Home cooking

I always try and cook to BD’s tastes. I even got the recipe for his mums chicken and corn soup but he still prefers his mums. I asked if he wanted me to get the recipe for her curried sausages and he said no because he knew that when his mum makes it it will taste the same every time…im not sure what this says about my cooking. So instead i try and find new recipes that he will like. He is really picky! He hates rice, and mince (90% of my recipes have mince), isnt a fan of curries or chinese food although he loves chinese takeaway. He has banned spaghetti bolognaise (my favourite dinner) He also seems to not like cakes, muffins, or deserts…he isnt making this easy. What he will eat is getting a bit repetitive, deviled sausages, savoury mince (on toast not rice), burritos, steak, schnitzel, buffalo wings, ribs, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. Man food :P

Something i am quite proud of though is my potato salad. I tried to make it like his dads which is incredible but i made it my own as i have accepted that i cant match his parents cooking.

Potato salad:

Cut potatoes into 4 and boil with plenty of salt. No need to peel. Cut into 5 if they are large, they should be large bite sized. Cool them in the fridge when they are soft but not falling apart. Dice bacon and one onion and cook until onion is soft. Add to potatoes. Soft boil two eggs and chill then peel and dice. Add to the potatoes. Mix mayonnaise and a dash of lemon juice and pour over, then season with a tsp of seeded mustard and pepper. Stir it all together.

You notice that i havent added many quantities. Well basically its how ever much you have. I generally find 6 potatoes and 2 eggs with 3 rashers of bacon work well. Maybe a tbls mayo.

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I can eat it by the bowl full (and had a bowl before i took a picture) but it works well if the bacon and onion is still warm when you put it in, gives that comforting warmth when you eat it and coats the whole thing in bacon grease mmmm. I actually over boiled the eggs for this one so had to throw them out. I could have bounced them across the kitchen they were that rubbery.

Quick change pants

IT has been decided that these are a litte loud and are now clown pants. Next time i will make the legs out of plain fabric and use pattern for the yolk (top of bum). So these are reversible and are basically two pairs of pants sewn together. The pattern was really simple to follow except when it came to turning them the right way which really hurt my brain. Once you sew the tops together they are inside out. But for the life of me i couldnt work out how they would go right way. I read the instructions and held my breath. It worked. Still no idea how. They also have a 5/8 seam which i thought was over kill. Its like an inch! I made the 3month size but they come in two lengths, 3month and 6 month. I went for the 6month and they are way too long which is why they are folded up.

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Washi Dress

I have wanted to make this dress for a while but i have never made clothes for myself from a pattern. My experience extends to harem pants and a circle skirt both of which were just one seam and some elastic. The second thing that stopped me is that even though the dress goes up to size xxl my measurements were a few inches out in each area. I emailed Rae who made the pattern and her assistant got back to me and said there were some tutorials online that would show me how to increase the size of the pattern. I decided to take a chance and bought the pattern. Turns out it was pritty easy to make it bigger as i just increased it by the same increments as the other sizes, eg so an extra 1.5cm for most areas. Then i made a muslin which is basically a very rough version of the dress. It fit perfectly, which was actually a bad thing because the back has shirring so it should have been too big without it. So i adjusted the back again and took the risk of not making another muslin and just jumping in.

It was actually pritty straight forward. Once i stuck the pattern together i traced my size onto some brown paper ( came in a roll from the newsagent for $5, i think it was meant to be trendy wrapping paper). Then i cut my pieces and started sewing. My first hurdle came with the shirring. I knew the theory, i wound my elastic onto the bobbin and used some scrap fabric to test. It didnt bunch up. I went to youtube and found that i had to tighten the bobbin tension. On a top loading machine you do this by taking the top plate off.

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Mine had a small screw i had to undo first but then it just slides off. Then you need to remove the bobbin case. On the front you will see two screws. One will usually be marked green. Give this screw a half turn to the right to tighten. You can wind it further for tighter, or more bunched shirring.

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I put it all back together and it still wasn’t right. So i watched another video and found that she put her bobbin in before replacing the bobbin case. There is a little notch right where my finger is in the last image. If you put the elastic through that before replacing the case and top plate then thread the elastic through as you would a normal thread. Now it worked. I found i could do about four rows before i had to wind the bobbin again, the pattern called for 6 rows. Once i finally finished the dress i tried it on and was dismayed to find that the shirring was waaay to high! It should have been down below my bust but i had done it between my shoulder blades. I couldn’t live with it, it made me look like i had no torso. So i spent the evening unpicking it. To do this i also had to unpick the side seams down to the pockets.

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I was undecided about the sleeves at first but decided that in summer i tend to get very sunburnt so a little shoulder cover would be good. Im glad i did they are really cute.

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Next projects:

Quick change pants

Cloth Photo book

Productivity

I have been super productive since getting my new sewing machine. I will give each project its own post otherwise it will get confusing. First up, i finished Rueben’s quilt!

The original idea was a modern design, panels of fabric with a plain border. I miss cut the some of the border and had to patch with some green squares but i think it looks like i did it on purpose?

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Then i had to wait until i got my new machine before i could quilt it as you cant lower the feed dogs on my old machine and i wanted to try free motion quilting. It didnt go too badly. There are a few places where the thread bunched on the back and a few places where i moved the fabric faster than the needle so the stiches are loose but if i dont point it out no one will ever know. The other place i need to work on are my corners. I did mitred corners with the machine for the binding on the front then hand bound it on the back but couldnt work out how to get nice corners on the back. So they are a bit puckered. I dont think he will mind though :)

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Next projects:

Washi Dress

Quick Change pants

New age parents

A question was asked in our mothers group that i laughed at but it seems im in the minority. A woman asked when it was appropriate for her 11yr old to start shaving…well when she gets hairy would be my answer. But apparently many mums thought this was something to be seriously considered and many said that they would sit her down and talk about body image and that they didnt think it was safe for her to have a razor and should wax…seriously?!?

When did we become so controlling? When i was a kid when i got hairy legs and pits i grabbed a razor and shaved it off. there was no discussion, fankly i think mum would have thought i was odd if i wanted to talk about it. Its hair. Its not like you are giving them a barbers flip blade. And waxing hurts! When i asked a friend about this she agreed with the other mums and said that maybe it was because i have a boy not a girl that im less sensitive to it. I really think that has nothing to do with it. Frankly i think we make too many decisions and actions for our kids and should just let go and let them work things out for them selves. If my little man wants to shave his chin, go for it! Im happy if he wants his dad to show him how to do it so you dont get shaving rash but otherwise, its hair, its not a big deal. Now if you tell me you want to go get drunk or get a tattoo under the age of 18 then we will have issues little man lol

MCN and sewing

I have made the leap into using MCN’s or Modern Cloth Nappies. I use the Bambooty easy one size. I have about 5 of these and 3 of another brand. Besides being cute designs i honestly dont think it takes any longer to use these then to use disposables. You put a liner on and clip it on baby. Then every two days you throw them in the wash then hang them out. Easy. I think the idea that they take longer to use came from the old terry towel ones which you had to fold, pin, soak, scrub and then wash. Yes they are quite expensive but the over all cost is alot less than disposables. Each easy one size┬ácosts $37 but i wait for the sales and got mine for $20 each. A box of disposables is $28 (Woolworth Select) and i go through a box every two weeks. In the life of nappy wearing apparently you can save over $5000 by using cloth. I still use disp for outings and over night as they are more absorbent and smaller to put in the nappy bag. I am aiming to get alot more but will wait until they are on sale :)

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With my new sewing machine in the mail i was thinking about movies i could watch for inspiration. And you know what…there are very few movies actually about sewing, or really any craft. The only one i can think of is How to make an American Quilt. Any other movie that has sewing in it its as a minor part and usualy only one scene. With so many movies about cooking i was surprised about the lack of craft ones. Can anyone point me in the direction of one?

I did it!

I found a sewing machine that i love and that was on sale! It retails for $1,399 and i got it for $899 with free postage. Im pritty stoked with that price. Its a Brother NV-610.

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It comes with the quilting extension and walking and free motion quilting feet. Its got a one step bobbin so no more fiddling with a bobbin case and trying to pick up the thread, and an auto threader. It also has a thread cut feature which cuts the front and back threads once you are done. Those are really the features that i was after. The button hole function is pritty clever in that you put your button in the button foot and it makes the button hole the perfect size for you. This video is for the 600 but give an idea what i will have to play with. I have decided to wait to finish my quilt until I get my new machine.

Up grading

For my 18th birthday my mother got me a Brother LS-2120. Its your basic machine and has served me well for the past 11years (showing my age there). But i think its time to upgrade. Its a bit too small to work quilts on and it keep un threading itself. I could go and get it serviced but really i think it would be best to just get a new one. So, i have been looking and wow, these things done come cheap. The first one i liked retails for $2,999…thats the price of a small car! So im looking closer to my budget. I would like either a Brother or a Janome which is what mum uses (hers is one of the old beige metal ones. Has lasted her well over 20yrs and she made us clothes on it as babies).

Retro Mummy recommends the Brother QC-1000. Its out of my price range but seems to encompass what im looking for.

Computerised

I think my price range covers more of the Brother NS25. It features a built in needle threader and top loading bobbin. It retails for $499. However, i cant find any reviews on it as it seems it was surpassed by the Brother NS30. The reviews are mixed and several people have said it has jammed or burnt out in just a year or two. I would rather spend a bit more and get something that will last me another 10years. Then i came upon the Brother NV600. It is an older one so is retailing for about $999. It has the auto threader and also has an auto thread cutter which means i dont have to have my scissors on hand all the time.

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I would rather get one on sale or second hand so i guess that will dictate which one i get. I am still quilting my little quilt and have attached the free motion attachment to it but unfortunatley i cant lower the feed dogs and i have lost the cover plate the machine came with…i can still do it but it may not look as good as it would if the feed dogs were down.

So, this happened

I had a moment at the mall. When i got something out of the basket under the seat i pushed the seat up a little too far and it locked upright. I have never had it upright before and had no idea how to recline it again. It has to be reclined in order to collapse the pram. I tried for a good 10minutes with Rue crying in the backseat, i tried lifting it, pressing it down and sideways, i got down on my knees to look for a latch, i kicked it and said a few choice words, before i gave up, dropped the back seat next to the car seat and shoved it in whole. I then realised i couldnt close the boot…i looked at it for a few minutes more before trying it wheels first and with a shove i got the whole thing in! (you can just see the car seat on the left) You might be wondering why in this age of smart phones i didnt call for back up or just google how to recline the seat. My phone was dead, poor management on my part. The good news is not only do i now know that my car can fit the pram in whole, but upon getting home BD told me how to collapse the seat, apparently the latch is under the cover. I have no idea what i would have done if it hadnt fit. A smart idea would have been to turn the car on and charge my phone so i could have googled it but i didnt think of that at the time…

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A few days before this disastrous event i got to check out the Lifeline book fair. Its only on twice a year and i wish i had got to go again but i couldnt make it over the weekend. I had $30 to spend and got this whole lot for $28. I picked up some Wheres Wallys (on the banned books list apparently because some of the little people are less than dressed), some goosebumps (for when he is older), some board books, some early readers and a baby cookbook. This whole lot would have cost me over $100 at the shops so i would say its a great deal :)

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Scarf bib

A friend told me that if i could make a scarf bib then i could sell them for $5 a pop and make heaps of money. I wasnt really interested but on a boring afternoon i decided to knock one up just for fun. I used one that i already had to make the pattern, basically half a triangle with a long top for the neck fastening, you fold the fabric in half and place the patten on the fold so you get a full bib from half a pattern. I made the top piece of fabric a bit bigger so that it has the rumpled scarf look. The whole process took about 20mins. The pinning of the top took the longest as you have to pin to make sure the edges line up as they are different sizes.

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I love the result! I did alter the pattern slightly after this one to make the neck a little wider and the point shorter as it kind of swamped him. I dont think i can be bothered selling them but they are a fun thing to knock together with fabric scraps. The back i used some flannel as its more absorbent than the cotton on the top. For the fastening i already had some stick on velcro spots which i just ran over with the sewing machine to make sure they stay on. I think it would work well with old shirts and sheets, maybe some old flannel PJ’s for the back?

PS: I really love this fabric, you may recognise it as the main fabric in the quilt im making him (which is being quilted as i type)

This one was the altered pattern. Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie :)

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