Tuesday, 31 March 2009

New Fabric

In the shop
Great prices
Even better with the new shipping deals

Things for the boys....

and things for the girls....

and there are a couple that haven't quite made it there yet, coming soon....

NEW - cheap shipping option

I have added a new shipping option to make the shipping cheaper - I just hate it when I ordered something online and the shipping is as much as the item I want to buy!

All the info is on the front page and the list of countries that it is available for is listed in the shop policies section.

I am adding the new fabrics slowly but surely, I actually had time to do it yesterday but Etsy was down for maintenance - aghh.

What you waiting for? go shopping.... :o)

Monday, 30 March 2009

I found tissue paper!

OK, I imagine that many people would not be excited about tissue paper - (the crafty type of tissue paper). I have seen loads of cute projects to try but haven't been able to lay my hands on any. Tokyu Hands has it, for those in Japan, it's with the origami paper.

So, yesterday we made a storm light, covering a jar with the paper.
Then we made a sun catcher using sticky backed plastic, we sat together and did this, it was quite relaxing, just tearing up bits of paper and sticking them on, we covered the whole piece.
pretty!

We mailed the postcards for the postcard swap on Saturday, I hope everyone who has joined has got theirs out too, I can't wait to try the new recipes. I ended up sending 4 different recipes out, we have been testing them over the last couple of weeks. I will share them with you when they have arrived, I don't want to spoil the surprise:o)

I have been doing quite a bit of sewing but nothing is finished yet, not even blog finished! We have also been decorating eggs but that is a whole different post, as I the visit to the zoo on Saturday, I will write more about that when I have a bit more time. I have friend that I haven't seen for about 3 years coming today, I am so excited, so I will have to love and leave you and get tidying, soup to make, bread to bake, rooms to dust....

Friday, 27 March 2009

Spring Chicks - free pattern


***apologies - the link no longer works and I appear to have lost the original pattern, if I manage to find it I will upload it to scribed*** sorry!

I have been making these at night, I seem to have become addicted, they don't take long to whip up.
I have made a pattern for them, you can download it for free here.
Although it shouldn't need saying, I will. Please only use the pattern for personal use, make as many as you like for yourself or to give away but do not use the pattern to make chicks to sell.

If you do make some, let me know, I would love to see them :o)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Shhhhhh

A great giveaway for BOYS, just pop over here, tell her I sent you xxxx

Parts Of A Flower Felt Board

***OK, I KNOW there is a spelling error on here, I have made a new card to replace it!***

This was another easy project, I used the wooden flower puzzle as a template and although it involved more cutting it didn't take me long. Again, I printed the labels and stuck them onto sticky backed felt.




After, he did the wooden puzzle then put the labels on there too, I can see me making these for other 'parts of...' activities.




A quick word about felt. I have two felt stashes, one is the cheap acrylic felt the other is wool blend (usually 70-80% wool).

The cheap acrylic felt is great for projects like this one or the counting but if you are going to make things like felt food or purses then go for the better quality wool blend.

The cheap stuff bobbles and doesn't last well in comparison, I learnt this the hard way!


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spring addition

I totally stole this idea from Shannon, thank you! 
I cut out 10 eggs, bunnies and flowers but only managed 5 chicks, by that time I was fed up of cutting and hadn't even tackled the numbers but then I had a genius moment. I decided to print out the numbers and then stick the paper to sticky backed felt, I happened to have some left over from the sandpaper letters, so the letters stick to the felt board but without all that painful cutting out (I hate cutting out!). 
Ebi-kun really enjoyed doing this and set himself several sums. This is one of those projects which would be easy to change for the season, you could also do it for children just starting to learn their numbers, basic counting or matching the objects with the numeral activity.
Here is the template I made, click on the image and then print it out.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Of Crumpets and Muffins...

A week or so, this lassie started a thread on a message board I read, wanting to clarify the difference between crumpets and English muffins, the thread went on and I started to dribble at the thought of crumpets, oh dear....
So, a bit of a quiz, can you correctly label the pictures?

the answers...
A a crumpet
B an English muffin
C an American muffin
D a nice bit of crumpet !

It became obvious that I would not be able to wait until I got back to the UK to curb that crumpet NEED so I made some, this is the first time and boy, do I wish I had done it before.
So, for all those who are now dribbling at the thought of hot, buttered crumpets, here is how to make them...
5ml sugar
625ml warm milk
10ml dried yeast
400g plain flour
5ml salt
3ml bicarbonate of soda

Dissolve sugar in the milk and sprinkle on the yeast, leave in warm spot for 10 mins.
Sieve the rest of the ingredients together. 
Pour in half the milk and beat well, slowly add the rest, makes a thin batter
Cover and leave in warm spot until the batter has doubled in size.
Oil a thick frying pan and several crumpet rings - I used metal pastry cutters, oil them too.
Place the cutters in the pan on med- high heat, spoon mix into cutters, about half way seemed to work best. Let it cook on hot for a minute or two, reduce the heat and cook for 6 minutes. The top should be starting to cook through. 
Remove from cutter and turn over, cook for 2 more mins.
Serve hot with butter and golden syrup - ooohhhh my!
We had a couple as they came off the pan and polished the rest off for breakfast

Muffin Tin Dinner

HCO's theme this week was rainbow, a nice easy one!

from L-R
tomatoes, cheese, fish crackers, cucumber, blueberries and yoghurt, pickled beetroot, ham.

Ebi-kuns Doctor Robot has made it's way to Hungary, let's hope he can work his magic on Eli.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Homemade Ravioli

Saturday I had a 'day off' from being a mom that is! Daddy too Ebi-kun to see the football, they have become supporters of the local team! That meant I had the day free, so of course, I went to Nippori. My Japanese teacher wants me to make her some zabuton covers and left me to pick the fabric, it took me forever to decide, I hope she likes it! And, because I didn't have to rush back I mooched a bit, went into lots of new shops (new to me), I picked up some lovely new fabric for the shop, quite a bit of boys stuff, think robots, trains, diggers, some funky socks for more sock monkeys, a bobbin holder - I never knew these existed but what a fab invention, no more knotted up bobbin mess! I had lunch, dumped what I had already bought in a locker at the station and went back for more. Tomato was hell, moms all buying fabric for the yochien (kindy) bags. In Japan the child has to take several bags, all with set measurements - which are different for each kindy and there is a big thing about them being homemade - no matter if the mother can sew or not. There are many stressed out moms here in Japan right now! Trying to get round the store was awful, you are supposed to leave your stroller outside but there were people with them inside, screaming kids, harrassed mothers, useless fathers (who, should have taken the kids to the park and left the moms to it!) - awful, I won't be going back until the kids have started yochien in April!
I will try and get the new fabric up in the shop sometime this week.

I spotted Jeans post the other day about making ravioli and it has been playing on my mind ever since, so that is what we did yesterday. We actually make the dough in the bread machine, I will put the recipes at the end, for those who want to give it a go!

Once the dough was made a rested we rolled it out, it is quite springy so it was a tough job rolling it out. Then we cut out circles using a cooking cutter.
Add a small amount of filling - spinach and cottage cheese (poor mans ricotta!)
Damp the edges with a little water and pop the lid on, squash the edges together.
done! Boil in salted water for 3-4 minutes
Eat with a tomato and basil sauce, yum!
Everyone gave it the thumbs up and we will be making it again, Ebi-kun really enjoyed doing the filling and putting the lids on, a child friendly recipe.

This made enough for 2 adults and a small child!

For the pasta dough:
Strong (bread) flour 150g
Durum Semolina 150g (available at Ishii Seijo or Kaldi for those in Japan)
Salt 5g
1 egg beaten
water 110ml 
Olive oil 5ml

Put into the bread machine, choose the pasta/udon course and Start. takes about 15mins.
Place on a board & cover with cling film, let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Cut into 2 and roll one piece at a time.

Filling
spinach 110g
ricotta (cottage cheese in our case) 55g
olive oil
egg yolk
pepper to taste 

Boil the spinach for 3 minutes, drain and squeeze dry - I used the salad spinner, worked a treat.
Pop everything into the food processor and blitz until combined.

And a Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, especially mine, because, she is of course the best one ;o)
Mothers day in Japan in on a different day so I always forget and end up having some rushed pressie delivered, hurrah for the internet :o)

Right, I have GOT to get some sewing done....

Friday, 20 March 2009

A sunny day and a Stroppy child

That just about summed it up yesterday! I don't know if it was the weather or if he was over tired but Ebi-kun most certainly turned into a devil child yesterday and I was certainly glad when bedtime finally came round.
I will spare you the details of the tantrums and look on the positive side, we got to play outside, whilst Ebi-kun played in the mud, I did some some sewing. 

I used Sarah's new tutorial, I hadn't got a small enough zip, so I altered the pattern a little to accomodate the longer zip.  The tutorial is great, really easy to follow and she shows you how to insert a zip even the most novice stitcher could master it. I am planning to pick up some little zips tomorrow, I think these would make great gifts. Once I made it I decided that it would be my new travel sewing pouch and decided to make a mini needle case to go with it, now all I need is to go off travelling...

Now, look at him, like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, this was the most peace I got all day!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A new kind of meme

I was tagged by Rhymes and More with a new meme,

This is what you need to do. Write a review of any kids product, it can be a toy, a book or anything which you have personally used. Pass this meme to five other blogger friends
So, here we are, I bought this from the toy museum last year. It is a wooden puzzle, all the pieces are animals and Ebi-kun has enjoyed playing with it. the pieces all fit into the tray, there is a diagram on the bottom of the tray so you can match the pieces.
He has had fun making animal towers
and animal queues
and fitting them together to make his own puzzle
He also takes them out to use as animals for a zoo to go with his train track, some of the pieces slide into each other so you can actually build more complicated structures, it is an open ended toy and pushes him to use his imagination, all pluses for me. If I have to knock it for anything, I would have liked the wood to be stained, rather than painted, that said, the paint hasn't chipped as of yet.
And so, I will tag the following...

We had another busy day yesterday, we went to the post office, I picked up some really cool stamps for the postcard swap! Then we had to go to the park for another hour and a half of football training (Ebi-kuns words not mine), since daddy-ebi took him to the footie two weeks ago he has been footie mad! 
The weather was lovely, so we pottered around in the garden and had lunch out on the steps, it feels like spring is here. When Ebi-kun took his nap, I whipped up this pillow case, I was actually trying out a technique for putting in the zip. My Japanese teacher asked be to make her 4 new zabuton covers (the big cushions you sit on), when I told my friend, she asked me to make her some too. 
Of course, in good Jo style, I agreed to make them before even thinking about whether I actually could make them - can't be hard now can it? So, this was the test cover, all worked fine, did the first one for my friend, got it all finished, put the zabuton in and the ******* zip broke, even hubby - mender of all things broken couldn't fix it. Aggghhh. Looks like I will have to cut the zip out and hand sew a new one in, I am not a happy bunny.

At least I have a nice new pillow for our bedroom :o)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

How To make A Taco Weiner

Taco Weiners are those cute octopus sausages I put in Ebi-kuns bento box, like these little guys...


Now, I admit, it took me a long time to find the right sausages, a lot of trial and error went on. For those in Japan, I use "Winny", they can be boiled or fried, I prefer them fried but they look better when boiled! If you click on the image below I have written out the instructions, hope you can read my writing :o) It is very simple, I keep meaning to try some other designs, I did penguins once and I may have tried fish, these are the easiest though - enjoy.



If you are felt-a-holic like myself and have a spare zip lying around, then pop over to Sarah's lovely blog today, it is her 500th post and she is hosting a sew-a-long party, I will see you there (I will be the one with the blue polka dot felt)

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

St Patricks day

We have been having some St. Paddys fun here today. I started off buy telling Ebi-kun about St Patrick and Ireland and we looked on the globe to see if we could find Ireland. I then told him the St Patrick was famous for ridding Ireland of it's snakes, so before we got started on any other projects he would have to banish the snakes from our house!
I had cut out 7 snakes, in rainbow colours and he used a piece of card to waft them out the door and into the genkan (porch). 
Then we made a rainbow, we actually started the rainbow yesterday. I drew the outline on white card and then he cut the coloured paper into strips and then again into squares, we then stuck these onto the rainbow together. After that I cut a paper plate in two and stuck the two pieces together and Ebi-kun coloured it in. Then we added the gold pieces.
After all that, the snakes had snuck back in so Ebi-kun had to scare them all out again, this time they ended up in the bathroom! We then played a couple of rounds of dominoes, it is the first time we have played this but he caught on straight away, I downloaded them from here.
And then we did some painting, I faintly drew a shamrock and he traced around it with oil pastels and added his own little design into the mix.
Then he painted over it with water based paint, he was surprised that the paint wouldn't cover the pastel - we tried this before with wax crayon but it was a flop, the oil pastels worked SO much better. He really liked this so he did some random pictures too.
After all that it was time to go to the park so we - yes, he got me at it too, played football for over an hour before he announced he was hungry so we came home for a green MTD (muffin tin dinner) HCO's MTD theme this week was green/St Patricks so this is my attempt....
We have, a greenish egg, cucumber, pasta in green pesto, broccoli, avocado, kiwi and melon jelly in the middle served with melon green milk and a side serving of cheeky Leprechauns that escaped from Gourmet Mom on The Go and found their way into my kitchen, I just hope they are planning on leaving a wee pot of gold for me....

Monday, 16 March 2009

New Fancy Felt

in the shop right now - not your boring ole plain felt, this is fancy pantsy printed felt, go check it out...

Postcard swap 2009

The groups have been sent out, if you didn't get your let me know!

happy swapping :o)

Salad Spinner Art

I saw this on several blogs last year but we didn't have a salad spinner, when I was in the 3 coins shop (everything is ¥300 yen) the other day, I spotted one, so I thought we would give it ago.
Luckily, it was a rainy day Saturday and daddy-ebi was a at work, a perfect salad spinning art day.
What you need:
A salad spinner
food colouring (I used this instead of paint because I might want to use the spinner for food afterwards!)
droppers
paper plates or paper cut to fit the bottom of the spinner

This was a relatively clean painting activity, well it was until Ebi-kun knocked the blue food colour all over the floor!

Pop your paper in the spinner
Add drops of colour, we had a lot of fun experimenting, changing where we dropped paint to see how the design would change.
Put the lid on and S-P-I-N
taa-daaa beautiful spun art
string up and dangle from the ceiling (optional) :o)
We finished painting for lunch, Ebi-kun is such a slow eater, I often catch up on my blog reading as he eats. Anyway, he had just finished when I was reading Julie's blog. Julie often joins the swaps and I consider her a bloggy friend, I was reading about her little boy. Eli, who currently very sick in hospital (in Hungary). Ebi-kun was asking me about the photos so I was explaining that Eli was very sick and had to stay in the hospital bed for a long time. Ebi-kun looked very worried about this and announced that we should send him some toys. He wanted to send him his robot that he had designed but I had to tell him that it wasn't very hygenic - robot got caught in the cross fire one night when Ebi-kun had a nose bleed and so he now sports a big blood stain. So, Ebi-kun decided to design another robot, he drew the design and picked out the colours and I sewed him up whilst Ebi-kun took his nap.
He is a Doctor Robot, we popped him in the post yesterday, hopefully doctor Robot can help Eli get better.
It isn't very clear but it says Doctor Robot for Eli under the design :o)

I will be sorting out the swap groups today, if you signed up, expect an email in the next day or so....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Thank You!

To Christie at Sweet Tidings and Sarah In The Woods for giving me these awards, it is always great to know that people enjoy your blog.

Now, I am supposed to nominate some more blogs for the award but I am a bit pushed for time and when I have done this before it always takes me forever to pick which ones to nominate and so....
If you have me in your blog reader consider yourself nominated for the Lemonade Stand award and if you follow me either with blogger or twitter, you are awarded the Kreativ Blogger award.

Congratulations!

I have just got back from Ikea and I am shattered, will be back after some sleep....

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A busy day

Yesterday, we met up with friends for a play date, one was a bloggy friend, Nor and her two boys and another boy around the same age from playgroup. Nor kindly met me at the bus station to show me which bus to use to get to the play centre. We used to go to this particular play centre quite often, back in the day when I carried Ebi-kun, but he is too heavy to carry now and it is too far for him to walk. 
Anyway, the play centre was virtually empty so we had the run of the place, the boys tired themselves out riding the little cards round and round and round...
I miss the play group days out, but they are full days for us, it took two trains and a bus to get to the play centre, over an hour door to door, so I can basically write off doing anything else that day, that said, it is good to get out! 
They had changed the rules at the play centre and we weren't allowed to eat lunch there, so we went to the mall just up the road, I made Ebi-kun a bento. The cute giraffe thing has kiwi in it, I am glad it is getting warm again, that means more bentos :o)


We did a spot of shopping in the mall, I managed to get some pickled beetroot, oh you may snigger, but I have to take 2 trains to get close to a store that sells beetroot! 

When we got home Ebi-kun was shattered and requested some quiet time, so he sat and watched Totoro and I got on with some sewing. This cape is a request from a friend, for her daughters birthday, she loves the character with the white mask and R on it's head. She has the jumpsuit so this is to go with it.

modelled by Ebi-kun

I like capes, they are great for kids to role play in BUT I always worry about the choking factor if it gets caught on something, so I gathered the neck using elastic and made the fastening strap with elastic too and the whole thing fastens with velcro, so if it did get caught on something, there would be plenty of give and velcro makes it easy to remove unlike a ribbon, cord or button.


Once Ebi-kun was in bed I whipped up this little bag, when we went shopping Nippori a while ago, I promised Ebi-kun he could pick out some fabric, this is what he chose, it is quite heavy weight canvas so a bit tough to sew with. He wanted a bag like my horse bag but without the flap - very specific in his details, it is just right and he is a happy bunny.

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