Tuesday, December 7, 2010

reasons why I simultaneously love and loathe the postal service

This is a long and convoluted story but there are pretty pictures at the end so bear with me ... or just skip to the pretty pictures.

When we moved in to this house over three and a half years ago I wondered why our phone and internet was taking so long to get connected, especially since I had pre-organised it all in a very unlike me kinda way. After a few very confusing calls it became apparent that there was both a "street" and an "avenue" by the same name in our suburb. Superb. I can't begin to tell you how many annoying calls it took to sort that all out (not to mention changing phone numbers three times in as many days), but the hits just kept on coming.

Over the years tradesmen have called me, frustrated, demanding to know why I'm not answering the door, ("Um are you at X Street instead of X Avenue? That would be why."), even the midwife visiting us after Luca's birth wondered where we were, especially considering there was a huge delivery of flowers also on the doorstep!

So for near on three and a half years I keep meaning to go round to the house by the same number at X Street and introduce myself and perhaps trade numbers just in case the need ever arose.

Well the need arose when one Tania gently enquired as to the whereabouts of a certain little "just because" brown paper package tied up with string. It was all the motivation I needed to pile the kids in the car on a rainy day and finally get this whole mess sorted out.

As it turned out they were not home so I left a note with the whole sorry tale as well as a general enquiry about certain "packages" that may or may not have arrived on their doorstep within the last few days. Perhaps the word "packages" freaked the residents of the house out somewhat because it took a full 24 hours before finally someone gave me a call. And guess what? Indeed a package HAD turned up on their doorstep ... and had been redirected.

Fast forward a WEEK AND A HALF later and a slightly crumpled, perhaps a little damp brown paper package tied up with string arrived on my doorstep!* Talk about build up!

The wrapping didn't last too long ...

myrtle & eunice goodies


myrtle & eunice goodies

myrtle & eunice goodies

I'd say worth the wait for that gorgeous pile of "just-because-make-my-day-ness" right? Right!

* And now for the reason I loathe the postal service: the package was completely correctly addressed! Arrgh! It's the same suburb dudes. Figure it out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

my creative space

I've invented a new word:

RUSHTIC: Adj. (pron: "RAH-shh-tick"). A way to describe an item that is made hurriedly and winds up (or can be passed of as), looking quite rustic.

I'll give you a visual description:

advent calendar

Rushtic is the result of becoming aware on the 30 December that the advent calendar you carefully wrapped and carted all the way back from Germany the year before has somehow disappeared and you realise you have about two hours to make another one before pre-school pick up and there will be no time for nice neat turned edges. And breathe out.

advent calendar

The look is undoubtedly helped by constant requests for food by a three-year old (should you happen to have one handy), and the occasional toileting help also required by said three-year old.

For more creative spaces that are probably slightly less "rushtic" head on over to Kirsty's place.

Oh and I almost forgot ...

advent calendar

Edited to Add: Fabric was found entirely in my stash (such were my time constraints!) and include a couple of prints from Kokka gifted to me from Kate, light weight denim from Kelani Fabrics, "Starburst" (?) by Prints Charming and "Rick Rack" from Flowerpress. The heavy linen for the background was from Ikea and the christmas print was picked up in Munich, Germany last year and I was told it was by a Spanish designer. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Sewjourn

Well just when I thought I'd run out of creative mojo along came Sewjourn and with it, a massive injection of crafty inspiration.


Thanks in a large part to the stunning surroundings and perhaps a little bit also had to do with some seriously talented (and bloody funny), crafty women.

Not long after arriving with my generous and inspiring travel companion in our awesome vehicle* ...

Green machine

... I'd learnt about REAL interfacing and soon after that I had learned a few new swear words (which needed to be googled), laughed so hard I had to clutch my sides, and was led into a serious robot fetish.

I watched in awe as beautiful creations were made out Liberty and sense, not to mention beautiful and functional clothing, was made of Japanese pattern books. I woke up to beautiful coffee (good enough to ditch the decaf for a few days), and to make breakfast with a calm and beautiful person. I drooled along with everyone over gorgeous Japanese fabrics which were effortlessly fashioned into the cutest hat I've ever seen.


And what did I make? Well, I found a comfy spot and plodded along with some slow stitching, finished a baby gift and cast on some new knitting (learning "kfab" along the way - so much better in person than on you tube!)


... only to have it all lost for nearly twenty-four hours when my luggage decided to stay in Melbourne.


And I mean really, who could blame it?

*Um, please note that bit up in the "about me" section of my blog where I say I'm sarcastic ...
p.s. I started to respond to individual comments on my last post and then suddenly got a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of responses! But I did want to say a massive and genuine "thank you" for all the lovely, supportive comments. It's so nice to know so many people are genuinely happy for us and this new little person we have on the way! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

my creative space :: a project on the side

So for the last little while I've been a bit quiet, not quite writing too many blog posts and not being a very consistent blog visitor either (sorry!).

I've been feeling bone tired and a bit foggy - not quite conducive to waves of brilliance in the creating department.

But the reason for that has been the little bit of creating I've been doing on the side which I can finally reveal


Phew! Twelve weeks of my creative space in that there little shot.

It's been a roller coaster ride for us what with all the stress of losing our furry pal Max and the shadow of what happened last year. But now finally seeing this little person bouncing around with all it's relevant bits and pieces where they should be I feel like I may finally take a deep breath and believe that this is happening.*

And now hopefully the other creating mojo will slowly return!

For creative spaces with mojo overflowing check out Kirsty's place.

* That thing protruding from the forehead is a balled up fist in the background I promise!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

a quilt top

Very quickly before the clothes line was used for it's actual purpose of drying clothes and not showing off quilts, I snapped a few shots of Sienna's finished quilt top

Sienna's quilt (top)

The last you'll see of it for some time no doubt as I begin the seemingly never ending task of hand quilting it

Sienna's quilt (top)

Oh why oh why did we buy KING single beds?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

my creative space :: a morning to myself

After the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks the kids saw fit to add a bout of gastro to the mix just to spice things up that little bit more. So anything on the creative front has mainly involved the swirling around in my head of things I would have been doing had I not been washing sheets or scrubbing (recycled) raspberry yogurt out of cream coloured carpet.

BUT this morning the eldest is at preschool and the youngest is in care for a few hours so ...

morning tea

after consuming a few of these it was onto these


which were then added to this

Sienna quilt

the seemingly never ending sea of pink quilt (with the occasional godsend sprinkling of chocolate brown), for Sienna.

And guess what? With that my morning to myself is over and I'm off to pick up the fellow. But hopefully with this little flurry of activity I'll be back in the veritable creative saddle.

For more creative spaces head on over to Kirsty's place.

Monday, November 1, 2010

the good and the downright bloody awful (in reverse order)

The Downright Bloody Awful:

  • Last Wednesday we had to let this gorgeous guy go. After making a few small steps towards a recovery it was an inability for his system to drain lymph fluids which was his ultimate undoing. Never mind the cracked skull. Apparently that would have mended itself but a blockage somewhere in his body due to trauma was just causing too much discomfort and finally we were advised we had done all we could do. And so the last few days has seen us all a bit flat and teary wondering where our constant companion is, only to have that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when we remember a millisecond later that he is gone. 
  • The lens of my camera is broken. Not nearly in the same realm but given everything else this has just had me really bloody frustrated quite frankly! Lord knows when we will be able to purchase another one. However this brings me to;

The Good:

  • A fun app on my phone (and just the pretty decent camera on it really), that has allowed me to shoot a few random bits of goodness. And to be honest I have been sucking the marrow out of these moments of goodness so I thought I might share them.




  • Butterfly kisses



    • Oh, and those curls!
    I hope there's been more good than awful round your way. 

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Numero Tre

    Luca's 3rd Birthday

    Although it seems like five minutes ago, apparently yesterday it was three years since this child decided to make his very late, but quick entrance into the world.

    So yesterday we celebrated with a few presents and what has become a family tradition of pancakes* for breakfast at home before dashing up to Newcastle to have a shared birthday celebration with a cousin and extended family members.

    All in all a lovely day for this gorgeous, gentle, caring TALL boy of ours.

    Happy Birthday Luca!

    *Quite honestly, if you have a hankering for thick, fluffy American style pancakes then this is the recipe for you! 

    p.s. - I may not have managed to reply individually to all the amazing messages of support for our Maxie last week. Your comments really buoyed me through what was a pretty harrowing week. After a few steps forward and many steps back our furry fellow will have surgery on his jaw today. He has regained sight in one eye and is meowing - all small but very good signs for a recovery. 

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010



    A few weeks before my 30th birthday (six years ago - *gulp*), I spotted that gorgeous fellow above in a shop run by a breeder of Burmilla cats. I'd never heard of the breed before and really couldn't have cared less what he was. I just fell in love on the spot with this cute little silver bundle. After much negotiation with the non-cat-loving Mr I finally won out and Max ended up being my birthday present.

    He was soon dubbed "cat-dog" due to his ability to play fetch, go for walks on a lead and a penchant for playing hide and seek. Within a few days he had the Mr well and truly won over.

    Fast forward a few years and poor old Maxie had to get used to small babies entering his domain. At times he looked visibly depressed that he was no longer the only focus of our affections but before long he was submitting to all sorts of child lead torture fun.



    And truth be told Max is probably the family member who was most enthusiastic about my entry in the world of sewing and quilts



    Max and quilting

    On Sunday afternoon Maxie was crossing the road, no doubt to see one of his many neighbourhood "friends", when he was hit by a car. Luckily the people who hit him know us and critical minutes were saved getting him up to the local vets. As I write this Maxie is still alive but has some fairly massive injuries. I'm still waiting for the vets to tell us we need to let him go but for the moment they are giving us hope that they have seen cats fully recover from the same state that Maxie is currently in.

    And so we wait and we hope for our affectionate, gentle, quilt-loving, sun-worshipping boy to make it through and come back home where he belongs ...


    ... in the sun atop of a pile of clean laundry.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Schoolhouse Tunic

    Ever since I sat next to Sophie at The Craft Room all day craft-a-thon and witnessed her whip up a Schoolhouse Tunic in the space of a few hours I was chomping at the bit to make my own. To me this top is the perfect combination of a flattering neckline and then that fantastic drop-from-the-waist-ness that cleverly disguises any hint of late night chocolate eating.

    So when I was in New York recently I had my yardage requirements handy as I navigated the overwhelming isles of Mood.* I found some lovely, gauzy, silky voile and immediately fell in love. Of course the voile and I have not exactly been seeing eye to eye over the past few days but otherwise I found the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern to be pretty straight forward, thanks in a large part to the very clear instructions.

    schoolhouse tunic

    Now here's the problem.

    When I bought the fabric I didn't notice the large rose design in the circle running along the base of the fabric. When I was cutting out the pattern I felt it was going to be better to try and keep the rose on the skirt part of the tunic rather than emblazoned all over "the girls".

    HOWEVER I now realise that perhaps a great big rose over my lower abdomen is not perhaps the most flattering look either.

    schoolhouse tunic

    Confirmed when I modelled it for the Mr last night and he loudly guffawed (and a guffaw is big from the guy who usually lets not even a snigger pass his lips).

    Oh and in case you can't see my butt highlighted by the other huge rose I'm helpfully pointing it out for you.

    schoolhouse tunic - back view

    So friends here are my options as I see them:

    1. Cut the tunic up to the shirt length thus rendering the circle shape to a semi circle. However this would mean I would have a large semi circle at the top of my backside. Would that be worse?

    2. Leave it as is and wear it with confidence as if I had planned it that way.

    What say you?

    p.s Jo also made a lovely shirt version in the past week which you can see here.

    * For fellow lovers of Project Runway you'll know how much of a struggle it was for me to not shout out, "Thank you Moooood" a la Tim Gunn at the end of my Mood visit.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    my creative space

    Well I had hoped to share with you the item of sewing that has been consuming my creative space for the last few days, my school house tunic but this is the state it's in as of five minutes ago.

    School house tunic WIP

    Cat hair included. So I might share that in a few days.

    Instead I thought I'd take this opportunity to alert you to the  fourth round of Softies for Mirabel, you know, if you've been living under a rock or something. Now by my count you've still got plenty of time to get cracking on your softie of choice before they are due in at Pip's place. Last year was my first go and I made this guy. Believe it or not, he is my most viewed image on flickr. Go figure.

    This year I'm feeling inspired by this little bit of cuteness I happened upon in the French Marie Claire Idees magazine (and if anyone can tell me what the brown fabric on his belly is I will love you forever).

    bunny from marie claire idees magazine

    Or perhaps I can find inspiration a little closer to home in these guys.

    softie friends

    Sienna made the chocolate brown one in the front (named, "Elizabeth" until just this moment when she declared it's called "One-patch ear, one-patch eye underpants"), at a sewing class she attended last week. Of course we then had to whip up a companion for Luca the next day, the appropriately named "Spotty Dog".

    Now if you want to see an amazing donation in progress head on over to Kate's for a look at what she's up to.

    For more creative spaces pop over to Kirsty's.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    that handmade sigh of relief

    You know the one right? That comfortable groove when you get to make something for a fellow crafter or believer in the "I-don't-care-that-it's-got-wonky-seams-cos-it's-handmade" philosophy.


    That cosy feeling had me sailing through this second version of the ice-cream social dress*. Even the bits where I was muttering through my gritted teeth and unpicking seams into the wee small hours were worth it knowing that it was going to be worn by the daughter of a fellow sewist.

    Fellow sewist herself also had a birthday and suddenly I was completely and utterly stuck for ideas. For weeks I was tossing up potential projects. Placemats? No she's made them already. A table runner? No she's made one already. A tote bag. No she's made one already. Knit something? Don't be stupid you know how slow you are at knitting.

    In the end I came up with a variation on the burlap bucket I made here (pattern from the very talented maya*made) and this book.

    Sam's bucket

    My other crafty (and Libran, and red loving), friend got the same fabrics (which, incidentally are both from Kelani) in a different way


    A cushion with a tiny bit of quilting on the branches of those beautiful trees. She got some other stuff too (namely an antique amber owl brooch from Yard Sale), but I just know she's loving the handmade cushion just that little bit more. You know?

    *Believe it or not the dark fabric used in the ice-cream social dress is actually the same denim as used in the other two projects. A combination of a dull day and an early morning, pre-birthday party photo shoot has ended up making it look black. Which it's not. Just sayin'. 

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    a spring in my step

    There are so many things to love about this amazing season that I thought I might just make a list.

    • Spending a lot more time in the garden as we try to forget vegetable and herb disasters of seasons past and start all over again


    ... finding little beasties along the way


    • Discovering a new reason to sit and do some meditative stamping


    • Being totally seduced by all the blooms on offer


    ... and I use the word "blooms" kinda loosely


    • Harnessing that desire to make old things new again and do a bit of sprucing up around the place

    notice board

    What are you loving about the season you find yourself in?

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    my creative space OR reasons my house is so dirty

    Please tell me I'm not the only one who chooses crafty stuff over cleaning?*


    But this is going a wee bit too far, no?


    But you know I figure for all the time I spend hanging washing on the line I might as well use the time to give myself a few one-word, easily digestible reminders of what's important. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Now to figure out a way sealing them without making the ink run .... any suggestions welcome!

    Now put down that broom/duster/cloth/child and head over to Kirsty's place for some creative spaces. She's got the power tools out today so you just know she's serious.

    *Who am I kidding? I am so aware I'm preaching to the converted.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    home, sweet home

    Ah New York.

    There really is no place quite like it.

    I love it so much I have declared since my first (and second), visit many years ago that I would move there yesterday.

    And yet the minute I'm on the way home and start to hear the flattened vowels of the flight attendants (i.e "Baaarry, have you got any more chaaardonnaaay?"), I get excited about getting home and about seeing that blinding light of ours as I step off the plane.

    And so it was yesterday that we decided to bask in the beauty and uniqueness that is this country of ours

    and wound up on a blanket with the best view in the world.

    view from the picnic rug

    Home, sweet home.


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