Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simple Things....

Today I had a day off. No sewing, no working, no Op Shopping, just this:

tea for one

Lots of cups of tea.....

books in bed

Reading in bed......(I've read two books in two days.....once I get my nose in one, I can't seem to get it out....)


And crumpets with lots of honey......

It's been so long since I had a lazy day like this that I feel a little guilty....but I'm blaming it on the weather, which has turned bitterly cold, and makes going outside too much of a trauma for my poor, skinny bones.....!

In other news, I have joined two more new Flickr groups, and so should you!

Breakfast Sunday

and Thrifty Colour Themes

Tomorrow I will be out and about the meantime though, I'm getting back in front of the fire to toast my toes......

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thrifted Tuesday + Blog Crush.....

Woot! I finally have my car back (mind you, $800 later....), so today I could go out for a spot of op shopping......funny how taking just a week off sends me into withdrawal symptoms.....

Today's haul was nothing too flash, but satisfying nonetheless....

A few more vintage fabrics to add to the stash...

thrifted fabrics

Including one pillowcase that is so cute it almost makes me want to vomit....


I don't normally do cutesy-poo....but I really wanted the yellow print to put into my quilt, Lord knows what to do with the mini lovers......

I also managed a good shoe day today, three pairs of brilliant, ludicrously bright 80's numbers, all too small for me, so heading to the Ebay Shop....

Thrifted shoes

I also managed to find a very cute coat for my neice....which I haven't photographed yet, because I might do some embellishments, and that will be a post all of its own....

I also scored a few vintage dresses, also destined for Ebay....


And for my partner, who is irrepressibly English, a book to add to his collection....

A Salute to British Genius

So there you have it....Thrifted Tuesday!

Now onto more important matters......

After my Internet Frustration post the other day, I got so many gorgeous emails of encouragement on the being real issue, plus the swearing when I want to! I found out that lots of us pretend we are on a TV show like Martha Stewart or Jamie Oliver, pottering around the house performing to entirely imaginary audiences, and that all of us have that Authorial Voice (kudos to Shula for the term), and that we take photos of the good bits, leave out the messy bits when we can, but in the end, we are all fucking human after all.

I can't begin to say how nice it is to recieve letters of encouragement after taking a leap of faith on a post like that. Suddenly I understand why I so often read on the blogs of people I admire posts full of admiration and gratitude to thier readers for being supportive. I extend such grateful thanks to my tiny little readership, and consider myself a pig in shit for having made such lovely aquaintances. (notice the swearing.....oh how naturally it flows.....)

Anyway, so in spirit of this gratitude, I am devising a new topic. It's called Blog Crush, and this here, it's the first one.

So you know how you'll discover a new blog, and you feel so enamoured or connected to the person who writes it that suddenly they are on your favourites list, you're checking every day to see if they've posted yet, you get excited about their projects, their new curtains, their children, their problems? So much so that you feel weird leaving them comments in case you sound like a stalker? This my dears, is a Blog Crush. And I have decided to bare my Blog Crushes to the world, semi-regularly, to let some fabulous people on the net know that I think what they do is wonderful. In a friendly non-stalkery kind of way........

And the honour of first Blog Crush has to go to Manda, of TreeFall Design. I don't know how I found Manda's blog, but it was one of the first craft blogs I started reading, and her links list has led me to a whole world of creative brilliance.

She has an impossibly cute daughter, a husband who doesn't mind how much fabric she buys, and sometimes even shops for it with her....

She makes beautiful collages and patchwork pillows and sometimes toys and things, which you can buy Here

But the best thing about Manda is that she is real, she writes about her life in a way that makes you feel included as a reader, and this, more than the fact that she makes fabulous cushions, is why I read her blog. One of the best bits of reading about the lives of other creative people is that you realise how similar we all are, whether it be a sudden hankering for all things yellow, or how we pull ourselves together after a fall, or the mini Martha Stewart in all our heads......

So thanks Manda, this one's for you.....


(I also should say that I totally stole the above pictures from Mandas blog.... so make sure you go visit and see them in context, and know that all copyright belongs to her......)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Internet Frustration.....

So I have been a subscriber to Bloglines for a little while now, and I have decided to abandon it. Not because it's not useful in being able to see when your favourite blogs have been updated ( and my favourites list is quite exhaustive), but I get annoyed at not being able to see the posts in the beauty the writers intended, including layout, colours, and how the post looks in relation to the layout of the blog itself, but also, COMMENTS!

Ok, maybe this is a newbie bloggy preoccupation, but I am holding bloglines personally responsible for the fact that people don't leave enough comments for each other. This may be due to the fact that, as a new blogger, whenever I get a comment I am left irrationally excited, quickly rushing over to the comment leavers' blog and wondering how on earth some fabulous knitter from Canada, or a crafty maven from San Fransisco possibly found me on the endless sea of the internet.

Is there some way of leaving comments from Bloglines that I don't know about? If not, I am still going to use it to check for updates, but I will insist on viewing the proper page to read said updates. So There. (end rant here)

On another note, I have been mulling over the need to find my true voice on this blog. For some reason, when I sit down to write a post, I slip into some other kind of weird alter ego where I am nice and polite and super excited about everything and I never swear or use any kind of witticism. Ever.

I also tend to use Americanisms like "thrifting" instead of "op shopping" (though I do like "thrifting" as a term in itself).
It may come as a slight surprise, dear readers, but I have actually spent most of my adult life writing and reading Art Theory, swearing like a fucking sailor, and chain smoking cigarettes. In my time, I have been a hardcore feminist, activist, punk, hippy, traveller, art student, painter, seamstress, cocktail waitress (don't ask.....or maybe do!!), bartender, writer of terrible typewritten poetry, and god knows what in between.

I think I just needed to get all of that out in the open, just so you don't think I'm some prissy little woman who sits at home embriodering her doilys. All power to you if you are a prissy woman, but it's just not me.

Hmmmm.... now this has turned into one of those posts you think twice about publishing, so I'm going to press that button before I chicken out.

Oh.... and the computer above shows Shim and Sons in all it's non-bloglines glory.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Good Way to Start the Day...

An email from my sister, introducing me to the newest addition to our family.......

new baby

Followed by some tea in the increasingly rare sun....


And some hand quilting practice.....

Hand quilting trauma

I read somewhere that there was a woman who set some new sewers a task: take two peices of fabric that are easy to sew together, and working from one end, hand sew the fabrics together working towards the other end; as you work, you'll be able to see your stitches go from being uneven and ragged, to fine, straight and beautiful, or so the theory goes!
Having intended to hand quilt the Patchwork number I have been working on, given that it is already paper pieced and ready to hand sew together, I figure, why not go the whole way and do the whole thing by hand???? (i know, I know...madness!)
Anyhoo, I found this hand quilting tutorial, and set to work with three layers of fabric, a layer of thick wool for the batting, sandwiched between two layers of cotton.
Well. I tell you what, this quilting caper aint for the faint hearted. As you can probably see, my stitches are freaking everywhere. Messy, ragged, uneven, and I tell you what....they're not getting straighter any time soon.

Hand quilting trauma

I think it might be time to go out and buy that walking foot and just machine quilt the thing. This is all beside the point that I haven't even pieced the bloody thing together yet because I can't for the life of me figure out a design I'm happy with.

But in the meantime, I'm enjoying playing around with this:

It's called Fabric Matcher, and it's an online qilting store that has a tool where you can match fabrics to a hex colour, a picture, by pattern, by complimentary or harmonious colour scheme, and more, and when you find the fabrics you like, they'll sell them to you by the half yard. Lots of fun.

And just to finish up, here's a quick photo of my finished "one-skein-cowl-project-that-turned-into-two-skein-bizarre-scarf-thingy-project"

I just took that picture on the webcam, hence it's terrible quality. It's a little bulkier than I wanted, but its two layers of knitting keeps my neck super warm, and in the end, that's exactly what it's for.....!!

Hope you're all having fun, wherever you are!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Woken up by the postman ( about the only thing I am ever happy about being woken up for) with a much anticipated package from Repro Depot

repro depot

Containing five yards of all those building blocks fabrics I have been meaning to buy for ages....

repro depot building blocks

Oooooh I am so impressed, the measuring tape is even better in real life, and after seeing snippets of it in practically everyone's projects, I can't wait to put that yard to very good use.....

Then, back to bed for a little while, then up again to get the car towed to the mechanic, and some eggs for breakfast...

eggs for breakfast

Followed by a lift into town to buy even MORE fabric, I tell you what, the bank balance is looking a little poor......

fabric frenzy

So I'd better get sewing so I can open my shop soon and sell something to finance the next lot of fabric madness!

Before I go though, a question for my fellow Aussies - is there anywhere you can recommend to buy fabric online in Australia? At the moment I'm getting things sent from the States at an alarming rate, and some local suppliers for quilt fabrics in good, clean, modern prints (no pink country living florals for me, I'm afraid), and also dress fabrics like lighter weight cottons, linens, wool suiting, anything really suitable for dressmaking would be fine by me? Any suggestions, my lovelies?

Well, the patterns are calling to be cut..... see you all soon! xxx

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Woo Hoo!

300 visitors! Colour me excited!

Friday, May 18, 2007


Right now, I'm stuck at home with a car that won't start, a backseat full of washing I was going to take to the laundromat ( the bloody washing machine has broken) and a belly that is still complaining that it hasn't got it's favourite noodles for breakfast.

But in the spirit of making the best of the time until the roadside assistance people come, I have some pictures to show you......

These pictures are dedicated to the lovely Shula, whose gorgeous blog and knitting pursuits make me wish I were a more accomplished knitter, plus she got quite excited to hear that I live in a cemetery...... so here you go:

Work In Progress this week is a one skein cowl project that has somehow mutated into a two skein bizarre scarf thingy project.... perhaps a result of my refusal to follow any kind of pattern..... I tend to see something, say "I can make that" and just knit away, totally oblivious to the fact that I have NO IDEA what I'm doing! Patience? A Virtue?? What on earth are you talking about?????

Work In Progress

I was planning to keep knitting at the laundromat, see, but instead I went out and took some promised photos of the cemetery.....


(see how those two photos are REALLY SMALL? That's becase if I put the medium sized ones in, blogger chops out the most important parts on the right hand side to fit them in my blog......GRRRRRR!!! If you want to see them at proper size, just click on them and you'll see a bigger one..... sorry!)

It's really old, the cemetery, dating back to the late 1800's, and sadly, it hasn't been cared for as it should have been, it's a bit drab, with hardly any plants or lawns, and the part next to the house is very bare and barren looking.....that's the house at the very end there in the picture below......


We only have one angel, she's for a woman named Florence.....


But it's the details that I like best......


And there is always some fake the moment there are quite a lot of flowers because of Mothers' Day....

permanent flowers....

It sounds a little depressing, I'm sure, but I actually love living here..... and it does have it's comical side, like when I need to light a fire and I venture out into the cemetery to collect some kindling, possibly in my bright red slippers and some random assortment of scarves and jumpers, and then people ride past on thier bikes and look at me like I'm the crazy cat lady or something...... I love the thought that the local kids might think I'm a witch, or that it's spooky, when, in fact, it's the most peaceful place I've ever lived, with the exception of the farm I grew up on.

Well, that's me for today, I'm off to make tea and look out for the magic car

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thrifted Thursday!

Well, since my Thrifted Tuesday went so badly this week, I decided to have another go at it today, and man did I come home with the goods:

Thrift haul

So, I'm sure you're like; how cute is that suitcase? But look! It's FULL OF FABRIC! I know, I know, I hit the jackpot today for fabric goodness... The suitcase was five dollars, perfect for adding to my vintage suitcase collection, and inside it is this brilliant stash of fabrics and linens:

Thrifted Fabrics

My favourite so far is the yellow floral, but I'm sure my love affair with yellow has to peter out soon....(edited later: actually, I have just noticed that Blogger seems to cut the edge of all my photos off; in this one, neatly severing my favourite fabric from the picture. Does anyone know how to fix this? I don't want to post smaller photos....I want the page to expand to fit them! How??????)

Then, on my second op shop, I managed to find another stash of vintage sewing patterns, some vintage iron-on embroidery transfers, and this vintage sewing book:

McCalls Sewing in Colour

Complete with gaudy photographs and loads of practical instructions on how to finish garments correctly, something which I can never seem to master....

McCalls Sewing in Colour

And then, my favourite thing of all; two of these placemats, and some wooden fruit.

Thrifted wooden fruit

I tell you, I have been coveting some of this fruit for ages, and there they were, a pear and an apple, of all things, 50 cents each. Love them love them love them.

So if this wasn't even a picture heavy enough post for you, I'm not done yet! I've had four days off work this week, and the golden opportunity to do some sewing,and my first prototype for the shop is nearly done:

Work In Progress - Girls' Dress

It's a girl's dress, size Three, completely reversible (obviously still unhemmed), and cute as freaking pie. I'm now completely decided on making more of these for the shop; though they won't all be reversible, but they will all have a contrasting facing in the bodice for extra cuteness inside. They have a pleat in the front, rounded shoulder tabs (which are hidden cause I haven't done the buttonholes yet) and vintage buttons on the shoulders.

Work In Progress - Girls' Dress

If any of you out there have little girls, send me some comments on what you think!

Oh yeah, so, new dresses in mind, I also went shopping for new fabric:

Fabric Haul

Pretty much all of this fabric is for the dresses, except for the pink linen right on the bottom there - it was on sale, linen, for $2 a metre. I tell you, that's cheap in anybody's currency! As a general rule, I steer well clear of pink, I can't stand it. Blame it on a regressed childhood memory if you will, but I hate pink. But this stuff won me over cause it was soooooo cheap and I'm going to dye it so I don't have to look at it's fairy flossness til I throw up. Then I'm going to use some of it for the backing on the quilted baby blanket I posted about the other day.

And if that aint enough productivity for one day - I also updated the Ebay shop today too, with more to come in the next few days......


Whew! Now I need to have a cup of tea and cut out some patterns!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Covet Central

Today, after a very dissapointing Thrifted Tuesday yesterday, where I arrived home EMPTY HANDED (!), I am a little grumpy and have not much to post about.

Except for the fact that I want this:

This cup is part of a collection from Bethan Laura Wood where the cup is glazed in such a way that it starts off white, and as you drink tea from it, the tea stains the cup, allowing an image to appear in the glaze. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.
I found her site via Bloesem, whose blog is pretty much an entire Covet Central, I want practically everything on there!

Well, that it for today I'm afraid, I'm off to see The Black Keys!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


The Measure

After the last few months of organising, reassessing, dropping out of uni, resting, working, and farewelling of old friends, habits and worries, I have begun to make things again.


The studio is finally functional, and though, being in a heritage listed rental cottage, I don't have the permissions necessary to do a Heather, or indeed, a Manda,
at least I have a space where everything has a place, (well, nearly), and I can be comfortable, and work.

The Stash is coming along nicely, soon to be boosted with some purchases from
Cia's Palette (thanks Manda!)

The Stash

And my new Work In Progress is a baby quilt, possibly for my sister, made from some gorgeous soft linen placemats I found the other day, patchworked and quilted.

Work In Progress...

And of course, one of my favourite things about living where I do: the view of the cemetery!

View of the cemetery from my studio

I live in what used to be the caretakers' cottage of a local cemetery.... the oldest graves come right up to the side of the house on one side, and date back as late as the 1800's. The cemetery runs alongside the major river of my city, and there is a bike path that leads to the city in one direction, and the sea in the other.

When the local council took over caring for the cemetery, they decided to rent out the cottage now that there was no longer any need for a caretaker, and that's where I come in. Though it's an unusual place to live, it's actually quite peaceful, and I love it dearly. Though sometimes I would trade it in, no question for a big house with lots of space, filled with natural light, in actual fact I would be very sad to leave.

One day, when I have some more time, I'll take some photographs out there to show you! But for now, I'm off to get some sewing done!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Thrifted Tuesday...

It's apparent that I seem to go thrifting on Tuesdays, usually because it's my first day off for the week, coupled with the fact that it's here's to a new category - Thrifted Tuesday!

But first, this was waiting in the post box for me on getting up this morning....

Kimono fabrics

My new kimono and Yukata panels from kimoYES, a fabulous, and well priced online store for vintage kimono and Yukata panels. It's so good to find somewhere in Australia to buy fabric, much of my online shopping comes from the US, and I'm always lamenting the exchange rate from Australian Dollars to Pounds- terrible!

Anyway, so onto the thrifting part.....

Today, a whole stash of vintage sewing patterns, 20 cents each!

Thrifted sewing patterns

Plus, a big shoebox full of vintage cottons on wooden spools, sewing threads, notions, and LOADS of linen thread, which I love.....

Thrifted lot of Vintage Cottons

Now I just need to get my hands on one of those wooden spool holder racks that everyone in Blogland seems to have.....suppliers, anyone?

The rest of the day was spend clearing out the shed, so now all the boxes that up to this point have been stored in my studio, have been moved, and I've got a whole lot more space in there now.....ready for what I plan to be a full day of sewing tomorrow..... brilliant!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sewing At Last....

Finally, after the turmoil and organisational stress of the past two months, I have started sewing again. The studio isn't finished, I still haven't taken that patternmaking course, and I'm still VERY much self-taught, with slightly crooked seams and a bit of a disregard for rules, but what the hell.....

Sewing at last....

Right now it's little girls' dresses. Tomorrow it might be patchworked tea cozies..... who knows? But for now, I'm planning to stockpile, sew and sew and sew and sew, and eventually have enough to open my little shop. I hope those of you who take the time to look at this blog ( and I know you're there, cause the counter keeps on counting!) will have the patience to bear with me while I get this haphazard show on the road.

Sewing at last...

Thanks for reading, and I'll keep you posted with the results of my new determination......