Wednesday, December 12, 2012

happy birthday millennium girl

12 years old today!

birthday girl

and what an amazing date 12.12.2012!
love you lots Abby

Thursday, November 22, 2012

wrapped up

it seems summer is on the way with the lovely weather we've been having. luckily the heat is a way off still, especially at night, because there's nothing worse than trying to work with sticky needles and sweaty yarn! i needed a light wrap to throw over those summery dresses that have been on high rotation lately, so spent a few happy hours trawling my favourite free pattern site lion brand.

sea shell shawl

this shawl is an easy shell crochet stitch and with a big hook i made it in an evening. i used some stash yarn called Moda Vera "Amanda", a lightly brushed wool/acrylic blend which is very lofty, resulting in a lightweight but warm wrap. i tweaked the pattern to finish at a better length, and added a fringe for a bit of granny glamour. now i can finally use my shawl pin that i bought in Broome a few years ago!

shawl back

seashell stitch

i know many people find blogging to be a lot of work, for me it's the fear of a blank page. i just thought i'd show you one of the many hindrances i face, a cat with her own ideas of what a keyboard and mouse are for!

could i get any closer??

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

crochet love

i love free patterns from lion brand
i love granny square patterns

granny squares throw

i love clashing and mashing colours together like kids do
i love how white tones it all down

vibrant colour

i love a throw that matches the couch
i love a cosy finished project!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

granny goodness

i am totally smitten with my new book granny chic. created by two people whose blogs i love, they give an honest insight into the life of thrifting, hoarding and making that has many similarities to mine. most crafters would know all about burning the family dinner when you need just five more minutes to feverishly work on a project!

op shop treasures

anyway, i've unwittingly joined the ranks of "grannies" the world over, fiddling with bits of yarn, thrifted sheets and crochet hooks, scouring op shops for unwanted ornaments, kitschy kitchen wares and combining the lot into a glorious mash-up of colour and pattern. some people would want to scratch their own eyes out rather than have to endure this kind of decor, but as a maximalist, i enjoy it. the beauty is that you can't copy the look exactly; you rely on your own local finds, dependent on other people's throw-aways. it's the ultimate in creativity!

granny apron

when i saw this project in the book, i couldn't resist making my own granny apron to wear while crafting or cleaning, whichever one wins on the day. once again, the instructions are clear and concise, leaving room for customising to your own tastes. i used an old tea towel, a pretty tray cloth and added a little embroidery to inspire my blogging day! i don't know if i quite have the nerve to wear it out of the house like Tif does, maybe when i get a bit more grown-up?!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a weekend round-up

last Friday was the start of the local Agricultural Show, always a good day out providing the weather is fine. this time we weren't disappointed, it was fine and sunny with a maximum temp of 30 degrees. i love looking at the handcrafts shed to see what the locals have been making through the year, and the kids love the animals. Abby's favourites were the horse jumping and the chooks, as she is hoping for one or two in her own backyard (chooks, not horses!)

show jumping

of course, after walking through the agricultural part of the show, it's always fun to go on the rides. the bumper cars are an old favourite, but i just couldn't say yes to some of the more scary rides! the kids are far braver than i ever was when it comes to that.

bumper cars

too scary for me!

after a long hot day, we dragged ourselves home for a cuppa and a rest. i had been saving "granny chic" until after i'd finished wrangling my accounting studies, but i couldn't resist having a little peek. i found a tiny reserve of energy to make a start on a roundie cushion for a thrifted cane chair that has been in dire need of comfort. once i got started i wasn't tired anymore!

this cushion is so quick and easy to make, i used an old sheet found on my op shop jaunts. i even made the insert as i haven't been able to find round ones at the local shops. i was hand stitching on a doily as i heard the fireworks from the show that night, and it was all done. i must say, i've been a bit distracted by my doily stash ever since...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

when life gives you lemons...

normally i would go directly to a lovely fabric or yarn shop to cheer myself up, but as i'm on a self-imposed stash diet, i decided other measures had to be taken:

number 1: buy a book.
under advice from Di, i went to a really good bookshop to get a crafty magazine. it's good in theory because you get some fresh ideas to use what you already have.sadly there was nothing new that caught my eye so i wandered to the books for a browse, and whoops, i bought myself an early Christmas pressie, not one but two books from some of my favourite bloggers.

gerties book for better sewing

i've always loved vintage clothing, especially from the 1950s, so Gerties book was a must-have. i particularly like all the information on couture sewing details, as that's what makes dressmaking so worthwhile. when you pop on a handmade garment that's been well finished and fitted, you feel utterly spoilt. years ago i hand tailored coats and jackets without any qualms about time or effort, so i'd like to get back into that frame of mind.

granny chic

if you've read this blog before, you'll know i love dottie angel and her granny ways! recycling fabrics and making do with found objects is a subject close to my heart, so buying her new book Granny Chic was a no-brainer. i have "high hopes" of starting the new year with a challenge of the utmost kind, and have already put some rules into practice as a bit of a test to see how i go. wish me luck everyone!

number 2: drag yourself into the 21st century.
although i have a large number of commercial sewing patterns, i'm not that keen on using them. i've used Burda and Knipmode sewing magazines for just as long, and i prefer them for fit and style. however, it's all too easy to get stuck in a rut and forget to explore all the new exciting options out there. i've never used a pattern download off the internet before or joined a sewalong, entered a pattern contest or used an online video teaching resource.

basic knit wardrobe

when i was offered a really good discount on a class with the online resource Craftsy, i thought i'd give it a go. the course is called "Sewing with Knits" and includes patterns for five basic items. so far i've made three of them and i've enjoyed re-learning how easy knits are to sew. in my opinion, the use of an overlocker or serger has only made sewing with knits more stressful. in this course you go back to basics, using simple stitches the way Mum used to sew knits years ago.

simple stitching

there's not much that can go wrong with a line of basic zigzag and there's more control with a normal sewing machine. it all fits with my new motto: "simplify".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

mini knits part 2

tis the season for birthdays at the moment, and although all the 'presentees' are crafty types, i always have problems choosing gifts for them. they have piles of supplies, mountains of books and oodles of notions, so what to get? while browsing over at belle cherie handmade i was inspired by Bec's year of handmade gifts (how does she do it?!).

opal slipper socks

all my sisters know how to knit, but Barb is really too busy with sewing for her family to get stuck into a project. i thought it would be nice to knit her something and found a pattern for some vintage style slipper socks. it's not too warm at night yet to wear some while snuggled on the couch reading a book, Barb's other hobby. i found some yarn in my stash that was the perfect combination of her favourite colours of blue, teal and purple and cast on straight away, and actually finished a pair of socks!

a pair!

i really like how this pattern is made like a traditional sock; with a turned heel and picked up stitches it makes for a comfortable fit that follows the foot's contours well. i had to wrestle these from Abby when i showed her, as not surprisingly they are in her favourite colours as well! guess what's on her birthday list for December?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

mini knits

life has been very hectic lately and sadly it's not even self inflicted! what with study, kids and home inspections, there's very little time to do the fun things. i've recently had to move my entire enormous stash of fabric and yarns out of the workshop i was renting, and into my garage. it's definitely an incentive to create seeing it all there, but where to get extra time?? i decided to take some old fashioned advice i once read; something about baby steps, building Rome and moving mountains. i might have mixed my metaphors there, but you get the idea, it's all about little things.

first up, a present was needed in a hurry, and Abby's friend specifically asked for these furry monstery mitts. she'd seen Abby wear hers to school and begged for some in purple. now, my stash is enormous, but it's well organised (i've got the spreadsheet to prove it!), so i found the right stuff and whipped these up in a night. the little girl was most impressed so job done!

next i worked on a lovely capelet i spied in the latest issue of Mollie Makes magazine. i used some interesting tape yarn from Spotlight called "Filou" which worked out nicely. it's quite heavy so it sits beautifully on the shoulders, but is wide enough to pin with a vintage brooch if its windy. the cotton yarn is perfect for a cool evening after a sunny day when you need to water the garden.

mollie capelet

actually i felt a bit Austen-tasious in this capelet (that's Jane, not Powers), its definitely got some vintage flair. well where is Mr Darcy anyway, i;ve been waiting quite a while for him to show up and move some of these boxes for me!

waiting for Mr Darcy

Friday, October 19, 2012

afternoon tea with mollie

mmm, gluten free banana cake and a cup of tea. what could be better?

GF banana cake

how about a minty fresh copy of Mollie Makes and a summery knitting project to go with it?  aah, that's much better now! i'm off to iron my tablecloths...

its all Mollie

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

back to school and back to crafting!

after an enjoyable two weeks of sun and surf, the kids are back to school today and well, it's a bit of a relief. i do love the holidays for the outdoor fun we have together, but the whole time my fingers have been itching to get stuck into making something.

middleton beach

i did finish off some knitting (details on Ravelry) and swatch some new summer yarns in between all the holiday activities, but i really want to start some new stuff! i hear Christmas bells around the corner and the shops are stuffed with all manner of tinsel and sparkly decorations, so it might be an idea to trawl through my magazines and blogs for some gifty ideas? i will be begging for some wish lists soon because there are a lot of birthdays coming up as well, five family members between now and Christmas!

wintergrass cardigan

middleton pine sweater

last week Abby and i converted a corner of the "playroom" into a small studio space for us to share. it's right near some big windows so its full of light and i can look out at the garden while crafting (not a good idea when the weather is so lovely!). so far its been great because i'm right there to help her thread needles and show her how to do all those amazing things she has in her head. i crocheted a little garland to inspire us based on one that dottie angel made for her sweet liitle dog Olive. i think we are all set for back to crafting now!

crafty corner

crochet garland

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

a tourist at home

yesterday was a public holiday and also marked the start of the school holidays. the kids were full of energy and eager to get into the great outdoors and we had a magic weather forecast of 31 degrees, so we decided to play at tourists in our own area. the Porongurups are a beautiful mountain range about 45 kilometers from home, and are great to visit at any time of the year. we set off to climb Castle Rock which is reputed to have wonderful views from the top and takes roughly an hour to get to the summit.

tree hugger

there were plenty of photo opportunities along the way and they were good excuses to stop and catch our breath. beautiful old trees, strange mossy growths and interesting rock formations abound in this area and i got heaps of inspiring shots for future crafty works.

balancing rock

tight squeeze

rock formations

after an exhausting hour the view at the top really was worth the climb. i was a bit wobbly at this point due to my fear of heights, so i didn't dare climb the last bit up a steel ladder onto the platform on top of the rock to the left in this photo!

view from the top

Saturday, September 15, 2012

sleepy hollow..and a prize

by sleepy hollow i'm not referring to the lack of posts on my behalf (thanks viv for holding up the side), but of a quilt i've recently finished.

sleepy hollow

in the past year i've got into patchwork in a big way (thanks viv). although what i really enjoy is buying fabric and looking at quilting books, i've finished two quilts (including this one) and have two more that just need binding and labels (not to mention the numerous ufo's i've started just to see how the block looks in certain fabrics).

about two years ago i saw the pattern sheet in spotlight to make this quilt and liked it so much i promptly bought all the matching fabrics. a year later i cut out the pieces and six months after that i put it all together. as usual my lovely aunty joy quilted the layers together. bright stripey binding (my favorite) finished it off perfectly.

when i went into spotlight a couple of weeks ago i noticed they were holding a quilt competition with the conditions being that all quilts entered must be from spotlight fabrics.

last saturday i entered 'sleepy hollow' into the competition and won first prize - this elna sewing machine! i believe one can never have too many sewing machines so this one will go into my collection of six other domestic/industrial/overlock/sewing/coverlock machines. now..just have to work out where to put him...

shiny new machine

Friday, September 14, 2012

plotting and planning

when you get close to the finish line on a project, your mind wanders to the infinite possibilities of the next one. books are studied over breakfast, Ravelry queues updated, yarn and fabric stashes rifled for the current favourite colours and prints, not to mention copious amounts of tea consumed!

a new cardi

a new skirt

 i'm really excited to be joining Manz for a quilt-along that we've been talking about doing for ages. both of us will get to learn new techniques as well as try embroidery and bead details on our project. this week we had the best fun auditioning fabrics, trying to outdo each other with unexpected combinations. the friendly competition gets the best out of you and keeps you on track to finish something, so its all good.

a co-operative project

fabric auditions

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

i'm seeing stars...and triangles!

the caravan quilt is finally finished! Mum commissioned me to make it for her caravan over two years ago and i've worked on it off and on, with most of the work done in the last two months. although black and red is probably my least favourite colour scheme, i actually quite like this quilt. i had free rein to do my usual "mashing" of prints and chose a traditional star pattern to blend all the different fabrics i was given. i think it still looks like my style of quilt even though it's only two colours, and best of all, Mum loves it too.

the caravan quilt

 auntie Joy did the beautiful quilting on her machine with black thread and a ribbon hearts pattern, which suits the quilt perfectly. somehow she just knows what you want! although i used to always hand quilt, i just don't have the time to do it anymore, and i wouldn't want to quilt anything over two metres square! both Levi's quilt and this one are queen bed size, absolute whoppers!

ribbon hearts quilting

while i was "spring cleaning", i found a quilt UFO that i couldn't believe i had packed away without finishing. i love the colours in this top, and am determined to finish it before the end of the year. because it's a lap size, i am thinking of maybe buttoning or tying it. i've hung it up to look at while i decide...

i also noticed more triangles around the house in the form of a current project and a new necklace that Di insisted i get for myself because it's so me! i'll just go with it and enjoy the geometry around my crafty space...

bunting necklace

skirt bunting

Friday, September 7, 2012

little miss sew and sew

wouldn't it be great to be excited about going up a size or two, imagine "hooray, i need a whole new wardrobe!"? when you're a tween it is great to have grown out of all your old things because it means either a big shopping trip (which she hates) or a wander through the fabric shop (not so bad), and for Mum to get busy with the sewing machine (all good).

i suppose i'm quite lucky to have a growing girl who loves homemade handmade things. apparently they are just so much more comfortable, and that's something i keep in mind when i choose fabrics and patterns for her. i've had Girls's World hanging around for a while waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. now that i've finished a spring cardi for Abby, i thought a sleeveless dress would be quite wearable.

new leaf dress

i wouldn't normally use a patchwork cotton for clothing, but the pictures in this book really drew me in. i haven't seen such beautiful prints in dress cottons in my local shops, but patchwork fabric florals abound! i found one on the clearance table in the requisite green and thought i could always re-use it for quilting if it didn't work out.

back view

the fit is spot on and she loves it because its twirly, something you never grow out of! even though the fabric is quite thick, the waist gathers don't add too much extra bulk, and it means a slightly warmer dress, perfect for Spring. hot on the heels of that success, i also whipped up a pair of easy elastic waist PJ pants out of a cute novelty quilting print, using an antique pattern from Mum's stash. i managed to sneak in a bit of leopard print here and she tells me she loves it too. it seems i've created a mini-me!

comfy PJ pants

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the winds of change

it's funny how the weather can affect the choice of crafty activity and with Spring's changeable conditions it's even more noticeable. lately we've been having all four seasons in a day, but i'm not complaining because it suits my short attention span very well!

on Saturday i was busy making a summery sundress, perfectly suited to the mild sunny day and all the gallivanting around in the garden. the last few days have been blustery with light lashings of hail and sudden downpours of icy rain which had me running back to the comfort of yarn and needles.

silkroad cardi

tea and warm cake

fresh grannies

four seasons in one day? bah! that doesn't get me down. i'm going to do some spring cleaning next, well sort through my UFOs actually, i've heard the weather's fining up by the weekend...