Travel Car Caddies

First off, I apologise for my total lack of posts in the last month or so. I know how you’ve all missed my witty repertoire and delicious recipe tests  laughing at my blunders, but we’ve been in RSA visiting family and friends and we were having too much fun in the sun for me to bother with the computer much. I also didn’t want to advertise the fact that there would be no one in our house for almost 5 weeks!

We arrived home yesterday so I thought I’d get back into the swing of things while the boys are still asleep this morning (it’s going on 9am and they have been asleep since just after 3pm yesterday! Although they woke at 20h45 for a shower & snack, they were back in bed by 22h15) I’m making the most of it let me tell you! I’ll post about our actual trip at a later stage but, for now, I’ll show you this little gem I stumbled upon before we left & knew it would be perfect for the looooooong plane trip…. Cozy Car Caddies by homemadebyjill

Photo courtesy of homemadebyjill

HOW CUTE IS THIS!!!!?? Even with my limited sewing prowess, I thought I could pull it off. With a few moderations of course. You will, no doubt, be disappointed that I didn’t photograph all the steps I followed, but take comfort in the fact that Jill did just that for you of hers…which is quite a bit tidier than I would’ve managed.(click on the link above to check out her other photos, also for the tutorial I followed).

Conveniently, I had a pair of jeans which were frayed beyond repair that I hadn’t gotten around to chucking out yet so I set about cutting out pieces as per the tutorial. After working out the inch to cm conversions…note to self, next time just flip the measuring tape over to view the side with inches on it!!! But I digress…

Not being very familiar with the different types of fabric, I just used what I imagine is some kind of cotton for the inside layer instead of the duck cloth she used. I also subbed in corduroy for the road as I didn’t have a long enough piece of black felt…and I wanted black, not grey for the road so had to make do with what I had. Turns out corduroy wasn’t the best option as it frays…but I wasn’t redoing it at that stage. And I used white felt for the road lines, instead of yellow.

She very kindly provides a template of a car you can use to applique onto the front, which I would’ve used if I didn’t already have an AWESOME Disney Cars fat quarter in my stash. I used Lightning McQueen for Master 3 & Sheriff for Master 4. Also, I didn’t have piping so had to do without. And I didn’t do the last step of painting numbers onto the pockets.

The result…


notice the bits of black from the fraying corduroy…


Not to shabby

I surprised the boys with them on the plane and they loved them. Especially Master 3, he was entertained with his for ages on all legs of our trip.


perfect size for tray table



Hubby was playing up for the camera

I had a number of air hosts ask where I’d got them from, with the appropriate oooo’s and ahhh’s when I told them I made them myself haha Proud moment


Just weekend stuff

I would like to have a post that starts off with “look at all the gardening I did this weekend” but, sadly, I doubt that would happen..EVER! To say I don’t have the passion for gardening is a slight understatement, to say I detest it is closer to the truth. Not that I don’t like reaping the benefits of our own veges & herbs..I do, & I gladly eat them, but I prefer the taste of said veges & herbs when Hubby plants them(and waters them etc etc). Lazy, right?! Some people find it relaxing to toil in their gardens, I’m not one of them…I blame my parents, it’s got to be their fault right? *hi mom, hi dad. I love you haha* Luckily Hubby loves his garden, although I think he mostly uses it as an excuse to get out of the house sometimes (“gotta water the plants” gets flung over his shoulder as he exits the door at high speed, leaving the boys to me at ‘witching hour’ )As this post actually has nothing to do with gardening, but rather my desire to be interested in such productive things, I’ll move on…

What I do enjoy doing at night, once the boys are in bed, is easy sewing projects. This weekend I managed to whip up Christmas stockings for the boys!I took my lead from the shops who all have their Christmas stock out already, and not even October yet(ignoring the fact that in less than 8 hours it will be). I didn’t have any Christmas themed fabric when I saw the pattern onpinterest so I just made do with what I had. Some left over red from Miss Niece’s skirt, a kids pillow case I had lying around, a fat quarter I bought at the Craft Show & a couple of felt letters. I followed the instructions & ended up with these…(just need to add the ribbon so they can hang up)

The boys have no concept other than the shops look pretty & Santa is a “snow man” according to Master 3. He corrects me every time I mention Santa! So we’ll see how it goes this year. 85 days people, 85 days.

On a different note, the boys went with Hubby to a birthday party on Saturday while I was at work…unlike Dragon Lady here, Hubby lets the boys eat/drink whatever they can find just so he can keep the peace & not be the only uncool parent (his words!)I mean really!? Nothing like a sugar rush & crash to make a weekend great. Thankfully they weren’t too bad once they got home to me & they seemed to have a great time (who wouldn’t when you’re allowed coke & fanta!!)

burning off the last of my energy

so tired now

The weather has been great & allowed alot of outside play…

Bob the Builder

Yay for summer…

Sewing delights

Yes, that’s right, I have been sewing again. Actually, I haven’t stopped but the latest 2 projects have been for my niece’s birthday & since my SIL reads this, I decided to hold off posting until after her party. Considerate don’t you think?Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise now would I?

First up, I saw this cute idea on pinterest (how did we manage to get inspired BEFORE pinterest?!?!) I’m sure there are many different versions out there but this seemed easy & I’m a sucker when there’s easy/peasy/simple or other such winners in the title of a pattern! Of course I didn’t save the website I found it on in all my excitement but I will keep searching so I can give the correct credit.

I pretty much made up the measurements myself, based on the size of the colouring-in book I bought. A few pockets cut from a pillow case, add some cardboard (which I covered in vinyl so it can be spilled on & wiped without making the cardboard soggy & resulting in a whole lot of unpicking of stitches. Quite proud of THAT idea let me tell you LOL) Once I worked out what I wanted to include in this little art carrier it was pretty plain sailing. Until I got to putting it all together & sewing a spine to cover the raw edges. Seems I must have pulled a little too tightly because after it was all complete & I went to put  the crayons into their individual pockets, they wouldn’t all fit! But, disaster avoided by a quick trip to the shop for smaller crayons. Next time I’ll leave more fabric for the pockets! You’re never too old to learn they say.

Next up, a skirt. The obvious accompaniment to a “colouring-in case” I thought! I searched for an easy pattern/tutorial & came across hundreds (literally!). As per usual I forgot to pin the one I eventually chose to try, which is the WHOLE point of pinterest I hear you shout at the computer screen! I know, I know but once I get something into my head all else falls by the wayside. I did end up finding it here eventually…

Having been to the Arts & Crafts show over the weekend I was itching to use some of the fabric I got (admittedly, I only bought 3 Fat Quarters but nonetheless…) Not thinking ahead, all my fabric is pretty boy oriented so I was in a bit of a panic, how did THAT happen, I must have picked up dozens of girly ones! But never fear,my little stash from my opshop adventure provided a perfect match to one of my more neutral fabrics. I even changed it up a bit so I could add the patterned fabric at the sides of the skirt. Again, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself *wink* I used a pair of Master 3’s pants as a waist size guide & Master (Almost) 2’s as a length guide & away I went. I even got to use the fabric marker pen I bought at the show!I diligently followed the tutorial, even ironing when I had too!!And it was so easy! Admittedly, I don’t sew as straight as I would like to but I think it worked out pretty well anyway. Neither of my boys would entertain the idea of modelling it once I’d finished, maybe because I told them it was for Miss Niece…you learn from your mistakes! Hubby was horrified I’d even entertained the idea of putting HIS boys in a skirt! If only he could see them at playgroup..pushing prams,feeding dolls etc etc

Free bag pattern debacle

Hey it was free & looked doable…a bit on the adventurous side I will admit but I was feeling up to the challenge. Note, all my sewing projects seem to contain the word “challenge”!! It caught my eye & looked so pretty…I really need to start making decisions NOT based on “pretty” methinks. Find the pattern here

free diaper bag pattern tutorial
Looks lovely doesn’t it??Please note that this is NOT the one I made, it’s how mine is SUPPOSED to look…

First off, the pdf looked like it had been drawn freehand as apposed to drawn straight, like with a ruler or something. Not being that up to speed on how patterns are supposed to look I just assumed freehand would be ok. Looks like it worked well for her but not so much for yours truly. The wonky lines produced wonkily (that’s a word, right?) cut fabric..yes, I’m blaming those unstraight (skew if you prefer proper English!) lines for ending up with imperfectly cut lines! Just don’t read previous posts in which I admit, oh wait, never mind! moving on…

Despite that, I followed the instructions & helpful pictures really closely I thought. And by the way, sewing on the bottom was a BITCH. I don’t know how many times I pinned & repinned it just wouldn’t line up properly. I just fluffed my way through it & ended up sacrificing a teeny, tiny bit of the shape  so I consider that a win. Turns out randomly sewing in places has an effect on the overall outcome! *wink*

Time to turn the main bag (without lining) the right side out….holes in the seams BUGGER! That darn fabric slipping fairy has been at it again! But never fear, random sewing to the rescue. All good to go for the final step, sewing in the lining.

Very straight forward, even for me, I thought. Well, this NUMPTY sewed with the straps hanging in the wrong place. Over the lining instead of between it & the main bag! Needless to say I was spitting mad at myself! A whole lot of unpicking later & a mental kick up the butt, I was ready for round 2. Ahhh success, albeit having forgotten to sew in the closure tab!! I shit you not! It fall onto the floor while I was unpicking & out of sight, out of mind!


The front of the bag


Back pocket


Front pocket


oops,no closure tab


Master 3 has claimed it for himself

Thinking I may tackle something a little less of a challenge for my next project.

Sewing goddess…?

Wahahaha hardly! But I’m having fun trying. I did eventually finish those bean bags(thanks Jules & Zelda for the peas & lentils ideas) As predicted though, the boys were more interested in lobbing them at each other &, shock horror, at me! And Master 1 has a deadly accurate aim! After several attempts to demo what they could alternatively be used for (stacking, matching,making stepping stones & bridges etc – Thanks again Jules) I have put them in the bottom of the toy box under a few things. Ok, a lot of things! I’ll wait for sunnier days so we can take them outside for more “boy play”.


There were more than just these ones…seems a few have found legs & wondered off somewhere!

I trawled Pinterest for some other ideas on what I could practice my sewing on & found a really easy bib I thought even I couldn’t muck up. Turns out I was wrong, I could indeed muck it up!And I did, although only slightly. Seems it’s pretty important to cut fairly exactly straight with ALL pieces so everything lines up & you don’t unintentionally miss sewing a layer & end up with holes in the seams…who knew!?! Lesson learnt! It also pays to follow the instructions pretty accurately!As I went to make the link to the site I got the pattern off, I realised I didn’t ACTUALLY do anything she suggested! My bad! Looks like I was supposed to sew around the edge & use bias tape to cover the seams, instead I sewed the back sides together & then turned it right side out…hmmm I’m thinking pattern crossover happened along the way. See, that’s why it’s important to follow directions!!


2 have a vinyl layer between 2 cotton layers & the third has a toweling layer. Gotta practice it all right? (ps the vinyl layer was a bitch to sew!)

I found some really awesome place mats at the opshop that I just had to use somehow! Why not another waterproof bag you ask?hmmm good idea…turns out I managed to misread something somewhere along the way & ended up with the seams of the lining on the wrong side! Still usable just not all that professional looking, but I’m happy I got the zip almost perfect (even after only a few practices with zips I can say they aren’t a favourite of mine!)


No strap this time…purely because yours truly was too busy multitasking & overlooked it! Yes, sewing, drinking a cup of tea & watching The Glee Project is definitely multitasking!

Feeling rather chuffed with myself at this point I attempted to tackle my first bag…a Bohemian Banana Bag from One Yard Wonders.


Isn’t it pretty?

I chose fabric I liked that was cheap & followed the directions pretty well I thought. Although I ended up with the pattern of the lining upside down (next time I’ll go with a solid colour fabric without a pattern! AND one with pictures, I could not work out what the devil they wanted me to do with the lining!) and the realisation I probably should have done the zip much earlier instead of right at the end like the book said to. Slightly lop sided but still usable, & the pattern is growing on me!


Just when you think I would be done for the week (actually about 3 but what’s a couple of weeks between friends right?) my SIL thoughtfully cut out a pattern from the Australian Woman’s Weekly for me.


I secretly think she was pissing herself laughing at the thought of me attempting this…hey that was my first reaction too if I’m honest! *wink* But I soldiered on & blew up the given pattern to double it’s size as advised (that’s 200% right?Turns out I should’ve gone bigger…like 400%!) I’m actually happy with how it went, despite the size issue. I even managed to line up the stripes,something I didn’t even think of until the thing was finished!


Almost perfectly lined up!woohoo

Now for the comparison of size…


Besides the fact the colours are quite a good match, you can see how dainty this bag turned out to be. I am yet to decide how best to use it…any ideas?

Never one to back out of a challenge, I have another bag brewing. I have only just started cutting out the pattern so watch this space…

The wonderful world of Op-Shopping…

Yes,seriously! Admittedly, I don’t get alot of time to go to these places as I have 2 anti-opshop-mechanisms…namely Masters 1 & 3!Far too much for them to touch explore destroy & I guess it really isn’t fair to expect them to walk quietly in the middle of the store, hands by their sides without touching ANYTHING! Especially not when all the breakables are practically at knee height for them! So I plan these little trips when I know I will be alone.

Now that I’m sewing, albeit VERY basically, I’m on the hunt for a range of decently priced fabrics. There is sooo much variety out there & all the really good stuff comes with the appropriate price tags, which I wouldn’t mind if I was slightly more experienced & less likely to muck up! Hence the reason for said opshop mission this morning while the kiddies where at kindy.

I think they knew I was about to embark on an adults only shopping spree too because they dragged their heals, had at least a half dozen tantrums between them & performed when I went to leave them at kindy! Nothing like a dose of Mother’s Guilt to start the morning! But I did manage to drag myself away with the promise that I would be back soon.

I was a bit dejected after the first couple of shops as their stash of scraps was limited, although I did manage to spend some money on the boys. Damn that Mother’s Guilt!!

Wooden toys woohoo
Wooden stove top & oven

I have been after a wooden play kitchen for ages but wasn’t willing to pay 100s of $s for a fancy one. Although this could do with a new paint job (yoo hoo,Hubby..)it was a steal at $12. Just my kind of shopping!

But by shop number 5 I hit the jackpot!


Granted, these are mostly off cuts/scraps but just perfect for small, easy to sew projects to practice with. The little old lady at the till was almost as excited as I was at the prospect of all that sewing!

After all the excitement of the morning(hey, I was out by myself, no kids to worry about,browsing in the  shops instead of bulldozing through,spending money…what isn’t there to be excited about!?) I was in need of a real coffee.But not before I passed the American Candy Store!And we all know how well the Yanks do chocolate & peanut butter!What’s a girl to do?! Buy peanut butter M&Ms of course!! *drool*

Now I’ve lost my train of thought….all in all a successful mommy-only morning!

First sewing project…check!

I started sewing some bean bags & got about 7 ready for ‘beans’, then realised I didn’t have any on hand! Sewing 101, make sure you have ALL supplies BEFORE you start! Being as I am a little on the impatient side I stuffed some rice in one & finished it off so I could at least get Hubby to admire my handiwork. Rice not really being the ideal material to go into something my boys are more than likely going to lob at each other & not keep 100% DRY, I put that project on hold until I can head to the craft store to get something more appropriate.

This left me a little deflated I must admit. And the thought of having to wait until Monday to head into town to pick up some serious sewing supplies was such an anticlimax!Why Monday you ask? It’s the one morning a week I have to myself, sans kiddies. Now here’s where my second attack of impatience occurred…against my better judgement, I headed to Spotlight with the boys to grab some essentials so I could at least get some practice in. AFTER we had already been grocery shopping…they were LESS than impressed! Although Master 3 busied himself running riot between all the fabric so he didn’t mind too much. A few disapproving looks from some old fuddy duddies later we were on our way home, WITHOUT those damned beanbag beans!! But I got some fabric scraps for dirt cheap…just what a beginner needs, so it wasn’t all bad.

Needless to say I was looking forward to nap time which I think these little monkeys could sense!Bouncing around like nobodies business! Then to add to that, Master 3 fall off his plastic bike & hit the corner of his eye on the wooden picnic table minutes before nap time! Instant black eye & very upset little man. A few cuddles later & they were tucked up in bed.


After printing off a quick tutorial for a wet bag/snack bag I got to work. Took me a little while to get it all ready to go but once it was cut, lined up etc it took only a few minutes to come together.

not too much of a close up because it looks better from afar
the inside

I had to use a vinyl table cloth for inside (brand new) as Spotlight staff didn’t know what PUL was, even after I explained it. The zip didn’t quite work out how I imagined & the strap was a little messy. But it seems to have turned out ok,only time will tell….


It’s ok to celebrate Christmas in August by buying yourself a gift right? That’s what I thought! Yesterday I just couldn’t pass up the great deal on a sewing machine I saw. It’s something I’ve been toying with for a little while but didn’t want to lay out the expense until I was absolutely certain I wouldn’t lose interest after a few weeks.

Needless to say I’m surprisingly excited by the prospect of no more hand sewing!! Now to find a bit of alone time to try a few easy projects…now I know you’re gleefully rubbing your hands together at the thought of all the comedic activity that is sure to follow! Let me just say that so is Hubby!! Cheeky so & so just laughed at me last night when i had it out, although I think I surprised him by expertly threading the thing & actually sewing in a straight line. Take that! haha

Apologies for the less than exciting post but I had planned to write a little on the Olympic Games but half way through I realised I was boring MYSELF to tears so I scrapped that one. You’re welcome. As much as I LOVE, LOVE the Olympics I’m not sure it lends itself to a great post unless you add loads of funny/sarcasm etc

Anyhoo, my first project is underway (beanbags for the boys to throw at targets, OUTSIDE I might add) so I’m hoping to be done after the kids are asleep tonight…post to follow