Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Postman only rings once..

but he always delivers! I love it when I hear the 'thump thump thump' up the wooden steps to our front door - this morning there were four packages - it was better than Christmas. I got some beautiful fabric from here, some embroidery hoops from here, some plastic doll beads for the insides of my froggies from here, and some groooooovy baby new business cards from here!

Phew. Away, away to the sewing machine.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Busy, busy

So, or is that sew? My mother has been here & we've made not one, not two, not three but five, yes, five, drawstring bags... we had a surprise visit from my mother's partner's son & his wife (Hey you guys!) and Miss M (you know who you are) had a very cute little one she used for her jewellery. So we thought we'd have a go at it.
Anyway, luckily I had some leftovers from two summers ago in my magic box, and also I bravely sacrificed two fat quarters out of the good stuff, along with some ribbon... anyway, if anybody wants the very detailed instructions, please yell.
We did find a pattern on the net here but it's for a square jobby, and this one here didn't have a big enough header to suit my taste, so we made one up. There's a lovely seller on Etsy, Edie Castle Creations, and hers are gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact that I'm not even going to bother selling mine. Unless somebody yells!

I didn't get to make anything for the shop, either, but I did make these for Mum - the gorgeous cut velvet is from a shop in Painswick, in the UK, and I bought a whole 20cm to see if it would go in my living room (which it did, but then I had the dilemma of how I was going to get it home!)... it's stuffed with the fabulous fragrant lavender from Young, and some lovely Tanya Whelan Grand Revival lavender bags for Mum in the green. Gorgeous.

Monday, 22 December 2008

In the St Nick of time..

Snavelled them out of Mum's bag before she & Hank whipped off to the HV - here they are (but no Chloe, sorry).

Gone, all gone

So, my friend Kaz rings me and says "bring up all your stock of lavender bags, and all your frogs". And lo, they're all sold. Well, both the frogs have gone, Mr Rusty and Ms Spring Fresh, and some of the lavender bags, and also I had a request to make more lavender bags, another orange set, the set of Ava Rose in blue (which I had given to a friend & which I therefore had to make from scratch) and a set of something completely different. Whew.

Lucky I had some beautiful black & white stuff my mum gave me for my birthday (which was Saturday, btw, thanks for asking) so I made a set of 3X5" squares in the long rectangle style, with nice little black spotty buttons for emphasis. I haven't taken pictures yet but I will, soon. Also, I made Miss Chloe Frog, for Miss Mandy, as a christmas gift and didn't get to photograph her either (damn it) before she went off to Charlestown. So, no pictures, and a nearly empty shop! Off, off to the sewing machine. Is that an echo I hear????

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Busy, busy

So, I've been a bit busy, which is why I'm up at 4.22am writing this. No, not really. I'm up at 4.22am writing this because I couldn't sleep. Anyway, I made some stuff - I found a lovely birdy pattern and decided to make one for a girl at work who's about to leave to have a bub, then I got somebody I don't really know in the Kris Kringle draw at work & thought "I can make one of these!". So I adapted it a bit (just shrunk it, really) & made a second one filled entirely with lavender, that doesn't scream "baby" quite so loudly.

Also, I made a bunch more lavender pyramids (I need a better name, any suggestions?) for people I work with, and two more of those nice bluebirds from here but I didn't get to take a picture of them, damn it. I did work out how to attach tags to them though so I can make a mobile out of them... more on that, later. Or is it earlier? Back to bed!

Saturday, 13 December 2008


So, yesterday My Lovely Hubby & I were very privileged to be guests at the 60th birthday dinner here for our good friend Az. Az & Kaz own the beautiful vineyard in the Hunter Valley where many of my best photos have come from, and we both love going up there, MLH because he gets to veg out on the ride-on mower or in the vines, and I get to talk complete rubbish with Kaz, with whom I am always in complete accord. Honestly, I've known that woman 17 years & we've never had a cross word. I can't even say that about my family!

Anyway, Kaz asked me to bring along some of these along, which I did... and there were some other lovely people there who needed small gifts to take along to a family christmas where there were going to be people who needed a small gift, you know the kind, not big enough to embarrass, but big enough to say "we thought of you", and lo! They ordered 3 sets on the spot. So here they are - plus Kaz ordered another 2 sets. Man, the sewing machine is flying!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Puppy love...

I made this for my nephew, and then my wonderful sister-in-law (who actually introduced me to my partner in life & craft because he's her brother) said she wanted one too. There's only 40 years between their ages. Who cares?

I think anything looks good in these fabulous fabrics!

And I just found a great blog, I'm sure this woman is a friend of mine from another life...

Monday, 8 December 2008

A blast from the past

Just had a nice weekend in the small town where I went to 3 years of primary & 6 years of high school; hmmm the more things change...
Anyway, the reason for this visit (one of only 4 in the last 25 years or so) is that my first boyfriend was turning - get this - 50. Scary, scary. Anyway, it was nice & the weather was kind & the pub we had dinner in was fine, great steak & beautiful orange & almond cake - I took a few pictures of his beautiful garden - this is a dogwood tree, apparently. Whatever, it's gorgeous.

Also, I whipped the last of these up tonight when I got home - hope she likes 'em!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Smelling good, looking great!

So I made some of these for a person at work 'on spec', as they say here, and she ordered 4 sets, just like that. Here's a preview:

They smell great, too, full of cloves, a nice change from lavender... $10 a set is okay, right?
Also I get to use up some fabric I'm not that fond of, for a good cause and make some money - can't do better than that!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

It's getting closer

Doncha just love it when Christmas gives you an opportunity to make things you love but are 'too old' for? I just made some great christmas decorations for my friend Deb's kids, and my husband's niece & nephew, and I thought I'd make a Christmas Garland a la Allsorts blog - mine isn't quite as glamorous has hers, but it's going to be cute in the office, and in keeping with my 'handmade' pledge... can anybody tell me how to get the photos to wrap round the text? It's driving me nuts!
And now I'm off to make a doorstop; I just found a great pattern here & I'll post a picture when they're done - I'm making three - one for Nellie, one for me & one for my mother, who currently has a great big lump of 'coffee rock' keeping her sewing room door open. I'm sure we can make something more glamorous...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Working, working

So I've been slightly busy at work dealing with a crazy woman, and I've come home every night this week & made one of these in various fabrics and coloiurs; the guys in the office have started to notice how the girls are all walking round with these things stuck up their noses (nearly) and how nice they smell, so I've started making some more masculine ones...

The blue one is for my friend Shaddie, and the purple for my BA Buddie... you know who you are.

Also I got a bit embarrassed about having lots of beautiful fabric at home & walking around with my headphones in a nasty poly-something bag, so I made a very beautiful bag to keep them in from some Amy Butler Blue Wallflower with co-ordinating cord channels in that great blue dot... but these are the ones I made for my friend Gill in the UK, complete with her initial, appliqued on by hand. Yummy.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

For Suzanne, at Notable Notions...

And then there's the Etsy community! I think the people who make up the Etsy family are like family you actually like (and I know for sure there's the other kind...) - anyway, I ordered some boxes to send out my froggies in (when I ever sell one, hint hint) & they took ages and ages to arrives from the US. By the time they came, the seller and I were on first name terms and she was popping in for coffee. Well, nearly. Anyway, I decided that she should be the first recipient of a frog-in-a-box (hey! Marketing idea!) so I made one just for her as a 'pay-it-forward' thingy. I hope she likes it...

Hunter Valley birds

So last weekend we were lucky enough to spend time in the beautiful Hunter Valley, which is about 2 hours north of Sydney, with our friends Kaz & Az and their gorgeous dogs, Zeb & Zoe. Anybody see a theme here?

I found a reference in my friend Lulu Carter's lovely blog to a pattern for a bird, from Spool Sewing, so I downloaded it & made a couple for Kaz. I think she liked them!

Friday, 14 November 2008


So I've been working on the froggie pattern for a while now & I think I've got it - these guys are just getting cuter and cuter (it's a bit of a worry when you don't want to sell something you've made because it's really cute)... the house is in danger of becoming even more overrun with frogs...

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Unhealthy obsession

So I have mentioned yet my obsession? It's only a small one, I do not (as yet) collect newspapers or cats, although I do worry about MWH (my wonderful husband) who has put rather a lot of flooring down in our roof so he can keep his collection of school and uni notes, clothing worn when he was a lot younger & fitter, records (that's "LPs"), spare chairs, old suitcases... need I go on?

My obsession is frogs, I have no idea where it came from but the shape, colour and general cheeriness of frogs is what I like. My all time favourite came from my wonderful Aunt, and is made of Welsh slate. I have them in everything from wood to stone, to plastic, glass from Venice and brass from India... and now I've started making them in some of the scrap fabrics I've bought on Etsy.

Do you know about Etsy? I feel I should apologise for introducing people to Etsy, because it's become a bit of an obsession for me, at first I just wanted to buy things (lots and lots of things) but then I became very keen on the idea of selling something I really love to like-minded people!

Well, then I started casting (sorry!) about for yarn, and at the same time I was talking to my good friend, who happily is lulu carter's mother, about her lovely blog ... and Etsy came up in conversation. Anyhoo, long story short... now I'm sewing things to sell. Actually, I'm giving away a bunch more than I sell, but lavender bags make great gifts, especially if they're in groovy funky channel 27 type fabrics... (sorry, that's a Red Dwarf reference, go look it up) and then it dawned on me - I could make frogs! I could sell the frogs! I could combine the groovy fabrics on the frogs with the lavender!

Man, I was off! Safety eyes, fabric scraps, a kilo of lavender from Young, NSW (which is gorgeous), yarn, assorted christmas bits & pieces, stuff for kids, stuff for grownups... anyway, the frogs had to go through a few iterations before I got them to the point where I was happy with them. They were listed, delisted, and now are listed again. I've even made a bride frog in figured satin, with nice smelly stuff in a pouch inside, so the lavender didn't show through the satin. She has a nice tulle veil, held on with pearl buttons (completely obsessed? Yes, possibly).

Anyway, judge for yourselves... and if you have the name of a sympathetic shrink, don't tell me!

Monday, 27 October 2008

And then...

My friend Sara Lum, who is very clever, took some fantastic photos of my froggies. I made these a while ago to sell on Etsy (http://www.isabellagolightly.etsy.com/) but I wasn't very happy with the photos I took, and removed them all from sale. Sara has now inspired me to have another go at it, and her photos are great! Check this out!

Warning: Rant in progress

So, can anybody explain to me why things coming from "OS" (that's 'overseas') if you happen to be reading this from there, sometimes take 7 days and sometimes take a month? I'm pretty sure all my suppliers send their stuff Airmail, yet there seems to be a huge diversity in arrival times. I think I need to start keeping track of where these things are coming from - could it be that the mail system on the western seaboard of the US is incredibly efficient, and the eastern is incredibly inefficient, or vice versa? We shall see, heh heh, we shall see...

Anyway, in the middle of all that raving, I made some stuff...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Creative genius at work

Well, more creative than genius, but it's all good fun. I've gained myself a commission to make 70 lavender bags for a girl at work who's getting married, (yes, you did read right, 70), and we took ourselves off to Lincraft to purchase supplies. Quell horreur, Lincraft in the city is closing down, and it was an absolute zoo in there, but I did manage to snavel myself 5 (count 'em, 5) new blades for my rotary cutter for the bargain basement price of $30! Wonderful.

Anyway, armed with a metre of pink satin, 10 metres of pink ribbon & a whole heap of other goodies (bias binding maker, new cutting out board for a Christmas gift, and an entire roll of iron-on interfacing, I staggered home to start cutting out... my wonderful husband (being the compleat IT nerd) put a spreadsheet together for me calculating the most effective way to cut the material contingent on the width, so now I know that if I cut it width-wise, I can get 12 point something bags out of my 12.5 centimeters, each bag being approximately 8cm wide. I will post one when it's made up, but for now, here's one I made earlier!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Second time around, third time's the charm, apparently

So, on Wednesday when I was at home feeling like 'dren', I set up a blog in this very tool, attempting to use my real person email address, then I realised half way through that I really wanted to use my shop persona, so my split personality wouldn't get in the way... but I discovered that the address for this blog had already been used (by my real persona) & so I had to delete that one, and start again with this one. Interestingly, setting up all the HTML items, badges and whatnot, took considerably less time at midnight Friday than it did on the whole of Wednesday. Weird, huh?