Monday, 8 September 2014

When your legs just aren't long enough...

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Have you ever found yourself wanting to do some cutting when you are away from your cutting table?

This happened to me during the kitchen reno.  I only had access to an ordinary desk:

You can see that that was never going to work!  Way too low!!  Oh my aching back!!

So it was off to the shops and look what I found:

A set of 4 Bed Lifts for $8.00 at the Reject Shop!  I raced back home, ripped them open:

 and lifted my desk by placing one under each leg! :


Yes I actually bought 2 sets so I will be able to replace the paint tins AND as they are extremely light I might just have to sneak a set into the motorhome when we finally decide to do 'the block'!

Have you ever found a cheap and easy solution to a crafting problem?  I would love you to share your experiences!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Monday, 1 September 2014

Caramel Tart Recipe

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Back in May, I posted about making my son some Caramel Tarts.  I promised a recipe when we were all unpacked again so here it is:

It is from a very old 'community' cook book made to mark 100 years for something, that I 'inherited' along the way. The recipe is credited to a Mrs T Newman - thanks Mrs T!


PASTRY      (Enough for 2 tart shells)

11/2 cups of SR Flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 Tblspn sugar
1/4 lb of butter
1 Tblspn milk

Rub butter into flour, sugar and salt and mix well.
Beat the egg well and add the milk
Add milk and egg to the flour mix and mix well.
Press into greased tart plates and bake in a good oven.

CARAMEL FILLING   (Only enough for one)
1 Tblspn flour
Pinch of salt
!/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 Tblspn butter
vanilla essence

Put flour, salt and sugar in a saucepan and mix with half of the milk.
Beat egg yolks, add other half of milk and mix into ingredients in saucepan. 
Add butter, place over fire, stirring all the time.  When nearly boiling, stir vigorously or it will go lumpy.
Flavour with essence, and pour into tart shell.
Beat egg whites until stiff,
Sweeten and flavour to taste and spread over filling.
Place in oven for a few minutes to brown

Don't you love the 'pinch' of salt, the 'good' oven, placing it over a 'fire'!

I suggest you make your own decisions re the ingredients you use, check your manual for the temperature for your oven and DONT put it over a fire!!

I love this type of recipe collection - tried and true by someone in your community - they were very popular in smaller communities and were often used as a money raising venture for schools etc

Do you have any 'collections'?  How about sharing your favourite?

I would love to hear from you if you give it a try - think I'll have to go and have a coffee now!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Converting a Regular Shirt to 'Easy Dress'

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My Dad is in a high care Aged Care Facility and recently, the staff asked me if I could get him some 'easy to remove' clothing.  Dad had some new flannel shirts so I set about 'converting' them and I thought I'd show you what I did.

I just happened to see the shirts reduced to a few dollars in a sale, so decided to buy the same shirts that Dad already had to use in the conversion. 

My plan was to slit Dad's shirt at the back, so that it could be easily removed over the head, without opening the buttons. The size of the armholes did not allow the shirt to be lifted , so I  needed to add a piece, to enlarge the armhole.  

So let's sew! 

Take the new shirt (or of course, you can use any suitable fabric that you have on hand)

1. Cut out the sleeves, cut up the side seams and across the yoke so that you have separate pieces ie deconstruct the shirt. You will need the back and the sleeves and I will now refer to them as the back piece and the sleeve pieces.

2.  Take the original shirt (I will refer to this as D-shirt for Dad's shirt) and a piece of paper and draw a triangle to fit under the arm so that it extends further down the side seam.

3.  Take the sleeve pieces and place the paper pattern on the folded side not the seam side and cut out, leaving a seam allowance. (If you are using fabric just fold it) Imagine that my paper is straight along the fold at the bottom ie don't cut the fold! See 2nd photo

4. Do the same on the other sleeve piece.

5.  Take D-shirt and using the paper pattern as a guide, undo the seam under the arms:

6. Open the shape you made from the sleeve piece and pin it in the opened seam of the D-shirt, with the pointy ends going to the side seam and underarm seam, the longest  going down the side seam. 

7. Stitch and finish the seam with a zigzag or overlocker/serger. I just used a zigzag.  Repeat on the other sleeve.

8. Cut the back of D-shirt so that you have about 3" of the yoke in from the sleeve seam at the top on the right hand side.

9. Undo the stitching on the yoke of D-shirt so that you can cut the slit all the way through: 

and continue opening it to the left to about 3" in from the sleeve seam

10. Take the back piece and cut a rectangle the same width as the back of D-shirt from the slit to the same distance in from the other side seam. In the photo, D-shirt with the slit is at the top to demonstrate.

11. Take D-shirt and hem the left hand side of the slit - I've turned it back to show you - I just turned a 1/4" and then again.

12. Join the rectangle  to the right hand side of the slit and finish the seam. 
Hem the other side of the rectangle with the same 1/4" hem.

13. Now lay the added piece UNDER D-shirt to form a flap. 
Join D-shirt and the flap back into the yoke seam. Over stitch the yoke on the outside. (I'm sorry it is hard to see the stitching but you can see the seam where I joined the rectangle as I didnt worry about matching the check)

This is the finished shirt on my lovely model!  The sleeve looks a little odd

but when Dad is sitting or walking you will not notice it.

and the overlap is large enough to ensure that Dad's back is well covered

The shirt is easily removed without undoing any of the buttons on the front.  I am really pleased with the result and it was certainly way cheaper than buying ready made. More importantly, it will still feel 'normal and familiar' to Dad. (Dad is blind)

What do you think?  If you have loved ones in the same situation, I hope I have inspired  you to give it a go!

Now I'm going to fix some polo shirts for summer!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Nanny's Herbs in the Window

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With the restoration of our kitchen following a leak disaster, I had lots of time to think - I know it sounds strange but I do do it some times!!

I have always wanted one of these gardens in the window but I guess expense, window not in the right place etc etc has meant its never happened so, here comes the thinking and my herbs in the window!

I spotted the cups (soup cups) at Spotlight and brought one home to see if PJ could drill some holes through the bottom for me.
Enter PJ with his trusty drill and a 6mm Masonry Drill .....

and he set to work ... (note the old board so he didn't drill through the table!)

Fantastic!  Back out  to get two more so PJ can work his magic again.  I thought I'd like them all to be different colours....

Now there was just one problem - they didn't come with a saucer so I went to the Op Shop to have a look - I couldn't believe it when I spied these:

Perfect match and 4 for a dollar - SWEET!

We did a swing by Bunnings to pick up some plants and potting mix...

Then it was out to the garden to collect some stones (I know they look like big rocks here!)

Then I spread some newspaper ( to take care of the mess that I knew I would make) and covered the holes with the stones.

I then sprinkled enough potting mix to cover the stones and planted the herbs - Chives, Parsley and Coriander.
I watered them in, popped them on the window sill and admired my new herb garden in a window!

Now don't tell PJ, but there is plenty of room for more!

I just know that you will ask about the chickens!  The larger one was a gift from a sewing friend (it looks like Gingham)

and I happened upon the little one and couldn't resist the spots!

I think they look right at home among the herbs don't you?

Until next time
Nanny xx

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Outside the Box or Picture This!

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I am so over stuff accumulating on the ensuite vanity!!  
Yes, I have a bad back and avoid bending to search in bottom cupboards if I can possibly avoid it, but I can't stand the constant mess/clutter that results from not 'putting away'!

I initially thought I could use some glass shelves but they were all too long and wide for the space and too expensive so I had to think 'outside the box'.

I gathered PJ and ventured out to Bunnings for a look-see and after quite a bit of searching , I came across photo shelves - they were glossy white (easy to clean), a nice width for a confined space and we would be able to cut them to fit!

PJ measured up, cut them off and painted the cut end white and then it was simply a matter of drilling a couple of holes and ta-da our new bathroom shelves!!

and my nice clean, clear vanity!

I do have one glass shelf that you can see in the photo - it is a corner shelf for my Maiden Hair - I can't wait for it to grow and hang down!

Does clutter drive you crazy or is it just me?

Until next time
Nanny xx

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bee Hive Update

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Remember earlier in the year I posted about joining a Quilting Bee Hive? Well I realised that I hadn't been back to show you what we have been doing - so grab a cuppa or your drink of preference, put your feet up and come buzzzzzzzzzzz with me!!

I must admit, I have experienced 'performance anxiety'!  It is amazing how, as soon as you start something for someone else, anything that can go wrong, does!! I had to pull those big girl pants up and get serious.....

In October, the first block was the Granny Square

November was the  Strip X:

Our December Queen kept it simple for us, asking for a 7x7 block with 49 x 2" squares finished:

It looks a bit wonky but I assure you it isn't - my sewing skills are definitely way better than my photography skills!

Then  in January, the Supernova:

In February it was my turn to be Queen and I selected a Scrappy star Block 

Don't they look absolutely fantastic!!  They are now waiting to be joined and finished! (yes mine is the one that's missing!)

In March we all had to Swoon 

April was the Japanese X

and May was the Card Trick

The Queen Bee, each month, puts forth her request with suggestions re fabric colour etc and we go from there.  

I have really enjoyed being a member of the 'hive' and am now working on the block for this month - you will have to wait to see that one.

I hope you have enjoyed this little catch-up.  Have you ever participated in a 'Bee'?  Did you enjoy the experience?  I would love to hear about it!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Monday, 2 June 2014

RAOK - or is it? A Challenge!

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Hi!  I've found myself thinking a lot lately about RAOK's Random Acts Of Kindness.  You will see the term being bandied around a lot online and I found myself thinking about just what it means.

According to Wikipedia, "A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people"

So it is 'random' ie you don't KNOW where the act is going to end up.  I'm thinking that if it's not random, it would then simply be a 'gift'.

Not that there is anything wrong with a gift, mind you, but a gift should be recognised as a gift and not be confused as a RAOK.

What is a gift of kindness then?  It is something you do to help out another or others, to bring them joy. It is not something designed to make YOU feel good, although I am sure if you have ever done something for another you found that you gained from the experience anyway. Your gain, though, is not the primary focus of a AOK.

I did some research and found the following sites and both provide many resources to assist with ideas and links:

I find there is a lot of overlap with other terms like "pay it forward" and "acts of kindness" so I am making my own definition if you like. I think the world can only be a better place with more kindness shared. Does it matter if its not random?  No! Does it still count if I plan it?  Absolutely! Do I have to tell anyone what I have done to make it worthwhile? No!!! Do I have to call it a RAOK?  No!!  Can I simply try to live my life with more kindness? Absolutely!

I have removed the 'random' aspect. I think to make acts of kindness a part of our life, we need to plan them and practice them until they become a constant, an automatic behaviour.  

I found a wonderful quote:

" When we carry out an act of kindness it is a message from one heart to another, an act of love, an unspoken "I care" statement."

I know a lot of people think "What can I do?"  "I can't afford to pay for anyone else."  "I don't have the money to buy anyone flowers etc"

So, let's consider some AOK that don't cost money, but are priceless in their value - things that we can all do.  I am going to go even further!  

I am going to challenge you to join me in using the next 30 days to make our world a kinder place. Are you up for it?

Why 30 days?  Well I remember reading somewhere that it takes that long to develop a new habit!

So,starting tomorrow, I am going to 'practice' being kinder. I hope you will join me!!

What can we do?  Well, we all have families, people we share our lives with and each of them is a special person - how long is it since you have told them that?  Maybe we could start there - more kindness in our homes.

Then we have our neighbours - I have a young family on one side and an elderly couple on the other.  I am sure I can think of some way that I can add to their pleasure - even a simple wave and smile. More kindness in our neighbourhoods.

Next we can think outside of our immediate environment - our friends!  How valuable are our friends in our lives? Let's make them feel 'valued'.  Offer to look after the kids so they can have a night out, offer to do the school pick-up if you know they have a cold, like their posts on FB! lol

What about pre-school, school.  Maybe you could tell the teacher how much you value them and the part they play in your child's life (if in fact you do). What about the administration staff that keep things humming and you informed? The groundsmen that keep the school playgrounds looking great?  The canteen staff?

Maybe you go to the gym - could you clean some equipment for the next person?  Get someone some water?

Then to the supermarket - Maybe you can take the time to help that little old lady trying to reach something, smile if someone crashes into your trolley and reassure the other person that it is OK, let the person with just a few things go before you at the checkout, help someone carry their groceries to their car.

I'm sure you can think of lots of great things to try.  My only word of caution is to stay safe!  Don't place yourself in any situations where you may be harmed.

Plan, Practice, Spread kindness!!

Until next time
Nanny xx

PS.  As I don't believe in the need to 'tell everyone' I will not be asking you to share your acts but would love it if you signed up to face the challenge with me.