Friday, June 28, 2013

Mollie's Chair : 14 Months!

14 Months

This month has been a big 'un, for us and for Mol.
This has been the month where walking has become the preferred mode of transport, where words like 'uh-oh!' 'Brubba!' 'Mum' are used in (almost always) the right context, and animal sounds are being conquered. Roooooar!

It has been the month where Mollie has learned how to find her nose, and other peoples' noses. Where she picks up her soft toys, hugs them tight, and pats them gently on the shoulder. Where she can do clever things, like putting the counters into the Connect 4 game, climbing up the onto the kitchen bench (and scaring the heck out of me!), hoping on and off her rocking horse (and making it rock) and eating a pottle of yogurt without assistance.

Her bond with her brothers grows stronger everyday. 'Brubba!'
They, both, now delight in carrying her around the place (she's nearly as big as Otto, so this is quite a feat for him!), sharing their food with her, fetching things for her, and watching out for her when they are playing outside. It warms my heart, so much. Long may it last!

Mol has really become a toddler this month, not just in the walking, but in her behaviour too. Her personality is really coming through (she is as nutty as the rest of us- love it!) and she is now such a part of our family! Grasping onto these days - they are going so fast!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Matariki Crafting Blog-hop : Upcycled merino tops.

I wanted to make something for this blog-hop, that would be used a lot. I'm so busy filling orders, that I felt a little guilty sewing something non-Croutons - the only way I could justify it was by sewing something that we genuinely needed.

If there's one item of clothing that never goes astray over Winter, it is merino tops. Am I right? They are pretty much the perfect item for layering, for both adults and kids. Not too heavy, but nice and warm.

I decided to my project would be a semi-tutorial on upcycling secondhand merino, into tops for kids.

With merino tops becoming more and more popular, the op shop racks are starting to have a greater population of them, too. If I see an adult's merino top, especially in a larger size, in good nick, then I nearly always snap it up. I generally pay no more than $5. This way, I always have a good stash for upcycling into clothing and hats for kids and babies.

For this project I used the 'Flashback Skinny Tee' pattern by Made by Rae, but you can use any t-shirt pattern you like. You can also make your own, by tracing around a tee your kids currently wear. There are some great tutorials for doing this on the net.

I cut the pattern pieces from the garments. I tried to use some of the details from the existing garments - the puff sleeves on the grey, and some seaming on the back of the red. I though that was a bit of fun.

Once I had cut out the arm and body pieces, I cut out some bands to use cuffs and bands around the bottoms and around the necks. For the red top, I also cut out a little collar (and a pocket I didn't end up using!)

 I used my overlocker to put the garments together, but you could do it with a regular machine (using a appropriate stitch and a ballpoint needle, of course!)

With the grey top, I added two little hearts cut from Tiny Happy fabric. I was really pleased with how it turned out. Love those sleeves!

The red top, though, was a bit of a fail.
I was one of those people at high school, who did their projects on the very last possible night. I always send swaps at the last possible minute, and I leave birthday presents until the day I need them. I tell myself it's because I work well under the pressure of a deadline - but, really, I'm just not very organised.

This top was a victim of that disorganisation - I left this project until this past weekend to do. And, in the rush to get it done, I cut out the wrong size pattern for the tops! Silly lady. The grey mernio was much finer, with a lot more stretch, so it's small but wearable. This red one is just too tiny.
(When she says 'skinny tee', she means it!)

Oh well, I'm sure I'll find a little lady to gift it to. As I said at the start, merino tops never go astray!

Thanks for joining me today! If you'd like to see some of the other posts in the craft-hop, head over to Tartan Kiwi for the full list, and more info.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mollie's Space (Photo heavy!)

We are, slowly, starting to do some little projects around our new home - and it is, slowly, beginning to feel like our own.

This week, I decided to get stuck into the kids rooms, have a good tidy up and move a few things around. It felt good to pack away a few real baby things - the cot bumpers, some of the toys that are no longer played with, and the mobile went, too, after I took these photos.

Mollie is starting to actually play in her room, rather than just following her brothers into their room all the time. I'll often find her pottering with her books and pulling things off the shelves. Her latest trick is climbing onto the rocking horse, clever little one! She sits and rocks back and forth - she'll be neighing and shouting 'giddy up', in no time!

(How cute is her cardigan? Knitted by the super clever Clare. Amazing!)

One of my favourite features of Mol's room is the wooden kitchen. We've had this since Aesop was 2. It is an ex-preschool one (Pintoy brand, I believe), gifted to us by some family friends.
The second, smaller, unit is a washing mahine, but I've turned it around so it works better as a shop counter. Otto is quite into playing shopkeeper at the moment, so we often grab the Eftpos machine out of the cupboard, find the toy phone, and set up shop.
Making cups of tea is a favourite, too.

This little nook, is where I feed Mollie. We sit here, snuggled up under a duvet, twice a day (or more, if she wakes in the night!). She will usually point to a toy on the shelf, and snuggle with it while she feeds.
The quilt is single bed sized - I made it while I was pregnant with Otto. I have not sewn a yo-yo since, and have no desire to! Haha.

(See that wee stack of wooden plates and bowls? I scored the whole lot for just $2 at the Sallies last week. I pretty much love it.)

I'm trying to surround my family with beautiful, vintage and handmade things. Mol's room is a great example of this - spot the Tiny Eyes doll, the Emmamakes kitten, a Deb quilt and various lovely vintage wool blankets.

A recent addtion to the room has been the tiny cluster of things on the wall. I hope to add to this as I find things - but, for the moment, it is a flower mirror Mol was gifted when she was born, a stunning Holly Hobbie embroidery I thrifted a few weeks back, and the 'M' from Stella's alphabet set.

Lastly, Mollie's bed. She's still not such a huge fan of sleeping here - I don't know why, I would love to have such beautiful bedding!
The vintage 'Love is..' sheet was a gift from my friend Amy, the bunny was made by the talented Helen and the vintage Heidi duvet was a lucky thrift find.

I'd love to paint this room, and change the curtains, but these things will have to wait a bit longer. We have other projects on the go/on the list that take priority!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Curvy Fashion Friday

I'm on time! Totally doing Curvy Fashion Friday on the right day! Huzzah!

I snuck out into the garden yesterday morning, while the kids were getting ready for school and Mainly Music, and set up the tripod. My lines (yes, I have three different places I hang washing!) were so full of hanging clothing, that there was no way to escape having it in the pictures. I had a wee fiddle on Picmonkey, in hopes of making it less of an eyesore but, really, it's a bit of a reality at the moment.
(I'm sure all of you have houses overflowing with washing, in various stages of done-ness, too. You feel  me, right?)

I'm wearing one of my all time fave dresses, gifted to me by my friend Amy. She has a matching one, in a slightly different colourway. Amazing. It is one of the best fitting dresses I own, and so ridiculously comfortable (very important!).
I'm wearing a homemade cowl, Glassons tights and Number One Shoe Warehouse boots (wish I had bought more pairs - so comfy and so hard to find boots in my size, that I like!).

The kids soon realised I had disappeared, and came looking for me.
'Mum, I need a photo of my tiger!'
Washing and kids.. couldn't sum up my days much better than that : )

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tiny Eyes and a revelation.

A little while ago, Dee invited me (and 6 other wonderful creatives) to design a Tiny Eyes doll. Eeep!

I jumped at the chance, of course.
But then the nerves started.
What will she wear?
Hooooly, the other designers are amazing!
What if I design a doll noone wants?

It turns out, it's really hard to design a doll!
I had so, so many ideas, it was really hard to decide quite which one to use.
I, initially, thought about doing a doll that looked exactly how I would like to look - tattoos, cute hair, peach and grey outfit, woollens, leather boots..
But, I reminded myself, I was asked to do this as Croutons, not as Rhiannon.

I had to think, long and hard, about what would best represent my brand.
(Sounds so flash calling it a brand!)
I decided, in the end, that the doll needed to be child-like. She needed bright, pretty colours. She needed vintage florals and polka dots. She needed a Croutons item of clothing, and a she needed a brooch, too.
She needed to be ridiculously sweet, with a little bit of quirk. Just like Croutons!

It's been really helpful, defining exactly what my brand looks like.
I feel a little like I have strayed from my 'look' a bit, in the past few weeks. I've had some custom orders for hoodies, that really haven't fit into my vision of Croutons. It's been good, and we've needed the money, but I'm really looking forward to taking a break from custom orders, and getting back to my own aesthetic, in the next few weeks.
Putting together the fabrics, choosing the colours and textures, is pretty much my favourite part of creating kidswear. I love putting that little bit of quirk in there - I don't get quite the same amount of joy with custom orders ( especially when I'm having to track down modern fabrics, in patterns I don't even really like!).
Turns out the 'feel' of Croutons comes from my eye for fabrics! I need to remember to run with that!

(Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly grateful for any and all orders, the money and the love are gratefully accepted! I'm very thankful to be able to do what I do, and have it pay some bills is even more awesome.)

Matariki Crafting


I'm taking part in a wee Winter-themed 'Blog Hop', hosted by the clever Tartan Kiwi, over the next two weeks.
This is the first time I've taken part in such a thing, and I'm still not 100% sure how this all works, but it looks like it'll be a bit of fun.
Each day, a different blogger will present a wintery craft project on their own blog. At the end, there will be a chance for others to share the link to their own craft and win some sweet prizes.
You can check out Juliet's blog for more info.

The line-up is as follows:
We've set up a little blog hop to give you some ideas for winter crafting projects. Make sure you visit the following people on their days:
Tuesday 11th June- Lisa - Big Little
Wednesday 12th June - Louana - NZ Green Buttons
Thursday 13th June - Stella - The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse
We'll have a wee break over the weekend so you can catch up on anything that you missed!
Monday 17th June - Laura - HOOTNZ
Tuesday 18th June – Rhiannon - Toast and Life (That's me!)
Wednesday 19th June - Dee - Dee*Construction
Thursday 20th June – Miriam – Create Hope Inspire
Friday 21st June - Leonie – Sunshine x 3
Another break over the weekend
Monday 24nd June - Roz - Squiltz
Tuesday 25d June – Holly- Hollymayb
Wednesday 26th June - Juliet- Final round-up and Linky Party!!!
Wednesday 10th July- Linky Party Closes
Friday 12th July- Prize winners announced

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June Themed Dinners #1 - Easy peasy picnic

When Abraham and I first met, as teenagers, we spent a lot of time having picnics.
We would head to the supermarket and load up on super cheap shaved ham, cheese rolls, orange Deep Spring (remember that stuff? Favourite drink ever!) Willy Wonka Chocolate (remember that, too?) - and head to one of the local schools' playgrounds. We would sit there for hours, talking and just hanging out. It was there that we got to know each other (and fell pretty head-over-heels).

Picnicing has been a theme throughout the entire time we've known each other.
It just makes sense that we'd share this with our kids.

We kept this theme night very simple - almost a 'night off', but not quite.
We laid out our fave picnic blanket, a beautiful hexagon quilt I found at the op shop for $5. Some of the hexies have seen better days, which makes it perfect - I don't feel bad about putting it on the ground, but I'm so pleased we can give it regular use!
We made some hot chicken and salad rolls (I coated strips of chicken in breadcrumbs and chicken stock. Nyum) and filled bowls with mixed nuts, bbq kettles and peanut M&Ms. We made soda stream with Barkers cordial (closest thing we can find to Deep Spring!).
We popped on some Ben Harper. This album is definitely the main feature on the soundtrack of our first six months together. I still adore it just as much, 13 years later.

This was our first theme night with one family member absent, which was really strange. Even stranger than I expected it to be.
Aesop chose, at the last minute, to go and stay at his friends place, instead of hang out with us. I must say, there was a twinge of sadness when he made his choice - though I didn't let him see that. He is getting to an age now, where he is beginning to go out and do things on his own. He is scooting to and from school alone, and spending more time with friends etc. Growing up so fast!
It makes me feel even better about doing these theme nights - before Aesop is too old to want to get involved in them!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

May Themed Dinner #5 - Minecraft! (With terrible photos..)

(Disclaimer: It is very hard to photograph things in UV light - please forgive the terrible photos! Next time, I promise, I'll google how to do it properly. Hah.)

Our fifth, and final, themed dinner for May was one the boys chose - Minecraft.
It's certainly not a theme I would choose, and this one proved pretty difficult to plan for. I have never played Minecraft, making it hard to know what it's all about, and all the parties I found with this theme online really only had sweet, party foods. I didn't want to serve my kids just candy and watermelon for dinner!

We decided, as always, not to stress too much about sticking to the theme.
We splashed out and bought a UV light at Bunnings, that was to be the main feature of the decor. We picked up some cheap, plastic plates at The Warehouse, and broke out the highlighter pens.
Abraham wrote 'Don't mine at night' on pieces of white paper - so that the message was only really visible once the blacklight was turned on.
(We also ended up drawing all over our hands and arms with the pens - so much fun, to have day-glo tattoos!)
Abraham also made a wee diorama with the Lego, and Aesop drew some of the characters from the game and popped them on skewers. The animal puzzle pieces were a last minute addition by the boys.
We listened to Aesop's collection of Minecraft songs, on his Ipod. Did you know that there are Minecraft versions of lots of popular songs? It's a strange phenomenon.

(That's a square apple on that there pie. Or, at least, it was meant to be.. hmm.)

For the actual meal, I cut up salad into squares (lettuce, carrot, beetroot and cheese - kid salad!) and we had minute steaks and coated chicken drumsticks. We at with our hands - Aesop tells me there is definitely no cutlery in Minecraft!

For dessert I decided not to just serve up whole apples, or other fruit. I decided to make Talia's apple pie. It was DIVINE. (Only thing I'll say, is that if you don't make her pastry.. if you're lazy like me.. then buy flaky pastry, rather than short sweet. It was pretty darn sweet!).

After dinner we played the guessing game, with the little bits of paper stuck on foreheads. The UV light made it a bit fun, and we had a few giggles.
I think perhaps the game would be easier with kids even older than ours, though. Heh. Otto was pretty confused and his questions were 'Is my sister still Mollie?' and 'Is Dad still my Dad?'. Cute.

We've decided on our themes for next month. We hmmed and uhhed about taking a break, but I'm really loving not buying takeout, and also loving the idea that we might be inspiring a few other people to have themed dinners of their own.
Have you dined in theme, lately?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Curvy Style Friday (Only one day late!)

I finally found some sunshine to take photos in! Huzzah!
In celebration of the teensy bit of sun, I donned my fave vintage dress. It's so rare to find a dress that fits beautifully - especially when you're a larger size (and especially when you don't have a large bosom to match!) - so this has been one of my all-time favourite finds. I'm hoping to get a pattern taken from it, so I can make a few more before Summer.

This brooch is one that belonged to my Grandpa in Wales. He, like me, was a bit of a hoarder. He collected costume jewellery, among other things, and Mum and Dad brought back a few things for me when they visited after he passed away. I don't often wear the pieces, I try to wear soft jewellery while I'm breastfeeding and often have a babe in arms. I do look forward to bringing them out a bit more often in the next wee while, though.

Blue cardi - The Warehouse
Vintage dress - TradeMe
Forest green tights - Glassons (LOVING them, even if some cooler people think they're too 90's!)
Black flats - The Warehouse
Brooch - My Grandpa.

Please excuse my weedy gardens beds - I'm not quite ready to plant them out, and the weeds help to deter the cats from doing their business in our vege patch! Stinky cats!