Time just marches right on, doesn’t it? These days, I feel like I’m clinging on for dear life, finding calm by knitting whenever I can snatch a moment.

Winter is here, my first semester back at university is winding up, the children are growing. Frizzle is crowing. How things change.

blue sky

We’re having beautiful clear days at the moment – clear but freezing. It’s so tempting to stay curled up inside, but we’re trying to spend more time outside.

This morning we caught up with friends at the park. So much fun. Who doesn’t love a grown-up sized slide?


After naps (for the kids, not us – unfortunately!), we headed out into the garden. Let’s just say the yard has suffered since I’ve been back studying. It’s a total mess and there’s much to be done. We’re getting some fruit from our citrus trees – we’ve certainly got two lemon trees and an orange. I thought the remaining tree was a lime, but now I’m not so sure. I guess time will tell.


The chickens are well. Our babies from December are past point of lay now, with the two langshan girls laying. Our aracaunas are not yet laying, and now that it’s winter I suspect we’ll not see anything from them until September. Odd looking things. Dinosaurs with feathers, I reckon.


Out of our batch of six day-old chicks, we only had two cockerels – both of which have gone back to the breeder (one was headed for the Sydney Royal Easter Show, randomly. I must find out if he made it and how he went!). Of the two eggs we hatched in January, one was a langshan pullet – and then there was Frizzle, a polish frizzle. Our crazy looking chicken.

Frizzle 2

Frizzle, who got wry neck and I nursed for six weeks in our study, who finally convinced me to cross the line and bathe a chicken. Frizzle, who has started to crow. Of course, after all that work!


Murphy’s-bloody-Law! He’ll be heading back to the breeder as soon as we can take him. There’s no rule against keeping cockerels here, but there *are* neighbourly relations to consider. It’s not too bad, but in summer when sunrise is much earlier I’m sure we won’t be popular.

The other girls are doing well. I still love myself a fluffy butt.

fluffy butt

And the children? Well, they’re growing apace. Elena’s gorgeous and frustrating – sometimes in equal parts. She becomes more of a force to be reckoned with the older she gets. She keeps us on our toes.


That face cheeky? Never!

And this boy?

Hugo 2

Well, he has some marvellous news. Dear, gorgeous Hugo has learned to sleep, sleeping through the night for 20 out of the last 21 nights. The boy who’d not slept through more than two consecutive nights in his life. It’s a brave new world, I tell you. We still don’t feel rested, but we’re less exhausted than we used to be – and desperately hoping this is our new normal.


There’s a light at the end of that tunnel – and we’re pretty sure it’s not a train.

Posted in chickens, garden, raising children | 2 Comments

Corduroy birds

I’m a sucker for corduroy, a sucker for birds and a sucker for pinafores – so it’s only been a matter of time before they all converged in one garment.

corduroy boo gallery

Elena’s still quite the dress girl, but autumn here has been way too cold for bare legs and skirts. And also too cold for leggings or tights when playing outside (which they do a lot at school). I got it into my head we could get away with a pinafore over jeans, and I think it just about works.

boo designs gallery dress sleeveless

The pinafore’s sewn from Boo! Designs’ new Gallery Dress pattern. The pattern ranges from 12 months to size 10, with options for long and short sleeves as well as the sleeveless look. It can be sewn as a dress or a tunic, with either buttons, snaps or a zipper closure.

The dress came together well enough but I didn’t love the construction, to be honest. It’s possible the complicated approach to the back facing is necessary for inserting a zip, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see before I know for sure. I’m not sure if I made a mistake somewhere along the line or not (I did double check, pull it apart and do it again), but the button loops are far too big for my liking.

gallery boo dress back button

The best news is that, despite my reservations, Elena’s a big fan. Kid approval is a good sign (let’s not talk about the two beanies I’ve knitted that neither child will even try on…).

  • Pattern: Boo! Designs Gallery Dress.
  • Size: Size 3. It’s intentionally a bit big to leave room to grow (and a top underneath).
  • Fabric: Corduroy from Spotlight.
  • Variations from pattern: I used bias binding to face the inside of the dress hem. I wasn’t in the mood for turning and pressing.
Posted in Boo! Designs, clothes for children, sewing | 2 Comments

A dress for Elsa

Elena had a dress up day at school a little while ago. I asked her what she’d like to go as and the answer was predictable. Elsa! She wanted to be Elsa. I took a deep breath and a drive to Spotlight.

Elsa grace dress 1

The result? A Grace dress, in the required colours with a detachable cape. A crown from the $2 shop. Win.

Elsa grace dress frozenI winged the pattern for the cape – a rectangle (with rounded corners at one end) finished on three sides with a sewing machine rolled hem, with the raw short edge sandwiched between some bias binding-esqe fabric off-cuts. I sewed a hair elastic, chopped in two, into each end. It’s attached to the dress straps with buttons. It’s definitely not perfect, but it did the trick.

Elsa detachable cape frozen

Elena was delighted, and very excited to be one of the crowd of Elsas in her class. She was so hyper I couldn’t get her to stand still for pictures. She was too busy trying to turn me to ice.

The poor teachers – when I arrived at pick up time they were showing the kids the ‘Let it go’ film clip. Their reasoning? They’d had to listen to it all day, so we should have the same on the way home. Touché.


  • Pattern: Boo! Designs Grace Dress, self-drafted cape.
  • Size: Size 3
  • Fabric: Cotton sateen from Spotlight. Cape fabric from Spotlight too.
  • Variations from pattern: Nil.
  • Also sewn: Here.
Posted in Boo! Designs, clothes for children, sewing | 4 Comments

So, I think I should probably stop now

Elena finally has enough skirts for school!


These ones are adapted again from the Boo! Designs simple skirt pattern. I switched out the hem allowance for the binding. I’m a bit in love with this picot binding. And may have bought it in a variety of colours.

bindingrainbow skirt

Elena wanted me to take a picture in her new skirt. And then I got lots of photos like this.

silly billy

And this.


Self-styled, of course. She’s happy.

Posted in Boo! Designs, clothes for children, sewing | 5 Comments

Charlie dress pinafore

My gosh. We’ve had another one of those fortnights. I feel like I’m just hanging on for the ride, at the moment. Elena had a short bout of gastro, my parents visited, I’ve had a very bad gastro experience – and there’s been a bit of sewing snuck in along the way.

A Frizzle update too – he  (she?) seems to be on the improve and is about to start hanging out in his own little pen outside for the first time in a month. It has been a loooong month.


We’ve just had our first week of autumn here in Canberra – one of my favourite times of year. The skies are clear, the mornings are crisp, and it’s balloon spectacular time.

balloon spectacular 1

Elena wasn’t so keen on Yoda.

As the weather turns cooler, my mind turns to the children’s winter wardrobes. Elena’s still stuck in the dress/skirt rut, so I thought I should give pinafores a go this year. She can wear them over short or long sleeved shirts, over leggings, tights or pants. Basically, a dress for not-really-dress-weather.

I couldn’t find a pattern I liked so I decided to have a go at a slight Made by Rae Charlie dress pattern hack.

charlie dress tunic pinafore made by rae pattern hack

I altered the armscyes, trimmed down the yoke and took an inch of width out of the bodice and skirt. I bound the armscyes and hem with bias binding and added a pleated patch pocket (based on the great tutorial here).

patch pocket

I sewed this one on the tail end of my gastro bug – when I still couldn’t face food – so the sewing’s a bit dodgy but I don’t mind given I wasn’t even sure my pattern alterations were going to work.

charlie dress made by rae pinafore tunic

turn you into a frog

Elena and I went on a button finding hunt after I picked her up from preschool on Friday. As we were driving to the fabric store, I told her we needed to find some pink buttons for her new dress. ‘But Mummy, I want a green dress’, she piped up from the back seat….followed by peals of laughter. What a tricker! My cheeky girl is learning her mother’s dry humour.

cheeky girl

The fit is good, Elena is happy, and I’ve managed a coffee this morning. All is good.

double trouble

  • Pattern: Made By Rae Charlie Tunic & Dress Add-on – pattern hack as described above.
  • Size: Size 3
  • Fabric: Corduroy from Spotlight (in the stash from a sale a few years ago) and fabric for bias from Addicted 2 Fabric. Facing from a scrap sent by the lovely Fee.
  • Variations from pattern: Left sleeves off, altered armscyes, trimmed yoke facing, took width out of the bodice and skirt, finished armscyes and hem with bias binding, added a pocket.
  • Also sewn: I sewed the tunic up for this pair of pjs last year, and this nightie.
Posted in clothes for children, Made by Rae, pattern hack, sewing | 2 Comments

That day I crossed the line.

Our crazy little polish frizzle chick struggles on. I’m still not sure whether we’ve got a pullet or cockerel on our hands, but Frizzle’s certainly one cute chick. We’ve just hit the two week mark of wry neck. Frizzle’s grown heaps, and is eating and drinking well (with a little help). His (?) little neck still has it’s spasms when he gets stressed, but he is improving.

When he gets in a tizz he goes in backwards circles. It’s all rather upsetting – and gross, given he has been tracking his way over breakfasts of tuna and poached egg leftovers. We have a story about the stinky dinky winky wonky donkey. Friz would definitely be in the running for that mantle if it was open to chickens.

manky frizzle

Anyway, he’s been getting bigger and stronger despite the neck issues so I decided to give him a bath.

bath time

Elena sang a song as we dried our baby after his bath.


He’s much fluffier and sweet smelling now. Much better for chicken cuddles. Here’s hoping his health continues to improve.

fluff ball

I suspect today might go down as the day I crossed the line from (relatively) sane to crazy chicken lady.

Posted in chickens | 6 Comments

Skirts for my girl

Elena’s been insisting on on skirts and dresses for school so far this year. All her skirts from last year are getting a bit short for outside the house so I’ve been working on increasing her wardrobe.

contrasting twirly skirts

This range of fabric’s so happy and bright, I just fell in love with it when I found it during Addicted to Fabric’s December sale. For $10 a meter you really can’t go wrong.

skirt hem

Elena measures for a size 2 for this pattern, but I’ve sewn size 3 so they’ll last that bit longer. I’ve used the size 2 elastic measurement. I figure I can always pop new elastic in at a later date if the waist band gets too snug.

twirly skirt

Getting photos of this skirt on was a bit of a debacle. This was as good as it got. There are many attitudinal photos I won’t publish…I’m tempted though! Photos were cut short when Hugo emerged from the house with a punnet of cherry tomatoes – which had been safely in the fridge. We were all over it. I think we might give modelled shots a rest for a while.

This whole blogging thing’s meant to be fun for all of us, and I’m not going to push it for the sake of a good photograph. Doesn’t mean I won’t try to steal incidental pictures, though!

  • Pattern: Boo! Designs twirly skirt.
  • Size: Size 3 for my size 2 little one for room to grow (size 2 elastic measurement).
  • Also sewnhere.


Posted in blogging, Boo! Designs, clothes for children, sewing | 1 Comment

A bit of everything

The last week has had a bit of everything, but not too much Kid’s Clothes Week sewing. You know how it is. I get distracted.

I’ve been absorbed in chicken first aid. Our crazy Lucy/Lucas, who I’ve started calling Frizzle, has come down with a bout of wry neck which can be caused by a vitamin deficiency or head injury (and is apparently quite common in crested breeds). Frizzle is not only a white crested black polish chicken, it has the frizzle gene too. It’s going to look crazy upon crazy when it’s all grown up. Here, I am trying to dry him (has to be a boy after all this effort, right?) off after a tumble into his water dish.

frizzle wry neck

In any case, I’ve been looking after Frizzle and Eileen in the brooder for the last week, keeping up his water intake, supplementing with vitamins and feeding him tuna on the side. It seems to be working. Frizzle’s head’s been upright for much of the day.

And then, of course, Elena got her cast off. We were all relieved but she’s still reticent to walk which is making things stressful. She needs to use her leg to get her muscle tone back but needs lots of coaxing to even hobble around. I’d kind of had my mind set on the cast coming off as the end of this little adventure, but clearly that was a mistake.


And, you know, these two are constantly in cahoots.


I’ve been poking around in the garden, and joining in Ros’ Quilt Block Boot Camp (check it out over at Sew Delicious).

raspberry kiss block pink raspberry kiss block blue

So, you know, not really participating in Kid’s Clothes Week.

nightie charlie tunic dress

Except for this nightie, which you will have been watching come together ever-so-slowly if you follow me on instagram. The pattern is the Made By Rae Charlie Tunic with dress add-on. I’ve sewn it in flannel, size four for extra sleeping and growing room (Elena measures for size 3). I sewed the neck facing as per the pattern (though rounded base of the yoke). I skipped the sleeve and hem facings, and just used coordinating bias binding.

bias binding facings

I haven’t put it on Elena yet. I fear she’ll refuse to take it off and it’s way too warm for our current weather!

  • Pattern: Made By Rae Charlie Tunic & Dress Add-on
  • Size: Size 4
  • Fabric: Flannel (in the stash) and bias from Addicted 2 Fabric. Facing’s a mystery!
  • Variations from pattern: Rounded the base of the neck facing, and finished hem and sleeves with bias binding instead of facings.
  • Also sewn: I sewed the tunic up for this pair of pjs last year.


Posted in chickens, clothes for children, garden, Kid's Clothes Week, Made by Rae, raising children, sewing, stash | 3 Comments

KCW: It’s that time again…

It’s Kid’s Clothes Week again. Again! I can’t believe how quickly the months are flying by at the moment. There are already some amazing projects over on instagram if you search #kidsclothesweek.  My plans revolve around autumn and winter sewing, with a few summer skirts thrown in for good measure. Pinafores, pjs and pants.

In any case, I got to sewing last night and made my first Souffle skirt from Flosstyle. The free pattern covers sizes 1-5 and is a very quick sew. I think it took me a little over an hour from start to end.

souffle skirt

I quite like the style of this pattern. The paper bag waist is just a little bit different. I had intended to hem the skirt with picot-edge bias binding, but completely forgot until it was too late.


This skirt is made from another project’s left overs and my fabric was an inch short. To compensate I used width of fabric with one side seam instead of cutting two pieces and having two seams. It’s slightly odd, but I can’t see Elena caring. I sewed the size three length, with size two width and elastic.

I snapped some photos before Elena woke this morning.


With my assistant. And his cars.

The skirt is sweet. And perfect for ballet practise, apparently. Two sleeps ’til the cast comes off – and then she really won’t stand still!


  • Pattern: Flosstyle Souffle Skirt (free pattern)
  • Size: Size 3 length, size 2 width and elastic.
  • Fabric: Princess-print quilting cotton by Sugar & Spice Textiles, purchased from Spotlight.
  • Variations from pattern: Sewed with one WOF piece, rather than two cut pieces.
Posted in clothes for children, Kid's Clothes Week, sewing | 2 Comments

Mid-week in pictures

A busy week here. A relaxed public holiday making new friends and enjoying wine over lunch for the first time in…(what feels like) forever. Elena starting her preschool program, and enjoying it. Hugo running at a million miles an hour and sleeping through a few times. Me learning that if I turn my back in the garden, teddy will get a bath. I was lucky it wasn’t me.

There has been some sewing of skirts. A trip to the park with Thomas, Hugo’s new best buddy. Some fussing over chickens. Some knitting – but not enough. Trying to talk myself out of buying this pattern, which I rather like. Some pottering around the garden picking strawberries and blackberries, and willing the next round of raspberries to ripen. Looking at all the weeds which need pulling out. Some decluttering of bench tops which are almost clear. All up, pretty good.

Hugo with hose Hickory shoes garden tomatoes strawberries berries raspberries Hugo thomas teenagers

How is your week treating you?

Posted in mid-week in pictures | 3 Comments