Friday, July 31, 2009

blast off

Yesterday I started my evening course in screen printing. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. My partner came home from work a little earlier than usual to ensure that I had enough time to get ready and I left home with plenty of time to make my journey. Nonetheless I hadn't countered on having difficulties finding a parking spot so in the end I was a little late for my first class. I don't like being late in any circumstances but it is even worse when the result is walking into a classroom, or in this case a studio, full of people.

Our first class covered cleaning and preparing screens and then we had a go at printing using wax crayons to make our designs - see my effort, a rocket ship (in case you couldn't tell) above.

It was really inspirational seeing all the different ways that other students in the class approached the task - some with raving success (albeit accidental) and some with disastrous outcomes. I think the less successful attempts were the most interesting because from them came the greatest lessons.

My homework for next week is to design and make my film positives ready to make screens using emulsion. I have so many ideas that at this stage the most difficult thing to do is making the decision about what to start with.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Master E makes an offer of sultanas

Master E's favourite animal at the moment are tigers. On a whim we went to the zoo this afternoon. We only stayed for about an hour - long enough to hang out with the tigers for a while, see the elephants have a foot bath, chat with the orangutans and chase birds on the common lawn.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

my first enid

Here is my first Enid Gilchrist creation - a Matinee Jacket from the 'Clothes for Your Children' publication.

The pattern is one piece, very easy to draft and certainly very easy to sew - perfect for a quick jacket for Ms. M to keep her warm in these colder months.

Friday, July 24, 2009



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

postage stamps

In order to commemorate the birth of each of our children we had a postage stamp personalised. In theory it is easy enough to do - but the practice of trawling though loads and loads of photos and then the pressure to choose just one picture was a bit overwhelming for me.

To personalise your own stamp go here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

first tuesday bookclub

My partner and I have decided to read along with the
ABC's First Tuesday Book Club
- he is currently reading book 1 Gone Tomorrow and I'm suppose to be reading book 2 Middlesex.

I haven't started reading yet - better get a wriggle on though ready to swap books. Finding it a bit tricky to get started... the blurb on the back reads:

"A rollicking family epic like no other, Middlesex follows three generations of the Stephanides family from 1920s Greece to Detroit in the mid to late 20th century to contemporary Berlin. Brother and sister Lefty and Desdemona flee the crumbling Ottoman Empire in 1922; by the time their ship docks in New York they are husband and wife. The narrator of this funny and humane tale is their grandchild Cal, who as a result of their unusual liaison was born a girl but grows into a man."
I suppose I am hesitant because although it is described as 'funny and humane' I get the vibe that it may indeed be rather full on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

cushion covers

I made these cushion covers today. It was so super easy - a very intuitive process.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

interior style

Sitting in bed this morning, drinking a cup of tea, I took this quiz (as suggested by Jessica Jones at her blog) which supposedly identifies your interior style. It was fun.

And the verdict... my style is sophisticated retro. Must be an aspirational style because with two small children my interior is looking anything but sophistcated!!!

What's your style?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

no dig veggie garden

This past Sunday I finally put together our no dig vege garden. I love growing my own vegies and herbs - the beautiful rich greens, delicate flowers and fragrant aromas. Growing vegies and herbs is great for so many reasons - I particularly appreciate the convenience of having a variety of food & flavours growing right at my back door - no matter how disorganised I am in regards to getting to the shops there is always something to cook for dinner!

The before shot.

Our plan is to develop this area of the garden in two stages. Firstly the raised no dig vege garden where we'll grow lots of veges and herbs and secondly a lower vege garden that will feature the essential lemon tree and veges & fruit vines on the ground (zucchini, rockmelon, cucumber).

Create a base for the garden using cardboard.

The idea of the cardboard base is to create a foundation that will stop weeds growing through into the garden bed. I cut up cardboard boxes that we had used when we moved house.

Water base very well to aid its eventual breakdown.

It is important to water well after every step.

A layer of sheep manure.

I love the smell of manure - it is so rich, wholesome and earthy.

2cm layer of sheep manure

On top of the thoroughly watered cardboard base goes a layer of sheep manure - about 2cm thick.

8cm layer of straw

Another fantastic smell is fresh straw. Breaking up a straw bale and being overcome with its delightful aroma is one of life's simple pleasures. An 8cm layer of straw covers the sheep manure. It is important to use straw that is free of weeds.

Second 2cm layer of sheep manure

Cover with a final layer of straw.

Finally - plant seedlings into pockets of compost.

The final step of planting veges and herbs is the best. So far we have planted capsicum seedlings, lettuce, silver beet, spinach, basil, and oregano. We've also planted carrot seeds. In the centre of the garden bed are marigold flowers - which are edible and also useful in repelling pests.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

take two

less than co-operative

... I'll try again sometime in the future.

Monday, July 13, 2009

embroidered pin cushion

I don't really need another pin cushion but this was a wonderful opportunity for me to practice my chain stitch. It was a lot of fun to make and I'm rather happy with how it turned out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

almost a days work

the delightful master E & ms. M
... well that is an exaggeration, but it sure did take a long time to get them both to sit next to each other, be looking vaguely in the same direction, not have blades of grass or their hands shoved in their mouths, and to have expressions that didn't make them look like either zombies or victims of tortue.
Perhaps I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

morning tea

I had my morning cuppa sitting on a straw bale today. Not that unusual for someone living in the country - but it was rather an exceptional experience for me living in the suburbs.

The morning was crisp and the smell of the straw was heavenly!

Why do I have straw bales in my garden?
The answer is coming soon - but now I am too exhausted to blog about it :)

Friday, July 10, 2009


Practice makes perfect, and whilst I'm not even close yet, I sure am having fun.
...but what do I do with them now?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

rain ready

I finally acquired the Phil & Ted's stormy weather cover today. It is such a relief to know that we'll be able to get out and about even if there is impending rain... not sure that I would necessarily venture out in stormy weather though.

The sun beaming and reflecting through clouds is always such a beautiful image. I was particularly enamoured by it today as the clouds were such a deep gray. Gray is one of my all time favourite colours.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

why I'm a crafty mama

I read this post on the Craft Mamas Group Blog at the end of last week and have been considering it since then.

Why am I a crafty mama?

The following poem keeps springing to mind as I consider the question.

Worthwhile Work – author unknown
Today, I left some dirty dishes, the beds I made at 3pm
The nappies soaked a little longer, the odour grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilt the day before, are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall, will likely still be there next fall.
The dirty streaks on those windowpanes will still be there next time it rains.
“Shame on you, old Lazy Bones” you say “And just what have you done today?”

I nursed a baby till he slept. I held a toddler while he wept.
I played a game of hide-and-seek. I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon; sang a song. Taught a child right from wrong.

What did I do this whole day through? Not much that shows, I guess it’s true.
Unless you think that what I’ve done, might be important to two little people,
with bright blue eyes and soft strawberry and blonde hair.

If that is true, I’ve done my share.

I really like the sentiments of this poem – and I try to remember them at the end of a day that feels like it hasn’t been as productive as perhaps it should have. I can work so hard all day and still look around at the end of the day and feel like I haven’t achieved much at all.

The character Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) from Pretty Woman also comes to mind. Towards the end of the movie he decides to build ships – he has an urge to produce, to see something tangible & material made from his efforts. And I suppose this is where craft fits into my life – at the end of the day it is nice to actually ‘produce’ something – to have something tangible that I can hold and say to myself “I made this”.

Then there are the endless meditative benefits ... the humming of the sewing machine, the crunch of scissors cutting fabric, the motion of weaving a needle through fabrics. My mind is transported to a blissful place away from the daily grind. I sit there and as the actions of my work become less conscious my mind takes me away to memories of other times, places and people, thoughts on life and its quirky nature. And sometimes my mind is filled with nothing, and that is good too.

Sometimes in these meditative moments my mind goes back to other generations of women. Through craft – sewing in particular – I find myself connected to women who have long since passed, most notably my grandmother. Her creations have outlived her and through them she is present with me every day. I look at my children’s dolls’ clothes and I see her sitting in her arm chair knitting or cutting material using patterns made from old newspaper.
And it is not just the connection with previous generations I value, I also enjoy being part of a community, the connection I feel with other crafters, and the pleasure in seeing their creations.

Finally, in this world of globalisation and mass produced products, it is wonderful to see something I made myself, something that is a one-of-a-kind. Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colours comes to mind, the child’s growing realisation that her patchwork coat far from being worthless because it does not match the standards of the general coat, it is in fact valuable for its uniqueness and the love her Mama sewed in every stitch.

Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

diddle diddle dumpling

Ms. M rarely wears two socks. No sooner are two socks put on her feet than the right sock - and it is always the right sock - is off & in her mouth (yes - we do feed her!).

Monday, July 6, 2009


first fruit ...100% my own creation :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

aussie rules

my better half shows what he's got on the footy field

Saturday, July 4, 2009


"It is important to remember ... a greater part of the history of embroidery involves the countless generations of anonymous embroiderers that have carried on the time honoured traditions of their forbearers. This is the embroidery that was worked on domestic items, to decorate a trousseau or a shroud, to hold padded layers together for warmth, to welcome the safe arrival of a baby, to mark a rite of passage, to make an ordinary life of a little less ordinary. This is the history that we tap into today, no longer embroidering because we have to, but because we can. And in an age where everything is mechanised and mass-produced, the sheer pleasure of producing something beautiful slowly by hand is not to be underestimated" (p. 116 Complete Contemporary Craft - Embellishments )

So with that inspiration I have taken up my needle & thread.

practice stitches

Thursday, July 2, 2009

clear sky

rain rain ... has finally gone away :)