?

Now if you'll excuse me I have to fly to Port Moresby to deliver some donuts...while I pout a little bit more about not getting to the post office in time.. 

If you've become obsessed by anything this week or just want to share something you love, link up and show it off. I'd love to see it. It'll keep me off Pocket Planes for a while too so you'd kind of be doing me a favour.