Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moving time....

Ok gang,

The Time Has Arrived......

Please wander over to my new blog, and welcome me into my new home!

You can find it here:


Notice how I'm making sure you'll go over there just to find out what the new name is???

heh heh heh.....

Anyways, I'd love it if you'd all change your bloglines or bookmarks or however the hell you keep tabs on me, and come on over for a drink.

There's just a welcome post up there at the mo', but the Quilt tutorial is done, and I'll post that tomorrow.


Thanks guys....


Friday, August 24, 2007

Swapping Makes The World Go 'Round...

I don't mind a bit of a swap. As long as it's for the right kind of thing. And making a cathedral window quilt makes this swap perfect:

You can join in yourself, if you want, over at Red Headed Snip it

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thrifted Tuesday....

Is open for business over on Flickr......
Feel free to join up and share your Thrifty Finds.....
You can find the group Here.

They Try to Make Me Go to Rehab, I Say No, No, No....

Thrifted Tuesday!
Again, on a Thursday......
Turns out, I've got a Partner In Crime.....
Evil Thrifters... taking over the world in second hand shoes and refashioned frocks....he he he

Anyways, onto the goods...

For the price of half a metre of quilting fabric from my local quilting shop - this whole pile of brilliant cottons:

Thrifted Fabric Stash

I'm especially fond of the blue and white spot with the green cherries......oh and That Leopard Print - I'm a sucker for animal prints, I love their trashy, nouveau-riche socialite value....brilliant..

Second up is a simple polka-dot t-shirt for work, paired with some plastic/fantastic yellow beads:

Thrifted yellow beads + polka t-shirt

I swear, I'm going through a Second TennagerHood...... I've been a Melbourne Influenced Black is the new Black wearer for years (augmented by my large stage as a Punk), and now suddenly, it's all about colour, and plastic stuff, and bright shoes, and skinny jeans.......lord, what's happening to me?????

Anyway, harkening back to my roots now, my little heart leapt when I saw this, for $1:

Thrifted cookbook from my childhood

Think of the Ginger Fluff Sponge, people!
I learnt how to cook out of books like these - simple, economical food for country people, stodgy and weird - things like trifle and christmas cakes full of booze, pavlova and sponges, bread and butter pudding, the works.
Being vegetarian, the meat section is truly terrifying, but I love it nonetheless.....

And there you have it... the thrift haul o' the week.

In other news, I've been rearranging the kitchen, making way for my new purchase:

New Ikea purchase + My Kitchen

Which neccesitated a complete rearragement of the Teacup Collection:

Rearranging the Teacup Collection

Taking photos of which was just an excuse to share a snippet of the vintage crockery collection!

I've also branched out in the knitting stakes, and puchased a new pattern from Six and a Half Stitches, a gorgeous flap front babies' cardigan with fabric details - a true favourite amongst readers of Alison's Blog. I'm going out on a limb here, knitting with a pattern and all, so expect lots of call-outs for advice! Hopefully I'll manage to get a passable version knitted for the new addition to the family, via my sister, who is due sometime in October......

Phew! A big post after a little break!

The blog moving plans are still going ahead, and I'm expecting to move very soon, plus the quilt tutorial is on it's way, but I'm going to save it for the new location.......plenty of plans in the works...

Cheers m'dears - Leah xx

Oh, and the lyric in the title? Amy Winehouse. I cannot get her songs out of my head.....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Onwards and Upwards....

Hi Everybody,

Just a quick post today to say thankyou to everyone who has been in touch about the Big Name Change......

Your support and encouragement means the world to me, thankyou.

I've come up with a new name, googled it a thousand times, and I've lived with it for a week, and decided it's The One.
Now I'm setting everything up in the background, so that when I switch over, it will run as seamlessly as possible.

Hopefully I'll be all sorted out in the next couple of days.

I can't even begin to express my gratitute that my regular readers, and some new, warmly welcomed ones have taken the time to let me know that I have your support, and that the coincedence of the similar names was nobody's fault, and just One of Those Things.

Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou.

I'll keep you all posted!


Leah xx

Friday, August 17, 2007

On the Horror of the Collective Unconscious....

I am a firm believer of the theory of the Collective Unconscious. An Idea first floated by Carl Jung, in laymans terms, it reflects that as a species, the human race can tap into a common experience, an ether like state of being where all the ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears of each individual are accessible to each of the others. In this theory, as soon as one individual has an idea, a hope, a dream, a fear, it immediately becomes part of the collective unconscious, and thus available to all other humans on the planet.

It is this tapping into the collective pool of ideas that enables people on other sides of the world to come up with the same idea, almost simultaneously. This is how fear spreads, or a sudden obsession for yellow, how the world comes around to certain ideas, that, in the way we have of deciding, have found their time.

When Charles Darwin came up with his theory of evolution, and published his first paper on it, a little known priest, Gregor Mendel, had already come to some of the same conclusions about natural selection by growing thousands of pea plants in his garden.

In the 70's, George Harrison admitted to "subconsciously plagiarising" the 60's girl group the Chiffons, after similarities between his hit My Sweet Lord, and their song, He's So Fine came to light. Harrison maintained that he hadn't plagiarised the song on purpose, but that the melody could have infiltrated his head whilst he was writing My Sweet Lord......

My point?

Well, I'm not sure, really. Except for the fact that I was found by another blogger, who I had no knowledge of previously, who started her blog in January this year, while I started mine in March.

Her blog name? cloth.paper.string.

My blog name? paper.string.cloth.

note please, that BOTH are spelt in lowercase letters with full stops between them.

The similarity ends with the names, we are, after all, completely different women, on different sides of the planet, but there you have it.

Collective Unconscious? Serendipity? Unconscious Plagiarism?

As the party with the latter starting date, and thus, all the onus, iut looks as though I am going to have to change my name.

The bugger of it is, that I originally wanted paper.SCISSORS.cloth, but I googled it and found out it was very close to the name of a quilting magazine. Seems this name wasn't to be either.

Anyway, dear readers, if you have any suggestions for the complete naming overhaul, please let me know.

And to Sarah, I am so sorry to have put you through the horror of thinking that someone out there was stealing your well thought out, snappy blog title for their own benefit. When you got in touch with me, my heart fell to the floor.

I believe in the Collective Unconscious, people, but I don't believe in stealing ideas.

Hope you're all having a gorgeous sunny day, any helpful commments at this point would be greatly appreciated.


Retail Therapy....

Yep. That's right. I bought a new washing machine. (actually, I interest-freed it, which isn't really the same thing, but whatthehell...)

It's an LG washer/dryer combo, which to me sounds rather terrifying, but they insist it works, so I'll have to trust the whitegoods gods on that.

After endless trips to the laundromat, and/or trying to tempt the old washing machine to take on more than a pair of socks without throwing a tantrum, I finally reneged, and just went and got a new one.

And, as I am defiantly still clinging onto my Twenties, I refuse to get too excited over the prospect of Properly Clean Clothes, steam and refresh cycles, and fluffy towels. Surely it is the absolute right of the 28 year old woman to bite her thumb at whitegoods and buy a handbag or some shoes or an ipod instead.

Alas, I have been saying for a long time that I am an eighty-something year old woman trapped in a twenty-something's body.

The truth always comes out in the wash, or so they say.

In other news, my Best Friend In The Whole World gets married on Saturday, and I'm not going to be there, so Katie, my love, have a fabulous day.

It's been raining, so no quilt tutorial yet.....but soon...!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


First of all, before I go into anything else, I wanted to say a big thankyou to all the people who commented on my quilt in the last post. It was so nice to get emails and comments, and requests for tutorials, and I'm still quite crap at replying to everyone in person, so please take this as my personal thankyou......

Today, like many days in this household, began with eggs.

Breakfast Sunday

So weird to think that I used to be vegan, and the very thought of eggs was enough to make me gag....now I eat them by the bucketload. In fact, the reason I don't post too often over at Breakfast Sunday, is because I get shamed by all those gorgeous, healthy, meusli and yoghurt/ fresh fruit combinations!

Though once the weather gets warmer, I'll be eating less stodgy things to start the day.....

Speaking of the end of winter, even though I look forward to some sunshine like a woman possesed, I will miss having a real, concrete reason to knit. I wandered into the Spotlight winter yarn sale the other day, and came home with all of this, mostly at 2 or 3 dollars a ball:

Wool Sale Yarn

Which I very quickly turned into a pair of these:

Hand Knitted Handwarmers

Which, in actual fact, I don't really need anymore. Brilliant. Bring on Spring, I say!

And just to bring this completely random post full of Nothing In Particular to a fitting end - Self Portrait Saturday.

Self Portrait Saturday

Taken in the mirror in my kitchen.

I've been working on the tutorial for the quilt, by the way, but the photos I took turned out a bit shit due to lack of light, so I'm gonna have another go at it tommorrow...... promise!

Sleep well, my pretties.....xxx

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Absence makes the quilt grow faster....

While the Man and the Digital camera were away... I finally got started on a project I've been dying to try for ages.....

I've been turning this:

white cotton - pre quilt

and this:

quilt fabric pile

into this:

cathedral window quilt

Yep. That's right.... it's a Cathedral Window quilt, fiddly and scary, but surprisingly easy once you get started!

cathedral window quilt

I've been meaning to tackle a White Project for a while now.... there are some truly beautiful, sparse and gorgeous quilt projects out there, and though this one isn't quite as avant-garde as I'd like, it's a good start. It's amazing how quickly it grows, and because it's a quilt as you go project, there's no scary batting or backing to deal with after you've finished the fun bits.

cathedral window quilt

I made a block of these when I was at school, so I remembered the basic process, but I've made a few changes to the way I've been making this one, so I think I'll post a tutorial on how to make it next time I prepare a batch of squares. It's a completely satisfying project, even if you are a crappy handstitcher like me - take a step back, and the stitches don't matter a damn.....it the sheer brilliance of the design, the origami like folding of fabric, the stitched down "windows" that catch the eye.....

Anyway - I'm loving it..... tutorial to come soon, I promise! xxx

****UPDATED TO ADD: You can find the tutorial for this quilt on my new blog here:

Cathedral Window Quilt Tutorial....... Enjoy! xxx ****

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flashback Friday.

This week, My Dad.

Flashback Friday

This is Dad, with his mates, loitering in the streets of Warrnambool, Victoria, some time in the 60's. (he's the one on the right)

From what i hear, Dad was exactly what he looks in this photo; a country boy, one of the lads, who got up to all measure of trouble whilst hooning around on the weekends. I know he was at least personally responsible for setting half the beach on fire, and tying his best friend, drunk and naked, to a lampost in the centre of town. (and check out those cars!)

My parents met (or got together) at the Palais, the local dance hall. A quick survey of the other kids at my high school told me that about 80% of people's parents met at the Palais. Kind of like a random parent lottery, eh?

Dad was raised by a horse racing family. Apart from tending horses, he has also been a butcher, a welder, and a dairy farmer.
Endlessly practical, he can build anything. We once took a tour of all my parents' old houses, and most of them were falling down, except for the chook houses, which Dad built. When he and my mother were planning to buy a camper trailer, he told the salesman all the reasons why the trailer wasn't built well enough, and they offered him a job.

He showed his love for us by working like a dog, alongside my Mum, on a farm that yielded not much other than shit and pain and strife, for close to 30 years. But since he's retired, he's gone all soft, especially since my sister had her kids. It's one of the most fantastic things to see a big, gruff, hard as nails farming man rolling around on the floor with his grandkids.

He and my Mum are still together. I am lucky to have them as my parents.

You can see other Flashbacks at Flashback Friday

Thursday, August 9, 2007

paper.string.cloth - open for business!

That's right.....my Etsy Shop is now open!

So get your arses in there and buy something!

I guess this is a bit of a test run..... if they don't sell, then I'll go back to being a bog-standard home based crafty person with no entrepreneurial aspirations. My niece and nephew will receive an armload of toys in the mail, and there'll be no hard feelings on any side.
If they do sell, I'll make some more from time to time, plus a few other things, and spend the money I make on fabric! Easy!

This isn't actually the Big Thing I wanted to share today, but the light was so shit this afternoon that I couldn't take any decent photos of the current project. Perhaps tomorrow?

until then....xxxx

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Flickr Favourites

My creation

1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. babies and teaparties (closeup), 4. ludmilla, 5. Away, 6. Handmade, 7. coffee + apron, 8. books, 9. w, 10. from THE SPACE IN BETWEEN, 11. astrid, are you coming over?, 12. i've got my party skirt

Still without partner and digital camera....*boo*, sorry about the unintentional blog break!
Both of my lovelies return tomorrow, so I should be back in action very soon....there's a new project in the works that I'm dying to share - though the Nongs have been suffering as a result....

But for now, other people's fabulous photos will have to do!

See you soon! xxx

Friday, August 3, 2007

Flashback Friday + Fabric Porn....

Flashback Friday

This is one of those photos that constitutes a memory in my mind that could be true, or may well not be......

In my head, this is me riding my bike for the first time. I'm not sure that this is actually the case, especially considering that I used this bike instead of the traditional legs-type walking for most of my childhood, so really it could have been taken whenever..... but whatthehell... it's my head, and my memories!

I grew up on a 200 acre dairy farm in the Western District of country Victoria. The Twelve Apostles were just down the road, and it was an amazing place to grow up. We were raised, my two sisters and I, tomboy style, surrounded by cows and chickens, running riot in gum boots, riding motorbikes and driving tractors and all that stuff.

I love the country. I am still a country girl at heart, though I regret that being a "different" kind of girl in a small country town where tolerance and diversity are sadly lacking, has, in the end, taken it's toll on me. After enduring all kinds of grief through my high school years, I got the hell out of there and never looked back.

My parents sold the farm and retired a couple of years back, and it still hurts me to know that that farm, my only true home, is no longer ours. But alas, home is where you make it, and my sister, with her big, rambling farmhouse, organic orchard, gorgeous children, and millions of duck and chooks is doing her best to fill the gap, and a sterling job she's doing, too.

*sniff* I'm coming over all reminiscent now! You can catch Flashbacks from other bloggers over at Flashback Friday.

Now for the decidedly more raunchy part of my post title....a trip to Ikea today yeilded some surprisingly good fabric....

Ikea Fabric Porn

Man, those people really know how to knock out a graphic, don't they?

This one is my favourite....

Ikea Fabric Porn

The red will be made into some presents for my neice for Christmas, and there's a lovely large repeat black and white cotton that I'm mulling over....

Ikea Fabric Porn

Maybe a tunic-style dress from one of my Japanese sewing books?

I also started to knit the light weight wool I bought from the op shop the other day...

Knit One

Looks great in the picture, but truth is, it feels like shit all knitted up. It's acrylic, which I usually avoid like the plague, but it did feel reasonable on the spool...... but not in real life knitted terms.....boo hoo. I think I'll relegate it to embroidery yarn instead.

My partner is heading off for a few days, taking the digital camera with him, so I'll be photo short for the next five days.....in the meantime there'll be a little bit of this:


And perhaps a Blog Crush to keep you entertained.....

Have a good weekend! xxx

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Nongs....

Here's a couple more little buggers that I've been working on for the last few days...

New Nongs

This one is one of the best of the lot....I've changed the pattern around a little, trying to make the limbs sit a little better, and changing the place where I leave it open for stuffing......

New Nongs

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Nongs never have arms. It's just the way it is. For some reason I don't think they need them...

New Nongs

This one is from the old pattern....so is a little more wonky than I would like....

New Nongs

It is satisfying to know that each one I make does get a little better, though... I'm still not convinced that anyone will actually want to buy them, but after I've made a few more, I think I'll list them in my shop, and see what happens.....

New Nongs

Right now, I'm tossing up between opening an Etsy shop, tried, true and tested, or going out on a limb with a similar site that is Australian-focused.... It's called MadeIt, and it's the same as Etsy, really, just an Australian company, using Aussie dollars, and open to overseas buyers anyway, with PayPal and all that jazz...... So I can't see that it would make a HUGE difference which one I should choose, I guess I just feel like I should give the local one a try......

New Nongs

Anyways, whatever I decide, you'll all be the first to know!

Well, it's Taiwanese Noodle Soup time for me, before a crazy Friday night working at the pub......see you all after the weekend!

* Oh, and for those of you who asked - I HAVE finished Harry Potter, and I've added an email address at the top right of the page, so if you want to email me about Harry, or anything else for that matter, go ahead! xxxx

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thrifted Tuesday....

Yep, on a Thursday, again. Seems that bloggers are quite flippant with the days of the week...

Todays finds?

Four spools of lace weight yarn, in gorgeous warm tones...$1.75 each:

Thrifted Yarn

Not sure what I'll knit from them, but I'm keen to see how the light weight yarn works on the needles....

A little pile of mismatched buttons + a good length of nice and soft light grey wooly flannel that I think will end up as a serious, tweedy-looking Nong....

Thrifted Buttons

Yet another present for my neice, who is getting packages-a-rama in the mail from me lately.....this is just a sneak peek for my sister, before I send it!

gift for my neice

Plus, The Best Teacup In The Whole World:

Thrifted Teacup

It's not in the best condition, which is a damn shame, *but* it's red white and black (my all time favourite colours), comes as a trio, AND it has polka dots. What more could you want?

After trawling around op shops for the afternoon, I had an insatiable craving for cake.....so, for once, I actually made one myself....


Despite my love for vintage crockery, I'm not really a kitchen kind of person. I ADORE good food, and love to eat it, but I'm not a very good cook and I don't often spend time in the kitchen. I blame it on my lifestyle: working nights doesn't really lend itself to the whole cooking, sharing and eating thing, it's more of a grab and run affair. Pity.

So it was nice to make a cake for once; this one from a tried and true recipe of my Mum's - a basic teacake that doesn't call for masses of ingredients, and you can throw whatever you have in the cupboard into it, in this case, walnuts and nutmeg:

Walnut + Nutmeg Tea Cake

This be the recipe:

Basic Tea Cake


60g butter, softened,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
2/3 cup caster or fine white sugar (you can actually use any sugar you want)
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup milk.

cream the butter and sugar, and add egg, a little at a time, beating in as you go. Gradually stir in the flour and the milk, alternating between them, and beat until fluffy.
grease your cake tin, throw in the mixture, and bake for 30 mins in a moderate oven.

That's the basics, I usually add some cinnamon, top the cake with apple slices and raw sugar, or put half the mixture in the tin, top with custard, then the rest of the mixture, so the custard bakes in the middle....mmmmmmm

Tea and Cake. What could be better?

Cup of the Day


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Slow Week....

Well, it's safe to say that I have spent the last two days solidly reading the new Harry Potter, and holy shit, I'm still recovering! I know there's a few Potter fans out here in blogland, and we're all probably offline, reading and re-reading, but in between the pages, there have been a few bits and peices....

Here's the apron I made for my neice, who has taken to helping my sister clean the house, and of course, needs to look the part!

Girls' reversible apron - tomboy side

It's reversible, with a girly side, and a tomboy side!


and apparently she loves it, and I've seen some pretty cute photos of her wearing it....

There's also been a bit of leisurely breakfast eating...

Breakfast Sunday

And some experimenting with some new styles for my stuffed toys, none of which are worth showing below the neck.....

flying nong

So tonight is going to be all about making patterns, and trying again. :sigh:

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I resolve to refrain from blogging until I have finished reading this....

I actually haven't started it yet, because I'm working today and tommorrow, but come Tuesday? The fire will be lit, a pot of tea made, and I'm not getting off the couch for hell or high water!

Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fabric, and where to find it.....

I've had a couple of people ask me lately where I shop for fabric, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourites with you....

fabric collection

Sourcing and buying fabric you like can be a little difficult, but perseverence does pay off in the end!
Patchworking or quilting fabrics are really popular amongst crafters, the 100% cotton fibre feels wonderful and is great to work with, the prints are many and varied, and it's easy to buy small amounts, stash it away, and figure out what to make from it later.

Fabric - reds

The main problem I have with quilting fabric is that I am VERY picky when it comes to pattern. I prefer bolder, brighter styles, have an aversion (in most cases) to floral, and despise pink. Many many many quilting fabrics don't fall into this category. Luckily though, there are some designers that favour bold prints, and the new generation of crafters are inspiring a greater variety of fabrics, rather than your traditional pinks, muddy colours, tiny florals and such.
One of my favourite designers, Denyse Schmidt, makes a gorgeous range of bright cotton prints with vintage influences that I really love. The fabrics are a little lighter in weight than I am used to, but the prints are GORGEOUS.

So, advice number one, find some designers you really like, and follow their collections. That being said, ONLY buy fabrics you love, or think you can love. There's no point buying a whole stack of Amy Butler prints if you hate the colourways. Buying designer fabric just because it's designer is just as absurd to me as spending the equivalent of a small house on a handbag just because it's a Vuitton. You might have fashionista cred, but your handbag will still be fucking ugly!

Fabric - yellows

Tip number two: Buy Online. In Australia, the average price for quilting cotton is around 20 - 25 dollars a metre. Online, the same fabric sells for anywhere between US$5 - $20 a yard. In most cases, even including postage, exchange rate, and yards versus metres, The fabric I buy online ends up costing me about half the price it would if I bought it retail in Australia. This is a real pity for me, I would much prefer to go to the fabulous local quilting shop and buy up a storm, but the reality is, I just can't afford to.
Instead, I frequent a few select online fabric stores that come highly recommended by other crafters, and have always provided me with consistently good product and service. A few of my favourites?

Superbuzzy specialises in japanese fabrics, notions, books and supplies, stocks a brilliant range of weird and wonderful bits and pieces, and every time you order something, they send you some Japanese lollies as well! The fabrics I used in my pincushion tutorial are both from Superbuzzy - Some of thier fabrics are a bit cutesy-poo for me, but they do stock some great bright, graphic prints as well.

Repro Depot sell a fantastic rance of vintage and retro themed fabric, buttons, patches, trim and notions. They always have something on sale, and unlike other stores, the sale bin usually has something good in it, rather than just the ugly fabric no-one wants to buy!

Another fabric store I love is Z and S Fabrics. They sell lots of my favourite designers, have a good turnaround on new fabrics, and a range that is so big, I can't even get my head around it.

I have purchased fabrics from all of these stores, and can personally recommend them. There are loads of others, feel free to look at them too, but I'm sticking to places I have actually bought fabric from for this post....

Fabric - blues and greens

Tip Number Three - Don't forget the Op Shop. Thrifted fabric is brilliant. It's cheap, varied, compatible with re-use and re-cycle ethics, and usually of a nature that you will not find anywhere else. Keep an eye out in your favourite thrift shops, it's amazing how much fabric is out there if you look for it.
Depending on what it is that you make, don't forget to rummage through not only the fabric bin, but the sheets and linens, tea towels and blankets. Clothing can be cut up and made into other things, especially fabric heavy items like skirts, sarongs, shawls and dresses. Wool jumpers or sweaters can be felted in the washing machine with soap and hot water, and used to make other things. At the op shop, anything is possible. Learn to see the fabric, not the ugly outfit. Some of my favourite fabrics have been found in the op shop, and you'll usually get much larger amounts of fabric too!

Thrifted Fabric

Tip Number Four: Your bog-standard fabric shop. I still routinely drop into Lincraft and Spotlight, and never leave Ikea without at least a metre of fabric under my arm. These places are full of mass produced shit, but sometimes there's a gem in there that you'll die over.
On one of my last Spotlight visits I got 5 metres of lightweight linen for $2 a metre because it was old summer stock.
The fabric at Ikea is big and bright and bold, cheap as, and heavyweight cotton drill to boot. Perfect for furnishings and cushions, things you might get sick of in six months and want to change. There's no shame in a chain store, just remember to ONLY BUY FABRIC YOU ACTUALLY LIKE!!!!! Same rules apply as for designer - don't buy it just because it's cheap! Only buy it if you really like it or you know EXACTLY what you're going to use it for!

Thrifted Fabric - greens

Well, that's it. The Mega Fabric Post!

My only last peice of advice is: don't be afraid to buy fabric, don't worry about what it was before, never mind if you don't know exactly what you're going to make out of it (as long as you love it, that is!), and when you get it home, don't be afraid to cut into it!

I hope that's been of some help to those of you who asked.....