Housewife, cheapskate, crafter, mum. Trying not to go crazy, trying not to go broke.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Town

I love this painting.  It was painted about 150 years ago, but it is exactly how it looks to me now when I go for my nightly walk in summer.
   I feel at home with my town now.  Sometimes, like me, she is small and plain, sometimes clear, sunny, brilliant and  sometimes blustery, dirty and biting.
  I have a place here.  Memories of childish icy bare feet on wet asphalt.  First love in a yellow paddock of long swishy grass.  My best friend fastening my wedding dress in my mother's house.  Driving streets by rote to my father's raspy-breathed death.
   We interred my father's ashes today.  It was dark and low in my town today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Creative Space

THE WHITE CLOUD came over to give me an hour sanity break, so naturally I went straight to the op-shop to find some things to play with!  (Clockwise from top left)
  1. Retro belt, perfect to wear with my royal blue 'Screamstress' jumpsuit.
  2. Skulls nightie, begging to be made into a flip skirt, for roller derby.
  3. Post-menopausal striped top in lovely soft cotton, perfect for derby shorts. (Already completed last night! See previous post)
  4. Lime green nylon kids tights that looks so much like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" that I hardly have a choice BUT to make them into caterpillars.
  5. Fabulous huge black glossy buttons for plush squids' eyes.
  6. Red with green flowers singlet top. 
For lots of other creative ideas, go on over to kootooyoo!

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    The Long and the Shorts of It

     This top was an ugly shape, but the fabric was a vibrant stripe in a beautiful soft yet thick cotton. 
    One pattern piece, two seams and a waistband later, perfect roller derby shorts!
     In summer I cut the legs off some 50c jeans to make shorts.  I know fabric has no feelings, but I always feel bad for the cut-off, cast-off, out-cast pieces. 
     This time it was a good thing, because I whipped them up into jeans for Little S!  (Mess in background model's own)

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Who's Afraid of the Multigrain Rice?

    I've been raving about my new favourite thing, my multigrain rice, to my friends, but it seems they're too scared to try it!  So here's a pictorial tutorial!
    Here is how it starts off
     And heres how it ends up after you've slowly simmered it for about half an hour, its almost the consistency of minced beef.  Put plenty of water in because it will absorb at least 3 times its volume.  You can simmer it in the microwave on 80% power, or do it on the stove.  (Just don't put it on the stove and then go into the computer room and forget all about it, because thats just silly and dangerous.  I'm guessing, its not like I do that...)

      So once its done you can do whatever you choose with it!
    If you add egg, breadcrumbs and spices (pepper, cumin are my faves) it makes a really tasty vegie burger for the barbeque.
    But tonight we've gone for nachos.  All I've done is fry the multigrain rice in a frying pan, added Mexican spice with a little extra water, then put the lot on some corn chips (or Grainwaves for me because I am a little more health conscious than Panda), topped with cheese and baked in the oven for 20 minutes.  When it comes out we put salsa and some extra light cream cheese on top, and eat it from the coffee table in front of the TV!  Good times!

    Retro Sheet Party Dress

    The party dress fashioned out of one of my retro sheet finds turned out pretty well, of course it pales in comparison to this little girl I'm madly in love with!
    The "Jennifer Love-Hewitt" pose...
    and I just thought this one was funny!   Adoption day at the barefoot orphanage!

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    The Panda is Back!

    There's no petrol in my car, even though I haven't driven it, my last breakfast fruit has been moved or eaten, and it looks as though a raccoon has scattered the clean washing all over my bed.  No, no raccoons, the Panda is back!

    I love that he's back, but I got so much sewing done while he was away!  Three long sleeve tops with my op-shop fabric,
    and I finished off my "Cuddle-fish".  At first I thought "what the?  I've created the ugliest, oddest thing, I'm not sure I can give it to a baby".  Turns out though, it is kind of cuddly, and the spawn have taken to it.  Now for some reason I'm thinking 'tadpoles'.  Don't ask how the mind of a Screamstress works, cos nobody knows :).

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    My Creative Space

    I'm currently working on a toy cuttlefish in the Happy Shorts fabric, inspired by this weird and beautiful deck of cards...
     Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty quilt, made for Mum, including pieces of Dad's shirt...
     and from last week's space, our seeds are actually growing!

    Check out more "creative spaces" over at kootooyoo!

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Gotta Love a Card Playing Squid!

    I don't know... Flattie the Happy Flounder turned out a little bit odd... he might have to find a special person who can love him the was he is.
    I picked up this deck of playing cards for $1 at the op-shop, just as I was leaving, thinking that the spawn might use them for counting games.  What a surprise I got when I discovered the beautiful pictures!  I was a bit worried when I first saw the 'amphibious' suite, I thought "What are those?", then I realized they were spawn! (and tadpoles)  Ha! Ha!  Also, gotta love a card playing squid!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    A Good Day - and a Fabulous Pizza

    As an At-Home-Mum I sometimes feel invisible.  That's why I 'get' this blogging thing.  When you have a trial, or a triumph, its nice to tell someone, its nice to share and feel seen.
      When I stood cold footed and foggy in my kitchen making toast, and tried to take a swig of coffee from the jam jar, I didn't know that today would be a Good Day.  We made muffins and decorated them in three shades of awful.  The spawn ate the icing off and left the rest on the barbeque.  We ran around a playground, we came home and watched some TV.  Pretty ordinary, but then, a day without tears (my own) is a good day, and I'm proud of the way I'm coping by myself.
       And then dinner, a TRIUMPH!
      I tried a new recipe for Pizza Crust with only four ingredients including beer.
    I poked, punched and pushed it into a pizza tray.
    Painted it with sauce, 
    topped and baked it,
    I was the only adult to eat it... and it was MARVELLOUS!

    Easy Easy Pizza Crust (Thanks to
    3 cups flour, 1 tbs baking powder, 1 355ml bottle of beer, 1 tsp salt
    Combine all ingredients well.  Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to your desired thickness.  Place on a greased tray.  Top with sauce and toppings and bake in a moderate oven until golden (about 30 mins).

    Here's wishing you a Good Day too!  Oh, and leave me a comment so I know I've been seen!

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Stepping Out - Introducing Shortie the Happy Lion

    I think I made the right decision, to share the love.  (See my post "Happy Shorts - Madness or Genius?", and yes, it is the lace I wore in my hair!)  I was inspired by FOUR of my friends announcing their pregnancies!

    I am absolutely exhausted after a really successful solo weekend of spawn activities, playgrounds, and in the evenings working overtime (obviously inspired by The Pink Whimsy Scissors of Industry.)  In addition to Shortie, I completed
    this apron with a large pocket for a good friend
     this boring but practical winter top using my 50c fabric
     and began on Flattie the Happy Flounder!
    So I have decided to pass on The Pink Whimsy Scissors of Industry, plus a little inspiration, to my friend over at The Doily.  Who knows when they may come and inspire you too?

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Beautiful Autumn

    I got inspired by the beautiful autumn colours (which I really love now, because I really missed them up in FNQ) , and a great suggestion from a friend, to come up with this autmnal spawn activity.  We gathered leaves from the playground, some tissue paper and cellophane, and sandwiched them between two sheets of clear contact.  They loved it, and I think they turned out quite vibrant!  It was really interesting to see their different artistic styles emerging already.
    When I got up this morning, I was greeted by this lovely surprise!

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Happy Shorts - The Next Chapter (Plus BONUS Bikky recipe!)

    THE WHITE CLOUD has many lifesaving qualities, but super photo skills are definitely not included.
      Screamstress "Frame it here and here, close up and centred"
      The White Cloud "Ummn...Its a bit wonky"
      Screamstress "Hmmn.."
    We were attempting a shot of the small gift she'd brought over, The Pink Whimsy Scissors of Industry.  And, they worked!  I  was instantly seized with desires and ideas to transform The Happy Shorts!  Stay tuned for the next instalment to see what became of them!
    Chocolate Chunk Biscuits
    • Melt 113g (1/2 cup) butter and 1/2 cup sugar.
    • Add 1/4 cup coconut, 1 cup SR flour, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
    • Add 50-90g chocolate chunks (white, milk or dark and/or any nuts).
    • Put on tray, allow for spreading, and bake 15 minutes in a moderate oven.
    This recipe is soooo easy and flexible, and doesn't need eggs (just in case SOMEONE ate the last of the eggs and forgot to tell you).  You could also leave out the coconut if you wanted.
    P.S.  *fingers crossed* I've changed it so anybody can comment, you can do so as a guest. So, be my guest!

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Retro Sheet Fever!

    I have been inspired by blogs like Fox's Lane , The Doily and Wardrobe Refashion to think about old sheets in a new way, and I was incredibly lucky today to have found four gorgeous retro sheets for only $2.50 each!  The cotton is a lovely weight and quality, and will look fantastic as a border print children's dress, or indeed an adult sundress.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    My Creative Space

    Here is what I SHOULD be doing...
    Working on Mum's quilt, and making tops for winter.

    And here is what I WILL be doing...

    Growing seeds and potato jars with the spawn.
    I am secretly excited about seeing things start to sprout though!

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Trying to Stay Sane

    I try to do "positive parenting", by using positive language and being clear on my expectations.  But sometimes, I get  into ridiculous moments.  "I AM HAVING A NICE SHOWER, AND YOU ARE WAITING QUIETLY IN THE LOUNGE ROOM!"  Really?  'Cos anyone looking on would be thinking "Looks to me as though you are standing naked in the bathroom, yelling at three kids who are bickering/whinging/trying to push their way through the door at the same time."
      The Panda is away for work at the moment, so I have lots of strategies to stay sane.  One of which has been to make a calendar of events and activities that the spawn can follow.  I've got to say, it has been a huge success! I think its because they have a sense of being involved in what we're doing, and they can anticipate good things in the future.  Its also great for me, because it breaks up a long, adult-less day!  And I have been trying to go with the flow, like for instance when Bigspawn decides that a much better activity is sticking crayons in his hat!
     Anyway, I got a good haul of fabrics from the op-shop, for only 50c or $1 per piece, so I'll be entertaining myself sewing up some winter tops.

     I'll also be (obviously) spending waaaay too much time on the internet (check out these homo-erotic craft prints, hilarious!)  AND,  I think I might have come up with the perfect project for the 'happy shorts'!

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Happy Shorts - Madness or Genius?

    I had a great weekend, I went to an 80's themed Roller Disco.  But now I have a terrible secret, and a dilemma I need help with.  You see, I have fallen in love.
      When I saw them in amongst the crowd I was captivated, so bright! so right! but Oh, so wrong.
      I'm talking about the shorts.  At first I thought they were sooo hideous.  They have lots of bright colours all woven together in checkers.  They have a waistband that sits on my ACTUAL waist, which means they also have a fly thats 25cm long.  They have gathers in the front, and capacious pockets that can fit your hands, plus a first aid kit, a hat AND a handbag.
      But every time I look at them I can't help thinking "What lovely happy colours!"  "What fluid drape and handle!"  "What useful pockets!" 
      So I was thinking.  Maybe if I lowered the waist band and removed the gathers, and either left them as shorts, or made them into a skirt?  In summer, accessorized with a white tank and sandals?
      Am I a genius, or have I just gone mad?

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Hot Scones!

    I hate the cold.  I lose feeling in my hands and feet, the spawn drive me crazy and tear up the house, I'm forced to wear lots of hideous bulky clothes and usually end up doing the dishes in my slippers, a polar fleece vest and tracksuit pants to keep warm.  So instead of whinging, (whoops! too late!)  I thought I'd share some good things.

    1.  I like winter food.  I love chucking ingredients in a casserole dish and running the oven for 2 or 3 hours.  The house is warm, and the casserole is delicious!   I also like serving soup for dinner.  I discovered this delicious, cheap and easy recipe for Cheese and Garlic Scones, which is perfect on the side (add more garlic and only 3/4 cup of milk though).

    2. I found this beautiful fabric in the op-shop, but didn't buy it because I was trying to be frugal.  I went back a week or two later, and it was on the $2 rack!

    3.  I have an 80's theme do to go to.  So I got a maternity jumper from the op-shop and chopped off the sleeves to be leg warmers.  Then I felt bad about wasting the body part, so I re-aligned the side seams and cut the neck into an off-the-shoulder style.  One fab costume done!

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