Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Simplicity itself!

That's exactly what making this top was, especially compared to the Built by Wendy top I last made. It was easy peasy! It is the sleeveless version of Simplicity #4589. I highly recommend it, and I'm definitely going to make some of the other versions of this top. For those who have recognised the fabric, yep, this is the same Op-Shopped fabric that I used for my first apron (that I ended up giving to mum). And I still have enough left to do something else with it!!! That was definitely a bargain piece of fabric for $1.50!!!

For anyone who is interested in making this top, there is also a Flickr Group just for this pattern. It's not a big group, but I found it interesting to see how other people's tops turned out!

And the best thing about this top? Well, besides being light and airy (which I LOVE), it also accentuates the 'boobage' (or lack the case may be) and nicely hides the 'yes I've had two kids' belly. Lovely!

Friday, January 25, 2008

This is....

Ok, so I'm late on joining in the 'This is..' fun over at three buttons, but I am figuring that in doing this I am killing two birds with one stone....

Firstly, I did know about this earlier, but the first 'This is...' was "My Favourite Cup", and to be perfectly honest, I don't have one.... Sad I know, especially as I am a compulsive tea drinker. But every morning I would just grab whatever old cup came to hand. I didn't even have a favourite that was just for 'looks', you know. Until now...

Check out this rose coloured lovely:

I found four of these in an Op Shop yesterday. I haven't actually tested them for drinking out of, as I suspect it would be kinda difficult. Very wide and very shallow. But oh the beauty!!! It's a bit hard to tell from the photos, but this cup is heart-shaped on the inside, and sort of lilly-padish on the outside. I feel like I should be sitting on a toadstool drinking nectar out of it. So I'm not sure I'll ever sip my earl grey tea out of it while I tap away at the computer, but I will admire it each day...

OK, now that I have caught up on the first round, I am jumping straight into the second, which is "This is.....what scares me". Which would be this post. Right here! Yep, turning up late for events scares the beejeezus out of me! When I was younger, if I turned up late for a Uni lecture (and I mean even literally one minute late) I would pace outside the door wringing my hands trying to work up the courage to open the door and walk in.....and I couldn't! Sometimes I might have driven for 30 minutes to get there, and then after being one minute late I would turn around and go home. How's that for some neuroticism for ya!

As you can see though, I have become much braver as I have got older (and I think having kids also has a tendency to make you 'get over yourself'). So here I am. Crashing a meme! A latecomer! Going off to dry my sweating palms now.......

Oh, and to see everyone else's responses, visit three buttons.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

As Dora would say...

I did it, I did it, I did it, hooray!!!

And for all those people who are not forced by their kids to watch Dora the Explorer, let's just say I'm doing a little happy dance right now. Any why? Because I made this:

Well, I made most of it. I did have Matt's mum here and she fixed a little bit of the yoke that I mucked up (I made the point of the diamond a little too rounded) and helped me with the back bit that I couldn't for the life of me figure out. But apart from that, it was all me!

I really love it. Matt has been very tactful though, and has simply said it's not my 'usual style', and that it looks very 'well made'....which means he doesn't really like it. And my mum....well.....

First she killed herself laughing, then said that I reminded her of a clown. Oh yeah, loads of support around here...

In desperation, I emailed a finished pic to Matt's mum, who said she liked it and thought it looked very professional - thanks Jen!

So anyway, the pattern is Simplicity #3964 (Built By Wendy pattern), the polkadot blue fabric was some vintage remnant I found in an Op Shop, and the red is a plain cotton homespun. Mum fished the buttons out of a big jar of loose odds and ends in a fabric shop (she thought I would like to use them on a bag, which I would, but I just couldn't help adding them to this top).

So I'm wearing this top today and will be going up the street in it. Let's hope no kiddies come up to me and expect me to honk my nose and give them a balloon!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Birthday bliss...

Do birthdays get any better than this?

I don't usually like putting up proper pics of myself, but this was such a happy occasion, and I think I look as happy as I felt in this picture. Had a big family birthday lunch. Mum made vanilla and chocolate profiterole cake...oh was amazing!!!

With toffee drizzled all over it!!!!!

I was given some amazingly thoughtful presents from everyone. Above is some vintage japanese fabric (this is just a portion of the stash) from Matt's family. From a very cool shop in Richmond (Melbourne, Australia) called Zigusagu.

Matt ordered a custom-made knitwit bangle from Liana Kabel (to fit my teeny wrists). I can't tell you how much I love this! Matt also said that Liana was so very friendly and easy to deal with, and that she made and shipped the bracelet the same day that he ordered it, and he received it the next day. How good is that!

Presents from Lee and Kate included these two books that have been on my wish list for quite some time. Apparently Matt suffered a lot of embarrassment searching for The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket (of Yarnstorm), which is no-where near as 'anti-feminist' as it sounds. In fact it is really the opposite, and is just interesting and intelligent musings about how there is as much art, creativity and intelligence to be found in domestic arts (such as knitting, cooking, gardening etc), as there are in the corporate world. But when Matt asked the 19 year old salesgirl for this title (and mentioned it was for his wife) he said she looked at him with such horror and revulsion, like he was some guy who wanted to force his wife into some 1950s 'barefoot in the kitchen' way of living (or like he was John Howard...well, kinda same thing really :P). But being the lovely boy he is, he gritted his teeth, smiled, and waited patiently, bearing the daggers while he waited for the girl to look it up...he he he...what a guy!

Had to show the back of this book - I mean, how can I ever resist a book that celebrates the beauty and goodness of buttons?

Anyway, Matt had no such embarrassing problems with buying Cool Hunting Green, (although he was a bit disappointed that this book was sitting, easily accessible, on the bookstore shelf, so there was no way to regain his 'cred' by asking for it). Cool Hunting Green, compiled by Dave Evans, is a book featuring all sorts of recycled, repurposed and renewable objects, and includes a website for each so you can find out more info, or even buy the stuff. Some very cool things in this book.

Like these little bobby pin flower rosettes made with reclaimed cashmere and a vintage bead centre. I think I may have to visit Remnant Clothing to pick up a couple of these.

And how amazing is this chandelier made of BiC pen rolls! Check out Enpieza for more details.

And lastly, do you recognise this one? Yep, Liana Kabel has lots of her work featured in this book, and Matt and I were both amazed to see the bracelet in this book was EXACTLY the same as the one made for me. Another one of those nice synchronous things!

Thank-you to everyone for your wonderful company, and ever so thoughtful gifts. I've been a very lucky girl indeed!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

...and the beans are spilling...

OK, so in follow-up to the teeny-tiny comment at the bottom of my last post, here is a bean...

...and another bean..

...and, a really really big bean..

Get it?? He he...Yep, that's right, I've gone and set myself up an Etsy Shop. You can access it by simply going to, although I've only got four things uploaded so far. Only another...oh...about 20 to go...eeeekkkk!!!

I have been madly sewing over the last month and a half, and now have a stock of about 12 bags, and about two dozen brooches and hair clips. I tell you, making them was the easy part. Setting the whole thing up and uploading everything is another story altogether. Not easy when you get interrupted five times during an upload to take someone to the toilet, fix a scraped knee, feed a forever hungry toddler, mediate arguments...aaarrrrghhhh. At least once I get the initial stuff up I will only need to do this once every so often.

It was the only option really. I have made bags for pretty much everyone I know now, so if I wanted to keep up this obsession, then I really needed to sell some stuff to justify buying more stuff to make more stuff....well, you know what I mean!

So yeah - kinda scary really. From an ego point of view I's definitely taking me out of my comfort zone. But that's all good right! And if you are wondering why the bird, why the name? As a kid I had a pet budgie, and ever day I would come home from school and the bird would chirp "Where's Becky been, where's Becky been?". And so I got called Beckybean (except from my brother who decided that "Becky baked bean head" was a much more apt nickname...).

So there ya go. Beans are officially running off all over the place. Booyah!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bits 'n' bobs

I've been meaning to make some PJ bottoms for Lee for a while now. It is impossible to keep him under a sheet at night, and most long-legged PJ bottoms are made of t-shirt material, and just too hot for these Queensland summer nights. So something in a very light crisp cotton was in order. I found the most ridiculously cheap fabric from Spotlight (AU$1.50 was spent on this fabric people - can't go wrong with that!) and added some Thomas the Tank Engine trim (a little bit of Thomas goes a long way when it comes to convincing a toddler it's time to put his jammies on!!).

And he wasn't content to just stand and pose for the camera - he wanted to 'work it baby'!!! Looks like I may have a male model wannabe on my hands....lucky he is really really ridiculously good-looking (although I will start to worry if he says he wants to go to the The Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too :P). Please excuse the weird messy stained drapey stuff framing his lovely pants. It is his art smock - and there was no way I was convincing him to take it off - much more fun having something to woosh when you're in the midst of some 'camera lovin''.

I just used a Simplicity pattern for kids pants, but if you don't have a pattern I have also found this tutorial on the Handy Home Projects blog, that is pretty good for explaining how to whip them up. My pattern used the same shape, but different method of construction (what I now call "the one leg inside-out inside the other leg" technique, as opposed to this tutorial's method of sewing up the crotch, then doing the leg seams). I think I might try this way next time, as it looks super-easy!

I have also made another apron, and resized my pattern even smaller - and it is STILL a bit too big. So I put the back ties on the side instead of on the back edge, so I can pull it tight, and it looks much better. So next apron will be a little smaller day soon I'll get it just right. I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel for materials here. I used the last of a vintage sheet that has so far gone into the lining of a clutch, some pants for Kate, and some yo-yo hair clips. I also used up the last of the store-bought bias binding that I had lying around - hence the reason that some of the tape is white, and some is pink. And I also added some orangey-pinky ribbon to try and tie it all together (Ahem...excuse the pun..). Not great, but it does do the job!

And that's it folks! Next post I may have something a little more exciting for you....well, it will be exciting for me anyway. I have some beans that I'm nearly ready to spill....nearly, but not yet....nuff said!

Monday, January 7, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring

..well, there was no old man snoring, but there was one little baby girl who managed to sleep through the cracking lightning, and thunder that shook the whole house!!!

It was just fantastic - a proper tropical downpour, just like we used to get all the time when we first moved to Brisbane.

It has been such a long time since we have seen rain like this. The drought has been long and horrible. Maybe we might be coming to the end of it?.....maybe?....

Boy I hope so. We were so excited, we all ran out into it. I think it was the first time Lee has ever seen such rain. There was water swirling everywhere at the end of our little court.

I love seeing our back yard look like this. All hazy and green after a good rain. Bring it on!!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Delicious things for me....

Thought I'd share a couple of my Christmas presents this year. My lovely husband went on a covert Christmas mission and found my list of 'favourites' that I'd marked in Etsy, then registered and ordered a couple of gorgeous prints to surprise me with.

The first (above) is a print by an independent artist from Los Angeles named Elsa Mora. It is called 'The Ride' and I just love everything about it. The quality of the print is really amazing - it looks even better in real life than it does here. Elsa's label is called Elsita, and I would definitely recommend checking out her Etsy shop. It is full of lots of strange and wonderful things.

This print is by Bernadette Sipkes, a printmaker and illustrator from New Zealand, and is a limited edition screen print called Green Birds on Flowers. I really love how the flowers are pebbly-shaped. I think I am going to put this one in our kitchen. It looks so good against all the white and bright red - and isn't it always nice to have some happy art in the kitchen? Bernadette's Etsy shop is called Sugarloop, and once again, I'd highly recommend checking out her beautiful prints.

And on an entirely different note, as a present to myself for my upcoming birthday, I have ordered this Built by Wendy pattern from Spotlight.

It is pattern number 3835, and I am looking forward to making all three variations of this pattern, especially the longer dress with the pockets. I love dresses with pockets - which is good because they are pretty much a necessity when you have kids. I even found a Flicker group for people who have made clothes from Built by Wendy patterns. It has got me all inspired, so now I can't wait for my pattern to arrive....I'll keep you posted on that one.