Thursday, June 20, 2013

School Dress For Alannah

When we moved to Switzerland Alannah was bitterly disappointed to discover that they don't wear school uniforms here.  As an almost 5 year old about to start school in Australia, getting her first uniform and feeling like a big school kid was a really exciting thing.  But we left just before this happened.  So I promised I would make her a school uniform like dress.  After a bit of searching I  had my heart set on a the Oliver + S, Jump Rope Dress but at the time it was out of print and I could not find a copy.

Last year the Jump Rope Dress pattern was digitally released and I bought my first ever digital pattern.  Which I like for the convenience of getting the pattern so quickly but I still prefer a printed pattern, probably because our printer is not the greatest, plus with such a detailed dress it took quite some time to put all the pages together. 

I chose Anna Maria Horner's, Buoyancy in Deep for the fabric.  Love this fabric, it has the right school dress colouring but is so much prettier. 

Finally 3 weeks ago (after spending months procrastinating over weather to sew a white collar or use the dress fabric) with the school year end rapidly approaching, I started sewing.  As with all the Oliver + S patterns I have sewn to date I found this dress came together perfectly.  It has lots of details like a placket, collar, sleeves with cuffs, pockets and a belt with belt loops, so it took some time to construct, but it was well worth the effort.

I sewed up size 7 and made no alterations to the fit.  The dress fits Alannah (who is a smallish to average size 7 year old) great with room to grow so hopefully will fit after the summer holidays as well, especially as we only have one and a half weeks of school left till Summer Holidays.

Alannah loves her "school uniform" dress and so do I.  I think it has the feel of a school uniform but is so much lovelier.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Schweizer Frauenlauf 2013

Scott and I have really been enjoying running lately.  We have been entering a few races and I am hoping to find the time to run a little more and get fit enough to enter my first half marathon later this year.  Today though was just for us girls, participating in the Swiss Woman's Run in Bern.  

I ran the 5km race and Alannah and Xanthe ran the 500m race.  Philippa is still to little but she enjoyed cheering us on with Daddy.  

This was the girls first run ever, not just race but first time going for a run.  They both enjoyed the run and look forward to their next. 

Alannah at the start line
Alannah arm in arm with another girl from the race, yep she managed to make a friend in a 3minuite 500m race!
Xanthe nearing the finishing line.
The atmosphere was great, with well over 10,000 women of all ages running and walking in various distance events. We don't plan on the girls becoming serious runners but we really enjoy the fun and excitement of being involved in such a big social sporting event and it was nice to share that with our girls.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Another mesanger bag

I love giving the girls something handmade by me as a present.  So after constantly stealing her sisters messenger bags, I made Philippa her own Oliver + S messenger bag for her birthday.  She loves it, this bag goes with us everywhere.

Again like with Alannah's bag I used essentially homemade binding to attach a buckle to the bag.  Philippa loves having the buckle even though she is only able to close and not open it!

The fabric I used is super cute a upholstery weight fabric from a local store Creasphere.  The only catch is that it is a directional print which means if I cut the back/front flap in one piece either the front flap or the back would be upside down.  So I sewed a front flap and back together with a seam on the top fold.  To cover the seam and because I happened to have some super cute owl ribbon in  coordinating colours I decided to sew a strip of it across the seam.  The fabric was all fussy cut giving regard to the owl design of the fabric.

The lining was a combination of an aqua owl print called "on a Whim" by Amy Schimler and "Dot to Dot" in Coral from the Children at play line of fabric by Sarah Jane, both from my stash.  I also used the "Dot to Dot" for the buckle binding.  The rest of the bag binding is a Michael Miller "Ta Dot" in Breeze also from the stash.  Infact the whole bag was made from materials in my stash, some bits like the buckles and webbing used for the strap were stashed with thoughts of making more of these adorable bags.  As was the owl outer fabric, sorry Soul that was intended for your bag, promise yours will be just as awesome.

Oh and in case you were wondering the dress Philippa is wearing is a Felix dress that I made for Xanthe's 3rd birthday (pre Blog).  Using an out of print Sandi Henderson line of fabric.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Making a Number 3 Piñata

For Alannah's 5th birthday I had about 6 attempts at making a pinata with the paper mache method but had no success, lots of fun but no usable pinata.  So I thought I would try the cardboard method this time.  Which was sooooo much easier and more successful with the added bonus of no messy gloopy glue and temperature sensitive popping balloons.  I must admit the kids were a little disappointed about the lack of gloopy glue...........I found this great number 1 pinata on Chelsea's, The Sweetest Occasion blog.  Using this as inspiration I embarked on making a 3 pinata.

Here is what you need:
  • About 4hrs (less without kid help)
  • A3 sheet of paper (if you wish to make template first), single thickness strongish cardboard (I used a packing box) and cardboard cereal box.
  • masking tape
  • glue stick
  • scissors that can cut cardboard and/or a craft knife
  • crepe paper, I used 5 colours as that is what I had on hand.

I started by making a template of the 3 shape on an A3 piece of paper.  As you can see the girls enjoyed decorating this once I had finished using it.

I then traced this onto the sides of our packing box card and cut out 2 identical 3's to form the front and back of the pinata.  Yes we moved 2 years ago, but due to having a huge basement we still have all of our packing boxes.  Which now I have discovered how much fun cardboard crafting can be will be very handy!

I used the larger panels from a cereal packed cut in half for the sides.  Taped them carefully at right angles to the front with small pieces of masking tape.  I left a hole at the top for filling with treats later.  I also reinforced the around the opening using 2 layers of cereal box card and lots of tape.  Then put 2 holes in each side and attached double thickness string to allow for hanging.

To prepare the paper fringe, cut about 2 inches from the roll of crepe paper.  Then keeping it folded cut half way up at approx 1/4 inch intervals.

I used 5 colours of crepe paper so roughly I measured 5 even sections on the pinata marked them with a pencil and started papering from the bottom up.  Due to the overlapping fringe I should have made the bottom layer an inch wider and the top an inch skinner.

To cover the 3, I started by gluing a flat layer of the green paper over the bottom curve of the 3.   Then working on the front side about an inch from the bottom of the 3 I started working around with the fringed paper.  I used a glue stick to stick down the uncut edges.  The unusual shape of the 3 did make it a little complicated to cover, but just keep working your way up from the bottom covering all the card. 

I filled the pinata with treats just before the party and covered the hole with crepe paper so it looked finished.  All in all it took me about 4hrs to make, and cost less than 4 CHF to make.

We have another birthday to celebrate in a couple of weeks so will be giving a 5 a go soon....

Friday, May 31, 2013

Philippa's 3rd Birthday

Unfortunately despite it being well into Spring Philippa's birthday was cold and wet, so plans of a relaxed afternoon in the garden fell to the wayside and I needed to work out how to occupy 11 children and their parents inside our not so big house.  Organised games are not so easy or fun for 3 year olds so I decided to make lots playdough, clear out the play room and let them go crazy.  While I think playdough is great I very rarely let the kids play with it indoors as it makes such a mess.  So for the first time ever I made playdough and boy was it fun and easy to make.  I made 5 batches in 4 different colours.  One batch and a little of the first 4 batches we packaged up into small plastic containers with a thank you note on top for the kids as a take home gift.

The playdough was a big hit.  I am very glad I spent the time cleaning out the playroom as it did get everywhere............

Little kids run out of fuel quickly so after a bit of playdough play we had some afternoon tea.  I have found fancy foods and too much choice do not impress kids so they feasted on fairy bread, popcorn, chips, pretzel sticks, fruit skewers, jelly and ice cream birthday cake, fresh apple juice and water.  For the adults we had flammkuechen and champagne.

After snacks we played our one and only game.  Philippa insisted on wanting to have pass the parcel.  I am not a big fan of this game as I find that almost all kids find it quite tedious and the single random present at the end just is not in the spirit of a party. So I changed it at bit.  Each layer had an animal card and the kids had to all pretend to be the animal on the card.  The idea was for the child that got the card to act it out alone but all the kids really got into it and all wanted to act each animal.

It was loads of fun for all.  Even the adults joined in.  The final present was a value pack of mini smarties boxes for all the kids to share.

Having loads of wet weather in the weeks before I even had a go making a piñata.  Something I have wanted to have a go at in the past and will definitely make again, it only took one afternoon to make using cardboard and cereal packets from the recycling and crepe paper.  I really enjoyed making it and the kids loved it,  particularly the older (4-5 year old) boys!  We were lucky enough to have the weather clear for about 30 minutes.  I am still not quite sure how we would have done the piñata indoors!  The piñata was a bit too strong so they all got 3 or 4 turns but the kids seemed to enjoy bashing it more than eating the lollies that dropped out, so it wasn't a bad thing.  I took a few photos as I was making it so will write up a how I made this pinata soon.

Hungry again after some fresh air the kids sat down to finish the afternoon tea snacks, plus some wackelpudding (jelly) and ice cream birthday cake.

So that was Philippa's 3rd birthday. 

We even tried a family shot, yep they're far from perfect, but so are we..............

we tried ...

a few times ...

but just couldn't get it right


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Auntie Catherine Came to Visit

Finally spring has sprung here in Basel and just in time to welcome Auntie Catherine.  In Europe for work it was wonderful that she could extend her trip and spend 5 days with us.  We love living here in Switzerland but we really miss our family and friends down under.

I had plans for lots of great day trips, but lets face it tripping about the place with three young kids is not always that much fun.  I was so glad that Catherine was keen to just hang out and enjoy time with us.  We did pick Catherine up from the train station bright and early after an over night train trip and took her straight to our favourite restaurant in Germany for breakfast.  Followed by supermarket shopping, not a favourite for everyone but something my siblings and I all enjoy particularly a new supermarket in a new country.

The next day as it was a bit wet we visited the Natural History Museum in the city center and in between rain showers showed Catherine the highlights of Basel city center.

With the rest of the time we did lots of baking and cooking,
banoffee pie
Poached Chicken and Citrus Salad
walking our favourite local tracks,

watching some favourite movies

and when the sun shone hanging out in the garden.

Thanks so much Auntie Catherine for coming to visit, we all had a great time xxoo.