Monday, 22 January 2018

Something to make sewing easier

52 WEEK CHALLENGE: WEEK 3: Sew something to make sewing easier

This week I made pattern weights. The first set I attempted to make were cement weights using mini pie silicone molds. But I had too much cement in the mix and they crumbled :( I do want to try again because I love the concept.

My second attempt was using felt and filling the shapes with rice. I used a puzzle piece pattern by 'Handmade by glow' this pattern shop is mainly a cloth pad (sanitary towel) pattern shop, but Rebecca has wet bag, wipes, novelty puzzle patterns too.

I received my puzzle pattern in a "like and share promo" but there are a few other patterns that are similar. The sea, dinosaur, Christmas, vehicles ones are available in her etsy store.

My pattern weights are made up of 6 puzzle pieces that get put together to make a giant puzzle piece shape.  The lower puzzle pieces in my picture are actually the image in the pattern showing you how to piece the puzzle together.

I scaled up to 102% for the larger puzzle pieces, and printed at regular size for the lower puzzle pieces. I hand sewed the pieces together and filled them with rice. I'm not worried about mold and pests, I have had a heatable beanbag filled with rice for over a year and never had a problem :)

Luckily this project is a handsewn one because this was another very bad week with power and internet outages. I managed to print while we had power and the day's without power I did my hand sewing.

Aidan loves them too and loves putting the puzzle together :)
So if you're looking for a unique gift for any kiddies, get the puzzle piece patterns from 'Handmade by glow' they sew up incredibly fast, its a perfect project for in front of the TV :)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Something with the latest fabric I bought

52 WEEK CHALLENGE: WEEK 2: Sew something with the latest fabric you bought.

This week I made a romper for Aidan using the 'Romperalls' by Peek-a-Boo Patterns, if you join her Facebook group you can get it for free.

I used a cotton knit arrow print fabric I bought in a flash sale online at South African WAHM supplies, the navy lining is from them too. They no longer have this print but they are always getting in new stock.

The cuffs are cotton lycra I bought on line from Sewista, she also has a Facebook group  Sewista , if you're in South Africa both of these suppliers are fantastic.

I did this in a 3T , upsizing from his usual size because I'd like this to last through winter, in winter he'll wear a long sleeve tee under it

This was another very quick, easy sew. I do love a romper but I feel that past age 3 on a boy it doesn't quite suit them, on girls however they can wear rompers for all eternity.

This post contains affiliate links to Peek-a-boo Patterns 

Monday, 8 January 2018

something warm and soft

52 WEEK CHALLENGE :WEEK 1: Sew something Warm/Soft

Already the year is off to a not great start. The 1st we had no power all day, so no sewing and no blogging. The 2nd we had no internet, the 5th we had no power again, and the 6th no internet.

I had already decided to finally sew myself the 'Riverside Robe' by Peek-a-Boo Patterns'. 2 years ago I tested this particular pattern and for the test I made my husband a robe, bought fabric to make myself one and never got around to it. So Soft and Warm is the epitome of this robe. Aidan saw me sewing mine, trying it on and declared he also wanted one thus week one became a two item week.

Just before the power went out I managed to print off the 'Comfy Cozy Robe' by Peek-a-Boo Patterns' for Aidan, piece the pattern together, trace off his size (because this particular pattern has no layers), cut the traced off pattern and cut the fabric.

Now normally I hate patterns without layers but for an item you'll be making in many sizes it kinda makes sense to print off all the sizes unlayered and just trace off the size you need. Although trying to fold the taped together pattern neatly is like squeezing a watermelon through a doughnut.

Both patterns are incredibly quick to sew up, its very easy to follow Amy's directions and the robes are super comfy.

I used a coral fleece on mine and a polar fleece on Aidan's.

I do find that they both tend to run big, my measurements put me in a large, I made my husband a medium 2 years ago, I tried it on and saw immediately a medium would fit me with room to spare.

I made Aidan a 2T and it is very spacious on him, it may last him two seasons.

Overall I love both patterns and would definitely make them again.

I created a PDF printable to keep track of my sewing, I make notes on every project I do. You can download it here

Week one's sewing task is successfully completed.

This post contains affiliate links to Peek-a-Boo Pattern shop.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is using your wardrobe to its maximum potential with fewer items of clothing. To do this you should have co-ordinating and complimenting colours in your wardrobe. For example; Black leggings go with your coral, your mint and your grey top, and those same tops match your navy joggers. Your navy top will be added to match your grey jeans.

Its using all your pieces to create many different outfits for many different occasions simply by changing a top or bottom or layer piece. Or even a different style shoe.
Each item is essential to you and you love every piece.

The number of pieces you need vary from article to article you read. My opinion here is how often do you intend to do laundry? If you do laundry 3 times a week then 4 tops are enough, but if you do laundry once a week then obviously you need a few more tops.

Creating your Capsule Wardrobe.


If you're unsure of your style and what you really like, try searching on pinterest and create a 'My style' board, before long you'll see that you tend to pin similar colours, and that similar outfits pique your interest. That will be your style and your starting point of what items to include in your capsule wardrobe.

I also did an old school style mood board by physically cutting out pictures from magazines that appealed to me and physically pinned them to a board with some fabric to create my style board. My board is still a work in progress as I buy some of the fabrics I need to sew up my wardrobe.

Here you'll also work on your colour palette. A base colour is a basic, neutral colour that forms the base of your wardrobe. These colours are black, beige, white, navy, tan.
Accent and complimentary colours are ones that match your base colours but could also work well together.

I chose black, navy as my base colours, with grey, mint and a coral pink as my complimenting colours.


Take note of what items are need to create each of your favourite outfits you pinned on pinterest. ( This will be your capsule wardrobe list) This is the start of what you need. Mine for example is split into Summer and Winter with a layer pieces added to the summer outfits to be wearable in Spring and Autumn. That works here in South Africa where the seasons tend to blend into each other.

Mine are: 3 pairs of culottes, a pair of shorts, 2 skirts, a pair of leggings and a pair of harems for summer, 2 more pairs of leggings, 3 pairs of joggers and a pair of jeans for winter. And 7 tops for Summer, 7 tops for winter, 4 layer items for winter, 4 layer pieces for Summer. So my capsule wardrobe consists of 36 pieces of clothing that can all be paired with each piece so creating many, many different combinations.


This is a difficult step, cleaning out your current wardrobe, getting rid of items that no longer fit you, are not flattering, items you forgot about and no longer love. And lastly if they don't fit in with your colour co-ordinating or can't create a few outfit choices then they also have to go. I did my closet this weekend, my sister is getting first dibs on items she wants, then I plan to donate the rest to a welfare organization. Most of the items I'm tossing are items I haven't worn in about 3 seasons, after having a baby my body and style both changed.

Good questions to ask here are:
  1. Does it go with 3 other items in my capsule wardrobe?
  2. How many outfits can I create with this item?
  3. Does this item still fit with my personal style?
  4. Does the fit and fabric work for me?
  5. Does this item have sentimental value?

Question 5 is a tough one. I have a few concert t shirts I never wear but the t shirts themselves hold great memories. I wont ever wear them, but I don't want to let them go. I think I need to do some checking on pinterest what to do with memorabilia. I'll keep you posted.


Now put aside all the items of clothing that you are keeping and check them off from your capsule list. This is the beginning of your capsule wardrobe. Buy or sew the remaining items on your list. Because I have taken the pledge not to buy new clothing in 2018 I will be sewing all my items. Wish me luck ;)
One thing to note, just because you now have a capsule wardrobe doesn't mean this is what you'll be wearing for the rest of your life, each season you can cut out pieces you don't like and replace it with a new piece, I think a one out, one in rule should apply here. A capsule wardrobe should help stop you from impulse buying.
In another post I'll be explaining wardrobe soduku, and show you a few seasonal and special occasion options.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

New year, new start

I always have an excuse as to why I haven't blogged in a while, this time it's internet issues and having a toddler. But I really want 2018 to be different.

I am taking part in quite a few challenges for the coming year

1. Is the declutter challenge again, I successfully completed it this year and plan to do it again this coming year. This challenge is a daily task to do in your home, tidying an area, throwing things out, recycling etc.

2. The "Good bye Valentino" challenge is a fast on rtw ( ready to wear clothing, also known as bought clothing) for this fast from the 1 January through to 31 December I am not allowed to buy clothing for myself. I must sew everything I want to wear. I can however wear rtw clothing I already own.

We can buy socks and undies, but I have patterns for those items and already sew them anyway. During 2017 if I counted correctly and remember accurately I think I only bought about 6 to 8 items of rtw for my son, my hubby and I. That's in total not each! So I'm excited for this challenge.

3. An unofficial challenge is my goal to blog at least once a week.

4.  The last challenge is the 52 week challenge, its a sewing challenge with a weekly task of an item to sew. This one is for me, to make sure I do something for myself each week. This is the main thing I plan to blog about this year. So starting tomorrow I'll keep you posted on my sewing  and the theme and task for the week :)

Fingers crossed I actually manage to keep up with everything.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Menu plan for 1- 6 May

This week's menu and grocery plan is as follows:

Tonight I'm making a chicken bake, this recipe I got from a domestic helper at a house I was a temporary au pair for, I was very impressed with the simplicity of the meal and the delishiousness ( is that a word?)

Monday: Chicken pieces baked in mayonaise and chutney, served with mashed potatoes, a mushroom, onion and green pepper stir fry and home grown butternut. (Recipe to follow)

Tuesday: same as Monday

Wednesday: Cottage pie with extra added mixed veggies, and chick peas

Thursday: Same as Wednesday

Friday: Wors with chips, mixed veggies

Saturday: A braai with the remainder of the wors, chicken pieces, lamb chops and a potato bake.

Sunday: Pasta with pesto and feta. ( we use Ina Parmans pesto either the coriander or the basil ones)

Grocery list for the week:
1. Chicken pieces x 15 depending on the size and amount of people. (I allocate a thigh and wing per person per meal for the chicken mayo bake, and a drum stick per meal for my son,  and pretty much the same for the braai)
2. Mayonnaise
4. 2kg of potatoes ( this will cover the mash, the cottage pie and the potato bake)
5. Mixed veggies (frozen)
6. 500g of mince 
7. Gravy powder
8. A tin of chick peas
9. A packet of wors ( I use ostrich wors that has 7 pieces in, I split it between the Friday night and Saturday night)
10. Pack of lamb chops
11. 500ml cream
12. Cheese
13. Pesto
14. Feta
15. Mushrooms
16. Onions
17. Green pepper
18. Bacon. 
19. Butternut.
20. Frozen chips
21. Pasta

The mushrooms, bacon, cream, cheese are for the potato bake. I'm really going to do my best this week to do a post on the recipes I'm using.
As always some of these items you'll have in your pantrty or fridge.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Modern day couponing (south African style)

I'm becoming  a couponing queen, and in  modern times couponing is no longer clipping out of magazines and newspapers its gone digital!

South Africa has caught onto the concept and is doing an excellent job of it. There are a few apps and sites that I use with almost every shopping trip I do. Now these are exclusive to South Africa, some are bound to a particular shop and others are open to many.

Snap n save: Is an open one, with a long list of shops you can shop at ranging from Pick n pay, Spar, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Makro, Woolworths, Shoprite Usave, Food lovers market, Clicks, Dischem and so many more.

How does it work: Register, Log on to the website or app and check what offers are available, click on 'book' if its an offer you'd like to buy. Your booked offers go into "booked offers" you have 48 hours from booking to buy the items before they are removed from your booked offers.

Shop at one of the listed shops buy the item and keep your till slip, when you get home ( Or in the car or where ever really) log into your snap n save account, click on snap and follow the prompts, which will guide you through submitting your till slip ( select store you shopped at, select the items you did buy) and take the photo or photos if your slip is long. Be sure to include the whole slip, with date and time, store name, and goods purchased. Click on submit.

It can take up to 4 days to get your money back in your virtual wallet.

For more in depth FAQ,s go check their page..

Where can I spend my cash back:  when you have more than R10 in your e-wallet you can cash out. You can choose either to have it eft'd into your banks account, or changed into a wicode. A wicode is a 7 digit number that is entered at the till when you have shopped at one of the participating stores and that amount is deducted from your total. The participating stores list is constantly growing, right now it includes: Checkers, Checkers Hyper,Pick n Pay, Pick n Pay Hyper, Dischem, Cellucity to name a .few

Sign up now using my unique promo code “Laurend826” to claim your R10 when you snap your first till slip. 

Unilever: This one is specific to Unilever products and works on wicodes or your cell phone number depending on the store. The participating stores are: Spar, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Dischem and Shoprite. Start by going to the Unilever site, register, choose a shop, their offers are then displayed. Each retailer seems to have wicodes that run from the first of each month to the last day of the month. You may only buy one of an item at each shop ( but if Pick n Pay, Checkers and Spar have the same offer you may buy one from each of them as they all have different wicodes)

Add the item you want to your basket and checkout, a unique wicode is then sms'd to you. You tell the cashier you have a wicode and they enter it when when they have rung up your purchases, your discount is then applied and taken off your final total.

So that's an instant cash back deal :)

You can also use Snap n Save on any applicable deals so at times its a double coupon.

Pick n pay app: This one only started the beginning of April but is really proving itself. Its connected to your smart shopper card and has improved on many features. Namely they now give you discounts based on what you frequently buy at pick n pay, and even give you money off coupons if you spend over a certain amount ( R5 off R50 or more spent, R10 off R80 or more spent are two I have received) so if  you frequently buy a certain brand of bread, or coffee etc you now get discounts!

You start by downloading the app, register using your smart shopper card, offers unique to you are listed, you select the ones you want and they are automatically loaded onto your smart shopper card! As easy as that. Buy the listed items, swipe your card at the till and the discounts are deducted. If you don't buy them on that day they are saved until you use them or they expire ( they have a one to two week time frame depending on the offer. New offers are loaded weekly, from what I can tell that happens on a Thursday)

( here you can use your pick n pay discount and a snap n save discount on the same item if it is applicable eg: Snap n Save have a weekly discount on any brand of bread and any brand of milk 1 litre or more. So if Pick n Pay has a discount on bread  or milk you can actually coupon twice.)

Also did you know that as a smart shopper card holder you can get the pick n pay food magazine for free each month?

Spar app:  Spar app is new to me, I knew the loyalty card existed but was told by a few different spars that the card was bound to a particular store, so if you shopped at a few different spar stores you had to have an independent card for each store. That seemed impractical to me. With the app you don't need a spar card, you register, select the items you want to buy from their offers. Go to your preferred spar, buy the selected items, tell the cashier you have special offer items and want to enter your cell number, you then  enter your cell phone number at the till point and the discount comes off. The offers seem to be valid for around a month.

Checkers site: Checkers site has a wicode option, you can select offers, or browse the offers available and get a general code for all the offers. I found this one the least user friendly as I never got the code sent to my cell number, but it always worked if I entered my husbands number.I also found that the offers haven't been changed in many months, I'd go as far as saying this whole year. But saving is saving and if they have items you want to buy on their promo list use the code, enter the wicode at the till point and the discount is applied. 

Some tips:

1. Make sure you are buying the correct brand/size/flavour listed on the coupon or it won't apply. Some coupons are very specific about size/weight/flavour eg: 'Sasko brown bread 700g'. others will just say 'any  brown bread'.

2. Check the expiration date of the coupon and use it timeously.

3. I make a list of the coupon items on my grocery list, I add the wicode next to the item so I don't forget to mention it to the cashier.

4. Keep your till slips for Snap n Save until you have your cash in your e-wallet for that item. Sometimes for unknown reasons an item can be rejected, you can resubmit for that item if you're sure it was an error on their part. I have had this happen twice and both times I got the cash manually added to  my e-wallet within 48 hours of resubmitting.

5. Use reusable shopping bags, have you recently checked the price for a bag? Using your own bags can save you around R4 a week, that may not sound like much but a saving of around R20 a month is not bad, and also fantastic for the environment.

Just for interest I tracked my savings for the month of April, and they are as follows;

Snap n Save: R49.80
Unilever: R172
Pick n Pay: R97.41
Spar: R8
Checkers: 0

Making my savings for April R327.21

My savings on bags for the month is around R30 as I did a big grocery shop, and a bulk buy at Makro.

I'm excited to see what the savings for May will be :)