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Thursday, 25 February 2016

DIY STUFFED WHALE TOY



I think this might be my favorite project for our little guy so far. I was looking for kiddo project inspiration on Pinterest (you can check out my kiddo board here), when I came across the cutest whale DIY (with free pattern!), and pretty much knew I had to try to make my own version straight away. I’d seen tons of more cartoony whales and other creatures before, but I loved how this one was a bit more “realistic”. Stuffed toys were probably my favorite toys when I was a kid (along with Legos), so who knows, maybe they will be for my kid too? I still have my favorite, a tiny yellow dog named Tussi (Norwegian translation for Eeyore), and he’s been with me everywhere.


The original is made out of denim, but I wanted to make one out of something a bit softer and snugglier, and I came across the perfect and most softest fleece material while I was searching for backing fabric for my quilt. Which, yes, means I spent forever in the fabric shop looking at pretty patterns and trying to decide what fabric to buy, and walked out of with fabric in three shades of grey. Maybe I should be a bit more adventurous next time?

I also decided to not stuff and topstitch the fins or tail. I prefer them floppy and like how they bounce around when he’s swimming (see below!). I think if I were using a thinner fabric, I’d consider maybe adding batting to make them a bit chunkier, but the fleece I used was pretty chunky so it wasn’t really an issue.

Look at him go with that happy floppy tail!


Monday, 22 February 2016

FIRST WEEK OF 29

About a week ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday. I had an awesome day, being surprised with balloons and brownies and ice cream for breakfast at my friend's cabin, more brownies for lunch at my parents, the most thoughtful gift from my Graeme, lots of birthday messages from friends and family, and finishing the day off by ordering a pizza (and the rest of my breakfast brownieswho knew I was such a brownie fiend?) and just relaxing and watching a movie with Graeme and a tired dog on my lap.

And as I am now entering the last year of my twenties (gulp!), I've decided to make one of those one second per day videos. I've toyed with this idea plenty of times before, but the timing has never quite seemed right. But this time, I was reminded of the idea a couple of days before my birthday, which was pretty much the perfect timing for me to download this app and play around with it before starting my video. And so far I'm having so much fun with it. Every day after I add a clip, I mash the clips together in the app just to see what I've got so far, and I love it. Every day I'm thrilled with my progress, and I can't wait to see the final product! I'm just over a week in, so this is a very short preview of what will hopefully become a full 6 minute video of the last year of my twenties. But even if I miss a few days and it doesn't end up being that long, it's bound to capture some pretty special moments (like, say, becoming a parent in a couple of months?) and I'll be left with something pretty awesome. Anyway, here's what I've got so far!

Friday, 12 February 2016

DIY LABELS!


These labels were really not necessary at all. I don't have an etsy shop or sell things at markets or anything, so these were really just for fun. And unnecessary as they are, these little bad boys make my inner organizer so, so happy haha.


I'm not sure why I wanted to make labels in the first place, but my original plan was to print them out myself. But then I learnt that home printed labels quite often don't survive washing machines. The times I've printed stuff on fabric myself, it hasn't really been things I'm gonna throw in the washing machine (like this banner) so it hasn't been a problem, but as I intend on putting these on various sewing projects, like clothes, etc, being able to wash them in the washing machine seemed like an advantage. So I made some labels in Illustrator and ordered a test swatch from Spoonflower for $5. This gave me a total of 32 labels (technically 36 but the top row got cut in half), so not exactly breaking the bank! I added backing to make them a bit sturdier, and then cut them out freehand with a pair of scissors. I definitely could have been more accurate here and used a straight edge and a rotary cutter, but as I said, these are really just for fun.

And of course I had to add one to my quilt straight away. In an ideal world I would have had the label on before I made the quilt, so that I could have machine stitched it on a bit neater, but my hand stitching isn't too bad, right? Looking forward to adding them to future projects!

Monday, 8 February 2016

VEGGIE MOUSSAKA

It's been almost two years since Graeme stopped being a vegetarian and started eating meat, but this vegetarian version of moussaka is still a favorite at ours. It's delicious, super easy to make and pretty much the perfect comfort food to beat the winter blues. So when Graeme suggested we have moussaka for dinner, I was all in.

I did my fair share of experimenting with vegetarian recipes while Graeme was a vegetarian, and quickly found that I wasn't a big fan of most fake meat products. Most of them seem to get their flavor from whatever sauce you add anyway, so I prefer omitting them all together and focusing on the flavor from the vegetables instead. So this recipe doesn't contain any meat replacement products, but I really don't think it needs it—it's got plenty of aubergines to make up for it. And aren't we all supposed to be eating less red meat? Meatfree Mondays and all that?


Veggie moussaka recipe:
2 aubergines, sliced
500 g potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
400 g cherry tomatoes, halved
200 g feta cheese
300 ml greek yogurt
3 eggs
1 tin chopped tomatoes
parmesan
olive oil

Directions: Start by preparing the aubergines and preheating the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Slice the aubergines, and place them on a roasting trey with a Jamie Oliver sized glug of olive oil and some salt. Roast for about half an hour, flipping them over halfway and adding more olive oil if necessary. Meanwhile, quickly boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Once the aubergines are done, put them aside and roast the potatoes along with the onion and garlic with a bit of seasoning for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix yogurt, eggs and half of the feta cheese. To assemble the moussaka, start by layering with half of the roast vegetables in an oven proof dish, add a layer of the the remaining feta cheese and the tin of chopped tomatoes. Add the rest of the roast vegetables, and then pour over the yogurt mixture. Top with some grated parmesan. Pop the whole thing back into oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the top starts to go golden brown. Serve with some freshly baked focaccia! (This one's my go to focaccia recipe)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A CHEATER'S QUILT

Somehow, I got it in my head that with a new baby on the way, I had to make a quilt. A quilt for him to snuggle up in, play on and make forts out of. I guess I've entered the nesting phase? And while we're waiting on our bedroom to get sorted before we can start on the nursery, I might as well spend my nesting efforts on projects. 


I've seen so many beautiful modern quilts around, with solid colors and geometric patterns, and they're so inspiring. But I've never made a quilt before, and I know they're a lot of work and quite time consuming to say the least. And believe it or not, I have some self-insight. I know I often get carried away making plans for big, elaborate, time consuming projects that would turn out awesome if only I just got around to finishing them. But I get bored. I want to start something new. My morganite cardigan is still in my knitting basket next to the couch, and this crochet hexagon blanket is still embarrassingly unfinished (though I do occasionally drag it out and add to it, and it's a lot bigger now!). Not to mention my list of project ideas that haven’t even begun to materialize. And when I asked my friend who recently decided to make a quilt how she was finding it, she replied that it was "bloody hard work," and that "the cutting of the squares takes so long!" So I was quite skeptical that making a quilt was a good idea for me.





But then I came across the concept of cheater quilts. They're genius. Only two bits of fabric with batting in between. No spending ages trying to decide which fabrics to use. No cutting. No fretting over uneven pieces and no wonky alignments. And after seeing all the beautiful ones Kate from SeeKateSew has made, I was sold.


So after much humming and hawing and trying to decide which one to go for, I ended up with a yard of this one from Spoonflower. I love the color combination and I decided one yard would be a good size to start with. I've never used Spoonflower before, but must say I was quite impressed, both price and delivery speed! The fabric arrived two weeks after, and I headed to my local fabric store the next day to pick something to back it with. My original plan was to back it with a simple black and white repeating pattern, but after spending an hour and a half in the store and not really finding any that I liked, I came to the somewhat boring conclusion that I don't really like most patterns, and ended up with a nice solid charcoal cotton. I love how it turned out against the blues, that it's not very busy, and that the white thread contrasts with the dark grey. 

Don't get me wrong, this blanket is far from perfect and full of flaws, but I kinda like that too. And it certainly took me longer than an hour to make, but it's a bit hard to stick to your schedule when your mom drops by halfway through for a chat and a cup of tea. But I love the results and can't wait for it to get put to use!