Quick Quilt for the Birthday Boy

I love quilting but I have really only ever hand quilted – a long, slow and very rewarding process.

When I decided a quilt would be the perfect keep-sake gift for my son’s 10th birthday I had only days to make it, so it was going to have to be quilted with the machine.

I decided on a red and navy theme and got to sewing stripes of fabric.

20130527-164946.jpg

This quilt introduced me to a lot of new techniques. The first being spray basting.

This process is so simple and quick!!! As long as everything is well pressed and lying flat it really is quite easy.

I ironed my backing fabric and then lay it out on my table-tennis table. I used masking tape to keep the fabric stable on the table and then carefully placed the wadding on top of it. The fabric was a little bigger than the table so I had some overhang on one side. To start the gluing process I folded the wadding back over itself perfectly evenly on the long edge. I then carefully sprayed the first half of the wadding with glue following the manufacturers instructions. I then lifted it back and pressed it evenly onto the fabric to ensure it was smooth, starting in the centre and working out. I then repeated the process with the other side. I first needed to move the overhanging fabric onto the table and secure it with tape. I then folded the wadding back onto the glued side and repeated spraying it with glue and smoothing it over the fabric.

Next I pressed my top fabric so all the striped seams were facing in the same direction. I repeated the spray gluing process, this time with the fabric on top of the wadding. I spray glued on the floor rather than the table-tennis table this time.

20130525-232113.jpg

Once the top fabric was securely attached I started machine quilting, in the ditch. This was my first time doing this and it wasn’t as hard as I expected. I sewed up in one direction and then back in the other direction to ensure the fabric was evenly spread and didn’t start twisting. I rolled the fabric into a big tube so I could more easily manage it as I sewed.

Once I finished I trimmed the overhang of the backing leaving a 4cm seam around the outside.

20130525-232729.jpg

This overhanging fabric then became my binding. I folded it in and hand sewed it in place.

20130525-232943.jpg

It’s not perfect but I’m really happy with how it looks. Here’s a view of the back.

20130525-233107.jpg

My son loves it! I hope it is in his life for many years to come.

Super Easy Birthday Cup Cakes

Late this afternoon my nearly 10 year old decided he’d like to take cupcakes to school tomorrow for his class to celebrate his birthday.

Cringe….I love baking but it was time to prepare dinner not whip up a batch of cakes.

But then I found this super easy recipe where it’s just a matter of adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring and adding to the cupcake papers.

20130527-023517.jpg

20130527-023537.jpg

I like to use a mini ice cream scoop to neatly and evenly transfer the batter from the bowl to the cupcake paper.

Here’s the recipe. You’re going to want to keep this one up your sleeve!

Classic Cupcake
from taste.com.au
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
125g butter, melted, cooled
2 x 59g eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Queen Natural Vanilla Essence

Icing:
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 12 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan. Alternatively, line holes with paper cases. Combine flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Add milk, butter, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Using a large metal spoon, stir gently to combine.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Make icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Spoon icing over cakes.

The recipe indicated that this recipe would make 12 cupcakes. I doubled the mix and ended up with 36 medium cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes. That’s plenty for all the kids at school plus a few for us to enjoy at home.

20130527-024313.jpg

Bedtime Stories

My boys are now (nearly) 7 and 9 and the nightly ritual of reading bedtime stories has pretty much gone out the window!

They either read their own books, or push the bed time limit so far that it’s an immediate ‘lights out’ as soon as their heads touch the pillow.

The other day I got to thinking that I really should continue to embrace reading stories to them while they are young enough to enjoy it, particularly for my younger one. I decided to find a decent sized story book that we’d all enjoy reading over a month or two. One that I could read a couple of chapters from each night. A story that was nice to listen to before falling asleep (rather than Boy Versus Beast as the boys would choose). This is what I came up with…

20120712-142154.jpg

It’s such a joy to be reading Enid Blyton again after all these years. Next I’m hoping to get the box set of Secret Seven that I saw at Big W the other day.

What’s your favorite bedtime story?

Back to School Book Labels

Well…it’s nearly time for the boys to return to school so this weekend has been consumed covering what seems like an endless supply of exercise books, project books and texts. I’m sure I didn’t go to year 1 or year 4 with as many books as I’ve covered for my boys this weekend! Of course I have no idea what each book will be used for so I created some labels for the front of each of their books with their name and a space for the subject to be written.

20120121-203832.jpg

20120121-203901.jpg

Do you remember when the weekend paper would include these ‘back to school’ labels as the return to school drew near? I can’t even find then in the shops now.

If you need some labels like these they are quite easy to create in Word. You just need to insert a table 2 columns by 5 rows. You can then chose a picture. I searched in Google Images for a something to match the paper the boys chose. You can then choose a font and insert your child’s name and include a space for the subject. Here’s the template I created for Will’s and for Hamish’s.

Finally I printed these on Avery sticker paper. Once the teacher has written the subjects on each book I’m going to stick some contact over the label to ensure it stays clean and legible. My printer is a bubble jet so any moisture on the label will cause the image to run. I’m so glad to see the back of covering school books!

From Teddy Bear to Super Ted

When Hamish was a baby my parents gave him a gorgeous soft blue teddy bear. It was actually the same size as him as a newborn.

In the last couple of years he has given this teddy a name – ‘Super Ted’. He has been begging me to make an outfit for Super Ted. Today I finally did…

20120118-205059.jpg

The outfit gives a great deal of strength to this little bear…

20120118-205352.jpg

Hamish is happy but already looking at enhancements to make to the outfit!

Word Games

Thankfully the school holidays are nearly over, and the number of hours free for the kids to shout ‘I’m bored!’ will soon reduce.

In response to a recent declaration of boredom I created a “word find” for Hamish. I found a great website that allows you to print out a template. You can then insert your words and fill the gaps with other letters. Hamish supplied me with a list of words around the super hero theme and within 10 minutes I created this for him.

20120115-222241.jpg

This kept Hamish entertained for at least two minutes. He was requesting another one so I dug a little deeper in my Google search and found a very cool site that allows you to select a theme for the words and a design for the layout and create, with very little effort, a very cool word search. Here’s the Halloween themed snake design I created (well actually I was responsible for very little of the creating!).

20120116-084851.jpg

Hamish preferred the first one I created but I just adore the shapes available for the word find on the ABC Teach website. I think we’ll be crating a few of these for both boys in the months to come.

OhLife…Private Online Journal

I’ve started a private online journal just for the boys…capturing the fun they get up to. Rachel from Spinnering introduced me to OhLife a few months back and since then I’ve been regularly posting photos and little stories about things the boys get up to.

The best part is that everyday I receive an email from OhLife inviting me to add a post. If I have something to say or a picture to share I simply reply to the email and voile…it’s in my online journal.