Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Macro Conversion Lens

We recently got a macro conversion lens for our Sony Nex 5R camera. It is a little lens which clips onto the front of the current zoom lens that we have and allows for great macro magnification. Here are some of my early attempts to use it, with a tripod of course!

f/13, 1/8 sec, ISO-200
A hairy bug

f/16, 2.5 sec, ISO-200
Tapestry wall hanging

f/20, 1.3 sec, ISO-200
Match sticks

f/16, 1.3 sec, ISO-200

f/16, 1/15 sec, ISO-200
Tiny yellow flower

f/9, 1/40 sec, ISO-200
'Santa Claus'

f/9, 1/40 sec, ISO-200
Dandelion flower

f/29, 0.62 sec, ISO-200
f/8, 1/4 sec, ISO-200
Ball point pen

f/18, 1.3 sec, ISO-200
My wedding rings

f/20, 1.6 sec, ISO-200
Sewing pins

f/13, 0.62 sec, ISO-200
Sewing machine needle

f/25, 1/10 sec, ISO-1600
Ink dots on a page

Easy Banana Muffins

Banana muffins with dates, walnuts and chocolate
I have a tried and true banana muffin recipe that I want to share with the world. It's a little bit fancy, but super tasty and easy to make. I've made it heaps of times and it has never once failed me!

125g softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tbs milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Beat butter and sugar until well combined and creamy. Add egg and beat until the mixture is smooth. Mix baking soda with milk and add to mixture. Add the mashed bananas and combine well. Finally, add the flour and mix until smooth. (The muffin mix should be fairly thick.) Spoon into muffin papers and bake in oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 25-30 mins or until tops spring back when touched.

Chocolate Icing
50g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder

Combine all icing ingredients until smooth and thick. You may need to add more icing sugar to get the consistency you want.


If you want to make your banana muffins a little fancier, and I always do, you can add extra ingredients such as chopped dates, walnuts and chocolate chips before baking.

Finally, once the muffins are cool, ice with chocolate icing and sprinkle some crushed walnuts over the top.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Camera Bag for the Sony Nex

I was looking for a project this last week and I decided that our camera and its growing number of lenses and accessories needed a bag to live safely in. After searching through my fabric box, I came across some heavy fabrics that I thought would do the trick.

The finished bag is simple in design but was so hard to make due to the fabrics needed. I used a heavy vinyl water proof fabric for the lining to give stability and water proofing. To this lining I attached bubble wrap to help protect the camera equipment from any bumps and knocks.

Inside the bag, I created a separate compartment for each camera part, padded them and stitched them into place. I used a black shoulder strap from a broken bag that I had stored in the cupboard to finish it off. The camera fits inside the bag really well and it offers heaps of protection and padding. Job well done!

The finished bag

Zip and shoulder strap detail

Inner compartments

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

April Quilt Square

So here is the quilt square for April in 'Block of the Month'. The quilting techniques are gradually getting more complex and this one featured curved lines and appliqué.
The block was constructed by joining pairs of fabric strips and cutting wedge shaped pieces out of them t join together as the circle. The outer white pieces were shaped to fit and the inner yellow circle is machine appliquéd onto the block.
I think it turned out really nicely!

Front of the circular block

Machine Appliqué 

Back view

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Making Simple Panelled Skirts

This is the final skirt pattern making article that I'm planning to write. It is simpler than the classic skirt, but a little more complex than the half circle skirt.

The Panelled Skirt
These instructions are for a 6 panelled skirt, but can be adjusted for 4 or 8 panels. The two measurements needed here are the waist and hip measurement.

I will use WAIST: 75cm and HIP: 108cm.

As there will be six panels in my skirt, I need to divide both measurements by six.
WAIST: 75 / 6 = 12.5cm
HIP: 108 / 6 = 18cm

Begin the pattern by drawing a straight line down the centre of your paper. Mark the 1/6 waist measurement equally across the top and the 1/6 hip measurement 17cm below.

Draw a straight line down through the point of the waist and hip measurements to the skirt hem length. Do the same on the other side of the skirt panel. Curve the waistline and the hem, making sure that the skirt is the same length all the way through.

Cut out 6 of these panels and sew together, leaving a zip opening. Check the fit. On my skirt I needed to slightly adjust the panels that sat against the small of my back .
I added a band around the hem for interest, but you could add a waistband or any other decoration you desire.

Panelled skirt front

As you can see, the process is very simple. If you wish to make a 4 panelled skirt, simply divide the waist and hip measurements by 4. Or if you wish for a 8 panelled skirt, divide your measurements by 8.

NOTE: Make sure you always add seam allowance and create a trial run for all patterns that you draw!

Friday, 5 April 2013

How to Make the Classic Skirt Pattern

This is the second instalment of skirt making information that I would love to share. I'm so impressed with some of the pattern making techniques that I am learning that I would love others to have the same information and success!

The Classic Skirt
The classic skirt is a straight skirt with a darted waist and a waistband. It has a vent in the skirt back for ease of movement. Before attempting this skirt you need several measurements; the waist and hip.

Make sure that your hip measurement is your largest measurement, otherwise your skirt will not fit properly!
The measurements that I use for these instructions are:

WAIST: 75cm  1/4: 18.75cm
HIP: 108cm  1/4: 27cm
HIP WAIST DIFFERENCE: (1/4 hip minus 1/4 waist) 8.25cm

Take a careful look at the image below of a skirt block and follow the instructions given. No fancy rulers required for this pattern!

Skirt block

Step 1: Draw a rectangle 1/4 of your hip measurement wide (27cm) and as long as you want your skirt (60cm). This will be your skirt front.

Step 2: Mark 1/4 waist measurement on the of rectangle and the halfway point between waist and hip measurements next to it. Mark the hip line 17cm below the waistline.

Step 3: At the halfway point between hip and waist, extend the waistline 1.5cm above the line and curve it down into the waistline at the centre front. Curve the side hip line from the same half way point to the hip line (17cm below waist).

Step 4: As half of my hip waist difference is about 4cm, I then need to take another 4cm out of the waistline using darts. Make the front dart no wider than 2cm. In my case, I need to make 2 darts to accommodate the 4cm difference. The dart should be positioned 10cm from the centre front and be made 8cm deep.

Step 5: The skirt back is created in the same way except the back dart is to stop 3cm above the hip line making it 14cm deep. Again, if your hip to waist difference is more than 2cm, you will need to make 2 darts. In my case I made the large dart 2cm wide and 14cm deep and the smaller dart 1cm wide and 8cm deep.

Step 6: The skirt vent is added in the centre back by extending out 4cm and up 14cm.

Step 7: The waistband is a straight strip, your waist measurement long and 6cm wide. (The waist band folds in half so it will finish 3cm wide.)

Once you have completed your pattern, make sure to add seam allowance to the side seams, waistline, hemline, vent, waistband and centre back. Cut out your pattern and test it on some calico or scrap fabric before cutting your fashion fabric. I needed to adjust my pattern slightly for a better fit the first time, but the effort is worth while!

To construct the skirt, sew darts and side seams together and finish off. Attach the waistband and insert the zipper. Finish off the waistband and any lining. Sew centre back seam to the vent. Complete the vent and hem the skirt to desired length. It's as simple as that!

To get the skirt to fit as well as possible, make sure you carefully press the darts out as they form the shaping!

Classic Skirt front
Classic Skirt back

My skirt pictured above is fully lined with an invisible zipper. Once this pattern is mastered, the fit is excellent as it truly is made just for you!