Friday, November 30, 2007


That was the sound of another flying week! Where does the time go?

Opened my 'Bend-the-Rules Sewing' book to find a sewing diversion other than bags, and decided on the mixy-matchy napkins. Was a fun project - nice and quick, and so bright and happy! Perfect for having with tea and biscuits.

I then returned to bag-making to make a reversible shoulder bag for my sister. It turned out pretty well, but I forgot to take a photo before giving it to her. I'll try and remember to do it on the weekend when I see her.

It was also a week of playdates, and kids sloshing through the mud in the backyard. So of course it was also a week of cleaning (and fighting a losing battle with all the mud around). Hopefully, Matt will finish the retaining wall around the yard this weekend, which will eliminate the worst of the stuff. Maybe I'll have to let the kids out into it for one last good slosh before the wall gets built. I remember how much I loved skidding and sliding around in the mud as a kid (and growing up on a vineyard, there was a LOT of mud to play in), so it's hard to begrudge them their fun. I just have to keep reminding myself "it's only dirt"...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Show and tell

It's an unfortunate thing that the more there is to blog about, the less time there is to actually do it. Well, that's how it goes with me anyway. Been so busy doing stuff I've had no time to write about it - plus we are having Internet issues at the moment which is making things very hard....gggrrrr....

So anyway, here is a quick show and tell of what went on last week. First cab of the rank is...what a surprise...bags!

Three bags for three lovely ladies I used to work with. I'm still enjoying trying out different shapes, styles, and methods of construction. It's just such fun! And all three are a mixture of new fabrics and Op Shop finds. There's something about the mixture of old and new that quite appeals to me.

Clutch in Heather Bailey fabric from her Freshcut range, with a beautiful glass button from my Grandma's collection. Lined with fabric from an old sheet.

Shoulder bag in Amy Butler fabric, from her Lotus range, and cuff, straps and inside in vintage denim remnants I found in an Op Shop. More old buttons from Grandma's button tin.

Shoulder bag in soft quilting fabric found at Spotlight, with vintage designer fabric found as a remnant in an Op Shop, and thrifted red cord remnant for strap. And of course, another button from Grandma's trusty button tin (going to have to start replenishing the vintage button stash soon - ebay here I come!)

Also whipped up a couple of things for Kate this week. First was a twirly skirt I made by following a tutorial at this link

I also made some light summery pants from the same old sheet I used for the inside of the Heather Bailey clutch. The pattern was actually a pajama pants pattern that I had used to make pjs for Lee, and I just altered it to have more of a wide leg and funky cuff, rather than the tapered in look. I was quite happy with how they turned out, and they literally took me about 20mins to whip up. Yay! I love a bit of instant gratification.

And that's about it for the 'making' stuff. Poor kids had a lovely bout of 'hand, foot and mouth' virus (not to be confused with the deadly 'foot and mouth' disease you get from cattle). So a few days of fevers, crankiness, and awful foot blisters and mouth ulcers. Boy it's gotta be tough being a kid sometimes. But all's good now and we came out of quarantine on the weekend - whew!

Looking forward to a slightly more relaxed week this week. Yes I know, famous last words....

Monday, November 19, 2007

What fun!

Just some freeform felt rosette brooches and bow and flower hair clips. Such fun to make, and they're all hand sewn, so very meditative. I like to stitch them up while Kate is feeding herself, as it stops me from getting frustrated with the mess, and with the amount of time it takes her to get the food from the plate, to the spoon, to the high-chair tray, to her spoon again, to her head, and then finally into her mouth (eeekkk!).

Had a fantastic weekend. First a gorgeous early morning family trip to the Rocklea farmers market complete with sit-down coffees and cupcakes while listening to the live jazz, and overflowing bags of veggies, organic chicken and fresh flowers - scrummy! We always buy flowers from the same flower stand, and Emma always gives Lee a free flower of his own. This week he was given a yellow and purple 'bearded iris' - very funny hearing a three year old trying to say this :)

Then I went to the Umbrella Collective's Annual Christmas Fair and did LOTS of wanting, but just a bit of buying. I LOVE my Jack and Jill bobby pins by Liana Kabel (aka Plastic Girl).

And I couldn't resist these Christmas tree decorations by Kylie Johnson from Paper Boat Press. They are thin ceramic pieces that feel like gingerbread cookes - I could almost eat them!

Then a trip to Funky Fabrix in Ashgrove to buy some...well...funky fabric! I then came home and made a tote, but no pics as it is a Christmas present for someone - don't want to spoil it. Did also make this little number. Not for anyone in particular - just wanted to try something different...

Saturday night I had everyone (ie. the extended family) round for a roast which I actually did myself!!! Yep, that's right. Usually it's Matt doing the cooking/entertaining thing, but this time he actually sat and drank beers with Dad and Ron, while I did the faffing about in the kitchen. Luckily my sister and my mum helped me pull it all together - and mum made a delicious apricot cobbler for dessert. Perfect way to finish a perfect day - I just wish I had have thought to take a photo. Unfortunately I was enjoying a lovely glass of Pikes shiraz while cooking, so WAY too relaxed to be remembering such trifles...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stevie Nicks to Strawberry Shortcake

Once upon a time there was a dress. To say it was the ugliest dress in the world may be a little harsh, but it did have a 'Stevie Nicks meets red riding hood 1983' kind of feel to it.

But the dress had seen a lot of love. Someone had picked out the gorgeous red floral cotton, the cream floral contrasting fabric, and some swirly red and white resin buttons. They then sewed and sewed, and created...well.....something of a travesty if you ask me. But then, I am a child of the 80s, so my intolerance of the fashion crimes committed during this decade (which are trying to come back to embarrass a whole new generation at the moment it seems) is possibly a little extreme. But back to the dress. It had the bat wings, it had the pointy ruffled over-skirt bits, it had the 'medieval-style' lace-ups at the back, it had the big shoulder pads, and of course, it had the 'drop waist'.

This dress was worn a lot. It had been ripped and carefully mended, and the collar was stained with age and wear. One day, however, the owner and the dress parted company, and the dress made its way to St Vinnies. There it was spied by a girl on the lookout for fabric and buttons.

The dress had a new home, but little did it know it was to stay a dress for not much longer. That night, while her husband tinkered with and cursed his mountain bike and its baffling parts, the girl started cutting. She decided not to plan her object. It was cut out freehand, and pieced together ad hoc. Not necessarily because of a lack of respect for the dress, but more so that it inspired her to create with a childlike enthusiasm and impatience, and well, after all, the dress did only cost $1.00. If the project ended up a dud, then there would be no real loss, and at least the process was fun.

At the end of the evening, the girl held up her project for her husband to admire.....well? "Ha Ha" he laughed. "It's a Strawberry Shortcake bag". Maybe not the exultation or even admiration the girl was looking for, but she took it to mean it was not a failure. The freehand thing didn't really work out. There's a bit of wonkiness. But the girl thinks it's ok. It's a thing from the 80s she can live with (and looks a lot better on her than the dress did).

The end.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kid art

Yesterday during Kate's nap, Lee and I did some art and craft. First, we made stained glass windows. Lee has been very big on Playschool lately, so we did a Playschool window. When he finished his 'round' window, he liked it so much he decided that Kate needed one too. So we made her a 'square' window. (However, both did end up stuck on the window of Lee's room at the end of the day!!)

We then decided to make a rainbow (after which we both had to stand up, wave our arms around and sing the 'rainbow song'...."red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and bluuuuue, I can sing a raiiiinbow, sing a raiiiiinbow, sing a raiiiinbow toooooo"....I SO hope the neighbors weren't listening!).

Lastly, we decided to get a head start on the Christmas thing, so we did a Christmas tree collage. This one is my favorite.

Gotta love kid art!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A busy weekend

Last weekend was busy in the best sense of the word. Lots of sewing, and interesting projects that actually got finished!

First cab off the rank was this bag for myself. The fabric was once an ironing board cover. Isn't it great! The ladies in the Op Shop where I bought it wanted me to come back and show them the bag once it was made. They seemed to find it most amusing that I would want to make a bag out of such a thing. But who could resist such a fantastic print. I love it!

Second project was resizing an apron that was my Grandma's, and was handmade by her goodness knows how long ago (I'd have a guess and say it was made in the 60s or 70s). It was quite a tricky job as my Grandma was a larger lady than myself (ok, maybe quite a bit larger) but I got it to a point where it fits good enough for an apron. I've been loving wearing it around the house. For one thing, I don't have to worry when I pick up Kate and she wants to smear her dirty face all over my shoulder, and for another, it just makes me feel all 'business like' in regards to the whole domesticity thing, which is kinda fun.

Last major project for the weekend was this little clutch for my sister. She had a dress she wanted to wear to a Restaurant Awards night yesterday, and she had no bag to match. So we went through my stash and found some suitable fabrics, and came up with this clutch.

It was the first time I'd tried making a clutch bag, and I didn't have a pattern, so I just kind of winged it. Now I can see what I would do differently next time, but it worked out well enough to be used.

Besides sewing, we did lots of walks in parklands, and playing outside this weekend. Very low key, and just hanging around the house kind of stuff, but productive and relaxing none-the-less. A lovely weekend!

Friday, November 9, 2007

'C' is for COOKIE

Ok, so perhaps I've been watching too much Sesame Street lately, but these biscuits really do look more 'cookie-ish' rather than 'biscuit-ish. And unless you have watched the show lately and seen Cookie Monster's rendition of "'C' is for COOKIE, is good enough for me, oh cookie cookie cookie start with 'C'" then this whole paragraph (and title) probably makes no sense at all.

Anyway, these biscuits are a mash-up of a couple of different recipes, but they turned out pretty good (Lee has given them his seal of approval by demolishing two in quick succession). I ended up putting crushed cornflakes, oats, walnuts, and dark chocolate in them. A yummy combination I must say!

And now, unfortunately, 'C' is also for CLEANING. I wish it was for CRAFT, as I've been having fun making felt hair clips (I'll post pics next time). But I can ignore the rising mess no longer, so I'd better get onto it while Kate is still sleeping.

Oh for a cleaning fairy right now.....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The gift

I'm feeling a bit sore and sorry today after having two moles cut out yesterday (ouch!) so just a very brief post today. Two days ago I sent off this bag for a friend. Hopefully she will receive it today, so on the off-chance she checks this space, I won't have ruined the surprise.

I'm very happy with how this bag turned out. I finally felt game to use new fabric (rather than thrifted stuff) so paired up some Amy Butler prints from her Lotus range, and I'm so happy with how they look together. I also refined my bag pattern, and I'm very pleased with that now too.

To make it look more professional and 'gift like' I also made a matching yo-yo brooch and some pretend tags. Boy I hope she likes it! Anyway, here is how the final package looked:

So there you go. Now I just hope the bag arrives safely and that my friend likes it.

Now back to feeling sore and sorry for myself.......

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dreaming in technicolour

Last night I dreamed about bags. The night before, when I couldn't sleep, I was thinking about bags. It all started with my mum. On the weekend she gave me a tablecloth that had belonged to my Grandma. The next day, it became my tote.

Working with Grandma's old fabric also sparked lots of lovely childhood memories of fun times spent with her when she was still around. She always encouraged my imaginative world, and we often collected 'treasures' on our walks together. Then early in the week I visited an Op-Shop and found the hugest stash of great fabric, with lots of 60s and 70s style prints. Ever since then I have been madly drawing and sewing, trying out new shapes and designs. The main problem is that I don't really know how to sew - properly that is. A lot of what I do is trial and error, so I'm sure I am doing many things the hard way, construction-wise. But what the hey! I'm having fun. These are the two latest bags:

And I've realised what it is about these great fabrics that has me all excited and inspired. Somehow they remind me of the rich imaginative world I lived in as a child. For years I was obsessed with Enid Blyton's Fairy Stories, The Magic Faraway tree, and the Naughtiest Girl in the School stories. And I loved movies like Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as much for their saturated colour as for their story. So anyway, it is these types of worlds that the old fabrics remind me of. At least it's keeping my head-space colourful!

On a much more mundane note, I took some time out from bag-making and made a pair of pants for Kate out of some of the Heather Bailey fabric I had left over (after making the hat that was too small). Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before they got washed (and I am too lazy to iron them right now) so they're pretty crinkled. But you get the idea...

Looking forward to the weekend. Somehow I think there may be more bag-making. Lucky Christmas is coming (guess what everyone will be getting...he he...). Here's to a fun weekend!