Saturday, 31 January 2009

Happy Birthday Deb!

Thursday was the birthday of my oldest friend in this country; we met when we were about 9, and my family moved to the small town where hers had lived for generations.... we weren't always friends, and we haven't always been friends since, but I like to think people move in & out of your life as you need them. She has two gorgeous children who I like very much (and that's saying a lot for me, as some of you may know...), and her friendship is very important to me, so I wanted to make her something, rather than buying her something. Anybody can buy stuff, but very special people make things. Or so I'm told by people who know - I just read a magazine article about Amy Butler where she says how fantastic it is that people don't look down on handmade stuff anymore - and I think so too. I love it that people appreciate how wonderful it is to be given something somebody spent time making, especially these days when we're all so time poor... my favourite quote is by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, who have absolutely nothing to do with sewing, but instead write some rather fabulous science fiction - they talk of "the precious irregularities of hand sewing", like it was rubies and diamonds, rather than the slightly off-perpendicular corners of a (beautifully lined) box pouch...

Anyway, enough burbling. Pictures of the gorgeous (IMHO!) froggie, pouch and lavender pyramids here...

Happy Birthday Deb!

Monday, 26 January 2009

He's baaaaack...

I went to visit Rusty at his foster home this weekend (we had an extra day off to celebrate the arrival of the first load of convicts from Britain in 1788) and guess what? His foster mother has returned him to my care, in exchange for a new and more beautiful child. I think some conversations with DOCS (our equivalent of Social Services or DHSS) might be in order here. Anway, I'm very happy to have him home & gracing my sewing room once again - and here he is, waving happily!

I'm also thinking of making an froggie tribute to the US Presidential family, and I had some fun on the weekend picking out the fabrics - bit of an off-beat challenge there. I hope our friends in the US don't think it's offensive... are there laws in the States against that kind of thing? Oh well, we'll see if they sell, or if I get a nasty letter from the White House.

I also picked up orders for three more frogs, birthday gifts all, so I'm going to be busy sewing over the next few nights. I also had a major breakthrough with the lined box pouches, figuring out that if you cut the corners whilst it's all inside out, you can also stitch the corners & when you turn it all right sides out, it all looks fine. I made two, one after the other which prove this theory, one of which I will post as soon as I go & pay some bills, and order a pizza, which consititutes healthy eating today. It was about 35C in the Hunter Valley, that's 95F & it was sticky, so the motivation to cook is zero. Plus the cricket is on TV, and it's an Australian tradition to spend Australia Day eating junk & watching the cricket, so that's it for me!

Sunday, 18 January 2009


having a full blown obsession is a pain. Other times it's great. I've been banging on about making these great box pouches (from a tutorial I found here amongst others - this one had a great tip about the corners, remember my great perpendicular moment from yesterday? Of course you do.) & I finally got a look inside one on Etsy, where the seller was kind enough to show that all she did with her raw edges was finish them with some bias tape. Well, we've got bias tape coming out the wazoo, of course, but did I use that? Noooooo, on the first one I used expensive ribbon from Singapore, and on the second one, even worse, I had to make my own 1 1/2" bias tape (and so I couldn't use my spiffy bias-binding maker yada yada {tune out here to avoid off topic sewing equipment moment}...which was one of the goodies from the Lincraft closing down sale) because it's only 1" yada yada...) from very expensive fabric from the States. What am I, nuts? Yep. Probably.

Anyway, I have decided in my infinite wisdom that if I am keeping the pouch to use in my handbag, and not to make my fortune (thus enabling me to give up my lucrative but oh so boring career in IT), then I don't actually have to do anything with the raw seams except pink them. Who, I ask you, who, is going to say "show us your raw edges then"? Nobody. Absolutely nobody. I even put a label in it. Really. Talk about effort disproportionate to reward.

Anyway, they do look nice, but boy, that four hours went by pretty quick.

On the upside, one of my favorite bloggers is back in the land downunder after her holiday visiting the Queen, amongst others. Just kidding. She went to see Alix, who is, after all, much more important than the Queen! Welcome back Lulu Carter.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Busy, busy

I took advantage of the cooler weather to go back to bed for a bit this morning, that's the other thing I hate about summer, I don't sleep well & so I'm perpetually cranky. What's that? I'm always cranky?! Well, how rude. I'm just particular, that's all.

Enough about me, more about the work in progress. I found a great site here & she suggested using a quilting ruler (of which there are a few in the house, even though I don't quilt) to cut squares out of each corner (mine were 1"/2.54cm) & then lining up the seams. Boy, what a great tip! My perpendiculars are pretty perped, let me tell you - anyway, I was so thrilled I made two bags & some lavender pyramids & put the lot up on Etsy for the bargain basement price of $25. US, that is. Anyway, we'll see. There are lots of people out there doing pouches, boxy or otherwise, but only mine has the added bonus!

The only other thing was that I haven't seen any method of making a lined boxy pouch without having a raw or overlocked (that's 'sergered', to those of you in the US of A) seam showing & I don't want that. I want it to be really nice! I did have a bit of a brainwave about how to do it, but when it came to practical application, I couldn't figure out how to do it. I need my mother for this, she's a genius at that stuff! Mum! Get on a plane!

Summer, blah

So, it's about 20C today, lovely. I hate summer. It's hot, it's sticky, my hair goes frizzy, I get cranky. I was going to meet up with mwh after my sojourn out in the golden west yesterday, and waded my way through the humanity heading into the station as I was attempting to head out, man, that was fun... sadly, the nice bar where we go for drinks etc on the occasional evening was closed! Orrore!
Anyway, the lovely southerly buster came through with a vengeance last night & has cooled things down so I can wear real clothes again (sitting here in grey trackies & a pink cardie as we speak...) and more importantly, I can think. I hate how the heat melts by mrain. See!

Enough whining. Here's the pictures I couldn't post yesterday of Protea and the pouch I finished last night. I found a set of instructions for a lined boxy pouch which basically said "make two & then stitch one inside the other'. Hmmm. I may try it that way but there's got to be a "make them both at the same time" method, I just need to find it. An Etsy pattern may be the way to go, methinks.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Happy Birthday Kaz!

Well, the birthday parcel has arrived in the beautiful HV, so I can now share the pictures with you. I'm getting better at the pouches, too, I just made another one with the squared up corners but I still can't work out how to get the angles right - I'm still sewing them a little bit off the perpendicular. Hmm. Maybe I need to get the set square out? Also, Blogger is being a bit tempramental tonight & I can't get the other image of Kaz's gift to appear the right way round, you'll just have to imagine a large-ish bag with drawstrings, in the same lovely lime green & orange as the pouch. I'm working on fixing this. Most annoying!

In the meantime, I've also given the lovely Protea froggie some new eyes, I wasn't very happy with the ones he had before, too pink (he looked a bit like a rabbit with mixo) but the camera battery needs recharging, so tomorrow it is. I also bought some new cards from here, and put my own photos on them - what a great idea this is - you can have a different photo on every card - if you're a keen photographer looking to advertise, this is a nice cheap way to do it - $19.95US for 100 cards - can't beat that - & they're great quality... anyway, here's one of my photos for you to feast your eyes on.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Well, it's a dry heat...

Today was a stinker, especially out west, which is where we don't live. This is where we do live, and the water was about 23C tonight. Nice. No sewing today but, too knackered. Maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Making whoopee

So a friend rings me & says "make me some lavender bags for a colleague... blah blah blah...", all the rest has been deleted in the interests of national security. I don't want to cause any ructions here, so I've gone with discretion being the better part of valour, and all that.

Anyway, gift made & ready to be shipped, and pictured here.
I've also just received 50, yep 50, 9" zips (that's 22.86cm for those of us in the rest of the world), from here, in a whole range of great colours, & I'm about to seriously start making pouches for sale. I have a gorgeous one in turquoises cut out to give to a person at work who is about to get married, & we'll see how we go. Alex loved hers (well, it immediately disappeared into the depths of her room, so I'm thinking she liked it!)... is 10yo approval less worthwhile than, say, 40yo approval? I'm not sure.
Anyway, my time here is up, my jammies are calling me and I've got a big day going round & round on the shuttle between the city & somewhere else! Off to bed, said Zebeedee.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

And when you're not...

You're definitely not. I made another pouch to give to Miss Alex, who's 10 (nearly 11!) & got it all stitched up & then noticed I'd caught the little bit of a patch I made when I cut it out, in the side-seam & it had split. Damn. About the only thing I can do is to unpick the lining seam, turn it back out & then make it even narrower. Major bummer - and so I definitely can't give it to Alex. But I did make her another, much better, pink one, here! Also I have things to post that I've made for Kaz's birthday, but I can't post them yet because I know she reads this... sometimes!!!
Also, if anybody knows how to make a lined box-y pouch, can they tell me? Mine are definitely only coming out 'boat shaped' (which is not so bad really), but I want to make a proper lined box!!! See, the frustration did get to me. Off, off to the biscuit tin (I got some genuine McVities Ginger Nuts last week and they're mine, all mine!)

Monday, 5 January 2009

Heat burns, y'know...

So, did I rave about the little iron mwh bought me for Christmas? Well, if I didn't, I should have, because it's great for getting into those tiny little corners & the insides of things. But it also has this magic property - it burns things... good thing I was watching (sort of) what I was doing... the silk bird (top left) I made has a light brown patch right under her tail from the shaft of the iron. Boy you have to watch those hot shafts.

Hmm. Moving right along.

I made these today, for Mary, and the birdies yesterday. I just love that Olive Rose. Also, as promised, I posted the zippered pouch & matching lavender bags off to MGF Kaz. We'll see what she has to say!
Back to work today. Notice how that's the last thing I note here? 'Nuf said.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Cricket, anybody?

Well, I don't know about you people but I'm really enjoying the colour and zing the latest South African cricket team has brought to this summer - from being a people who had segregated toilets based on your skin colour to being able to be photographed wearing the girliest of colours, pink, in honour of Jane McGrath & the McGrath Foundation, and also having people of different coloured skin and religious beliefs in their team - well, all I can say is, we've got a long way to go, baby.

In their honour, I have made this little darling; he's got the most fabulous variegated floral front, and stripes of many colours on the back, and of course I have named him Protea. What else?

I also made these, out of some gorgeous silk twill I bought years ago at the late, lamented Home Yardage store in York Street; I wish I'd bought the whole bolt, it was so beautiful and the first time I (gently, by hand) washed the blouse I made, it ran everywhere, leaving a pale imitation of itself. Ick. These are a bit wonky, so I'm selling them cheap. I do have a bit left, if anybody wants some non-wonky ones made. Just yell!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Pretty Frogging Good

I just made this pretty girl to replace Rusty, who I was quite attached to, and who I probably should not have sold (even though he did go to an excellent home and I know he'll be looked after and appreciated)... she's pretty cute & I'm going to advertise her for sale. I won't actually sell her, just use & abuse her for advertising. This must be like being a puppy breeder, I think... you can't get too attached to them because then how do you ever let them go?

Friday, 2 January 2009

Zippetty Doo Dah!

Man, when I've got it, I've got it. When you're hot, baby, you're hot. I made another two of these little babies, firstly using up some fat quarters I didn't really like that much (well, the pink is okay but the mustard is not really in my preferred quadrant of the colour wheel...) Snidely Whiplash eat your heart out.

Anyway, I digress... I thought the first lined one went well, but I couldnt work out how to put it together & still be able to trim the angles - so it has the pinked angles inside the lining. Who's ever going to look? Nobody, that's who. It's not going anywhere, except into the bag of unwanted prototyped sewn stuff... or maybe into my handbag? It's a good size for something, but I have no idea what - maybe a small iPod or camera?

Anyway, I got on the net, and found this excellent tutorial which walked me through making the lining, and all I had to do was figure out how to put in the corners from the other one - anyhooooo, mine has come out a little non-square (that's the technical term for boat-shaped, honest) but I like it. I'm going to send it to my friend Kaz with some matching lavender bags & then make some for sale ...

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Well, that was about the easiest pouch I've ever made (says she who's just made one other one...)... I'm sure I posted the link whereby I gotted this good stuff - (that's the technical, post NY lunch, term) - anyway, it's made me think about making some of these to sell in my shop but I want to make them a bit different to all the others out there, so I've been thinking (not easy on a hot sunny day when I'm full of fabulous food & Italian wine from here, let me assure you...) about how to do it & I have a cunning plan. You just have to wait to hear it. Really. It'll be worth it.

Anyway, this is number two (please, no, not 'a number two'), the second one I made. Note the neat top stitching on the bottom (confused yet?) and the carefully inserted zipper. Boy zips are easy when you get to cut the head & tail off them. Like dealing with a snake!

BTW, happy new year to you all (all one of you, I know who you are) & talk soon!