Saturday, November 20, 2010

Small Projects

I have been snatching time lately to make some small projects. While writing this post to share them with you, I came across photos of something I made a few days before Lily's accident. Using two of my favourite fabrics, I made this apron for my dear friend Anna (inspired by the utility belt I made for her son). Ironically this was the last photograph I took before Lily was in the car accident. The next photo in my iPhoto library is of her in hospital.

On a happier note, the first thing I made since Lily's return home and finishing my friend's quilt, was this long promised belt for her. As requested, it's for her to carry her iPod and notebook/pen.

I also finally made an apron for myself, using the remainder of the panel from Be Be Bold that I used in a previous project. I made it to wear at home, to carry my iPhone (so that I would be more inclined to capture moments for my other blog), my ever-present daily list of things to do, lip balm and other such Important Things.

I made this top using the free Museum Tunic tutorial on Anna Maria Horner's blog. Create with a panel of her gorgeous, soft Square Dance toile, it was the perfect gift for my Mum's birthday earlier this month.

Cutting into my precious new collection of Flea Market Fancy fat quarters for the first time, I made a camera strap cover using this tutorial on design*sponge.

Last weekend Lily got her first wobbly tooth. Like a woman obsessed (me? never!), I stayed up late whipping up a tooth fairy pillow. I had one as a kid, made out of white broderie anglaise. This crazy patch one is my version! After my late night feverishness, it was almost a week between the first wobble and when the tooth finally fell out. In the end, the pillow ended up not being used for the toothfairy's first visit! I know though that there are many teeth to come.

I've now put aside anything non-Christmassy and launched myself into Christmas sewing. Go here for a sneak peek of the fabrics I'm using. Oh for more hours in the day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back with old friends

Well, it's been almost three months since my last post. For those who don't know, my daughter Lily and my husband were in a car accident in early August. Lily sustained some serious injuries and was in hospital for almost 7 weeks. Thankfully she has recovered, but it was a real rollercoaster. It took everything I had to get through it, and it didn't leave time for much of anything else, including my beloved sewing. I loved reading your blogs though!

I am thrilled to be sewing again! I finished off the quilt I was in the middle of when the accident happened, for a lovely boy's 6th birthday. It's a scrap quilt, and the fabrics remind me of past projects and gifts from friends.

I'm itching to keep going with my list of projects, especially as Christmas is only just over two months away! And includes some rather daunting needle felting. Eeep!

I have also started a new photo blog called Great-Full. It's inspired by Hailey and Autumn at It's a fun format which I hope will have a profound impact on my life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flower pinwheel quilt & good news

It's been a long time between quilts! Well, three months feels like a long time to me! I have had a couple on the go since finishing Mary's which I completed in April. It feels so good to finish another one!

This was for my cousin Charlotte's one year birthday. I made it completely out of fabrics from my stash. The fabrics used in the pinwheels are beautiful Lecian Antique Flower Collection prints given to me by my friend Sarah at Kit Bik Quilts. (Thank you!).

The cream rose fabric is from a large bolt I bought when I started the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler (which I don't think I'll get back to any time in a hurry!). I was making that quilt with my Grandmother Laurel Bloomfield in mind, who passed away in 2002. Charlotte is named after my Grandmother's mother so it felt meaningful to use that fabric in her quilt.

And my good news - my husband got a job today! Sewco here I come!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kids' utility belt

Ok, so I AM still quiltmaking! I have three quilts on the go but have been finding it really hard over the last few weeks to sew. If I am home, Mia wants to be with me. Which of course is fine, it's the gig I signed up for! She's also waking up earlier, so I am working my way towards getting up even earlier than her so I get a good daily dose of creativity.

I did manage to make this utility belt for our friend Dex's 6th birthday. I used a strap from a conference bag plus velcro and fabric from my stash. Paul made the sword (plus another for Dex's sister and two for our girls). It has a little Maglite torch sewn on a strap plus a pocket to keep it in. Apparently Dex slept in it that night, so it's safe to say it was a hit! Now his lovely mumma Anna and I want similar versions for our own essentials like lip balm!

Friday, July 9, 2010

{this moment}

*** *** ***

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama.

*** *** ***

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book: The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield

I recently read the book The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield. It was another recommendation by the lovely Jane Brocket in her delightful book The Gentle Art of Domesticity.

It was written in 1924, and is an amazing, compassionate take on family and relationships then (and now). It's the story of a wife who is unhappily trapped in domestic drudgery and a husband who loathes his job. A tragic "accident" leads to him being injured and the wife going to work. What unfolds is an incredible journey for them all, including their children. It said so much to be about how we communicate with our children, how we think about homemaking, how important it is to follow our joy, even about school and learning. I just LOVED it!

Dorothy Canfield was an educational reformer, social activist and bestselling American author. Eleanor Roosevelt called her one of the ten most influential women in the United States. I think this book is a perfect foil for her radicalism. I just also read online that she Dorothy Canfield brought the Montessori method of child-rearing to the United States.

There are so many bits I want to reproduce that I really think I need to buy the book. But here are some gems. The first is a conversation between the husband and a well-meaning neighbour.

Mattie turned, saw what he was doing and pounced on him with a shocked, peremptory benevolence. "Oh Lester, let me do that! The idea of your darning stockings! It's dreadful enough your having to do the housework!".
"Eva darned them a good many years," he said, with some warmth, "and did the housework. Why shouldn't I?" He looked at her hard and went on, "Do you know what you're saying to me, Mattie Farnham? You are telling me that you really think that home-making is a poor, mean, cheap job beneath the dignity of anybody who can do anything else."
Mattie Farnham was for a moment helpless with shock over his attack. When she slowly rose to a comprehension of what he had she she shouted indignantly, "Lester Knapp, how dare you say such a thing! I never dreamed of having such an awful idea."
She brought out a formula again, but this time with heartfelt personal conviction, "Home-making is the noblest work anybody can do!"
"Why pity me then?" asked Lester with a grin, drawing his needle in and out of the little stocking.
"Well, but..." she said breathlessly, and was silent.

In another part of the book, Lester is realising how frustrating his wife must have found the "unfinished" nature of parenting.

But you couldn't put through the job of bringing up children. No amount of energy on your part no, not if you stayed up every night of your life, could hurry by a single instant the slow unfolding from within of a child's nature...

I've also discovered that Dorothy Canfield wrote a collection of short stories titled "The Bedquilt". A blog post about the book says "there can be no better story than The Bedquilt for conveying the joy and thrill of creativity". Think I have to find more by this wonderful author!

In quilting news, I haven't sewn for couple of weeks. I seem to be stuck in a rut of going to bed late and getting up too late (I do most of my sewing early in the morning). I have two quilts on the go, including one that was meant to be for my cousin who turned 1 yesterday. Some serious re-prioritising of joyful sewing is what I need!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sleepy fox feltie

It's my Dad's birthday this week. As he lives in the States I usually buy him something on Amazon. However in line with our new frugality, Lily and I made him a card and present from materials we already had.

Lily sewed this felt house and I turned it into a card.

I made a little Sleepy Fox from a book from the BCC library called Felties: How to Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends. His bed is a repurposed tin with Amy Butler scrapbooking paper. Lily sewed his doona and pillow out of felt.

There are lots of other cuties to be made, check it out on Amazon. I love this Babushka doll.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Little house in the city

So...we have had a big change here. Paul's job finished up last week, and he is officially unemployed. It's been a huge blow to him, and a real strain on our family, emotionally and financially. However, I see it as an amazing opportunity, to create a way of life which allows us to spend more time together, deepen our relationships with each other, strengthen our principles and live by what is important to us.

I don't want him to get another full time job! He has a small business already, and has begun trying to start his own law firm. I do a little paid work as a health consumer representative on hospital and government committees. And earlier this week I went to a session which was part of the Saviours of the Lost Arts Workshops. It was called HOW TO TURN CASUAL CRAFTING INTO A BRILLIANT BUSINESS, presented by Bizness Babes. I'd love to turn some aspect of my crafting into a small home based business. I have some ideas bubbling away and I might apply to do a Bizness Babes' development course.

We've really got to tighten our belts, but I'm excited! I've put my credit card away in a dark drawer, no more big trips to Sewco! We're going to plant up our vegie garden and I've even begun baking bread. (Freaky photo of me but at least the bread looks good!). We're borrowing Little House on the Prairie today from the library, for more tips on how to live frugally!

Already I've experienced wonderful generosity from friends. One has sent yummy baked goods and offered to ply me with dessert whenever necessary. :-) Another gave us two big bags of clothes for Lily, all pink and now much loved! Yesterday, my dear friend Sarah opened up her stash, giving me SO much INCREDIBLE fabric. She is so, so generous. I have literally been stroking my cheek with these from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley range.

Beautiful Michael Miller Flora and Fauna fabrics. Quilt ideas are coming thick and fast!

Beautiful Liberty fabric (the pink), I want to make Mia a skirt from the strawberries and I love the orange/brown fabric. Thank you Sar!

We have wonderful friends and family, a roof over our heads, our health and each other. We'll be more than fine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quiltmaking one year on...

I didn't begin blogging until October last year, but started my first quilt at a workshop at Sewco a year ago TODAY! This is what I've made in the last year:

Nine quilts - Funky Stripes, Babushka Irish Chain, Waters of our Minds, Jo's quilt, Partisans' quilt, Fairy quilt, Raspberry lime splice quilt, Hearts and Floral Bouquet.

Six table runners - here and here and here.

Six Xmas wall hangings - here.

Six placemats - here

Three skirts - here

Three pairs pants - here and here

Two dresses - here

Two bags - Mermaid bag and Amy Butler Frenchy Bag.

Two aprons - here and here.

One pin cushion - here

And some toys - Babushka dolls, four Purl frogs and Moopy bunny .

Phew! It's been a busy year of stitching and creating! I have loved it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Japanese double gauze fabrics

I love these new fabrics over at Kelani Fabrics. I used double gauze that I bought at Sewco for Lily's dress. It's so so soft and was easier to sew with than I expected. As they say on Yo Gabba Gabba - "Try it, you'll like it!".

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Philosophy for a 21st century crafting mumma

In her luscious book The Gentle Art of Domesticity, Jane Brocket highly recommends the book Thrift to Fantasy (2005) by Rosemary McLeod. Jane describes it as:
"The book of the exhibition in New Zealand in 2005. Fabulously illustrated and well-researched text about the gentle arts in New Zealand during the heyday of homemaking. Beg, steal or borrow a copy".

With second hand copies for sale on Amazon from US$118 (!), I was lucky enough to borrow a copy from the BCC library. I've just started reading it, and already feel like it's a window into the lives of my matriarchal lineage here in Australia during that time. I was particularly touched by these two paragraphs on p. 27-8:

"My mother eventually left for the city, and ceased to be a small town and country woman. She embarked on many new and sometimes outrageous adventures. yet throughout her short life she never ceased to make textile objects in the tradition of her mother, and her mother before that. She expressed something profound about her belief in her own self-worth in this way, as I see it, and it was the one area of her life where she met with nothing but success and pleasure.

"I should this think is still common to keen practitioners of these crafts. Their skill is an island in their lives, a solace and an avenue to self-expression that might otherwise have no opportunity to surface. But it's also a skill that ties them to other people, a kind of sharing that weaves stories within families and communities. A textile object is history you can touch, which may become threadbare, but which can survive, given the chance. It may survive longer than you do".

In a nutshell, this is exactly why I am currently so enamoured with quiltmaking, sewing and creating - and feel so drawn to sharing my experience of this online while reading about those of others. Anyone else feel the same?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Amy Butler & Liberty gorgeousness

Am hyperventilating after just stumbling across the Westminster site and seeing the new Amy Butler range. They won't be out until September - I say waaaah but my credit card says phew! I love the nouveau-ness of Fuschia Tree and Passion Lily. There are also some new Liberty fabrics out this month.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Ever since I spied a pair made by my friend, I've coveted a cozy pair of fleece pants. I bought the fabric last Winter and finally finished them! They're extra comfy with a waistband made of lycra. Perfect for lazy Winter days, now that the weather is turning a little chillier.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fabric democracy

I stumbled across this site, Spoonflower and I think it's amazing! You can upload your own designs for fabric and have it printed on your choice of size and type of fabric. They really don't look that much more expensive that what we pay in fabric stores. I see it as the democritization (is that a word?!) of fabric production.

Wish I had some graphic design skills! If you are like me, you can click on Shop, browse the fabric designs of others and have them printed up. People are just so creative. I especially love the doll patterns category!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mary has a (not so little) quilt

I had a WONDERFUL day today, meeting my dear friend's Sarah's gorgeous 4 week old daughter Mary. She is soooooo cute! And she has such a strong, beautiful mumma. :-)

I finished their quilt last month, and I have been SO excited to give it to them and share it here! I made the Floral Bouquet quilt out of the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam Lintott and Nicky Lintot. I used a jelly roll of Snippets by American Jane by Moda and also a white Jelly Roll Basics by Moda. It's the largest quilt I have ever made (60 x 88 inches). So for the first time I used the services of a professional quilter, the delightful Barb Cowan of The Quilt Connection. Lily picked the hearts quilting design and I think it turned out beautifully.

It was really lovely to give a quilt to Sarah, who has stitched her love into so many quilts for many of her friends and family.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Amy Butler Apron Overlay

I enjoyed every minute (even the long periods of "reverse sewing"!) of making this Apron Overlay by Amy Butler for my wonderful Mum. It's one of the designs in her Barcelona Skirt pattern. Mum chose the fabrics from Sewco in her favourite colours.

The exterior side:

The reversible side:

Now I can't wait to make one for myself!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sale at Pink Chalk Fabrics

I stumbled across this store last night, and they are having a sale with some great bargains...Pink Chalk Anniversary Sale

Friday, April 23, 2010

{this moment}

*** *** ***

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama.

*** *** ***

Friday, April 16, 2010

{this moment}

*** *** ***

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama.

*** *** ***

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Joy in small things

After recently completing a couple of larger projects, it's been fun to whip up some quick delights over the last few weeks.

I made these dresses for my girls using the free Oliver & S Pop Over sun dress pattern. Mia's is from a kit from Be Be Bold in Lismore and Lily's are some Kokka fabrics I bought from Sewco. Check out the Flickr photo pool of dresses made by other people using the same pattern. Divine!

Inspired by this post by the delightful Amanda Blake Soule, I too wanted to make some placemats to brighten up our dining table, and bring a bit of beauty and ritual to our shared meals. I used some left over blocks from my first ever quilt.

I finished this apron this morning. Its made from a panel also from Be Be Bold.

So what next?! These are the scrumptious fabrics for my new quilt. They are Folksy Flannels by Anna Maria Horner. Yumbo! I thought they were quite a bargain, 16 high quality fat quarters for US$38 plus postage (I didn't manage to find anywhere in Oz who sells them). I plan on cutting quite large shapes to show off their gorgeous prints. I want a large, cuddly quilt that my family and I can snuggle under this Winter.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I recently made this quilt for a dear friend. It was a special experience to design it, select fabrics and weave my thoughts of love and support into it's creation. I hope it warms my friend and her family.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I am sew mad

Things have been quiet on the blogging front, as I have been busy finishing a yet-to-be revealed quilt (I only have two followers so it's no surprise who it might be for!).

I've also been busy whipping up lots of little projects in the last few days. The girls asked for a frog each using the Purl Frog pattern that I made a few posts back. No, these two below aren't mating - the perfectionist in me placed the the pink one on top to hide the two extra sets of eyes that Mia drew on her blue one with texta.

I made three skirts using the free SUPER SUPER EASY Lazy Days skirt pattern by Oliver & S. I modified it by making binding for the bottom instead of using ribbon as per the pattern, plus I added pockets. Firstly I made one for a friend's daughter's upcoming third birthday. And of course then my girls each wanted one!

I have managed to survive thus far without a pin cushion, but I have been wanting one for months. So I made the Very Easy Pin Cushion using another free pattern from the Purl Bee. I used some fabric given to me by my dear friend from The Woolly Tree, just waiting for the right project. I've stuck all my pins in it now and I love it!