Tag Archives: gifts

The birthday decisions

The middle chick’s birthday has arrived, which means that I can report on the gift making and decisions! Of course the most important thing to report is that the chicks are home again, safe in the nest. It is delightful to have them back, but very noisy!! I was woken several times in the night by different ones at different times, and then woken very early yesterday morning by the birthday girl who wanted to remind me that we needed to ring her cousin, who she shares a birthday with. I mumbled something suitable (which, I regret to say, was not “Happy Birthday darling”) and went back to sleep. However by 7.30 they had all been woken and presents were presented and admired and enjoyed. (The return to ‘normal hours’ tomorrow is going to be a shock for their mother!)

After my list making last week I decided to make her a kindle cover,

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and to make her a space of her own. She is currently occupying the top bunk, so a curtain,

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a shelf for her treasures and a fabric bucket (that can be hung) to assist in the collation of those treasures (well – to attempt to keep things tidy really),

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and a pin board (not covered in fabric I regret to say) were the contributions to her own space. She is thrilled! Unfortunately the kindle cover is too small (that will teach me to rely on measurements online instead of measuring the device before she left!!) but I have my technique sorted so will make another one with no problem, and she assures me that she will find things to use it for!

Other gifts she received that had the big tick of approval, that might prove useful ideas for anyone else looking for 9 year old girl present suggestions included a gift voucher to do a cooking class, tapestry and cross-stitch kits, and a Science kit – equipped to grow micro-organisms, isolate DNA, and various other experiments. Oh – and her father bought her a camping chair of her own – a Moon chair – that she is delighted with!

Because her father was in town for one more day he was able to take her, the other chicks, and her best friend, bowling for the afternoon, and then in the evening we all went out for dinner, with another family who are great friends of ours, for Teppenyaki – the birthday girl’s request. We very rarely go out for dinner because once we factor in the dietary restrictions, the boy’s excess energy, my usual state of exhaustion, and the expense, it isn’t worth the effort. However it was such a successful outing that we will do it again! The entertainment factor of Teppenyaki helped, with speedy quick chopping, flames, food catching, and general hilarity.

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Their father stayed the night with us before flying out early this morning.  I had one of those delightful reminders about the advantages of not being married to him anymore when his snoring from the boy’s room, where he was sleeping on the trundle (the boy was soooo excited) kept me awake!!  Ah well, you have to laugh!

I can also report that my birthday, after my initial ambivalence, was just delightful! I ended up having impromptu wine with a dear friend at the pub down the road and as the weather was perfect we were able to sit outside and enjoy it. Then dinner out was with another beautiful friend, at a very trendy restaurant called Eighty Six where we let the waiter pick the food for us, with the instruction that we needed room for dessert! He did a superb job and we had a smoked ocean trout salad with poached egg, followed by a lamb ragout with gnocchi. That left room for my dessert of crème brulee with drunken prunes and pistachio biscotti, and hers of lemon curd with elderberry jelly, yoghurt gel and something else that I can’t remember!! Combine that with some wine, a hard lemonade (in other words lemonade with booze in it) and I was in seventh heaven! Didn’t take any photos (was being cool after all) and had a lovely time enumerating the good things about our advanced ages. We both decided that our decidedly reduced care factors were one of the best things about getting older!

Of course what would one of my random blog posts be without an update on my ‘to-do’ list? I can report that the boy’s room was returned to a sensible state, including some sorting of the toy boxes. His wardrobe was cleaned out and changed over for summer. The presents for the middle chick were completed (without me going overboard for once!). The other things? Not yet. But the weekend is not finished yet!

I hope that your weekend is going well.  The weather here is delightful – hopefully you have the same!

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Friday finds – a list of DIY gift ideas for a 9 year old girl with links to tutorials

Oh dear. The middle chick turns 9 next week and I am drawing a blank about what to make for her (let alone buy for her!) Last year I made her bunting with her name on it, and a creativity suitcase. This year? I am just not sure! So I decided to prepare a list of the links I find and share them with you in an effort to find inspiration for myself! Let’s hope it works!

Hair accessories

These days my nearly 9 year old is very fashion conscious.  She puts together her own outfits with more style than many adults – layering colours, textures and different fabrics to create her own ‘look’.  I think that some hair accessories to assist in her styling wouldn’t be out of order!

Interchangable ruffle headband – Funky Polka Dot Giraffe

Hair accessories – Life and Grace

Hair Accessories – Style My Party

IP-HAIR-ACCESSORIES

Rolled Ribbon Rosette Hair Accessory – Mom Advice

Home décor

Part of developing her own style means that my nearly-nine year old is a ‘tween’.  So it is time to update the bedroom décor and let her have her own space to express herself.  Some of these accessories might just do it!

Alphabet cushion – Hobbycraft

Fabric covered magnetic board – Riley Blake Designs

Fabric buckets for storing ‘things’ might also be useful as part of a ‘makeover’ – see the list I prepared earlier! Friday Finds – a list of 23 tutorials for fabric baskets and buckets

Fabric Covered Pin Board – The 36th Avenue

Reading Nook – Club Chica Circle

Clothing

Hmmmm….. perhaps making her some things that fit her ‘style’ might work!  With summer coming on she definitely needs a new hat – and is very picky about what she will and won’t wear.  Perhaps if I make one with funky fabric that might work!

Reversible Bucket Hat – Oliver and S

The other thing about summer is that she wants to wear shorts – all the time.  So perhaps I need to make some of these for her (adjusted to her size of course!)

25 DIY shorts to try – Cameo Blog

Or a skirt?

25 Girls Skirts Tutorials – Every Little Day

Technology accessories

Like so many young people my tween has an embarrassment of electronic gadgets.  A cover to assist in protecting them would be just the ticket (and in fact now that I remember, something that she has been asking for!  Yes, yes – insert the embarrassed face of a forgetful mother here!)
Kindle Cover – Diary of a Young Teacher

Padded Gadget cover – Riley Blake Designs

Ipad Cover with wrap around Pocket – Sewn Up by Teresa Down

Under

Gadget Pouch – WhipUp

iPod Case – WhipUp

Kindle Keeper – Polka Dot Chair

And to assist with the earphones that I keep finding tangled in a heap!

Earbud Pouch – Erin Erickson

A list of iPad and Kindle cover tutorials – TipNut

Things of her own

My middle chick loves to have her ‘own’ things now rather than sharing in the communal household things.  She also loves to ‘borrow’ her mother’s heat pack for all sorts of imagined ills….. so maybe she needs her own!

 Heat Pack – Fellow Fellow

She does have a large amount of pencil cases, but when you are the artist-in-residence you can’t have too many!

Pencil roll – You Go Girl

Notebook Cover – Sew Up by Teresa DownUnder

Although she already has one of these, I need to share the link again as it is such a wonderful gift to make for an artist person!

Creative Suitcase – WhipUp

She does love to cook and create in the kitchen so perhaps this is required!

Chef’s Hat – WhipUp

My tween also likes to complain that she can’t sleep – so this would be a great addition to her accessories!

Sleep Mask – WhipUp

Shower Cap – WhipUp

The good news is that after spending the last hour or so preparing this list, I DO know what I am planning to make for my middle chick!  Now to see if I can pull it off before she returns from her holiday!  I hope that the list helped you a bit too!

Friday Finds – A list of 30+ free tutorials and patterns for wallets and pouches

Staying with the theme of the last few weeks Friday ‘lists’ today I bring you a collection of free tutorials and patterns for wallets, pouches, clutches and purses. With the wonders of the English language what is considered a ‘purse’ in some countries is a ‘wallet’ in others, and a ‘tote’ in others. No wonder some non-English speakers struggle to learn to speak English fluently – many English-as-a-first-language speakers have the same trouble!

I love little purses/pouches/wallets. First of all they are a great way to show off scraps of fabric from your stash that you just can’t bear to part with, and secondly they are fantastic at helping to keep you organised. Since I started sewing bags my handbag wardrobe has grown dramatically – and in changing bags I often forget to move some important thing from one bag to the next (you know – lipstick, my work pass, migraine medication, cash…..). After making some zip-pouches for friends and custom orders recently it has occurred to me that I should actually make some for myself to hold these bits and pieces in and then changing bags will be as simple as taking the pouches out and putting them in the next bag. Of course the hard part will be working out which fabric to use…..because I have so many pieces I love!   Sigh – as I often say, if these are the worst first world problems we are faced with, our lives continue to be amazing!

The beauty of these patterns is that by changing fabric and changing sizes you can make pouches for children, teens, women, men, to be used for all sorts of purposes.  Great for whipping up last minute gifts!

So – here is a collection of patterns and tutorials provided by generous bloggers to inspire you and me!  I have organised them into zipped, wallets, and ‘other’ (yes – I am a genius).  Many of them are similar, but as always, each sewist brings their own tips and tricks to even simple tasks, so I hope you can find one that resonates with your style!

Zipped

Nesting Zip Bags

Front Zip Pouch in Four Sizes – Sew Mama Sew

Simple Zip Pouch for Beginners – Sew Delicious

HPIM5465

Dumplings – Michelle Patterns

Open wide Zippered Pouch Tutorial – Noodlehead

Flat Zip Pouch Tutorial – Listen to the Birds Sing

Sketchy Pleat Clutch – Charm Stitch

Embellished Pouch Tutorial – Polka Dot Chair

How to Draft a Pattern and Make a Zippered Purse with a Flat Bottom – Sew Together

Basic Zipper Pouch – See Kate Sew

Triple Zip Pouch – A Quilter’s Table

Rosy Wedge Bag – Made During Quiet Time

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The Bella Clutch – Clover and Violet

34 Final-Pouch-Open

Zippy Pouch – with a zipped inner pocket – Sew Happy Geek

Pieced Polka Dot Pouch – All People Quilt

How to Make a Zip Pouch without Dented Corners – Michelle Patterns

Lil Cutie Pouches – Noodlehead

Half Circle Zippered Pouch – Lula Louise

Lined Zippered Pouch – Flossie Tea Cakes

Oil Cloth Zip Pouch – Zaaberry

Zippered Pouch (using Laminated Cotton) – How To Sew.Com – Better Homes and Garden

Zips Pouch – Zipit Zippers

Zippered Heart Coin Purse – A Creative Princess

Zippered Ear-Bud Pouch – Erin Erickson

Pleated Zipper Pouch – Melly Sews

Wallets

DIY fabric wallet 6 card slots, coin pocket, bill slot, receipt slot

The Perfect Wallet – Color Me Domestic

Bi-Fold Wallet – Modest Maven

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Wallet Tutorial – That*Darn*Cat

Accordion Wallet – Little Quack’s Craft

Organiser Wallet -LBG Studio

“Other” – Clutches and purses!

LSC frame pouch

Flexi Frame Pouch – Where the Orchids Grow

Zip Pouch Tutorial – Creating my Way to Success – This one is a bit different – it has pockets inside and can be used as a first aid kit, a sewing kit, etc.

Black and white mini open

Mini-Wallet Tutorial – 7Layer  Studio

Mini-Clutch Tutorial – Our Busy Little Bunch

And finally – if that list doesn’t suit your needs, the delightful website Tip Nut has a list of 30+ makeup bags and rolls, and most of the makeup bags are perfect for use as wallets, pouches or clutches.

All Wrapped Up has yet another list of clutches, purses and wallets (about 24)- most different from my list and from Tip Nut’s list.

A huge variety of free patterns and tutorials to provide us with so many ideas!  I think I need to start buying zips in bulk!

Happy creating!

Lessons learnt

I am laughing at myself right now. In my last post I was apologising a bit for sewing things that weren’t on my February “To Do” list – but in fact everything that I sewed WAS on the list! I was looking at the list written on a scrap of paper at home, and not the one I publicly shared! So in fact I am doing really well at addressing my list right now!!

I also answered my own question of ‘to-crochet-or-not-to-crochet’ on the pillowcases I made – if I had to ask, then the answer was ‘no’. My wise friend Jo pointed out that there is something about bunting and crochet that doesn’t work – neither of us know why but we both agree on that point! So I listed them in my shop today, after taking photos in the lovely sun – and a friend snapped them up straight away! So I might need to make some more.

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Finally I am laughing at myself for forgetting the very simple rule – people read blogs. So some of my staff knew why I was at work having a chat, before I had told them in person, and one of the lovely teachers at my children’s school, who also loves fabric, was very tempted to call me after I announced that I should get stuff done, if only the school didn’t ring….. Good lessons to learn with no damage done and much laughter.

I have been sitting and admiring my delicious stash of fabric a bit, and was inspired to make this up during the week. Again, it has been snapped up, so I will make more using this lovely blue paisley.

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As I gear up to return to the office on Monday I am trying very hard to maintain my carefully won balance and not feel that I have to frantically sew to get things done before Monday – and it is working. Last night I had a lovely evening with a friend, some great Asian takeaway, and decadent ice-cream. When the power went out due to a storm we just turned on a torch and kept giggling and sharing. No sewing to be seen!

I had a list of things to be done this weekend – including three presents for my children to give to their friends at parties they are attending. In my mind I was planning to sew each gift, but this morning I sensibly went shopping and bought small gifts. The artist in residence was attending her best friend’s birthday party and I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to make something for this little person who has a special place in our life – but we fixed that when we realised that a bird softie that my daughter had been making would make a perfect gift to accompany the purchased gift. So a very special handmade gift was delivered instead.

Having found some time to attend to other things (like housework) I then sat down and whipped up two simple pencil rolls (making up my own pattern) for the party that the boy is attending tomorrow (for two classmates), to accompany the small gifts I bought. I am quite happy with them and think that I will make some more for the shop.

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I also unpicked and altered a gift for my friend who has a special birthday tomorrow – and am now much happier with it. Taking time to do it right instead of just ‘okay’ feels good.

The return to work is a little daunting because, since my last post, it has been confirmed that I will take on a new role, beginning on Monday. I have also discussed my wish to work different hours, subject to finalising my before-school care arrangements, and they are supported. So the idea of a new position, which involves leading a service delivery area (something I haven’t done before) is exciting but also challenging. The idea of starting work early each day and then finishing at 3 in order to collect the children from school in person is wonderful, but I am apprehensive about finding the balance at work. All in all, I am sure that once I am there and have moved into my new office and remembered all my passwords etc I will be fine – but the anticipation of new things does have me thinking about work a bit more than normal!

Of course while I was in the office I managed to talk to one of my colleagues about a bag that she wanted…..and then came home and made it. Although it fits the description of what she asked for I am not happy with it yet, so think that it might be the next thing to be unpicked and re-shaped – the flap isn’t sitting quite where I want it to and the bag is a bit deeper than I think it should be. Back to the drawing board!

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Finally, an amusing sight while the kids and I stopped to find a geocache on our way home this evening. To find it we had to pass an administration office, and in the window, on the side of a tissue box, was this sticker, that the children loved!

geocaching

I am not sure if you can read the sticker, but apart from making it clear that this is a geocaching friendly environment, the small print says “Where else can you use billion dollar satellites to find plastic containers in the bush?”

I hope that any lessons that you have learnt this week are positive!
(My other lesson is to post more regularly so that my posts aren’t this long!!)