Sunday, 30 November 2014

A New Fabulous Job!!!

A day after my boss cut my work hours at my Job (not her fault, business is slow in December) down to one day a week :( I received a call from my friend, Rachel, who owns the Fabulous Elsie George Boutique in the Hunter Valley, offering me 1-2 days a week work in her shop.


I went for a trial for a few hours to see if I was a good fit for the position. I had just bought this Precious Pansy Frock from the shop the day before, so figured it would be good to wear while working there.

Just a quick snap from the day I bought it :)

I styled the dress properly the next day, with heels, petticoat, make up and curls.


I looked so good in my new dress, a customer who came in wanting a dress to wear to next years Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival, saw me wearing mine, tried one on for herself and bought it. Yay! My first Retail sale!

If you love Elsie George as mych as I do, or just want to support local independant business, PLEASE vote for us to win a new website! You can vote everyday, just go to and click to vote, its that simple!

Now I'll leave you with a photo of me dressed up in my new Pansy Frock, all ready for church


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Vintage Pajama Party Sew Along

So seeing as I have finished my Dress for the Sew Retro Rose Swirl Sew-along (Completed post still to come) I thought I might try to make the dead line for this Vintage Pajama Sew Along which is Dec 6. This might be a little ambitious, especially with the Christmas Presents I still need to sew, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. 

I need to have a look through my Patterns and Fabric Stash, but I will probably go for something 1950's styled like these:

This Teens pajama pattern is so cute, you could wear it out!

These nightgowns are ultra feminine

Traditional little babydoll with cute bloomer style shorts

Peasant top style night gown

Very simple and very feminine

More of a 60's feel but still very cute. I might even have a similar style pattern....

The front tying version of this looks like beachwear

More traditional style pajama, but I love that the girl on the right has the top tucked in, it almost looks like a cinched waist onesie!

Oh, so many options! Any that you particularly prefer? I need help deciding!

Depending on what I have at home this may be a self drafted pattern, but that has never scared me before! Hehehehe!

Anyone else tend to join in things late and give themselves ridiculous deadlines?

Dixie O'Dare

Thursday, 20 November 2014

They grow up so fast...

My youngest cousin had her Yr 12 school Formal Tonight

I swear it wasn't that long ago she was just a bratty little 6 yr old.

But now she has grown into a beautiful young woman. I even had her as a bridesmaid in my wedding earlier this year.

So only a few weeks out from her formal, she asks if I can take up her dress for her. No problems there.

Her Formal Dress

Hand sewing part of the Hem up. This kid is lucky I love her.

Then, with just over 1 week to go, our Grandma calls me asking if I could make her a bag to go with it, as she didn't have anything organised.........

So I immediately started rifling through my craft stash for sequins, feathers, bag handles, embellishments...

And came up with this Idea!

My idea for a matching bag

I didn't actually have any black satin in my stash (or if I did I couldn't find it) so I ducked out to the op shops in town. None had any black satin in the fabric sections, so I grabbed a black satin nightie  for $3 to use as fabric. I sent her the above photo on Facebook to see if she liked it and she said just to make it exactly like that. The green satin is part of what I cut from the bottom of her dress and the beaded piece has been in my stash a while, and I think may have originally come from an op shop. The bag handle/clasp is a 9 inch clasp from spotlight. She said all it needs to fit is a pair of flats and her phone (and I would have to assume some make up for touching up) so I think it will be the perfect size.

Even though I wanted to start making it right then, I had other obligations (Testing the EYMM cowl dress, Tafe homework, CWA cooking) I had to wait til the weekend to get into it. I found a few online tutorials for making this kind of bag, which I hadn't actually attempted before now. This Tutorial from Sew4Home was very helpful, plus it had a printable pdf pattern suitable for 8-10" clasps, that I only had to alter slightly to get the shape and size I wanted

Here's a few construction photos:

I didnt take too many construction photos, as I mostly just followed the tutorial, plus I'm not that great at explaining the steps. The last thing I did was carefully hand stitch the beaded applique to the front of the bag.

I'm really happy how this bag turned out, so I will definitely have to make some in this style for myself. I tested to make sure it would fit a pair of my size 8 flatties, which did just squeeze in, so she should have no problem, as her shoes are smaller than mine.

After making the bag (I finished it up Sunday morning) I thought I might make her something to clip in her hair (even though her hair is so fine, it's hard to get anything to stay in it) To keep with the theme of the Feathers on her dress, I picked up a bag of mixed feathers (which had plain black) from the Reject Shop. Then I just glued some to a circle of cardboard in a fan shape that curved to fit against her head, with a center of satin that I had stitched diamontes that were a similar size to those on her dress. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it, but she loved it.

She also asked if I would do her Hair and Make up for her, as she feels, that out of all the people she knows, I'm the best with make up. Well I admit, I was pretty chuffed when she said that. Luckily, I still had all my cosmetics from my wedding (including the ones I got for her) Plus I have a smokey eye kit that I haven't used yet.

We decided on a deep side part with curls, light smokey eye and a nude lip. I also took some nail polish colours along with me, and she decided to paint her nails purple, to contrast with the green of her dress, so we also used a hint of purple eye shadow. I did take some progress photos of her hair and make up, but she might shoot me if I upload them to the internet.

Unfortunately I had to leave to get to my TAFE class in time, so I didn't get to see her in her dress before I left, but here is a lovely photo of her with her boyfriend that she just uploaded to Facebook.

Also one of her with one of her Brothers, where you can almost see the feather fascinator I made. It curves to follow the curve of her head, so is very subtle and went with her dress perfectly!

She's definitely all grown up now.....


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

CWA cooking Champion!

Last night was the Cessnock Evening branch of the CWA's cookery Competition. For those who don't know, CWA stands for Country Women's Association, and I joined as a member last time they had this particular cookery comp. I'm always up for a bit of a challenge (and also don't like too much competition) so I tend to pick the fiddly hard to make things (depending on what sections are available. Last year I got 2nd at group level with my assorted sweets. So this year I looked at the Schedule and scrolled through the sections, and decided on the Macarons.

I have never made a Macaron before. I've only eaten one before (aboard the Carnival Spirit) and I found it pretty tasteless. So I didn't really have a clue what I was doing, or what the final product what supposed to taste like. But I followed the recipe, and managed to make, what at least looked like a macaron.

The recipe called for the use of a food processor, which I do not have. I called my Grandma to see if she had one I could borrow, and she said to try using a coffee grinder. I would never have thought of that, but it worked a treat, even if it was a bit small. Then I simply put it through a sieve, and got rid of any pieces that were too big.

First 2 trays out of the oven

Completed Chocolate Macarons

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the other flavours or the rest of the process. But the Chocolate ones were probably the prettiest anyway.

I had a couple of issues along the way, and here is what I learned. 

Number 1: Do space them out on the tray as much as the recipe says. I overcrowded the first batch of strawberry (as it was late and I wanted to have to do fewer trays full) and they just did not cook through. Even ones that were over cooked on top, collapsed underneath.

Number 2: Although this recipe calls for you to let them sit for half an hour before baking, if you can leave them longer, it will help. A few sites I looked at suggested leaving them for 2-3 hours, I didn't leave them that long. Also don't preheat your oven before you begin making them, wait til 10-20 mins before you bake them or you'll be wasting a lot of electricity/gas.

Number 3: Don't always trust internet recipes, lol. I searched online for ganache recipes, and every site I went on said for a macaron filling, use chocolate and cream in a ratio of 1:1. So that's what I did. But even after refrigerating, it would not set! So then I googled "why wont my ganache set" which gave me a few forums and discussions where people were saying it was better to use a ratio of 3:1! Argh! Luckily I had enough chocolate left to be able to salvage it, but not before making a huge mess with runny ganache and macarons that kept sliding apart.

Watching the Cake Judging. There's me in my new Swirl Dress (photo stolen from Daisy Chatto)

My Award!

While I wasn't entirely sure I had made them correctly, the Judge said they were perfect, and when I shared some around with the rest of my fellow CWA members, the consensus was they were pretty good. I have to Admit, I was actually the one one who entered this Section, but that doesn't mean I got an automatic First Place. The Judge still has to deem the entry worthy of going to the next level of the competition.

I will definitely work better on my sizing for the group level (which I think will be around March next year) as I feel that was the only thing I hadn't quite gotten right. The Strawberry ones were too big and the Pistachio ones too small

In Case the CWA site changes and I lose the recipe (which will happen when they release the schedule for next year) I'm going to post the recipe below.


Macaron Recipe—Section 4
Recipes supplied here must be used for competiton
Chocolate Macarons recipe
1 cup/160 g pure icing sugar
½ cup/ 60g almond meal
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
2 eggs whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Pre heat oven to 150C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and draw 3cm circles approx 3cm apart.
Turn the paper over so that the pencil marks won’t blemish the bottoms of macarons
Process the icing sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder in a food processor until fine.
Sift mixture through a fine wire sieve into a large bowl.
Beat egg whites with electric mixer to soft peaks form.
Beat in the caster sugar until thick and glossy.
Fold egg whites into the almond, mix until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
Pipe approx 30 discs onto the marked circles and then drop the tray a couple of times onto the kitchen bench. This will shape the macarons and permit them rise uniformly onto a "little foot".
Set aside for 30 minutes or until a skin forms on top.
Bake for 20 minutes until just crisp set aside and cool.
Fill with chocolate ganache.
Pistachio Macarons recipe
125g pistachios
1 ¼ cup/ 190g pure icing sugar
These two ingredients are processed together
2 egg whites at room temperature
¼ cup/30g caster sugar
Few drops of green food colouring
Then use the same method for chocolate macarons minus almond meal and cocoa powder.
When cool fill with white chocolate ganache
Strawberry Macaron recipe (Pink Macarons)
1 cup/ 160g pure icing sugar
½ cup/ 60g plus 2 tablespoons Almond meal
These 2 ingredients are processed together
2 egg whites at room temperature
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Few drops strawberry essence for pale pink colour
Then use the same method for chocolate macarons minus cocoa powder
When cool fill with white chocolate ganache

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Rylee Dress Pattern Release

The delightful Rylee Dress Pattern I was honoured to test a few weeks ago (check out the full blog post here) has now officially been released!

You can buy it here and it's on special for only US$5 until Sunday (when it will go to it's regular price of US$8.95)

This really is a darling little dress, is so very versatile AND the pdf comes with girls sizes 2-12, so you can get years of use from the one pattern. As it doesn't have seperate sleeve pieces, View 1 (without the contrast pieces) is perfect for any beginner sewists, and is plain enough in design that you can add nearly any ebellishment. Maybe a ruffle (or 3) at the bottom, faux buttons down the front, any sort of neckline embellishment...... the list is endless. View 2 with the contrast fabric is great if you want to showcase a great piece of fabric and either dont have enough for the whole dress, or if it's just too busy for a whole garment.

Anyone who is in the market for a dress pattern for any age girl, I would recommend getting this one!

Dixie O'Dare

Monday, 10 November 2014

Christmas Decor... and an unwelcome visitor

So as I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to make quilted Christmas placemats and coasters for my table. I recently purchased a lovely round red jacquard tablecloth for my inside dining table and a rectangle green scallop edged table cloth for my large outside dining table. We have cork backed placemats and coasters which we always use to protect the indoor dining table, but as they are pink (actually we do have some new nicer ones that aren't pink, but I'm not ready to let people damage those yet), they clashed with my new table cloth (not everything/everyone can pull off red and pink together like me) So that was the thought process behind this most recent project.

The green scallop egded table cloth. It's a bit pilly, but for $2 I'm not complaining.

My dining table with my new christmas table cloth (also $2!)

I saw some lovely ones online like these quilted ones from etsy and also a tutorial for these Patchwork ones so I went to Spotlight one afternoon before my evening Tafe class to check out their Christmas Fabrics. I ended up buying 2 fat quarters each of 4 designs, both in 2 different colours. I stuck with Red and Gold as these are the colours I use on my Tree and in most of my christmas decorating.

Ironing all the fat quarters to start

The prints I got are polka dot, chevron, stars and snowflakes, each one both in gold on red and gold on off-white. I initially thought of patchworking them a little, but the Husband thought it would look best with a red side and an off-white side, in just the one print (and I happened to agree) So I got to measuring and cutting, and worked out I had more than enough to make 2 in each design (8 in total) so I can use 4 when inside, or the whole 8 when outside (or 6 or 2....)

I decided to go for fairly large placemats and coasters, with the placemats being 11 inches by 19 inches, and the coasters being 5 1/2 inches square. So to start with I cut out rectangles 12 inches by 20 inches. whilst doing this I discovered just how sharp my new rotary cutter is... Ouch!

Then I sewed around the 4 sides, leaving a gap of about 4 inches open on one of the long sides to turn it through and add the batting. Clipped the corners, and turned it through. For the batting inside the placemats I had half of an old mattress protector that I had cut up to use inside a baby quilt. I grabbed it out of my sewing room (it has just been sitting on my sewing table) and had it on the dining table, waiting for me to cut. I picked it up to show the husband what I would be using, unfolding it to show how much I had left, then bunching it back up to put back on the dining table, when the Husband asks me to open it back up again (I assumed he had noticed some of the missing quilting stitches or the slight yellowing in parts) but then he tells me to put it down, put it down now!

THERE WAS A BIG BLACK SPIDER ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I am happy to report that spider is now a smear on a tissue in the bin. But it still shook me up a bit, and I will definitely be more careful EVERY time I pick up a piece of fabric or item of clothing in my sewing room (in fact I have been already checking my clothes before I put them on, but now I'll be more pedantic about it)

This has been followed by several sleepless nights filled with spider nightmares :(
But luckily I have tomorrow off work, so I can sleep in

But anyway, I did end up cutting out pieces of the batting for all 8 placemats and coasters (there wasn't much left after) and inserting the batting through the gap left in the side seam. I top stitched around one of the placemats, but wasn't completely happy with how it looked, so the rest are all still sitting there with gaps in their seams, waiting for me to make up my mind. I will have to do some sort of stitching to fix in the batting, otherwise the first wash will make it all wonky. I think what I really want is gold thread to do the topstitching, but as I don't have any, it's not happening...... yet.

As they are now. I think I will just ladder stitch them closed for now...

I still have a fairly decent amount of the fabrics left over for another project. I just have to work out what that will be. A table runner, pot holders, tree ornaments, tree skirt, pyjama shorts, decorative tea towels.....

Now I will leave you with some more photos of our christmas lights


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Swirly Progress

So when I left you last, I had only sewed the darts on my swirl dress bodice pieces, but hadnt added any embellishments,  as I wasnt sure about the neckline. I have since cut off around 3cm from it. 

The lowered neckline, excuse the pins marking my bias placement

While still high on me, I think I might leave it at that, as the neckline is quite wide, so if I have it lower, I think I might risk the sleeves falling off my shoulders. So then I added my red bias tape as embellishment (which I picked up for 20c a roll from one of my local op shops, score!)

Op Shop treasure
Corner mitre

The mitres gives the bias this shape

Sewing the bias carefully around the neckline


And then I finally got to putting the bodice together, as per Beccie's instructions on her lastest post on Sew Retro Rose.

Starting with the ties.

Clipping the corner seams

Then the shoulder seams.

The shoulder seam, pinked and pressed

Then the side seams, which are a little unusual as you need to leave a small opening on one side for the tie. I confess, I forgot to do that bit, then just unpicked a section. I haven't top stitched around the opening as yet, because I might have to shorten the bodice a little bit (as I have a high waist)

All pinned up

Then the sleeve hem

1st fold, pressed

2nd fold, pressed

Now I have nearly a whole bodice (minus facings)

excuse the bad night time lighting, I took this last night.

Starting to get really excited about having a new dress!

As well as a few other ongoing projects, I have also decided on making quilted christmas placemats and coasters for my dining table (and maybe enough scraps to make a table runner as well) so that is what im hoping to spend this lovely saturday afternoon working on