Monday, August 29, 2011

In the beginning...!!!

I was remembering the other day when I first started making Knappy Knickers, or just knickers for over nappies as they were then! It was sights like this that got me reaching for the sewing machine!
Not a very good photo, but it was taken in the mosh pit at a Wiggles concert in 2005! That's my daughter on the right giving her best friend a bear hug. And what do you see hanging out from underneath her dress....?? Yes a saggy, baggy nappy/diaper - NOT attractive!! I actually thought I had a better photo of the offending nappy, but this is the best I could find.

I had had some little stretchy knickers that had come with a couple of her dresses, but they were too small, and I couldn't find any replacements - no matter how hard I looked. And I looked all over Perth to find some. So I did what any good mother does when she can't find what she wants - she makes it!!

I worked out my pattern, bought some fabric and gave it a go. The first few pairs weren't too flash, and the little girl being swamped by Elyse in the photo above was a guinea pig for the first prototypes as well as Elyse. I finally refined the pattern, got better fabric and then we had the following.

Perfect for when you aren't sitting like a lady, or when you're hanging out with Grandad's dog on the farm in summer!

The other benefit to the knickers was that Elyse couldn't get them off, which meant she couldn't take her nappy off!! Yep, we've all been there - when your toddler decides it's time to take all their clothes and nappy off!! Well, the knickers at least meant that she still had a nappy on!

So while Elyse, and a friend, had covered nappies, it wasn't until 2007 that I decided to take the plunge and try selling the knickers at a market. So I sewed like mad to build up enough stock, and stood in the sweltering heat for a day - and sold lots of Knappy Knickers! I have to say, the great response I got at the market did surprise me a little, never having sold something I had made before. I continued on, selling Knickers at local Perth markets for the next year. In that time I decided to reward myself and buy an overlocker/serger from the profits - best decision I ever made as it really takes the Knickers up a notch. Although I must admit I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it!! 

Fast forward to October 2008 and my husband was transferred to Houston, so sadly just as I was starting to do really well with the Knickers and see benefits of the last year of hard work, I had to pack the Knickers up. 

It took until May 2011 until I decided it was time to do something with my Knickers, and listed my first item on Etsy. Nerve wracking to say the least!! I've had a few sales, but I'm in a bit of a lull now while I try to improve my sad photos, rewrite the descriptions and tags. There are so many gorgeous diaper covers on Etsy so those photos need to be good to stand out. I think I am the only person making stretchy diaper covers like this, so it's hard for people to get away from the idea of the big cotton bloomer type diaper cover. It's also hard taking great photos when my live in models are now far too old for nappies!

Meantime, I finished the swim/bath robe for Elyse and I'm really pleased with it. It's an Ikea towel and some gorgeous Michael Miller fabric. Here's my grown up girl, modelling poolside!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Life after the holidays

So the kids started back at school last Wednesday. After 12 weeks of holidays I think we were all ready to get back to school and settle back into some routines. I spent my first few days to myself catching up on some of the many jobs that need doing around here (still oh so many to go though!), catching up with the school mums for coffee, and then doing some shopping for a new bike! I did my first triathlon almost 2 years ago, and have done a handful each year since then. I only do sprint distance ones, but really enjoy them - well, I don't enjoy the 5am starts on race day, but after that it's mostly all good!! Anyway, I really needed a new bike, so in the weekend I bought myself a lovely new one, and she's called Ruby! And here she is:
She the nicest bike I've ever had, and will probably ever have, and she's gorgeous. Took her for a spin yesterday and it's incredible the difference she makes to my riding. Bring on my next triathlon in October!!

Sewing-wise I've been a bit quiet lately. In my quest for the perfect fabric shop, I recently went to High Fashion Fabrics in Houston with my daughter, Elyse. Well it's huge and has some fantastic fabric, but as is the way in most fabric stores, not many knits which is what I was specifically looking for, for my Knappy Knickers. Anyway, Elyse and I both saw this gorgeous fabric which I thought would look fantastic on her. It's a Robert Kaufman Organic cotton print, Pick a Bunch Posies, and I made it into the easiest quickest thing I could think of, a basic elasticated skirt.

I love it. Elyse - not so much. Thinks it's too puffy!!! So I might take out some of the bulk of the fabric to make it less puffy. Then she said she didn't like the elastic waist and wanted (what I got from her convoluted description) a ribbed band instead of elastic. So, I've now got the ribbing, stay tuned for the new, updated version of the skirt! 

The other thing I had promised for Elyse was a swim robe, similar to the one I made for Ollie, here. I had bought the towel for it from Ikea ages ago, and had a pattern from here but it was only to size 4 and I didn't have the time to upsize the pattern. So I got another pattern but then had only just enough towel to fit the pattern (I had one bath towel and one bath sheet.) So after a bit of playing around with the pattern layout I got it to fit, and ended up with the band from the edge of the towels down the front of the robe, and on the sleeves. I think it looks quite good, will see what Elyse thinks! Here it is, work in progress. 

Of course I forgot that I hadn't bought all the bias binding for the edging, so will have to make another trip to Joann's for the rest. But for now, on with those jobs....!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

After the holiday

Well, all good things come to an end as they say, and this is what happened to our holiday. We had a fantastic time, Salt Lake City onto Jackson and then Yellowstone. Loved the beautiful country up there, and the gorgeous weather. A couple of days of rain showers, but nothing that stopped us getting out and about to explore the Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. They were both spectacular, and after being in Houston for a couple of years seeing hills again is fantastic. I'm from Wellington in New Zealand, which is really hilly, so I'm used to the hills and miss them in flat old Houston. It was also great to escape the Houston heat, to some lovely cooler weather.

So here are some snaps of our trip:

 The elk horn gates to the square in Jackson, WY. 
 At the top of Jackson Hole Ski Resort - stunning views, and quite a bit of snow still around.
 Views of the Tetons, spectacular.
 Artists Point in Yellowstone.
 Old Faithful doing it's stuff!
 Some of the locals we met along the way.

So now it's back to reality, and all the back to school jobs. We've been to the doctor, the dentist, bought new school shoes, got the uniforms ready and dropped all the forms into school. We start back on Wednesday of next week, so a girls lunch out will be called for that day I think once the kids are safely dropped off at school. Twelve weeks of holidays are just tooooo many, the kids are at each others throats and are so ready to go back to school. And so am I. I'm ready to get into all those jobs I've been putting off until school goes back! Next week I'll have no excuse for not getting them done though.

I will also have to get serious about my training again. I have been very slack over the holidays, doing the minimum of exercise. Since I've been in Houston I have found a love for running (if you knew me in the past you will realise what a quantum change that is!!!) and have done two half marathons and some other shorter races. I have also started doing triathlons, and have another couple in October - just sprint ones, but still training is needed! Then I have also entered the Houston Half Marathon again, in January, so will have to seriously dust off my running shoes again if I want to have any chance of getting sub 2 hours in that.

Then there is etsy to focus on, and all those jobs I've been putting off. Hmmm, maybe holidays ending isn't so good after all.....?!