Wednesday, 18 December 2013
It was primary school presentation day yesterday. I was under strict instructions about how and when I could cry (only if other mothers cried and no sobbing!).
I managed to keep it to a few small tears of happiness for my lovely boys, I'm so proud of them.
I didn't do quite as well at the big girl's presentation the day before. I was fine when she received an award but when her music class performed their cute version of Bohemian Rhapsody and the principal lavished praise on this wonderful year group who are moving campuses for years 11 and 12, I had to get the tissues out!
It feels like time for the move from primary school, but we have had so many wonderful years in this warm and generous community it will be sad to leave. This place has been a home away from home for our family for eleven years and those little everydays build up to something really deep and important in our lives.
My three kids all had the same wonderful Kindy teacher and she showed me a card yesterday she's saved since the boys were in kindy, illustrated with their pictures. How lovely is that! Teachers are so important. They can be such great role models and help kids to grow their minds in so many ways. Thank you teachers.
At the end of this week we get in the car for our annual trip north for Christmas with my family. I can't wait. It seems to have been coming for a while. Its been a long and emotional end to the year this year, what with all the farewells and orientations, the last times and first times as all three of my kids change schools.
I'm looking forward to stopping and staring at the horizon, preferably with a cold drink in hand and a book on my lap!
I'm looking forward to salt on my skin and the smell of sunscreen on my clothes, long lazy lunches and afternoon naps. I'm looking forward to squeezing the family members I haven't seen all year and telling them about my days.
There will be posts I'm sure, and I will see you on instagram too. But real blogging will be on holiday for a while, recharging for a big year next year.
I am inspired already by 2014. Its going to be different in many ways, and I'm hoping good different. How about you? Are you ready to stop already! Do you have plans for next year, are things changing at your house?
p.s. it was my birthday last week and the photos show some of my pressies, there was a flying visit from my brother for his gallery's exhibition opening at the AGNSW, a real old phone from the mister, new clothes, new creams and a lovely xmas surprise from Cam.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
A few weeks ago I posted about my green week. It seems that pink is on the menu now! Probably inspired by last week's printing.
The zinnias I planted from seed all seem to be coming up pink, various shades of pink luckily but pink nonetheless. The cosmos are mostly pink too and the echinacea flowers which have taken two years to produce blooms, have the lightest tinge.
Last week I carved out a tiny bit of time between high school orientation day and a dentist appt to go along to a free workshop run by Alex Falkiner, alfalky on etsy and instagram. I had such a nice time learning how to make a coiled brooch from Alex and she had the most wonderful colour palette in all goodies she had laid out to sew with.
I used a mix of pink and orange and green and this great corally red, which might be my new favourite colour. It was nice to play with colours I don't usually mix. The other brooch is by Laura my delightful workshop neighbour.
It seems that this year has been the year of the workshop for me and I'm really loving that. Its such a great way to meet other crafty people, learn new techniques and make without having to track down all the equipment and materials of a new craft, producing something in one day that you can keep forever.
Its a lovely way to support crafty makers too.
Christmas lights and decorations went up this week too. Christmas lists have been made and presents bought. It feels good to have made a start on this huge yearly task. Its not so much the buying but the choosing that I find taxing, I so want to get just the right thing!
Friday's street Xmas Party went off without a hitch, hoorah! We had perfect weather this year too. This event that I dreamed up with a friend six years ago has become an institution with a life of its own now and my heart swelled when I turned around to see thirty kids in a range of ages playing bull rush with huge smiles on their faces. It made me so happy!
In other news the mister and I racked up an adventure filled 17 years of marriage last Saturday (!) and celebrated with Korean BBQ for the whole family. We've been to BBQ King in the city once before and it is the most wonderful fun cooking at the table, and all the exotic condiments which come with your meal. So delicious!
I am so lucky to be married to my cute bestie and while I wish our anniversary was at a slightly less manic time it does make us laugh trying to squeeze some romance into this crazy month. But then life never slows down round here for long. Speaking of which I can't wait for my birthday next week ;-)
I hope your lives are filled with Christmas parties and nice food, and that you have all your presents bought and wrapped and nothing better to do on these warm nights than sip a G and T and watch the garden grow!
p.s. that's miss A's lampshade which she added stars in white paper to, which show up when the light is on. Isn't she clever.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
I love drawstring bags, they are useful for holding a multitude of things. Just lately I've been making them to hold travel art kits, marbles and lego. Make them slightly larger and they are perfect for book bags, shoe bags or makeup. They make great wrapping for a handmade gift, as well as being a good present in their own right.
The pattern I use is adapted from Pink Penguin's patchwork bag. I like the way it is lined, that it's reversible, that there are no raw edges showing and the neat way the drawstring casing attaches which means all the seams are hidden away inside.
Although you can use two cords to draw it in, I usually make do with one. In fact I have always meant to experiment with joining the two top casings to make one long one. Next time!
A few months ago when I was making a big batch of marble bags I photographed the steps to share a tutorial and then promptly forgot about it. I rediscovered the pics recently and here it is - perfect timing with Christmas so close to make your own marble or treasure bags. A fat quarter of the main fabric is all you need. I have fat quarters of both prints in the shop. Or if you want to buy the bags readymade, marble bags and lego bags as well as marble starter kits with Alisa's beautiful instructions and including marbles and chalk they are there too.
Cut all the pieces for your bag.
2 x outer fabric, I've used my marble fabric here.
2 x lining, I've used plain calico for practicality, but the bags are reversible so it would be nice to use a patterned lining too.
2 x drawstring casing - I like to use a contrast fabric, here its my big bricks lego fabric.
I modified the size of these bags so I could cut two panels from a fat quarter.
The outer and lining pieces are 7 3/4 inches square.
The casing pieces are 8 x 2 inches.
Turn the ends of the casings over 1/4 inch and press. Turn the folded edge 1/4 inch again and press.
Fold in half lengthways and press again.
Sew around three sides of the main fabric, right sides facing each other.
Sew down two opposite sides of the lining fabric. (You could sew three sides leaving a gap at the bottom for a smaller seam if you were going to make these reversible but I like how quick and easy and neat it is to sew one seam at the end.
Turn the main fabric right sides out. Pin the casing fabric with open ends facing up on to each side of the main bag.
Sew the casing to the main fabric using a small seam, less than 1/4 inch. Trim threads.
NB. It is quickest to use your free arm on the sewing machine and sew this in the round.
Put the lining, wrong sides out, over the main bag (right side out) and pin along top open edge all around. I've folded it back at the bottom so you can understand the placement better. Casing stays as sewn flat against the sides of the main bag.
Sew 1/4 inch or slightly larger seam around the top with seams open out as shown in second photo.
Pull the lining forward and press with the lining sitting out and casing facing up.
Fold edges of lining under to form base seam of lining and pin. I prefer this method as it is quicker and gives one continuous seam.
Push lining into bag. Press again.
Thread some cord through the top casings using a safety pin to pull the cord through the casing. You can either use one or two drawstrings on your bag, I always stop at one but two is nice too. I've used cord, cotton tape and fine rope for cording. You could even sew your own cord.
Friday, 29 November 2013
It always happens, the year starts to close in and my creative time becomes limited by social, work and christmas commitments. Suddenly I am inspired, I have a million ideas and not enough time to do any of them.
Occasionally I cheat, I carve out some time to just make, and I always feel better for it. I've been known to bottle apricot jam when I'm meant to be wrapping presents, I've been known to be print out knitting patterns while everyone sits in the car ready to go on holiday and I am guilty of booking into a free workshop next week when I'm meant to be doing anything but!
This pink printing was inspired by a recent meetup, with a blogger I have known online for hmmm, I think we decided five years. Someone who has been a virtual friend all this time but became an IRL (in real life) friend over dinner on Thursday night.
I wanted to give Cam a present, and I thought about sewing her a cushion with my field print in blue. You know what though, Cam isn't a blue person. She's pink, orange, purple, red. And so I quickly got out my screen and whipped up a batch of pink fields, and dug out my new purple hemp (and seriously, how nice is hemp, my new favourite fabric!) and sewed her a cushion.
I didn't stop there and if you are keen for some pink yourself then the shop has pink tea towels, pink cushion covers and even pink fabric, in case you have a bit of 'I should be packing' crafting to do of your own!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
I love the idea of a destash… in theory. Truth is I am very bad at letting go of things. Just ask my husband. Or better yet don’t draw attention to it! He’ll tell you I’m always saving things for a rainy day, trying to hold on to stuff I might never use.
If something needs a simple repair I often hold on to it, in the spirit of make do and mend. Sadly it often stays in the repair pile for a long time, comes out to be re-sorted and goes back there for a spell. Items bought new and never used or gifted and unloved make me feel equally bad and those go in the cupboard for the same routine. They are total storage hogs.
Which is a pity because one thing we could use more of round here is storage. Sound familiar?!
Its ironic because I also love the feeling of destashing, clearing out my home till there are only essentials. I love the William Morris quote:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
I’m not quite at hoarder level though, I regularly go through the kids clothes and thin out the ones they’ve grown out of or never wear (I need to do the same with my wardrobe that is full of 'one day' outfits!)
I love passing on good stuff to Op shops or family friends. I love the recent resurgence of Vinnies and Salvos stores. And we love great hand me downs or recycled fashion here so its nice to return the favour. Actually Miss A has been volunteering at our local Vinnies and the manager tells she is great at hanging clothes and sorting shoes. I was surprised! (They must be hidden talents those.)
Its Council throw out day here this week. In our suburb it is like an unofficial swap meet. In the days leading up to it the roads and pavements are full of browsers picking the best of the piles and leaving only the truly broken and useless behind, which turns out isn’t much!
What to do with excess craft stuff though? Most of it is new and unused or vintage and precious. I know some of it could be perfect for someone else’s project. I know the investment and running around that goes into buying all these materials so I want it to go to the right home.
Recently I found out that, unlike some other auction sites Quicksales.com.au has free selling. Which suits me, that way I can put items up for sale and not pay if they don’t sell.
So I decided to sort and photograph and sell my excess. To give me room in the craft room and get back my storage, to tame my overwhelming stash.
It will be nice to let some of it find a new home with someone who will appreciate it. (And perhaps I might find some bargains over there while I’m listing too!!)
It took a week to get organised but it was so cathartic. For a few days I just sorted like with like. And then I labelled. The wool was collected up with the needles and hooks and knitting stuff. The embroidery threads and needles and hoops were put together in one place, and the fabric, OMG the fabric. Well lets just say it has never been this organised, ever. The quilting fabrics are in one place, the handprinted in another, the blank fabrics and the vintage all have their own boxes. It feels so good! And having only the good stuff, not cluttered with things I know I'll never use, well it makes the stash more precious.
It seems to me that the run up to Christmas is a great time to organise and destash. What better way to fund the buying sprees of Christmas than to virtuously get rid of all the clutter that you aren’t going to use and make some cash. (It might be the place for any those unwanted Christmas gifts too!)
This post brought to you by Quicksales.com.au
Saturday, 23 November 2013
I've talked before about the wonderful ABCD meetups we Sydney bloggers are lucky enough to enjoy. It is so much fun to break out from behind the computer and meet all the delightful bloggers this city is blessed with and a great chance to talk shop and share ideas with other makers and bloggers.
ABCD is the brainchild of the lovely Steph Bond-Hutkin and so when she put out the call for help with her 10th Blog Birthday Charity Auction it is not surprising that she was showered with fabulous donations from a who's who of creative peeps. A lot of our ABCD friends are represented.
The auctions are running on Ebay and now is the time to bid to get some awesome bargains and give to a fantastic cause, The Children's Cancer Institute Australia. But hurry, most auctions finish in about a day and a half, early Monday morning.
I have donated the popular Tomato Filigree Linen Tea Towel and an A4 size Ruby Slippers print with a combined value of $35 and with free postage to anywhere.
Last time I looked at the auction you could pick these up for about $20 posted. Just think you could have two Christmas presents crossed off your list and support a great cause at the same time! That's of course if you can bring yourself to give them away.
There are some beautiful art, homewares, clothes, toys, accessories and jewellery. I have bids on a few things and will be checking back soon. Go and have a look!