Thursday, 18 December 2014

Magic Beans in Nanny's Garden

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Recently I spotted a request from Live Love Bean for a blogger to plant some of their Magic Message Beans and then to write about it.

I was expecting 4 of our grandchildren for the weekend, and they just love the garden, so I contacted Live Love Bean and told them I would be happy to try if they could have them to me by the weekend.  I also warned that I usually sew and couldn't guarantee my gardening skills.  

The seeds arrived in plenty of time and the children and I prepared for the planting!

Firstly, the beans: 

On one side                            and                           the other

The children each got to choose their own bean seed and were excited that each one had a different message.

Isabella - Make a Wish                     Amelia - I love you

Jessica - Believe                               and Luke - Merry Christmas

Poppy had prepared 4 pots for us, so the next choices were made  (I want that one ...  oh I wanted that one ...) and after reassuring them that all pots contained the same soil mix and that the pot we used didn't really matter, it was time to plant!

and then water ....

 and then the waiting began 

The children went home and left their beans with us with instructions to "make sure you water them", and they waited each day for my posts on Instagram and  shared excited, regular phone chats.

The first to emerge was a star!  No, it really was a star...

It grew and grew before another emerged .... 'Merry Christmas'

After waiting and waiting I dug up the seeds to check on them and Live Love Bean reassured me that they were OK so I replanted and waited some more!

We believed - and look what happened!!  

That only left 'I love you' and when I checked again, I found that a grub had thought the bean meant it and had nibbled and nibbled and split the seed apart - Oh dear!  Well 3 out of 4 is really good and if I'm honest, the leaves were already formed when the seed was destroyed.

What a wonderful time we had!!  Children love to garden, dig in the dirt and play with water and this activity gave them the opportunity to do all of that and more! 

To see how gently they handled their seeds and to hear the excitement when their plants with a message popped up was precious!

So here we are, waiting for our little gardeners to return the week after Christmas.  I can't wait to see their faces when they see just how big their plants have grown. I'm hoping they may even have some flowers by then.

I've stopped reporting to the children so that there will be an element of surprise but, OK I will show you.  It has been extremely hot for the last two days and it had just finished raining when  I took the photos:

Aren't they magic? 

These little seeds provided the opportunity for us to share a wonderful, educational, fun experience with our grandchildren - memories have been made and they will form a part of our family history.  I guess you could say they worked their Magic!

What a great activity for over the holidays - I can highly recommend it!

Thank you Live Love Bean for helping me discover my 'green thumbs' and for bringing a little Magic to our garden.

I should add that I received only the bean seeds for free and the report is an honest account of our 'trial'.

Until next time
Nanny xx

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A ripper of a present

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If you ask anyone that sews, what the one tool is that they could not do with out, a huge number would say MY QUICK UNPICK or SEAM RIPPER!

Now I should start by saying that I am not receiving any payment for this in any way but I wanted to show you this because it would make a fantastic present for yourself or your sewing friends.

This is my new unpicker and I love it! 

You can see how big it is compared to a regular one (think this one came with my machine).  Now in this case, I think bigger is better!

It fits nicely in my hand so I can  grip it well

as opposed to the smaller one which is really held by the fingers.

It is lovely and smooth AND I got to choose my favourite colour - purple.

I was so excited I bought my friend Sue one too in her favourite colour - red.  Sue has some difficulty with arthritis in her fingers and this should be perfect for her!

Another feature is that it is double sided! It has a small blade on one end

and a larger blade on the other!

When you are finished, you simply pull the blade out out, turn it around and stow it away!


If you would like to see more colours or to order one for yourself or a friend, pop over to Alan's Pen Making - you can even get a pen to match!!  

Until next time
Nanny xx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Scrappy Xmas Decorations

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I was looking through my Xmas scraps today and thinking "What can I do with this?" 

 Answer:  Make some Scrappy Xmas Decorations!

What you need:

Some Xmas scraps with small pictures - these ones vary in size
Some fabric scraps to use as backing - think about using Xmas fabric if you will see it
Some scraps of Vilene or wadding

Let's sew!

1. Cut out your pictures - if you have borders like mine it is easy - you could use a rule and rotary cutter if you preferred.

I had enough to get 2 of each and you can see that I rough cut them only.

2. Cut Vilene and backing for each one - once again - rough cut.

3.  Press the Vilene to the back of the front picture.

 4. I needed something to make some loops and I found this cord. I decided to unwind the beaded strand to use as loops.

5.  I cut my loops to 2.5"

6. With all layers facing the way you want them to finish ie front, wadding, backing, use pinking shears to cut along the top. I have skewed mine a little so you can see.  Then fold a loop in half and place between the wadding and the backing.

7. Sew around the picture about 1/4" from the edge.  I have used white to show you on the back.

8.  Using the pinking shears, cut around the other 3 sides.

9.  There you have it!  Continue with your other pictures.  These can be tree decorations or you might like to make a mini garland. I threaded them onto the rest of the cord.

How cute is that?  I love it!  Look through your scraps and see what you can make.  I would love to see a photo!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Make a Xmas Treat Dish

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Today while thinking of what I could make to put under Clare's Xmas Tree, I remembered our first Let's Sew Project and decided that I would make a larger container to use at Xmas!

I have chosen some real Aussie fabric with Santa Koalas (just to remind all readers that Nanny is a true blue Aussie!!)  

This is really simple to sew but if you need more detailed instructions, you will find them in the Let's Sew Tutorials

What you need:

1 x 10" square of main fabric
1 x 10" square of co-ordinating fabric
1 x 9.5" Vilene H640 or similar

Finished size:  4.5" x 4.5" x approx 2and3/8" (You can vary the size to meet your needs - or fabric)

Let's Sew!

1.  Centre your Vilene square on the back of the main fabric and press (make sure you have the Vilene dots facing the fabric)

2.  Sew around the edge, leaving a space for turning.  Trim corners.

3.  Push corners out, roll between finger and thumb and press.

4.  Topstitch - I sewed about 1/8" from the edge.

5.  I am using my 4.5" rule - centre it on the square and trace.

Nanny note:  I am using a Pilot Frixion pen - if you don't have one, do yourself a favour!  They are available at supermarkets in Australia and the beauty of them is they disappear when you press!

6.  Stitch around the traced line.

7.  Fold each corner and stitch from the corner of the stitched square straight out to the edge.

8. Press around the stitching to form a 'base' for your container.

9. Fold corners back.

10.  Fill with Xmas goodies - Yummmy!

Please share a photo if you make a dish!  What will you put in yours?

Until next time
Nanny xx

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Make a Fabric Origami Xmas Tree

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I promised the swapz group that I would share a tutorial on how to make a Fabric Origami Xmas Tree.  I have searched for an original of this design but have had no luck, so if you know the designer, please notify me.  There are a couple of versions on Pinterest, but neither appear to be by the original designer.  I firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due and will always credit the designer if I am able.  

I was shown how to make this by a friend and I made my adaptation to the method.

I like to hang mine in a doorway!

Finished Size: Approx 12" x 10"

What you need:

A 5 and 1/4 " strip of 2 contrasting  fabrics ( I used a Xmas fabric and a plain)- WOF (width of fabric)
A rule with 60 degree marking (to make equilateral triangles) OR a 60 degree rule 
Bells, beads, buttons etc for embellishment

Let's Sew!

1.  Take the strips of  fabric  (I leave them doubled). You will be able to cut all triangles from one strip - the 11th will be formed with the folded cut off which is the left side in the photos.

Using a rule:  Find the 60 degree mark and put that along the long edge of the fabric.  You will need to turn the rule to continue completing the triangle (check next photos)


Using a 60 degree rule:  Place the 5 and 1/4 line along the edge.

You can see how you continue cutting - one up - one down (not leaving spaces that I have left to show you).  You can see that the 11th is formed when you start from the folded edge.

2.  Take one of each fabric and with RST (right sides together), starting about 1.5" from the corner with a double stitch, sew to the corner and with needle down turn and continue up the other side, next corner, side and corner, finishing about 1.5" after the corner with a double stitch.

3.  Trim the corners and turn to the right side. Push the corners out (carefully - I use the blunt end of a wooden skewer).  Press

4.  Using ladder stitch, close the opening.  Press

5.  Repeat this with all 11 triangles.

6.  Using a matching thread and tie a knot in the end.
Take one of the triangles and fold in half along one side and pinch - then repeat on another side.  

Where they cross, put the needle through and pull thread through to the knot.  

Fold each side and pinch to get the centre point.  Catch that point with the needle and bring it to the centre point.  Take a small stitch to secure and continue with the other sides.

Push the needle back through the centre and out at the knot. 

Fold a corner back to this side and stitch.

Continue to each of the other corners.  

Finish off.   I like to take the needle through to one of the edges and cut it off there.

That is the unit completed.  When you make the next one, make it the other way ie start on the other side.  This will help you decide which way you want your tree to look and the other one will be the trunk!

When you have decided, continue making the other 9 units.

Press the units and place in order. 

I am missing the top unit in this photo, but it will give you the idea!

You are going to join the units using a simple whip stitch - try to keep your stitches small.

Now it is time to embellish:  Use bells, beads, buttons - whatever you like!

Attach a little loop at the top for hanging and there you are - all done!

I have also made these for people in Aged Care - let's them have their own little bit of Xmas decoration!

Please show me if you make one!

Until next time
Nanny xx

I will link up with Under The Xmas Tree at Clare's Craftroom