Wednesday, 31 July 2013

.: sweet pouch swapping - making a start :.

I mentioned in our last post, that I'd joined in the second round of the Sweet Pouch Swap and been partnered with Kara.

When I saw Kara's 'fabric loves' list, it really didn't take me long to know what I was going to make.

Kara's fabric-loves are Melody Miller, Denyse Schmidt and Anna Maria Horner - and she looooves zakka.  We are a total match made in fabric-heaven, thank you Alyce!  

From reading Kara's blog and looking through her instagram photos, it's really clear that Kara loves to read, and she loves her Mum!  So I thought that Ayumi's gorgeous books-for-baby pattern from 'Patchwork Please!' would be perfect - and that the front cover had to be Melody Miller's beautiful Ruby Star Polka Dot fabric line, featuring her beautiful grandmother (and by the way, Polka Dot is to be the *last* of Melody's Ruby Star lines! - I can't wait to see what is next for her, her designs are just perfection).

For the back, I used a mix of Denyse Schmidt and Anna Maria Horner prints, to frame a 'K' from an Infinity alphabet print. 

And here they are, front and back together.

Love them, love them, love them.  The fabrics play really well together, and I just really love that gorgeous face looking out from the book.  Kara and I had agreed via email that we were happy to see sneak peeks of each other's pouches along the way - rather than sharing NO sneak peeks and waiting for the other person to get their sweet pouch in the mail.  I LOVE surprises, but I am actually really bad at them.  So - Kara's seen some pics on instagram already, and loves what's happening too - yahoooo!!  Just quietly, the fabulous Melody Miller saw the book too and said "a million likes" on instagram - I was so so excited by that and had to have a quiet sit with a cup of tea ... and I may have shared the news with Ted (the dog ... since everyone else was at school or work). 

So that's my sewing news for today.  How has your day been?  xoxo cat

Saturday, 27 July 2013

.: the Leaning Tower of Rainbow Cake :.

We had a birthday in our house recently.  

On top of the two brownies I made for my oldest daughter to take into school (brownies made with Lindt chocolate are her absolute favourite), I thought I'd surprise her by making a rainbow layer cake for a family dinner.  I've seen a few different versions on Pinterest and loved them - so this is officially my first-ever baking-from-Pinterest effort.

Here's a peek at the moment of rainbow-emerging-Pinterest-nailed-it triumph ... and then we'll go back to the start.

{{wahooooo, we have rainbow!!}}
I initially planned to make a ginormous butter cake mix - but figured it would be quicker and easier to make packet mixes.  So I went with three Green's butter cake mixes + Queen's food colouring + the Vienna Cream icing recipe in the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book.  

So we started with this ...

And then went to this ... SIX bowls for washing up ... I used blue, green, yellow, rose pink, pillar box red and mixed the blue and pink to make a fairly dodgy looking purple.  I baked two cakes at a time, making sure to match up the two that came from the same packet-mix, just in case that happened to be important in a cake-y kind of way.

Next came this ... I had to do a bit of trimming to level off the cake-tops ... and in fact as it turned out, I should have done MORE trimming ...

... because we had the Leaning Tower of Rainbow Cake sitting in my kitchen.  Any fears of a cake-slide were solved by five skewers being inserted right down through the cake.  They of course poked out the top of the cake by a good inch, so I had to hide them ...

{{it's a thing of beauty isn't it - goes to show how much can be hidden with icing}}
... with a whole lot of little flags!  I love little cake-topper flags, and have a whole heap I've bought online from Lark.  Next came the Smartie + Malteser oh-so-artful decorating frenzy ...

The icing alone has 375 grams of butter in it.  I couldn't bring myself to push it to 500 grams by making another batch, so there were a few random uncovered bits of cake - which was a shame, as the cake was a surprise, and by the time dinner was over, the girls had totally guessed there was a rainbow looming ...

And done!!  The slices are so BIG!  It's like six pieces of cake in every slice.

Total nailed-it-Pinterest moment (let's forget about those fortifying skewers that were definitely holding back a cake-slide disaster), and absolutely worth the hours spent in the kitchen.  There will be more rainbow cakes in our future.  Hope your weekend is a good one so far.  xoxo cat

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

.: oh hey hi we're still here :.

Oh hello.  It's been a while. 

Lots has been happening - just the usual stuff, life rolling on.  We've been printing orders, sewing, studying, taking part in the World's Biggest Orchestra, celebrating birthdays, baking, reading, driving - just stuff.

We had a custom order request for Finn McTrickster in purple - he's so gorgeous that we thought we'd share.

He's so sweet isn't he.  We'll print more, once our next Essex linen order arrives from the lovely Alice from Fresh Modern Fabric. 

In the odd half hour of time I've found over the last few days, I've been cutting and ironing my little fabric packages to send to the AusModBee girls.  They look so sweet, don't they?

Everyone will receive a fat-quarter-and-a-bit of text-print on a neutral background, and about 20 inches square of coloured scraps.  I am asking everyone to sew one word block - any word.  It's kind of tricky to know how much fabric to send everyone, so I sewed up a test block - I figured a seven-letter word was a good choice as a test run. 

I am so looking forward to what everyone chooses - any word, any size, any pattern.  I use the awesome 'Word Play Quilts' by Tonya Ricucci - but I am happy for everyone to use whatever pattern they feel most comfortable with.  My plan at this stage is to put all my word blocks with my x+ blocks, to make one super-sized-quilt.  I think ... we'll see. 

And in news overnight, I signed up for round 2 of the Sweet Pouch Swap! - I loved being part of it last time, when it was coordinated by the gorgeous Ros of Sew Delicious.  For this round, it's being coordinated by the lovely Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts.  Alyce set a limit of 100 swappers - and registrations hit 100 within five hours!  My swap partner is the fabulous Kara of Me and Elna - which is so awesome - I first met Ros when she was my partner in the Secret Santa Swap that Kara coordinated.  So it feels like things are coming full circle, ready to start all over again, and I am so excited to be sewing up something for Kara.  

Hope your past couple of weeks have been great fun and not too cold.    xoxo cat

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

.: July bee blocks :.

It's only the 9th but I've already finished my bee blocks - it's surely a record!  There's no real reason for the super-speediness - though we are getting the inside of the house painted in the next couple of months, so I am trying to work my way through my to-sew list before the house descends into total drop-sheet chaos.

First up - AusModBee blocks for Jess - Basketweave-Braid Stars from a paper-piecing pattern by Nydia of The ADD-Crafter

Jess sent a mix of gorgeous Sweetwater fabrics - Reunion, Hometown and Mama Said Sew.

It's an awesome block isn't it! - Jess' quilt will be gorgeous.  I love all the Sweetwater fabrics, and this block is a great way to include as many as possible.  The chain-piecing seemed to take forever, but once it was done, the blocks came together really quickly.  I really love this block, it's just so effective.  

And now - churn dashes! (I do love a churn dash) - for Rachel in our CARE group of do.GoodStitches.  Rachel had asked for any colour churn dash - though maybe blue, green, orange or pink - and for the background to be neutral.  There are some gorgeous blocks popping up on the CARE do.GoodStitches Flickr page - pop across for a look! 

I am loving orange and pink at the moment, so my colour-choices were pretty easy to make.  And since my blocks were pretty clearly girl-oriented, I figured I'd include some fussy-cut sweetness from Aneela Hoey's Little Apples range for the middle squares.  

I'm so happy to be back sewing and to be working my way through the to-sew list.  Hope your week has been a good one so far.   xoxo cat

Sunday, 7 July 2013

.: Noosa :.

So it's been two weeks since we last posted ... 

The first week of the school hols we were at home - movies + pottering around + the usual holiday tidying-frenzy.

Then the second week - we went to Noosa!!  We had lunch with Vee + her family on the first day - at the superb Bistro C.  In a twist of awesome-timing, Vee + her family were at Noosa for a few of the same days that we were.  

I'll leave it to a whole heap of pics to tell the story of the rest of the week ... every single pic is from my phone - I didn't use my camera once!

{{oh hai ... Vee + me!!}}
{{love Bistro C}}

{{loved this sign ... it's for Lamington, on Hastings Street}}

{{Gelatissimo gelato ...}}

{{had to buy this Third Drawer Down teatowel from Lamington}}

{{view from our front deck}}

{{last week I read ... Not Quite Nigella, Me + Rory MacBeath, The Rosie Project, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots and Burial Rites.  Now I'm on to The Astronaut Wives Club ... we went to Berkelouw Books at Eumundi, Written Dimension at Noosa Junction (awesome bookshop) and Mary Ryan's on Hastings Street}}

{{lots of swimming between the flags}}
{{the beach again}}
{{slinky potato chips from the Eumundi Markets}}
{{oh, and the beach once again}}
{{sitting at the pool, looking at the beach}}
{{we saw some rugby Lions, and a lot of their fans}}
{{sunset on our last night}}
{{and sunrise on our last day}}
We had a fabulous week, loved it so much.  Home again now and ready for school tomorrow.  Hope you've had a great holiday - or are about to start!   xoxo cat

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