Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Handmade 'Bunny' Baby Gifts

So, I have been quiet on the crafty posts of late, because the last few months I have been perfecting 36 french knots, 36 satin stitches, over 11m of hand done lader stitching, a similar amount of running stictch and a bit of machine work for good measure. Creating what you ask? One of the first sewing projects I have ever done, and I dare say it'll remain a favourite for sometime, even though it's not for me to enjoy ;)

Two dear friends are expecting babies in November/ December 2010 and so i set about to find a gift that was handmade and something different. I decided on a large muslin wrap with embeded applique that was shadow stitched by hand. As soon as I started this project, I fell in love with the bunny motive and the fabric, that I ended up adding an appliqued onsie and a glamorous and stylish 'chuck rag' to match. So, everything you see here, I did two of. I may be mad, but these two friends are very special and deserve the effort ;)

Steps to make the Wrap:
1. Cut two muslin pieces to size. You can make it any size you wish ( I opted for a much larger wrap than usual as most babies outgrow a 'newborn' size quite quickly).
2. trim off the salvage.
3. Pin together and using an ordinary bread and butter plate, use your water erasable pen to trace a rounded edge (don't cut off yet, leave untill the bias is sewn on).
4. Choose your applique shapes (I chose bunnies). Trace the shapes you need onto Applique wonder or vliesofix. Then cut out roughly, it doesn't have to be precise.
5. Iron onto the fabric (rough side of the vliesofix to the wrong side of the fabric).
6. Cut out the applique shapes on the line this time.
7. Peel the paper off the back of the shape and iron the fabric (right side up) to the muslin. For my design I placed two bunnies on the centre of each side (see picture) which used 8 bunnies per wrap (and an extra for the onsie).
8. Tack around the border of the WHOLE WRAP with a contrasting colour (i chose red) and make sure to also go around the two bunnies too (very rough running stitch to stop muslin from moving/ shifting during the proper stitching process....painful, but you'll regret it if you don't) .
9. Shadow Stitching: Now get some embroidery thread and running stitch around reach bunny. I used a goldy colour for the body and white for the tail. This is tricky as you need to see the outline of the applique to know where to stitch. To make this easier, I draped the muslin over a clothes horse and put a lamp underneath, made it very easy to spot the line I was sewing on.
10. Using a water or air erasable pen ( I preferred the later for this) draw on the facial features and for the bunny this meant 2 dots for the eyes a triangle shape for the satin stitch and a few dashes for the whiskers.
11. Do french knots for the eyes, a satin stitch for the nose and normal running stitch for the whiskers (of course, your stitches will vary if you choose a different applique motive).
12. This step is hard to describe in writing but i'll try my best. Now, grap 5m of satin bias tape and sew the inside crease along the border of the wrap and go along the rounded edges you marked with your blue water erasable texta. Once all of it is sewn together (you'll have to sew the ends of the tape together before attaching to the wrap too).
13. Then feel free to trim some of the corners of the muslin off.
14. Then using a normal white cotton thread, ladder stitch (so it's invisible and hidden inside the bias tape) the bias tape over the hem to finish it off.
15. Cut and remove the tacking thread.
16. Fold into a laundry bag and wash on a delicate cycle and then lay flat to dry. Iron if needed before wrapping up.

Steps for Onesie:
1. Cut out applique shape (as above) and iron onto the little junpsuit.
2. Hand stitch around the shape using same shapes on the wrap for the border and facial features.

Steps for 'Chuck Rag' (need a better name for this lol)
1. Cut out a rectangle from the fabric you used for the applique on your wrap and onesie. Can be any size as long as it's long enough to put over your shoulder).
2. Cut out same size rectangle from chenille (I chose white).
3. Iron.
4. Place right side together and machine stitch around the border leaving a gap on one side to turn inside out.
5. Turn inside out.
6. Machine stitch a little straight line, very close to the edge, along the gap to enclose it (i used my air erasable pen to mark where the gap was and save guessing).
7. Using your pen again, draw a rectangle that is about an inch smaller than the border.
8. Switch to a decorative stitch and follow the line, just to finish it off.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on some little projects that despite the many hours taken to create, were an absolute pleasure to make and a labour of love for two very dear friends of mine.
I am so glad I took the plunge to learn to sew this year, and I have loved learning many new stitches and techniques, especially in my sewing group with many combined years of experience!

Lauren x

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Delicious Brownies!

The best brownie recipe in my opinion is below. Compiled from a few different recipes and based on an old recipe card I found here is the base recipe:
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (40g) self-raising flour
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (125g) sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a square cake pan with baking paper.

  2. Put the dark chocolate and butter in a saucepan on low. Keep stirring for a few minutes until chocolate and butter are melted and silky. Remove from heat and set aside for 2-5 minutes to cool.

  3. Add the sugar and eggs to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

  4. Add the combined flours and cocoa powder and stir to combine.

  5. Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Pour mixture into your dish.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until brownie is still slightly spongey and gooey. Turn oven off and leave brownie cooling in oven.

After the sour cream, feel free to add extra's for a more delicious touch:

1. 100g of chopped dark choc or choc chips and 50-70g walnuts (depending on your taste).
2. 200g of crunchy peanut butter.
3. 70g macadamias chopped and 1 cup of white choc chopped or chips.
4. A few Tbls of Baileys (depending on taste).

If you try this with one of the extra's (I have only tried number 1 and number 4 so far), I would love to hear from you. These would even make a great homemade gift for someone, just add christmas wrapping touches for preschool/ school teachers or coaches etc....

Lauren X

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Craft meets Food - Just Delicious!!!!

Well, I have been so captured by this amazing talented and local lady who MANIFICINTLY combines two of my favourite things food/ baking and craftiness.

The amazing picture above are yes, you guessed it cupcakes! Hard to believe I know. But The Cupcake Gallery have an incredible talent for making some gorgeous creations! Hop over to their website or their facebook page and be in awe at their creations!!! I will stop typing now and leave you to have a look, cause you'll be amazed!


Lauren x

The Joy of Spring Gardening

Well, for those of us in Sydney, the weather has been quite unpredictable of late. As I sit here on a rainy Saturday night (watching Toy Story and having pizza with the fam) I had to show you these photos. I took the rubbish out and caught a glipmse at what this constant drizzle is doing to our humble herb/ veggie patch.
I know it's common sense, and something that's not new - but kids LOVE gardening. There is something so 'earthy' and pure about the idea of going out to the garden and picking your own produce. We have had herbs for a while, but some new plants have just taken off BIG time.

We don't exactly have a lot of space or a farm to fit massive amounts (yet), but I encourage you to plant some seedlings in your yard whether it's in a pot or in the ground. I find that the seedlings are cheaper to buy than more established plants but also 'take' better than the bigger ones. I find that the seeds take a lot longer and it's harder for the kids to be that patient waiting.

I would love to hear from you and if you have things planted in the garden. What have you planted? What worked and what didn't? What tips have you found helped you in your gardening attempts?

Lauren x

Baby Cucumber Plants

Yellow Capsicums (well they will be hopefully)


Monday, November 1, 2010

A delicious twist on an old favourite.

Today I have made a giant lasange as we are having friends over for dinner. How do you make lasagne different you ask??? Instead of a normal plain white sauce, making a roasted garlic white sauce instead!

1. Heat oven to about 200'C

2. Wrap a whole bulb of garlic in foil (you can add a dash of oil and S&P, but not necessary).

3. Place into the oven and slowly roast untill it's soft. It took me about 20 mins to do this, but it depends on your oven.
4. Remove from foil and set aside to cool.

5. By hand, remove a garlic clove one at a time and squish the insides into a bowl. Once all the gooey garlic is in the bowl, smoosh (a technical term - lol) with a fork.
6. Make your bechamel sauce as per normal ( have a look here for a recipe).
7. when mixing and whisking it through, add the mashed roasted garlic.

8. Then assemble your lasagne as per normal.


Lauren x


Related Posts with Thumbnails