Jun 30, 2012

What I've been up to

It's been a rainy and wintry first week of school holidays, some cabin fever and lots of sickness.  I've somehow managed to make a quilt top (no pattern, just made up) ready to be quilted in the future and I've planned and cut out a couple of matching quilts for the lounge room.

I sneaked in a little shopping for kitchenware at Aldi of all places on Wednesday.  I'm having a cast iron moment.  I threw out all my non-stick pans a a while ago and have been cooking with cast iron.  I'm loving it, and it feels good not cooking on top of all those chemicals.

I've had a few Le Creuset items for a while now:  enamelled skillet, Dutch oven and French pan and I loved them (even though they cost a fortune!).  Unfortunately the skillet didn't have the raw cast iron cooking surface that I was after, so I bought one from IKEA.  It's great, but when I saw one in the Aldi catalogue this week for $14.99, I couldn't help buying myself a blue one (the other colours have enamel interiors), two red roasting pans, a red 4L Dutch oven and a red 3.5L French pan.....all for under $100 - I still can't believe it.

My blue Le Creuset French pan cost more than $300 and the Aldi one $24.99 and I honestly can say that there isn't a huge amount of difference between them.  The manufacturers copy Le Creuset so well.  The Aldi pans have a more glossy exterior and the paintwork isn't perfect, the exposed cast iron on the skillet is a little rougher than the IKEA pan (it's quite beautiful) but it works well after seasoning.  I even made a rustic quiche in it:

Crofton skillet from Aldi and IKEA Senior pan at the back
Pastry came out perfect and didn't stick, I just wiped a little oil over the surface with a paper towel before I put the pastry in.  I will never use a flan tin again!  

I got excited and I wanted to try out the Dutch oven.  So I soaked some beans for a while.  The kids loved putting their hands in the bowl to play with the beans, so did I.

And then turned them into Vegetarian Chilli (without any chilli - blame the kids), cooked perfectly in my new red pot.

I've never bought anything other than bananas from Aldi before, so I'm quite impressed.  I'll have to keep a look out for what they have in the future (although I have enough cast iron now....unless they bring out a line of small saucepans).  The only dodgy part of my purchase was one of the roasting trays is a little dented on the side.  I got the last two red ones, so I don't mind - I love red.  I just need to find somewhere to put it all!

Jun 16, 2012

Three pairs in thirty minutes

Some more pants for my growing little one.  How quick were these!  Thirty minutes from start to finish, just using the overlocker.  Having already created the paper pattern back when I did the How to make a pair of pajama pants tutorial, it was pretty simple to increase the size by just adding a little all round when cutting the fabric.

Plaid brushed cotton from Spotlight.  Plaid always reminds me of cute Canadian Lumberjacks.  I made these a little longer (might need a turn up at the bottom) so they will last till at least spring.  That fabric is so soft.

Farting car print flannelette from Big W remnants.  My pregnant brain thought this print was cute.  Glad it's gone from the stash and will be soon outgrown.  It is fantastic quality though, almost veloury and not one little bit of piling after a wash.

I should be making some matching tops for these hey?  Mmm, I don't think I'm a top maker or maybe I just haven't found the right fabric.  Every top I make turns out weird and slightly short, even with a pattern.  Something to work on I guess.  I wish I had some orange stretch fabric.

Jun 15, 2012

I told you they were addictive

I knew I couldn't stop at one.  I just want to keep making them, they're just so satisfying to make.  I am envisioning many gifts, too bad if they don't like handmade.

Just needs the straps
The finished product:  Michelle Messenger Bag in Denim with Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie interior.

The denim looks like 80's blue in this photo

The proper denim colour
No melted strap on this one
To finish this bag I had to make a visit to Spotlight to get more webbing, it was a visit via IKEA of course.

More charcoal cotton (for another bag) and some pastel coloured large spot cotton (maybe another bag) with coordinating thin cotton for the interior.  Oh, and some of their thread - great stuff.  The fat quarters and webbing are from Spotlight.  The Spotlight at Logan is the cleanest and most well stocked of all the Spotlights I have ever been to, unfortunately it isn't my local one.

I couldn't pass up these patterns for only $1.80.  I needed a boxer short pattern.  Anyway, it's probably time to start making clothes again.  The littlest one has had a growth spurt so more pants are in order!

Jun 13, 2012

Messenger Bag Addiction

I've just completed my first shoulder bag ever.  I can't believe I've never made anything other than a drawstring library bag and I think I'm addicted.  This bag is just like a mini nappy bag - perfect for a quick trip to the shops/park/school.  It fits my gigantic wallet, nappy, wipes, phone, water bottle and assorted snacks easily with a couple of pockets spare for a book or a toy.

The pattern is the Messenger Bag by Michelle Patterns.  Absolutely fantastic, easy to follow instructions by the way!  I opted out of the front button closure and the flap stays down well.  I figure I can always sew on some VELCRO if it ever annoys me.

The exterior bag fabric is heavy charcoal coloured cotton from IKEA (I used less than half a metre).  The flap is a scratchy looking print from Spotlight.

The interior is black and white quilting cotton also from Spotlight (purchased last year).  I added a little loop to hook the house keys on so I never lose them.

I love the elasticised side pockets and the fact that it has batting between the layers, so it's quite sturdy and self supporting.

The only thing to remember is not to let your iron touch your polypropylene strapping, or you might get a melted triangle like mine!

Jun 2, 2012

Zig Zag Quilt Complete!

I've done it.  My first bed sized quilt is complete!  Measuring 71 x 87.5 inches it's the biggest thing I've made so far.  There have been some problems along the way though.  Striped sheeting bought for the back (which comes folded as it's 280cm wide) once unfolded had some lovely creatures + stains inside.  I really should have brought it back as it didn't fully come out in the wash, but I wanted to keep going with it.

Trouble pinning it together as there is nowhere in my tiny house big enough to lay it flat - it was done a bit dodgy-ly on my bed, resulting in a puffy back.

And choosing to change my quilting method from stipple to straight lines a third of the way though caused a lot of unpicking.

My one saviour was the Toyota Industrial straight stitch machine that lives in the garage.  She is so wonderful, I just wish it was smaller so I could fit it in the house.  I would have had heaps of problems with this quilt on my other machines - it's so bulky.  

Why do I have an industrial machine in my garage you ask?  

Well,  she came from the Can't Tear 'Em (Bonds) factory at West End that closed down a few years ago.  She was conveniently set up with a darning foot to make epaulets.  I just had to buy some feed dogs and a foot and she was ready to go.  Old, but perfect especially for the $120 she cost.  I'll have to take a photo of her in action one day.

Anyway, she flew through that straight line quilting in only a few hours.  It's not the most perfect job as there is no walking foot, but you can't notice after a wash.

Lucky I like the crinkled/puffy look.  The binding is gingham sheeting - which is great as there were only 2 seams to join.  The gingham sheeting is for the back of R's quilt.  It's going to be red, white and blue as well as I have plenty of leftover fabrics from this quilt.

This will be living on N's bed this spring, I just need to make a pillow sham to match.