Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Didn't I mention knitting in the title of this blog?
When I knit I kinda get carried away.
Case in point:
these adorable quick stash-busting baby booties.
Once I knit one pair I couldn't stop!
And I've already given some away.....

And then, the next flurry of knitting....
we've decided to go to the UK for a few weeks
and listening to the reports of cold snaps and snow on the BBC
I decided the whole family needs mittens.
Mine are boring plain old red, but I thought
the stripy ones for Noah and the pretty purple flowered ones for Ana
were cute enough to post.
Tomorrow..... I go crazy with sleep masks!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Hannukah Stars Recipe

You know how it goes:
You need to bake something for a Hannukah party
(at the last minute)
and the ingredients in the house are few and far between.
I did some
creative cookie recipe cobbling
and came up with this winner.....

Cranberry and Apple Cinnamon Hannukah Star Cookies
1/3 cup apple sauce
3 tablespoons ground nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
1/4 cup chopped cranrasins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
dash of salt
1 sheet of defrosted puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
a few tablespoons of light brown sugar with cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or according to puff pastry package instructions. Oil cookie sheet or use baking paper to avoid unwanted stickage.

Filling: Mix together applesauce, ground nuts, cinnamon, sugar and cranrasins. Add a dash of salt for extra flavor.

Using a star shape cut out cookies, 2 of each star per cookie.
Place one star on the baking tray, add 1 scant spoonful of filing in the center being careful not to spill over the edges. Take second star, dampen edges with water along the inner edge and gently lay on top of the star with filling. Carefully line up the points and tamp down the edges a bit so they'll swell and close as they bake.
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye so the pastry doesn't burn.

My one sheet of pastry produced 20 stars, and they went fast at our little building Hannukah lighting party, so these four stars were all I had to photograph.

(Kinda inspired by this vegalicious recipe but not really quite the same filling...)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pirate Ship Cake

No, the idea wasn't origional; I found inspiration here.
But the kid with the eye patch still was impressed!
So, I'm satisfied.
(We're dressed as pirates here, so don't make fun.)

The ocean is blue coconut
swimming with gummy sharks, starfish and turtles.
There is a lego pirate with a lego plank for any captives to walk.
The cannon balls are nearly as big as the pirate captain
but who is taking points?

HINT: I discovered a brilliant way of combating cake construction crumble and icing slippage, quite by accident. I was squashed for time, so I made the cakes earlier in the week and stuck them in the freezer. I made the frosting the day before, so it was chilled too. When I went to construct the cake, I took the cake straight out of the freezer, so when I cut it into diferent shapes they d i d n ' t c r u m b l e ! They were firm and easy to stack. Even better, seconds after I applied the frosting it cooled and hardened too!
No slippage.
I vow to do this with creative cakes (ie kids birthdays) from now on.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Pyjama Bottoms

Meet Neko.
She was a guest at our house while on their
take-a-year-to-travel-around-the-world tour.
(Yes, I agree - wow.)
I racked my brains trying to figure out what would be easy to pack in her rucksack without taking up too much space and being indispensable...
and made her some pyjama bottoms.
Here is a close - up of the gorgeous
'Made Especially For You by Sarah Vine'
labels my mom gave me for my birthday last year.
Thanks, Ema....x
(Hopefully there will be a tutorial as to how I made these soon -
as soon as we have a non-broken camera again.....x)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

'Beautiful' Tops

My daughter has it in her head
that she must be pretty.
Hence a refusal to wear any plain top in protest
that it's
'not beautiful'.
I found some felt shapes for NIS 2.50 a pack
in the local shekel shop
(that's about 60 cents or 40p
at the dollar or pound shop equivalent)
and voila, pretty tops she's happy to wear.
Except for the red and orange flower.
That one didn't pass the test so she still needs to be
b r i b e d
to wear it.

(p.s. Thank you Natalie for the blue one! See, she loves it. The stripy one is a favourite too, I didn't need to do anything to it. And you know I'm famous for making my children wear their clothes until it's obvious they're waaaayyy too small. There's still years of wear in them!)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Hello - it's me!
This is a dress I made after being inspired by My Mama Made It who was inspired before that by Anthropologie.
Since I've made it I've noticed that all the high-street shops in Israel are selling dresses where the knit top is attached to the skirt.
I keep finding myself furtively lifting the dress and checking the seams and lining...Not altogether sure what the shopkeepers think of me, lifting hems and never buying a thing....

It's not actually a skirt attached to top, it was just a gorgeous off cut that I found in a sales bin near the Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv.
It wasn't enough to make pyjama bottoms (drat)
so I simply sewed the two sides together, and gathered the top.
Unfortunately gathered waisted skirts are not known to be flattering on
girls with hips,
hence the metamorphosis into a dress.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Mens Shirt - Girl's Dress (yeah, me too.)

I know.... everybody and their cousin have been
making things out of mens' button down shirts.
This one didn't cost me a penny,
being a found item* in size 2XL
the pattern was inherited from my mother.

She used it to make the underdress for my sister in 1984 - I love the pinafore. It's still hot here, by the way.....

I intended to use the button placket from the shirt
all the way down the back of the dress,
but got excited and mistakenly cut it out as the front!
In the end I think it works.
I added cute little pleated pockets
and Ana loves those pockets!
I will have to make more pockets on more things.

* Ahem.... I know, you're cringing that this was found on the street. But being there's a chronic lack of charity shops and since there's no such thing as a Goodwill for people to pop down to, means that it's common practice put unwanted but still usable clothes (and other items) outside neatly folded on a bench, or displayed on the rock wall in front of their house. It's the Israeli way of reduce, reuse, recycle!

And, yes, the cited blogs in the first line are two of my favourites, and I will take this opportunity to introduce them to anyone who is looking for inspiration! You can find them among the list of blogs that I follow......x

Monday, 5 October 2009

Personalizing Babygro's

I tend to give these as gifts to new mamas - cross over babygros with sleeves that turn down into build-in mitts. I think they're the best design ever! Slouchy, floppy newborns are so difficult to pull cloths over their heads - this kind opens up and you just lay the baby down and wrap them like a parcel.

The tag I've removed so it doesn't scratch the neck
and re-sewn it as a cute patch on the back.
Flowers are felt circles embroidered to bunch like a flower,
and buttons are from the button box I inherited
from my grandmother.
I figure that age 0-3 months won't yet be at
danger of removing buttons and choking....

So here we go, then!

To be honest I'm already a blogger. I am a Doula, and to see what other wonderful, beautiful, hands-on, new-lives type of work that I'm passionate about doing, check out

But my other passion is making dull things beautiful, without costing the earth. I've done this for ages, lurking on my favorite blogs which I promise to link to as time goes by! (No need to do everything at once.) However, to be honest, it all started with my paternity - I was raised in a little isolated fishing village in Bristol Baby, Alaska. There's not much to do all winter long, and couple that with no shops and upright parents who actually like their kids: and you get people sitting around a wood stove teaching their kids how to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, draw, carve, re-purpose, while reading out loud to eachother all winter long.

I don't live in the village anymore, but I continue to do these things on my own. I brought some knitting to a bridal shower lately (which I rightly anticipated to be rather on the sedate side) and everyone thought it was a terribly strange thing to do and called me 'safta' (granny.) So I've finally found my community on line and being thus inspired have churned out quite a lot of crafty items this year. My husband insists I start a blog. He's so sweet and you can find his artwork here.

So, for my first post, I'll use my daughter's
Queen Esther dress.
I didn't use a pattern, just pieced together
bits from the oddments bin from different fabric stalls,
and fabric flowers from the local shekel shop.
(Same thing as a dollar shop, or a pound shop... you get the idea.)

The boy's King costume was also for the holiday of Purim
- from the Biblical book of Esther.
How did I get him to want to dress up
as King Ahasuearus rather than Spiderman?
Well, the king gets to carry around a scepter
and tell everyone what to do!
And if someone doesn't obey him, then that man dies....
Ooh. Drama. Attractive.
(Of course, the costume I made was complete with
sceptre, quilted belt, sword and big black boots.
A boy will wear what a boy will wear,
and by his expression I think he's okay with it.)