22 October 2016

Wee-little backpack for a wee-little man

I did not take photos as I progressed this bag, mainly because I am primarily a sewer not a blogger. I may want to make another one, so why not try to transcribe the process? If the instructions don't make sense - apologies.

I looked at photos and descriptions on:
http://craftbits.com/project/make-your-own-kids-backpack/ - this is the same style backpack, with a flap closure, outer pocket and adjustable straps. I think there are some variations in the method, but the end result is the same.
http://www.made-by-rae.com/2009/03/finally-here-toddler-backpack-pattern/ - this is a completely different style of backpack, with a top zipper and piping, but very importantly I got an idea of the dimensions to work with from this page.

This is a very simple backpack, with a flap closure, one external pocket, and adjustable webbing straps. I used a mixture of fabrics, thread, iron-on light-weight pellon, D-rings and webbing.

I used the pellon on the flap, the outer pocket, the sides and the base. I didn't use it on the back or front pieces.

For the pocket: cut two pieces of fabric 10 inches wide and 6 inches high. Iron a piece of pellon onto one of the fabric pieces. I cut my pellon slightly smaller so it doesn't bulk up the seams and add some light quilting to hold it in place, but sewer's choice. Seam the two pieces of fabric together along one long side. Set aside for a moment.

For the flap:  cut two pieces 10 inches square. I had a left-over block from a quilt that I wanted to use, so I edged it to fit. Seam the two pieces together on three sides. Set aside for a moment.

For the front and back outer: cut two pieces 10 inches wide and 12 inches high. Set one aside (this is the back). Pin the pocket to the right-side of the other piece. Line up the raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges of the front piece. Pin or baste in place.

For the sides: cut two pieces 12 inches high and 4 inches wide. Iron on pellon to both (and quilt in place). Sew the sides to the front, making sure the sides of the pocket are caught in the seam. Stop the seam short of the bottom of the side by the width of your seam. That is, if using a 1/4 inch seam, stop 1/4 inch before the end; if using a 1/2 inch seam stop 1/2 inch before the end. I still haven't worked out how to do this on the overlocker (I overlock/serge all bags for strength), so I unpicked.

For the base: cut one piece 10 inches long by 3 inches wide. Iron on pellon (and quilt). Sew to the bottom edge of the front piece, again making sure the pocket is included in the seam, and stopping a seam width short of the ends.

For the back:
For the lower straps: cut two pieces of webbing 3 inches long. Thread two D-rings on to each length. Pin the ends to the sides of the back piece about 2 inches up from the bottom edge.
Sew the sides (sewn to the front piece) to the back piece, ensuring the straps are included in the seam. be careful sewing over the bulk of the straps. As for the front, stop short of the end of bottom edge. Sew the base piece onto the bottom edge of the back piece.
Sew the bottom edge of the side to the end of the base piece of each side (this is why you stop short of the edges).
(Alternatively, you could cut the sides and bottom as a single strip, and sew them to the sides and bottom in a single seam, pivoting at the corners, to both the front and back pieces.)

For the top:

For the handle: Cut another piece about 5 inches. Pin each end either side of the centre line of the top edge of the back piece.
For the top straps: Cut two lengths of 25 inches pin about 2 inches in from the edges on the top edge of the back piece.
Pin the flap sewn earlier to the top edge. Check everything's pinned to turn out to the right side - straps inside the bag aren't very useful.
Sew the top edge of the bag.

For the lining: cut two pieces, 12 inches high by 14 inches wide. Sew the side (12 inch) seams. Sew the bottom seam in from each side, leaving a gap in the middle about 6 inches wide. So the lining fits inside the bag, the corners are 'boxed'. This might be tricky to explain without diagrams: Fold the bottom corners of the bag so the side seam and bottom seam are lined up, on top of each other. This forms a point. With your ruler perpendicular to the seams, rule a line where the folds are 4 inches apart. See http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/how-box-corners for some lovely photos and explanation of boxing corners.

Sew the lining to the outer bag along the top edge. I always have to check and recheck I've put them together the right way for it work, but I think it was: Lining is inside out, outer is right-way out. Put the bag into the lining - make sure the flap and straps at the top are on the correct side. Turn the bag out through the bottom of the lining.

Top stitching: I top stitched a couple of seams as I went - the pocket top edge, the side seams, the flap, the top edge of bag and lining.

Front of bag. Flap is sitting over the top of the pocket, so you can't see that the pocket is a different colourway of the same fabric as the front. The sides are a different fabric in the same range. The applique car on the flap is based on the cars in the original fabrics, but is not part of the original range.

Back of bag showing straps and handle. The front is the same green fabric.

Bag open to show the grey lining and front pocket.

Bag hanging. I added fabric tabs on the ends of the cotton webbing to stop it fraying.

28 August 2016

Kitchen - Old and new side-by-side

From the dining room

Looking out the window

Looking into the pantry

The old pantry corner

Looking back towards the dining room

The before is before we had the idea of creating a pantry. The after is the pantry.

Kitchen Part 7 - The finished product

So, aside from a few minor touches—what to do with the rubbish bins, how to store potatoes, where can find hooks that match those I've had for years that Bunnings no longer stocks—the kitchen is finished. And, after using it for several weeks, I have to say - I love it. I say it every day. I say it when I cook dinner, I say it when I load and unload the dishwasher, I say it when I'm baking, I say it when we've had four or five friends around for dinner. Our kitchen is now an enjoyable space to work in. The old kitchen was functional (to a point), this one is more than functional. But enough words, more pictures:

The view from the dining room

moving around the corner

further around

sneaking into the pantry

pantry - working side

pantry wall doubling as storage
Pantry wall and hanging storage
The pantry wall needed to be reinforced so it wouldn't fall over. We looked at a couple of options, including making an L shape around the fridges, which are on the other side. We settled on this option, of a lovely timber beam all the way to the ceiling and then across the ceiling. We were able to put large hooks in the beam to create hanging storage for our frypans and wok. There's plenty of space in the cabinets, but I love having these hanging. I've always wanted a big country kitchen with the pots all hanging over the stove. This is close enough for jazz.
From the fridge side

I'm pretty keen on hanging. I hate digging through utensil drawers, stabbing myself on the stray roasting fork or grabbing the cheese cutter by the blade. In the old kitchen I used lengths of curtain rod with plastic ends for my rails. To match our black handles and shelf brackets, I found black rods at Ikea. I have compromised and used the old silver hooks. I already have them, the Ikea hooks are expensive, and they also have a 'knob' on the end, which would stop me using them for a lot of utensils. I have/will use Ikea hooks for some larger items - the cutting boards, and tubs and baskets for--stuff--under the overhead cupboards.
The blue stein by the stove full of wooden spoons has been our spoon holder for decades. No idea where Daniel got it from, but somethings are just family tradition.
The shelves in the pantry are moveable rail-and-bracket system. We had them in the old kitchen (with old pantry doors cut up to make do as shelves). I like the flexibility of the adjustable system. Underneath the shelves, I've added the spice baskets from the old pantry. I don't need them for spices anymore, which live in the pantry wall, and I almost gave them away. I'm glad I didn't. They're very handy for packets of stuff.
I've tried to set the shelves up by theme - sugars (how many sugars can you have!), flours, fruit, etc. The baskets hold related (sometimes loosely related) packets under the shelves.
 Under the sink was tricky. Our sink is very deep, which means the drain pipe is quite low. In the hold kitchen the rubbish bin hung on the inside of the sink door, but that won't work here. And none of the pull out bins will fit either. So, I've given up on the idea of putting the bin in this cupboard (my only cupboard - everything else is drawers except the lazy Susan in the corner).
Last weekend I bought a set of plastic drawers, which hold sponges, gloves, steel wool and the like. I'm quite surprised by how much more effective the space is used with that simple change. I also hung a tension rod towards the back under the sink. This lifts the spray type bottles and creates more space in the cabinet.
My only other non-drawer cabinet. The lazy Susan is a 3/4 circle, spinning continuously--no spinning one way only to realise you needed to go the other way, and the heights are adjustable. When designing the kitchen, I loved the idea of the system. However, if I had my time over again, the one change I'd make is to install this instead:

 Corner drawers. I love these. They hold so much, compared to the lazy Susan, they're easy to access and don't look as ugly as I thought. (I initially didn't consider them because the ones I'd seen looked cluttered when closed. Perhaps the wrong size handles for the size?)
All the bits and bobs for our food processer fit into one drawer and all easily accessible without reaching over something or knocking something else over.
The shelves that got moved. As you can see we've set out microwave on a slight angle, which makes it easier to access. The toaster oven at the top doesn't get a lot of use, now that we have a brilliant oven. But with a small step it's completely usable, particularly by those in the family taller than me (everyone).
In this photo you can also see our brackets. These were custom made for us. A friend commented, "Oh, they're chunky", but they're bit of a fairy tales and pink princesses type. I love them. They look solid and reliable. The 'up' design was so they didn't run down into the glass splashbacks.
Open shelves on the other side of the rangehood. These are narrower - so you don't bump into them while using the countertops.
The only overhead cupboards in the kitchen. We still need to cornice where the bulkhead touches the ceiling. My request of Matt was for the overheads to have no open top. Although I have open shelves everywhere, my experience with cupboard tops is that they get ignored and become filthy.

Last, but not least, the sink. I wanted a BIG sink. If the dishwasher was taking care of most things, the sink would be for baking pans and roasting racks. I wanted a sink that was big enough to take a whole pan, and deep enough to not splash me when I was washing the said pan. The pull out tap was a bit of a luxury items, but with the big sink it is really very handy.
And that's our new kitchen. I will do a side-by-side photo comparison with the old kitchen later.

Kitchen - Part 6 and a bit

The kitchen was just about finished. On the Saturday (about the middle of July) Matt and Daniel finished off the last bits of the cupboards before the splashbacks went in. I walked out Sunday morning and stood looking. Nope. It just wasn't going to work.

In my original design, I had a line of shelves down the outside wall. In talking with Matt, we thought perhaps putting the microwave in the corner wouldn't work. Microwave are all hinged on the left, which would making opening it difficult. I agreed to move the end shelves around the corner to gain functionality.

When I looked at those shelves after they were installed I just didn't like them. When we put the microwave in place, we found that the looked-for functionality wasn't there either. The door banged into the rangehood. I lost my streamlines and didn't gain functionality.

We called Matt. He agreed to come out and change the shelves when he had time. I was perfectly happy to live with them for 6 months if need be—if they were going to be changed eventually. It wasn't a straightforward job. The plaster had to come down, reinforcements put in the wall to carry the weight safely, and new plasterboard put up, refinished and painted.

About three weeks ago Matt had a spare day to move the shelves. I was right. The shelves look much better where I originally planned them to go. And while the microwave is awkward, it's not annoyingly awkward. Mainly because I'm the only shorty in the family and I rarely use it. I am on the look out for a kitchen step that will live in that corner.

Shelves as originally installed

Moving the shelves in progress

More in progress

04 July 2016

Kitchen Part 6 - Day 4, 5 & 6 of the real renovations

Thursday the benchtops came (that was the last post).
Friday the plumber and electrician came back. We had the electrician do a bunch of work around the place while they were here. A whole new board installed on the front of the house, the long promised heat lamps in the bathroom and the kitchen stuff. Our kitchen has 12 double power points, plus a single for the fridges, which run through a double surge protector. I'm hoping its enough ;-)
Saturday Magic Matt installed our larger shelves, the trim boards to fasten my hanging rods to, and the handles on the doors. I suspect they leave the handles off until it's safe for you to use the cupboards.
Saturday and Sunday we painted and moved in. There's still shelving in the pantry to go in - so food is still in the dining room. And the hanging rods have to wait until the splashbacks are in. So utensils are a bit of a mess.
Two small hiccups with the entire project. We looked at taps and said, "We want that one." The appliance company ordered and delivered a tap, which we carefully put in the corner for the plumber. I went to try my new 'pull out' tap on Friday night and found it didn't pull out :-( I checked the order form and the tap installed in my kitchen was the tap on the order form, but it wasn't the tap I asked for in the store.
This morning Daniel spoke with the store. We have no proof of a mix up, but they accepted that the tap wasn't the one I asked for. They are sending someone out on Monday to uninstall the unwanted tap and install the one I wanted. The one I wanted was quite a bit more expensive than the one we got, so we're paying the difference. I am very impressed with the service. Although I'm unlikely to be renovating a kitchen again in the near future, they will be my first port of call if I need larger appliances, and I will be recommending them to anyone who asks. So - if you need fridges, stoves, oven, sinks, taps, laundry tubs, washers, dryers - try Winnings. We went to the Indooroopilly store, but I'm sure they're all great.
Second issue was the microwave shelves. I envisaged a wall of shelves, broken by the rangehood. There was concern that the microwave would be awkward to access if it was in a the corner. I agreed to have the shelves in the corner turned 90 degrees. Once the shelves were installed we realised that the microwave door only opens about 75 degrees and bangs into the rangehood. Hmmm, so I sacrificed a visual aesthetic for functionality, which I didn't get. Again, Daniel spoke with Magic Matt this morning, and the shelves will be moved. As the ad used to say, it won't happen overnight, but it will happen. I'd be happy to live with it for six months, now that I know its going to be right in the end. Heck, I lived with the kitchen as was for 14 years.
And so, some photos.

Daniel hard at work painting. These are the shelves that are moving 90°. Blue sticky notes were my planning of what goes where.
Sticky notes to determine what goes where. The piece of pine under the shelves is painted wall colour (pale yellow), and is for attaching my utensil hanging rods. I have about three and half metres of hanging rods. Pretty sure it'll be enough. We used to have about one and half metres, and it wasn't enough.
And a message on the wall of the next renovators.

Message on the wall behind the splashbacks for whoever next renovates the kitchen.
She said, 'smile'.

How to use the new oven.

Looking like a kitchen. The old kitchen looked like a kitchen too, but this one looks like a really functional and lovely kitchen.

The window frame looks a little tacky. It will be green.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

Walk into the kitchen, turn at the end of the fridges, and there's more.

And still more. These two walls will have open shelving. The short wall separates the lounge room, so the shelves visible above it will be for display items - vases, large platters, fancy plates etc.

My can rack that I just love.

Last night I cooked a roast. Tonight I cooked biscuits. I didn't often cook biscuits in the pizza oven. It cooked great biscuits, just in small batches. With a full size oven, I can cook a week's worth of biscuits in one go.

Still to come:
  • dishwasher goes in on Wednesday (YAY!)
  • splashbacks will be about two weeks
  • shelves in the pantry
  • move the microwave shelf
  • new tap
  • work out under sink storage (waiting for the dishwasher to see what room there is)
  • hanging rods and hooks for utensils
  • hooks in the ceiling frame behind the fridges for hanging pans