Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do you get the feeling that you've forgotten something...

I can not believe that I almost forgot about this giveaway at Retromummy's blog.  All that Flower Sugar goodness!!!  But you best get a move along, its being drawn New Year's Eve and thats like... tomorrow!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some people just don't know when to stop...

Yep, that would be me actually!!  You see its that time of the year again when rehearsals start, mangers get dusted off and the good old donkey has to start carting about a heavily pregnant woman (and I pity the poor donkey, and pregnant woman, doing that in Perth at the moment!!!).  Yes its nativity time and as the kids go (or are going to) a private school the lower primary years put on a nativity each year.  Pre-primary children are always the angels, probably because they've only been at school a year and are therefore still sweet and innocent.  The year 1's traditionally get the "main" roles... last year Samuel was Joseph!!!  And in year 2 they are given narration parts and are required to dress up as either shepherds or kings, depending on which class gets which part.  I was stoked this year, if it was shepherds I would be recycling last years Joseph costume and if it was kings, well I'm a bellydancer... I've got access to all the riches of the mystical east!!!  And the winner was.....


So what has that got to do with anything.  Well, upon finding out that kings it is, I immediately started rummaging through the bellydancing costumes to find appropriate kingly attire.  One circle skirt, a coin belt, scarf and chain and I was set.  The theory was the circle skirt would be popped over the head, slits in the seams would serve as arm holes, a belt around the waist to hold it in, coin belt draped over the shoulder and tied at the waist and a red scarf to act as a cape.  This is totally working, except maybe it could just use a little bit more... now where's that...

Can you see where this is going???  You see I knew that I had a length of sari border somewhere that I was saving "just in case".  As it turns out this was the "just in case".  The border was going to be perfect around the hem of the skirt, except there wasn't quite enough.  No problems there, the skirt gets laid out flat on the floor and ends up going on an impromptu diet which involves taking off about a quarter of material from each side.  As it turns out this is actually a good thing because there is less material all round on Samuel's small frame and heaps of sari border.  So skirt now has a rather flash gold sari border and is looking rather royal indeed, except maybe it just needs a little bit more...

I know, the sleeves, instead of just having two slits in the seam for the sleeves I could se the left over sari border and create some proper sleeves instead, now that would look very royal indeed.  So little sleeves are added and everything is looking very good, except...

Mmmmmm, yes given that Samuel is shall we say somewhat of a slightly skinny disposition the whole neck/sleeve thing isn't really working quite the way I envisaged.  Ooooo but I know, if I take the waist band off , hem the lot and add a few pleats/tucks it'll all fall into place perfectly.  And so off we go.  The neckline is now made up of a series of box pleats which pulls the sleeves back up onto Samuel's shoulders and they fall beautifully with the satin. 

So what started out as a quick slash-the-seams type exercise turned out to be a couple of hours work, but despite that I loved every minute of it. The really scary thing is I keep looking at the costume now and keep thinking, maybe I should add something around the neck just to hide the top of the pleats, or maybe some embroidery would look good on the front panels.  Then the more practical side of my brain points out that its probably best to stop before things really get out of hand, it is just for the school nativity...

But still, I know where I've got some rather smashing jewels which would just look awesome, excuse me while I just go fish them out.  Afterall the play isn't until Wednesday morning........

Monday, November 22, 2010

Its been a parcel-y kind of day...

I've had 4 parcels arrive today, delivered by 3 different parcel guys at 4 different times LOL.  The last to arrive was something special for Paul which is going to be put together with something else special for Paul to make an absolutely blow-his-mind type something special... but more on that later.

Before that was a delivery from StrawberryNet which was lucky because I was kind of needing the moisturiser!!!

The first two that I received were infinitely more exciting though.  The first one came from Japan... to be precise it came from Fabric Tales.  I actually found this place when I was looking for printed bias bindings... and some rather cute cherry blossom bias binding might have accidentally arrived today in the package (I got the cream one...)

They also have the lovely echino chelsea double gauze of which I helped myself to a couple of yards.  But gosh they have some absolutely gorgeous cottons - the sweetest animal prints, delicate floral, traditional Japanese patterns

Check out these bunnies in their kimonos and tell me they aren't totally irresistible

What I loved most was these stunning reversible double gauzes.  I got this pink one...

but the one that I really, really, really wanted (bunnies and cherry blossoms) was gone in the time between finding the site then actually placing my order.

Shipping time was absolutely astonishing - from shipping to receiving was 4 days and that included a weekend!!!  I cant get things from the Eastern States in 4 days so I was thrilled to receive this today.  All in all, has received a massive thumbs up from me and I cant wait to add to my collection.

The other package I received today was from Eternal Creation. Here is a bit about Eternal Creation from their website:
The Eternal Creation Story
After graduating from the East Sydney institute of fashion design in 1994, designer Frances Carrington registered with Australian Volunteers Abroad, hoping to use her skills in a community in Africa. Instead she was sent to India. She was put in charge of the fledgling tailoring department of the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile. Her job was to teach newly arrived Tibetan refugees the finer points of tailoring and design. She oversaw the growth of the department from 2 to 15 fulltime staff by the end of her stay.
Falling in love with Indian and Tibetan culture, not to mention the fantastic landscape of the Himalayas, she determined that at the end of her tenure she'd find a way to use her skills to continue to benefit the local community in some way. In 1999, armed with a $5000 loan from her father she started Eternal Creation, with the aim of producing quality womens' sleepwear and accessories.
The early days were difficult. Frances started with only 3 tailors, in association with the Gu-Chu-Sum movement of Tibet, an ex-political-prisoners' organisation based in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala. Gu-Chu-Sum's 200-plus members are all former prisoners of conscience, some of whom have endured terrible privation and torture at the hands of the Chinese authorities. The organisation is dedicated to improving the lives of recently arrived political refugees by providing jobs, training, health care and accommodation.
The small tailoring unit slowly grew, employing several ex-prisoners and battling with fierce monsoons, water shortages and frequent blackouts, often simultaneously! One of the biggest challenges was training people who had previously led a pastoral or nomadic existence, to understand the concept of delivery deadlines and international quality standards.
With the birth of her 2 children, Frances found herself naturally gravitating towards designing children's clothes, and sales of her initial childrens' collection quickly proved that there was a market for her classical look, love of colour and immaculate tailoring.
As the sales of Eternal products grew in Australia, the company was faced with a difficult decision - outsource or expand? Outsourcing would bring with it the ethical dilemma faced by many designers: how do you know your designs are being made under fair labour conditions and not subcontracted to other factories that may not meet these standards?
Frances felt that outsourcing production would ultimately end up betraying the original reasons she started the company. So she decided to increase the capacity of the workshop, which would provide more jobs for the local Tibetan and Indian community as well as ensuring that Eternal Creation's trademark high quality standards were maintained. In 2005, Eternal Creation opened the Himalaya Tailoring Centre in lower Dharamsala, and today is one of the largest private employers in the area. Eternal Creation products are sold in over 200 stores in Australia, Europe and Asia.
 Now usually I buy stunning clothes for the kids from Eternal Creation, but recently they offered a few of their overstocked fabrics for sale and once again the offer proved irresistible.  So here's what I grabbed from them...

So as hard as it might be to believe, I'm now well and truly all parcelled out!! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

As the old saying goes...

the less you do, the less you want to do.  That has very much been the case here lately!  I wish I was a bear that could curl up somewhere and sleep away the winter.  Each winter seems to get harder and harder, is it getting colder or am I just feeling the cold more?  I just don't do cold, I don't do dark mornings and did I mention that I don't do cold?

So yes the less you do the less you want to do.  However I'm trying really hard to get a little motivation happening.  Its so hard though, now that I'm in this rut I don't want to leave, its comfortable, its safe.  But life wasn't meant to be lived in a rut.

One good thing to happen over the winter: we have had an area in our roof space fitted out as an attic so now some of the junk that was in the front room aka my sewing room is now stored up in the roof.  So as part of Crafty Mamas Sew UP Wednesday I'm doing a bit of a Clean UP Wednesday, I'm going to give the sewing area a right old sort out, anything that is not being used like winter fleeces can be put into the roof space, the mountain of papers that seem to have accumulated in there can be gone through, my Ottos need to be put back where they belong... well you get the idea.

I'm so hoping that the old saying works in reverse and that the more you do the more you want to do will soon be my new motto.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Childhood memories of the op shop variety

I did pop into one garage sale yesterday however nothing particularly grabbed me so rather than miss out on Flea Market Finds this week I decided to show some op shopping finds from approximately 25 years ago.  My Auntie was pregnant with my cousin and she wanted some woollen baby dresses.  Pretty, fancy heirloom type baby dresses mind you.  So mum used to dig through the baby clothes and would find heaps of ugly, scratchy, out-of-shape items (you know the sort, you probably find the same sort of things yourself) but every now and then she'd find a little treasure...


And sometimes they would need a little work around the neckline where they had began to fray and mum replaced all the buttons and ribbons.  Stains were soaked away and they were slowly restored to their former splendour.


So my Auntie used them for her girls and then they were loving stored away until the next generation.  When I found out that I was having Chloe, these were among some keepsakes that were passed onto me.

The wonderful thing is, I can remember Mum finding these and restoring them, transforming them from items unwanted into treasured heirlooms.  I look forward to a time in the future that I can pass these onto Chloe for her children and tell her the story behind them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here's one I prepared earlier...

I've had this piece on the old embroidery frame for ages.  I really got stuck into it but found the other frame so hard to work at that, thus its been neglected for quite some time now.  I'm hoping now that its on its new frame I'll feel more inclined to sit down and do a little bit.

The pattern is by Teresa Wentzler and is called Wedding Sampler and this is hopefully what it will one day look like...

I love Teresa's work; incredibly elegant with so much detail.  I am a particular fan of the knotwork borders which many of her designs have.  I also love the fact that many of her designs have a medieval or fantasy element which being a bit of a history/fantasy buff appeals to me greatly.

This isnt the first TW design that I've tackled.  The first one I did was The Storyteller...

(This is the picture from the TW website, not my own piece which I haven't photographed yet)

This was the very first counted cross stitch piece I did ever!  Sure in the past I had done a lot of traced embroidery because that is what mum did.  I had to teach myself how to do this though.  Probably not the best place for a complete beginner to start but my love of the design, the richness of the colours and the all over intricacy won me.

Two other designs which I currently have and will (hopefully) one day get to are the Birth Announcement and the Fantasy Triptych...

Unfortunately TW Designworks is now closed but many of Teresa's wonderful designs are still available through  I know there are many more that I would love to get.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just what every blog needs...

... A Giveaway.

I'm pretty much at the 50 post point now (never thought I would get here to be honest) and I've noticed around Blogland it seems that the 50 post point is a good mark to do a giveaway.  I've been incredibly fortunate to be the receiver of a giveaway from Sarah Jo from ideyspidey so I'd like to continue on the bloggy goodness by doing a giveaway too.

But what to give???  If you won a giveaway what would you like it to be?  A gift voucher to spend on fabric and notions or something hand pick by moi?  Are you into cute little bits and pieces or are you one for stubborn practicality?  Would you like to get something made by hand already or something to make up yourself?

Give me some ideas for a giveaway and I'll start getting something organised!!

Some exciting finds todays...

It's been awhile since I've been op shopping or garage sale shopping.  Mum and I used to scour the local op shops together and since she has moved to Darwin it hasn't been quite the same.  In fact I had just said that very thing on Crafty Mamas yesterday.  So imagine my surprise today when I found that we not only had a garage sale happening in our street but also one just around the corner.  It had to be fate right!

First stop was the sale around the corner.  Not only did they have the most magnificent wicker bassinette that I have ever seen in my whole life (which I totally would have bought expect for the fact that its probably not suitable for a 3yo) but hiding at the back they had this charming embroidery stand.  I do have an embroidery stand already but its a cheap, ugly, pine monstrosity which is uncomfortable to sit and work at.  This gorgeous little thing is a hand made beauty but most of all its compact and compliments our home perfectly.  I was thrilled with it and the lovely lady that sold it to me is thrilled that its going to a good home.

At the garage sale in our street I was most disappointed to arrive and find a transaction already under way for a lovely bookcase.  Oh well, these things happen.  I was going through the clothes that they had and found this lovely pink top which I think with a little work should make a perfectly sparkly fairy princess dress for my resident fairy princess.

I'm so happy with my finds today, what a great reintroduction to the world of preloved treasures.  If you'd like to see some other really beautiful preloved treasures step over to Her Library Adventures and check out some of the other Flea Market Finds.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Delightful blog giveaway.

Let me tell you about a gorgeous blog giveaway high on the "awwwwwww" factor.

The Handmaden is giving away a truly divine doll called Lil' Mim.  She is simply lovely!!!  Just look at that sweet face, so simple yet so fetching.  Why not pop over and enter the giveaway as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

And ACTION...!!!

I couldnt resist a few action shots of Chloe in her new dress, my model however had other plans for those brief five minutes this morning and thus didnt really have her heart in the whole project.

And thats it, shoot is now officially over, model is returning to her abode.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pattern Alteration in ONE easy step...

Step One: Alter entire mind set!

All my life I've thought of sewing as something quite difficult, incredibly frustrating and probably not worth the effort.  The basis for this sewing outlook started for me at the tender age of 5 with "The White Dress".  Mum decided to make a white pinafore dress for a special occasion when I was about 5.  From what I can remember it had a fairly simply bodice, waist band, skirt and a side zipper.  While I dont clearly remember the dress in great detail, I can quite clearly remember the frustration and angst it caused Mum, not to mention getting called over every 5 minutes to try the damn thing on (well it felt like every 5 minutes anyway).  I dont remember her making any of our clothes after that, the machine only came out for mending.

That was my first experience with home sewing (and it wasnt even me doing the sewing) and its shaped my sewing life.  Fortunately as I complete projects I'm finding it easier to shake the ghosts of sewing past and as I do so I've come to find that yes while sewing can be frustrating and sometimes difficult it can also be particularly rewarding and often times far more simple that expected, not to mention you get to hoard incredibly gorgeous fabric.  That last one, I'm really good at!!!!

So here goes... step one: alter entire mind set...

When I received my yard of Minny Muu's Tiny Strawberries from Sew, Mama, Sew, Paul was home and the first thing he asked was "so what are you going to do with it?"  Now I had every intention of hoarding it away as I do but it doesn't go down too well when you say you are adding it to the stockpile.  So I kind of evasively said I didnt really know yet.  As it turns out that doesnt go down too well either because he immediately said "why did you buy it then?" (Well derrr dear... although that probably wouldnt have gone down well at all LOL).  "Because it was cute" was my reply and cue male eye roll.  Anyway, I was determine to make something immediately just so I could say "see, see, I've done something with it".

As I said, I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I knew it was going to have to be something simple to compliment the fabric.  A flick through my Japanese pattern book gave me the idea to do simple pleats in the front but I wanted two pleats not just the one pleat dress which is in the book.  A flick through my Ottos provided further inspiration in the form of this:

It was exactly what I wanted... well except for the glaringly obvious fact that its a winter dress which lets face it would be absolute overkill in an Australian summer and not really the best way to use such a soft light fabric.

In the past I would have thrown up my hands in despair and gone for the Japanese dress even though it wasnt exactly what I wanted.  This time I really thought about what I was doing, similar projects I had done in the past, how the dress was constructed and if it would be possible to alter it the way I wanted.  My recent experience with the Button Top and Cherub dress made me realise that I could very easily remove the sleeves and simply line the bodice (which would be a plus considering that the fabric is very light).  However the dress in the picture has a zipper and not being confident to do the lining and zipper I decided that the zipper simply had to go.  With no zipper in the back I didn't need two separate back pieces for the skirt and so I cut it out as one just like the front.  How I was going to keep the whole lot together at the back with no zipper was a complete mystery and it wasnt until I was top stitching that I had my light bulb moment and finally decided to do one simple ribbon at the top to compliment what would eventually be on the front.

Once I had it clear in my head exactly how I was going to construct this it all went together so very easily.  In fact, the hardest thing about the whole dress was the agonising decision on whether or not I should add the ric rac trim to the neckline and hem.  Fortunately a quick poll at Crafty Mamas and the overwhelming majority voted that ric rac was the way to go.

(Actually I'll amend that, the hardest thing about this whole project was trying to find the red thread to stitch the ric rac on with.  I found the bobbin no trouble but it took ages to find the cotton and I knew I had used it to sew on the ribbon at the front and I was determine not to buy another because I knew I had some.  Anyway I finally found it... lets just say, dont leave cotton reels out where new kittens might get hold of them otherwise they could end up in a completely different place from where you left them such as oh I dont know in amongst all your shoes in your wardrobe maybe.)

So there we go, more sewing ghosts banished.  Its nice to know that I am competent enough to make alterations if necessary and not just tiny alterations either.  That just because a pattern says "this is what I am" it doesnt mean that is exactly what it has to be.  I'm absolutely thrilled with the way the dress has turned out.  Its perfect, exactly what I wanted!!!


PATTERN INSPIRATION: Ottobre 4/2005 Pattern 1 Baby's Dress with modifications (Size 98cm)
FABRIC: Minny Muu Tiny Strawberries Natural from Sew, Mama, Sew
TRIM: Red French Baby Ric Rac from Ribbons Galore

Thursday, January 14, 2010

When is a quilt cover not a quilt cover...?

When its a cute little Button Top and Ruffle Pants of course.

When I first saw this quilt cover on Ezibuy, I knew I absolutely had to have it and I knew immediately that it would not be used as intended ie as a quilt cover.  The great thing about the Ezibuy quilt covers is you get a lovely top print, you get a lovely coordinating back print (and you get a lot of both), the quality is really good and you can often get them at around 40% off if you wait for them to go on sale... and thats what I did.

So I had my super cute material, I needed a fun pattern to go with it and I decided to do the Button Top and Ruffled Pants from Ottobre 3/2008 again.  The pattern really suits this material dont you think.  All the ruffles have such a fun look to them and the two materials compliment each other perfectly, as you would expect.

So next time you are looking for some coordinating fabric for that next project, try a quilt cover.  In fact just as soon as this one goes on sale I think I might have to get it... for me this time.

(Pics are coming... just waiting for the camera battery to recharge *sigh*, why do these things always run out when you are in the middle of something).

And here we go... you'll have to forgive us for its rather crumpled state, Madam had quite literally just woken up from her nap, yes pigtails and all.

Just on a side note, I couldnt even use the pattern pieces I had already cut out from my first set.  My dear daughter decided to grow 5cm between October and December meaning she needed the 98cm rather than the 92cm.  What a ratbag!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Customer Service Announcement

I've set my commenting to Anonymous because I like to feel that it allows more people to particpate.  But please be aware that if you post any sort of "advertising" in your comment I will immediately delete your comment.  That specifically means you Ms videosof (or whatever the hell it was) but includes anyone who thinks they can use my blog as their dumping ground.  If you have a blog that you want to link to then sign in and leave your message, I love to visit other blogs and chances are really high that I'll become one of your followers.