winging it mum

Free-styling and UPUPcycling

 Are you a person that modifies recipes, instructions and patterns? Perhaps you do. I hope it works for you!

Generally I like to follow a recipe, especially if it’s my first time making a dish. Only after cooking a dish several times do I feel at liberty to modify or substitute ingredients. On the flip side though I do like to create my own dishes by using up pantry or fridge items  – you know wing it Master Chef style! At times I am relieved there are no cameras rolling and other times I want the world to see my dish;)

Instructions or manuals are something that I usually try to follow out of fear of breaking something before I even get to use it. I usually have to read the manual or instructions thoroughly the first time because I usually misplace them by the time I actually need them:) Funnily enough Brett and I tried to play junior Cluedo tonight and learn the rules before playing it with Jas; but we had trouble finding the instruction booklet and I even googled them just as Brett had found the original! Have you ever had to do that?

So I am not very adventurous in these areas yet for some reason when it comes to sewing and following a pattern I suddenly feel I can modify the instructions, substitute fabrics and I go all Project Runway! This actually cracks me up as I am a self taught hack of a sewer who definitely has no idea.

Here are some current examples of my freestylin’ sewing efforts feel free to laugh (preferably to yourself!)

Project one:  Cubby house card table (as mentioned previously on my goal planner)

A Crafty Minx I am not, but equipped with Kelly Doust’s other book The crafty kid I feel like to could be one day! A while ago I set out making her “caravan of love” cubby house. It’s actually a card table with material thrown over it and it turns into a cubby house. I was determined to make this project using stuff that I already had and didn’t want to buy new materials etc. Before even starting the project you collect your materials. The first two items on the list were oil cloth and calico or other sturdy fabric. Ok so I didn’t have oil cloth or a really sturdy fabric that I liked for this project. So using my useless sewing knowledge I decided to substitute these fabric types. If I made all the fabric thinner then it should still work as long as they were of similar density so my brain thought. Move over Kelly! So not long into the project I realised as my fabric frayed in front of my eyes and stretched as I sewed it that perhaps one of my fabric choices wasn’t quite right – who would have thought! Free-styling with fabric caused me lots of other issues I am too embarrassed to go into. After putting the project down for sometime due to my disappointment I got back on the machine. I finished the project and to my delight I have two little residents to the card table cubby house! They can’t see my errors, the fraying material, the uneven hanging walls etc. They see a cubby that they can go in and if they are lucky one of their parents will try to go into as well and fill it almost breaking the card table and to their delight crushing them.

Project two: Upcycling a women’s shirt to a dress no make that a skirt! Therefore UPUPcycling!

Ok so those in the know are onto the fact that I love a bargain. I went to the Camberwell Market (brilliant second hand market) and was having a slow morning. I saw a shirt that I didn’t completely like but saw its potential – it was cheap about $4 from memory. I tried it on (at home) and the size of the frills on the side were hideous and made me look like a frilled neck lizard – whose frill had slipped! NICE!!! So I decided this was to be my pinterest moment. I was going to transform this shirt into a little dress for Jas and the pinterest world would go crazy!!! Hahaha

With newly found confidence (not sure from where) I just started chopping, pinning and then getting Jas to try it on and oops pricking her and so on. With another snipping spree I accidentally snipped the side of the dress – never fear I could over come this minor setback and I took in the dress! Yep, I bet you can guess what happened it now didn’t fit Jas!

Ah never fear I had invested $4, a chunk of time but I didn’t give up – Pinterest needed a new gem! So what did I do? I went the hack and made Jas a skirt. Ok so this poor once upon a time ugly garment has been hacked not once but twice. I also added a Kangaroo pouch pocket – something I wanted to try:)

The final outcome Jas loves and I hope Pinterest will 😛

It’s not everyday you see an UPUPcycled skirt is it?

You may not be a sewer like me but perhaps my ad hoc methods you use in the kitchen or when using new equipment etc. Or maybe I am the only weirdo like this? Whatever, I love my hobby of sewing, despite my errors, panic attacks etc.

I better let you go and pin this to pinterest now!!!

Em xx


Little less conversation a little more action!

Do you ever feel like the words in a song sum you up at a moment in time? Or are there some lyrics that spring to mind just when you need some encouragement? Recently the classic Elvis Presley song “A little less conversation a little more action” has come into my head (need a refresher click here). I can assure you Elvis and I aren’t referring to the same kind of action;0

I am a self-confessed “ideas” gal. I am a dreamer, you know a blue sky thinker. My mind is constantly dreaming and scheming up new concepts and particularly business ideas and/or things to do. My greatest flaw though is that I don’t really do anything with these ideas. They may just be a fleeting thought or they maybe something that I chew over and try to nut out the details of and then well leave it there.

At the age of 17; I set myself a 5 year plan.

My 5 year plan:

  1. I was to complete my VCE with excellent result
  2. I was to get into University to complete a Bachelor or Business in Catering and Hotel Management
  3. My course would include a cooperative year (industry placement) in which I would live overseas and work.
  4. I would travel the world
  5. I would work at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

I achieved all these goals! They were all working toward my career ambition of running a chain of five-star hotels – which I didn’t end up doing but I can happily say I still love 5 star hotels and now prefer staying in them from time to time;)

But where has this driven and focused woman gone? – I hear you ask!

It’s true and something I have asked myself. For a few years there I rejected my need for planning and goal setting and I pursued a life of being a spontaneous and a fly by the seat of my pants girl. Then I became a mother and I found that both my need for goals and spontaneity would serve me well. As I work hard to bring in routine and structure to my kids lives (despite feeling like I am failing whilst doing this half the time) I am thankful for the drive I have in my character. My ability to think on my feet and love to mix things up has definitely served me well as I try to defuse situations and make it to the end of the day in one piece! Can you see how your journey has shaped you and helped you to deal with your current situation?

But I think I have fallen into the trap of maybe winging it too much! I actually started a blog previously and the theme of that blog was “to improve my ability to follow through” and to start to help me to improve in this area. Ha you can check it out here and happily note that this died very quickly – ironic really:) Then began this blog where I am to embrace my winging it nature but also strive to be faithful to the other side of me and to plan to get things done.

A little less conversation a little more action! Come on baby I’m tired of talking (followed by catchy music!)

Ok theme song popped back into my head so I better get it back to the point.

On Pinterest recently, I stumbled onto a beautiful and simple goal list (to see my original inspiration click here you won’t be sorry this is a great blog!). This list was so simple to make and definitely something that could help me to actually get back to achieving some specific goals and not just the one of surviving the day. I love that you can set different time frames in which to achieve your goals but am a little daunted by the fact I need to set 6 goals. I want to achieve these and so I haven’t made them impossible or not too easy that there is no challenge. Be fair to yourself and remember that Rome wasn’t built-in a day (more song lyrics hey!). I have made these goals personal ones for me and not for the kids etc because I feel that I need to look after me and not solely focus on them all of the time, although I will involve them in the journey.

Give it a go. Set yourself some goals and let’s see how we go!

Em xx


my goal list for March - design from Cornflower Blue Art


Craft hurts!

I think I am a “want to be crafty and creative person“. I love and appreciate craft. I am really good at buying it too:) Craft hurts me in a variety of ways. It can hurt when I realize I don’t have the ability to turn my vision into a reality; as my limited skills hinder me. Craft can hurt our bank balance, as I have a fetish for pretty fabrics etc. but to balance this out I do also by second-hand pillow cases, tea towels, tables clothes and doona covers and repurpose them too! Craft can hurt when you’ve spent ages doing something and it can break before you’ve even recovered from making it. Craft can hurt your loved ones as they watch you struggle or you annoy them with questions or continually ask them for their opinions. Craft can hurt the appearance of your house; as a project can overtake a space.

Yet knowing all this I still love craft!

I go through waves with my craftiness. At the moment I am in over drive as I am a new addict to Pinterest (more on that another time) and I have a huge to do list forming of things I want to make or do etc. For sometime, I have been wanting to make a card table cubby house. During our recent hard garbage collection, I picked up a card table off our nature strip – ha we didn’t put it there but it was a welcomed gift;). So this was a sign it was time for me to give it a crack.

I am probably half way through making this. It’s been fun I have just been using bits and pieces from my sewing cupboard and this to date is a project I haven’t needed to buy extra things for – yay! So on Monday night I was getting some sewing done after I put the kids to bed. I had done some machine work and needed to finish off some loose threads which I do by hand (a great tip from Kylie my sister-in-law). I decided to do this in front of the TV. When I am not using my needle or pins etc I actually pin them into the arm of our couch – it’s an old forgiving couch;) However, on Monday evening, I rested it on my knee. All of a sudden I had to jump up and do something and I had completely forgotten about the needle on my knee until I felt it push into my foot!!!!!!! YES CRAFT HURTS!!!!!!

Yes, I stood on my needle! The needle was pushed into the skin between my big toe and index toe (no idea what the term is for our second toe is so I’m going with index like we say for fingers – let me know if you know what it’s called). This happened very fast and my reaction was to give an instant blood curdling scream, which my kids surprisingly slept through, Brett miraculously heard (as he was in his new study area – remember his Valentine’s present) and came rushing to my rescue. I told him I had a needle stuck in my foot. So what would you do next?

This is what we did:

  1. We looked to see if we could see the needle – result negative
  2. Brett got tweezers and tried to hunt for a needle point or something a mist my screams – result negative
  3. I felt the needle was still in my foot and so suggested a trip to the emergency department of our local hospital – we delayed acting on this knowing that we’d be there for at least 6 hours or so before being seen
  4. I suggested Brett crawl around the floor until he found the needle – result no needle
  5. I proposed we go to emergency – again we delayed acting on this
  6. Brett googled how to get a splinter out of your foot, to which I said “type needle” as I was sure others would have done this! – result Brett read about removing splinters 😉
  7. Brett got a bucket of hot water and put TPC in it; hoping the needle would come out after soaking my foot – result almost needing to go the hospital with a scolded needle foot
  8. I begged to Brett to scan the floor again for the needle – result Brett found the needle stuck hard into the floor which I had obviously pressed in with all my weight
  9. Sigh of relief as there appeared to be no needle in my foot, therefore no emergency department visit needed – result me soaking my feet and thinking about what could have been
  10. Going to bed with pins and needles in my foot (figuratively speaking!) and hoping it was all over – result fell asleep rather quickly considering

Yep, craft hurts! Since this happened I have been told of other sewing needle stories, even of needles travelling up the blood stream etc. A more horrifying but hilariously written craft tragedy had even been published last weekend in The Good Weekend section of The Age. So I am not alone! To date, I am believing we found the whole needle (despite not checking to see if it was a full needle that we found) and I can move on with my life. I haven’t done any more on the cubby as yet but plan to;) and now I have a new project on my craft to do list – a pin cushion!!!!!

Have you been hurt by craft? If so how?

Em xx

25 pin cushion tutorials - which one to choose? via blog babble




large-scale reenactment – no one was hurt in the taking of this photo;)
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