Monday, August 30

Lost & Found

Anyone who knows me know that I am never on time, mainly because I always get lost. Seriously, always. Firstly I get my left and right mixed up and my navigational skills are even worse at night because I drive by landmarks - sadly usually shops, 7-11's and McDonalds. So, with these disabilities in mind it is a wonder I can get anywhere!

I had an incident driving to knitting the other week when I not only had a flat mobile (to ring anyone there who could direct me via landmarks and sides of the car) but also no melways (BJ had taken to carrying it around). Lost with no idea even which direction the city was or any idea what road I was on, in desparation I pulled into the 7-11. I didn't know but they have melways there for you to look at. I think he would be surprised to know I did actually get to my destination, especially after I had not only turned the book around but had to ask what road we were on.

This brief life history is leading somewhere - for my birthday mum got me a melways with this uber-handy cover. The book of Everywhere is what Alexander named our street directory, so a bit of family humour there. The book is covered in plastic and inside.... is complete with sticky notes, a notepad, pen and bookmark with a little torch tied to it.

I have studied it thoroughly and plotted the best path to some of my most common destinations - yes you girls are all there!!!!

On a different note - just had to show you something else cool that was another birthday gift. I lvoe babushka dolls and these are drinking glasses in the theme.

Arent they cute?

Sunday, August 29


This is one of the beautiful thoughtful lovely pressies I was spoilt with. My dear friend Robyn, who is not by definition a sewer. A big and somewhat ballsey effort to make this fabulous bag for my birthday. I believe it to be Amy Butler fabric and pattern which I L O V E!

The bag is reversible, but not only that, when I got it it was filled with more goodies- a tea towel and a knitted dishcloth.

So, not only do I love it - and have had lovely comments when I have taken it places, it has also reignited my love of handcraft. I try to make things, but am never quite sure if they are enough, or will be appreciated by the recipient. Getting this, I really appreciated all the effort that went into it - from picking the fabric (without me knowing!) to choosing the button that just makes that brooch pop. The time and effort that is put into making a gift is so much more, because the recipient cant just take it back, and you really are putting yourself on the line. For all of those reasons I love it even more. It reaffirmed that the thought and effort that you put into something really is appreciated - because that is what I felt. Thank you so much Robyn (& Gill). Sorry I make secret squirrel projects so much more complicated!

Saturday, August 28

Footy and Shopping

The final Auskick this morning and noone was happier than me!! No more standing out on the oval on cold winter mornings. I cant believe that we didn't have one wash out all season!Then as I has suffered through footy I needed some celebrating so I took Alexander and Spencer shopping. Benji stayed home with the Big Squirrel doing some work (we took our first step for a little one on one time for these guys. He had more luck than me).

I was excited as we were off to the new Gap which has opened at Chadstone. Most of Victoria was there, but only Spencer didn't want to go in. He was crying and performing, like Benji normally does. I got him in the shop but it was certainly on HIS terms.

I wanted to go upstairs and look at the kids clothes, but there would be none of that! We were on a Spencer led mission to buy something for Dad. A hat was his first demand. We were weaving through the shoppers until HE found a hat that HE was satisfied with. Fine I thought - we'll buy whatever just to get out of here. I can always return it. But no, that was not the end. A minor tantrum before I understood that we were also to buy pants.

Ok - Dad wears shorts (in any temperature) how about we look at those, I suggest. No, Pants. And it must be these ones demands Spencer. I look for the size. NO - THESE PANTS as he tugs at a very slim pair of chinos. OK OK I get it. I hide a pair of the same trousers in the correct size. Lets get them and get out of here. Its hot, I have had enough (yes shopping I know) anything to get out of here. I try to coerce HIM towards the register to buy now 2 items. Crying erupts again as apparently Dad also must have a top. Good grief, who is the parent here? Alexander and I are led around the shop like some mute, unhappy conga line until HIS NIBS finds the shirt that he wants. BTW we did inspect every t-shirt in the place.

So, this is the "outfit" that we bought. It is actually very Big Squirrel and all goes together. He showed quite good taste, it just wasn't very much fun!

Friday, August 27


I had one of these - not an "0" one, but another year older....

But I got spoilt and got one of these! I have been having a bit of a play so hopefully the quality of my photos should improve. Dont expect any changes in the text or timing of the posts!

The fantastic rich cholocate mud cake was made by a friend who is doing a cake course. She is obviously getting a lot out of it - and we are lucky enough to get something too!

Thursday, August 26

kiss it better......

i dont want to be a grown up any more

the responsibility which comes with freedom is too much

everything is hard


too much to worry about

impossible to control

if only we could return to the days where
any little hurt could be kissed better.

nothing major- just one little thing after another and when they all stack up on top of you it kinda gets you down. I know it is me, and I need to change my attitude to change how I feel - but I do that in my spare time. I found this little quote which is both scary and funny.
what if, at this very moment I am living up to my full potential? - Jane Wagner

Wednesday, August 25

Wacky Hair

This is how my eldest went off to school today - wacky hair day. It took every product I could find and a hair straightener to cook them all together to achieve this look - and it reverted back to flat (albeit sticky) at days end.

Friday, August 20

New Fabric

This is gorgeous fabric I got from my Father in Law for my birthday. He got it is Delhi. About 1 m of black silk dupion of a good weight. The other is a Japanese cotton with a digitalprint. It is a heavy weight voile with an embroidered daisy on it. Really interesting fabric - and there is about 6 meters so I have some options. I was thinking an interesting blouse and black skirt and then maybe a dress as well. What a great choice.

Monday, August 16

ring ring

I am certainly no hand model but this is a little ring that I have taken to. It is not expensive and looks like a thimble - because that is exactly what it is. The concept is that you can work with it on the part of the finger that you use - and it is a really good at that job. However I think it is a cute and quirky little ring!(Cant find who makes it- think it is clover or shamrock)

Sunday, August 15

Poppies Closet

It had been a little quiet around here, but the wheels were still turning. Seems the baby boom that hit round these parts last year has meant that there is a crop of 1st birthdays around. Funny how that happens. So I have been busy with Poppy dolls.... Cupboard is authentic 70's - made by my uncle.

A closet full of dresses and jeans for the dolls. I know I need help - I wont even let the boys play with it! I even made the coathangers.
Works in progress - building the bodies for the clothes. I am trying to personalise the dolls for the relevant recipient which is somewhat time consuming - but fun all the same.

Tuesday, August 10

Grazing Dinosaurs

My creativity today was in the kitchen - lunch for the boys. Not that I have any trouble getting them to eat, but it never hurts to make it a bit more fun. I picked up this sandwich cutter in Spotlight last year and found it in the cupboard today. So I cut out some toast and the dinosaurs grazed on tinned spagetti.
Results - clean plates.

Monday, August 9

Dress up t-shirts

My boys are a bit partial to a dress up. That is probably a bit of an understatement. But as much as they love dressing up, I despise taking kids out dressed in costume. I have been seen wandering around Camberwell Market with a full suited Fireman Sam and a dinosaur trying desperately not to get his tail trodden on. A good compromise are these t-shirts. These are ones I bought from Best & Less. They were labelled $9.99 but scanned at $7- who am I to complain!! The boys will happily wear the printed variety and feel suitably dressed up.

The other thing we have is caped t-shirts. For those caped crusaders we have the cape that simply velcros on or off the t-shirt. This alleviates any choking potential of the regular cape variety, and from the front doesn't look particularly like a dress up.
The fronts of the tshirts. Batman is a printed variety that I got from Cotton On Kids some time ago. Superman is a cheap t-shirt from Kmart or Best & Less with an embroidered (machine) Superman Logo. You could add a logo using painting or even felt applique. Then we add the cape.

To make the cape use some interlock in the appropriate colour - here black for batman. I cut the shoulders based on the t-shirt. I usually fix the cape below the shoulder seam towards the back and cut the shoulders and neck of the cape to fit into this space. I do a small hem around here as it can pull a little - but it isn't madatory. To measure the cape it is best to fold the fabric and the t-shirt in half. The cape needs to be wider at the base so the kids can grab it to fly. It also works best if it is longer than the t-shirt. This is for my (big) three year olds.
For the width I add about 7 inches past the t-shirt.
For the length I add about 5 inches.
Just so you don't get into any trouble from your children (like I do) Batman has inverted scallop hem and superman is straight across the bottom. I leave the hem raw as it is best for flying.
Finally the velcro. You can see here that the cape is attached with velcro on the back of the shoulder. Here I have used grey and black velcro simply because I had it lying around. There is no real need to match. The grey velcro which is attached to the tshirt is the soft furry side of the velcro. This way if they wear the t-shirt without the cape it isn't scratchy. The sticky velcro is added to the cape (along with every piece of fluff). These shirts are in high rotation in our house and even were good for Supergirl when we had a playdate - and sadly no girl dress ups.

Sunday, August 8

Sunday in the city

Hopetoun tearooms - we daren't go inside!

Lego Woody at Myer

Lego Buzz at Myer.
Some 40 year old men have had great fun doing this I am sure!!

We headed into the city today with no real plans. We walked across through the arcades to Flinders street and caught the free city circle tram back around. How great is Melbourne! I would really love to do this again - next time shopping and without the kids.

Craft Victoria has a downloadable podcast tour ofthe best of Flinders Lane shops, studios and galleries. I haven't had a chance to but you can download it here.


Saturday, August 7

Fabric Sale & New Shoes

Yes! It was an exciting day for me!!

First details of the fabric sale:

astratex in Richmond (285 Lennox St) are having 50% off until Sunday 15th August. This is off all their fabric excluding the Spring 2010, and it is very clear what is not included. I went in today having seen their ad in the Age, and actually came out empty handed. Why?????? Well they sell 'fine european fabric' often designer fabric like armani or moschino. It is beautiful stuff but I don't have anywhere to plan for and really don't need expensive fabric cleaning up after the boys at home so after a lovely textural experience I headed off home....and was distracted by an empty carpark out the front of the shoe and handbag factory outlet on Bridge Rd (hawthorn end) where I picked up these little beauties. They have constantly changing stock, but if you want a cheap and chearful handbag - or some funky fiorelli luggage you should check it out. These shoes retail for $99 but I got them for $30. I went home happy.

(Oh and if you are wondering how I managed shoes and fabrics with the kids on Saturday - chuppachops and someone willing to stay in the car with them. Thanks mum!)

Friday, August 6

Two for one

I have been a bit slack on my quest for creativity. The big squirrel has been working lots so the parental duties have landed square on my shoulders. Today my mum was company and once we had done the days jobs I was at it.

I got the new Burda yesterday and decided to make this straight away. I am not that fond of it in this picture, but the drawing of it looked interesting and I knew that I had the right fabric for it.

I had picked up this knit at darn cheap some time ago and just didn't know exactly what to make out of it. So it came out of the shed and it was actually very simple. The top is only two pieces and the bottom is a tube skirt. I think it really needs the belt to break it up some and if I style it properly (these are just put on now to show you) it should be good.
I had enough fabric left over that I thought I would make a top. I got this pattern at mums the other day - I was going to make the skirt - but I did the raglan sleeve top instead. Again it was quick to do on the overlocker and has a nice shape. If I was doing it again I would run it in - particularly in the sleeve. I also added a band to the bottom because it isn't very long.
however, I kept it looser as it looks great under the dress! Very 80's but I reckon thats ok. So now I have a summer dress, a winter dress and a top(So not a fan of the photo from underneath! Mental note - tripod!!).

See my Vest!

Tragically one of my favorite songs from the Simpons (see my vest made from real gorillas chest, see my loafers, former goffers etc) and it is stuck in my head as I write this. Yes a finished vest. Only one and it actually does fit. Mum finished it off for me because not only was I sick of it, but my boys are unlikely to be able to wear it for long. She actually had to redo the neck because they couldn't get it on! But it is finished and I knitted most of it!

Wednesday, August 4

Thinking about a quilt

Yes, can you believe it. I don't think I could possibly do that in a day. I thought I would start small, so I am planning a quilt for my king sized bed! Seriously I am. I know I have problems. I don't quilt, and have never machine quilted so it will be an experience. The biggest hurdle to overcome will be learning to use a rotary cutter!
I admire quilts and have seen one in particular that I like. I saw this Amy Butler 9 square on Red Pepper Quilts. I like the white in it so this is what I am thinking about doing.
Spotlight had some pictures in a recent catalogue of fabric that was on special and I danced in their like a mouse following the pied piper. I did only spend $50 on all the fabric for the top so I think that is ok to cut up and put back together.
The biggest thing lacking from my bag of sewing tricks is patience - oh and a need for precision. So that is actually two things, and probably the two things most critical for a good outcome of a quilt. This may be the reason that I haven't attempted this before. Oh well, I have the fabric and the pattern - will need to borrow mums rotary cutter and farm out the kids for a day. This fabric is destined to stay in the bag for a while yet!!

Tuesday, August 3

A Little Something

Good grief- sometimes I seriously make myself go mental. I just wanted to tell you about the little something I made last night inspired by this post but then I couldn't find it. Obviously now I have, but I have been sitting here trawling through my history to see where and when I saw it while the weapons of mass destruction have had free reign in the other room. Now I have found it, I dare not go out there for fear of what I might find - both now and in the future.

This is a lovely little pincushion you wear as a ring. I didn't realise until I made it that I don't really do any handsewing and also don't use pins as much as I should. Rather than make such a clever idea redundant, I will have to do some more hand work. I cant keep making clothes at the rate I have been. While I am working on the stash it is not helping the already bulging wardrobe!

Monday, August 2

And a jacket

I seem to be lacking colour in my sewing at the moment. Everying is on the black and white spectrum, and nothing goes together at all. This is last nights effort. A jacket. I have to tell you this is really easy to do - no really easy. I made it in an evening when the kids went to bed - that easy. For starters there is no facing so one less piece to cut out. No collar - another piece ditched. It is princess line, so there are no darts to mark or sew, and a one piece sleeve. I have just imspected. There are 6 seams to the body, then the sleeves. Easy.

I didn't line it, again makes it easier, and there is no interfacing as there is enough body in it. I overlocked and top stitched the seams to make it neater.

I have not worked with this style of binding before but I have to tell you - easy!! It is like binding, but as it is woven, there is no extra fold. It has an obvious centre line and I sewed it on the reverse side first and then to the top to stop it having two seams on the top. I curved the neckline so that I didn't need a corner, (See I really am a lazy sewer) and it all went around in one piece.

I had a metre and a half of the fabric which I got for $10 at Darn Cheap Fabric. I used New Look Pattern 6610 in view B

Ok I hadn't done the arm trim when I took this photo, but I have it on now and it is all finished!

Sunday, August 1

Tartan Skirt

(Apologies for photo. I am litterally balanced off the bath to show what this looks like on. Seriously need to clean bathroom mirror!)

I did it. Plonked in front of the telly watching Tropic Thunder (funny movie) I made a skirt! (as you do).
Background to this was I had seen a girl crossing the road when I was driving in a fantastic tartan skirt. It had three different fabrics in it and lots of movement. I was thinking along these lines when wandering in spotlight, but with the boys having meltdowns and one lost in the fabric while the girl was taking her sweet time cutting - I couldn;t bear it anymore and settled on the one fabric.
I also saw this skirt on however I cannot find it now. It had a angled drawstring up the skirt which added some texture and an asymetric hem. With this iny mind I chopped in using this pattern as my basis - I used version c.
I already knew the skirt fit so I was free to make some alterations. The bast band at the top of the skirt is the same, and I extended the length to the base of the fabric in a really basic triangle- ensuring that the checks matched. This has to be a pet peeve of mine.As you can see the checks are very dominant and I wanted more movement so I added some.I used the checks to give me a diagonal line up the front of the skirt and took some small irregular tucks which I pinned. Some go up and some go down. Then I used one of my janomes decorative stitches and went for it. I simply sewed the line, going over the tucks. When I tried it on again it was puckering a bit to one side, so I have adjusted that with one tuck on the side seam, but I am really happy with how it came out. It is really comfortable to wear and moves nicely.t