Tuesday, 25 December 2012

New nativity!!

I've wanted for a very long time to make an advent calendar for the run up to Christmas, but was always reluctant to start because i could never decide on what type to make!
This year I finally bit the bullet and went for the nativity and pockets design!
Each day has a pocket with a sweet and a character inside.
Look at them all poking out! lol!  
 So each day you have to add another character to populate the nativity scene.  I made the little charcters from felt and put poppers on the labelled spaces in the stable...because it wouldn't be mine if i couldn't be in complete control! lol!
I layered on the numbers and freehand embroidered the numbers, before cutting away the red fabric to make the shapes. 
And of course I made Mary and Joseph match! Lol!

blouse for the babysitter

So my fabulous mamma is now baby-sitter in chief down at grandma's nursery and is working so heard that she's wearing out her favourite outfits!  She gave me one such pathetic article which had actually got holes in it, but she was still wearing it, it was so comfortable!  So, like a phoenix from the flames I chopped it up and used the pattern to make a brand new one of the same size and shape.  I even used the interfacing from the old blouse in the new one, just to pass on a little of the soul of the shirt she loved so much!! Lol!!
Happy Christmas Mamma!

mmmm..mince pies!

So these posts are waaaay late...my apologies.  I can'y get blogger to work properly for me since they "modernised" everything...it's a nightmare to upload anything, and then the pics disappear...and it's about then that I give up and go and play with Rocco instead.

But i've decided in view of the fact that I'm now running around after the bambino that I'm going to downsize to 5 posts per month with the new year.  I'll still be crafting away. but I'll be doing other stuff too, so 5 crafts per month seems more doable, still keeping it fun.  It doesn't help that a large proportion of the stuff I make never makes it onto the blog because i am hopeless at remembering to take photos of it!!!

So yeah...it was christmas, and christmas means mince pies!  Millions of them!  This year meant 6 batches!!!  Eeeek! When you see the amount of butter that goes into make the all-butter-pastry it makes me cringe to think how many i've eaten!!
I always use different shapes on the top, to let me know which batch they are from when i put them in the freezer.  But of course i only took photos of one batch!!  I never learn.
So yeah, Happy Christmas and I hope you had a great one!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Squash substitute

So very unfortunately, we had to have the Halloween party a couple of days after Halloween this year...so what you say...well it seems that there is not a pumpkin to be found after 12 midnight on the 31 October....obviously they all turn into something else.  

So basically i was panicking and had to come up with a compromise!  It's actually not such a good compromise as you might think....butternut squash is ROCK SOLID and extremely hard to carve, I was sure I was going to lose a finger or two.  
 But at least the "pumpkin" brownies were able to be made...and they actually tasted no different!  YUM as always.  And it looks scary enough, if perhaps a little rigid.  It is really hard to carve curves into solid marble...or indeed butternut squash.

Carved Capsicums?

Sorry about the awful title!
So I had a bit of an issue with the decorations as you'll see in the next post, and had to resort to using odd vegetables as my decorations!! I didn't get great pics of these, so i apologise but the little orange peppers actually looked really cool as mini pumpkins!!
I wish i'd got a photo with their hats on!!
They were the perfect size for tealights too!!  Might even do these next year!

Halloween Cupcakes

So i didn't think that orange and black cake would look particularly appetising so I decided to stick to colouring the icing for the Halloween party cupcakes. SuperD had recently bought me a fab pressie of some icing cutters in the shape of little flowers etc so I got a chance to use them!  
I always think the modern cupcakes are a little heavy on the icing, making them too sweet...but that could just be me....anyway, i decided to stick with just the flowers rather than placing them on buttercream or icing or anything, and they were perfectly balanced - in my opinion anyway!

Toffee Cake Pops

So this was a new thing, Toffee Cake Pops, as an alternative to Toffee Apples......because, who really wants to eat an apple at a party???   Like...Come on!! The recipe I got from the website Home of Fabulous Cakes, the woman whose company made the royal wedding cake this year.  They're lovely....but, piece of advice - perhaps don't make them if you'll be in the vicinity of any diabetics...THEY ARE SWEEEEEEEEEET!!  (shudder from the sugar-high...or "shiver-high" as we call it in Ireland)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Get your 80s on!

So i'm loving the italian films from the 70s and 80s at the minute, we watch a new one every night over dinner and a glass of wine... the style is fabulous!  One of my favourite actors is Jerry Cala', for the awkward situations that he gets himself into and his hilarious catchphrases.  Reminded me of a while ago when i made one of his catchphrases into a tshirt for my gorgeous nephew...so i decided Rocket needed one too!
It translates roughly as "cool, double cool, cool with bows on!" - umm...it loses something in the translation i think...lol!!

Catherine wheel cookies

So i has to rustle up some new-ish Halloween goodies for the party, you know something that i hadn't made before...so this might be stretching it but i went for Catherine Wheel Cookies....ok so theyre not very firework-y looking....but they're Halloween coloured!!!
 Made with a basic butter shortbread recipe.  

6oz plain flour
4oz butter
2oz sugar
15mins @180 deg C

Split dough in two, add orange to one (or red and yellow, which is what i did) and black colouring to the other.  Then roll out into rectangle shape and lay own on the other...then roll up into a sausage and slice to form your cookies!

Love it Loud!

So I think Rocket really must be a fan of italian rap music, the reason being that he lives by the motto of one particular song ....so in the spirit of Articolo 31...
...i give you piu' volume!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Danny the Scamp

So Rocco-the-Rascal wouldn't be complete without his partner in crime and mischief, his "big" cousin Danny-the-Scamp (as his mamma poog calls him).  This time with his neater blonde hair but with equally uncontrollable arms and legs, ready to shoot out and grab anything within a 5 metre radius.  I made them into fridge magnets for Grandma's fridge so she doesn't miss them too much at the weekends when they're not with her...ahem...fat chance of that!!!

Rocco the Rascal

So with all the little felt characters i've been making in hospital, it only recently occurred to me to make a personalised variety.  Complete with spiky blonde hair and crazy moving arms and legs, i give you Rocco-the-rascal , as his zia poog calls him!

baby braces??

No, they're not in fact!!  They are more strings for the dummy/pacifier/soother/life-saver.  Rocco likes to suck and chew them so much that I need to keep replacing them, and replacing the poppers...how does he manage to break them every time??  He has no teeth yet??!!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Rainbow vestments!

At the same time as the new muslins, i dyed some vests....as before, the colours washed up very bright and girly, so they're not going to be able to be used for my boy!!  I'll have to just find a baby girl to give them to...one that like tie-dye of course!  I have to say though...i love the random-ness of the pattern and the coverage...now if only i'd any more masculine dye colours left.....

Colourful Calendar

So with all the appointments and visits that i've been having for the baby, i've needed to start a week planner on my magnetic notice-board.   So just to brighten it up a bit, i made magnetic days of the week and dates. 
They are just stamped on fabric with fabric paint and then stretched around a cardboard template with a little bit of padding.  Made in the same way as the previous magnets.  
All i need to do is switch the dates each week and mark in the appointments in wipe-able marker below them...easy!

Monday, 30 July 2012

How many arms?

So i have to admit that i've always enjoyed changing the baby, but it's getting steadily more difficult the older he gets.  He can now roll over and needs to be pinned down or he'll be away across the carpet with no nappy on...eeek!! danger!!  But one of the most difficult things is trying to change his clothes!  He is quite literally ALL arms and legs.  No sooner have i got one foot through or one hand through and there's another one pushing through the same hole, or the other side is out and flailing in the air...aaahh!!
So the motif i chose for this vest is particularly suitable for him!!  The vests were dyed as usual...it's a little hard to see but i used blue and green dyes and they made a lovely variegated effect. 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Muslin mistake!

So i needed another set of muslins (it's teething time!) and i wanted to do rainbow spiral tie-dye.  It's pretty easy...it's just a matter of laying out the material and then sticking a paintbrush on pencil or something in the middle and winding to make a little coiled pancake.  Then secure with elastic bands (i used thread).  Then it's just a matter of applying each dye to a quarter of the pancake.   

Easy peasy right?  See those gorgeous rainbows below?...I learned something painful with this craft...dont try to keep already-made-up cold water dye, it's not stable and it doesn't keep.  These beautiful rainbows below washed away to a dingy grey - imagine my disappointment when i opened the washing machine to pull them out!!!
So i was so angry that there was nothing to do but repeat the whole process the next night with the dingy grey muslins and some newly-made-up dye.  Only problem was, I didn't have any blue left...only a pale purple.  I was thinking is purple too girly for a boy??....well i needn't have worried, it didn't stay purple.....the red washed out to cerise pink (my fault, i didn't make it strong enough) and the purple washed out to pale pink.......talk about girly???  Needless to say, i refuse to waste them and will be using them for my boy just the same! lol!

Nikolai Nutcracker

So i had always wanted to make a nutcracker (i love them in case you hadn't noticed) out of fabric and thought that it should be really easy to use the paper piecing method for hand sewing.  So i made a paper version first and then cut it up to make a pattern.  
Isn't he hilarious?  He looks a bit sad though..or maybe nervous!  It's the down-turned eyes i think.  (i actually have only just noticed that i haven't given him a nose!! ooops!!) His hat is also a little askew at the top.  I have since put a plastic disk cut of acetate sheet in there to make it nice and flat.  
Attaching the hair and beard were my least favourite thing...they needed to be trimmed so there was fluff EVERYWHERE!!
I did some freemotion embroidery on the jacket and boots just to add detail.  
I also make the belt tight so it would give him a waist...but everytime i let go....he breathes out, sticks out his belly and it goes back to this!!! 
I'm not 100% happy with him...i think he'd be cuter if he was shorter and fatter...but he's good for a first go.  If you fancy making one too you can find the pattern here.  

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Baby's 1st Board Book

Board books are cool and i wanted to make sure that Rocchino gets to read some of them in italian too.  After a quick search online i decided that the prices were prohibitive, not to mention the postage, so i thought i'd use the opportunity to my craft advantage.
I drew some dodgy cartoons of our family onto pieces of mountboard, the stuff picture-framers would use...i've since decided that a thick card would have done...the mountboard is lovely and thick but doesn't fold without breaking so i had to reinforce all the folds with tape and glue.  Anyway, i coloured the cartoons with pencils for a soft colour look and then covered the pages in adhesive cellophane to protect them.  

Now cue very expressive voice...
My name is Rocco...here I am!
This is my daddy...here he is!
This is my mummy...here she is!
These are my irish grandparents...here they are!
This is my cousin Daniel...here we are!
Allllll Done!

pebble-patterned carpet protector

Having made my nappy bag and made it huge...it is absolutely perfect for these early days when i'm carrying everything around with me for the baby...however, it's not so great when im heading out for the day and need to carry with me only the essentials.  So my sister-in-law bought me a little travel changing bag for just such moments and while it is perfect...the changing mat is decidedly white and boring....you see where i'm going with this.

Enter mini travel changing mat.  I made it the same way as the larger version, but this time used a pebble-patterned table protector. 
It is silly of course but i hesitate every time before plonking him down onto it because it looks so hard and uncomfortable - all that cold hard stone!!lol!

Hospital sewing mark 3

So following on from the little dolls i sewed in hospital when i was in for the birth...this time when i was back in with Rocco for his operation, I brought another kit with me!  These are so easy and quick!!  I think i'll have to design some little customised ones and make up the kit myself - wouldn't that make a fun present for a crafty person??