Thursday, December 31, 2009

a little bit late and a little bit early

Wow. Christmas. What a wild ride that was. I had planned on sharing all the handmade stuff I was up crazily sewing, sticking, stuffing, stitching until the wee small hours but it all seems a bit late now! And also I forgot to take photos of most of it as we raced out the door on to the next Chrissy gathering.

I did thankfully take five minutes to snap some shots of this project. A beach blanket for my friend Antonia who visits the beach EVERY DAY with her little fella Max. Thankfully I started this a few months ago when I got my hands on a copy of Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.

beach blanket

Antonia's beach blanket


The backing is a fairly sturdy old table cloth and the front is made up of pillowcases all sourced from my local Vinnie's. You gotta love that. All sewn together with some store bought binding. In fact I think the binding was the most costly part!

And because my friend loves red (and I couldn't find any red pillowcases) and because she is a passionate advocate for choosing only organic and locally grown produce I couldn't resist adding this

certified organic ....

A little scrap of fabric I purchased from Aunty Cookie way back at the Finders Keepers markets in May. See it pays to go through your entire stash sometimes ... especially when it all comes crashing to the ground in a massive pile when attempting to extract a bit right at the bottom of one of the towers!

So that's the late bit. The early bit is to get in and say a very Happy New Year to you and your family. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to be seeing the back of this year. Onward and upward and all that. Having said that this is the year that I started this blog, sat down at a sewing machine again and 'met' all of you! And wow, where would I be without this amazing community. A whole lot lonelier that's for sure!

I don't do new year's resolutions. The last one I made, to become a gym junkie with the hope of looking like Sporty Spice, went so far astray I figured they were best left un-resolved! But I do like to make suggestions to myself for how I might live and love better ... and I might share them in the New Year!

In the meantime perhaps you would like to share yours? I'd love to hear your plans for 2010!

Clinking my cyber glass with you all. Catch you on the other side!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

due date

When this happens there are so few 'concrete' things to hold on to. What I have is a stick with two purple lines, a birth centre card with one entry, a blurry six-week scan showing a heart beat that wasn't there six weeks later and an almost finished green tiles quilt.

And I had a due date.

And so it was yesterday that I awoke and the tears that I manage to hold on to most days just flowed as if I had already previously given myself some kind of permission that today it was ok to cry.

We went to the beach and we had lunch and it was in actual fact a lovely family day in an otherwise busy and chaotic time. And I couldn't help feeling all day like it would have been a beautiful day to have my summer baby.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

my creative space and sunday stash all rolled in to one

It is my firm belief that most people want to do something to help others but often it is hard to know where to start. That's where people like Pip at Meet Me at Mike's come in and mobilise us mere mortals into action! For the third year running Pip has called on the crafty community to get stitching (knitting, crocheting whatever) to create softie's for the Mirabel Foundation.

So, thanks to a beautiful parcel from Leonie of some off-white cotton fabric that wasn't quite right for her (this is the Sunday Stash bit),

a gift from a friend ...

and a tried and true pattern from the Meet Me at Mike's book I managed to find a few pockets of time during the week to come up with this fella

Zing the Cat

Good 'ol Zing the Cat. Perhaps looking slightly more sunburnt than I had envisaged but Luca did say "cat" when he saw it and really, a two-year-old is going to be your toughest critic ... except for the Mr who said he kinda looked like the devil *sigh*. You can see lots of other super cute Softie's for Mirabel here.

In my last post I mentioned it had been my Mum's 60th birthday. For months I have been making Mum a quilt and it wasn't until just before I went overseas that I finally admitted defeat and realised I would be giving Mum a quilt top at best. And that is what she got.

IMG_7235

Loosely based on the cowboy pinwheel quilt from Material Obsession One only with slightly less cowboys ... actually none.

Some lessons learned through the making of this quilt:

1. Do not ever attempt pinwheels EVER AGAIN!

pinwheel detail

2. Do not choose fabric you think the person is going to like because far out, it makes the pinwheels even harder to construct when you yourself don't love the fabric you're working with!

But hey, at the end of the day she seemed genuinely happy and really that was the aim ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

my place and yours :: wherever I lay my hat, that's my home

Once again I am taking liberties with the term "Saturday" by posting this on a "Tuesday". But after a busy weekend celebrating my Mum's 60th Birthday (more on that later), I didn't get time to link in with this weeks "My place and yours .." but by gee, it's such a good one this week and by one of my favouritest bloggers, Tania, so how could I resist ...

So the theme is/was "Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home" - from Tania's blog,

"What are the treasures in your house that signify ‘home’? Is there anything that reminds you of a childhood, a life overseas, a loved one? "


Well, apart from the Mr and kids, who of course make anywhere feel like home (what with all the cooking and washing and nappy changing), I was surprised that there are really only two "things"  that I could find that fit the bill ... 

my Minnie

A painting by Minnie Pwerle given to me as a gift from my Mum, Dad and sister a few years ago. It was quite literally the only time in my life I have been speechless. I needed to be scraped off the floor such was my utter astonishment and delight. Being relatively new, it has only graced two walls so far but I know it would be the first thing to go up when we move again signifying we are "home".

Brissy

Ok. Tania did it, so will I. This is Brissy. So named after the town I was born in and was mercilessly ripped away from in the prime of my life*, just when I found myself surrounded by the most awesome bunch of friends**. That bunch of friends threw me an excellent not-so-surprise-going-away-party where I was gifted this bloke. At the time he sported a blue satin ribbon and still had most of his facial features.

Over the years he has fitted very neatly into the crook of my arm while I attempt to sleep (crazy insomniac I am), and acted as a very nice wedge between the "girls" when laying on my side during my pregnancies  (I seem to morph into Dolly Parton at the first whiff of being with child. Too much information?). I keep saying that I will gladly hand him over as soon as any of the kids decide they can't live without him, but since that hasn't happened yet I shall continue to nudge him into place each evening***.

So there you have it. Two quite different items I guess but two items I would struggle without ;)

For more of these stories nip on over to Pip's place.

* fourteen - you can imagine the pain
** two of whom read this blog and are probably falling over themselves that TWENTY ONE years later (yes, really) I still have this bear!
*** whilst I don't take Brissy on any long haul journeys, though I have seriously considered it, I do find space for him on overnight trips. I have tried without and it's just not the same. Have Brissy, will sleep that kind of thing. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

my creative space ... and the winner is ...

Well folks here it is ... if your computer has not melted at the sheer photographic weight of this post while it loaded up then you are about to see proof that you can indeed take a crochet hook on a plane! Yes, the hosties may do a double take or two as they pass you by but not once was I questioned about my hook! Woo hoo! And so I give you ...

Double, Double Hook and Travel! 

en route!

preparing for take off on board QF6 bound for Frankfurt

granny in action

nanna took a break to enjoy a cuppa and a bickie (I did contemplate doing the tim tam slam but didn't want to draw even more attention to myself)

just chillin' in yet another hotel room ... Stuttgart perhaps?

the perfect way to unwind in yet another German hotel room after a busy days site seeing

in Stuttgart

the city centre of Stuttgart

Heidelberg

in the beautiful town of Heidelberg

en route

on our way back to Frankfurt. The perfect way to avert one's eyes from the scary stuff happening on the autobarn.

BA flight to London

back on another flight (made it through another checkpoint!) bound for London

Pub meal

need I describe this one? The sausages were on their way ...

Buckingham Palace

trying to get the Queen's attention.

Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London

a kindred spirit on Portobello Rd

Ah and the best bit ... meeting a kindred crocheting spirit along the Portobello Rd!

A massive "thank you" to all the entries in my naming competition. By god they made me laugh! In the end I found it too hard to pick a winner so handed it over to my beautiful friend Antonia, who picked the above title by the gorgeous Christina ! Congratulations Christina! Can't wait to send of the parcel of goodies.

Now for more creative spaces pop on by Kirsty's place ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

sunday* stash #8

Are you good at delaying gratification?


wrapped

Oh dear ...

wrapped

Oh my ...

Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Well, with the exchange rate being what it is at the moment, how was I meant to resist? I had my first Liberty store experience with the lovely Alison . Armed with her currency converter Alison was the ultimate enabler. Mind you I now wish she had pressed me to buy more!

For more stashers head on over to Tam's place.

And speaking of Liberty, don't forget to enter my giveaway and you can win some as well as some other stuff.

*Hmmm stretching the bounds of "Sunday" I guess but I figure allowing for my jet lag it's still Sunday somewhere in the world ... and in my body

Saturday, November 28, 2009

young blood

Hey!

Just a quickie to say that if you happen to be near the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney tomorrow (Sunday), and you're in need of some very cool stuff for Chrissy presents then look no further than the Young Blood Designers Markets.

If you were there in August and were freaked out by the crowds have no fear: they have moved inside the main exhibition centre and spill out into the playground and cafe area.

And here's the shameless plug: my sister Clare has a stall there ...

My mum

Here's a photo of our Mum unbeknownst to her at the time, sporting one of Clare's resin creations (you can see more here).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

my creative space ... is having a giveaway!

Frankfurt airport

Oh I know I know it's shameless to use Kirsty's meme to get yet another post in about this but this time I have actual photographic proof that loot will be given away!

Now, if you didn't see my last post (and you can't be bothered clicking on that link or this one or this one *) then you may have missed that this little giveaway of mine is centred around finding a name for the adventures of me and my crochet hook (or is that my crochet hook and I?), on our recent travels. Such was my sheer astonishment that the hook made it through all the airport security checks that I decided I better chronicle our adventures together.

So here's the deal: If you can think of a name that might sum up the travels of a girl and her crochet hook through Germany and the UK, then let me have it and you may well end up with all this stuff that I picked up on my travels!

the giveaway haul!
(more details of what it all is here )

There's more actually but it's still in transit from Germany**. I was also planning on adding the actual crocheted item (a somewhat lumpy face cloth) but that will depend if it's finished in time!

You can enter via my original post (and a massive thanks to all those who have entered so far. I actually snorted tea out my nose at the airport when I read them), or in the comments for this post and I will choose a winner next Wednesday 2 December and publish my "official" crochet hook adventure post with the winning title the following day.

Now, for some real creative spaces where people are actually making stuff pop in on Kirsty's place ;)


* all those links go to the same 'ol page
** Too much stuff, bag too small. You know how it is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

my creative space ... needs a name ... and that's where you come in!



Ok I am just popping my head up briefly from my digs in sunny (not) but beautiful Stuttgart to let you all know that the crochet hook I mentioned I might try to bring with me here made it through all the relevant checkpoints and is by my side as I type!

I am not going to go into any more details now because I am planning to do a bit of a trip synopsis of the 'ol crochet hook upon my return ... and that's where you come in!

I'm after a name or title for the adventures of my hook and I as we make our way through Germany and the UK. And seen as how I am up to about post 99 I'm also thinking a giveaway could be in order upon my return. Not sure what that might involve at this moment but it's bound to contain lots of little goodies from my trip.

So if you can conjure up a name/title which you think might describe the adventures of this girl and her crochet hook before you actually get to see the adventures (it's tricky but you guys are crafty, I know) then hit me with your best shot and you'll be in with a chance at winning ... something.

Trip on over to Kirsty's for some no doubt warmer and less hotel orientated creative spaces.

Edited to add: Sorry, I should have added that there is NO RUSH! I won't be writing of our adventures until my return (in a week or so).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

shocking

... is how I would describe day seven of solo parenting. Oh and I think there was some thingo down in Melbourne today involving a horse named Shocking as well.

Not that I'm a betting person but if Luca's tips were anything to go by he seemed to think the race would be won by the only female jockey (sporting slightly large boots), with an elderly woman riding a cow coming a close second.

Melbourne cup

Also utterly shocking (and I mean S-H-O-C-K-I-N-G) was the heat in Sydney today. I have it on good authority* that the mercury reached 39.2 degrees C (102.6 F)! I know I said somewhere a while back that I was really going to try and embrace summer this time around but it's really hard to embrace anything other than a glass of ice water in this heat.

And actually it's not even summer yet! Yeesh!

Having said that I did embrace - from afar - a moment of summer-ness in the backyard this afternoon

IMG_1069

A spot of nudie strawberry eating in the wading pool.

Oh and I have also just now, at 7:30 pm, embraced the still warm washing from the line. Which I hung out at 4pm.

Shocking I tell you.

* the ABC weather man and he seems a trustworthy bloke

Saturday, October 31, 2009

my place and yours :: blog HQ

Playing along with Pip again this week. This week's theme queen was Tania from Ninon .

blog HQ

So here it is.

My blog HQ is wherever I can find a clear surface to put the lappy ... usually that is actually my lap but sometimes I manage to steal away a few moments in the kitchen - when small people think I am doing something else - to check in on my favourites.

The laptop is great - you can check in anywhere without having to worry about having a designated spot for all the computer paraphernalia. BUT ... the drawback is it is just how easy and available it is to dip in and out of. And so I find myself dipping in and out all day. And that's probably not such a good thing.

Anyhow a few items to mention that happened to be in my bloggy HQ today and found their way in to the photograph - some new Moleskin journals I bought today for a little project I have in mind, my favourite teapot filled with my current favourite tea (T2's Brisbane Breakfast), a few of the kids art supplies and a couple of overripe banana's I keep trying to press on the kids.

Ok and admittedly I did nudge the book into the shot. It's Cautionary Tales for Boys and Girls  and we just found it this morning. Have you seen it? It's hilariously funny and features some excellent renditions of softies as the characters of the tales. Cautionary and artistic. Excellent.

Head on over to Pip's place to check out some more Blog HQ's.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

my creative space ... is leaving on a jet plane*


plane taking off
(image via)

Well I did intend on writing a post last night about how incredibly hard it is to do a long stretch of solo parenting, and how much I totally take my hat off to people who do it full time, BUT I was so damn tired last night because of the solo parenting that I just couldn't put anything in to words. 

So instead here I find myself only blogging when there is another meme to join in on.

BUT I do have a pressing question which you, the crafty community via Kirsty's place, might have an answer to ...

What on earth kind of craft can you do on a plane these days?

Knitting? Probably not. Those knitting needles have quite pointy tips.  Hand quilting or embroidery? A no-brainer for the "NO" category really considering how sharp those needles are (and whilst comforting, probably not really practical to cart a massive quilt around). 

And so I wondered about crochet? Does that little bent end turn it from being a scary weapon with which one would be capable of hijacking a plane (?) into a harmless crafty tool with which one can wile away the hours on a long haul flight? 

Yes folks, I believe I am ready to branch out to the world of crochet having been completely inspired by the likes of Melanie, Tania, Tam, Kate and .... I could go on and on. So I splashed out and bought a hook at the recent Spotlight sale and figured - if it's ok with Qantas - I might just indulge in a spot of crochet whilst being held captive in an economy seat for over 20 hours**.  

I'd be very interested (like, very interested) to hear any stories or suggestions you may have for in flight craftiness! 

Hey we could create a new mile high club for crafters - or not ;)

Fly on over to Kirsty's place for some more creative spaces ... that are more than likely on land.

* at the end of the week and a half of solo parenting I will be joining the Mr, *gulp* sans children,  in Germany and then the UK ... actually probably just London.

** admittedly, the idea of sitting on my backside with nothing else to do but read, watch movies, nap and (hopefully), craft for over 20 hours is the part of the trip I am looking forward to the most.






Sunday, October 25, 2009

sunday stash #7 - but it didn't stay stashed for long

Yay! Tam is back and so is Sunday Stash. I know, I know I could have kept up with the stash posts (and I certainly appreciated those who did!), but I'm a bit of a rules girl and it felt a bit like having a party while your Mum and Dad were out doing it without Tam. 

So double excitement folks: these two little beauties were peeking up through the irky perky stuff in the ONE DOLLAR basket at my local quilting shop! Score! 

unknown $1 fabric

unknown $1 fabric

I didn't realise until I got home that it belongs to the same line but whose? Any ideas? Apparently they were samples from a rep so alas, the pieces were not as big as I would have liked.

Of course once a certain someone spotted it she declared she just really needed a bag. And since I am struggling with a quilt at the moment I jumped at the chance to whip something up that had me looking at some different fabric for a change. 


Sienna's tote


Some handles made from a bit of Snippets by American Jane for Moda and we had ourselves a bag. 

So here's one bit of stash that I guess can't technically be called stash at all really ... 

So for real stash on a Sunday pop on over to Tam's place. 


Have just found out that the fabric is Alexander Henry (of course it is - 'cause I loved it immediately). Found some in a different colour way here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

my place and yours :: bedside

I seem to only be posting when there's a meme on don't I? It's just that there are so many good ones and I'm like a kid when it comes to these things: I don't wanna miss out on the fun! Also the theme queen for this week's my place and yours is one of my favouritest bloggers, pottymouthmama.

So the theme is bedside this week and so I bring to you a picture of my bedside as it was yesterday (there might be a few more hair elastics and perhaps a snotty tissue or two there now).

bedside

A few pictures, a clock radio, lots of dust and a stack of books. I waver between feeling comforted by the pile of books (including the ones on the floor), and all the promise they hold, to feeling more stressed out then when I was at Uni, wondering when the hell I will ever get to read them all and how much money did I spend on this stack anyway?! 

So c'mon. I showed you mine now you show me yours. Just duck on over to Pip's place


Thursday, October 22, 2009

my creative space - hits and misses and the wash up

Um, you know that feeling just prior to a small person's birthday when you feel you just have to make something for them? Forget that twenty-odd people will be turning up on your doorstep in twelve hours and you still need to make a birthday cake shaped like a rocket ship (damn you Women's Weekly Kids' Party Cakes and your impossible standards!). But these days a birthday just isn't a birthday without a bit of crafty stress thrown in there somewhere.

So friends I present to you the hits and misses of the recent birthday crafting ...

HIT:

birthday bunting

A bit of birthday bunting. Upon reflection and with  bit more time I would have gone the extra mile and encased the tops of the flags into some bias binding but hey, the birthday boy didn't seem to mind!

MISS:

crown?

A felt birthday crown that ended up looking more like Wonder Woman's tiara thingy. Not that there is anything wrong with Wonder Woman. She's awesome, but the birthday fella isn't exactly in his satin tights fighting for your rights ... yet. Also as a time saver (and because Amanda said it was ok), I used craft glue to stick on the star and that just wasn't pretty. Lesson learned and that's always a good thing right? Right!

All in all the party was a hit. The cake did look like a rocket of sorts, the bunting created a birthday-ish feel and the crown stayed firmly in the sewing room never to see the light of day. 

And the wash up part?

the wash up

... was made that much more enjoyable with a beautiful hand knitted cloth sent to me, "just 'cos" from the lovely Nikki ... and some bubbles. 

For more creative spaces click on over to Kirsty's

Sunday, October 18, 2009

my place and yours :: on the shelf

Clever Pip has come up with another beauty and here is my offering ...


IMG_6312

... a very narrow little windowsill in my kitchen where nothing has really worked until the recent arrival of my Printspace prints. 

Except suddenly I seem to have come over all Alfred Hitchcocky don't you think? 

IMG_6315

Fly on over to Pip's place to see more other places! 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

birth day

crown from Sarah (Quince and Quire)

Well, this time two years ago I was trying to have a nap thinking - hoping - I could finally be in labour. Having just done the grocery shopping, some little niggles had started as I stepped foot back inside the house. Being already ten days overdue I didn't want to chance this labour slowing down or stopping and so I decided instead to get up and have a shower. 

Mum had arrived that morning (which I think is why I finally went into labour), and had promised to make a lamb roast for dinner that night. By about five o'clock in the afternoon after a few fairly convincing contractions I was pretty sure I wouldn't be around for said lamb roast and given mum's ability to get completely side tracked I figured if I was going to eat anything I was going to need to cook it myself. I still can't believe both the Mr and my mum walked past me rocking on all fours in the kitchen and neither of them thought to take over the dinner preparations!

By about 7pm I had decided the contractions seemed close enough together to make a move to the hospital, but having laboured for eighteen hours with Sienna - eight of which in hospital - I was hoping we weren't rushing things. Well, by the time we got to the birth centre I was in such intense labour and I remember feeling cross with myself, thinking, "You've done this before it shouldn't be this hard this soon." After a useless - in terms of managing pain - half an hour under the shower I must have asked for the bath to be run. 

At this stage I was told that a midwife from the labour ward would be coming by to help out as the birth centre were short staffed. I still remember feeling so put off by her uniform and trying not to look at her too much as I stepped into what felt like a too cold bath (it wasn't - I was just hot from the shower), ready to take my position in front of my soothing green tiles. But this time I just couldn't seem to focus on them and again, felt disappointed in myself for letting the labour get away from me at what I still thought was such an early stage. Then suddenly I felt that urge to push and started to panic thinking again, "It's too soon!" all the while trying desperately to focus on those green tiles and not on the uniformed midwife beside me*. But no one seemed to insist I stop or slow down, and after what seemed like only half a dozen fast and furious contractions there he was - wide-eyed but completely silent and still.

Happy Birthday my enormous, gorgeous, calm, cuddly, beautiful boy!  

Luca
Luca 4.3kgs, 54cms

(Many thanks to Tania whose beautiful birth day posts about her own children inspired me to write my own and to Sarah whose beautiful hand made crown Luca is wearing in the top photo.)

* I should note here that the midwife was absolutely superb and got me focused when I needed to be. It's just funny how some things seem so powerful during that heightened state of awareness that is labour.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sarah's quilt :: first quilt


fabric selection without flash

:: unpicking

unpicking

:: helping

helping

:: finishing

Sarah's quilt - before washing

:: washing, drying

Sarah's quilt

Sarah's quilt

:: admiring 

Sarah's quilt - back

:: giving ... soon!

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