Saturday, April 27, 2013

when life hands you a cardigan...

... you automatically think "that'll made a great cushion cover" right?

Ah, well, that's exactly what I did!  My sister-in-law came over one day after cleaning out her house, and with her she brought along this old cardigan and an almost matching jumper.  She knew I would find some creative use for them, seeing they were really not the style of clothing that either of us would wear (in public anyway!)  I instantly thought that the cardigan would make a gorgeous cuddly cushion cover.

daggy old cardigan

I'm the kind of person that has brilliant ideas, but has no idea how to actually make them come to fruition.  I search for ideas, and I make sure that they have a detailed tutorial attached, complete with pattern pieces already drawn out and ready for me to duplicate!  That's what I need to make projects happen.  So in my head this pretty cushion cover looked great, but I had no idea how to get it from cardigan to cover without losing what precious brain matter I have functioning at the moment.  

Along comes a dear friend who has a remarkable knack for all things pretty and creative (said friend can look at a cushion cover to see how the zip was put in, and then just turn around and duplicate it on her own project *sigh with envy*) and she got me started on the road to completion.  

Here's how it went (this is kind of like a tutorial, incase you're like me and you really want to make one for yourself!)...

  • I wanted to keep the look and feel of it being a cardigan, so we decided that the best idea would be to hand stitch (blind stitch) along the bottom hem, to keep the original hem in tact.  Stitch a small section behind the bottom button, closing it off yet allowing the remaining buttons to act as the cushion closure.
  • Cut the top half of the cardigan off at the underarms, turn inside out and trim the side seams.  
  • Whilst inside out, sew along the top seam.  Remember that the buttons are there to allow the cushion to be inserted, so now is a good time to undo a couple of the buttons in the middle for access later.

  • Next, sew along the side seams.  I used the "knit" stitch on my machine, and sewed each seam twice to give extra strength and stability.
  • Turn the right way out through the buttons.  Now it's ready for an insert...
  • This was an XL sized cardigan, and once cut down and re-sewn it measured at 15" square.  I took an old cushion insert that was 24" square and looking pretty flat.  I opened a seam on the insert, emptied the stuffing out, cut it down to 16", re sewed the seams and re-stuffed it with the original stuffing, making it nice and plump once again and just the right size for my new cover.

You know you're on to a good thing when it's being used already!

I really love projects like this, just using up things you already have.  I think it's called re-purposing?  So total cost for this project was $0.  All up it took about 30 minutes, and maybe 2 cups of tea.  And seeing that it's already being utilised is an added bonus.

Now... what can I make with the matching daggy jumper???

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

rainbow brownies... oh yeah!

Picture this... we head out to the grocery store to pick up a *few* ingredients needed to complete our dishes for the evening meal.  It's around morning tea time, last day of school holidays.  I have about a thousands things to do today, and my mind is all over the place, and I'm really wanting to just get in, get out and get home again to resume cooking.  I have MrDadda with me too, so when LadyBug starts declaring "I don't need a trolley, I can take a basket" I think to myself that this could me fun.  I have extra arms to help drag her back to me if needed, so in the words of Crush (Finding Nemo) I decided "let's see what Squirt does flying solo".

What followed was a mixture of hilarity and pure entertainment, and a lot of proud mumma moments (which I am thankful for).  I had the trolley and a shopping list... the girls shared a basket, and miss LadyBug, who I'm certain thought she was really nearly 5 and not anywhere near only 2, took the liberty of filling the basket with her "shopping".

So what does a toddler want to shop for?  Or should I say, what is at a toddlers reach when shopping in a major supermaket?  The following items were either attempted to or actually made it into the basket:  bread, 1kg sausages, a whole chicken, a head of broccoli  lip balm, mens shaving gel, soy milk, a peri peri chicken roast bag mix, eggs (freak out station here ~ note to Coles, don't put fresh eggs at toddler level!) and a Betty Crocker Rainbow Brownie mix.  Whilst most of her items were promptly returned to their position on the shelves (the eggs survived the attack, phew!), I made a quick scan of the ingredients and I decided to keep the brownie mix for the girls to make that afternoon (surprisingly the only dairy was in the chocolate sprinkles)

Home again, home again, jiggety jig... and it's time to get some baking happening.  The kitchen was a complete mess already, with dirty dishes, my own cake in the oven, chicken thai balls in the making and a serious deadline looming... but the baking must go on!  And thanks to Betty Crocker for making it so easy to create something very yummy.  (this is not a paid endorsement, just sincere thanks from a mother with eager little chefs, and only one set of arms)

So how do you make Rainbow Brownies?  Check out our pictorial...

open the box
empty contents of brownie mix packet into a bowl

add eggs and oil

mix until combined

pour into a lined tray

sprinkle with rainbow chocolates

bake til gooey in the centre

allow to cool, then slice it up

and enjoy your creation

yum yum.. tee hee
We shared our rainbow goodness with the cousins and friends that evening. I'm assuming they went down a treat because there were none left when I went looking for a taste.

All in all, a happy shopping experience, a happy baking turnout, happy tummies, and happy memories!

This is my 100th post!  Yay!  To celebrate, I'm offering to send my kids to your place to bake these brownies in your kitchen, while I lounge back at my place, sipping a hot coffee and enjoying the silence.  Or maybe not...  Thanks for following my ramblings though.  I enjoy your comments and appreciate the visits I get here xxoo

Saturday, April 6, 2013

collage of easter-ness

The colour.  The food.  The chocolate.  The smiles and the laughs.  This is a snapshot of Easter 2013 at our place.  Now, I'll admit to being trigger happy at the best of times (photographically speaking), but it was so hard not to take hundreds of pictures (yes, literally!)... so in order to share as much here as possible, I've made a little collection of collages showcasing our fun Easter weekend.

This Easter we were able to participate in a new tradition... one which I remember taking part in when I was a little girl... the Easter Hat Parade.  LittleBee started going to public school this year, and with that comes new and exciting times to share with her new and interesting friends.  As this was our first ever Easter Hat Parade, I admit that I was a little stumped as to what we were supposed to do.  Memories of walking to school as a little girl with an ice cream container decorated with cotton balls to look like a bunny flooded my memory, and I just couldn't bring myself to do the same (not for our first parade anyway!)  So the girls and I hit the local op shops to gather our supplies, and we created some fun and pretty little bonnets.

Here's LittleBee sporting her pink cowboy easter hat, brimming with purple straw, coloured eggs and a gorgeous yellow glittery butterfly.  At the back she was a big purple polkadot bow with long tails to finish the look.

Little siblings were invited to join in the Easter Hat making fun, so we wasted no time in creating LadyBug's sweet little Easter ensemble.  She was so cute, she even took home the "most creative preschooler hat" award.  Who could resist this little charmer anyway!

Good Friday morning was spent serving hot breaky to some locals down near where we meet on a Sunday morning.  It was a crisp morning, but we managed to coax a few people from their warm homes to join us for a delicious bbq breakfast and a time of remembering what our Saviour accomplished for us on the Cross.

Sunday morning came around very quickly, and it was so much fun surprising the girls with some cute Easter treats.  LadyBug is still dairy intolerant, which makes easter treats a little trickier.  This year I found some gorgeous egg cups for the girls, and look... one is a Bee and one is a Bug!  Cute right? They got some new pj's and other fun things too.

Church Sunday morning was a real blessing, being with people who love God and just spending time honouring Him and His gift of salvation to all mankind.  There were lots of yummy treats, including hot cross buns (which I sheepishly admit to eating far more than I ought to).

Which of course leads to the fun part... the Annual Easter Egg hunt.  A time honoured tradition for us, dating back, oh at least 7 years.  This year we headed to Bibbi's house, and made use of her gloriously huge backyard, on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon.  With 5 hunters and 1 "almost up to hunting" we had a lot of treats to find.  Chocolate bunnies, eggs large and small, starburst lollies, little fluffy chicks, and one elusive Bibly were all hiding out in the trees and grass for the finding.

And now we have a few bags of easter treats hidden in the pantry, which cry out to me every day just begging to be eaten.  Hidden again, yes, because if they are not hidden, they end up being devoured all too quickly!

The thing about Easter is tradition really.  You might go to church, have family meals, maybe not eat meat on Good Friday, or do a fast of some type for Lent.  For us, it's about remembering... remembering what Jesus did... remembering what we have because of God's grace and mercy toward us... and for making new memories for our little family to last a life time.

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