Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Car Playmat Revised

We took the play mat for a spin and found that it really needed to be a bit bigger.

If it is bigger than we can use it in the car as a blanket as well ... so I have played around with what it will look like with some more blocks added to it. I think that the additional colours will work better than the dull green overtone it has at the moment.

AND! I get a chance to do another corner (can you just feel my excitement?)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Paintbox update

I finally found a few minutes to sit down and make some more blocks for the Paintbox Quilt-a-long that I am meant to be doing. I am not quilting as much as I should be because I am busy doing writing and school stuff at the moment. My goal is to get it done by winter .. we are slowly edging towards winter and I am about 75% of the way through the "block phase".

I am WAY behind on where others are, but I will get there eventually! So here are my latest blocks, I love the colours (especially the middle one!) and I want to make a quilt full of these colours!

This is where I got the colours from .. look at these jelly strips! Aren't they gorgeous!

The colours come from the "Hello Betty Retro" collection from Chloe's Closet, a Moda Jelly roll. I recently got this jelly roll from Green Fairy Quilts, fast delivery, professionally packaged. Have you seen the Moda Bakehouse, a good quilting site to add to your RSS feeder.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Julie and Julia

I stole a few moments away the other night to watch Julie and Julia. Most nights the TV viewing only lasts an hour at most, but on that particular night I felt like sitting down to a movie and I knew what I wanted to watch. I had wanted to see Julie and Julia at the cinema when it came out, but it came and went a little too quickly for me to catch it.

via AllMoviePhoto

For me the movie was significant in two ways. Firstly the story is about a blogger and I could relate to that. Secondly, it is also about women re-creating themselves. Finding direction, satisfaction and passion in what they are doing, and I could definitely relate to that.

I love the fact that the internet gives us the freedom to share and involve ourselves in our passion like never before and it amazes me that schools are not taking advantage of this technology more (putting on my other hat). Yes they do "research" on the internet, but I would love for kids to be active contributors of quality content to the internet. Rather they use myspace and facecrack, and what do they contribute .. not much.

I can imagine this movie being studied in Year 10 English and kids are encouraged to start their own blogs on topics that interest them. Taking delight from watching their readership build up and the connections that they make with others, sometimes those connections will last a lifetime. Using the technology in this way is not expensive, but the school does have to unblock their firewalls to blogger. This perhaps is the biggest battle.

I tend to live quite a full life, some say that I do too much, others ask me how I manage to do all that I do. And I tend to respond firstly by saying that it is all smoke and mirrors and secondly, that I tend not to spend that much time sitting in front of the idiot box day after day. I would much rather be in my sewing room creating something than watching something on the box. Most of what I do watch is either taped (so I don't have to sit through ad breaks) or something rented/bought on DVD. I do enjoy sitting down to a good movie or crime show, but in general there are much better things to do than watch TV.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Blogging Links

While trundling around the net looking for sites on Data Visualization for another project I am involved in, I stumbled across a few posts of interest to us bloggers.

via Blogpulse, an interesting site which measures the "pulse"
of the blogging world. I find graphs and charts like this
rather intersting, although I am looking at it
wondering how it would translate into a sewing project ...

But how has this week been for you?

I've had a rather "average" week. A relative had a stroke last weekend and we have been coping with the aftermath and ramifications of that all week. So I am feeling rather drained today and I can feel a throat infection on it's way.

I have been trying to put in at least 20 minutes of patching a day as my stress buster, so Tori's car play mat is coming along and if I have the time on the weekend I am hoping to finish it off. She is itching to play with it and keeps on stealing it from my sewing room.

I hope that you all had a great week and that you get lots of chocolate leading up to Easter.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Testing the Play Mat

Like any good IT person, I like to test things .. why should a patchwork quilt be any different?

Once I sewed the four larger blocks together Tori and I walked the half done quilt through to the back room singing "build a city and a country".

It passes the "building" test. But I feel that it is still a bit small to meet her needs. Contemplating making it a bit bigger ... I'll have a think about that ...

The roads are big enough for her cars ... but she still wants traffic lights!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Play Quilt: Making that corner

I left this block until last. The concept of it terrified me! Lines I am good at but curved bits I tend to stuff up.

I got some paper, drew my 3 x 3 2 inch blocks out and then made the outside corner line from one of Tori's dinner plates. I then measured the width of 2 inches around the bend and then voila! Presenting my template ....

Pinned to the material, I trimmed the material 1/4 of an inch from the template. Not sure where pattern piece "C" is, I suspect that the cat or child ran off with it. I will probably retrace these pieces onto cardboard with the seam allowance (or buy a patchwork template).

Rather than use the green fabric for the corner, I had a scrap of "space" fabric which fitted in quite well.

Overall pretty pleased with my first attempt at a cornered piece. With the inside edge I ran a stay stitch along both bits of fabric. It worked well, but I found the edge without the stay stitch was easier to work with.

Getting there! I am feeling rather confident with my 4 piece corner and now I am wondering where else I can use it!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

More playmat Blocks: Noah's Ark

Some more to add to the pile that I have already done for Tori's play quilt. I am starting now to sew 4 blocks together to create one mega block. Trimming as I go ...

The top blocks are a darker green and they are utilising some Noah's Ark fabric that I picked up about 2 years ago. Tori spotted the fabric in my sewing room and coerced me into using it. It took some time to fussy cut some animals out, but I think that they look great.

There isn't really any pattern to the layout, so some of the fast quilt construction techniques are not being utilised. I individually cut out the coloured squares, position and then sew and then add the black road. I am not constructing the road from individual squares, just using sashes.

Tori is starting to get excited by the "blankey that is growing". I hope she still wants to play with it when it is finished.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Pillow for the new bed

My daughter moved into her "big girl bed" on Saturday. Much excitement was had in the lead up to it. Over the last few weeks we changed little things in her room such as replacing the side cot with a guard rail, replacing her small cot pillow with a "big girl one" and her old blanket with her "big girl one". When we moved her into her new bed, there wasn't much that changed. Sheets looked the same, same pillow, same blanket and same guard rail.

The bed looked a little sparse, so I whipped up this pillow from panel that I bought ages ago online. It is meant to be a cloth book about colours, but I think that it looks better as a pillow.

Basic 14" poly pillow, invisable zip and black homespun for the back. Seams are not very sexily finished off as I literally "whipped it up". I am also planning on doing the green one for her bed as well. I will be making the other colours into pillows at the Modish Makers Market in May. As part of the lead up to their first market, they also did an interview about Konstant Kaos.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Play Quilt: Happy Campers

I've done some more work on the play quilt. Completing yet another four blocks to add to the others that I have already done.

I opted to use some brown and most of the fabric comes from the "happy campers" jelly roll that I got from the Fat Quarter Shop a few weeks back (currently my favourite online store!).

I must admit but I love the luxury in fussy cutting bits of fabric and watching them come together. I hope that I take some of the ideas from Tori's Quilt and use it to make some more conventional baby quilts.

While I was putting these four blocks together, Tori was playing on the table next to my sewing table with her cars .. wanting to know where the traffic lights are.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Blocking away ...

I tend to go a bit batty if I don't have my creative outlet. Yes I have several projects on the go at once, but who doesn't?

I snuck into my sewing room last night and played around with some fabrics for the car or playmat quilt that I blogged about the other day. First I seperated the blocks in my excel file. I decided to use black for the roads (I know, I know). But I didn't have any grey fabric kicking around and I do have lots of black!

I thought about using block colours, but then I spotted some yummy japanese fabric that I had in my stash and the colour scheme just seemed to work. There was a bit of cutting that needed to be done as the fabric itself is printed like a patchwork.

I will probably end up using applique to make waves over the top of the blue patchwork once it is done. I want to include every once in a while a patch that has something, such as the kids camping or the pigs at the fair.

I've started to use the happy campers jelly roll for the "houses" section of the playmat. Playing around with colours.

The one advantage of constructing a playmat like this using the block method is that you can trim as you go to ensure that all seams are even and then you can stand back and see what works or what doesn't work and re-arrange things.

It is interesting that your ideas change once you start sewing.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Exhausting week

It has certainly been an exhausting week ...

A nice surprise was seeing this picture on my camera, taken by my wonderful husband, when us girls were asleep on the couch ...

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Red for STOP, green for GO!

In a moment of reflection this afternoon I found myself sketching out the following quilt idea in my notebook. I haven't been into my sewing room in ages. School work and manuscript writing is gobbling up my time and energy. The closest I come at the moment is sketching a few ideas here and there.

But I know that in two weeks time, I have a "student non-attendance period" (school holidays) and I will have some time to tidy my room and hopefully complete a few projects. I am not looking forward to next week when I have two parent teacher nights in the one week. It is great to meet parents, but two 7am -9pm days in a row is quite taxing.

Anyway, inspired by both Ms Curlypops and my daughters current love for cars, I have been playing around in my head with an idea for a 4x4 9 block quilt (plus sashing) that would double as a play space for her cars and imagination. If you know me, you will know that the things that I make have to be functional ... Other ideas for playmats here and here!

Tori is currently playing with a few strips of black cotton drill for her "roads" and then she likes to "build a city" around her roads.

So the idea that has been kicking around is a basic quilt block construction, 16 blocks in total and then over the top of the different sections there might be a selection of things appliqued on; hotel, garden flowers and trees, houses and water waves. Then some complimentary sashing around the outside. With each square being 2 inches squared, the quilt should end up being 32 inches squared.

Still working out in my mind how to do the curved road, but I need it in there for the challenge! Not sure if I would put batting in it .. the function would definitely be as a play quilt rather than one for warmth, but I can imagine it being used in the back of the car as blanket on long drives.

But most importantly, there needs to be traffic lights, crossings and a round about. As Tori would say "Red for stop, green for go!".

I haven't done the calculations yet for the material that I need, but I suspect that I might use some of the left overs from her paintbox quilt and a dark grey for roads rather than a harsh black. Any opinions? Who would be interested in a quilt-a-long for this project?

On the quilting front. I have one baby quilt waiting for binding, two baby quilts waiting for stippling and Tori's Paintbox Quilt is slowly coming along. Her "big girl bed" arrives this weekend at long last, so I need to get on my bike and make sure that it is done for winter. I am hoping to get it professionally stippled when it is all finished.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Displaying your Market Stall

Getting the right feel for your market stall is paramount. Customers like to feel visually quenched when they look at your stand and if your layout is interesting they will stay longer and hopefully buy something.

I spent a lot of time at the last Northside Makers taking in the techniques and hardware that people had used to display their market stock.

Miss Pepperberry uses rustic wooden boxes to display their fabric covered journals.

Behind the stall, the bottom box is reversed and used as the "admin" centre for this stall.

Another stall, Two Cheese Please, also has an admin centre behind their stall.

She uses stainless kitchen cupboard stands covered in felt for her display.

An additional level is created by some hard card covered by felt sitting on jars of buttons.

I find the appearance of DVD and CD stands quite funny, scattered throughout the market being used to display all sorts of things. The first grand stand is one that Miss Pepperberry uses to show her passport covers.

Another stall uses a CD stand to hold cards.

Mrs Beckinsale uses a letter stand to hold her gift cards.

I've got lots of other snaps of strategies that people use for displays, but perhaps another day! Have you posted any cool display tips on your market stall??

Monday, 15 March 2010

Northside Makers Market Wrap up

On Saturday it was such a glorious day, we couldn't have ordered a better day in terms of weather. It was wonderful to have a musician in the courtyard and re-organized the stalls a bit to make room for the kids table near the walk way.

My wonderful hubby was helping out yet again on the Konstant Kaos stand so that I could swan around and say hello to all the stallholders and work out what I wanted to spend my hard earned cash on! Quite a few people took advantage of my 20% off special via my Facebook Fan page .. so join up!! You never know when I am going to spam you with a *special offer*.

Jay's sister was helping out on the kids table, but she had a 4 month old, so the portacot came in handy for tying up balloons. It would have been funny if it had taken off!

Libby from Bootcamp Quilter came along with her kids to say "hello" and I got to meet baby bat!

There was such a gorgeous selection of products on display, but I ended up getting a black jug cover from EmmStarr and a Mini Polly Pratt dress for Tori with a Kookaburra on it!

Mel's jug covers come in all sorts of groovy colours as well .. to match your daquri!

KRin was there with her Pink K Designs stand, although an experienced market goer, this was the first time she had a stall with Northside Makers.

Although this is the last market for the Northside Makers summer series of markets, stay tuned via the blog for the next event. There are also more pictures taken by the very talented Jennie form Mrs Beckinsale on the Northside blog as well.

Friday, 12 March 2010


"I am so excited!!"

"Dadda, did you know that there is going to be a FACE PAINTER
at the Northside Makers Market tomorrow?"

"I think that Mummy also has a stall there ... come and visit!"

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Learning to Run

It isn't like I need another thing on my plate a the moment ... but over the last 6 months my wee body has undergone a bit of a battering and I came to the realization that I need to get my strength, flexibility and stamina back. Mainly, to feel better about myself. Ideally, it would be great to aim towards getting back to my pre-baby weight from 2007, but realistically, I just want to feel strong again.

Picture via Your Fitness Guru

And so a few weeks back, I decided to join a friend in her quest for fitness. My main goal was to loose the pudding that I put on when I had my daughter. But the opportunity to participate in the Mother's Day Classic appeared, and both of us thought "why not!". It is 8 weeks away and the best case scenario, is that we make it around the Tan in one piece. The worst case scenario, we 1/2 jog and 1/2 walk. So to aid us in our quest, we meet weekly at a gym to work out and now we have something to train towards.

Tonight I ran for 3 minutes on the treadmill (I can hear you laughing at me ..). Now I know that running on a tready and running outside is different, but it is a start. I need to strengthen my cardio-vascular system, my muscles and my breathing as well.

Fitting in training around work and Tori is going to be fun, but I have worked out a few destinations that might encourage me. On a Saturday morning, a latte is 0.8kms away, my training partners house is 3.4kms away and my closest material store is 1.7kms away. Don't you just love whereis!

A few blogs and podcasts I have come across along the way; Penguins Don't run, Steve Runner Phedippidations Podcast (a bit quirky, but I quite enjoy it) and fitness guru post on runing music.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Blog Review: Craft Chi

I stumbled across this site, Craft Chi, while avoiding correction. Someone had a link to a post they had done about using up fabric scraps and I was hooked!

picture via CraftChi

Lots of interesting posts about printing on fabric, paper and other items. She has some blog posts on how to make alternative screens for the gocco machines and how to print patterns using a rolling pin!

picture via CraftChi

Lots to distract you!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Custom Money Belt

A quick post about a custom money belt order with strap that I just completed, ready to be popped into the post tomorrow.

The client wanted some Japanese fabric as a lining, and after a few emails chose this gorgeous print. She said it was "ok" to do some applique on the front, so I decided to do something non-traditional and follow the flow of the print. I think it looks rather cute!

The back of the bag has some straps so that you can put a belt thorugh it and inside there is a zippered section for large notes and a pocket for change.

Circa Nocturna 2010: Alternative Fashion Parade

Last Saturday night I braved the catastrophic Melbourne weather and ventured out to Fitzroy Town Hall for the 2010 Circa Nocturna Alternative Fashion Parade as part of the Loreal Fashion Week.

I had attended this event a few years earlier when it still had the "feel" of an alternative club, but with a fashion parade in the middle of it and I was pleasantly surprised by the metamorphosis that it had gone through.

The event was professionally executed, with limited tickets, seats and a photographers section at the end of the runway.

The quality of the designers had increased and it was lovely to see how some of the designers who were still quite green a few years ago had blossomed and displayed sophisticated stories of clothing.

Some of the standouts were:

Lyris Designs

Her range was simple and yet sophisticated. Using block colours and screen printing techniques, her outfits stood out as being refined and classic in design. I loved the play between a structured corset and long flowing skirts and jackets.

Elvy Ess

I love the laser cut bug work that Elvy Ess does, but I didn't like their last range of clothing. Their 2010/2011 range was spectacular. Using a ripped effect to create cloth can look a bit piece-meal, but they came together wonderfully. Layers upon layers of cloth was used to create shapes and effects that worked well on the models and the accent of red was used to reveal the Elvy Ess logo somewhere on the garment.

Dolly Q

Dolly Q are known for their avant garde approach to alternative fashion and their range was inspired by Elizabeth I. They must have spent hours doing hair and makeup because their delivery was flawless. The outfits were opulent and used overtones of gold and red to deliver their story. Dolly Q have an attention to detail that not many other designers had during the show. Little things like an extra ribbon around the waist and findings used on corsets, showed that they had spent ages refining their outfits.

Some other notable designers to check out: Vanyanis, Zentity and Pur Pur Fashions.

Carnivale Nocturna

After the fashion parade patrons were ushered into the glorious Fitzroy Town Hall reading room for a market style event where you could meet designers, buy products and mingle with the models close up. A great idea!

But, the market layout was unworkable, claustrophobic and lacking in design layout. Some tables were empty others were chock full of stock and it took ages to do a circuit. A great idea, but it needs a bit of work in order for the flow to work properly. It was good to see the designers portfolios and speak to them about where they were going and what they wanted to achieve with their businesses.

I can't wait to see these designers in some of the stores around Melbourne and I wish all of them the very best for the 2010/2011 fashion year.

More photo's of the fashion parade can be found here or here.