Tuesday, 16 June 2015

.Nani IRO Month - Waterfall Blouse.

Hello Nani IRO! If you haven't heard, June is Nani IRO month over at Miss Matatabi. Frances has invited some of her sewing friends to select a favourite fabric from the Nani IRO 2015 collection and of course I accepted that invitation!  
The fabric I choose for my project is a double gauze print called En Garden - So. I've got a pretty hefty Nani IRO stash but find it hard to actually cut into, so committing to participate in a celebration like this is good for me! 
My intentions were to use this fabric to make myself a pair of pyjama pants, but when the fabric arrived in the mail and I took a look at it in person I couldn't bring myself to use something so beautiful for a pair of PJs that no one would ever see. Instead, I decided to sew a new Waterfall Blouse that I knew would get worn a lot.
The watercolour floral print is stunning, and there are little birds throughout the design which are shimmery metallic light pink. So pretty. The quality of my photos just isn't doing the amazing fabric justice...I'm still waiting to get my computer and all the programs recovered and restored so can't edit them as I would like to. I'll come back and fix them up when I'm back on track though!
Make It Perfect, Waterfall Blouse pattern
Nani IRO, En Garden - So, double gauze

Straightgrain   ∆   noodlehead   ∆   Ute
A Little Goodness   ∆   SKIRT AS TOP   ∆   Cashmerette
Sew Little   ∆   imagine gnats   ∆   you & mie
To help you build your Nani IRO stash (trust me, it's a good stash to have!) Miss Matatabi and Naomi Ito (the genius behind Nani IRO) have put together a massive giveaway...click here to enter. It's pretty awesome!

Monday, 8 June 2015

.Spotty Skippy.

Did you know that Make It Perfect attended the last International Quilt Market in Minneapolis? Well, I wasn't there in person but my pattern distributors (Creative Abundance) were there showcasing my patterns along with a few other designers from Australia.

I sent over a whole heap of samples for display and it was a great excuse to sew up a few fresh ones too.
I have a cupboard full of Make It Perfect samples but sometimes I sneak the samples out of the cupboard and into my own wardrobe! I needed to make a new Skippy dress because nothing was sample-worthy and this is what was created...

I used an Art Gallery knit, and am so happy with the quality of this fabric. It's great that the bigger fabric manufacturers are spending more time creating fabrics that are suited to sewing clothing, the variety and types of fabrics are ever increasing giving us so many more options for sewing. 
I didn't use any contrasting fabrics for this dress, just the spots all the way through and I love the effect. I'm not sure where this dress will end up yet...it should be living in the samples cupboard so I don't have to sew up another one next time I need a sample but I can feel it making it's way towards my own wardrobe!
Make It Perfect, Skippy pattern
Art Gallery knit, Dotted Boulevard by Sara Lawson

Saturday, 6 June 2015

.All the things in May.

Something terrible happened in May.
A month ago the hard-drive on my computer failed. And I have never backed up my 55,000 + photos from 2008-2015, like EVER. I have everything I need for the backup sitting on my desk and for months Jaron has been reminding me to do it, but it was something that I just never got around to. And then everything was all gone! May was an annoying month. It took 4 weeks for the computer to be repaired and partial recovery of the files, but I am still missing about half of my photos, all of my purchased computer programs (like everything I use for writing patterns!) and much more. Photos are priceless and they can still be recovered, it's just going to cost an annoying amount of money but needs to be done. Lesson learned = back up regularly. (I think I'm the only person who needs this lesson, by the way!) 

Something new started in May.
Recently I have been getting lots of requests from you Make It Perfect sewers out there for a Facebook group. I'm a little anti-Facebook so didn't really get what all the fuss was about when it came to closed group. Usually I'll just keep an eye on my MIP page and check out posts if I am tagged or check my messages, but other than that I steer away from my newsfeed and anywhere else that will suck into my time. Long story short, I did a bit of asking around and it turns out these topic-exclusive Facebook groups are actually pretty cool, so I started one! 
If you are as naive about it all as I was, basically the Make It Perfect Sharing Group is a place where you can go to discuss anything related to MIP patterns...you might have a question about how to sew something or want to share a tip or trick or even show off photos of your MIP creations (my favourite part!) The group has been running for a week now and there are already some amazing photos shared and interesting questions and feedback to read up on. We would love to have you join our group so head on over and request a membership and get ready to be inspired!

Something inspirational happened in May.
For the month of May, I participated in my first Me Made May challenge (#mmmay15 on Instagram). I have been a spectator of this challenge in previous but this is the first time I have committed to taking part in it myself. For MMM I challenged myself to wear a piece of handmade clothing everyday and document the outfit with a photograph (documented on my Instagram account). I also challenged myself to wear something different everyday...which meant that I had to dig deep in the wardrobe and revisit a few items that I don't wear that often. While I loved the challenge, taking a photo every day was pretty tiring! By the end of the month, I had the self-timer on my iPhone sitting on the ironing board all sorted out because my family members were sick of me getting them to take photos each day!
What I learned from the challenge is that I have a pretty versatile handmade wardrobe. I think the only thing I am really lacking are some jeans and cardigans so will make sure I tackle those in 2015. Other than that though, I feel like I have a good mix of handmade clothes...lots of comfy, everyday wearables as well as a few dressier, prettier pieces. If you missed it on Instagram or Facebook, here is a review of everything I wore for the month...
And that's it for May! 

Friday, 24 April 2015

.Baby Shower blankets.

This year we have had two babies join our family already. They both live far away from us so I haven't even met them yet, but I did make them both a Baby Shower blanket to snuggle in as they grow.
These blankets are one of my favourite things to make for babies. I love choosing a special feature fabric and the minkee backing is so soft and cuddly (and super fluffy and messy to cut and sew with!)

This one was made for baby Sebastian. I think the toucans are cool and the bright colours and geometric shapes don't look too "little babyish". And of course, you can't go wrong with Lizzy House's pearl bracelets fabric for borders!

And this one for baby Odette:
I've had this Ikea fabric for years so it was nice to finally put it to use. It is bright and fun and a little bit quirky. Both blankets are backed in soft, snuggly, smooth white minkee which feels lovely against baby's skin.
Make It Perfect, Baby Shower creative card
Dan Stiles, Safari Soiree, Toucan Tango
Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelets in Verbena
Ikea, Barnslig animal print
Aneela Hoey, Sherbet Pips, Play Dot in Bubblegum

Monday, 20 April 2015

.House Tour { Part 3. Bathrooms & Laundry}.

Time for another house tour post! If you missed them, the first two posts are here and here.

So, I thought I'd show you around the wet areas today - bathrooms & laundry.

In the first house we built, I found choosing tiles to be such a nightmare. We went tile shopping every Saturday for 6 weeks until we finally settled on something! This time around though, we knew exactly what we wanted and our tile shopping lasted less than 1 hour!
This is our ensuite. For the tiles, we choose a matte-finish grey rectangle tile and used that one tile everywhere - floors and walls right up to the ceiling (that's why our tile shopping was so fast!)
We wanted to keep the bathrooms uncluttered, simple and open and using a single tile helped to achieve that. I always thought that showers like ours in the ensuite with a single panel of glass and no door would be cold and draughty. Now that I have been using the shower for awhile I am completely sold though. I don't find it cold at all and cleaning the shower is a breeze. After the tiles are dry, I vacuum the whole bathroom (even into the shower) then mop the entire floor. Cleaning the tiles and shower area is really easy because there aren't any grooves or edges on the shower door or surrounding frame, so it is really just a quick wipe down and scrubbing in the grout if needed. Then the glass is just like cleaning a big window. Bathroom cleaning is one of my least favourite jobs but this shower makes it a little bit better!
Another thing I really like about having matte tiles in the bathrooms are that they dry super fast. An hour or two after having a shower the tiles are completely dry in the bathroom - including the ones in the shower. The great thing about this is that it means that water isn't sitting on the tiles, in the grout and the corners of the shower for as long and reduces the amount of grime and scummy buildup in the shower. I have been pretty slack at cleaning the showers in this house for that reason - they hardly ever get dirty or grimy because the water dries so fast. Big win!!!
 The kid's bathroom is pretty similar to the ensuite. We used the same vanity, basins, taps and shower heads. This bathroom has an enclosed shower with a door though (not as fun to clean! In hindsight, I probably would have done the same shower as in the ensuite) and the addition of a big bath. The kids love it.
In our old house we had a heated towel rail in the bathroom and got them again for this house. It is so nice to have warm, dry towels in the middle of winter. Some days it can be so cold and dull that the towels don't even dry between showers and there is nothing worse than trying to dry yourself with a cold, damp towel after the shower! It's a little luxury that we love now!

And lastly, this is the laundry. We kept things all white in the laundry to help give a sense of cleanliness...because the reality is that my laundry NEVER looks like this! There is plenty of colour and texture introduced in baskets and piles of washing waiting to be washed, folded and ironed!

Because the laundry is an internal room with no windows to the outside, we decided to put a big skylight in the roof. It makes such a difference to an internal room to have a shaft of light and sunshine flowing into the room.
The laundry has cupboards galore - the top ones are hardly even filled up yet. But it is such a great feeling knowing that there is plenty of room to store everything in the house. The tall cupboard on the right is great for keeping mops, brooms, etc.

You can see the window to the left of the room which looks into the garage too. We did that to let in a bit more light and open up the room some more. 

The floor in the laundry is polished concrete. Again, a really easy flooring to keep clean.
It's taken me 3 months to get this far in the house tour so by the time we have been in here for a year maybe I will be finished!!! Stay tuned!

Monday, 6 April 2015

.Lane Raglan.

I'm still in a sewing slump. I'm finding it hard to settle into my new sewing area and have been working on a few new patterns, but not feeling like I am making great progress with any of them. In past experience, the best thing to do when I'm not feeling enthused by any of my sewing projects is to let them go for a little while and get stuck into something "just for fun" - so I did just that! 

Our weather has really started to turn, we are still getting some warm days but there is a chill in the air that is hinting towards Winter and for some reason, cold weather sewing is my favourite. I like making snuggly clothes that will keep me (or the kids) warm and cosy and prefer buying winter-weight fabric over lightweight.

So I flicked through my pile of unsewn sewing patterns (yes, I have a big collection of patterns I have never used too!) and decided to give the Lane Raglan by Hey Juen a turn. I remember seeing a few Raglans sewn by Kelly of Cut Cut Sew (here, here, here) in the past and they are exactly what I feel like wearing at the moment. Comfortable, casual and perfect to wear day after day.
I would usually sew a size small in a top like this, but I didn't want my raglan to be a fitted tee, more like a slouchy sweater, so I cut out a medium instead. Perfect fit for the look I was after. This is such a versatile pattern and really well written. With just a few little changes you can achieve a different look every time you sew it. By sizing up or down you can get a more snug or loose fit. And the type of knit fabric you use changes the look completely too.
I wanted my raglan to be like a jumper - soft, loose and baggy and used a hoarded french terry knit I bought awhile ago from Ixat. It is the best fabric - a light marle grey with red/blue/purple specks all over it. It isn't too thick and is really soft and squishy and just lovely to wear. I purchased 2 yards so still have plenty left over but wish I had bought more now because I will use it for everything! I also bought the same fabric but with a black background and multi-coloured specks that I'm hanging out to use too now.
I know this jumper is really going to get a workout this Winter - I have already worn it more days than not since I made it and finally managed to wash it over the weekend ready to wear again and again and again! And yes, I've since made another raglan and have been wearing that one on the other days!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

.Favourite Children's Books:: Herve Tullet.

Over the last few years we have unintentionally started an Easter tradition of giving the kids a special new book with their Easter eggs. I don't think I set out to make it a tradition, but I love new books and adding to our collection so Easter seemed like the perfect excuse to give the kids a new book each.
I pretty much always buy online so sometimes it can be a bit tricky to know exactly what a book is going to be like without actually flicking through it first. This year, when I was researching new books to buy for the kids I realised how much I rely on the recommendations of others when it comes to buying online and thought that it might be helpful to other researchers out there if I shared some of my favourite picture books too. Now, I'm a bit of a a sporadic blogger at the moment so I'm not promising too much, but here's the first installment in my Favourite Children's Books series...and it may very well be my last too if I don't ever get around to writing another one!
The books I want to share with you today are by a French author, Herve Tullet and they are awesome. The first book I bought by Herve Tullet was actually at a bookshop (rare for me!) when we were holidaying in New Zealand last year. Herve Tullet takes interactive picture books to a whole new level - much more than a lift-the-flap, touch-and-feel or pop-up variety, Press Here is a super clever interactive picture book where the children are specific directions to follow, and the book responds with the turn of a page.
My kids haven't tired of this book and it has been read over and over again for the last year. From the first page the children are given specific directions like "Press the yellow dot and turn the page" and "clap your hands twice" - every time a page is turned, the dots change position, colour and size. Sometimes the lights are turned out and other times dots grow and grow and grow. It really is an amazing book where the kids feel in control and a little bit magical.

I also love that this book helps young children with fine motor skills, counting, learning directions (left, right, up, down) and they also learn how to follow instructions in anticipation of what will happen when the page is turned. It's such a great concept and the story never gets old.

After the success of "Press Here" I went on a hunt for other books by Herve Tullet. The next book we bought was "The Book With A Hole."

This book is huge and not so much a story to follow, but a platform for imaginative story telling, art adventures and play.

On each page, the children are given a simple black and white picture or image created around the hole in the book and are often asked a question - did the lady in the picture below eat too much? 
What is the cat watching on TV? In response, children can use their imagination and carry the book around place images in the hole or draw pictures to create a scene which they can then insert in the hole. My kids seem most content popping their own heads in the hole! This is a really long book, heaps of pages, prompts and images to keep you going for ages and no two answers will ever be the same.
"Mix It Up" is another book similar to "Press Here" which focuses on colours - what do different colours make when they are mixed together?
 Sometimes the children are asked to take an imaginary dab of paint from one colour and rub it on another...
Other times they shut the pages of the book together and squish colours together, when the page is turned the mixed colour appears - magic again! Like "Press Here", "Mix It Up" is read over and over again and is great for learning colours and learning what colours are made when mixed together.
 "The Game Of Finger Worms" is another book with a hole, this book is a board book so suited to babies and toddlers and you are instructed to draw a little face on the tip of your finger before playing.
The text is very simple, the highlight is the surprise of popping your finger through the hole and wriggling it around. It always creates laughter with the little ones and they like to poke their fingers through the holes too.

 And the final Herve Tullet book in our collection is "The Game Of Let's Go!" Similar to "The Game Of Finger Worms," this is another board book aimed at small children. To be honest, we haven't really got into this book like we have the others but if you have a very imaginative child (or adult) who is into telling stories in your family, then I can see how it would be a lot of fun.

The first page of this book gives instructions but the rest of the book is without words. Instead, on each page there are raised green pathways to follow (they are kind of velvety-feeling) and you are supposed to trace the lines with your finger whilst closing your eyes and coming up with a story to match along the way. It definitley has potential, but you have to be in the right kind of mood and we haven't really latched onto this book yet.

I think you can tell we are huge Herve Tullet fans around here, and if you are looking for a new, special picture book for some littlies in your life, then I highly recommend his collections!

(I wrote this post because I wanted to - nothing sponsored and no one gave me anything, I just think this guy is pretty awesome!)
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