Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Information is Beautiful

I've been burning the midnight oil this week finishing marking, reports and tomorrow I have a conference presentation. Crazy huh?

The focus of the presentation is data visualisation. A love of mine and I feel privileged to be able to contribute to a book on a topic that I am interested in.

I was a contributing author on a chapter in this Year 11 book, due to be in schools next year and I contributed on two chapters in the Year 12 book.

Given that I won't be teaching next year, craft and books will be my only income.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Dirndl: Finished Product

In a marathon effort of sewing, gathering and pressing, we managed to get the Dirndl finished for the German Church Bazaar today. I had Andreas unpicking mistakes and turning out sashes. If I ever make these for my online shop, I will not go with a construction that has so much hand stitching.

There was face painters there and a bouncing castle for the kids that Victoria just loved. This is by far my favourite photo of the day. Victoria was adament that she wanted "donuts" in her hair .. but not the ones you can eat.

She also caught up with one of her friends, Hannah, and they had a ball running around for a while and dancing to the piano accordian band that was playing.

What did I end up making?
  • Essentially a black linen pinafore (pre-washed and embroidered) with red homespun lining. Invisable zip up the back. I played around a lot with the colours of the embroidery and on my husbands advice went for the colour combination that had white in it. Looks good on it's own, but it is all the white garments that makes it look "germanic".
  • Cotton Poplin blouse with puffy sleeves and lace edging. No elastic to disintegrate, I gathered up the sleeves with some twill tape. Snaps down the back for ease of construction (thanks hubby for doing this).
  • Petticoat (which will be unstitched and re-done) with about3 metres of lace on the bottom. I think the petticoat can be fuller.
  • Apron, with ties that were the width of the yardage. I was happy with this decision as it allowed me to wrap it around her so that it stayed in position despite the frantic running around that happened.

At about 1pm the skies opened up and the Bazaar reluctantly ground to a halt. Tori had great fun splashing in all the puddles with the over sized umbrella that she refused to let go of.

We got a few books and old game sets for my Year 7's to play with along with bunch of handmade Christmas decorations for our tree that arrives next week.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Old German Houses

I don't have much in the way of "my creative space" to post about this week. In fact my days have been filled up with marking, report writing, writing conference presentations (why did I agree to this?) and doing solutions to the exercises in the text books I contributed to earlier this year. On top of this, I have Tori's Dirndl to sew up tonight or tomorrow night in time for the German Church Bazaar on Saturday.

My little fingers are very tired! I have three weeks left of work and I am going to be working right until the very end I fear!

But here are some pictures that my hubby took while in Germany a few weeks back. In my husband's home town is a range of beautiful old buildings.

This house used to belong to his Uncle Gunter in a village called Holzminden. The inside was as old school as the outside with lots of natural products used.

The family spent years renovating the house with all the mod-cons.

Not sure if it is the patchwork lover in me, but I love the way these buildings exude character through showing the materials that were used to make them.

This one looks like a postcard!

If you know the name of this style of house, please email me .. I tried to google it, but alas no luck!

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Resignators

I listen to lots of different music, one band that I have been listening to lately is the The Resignators". A Melbourne based Ska band who have just released a new album.

I love their big band sound and of course the alternative edge to their music. This remake of the old crowded house song comes with a cool video, complete with quifs!

If you have time, vote for their clip for "Now we are getting somewhere" on the RAGE TV annual Top 50 clips.

If you like what you hear, join up on Facebook as a fan!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Day of the Morris Minor

A lovely day was spent today at Day of the Morris Minor. The bi-annual car show run by the Morris Minor Car Club of Victoria. Not as hot as the last DOMM, but I still managed to get sunburnt!

Over 90 cars were present from all around Victoria.

Someone was very excited to see all the Morries!

My 1962 4 Door Sedan Morris Minor and my Dads 1956 Convertible Morris Minor.

Dad's convertable won awards at the last two DOMM, but unfortunately missed out today. Ours is a daily driven and will probably never win an award.

Someone dreaming of the day when she might be able to drive one!

She really loves her Morris!

A big thankyou to Paul for lending us his Pentax DSLR for the day, given that ours is out of action.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Retail Therapy

I went and grabbed some retail therapy on Thursday afternoon at GJ's in East Brunswick. I needed to get some black linen to make Tori's Dirndl that I have to start tomorrow if I want to get it finished for next Saturday. I saw this and couldn't walk out of the shop without come. GJ's range gets bigger and bigger every time I visit them.

Isn't this the cutest! I am hoping to make a cot quilt for the new baby, as we don't know what we are having, it will be a gender neutral quilt. I do like the baby Frankenstein's and I'd also love to do a softie to match.

Isn't this range just gorgeous!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Oh the hair!

We went to a masquerade party on Saturday night. Not having much to wear (or fit into) I decided to pay attention to the hair ... I went to a Lindy Charm School workshop in July and it has taken me this long to start experimenting with my hair.

The mask is made by my hubby and I and was made for the Labyrinth Ball a few years back. Due to my *cough* condition, I can't actually fit into the matching costume at the moment.

If you are interested, the Lindy Charm School for Girls have regular workshops in Melbourne and they teach you how to put your hair into rolls and buns that echo the styles of the 1920's - 1950's. Head along with a group of girlfriends and have a great afternoon over some champagne and hair spray. It is actually a lot easier to put your hair into rolls than it looks. Once you have the knack of it, 5-10 minutes in the morning is all it takes!

So get onto their mailing list (as the workshops sell out fast) and check out their page of links which has some clicks to some lovely blogs and web sites such as Super Kawaii Mama and Circa Vintage Clothing.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What am I reading? Little White Slips

A friend gave me this book to read a while back and I am only just now making the time to sit down and read a bit each night.

I am generally not good with novels, I struggle to get through them while working almost full time, being a mother and trying to run a sewing business. So short story books work well. I can read a story each night and if I don't read for a week it is no problem.

I am about half a way through and the story I like the most is the one about a"neglected wife of an analyst who forms a rewarding relationship with a plastic Freud action figure".

The Australian did a good article on the author, but I can't find any references to future publications.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Beth Millner

Needing to go to bed, but I have just finished a bunch of correction and we are in the closing scenes of Ocean's 12 on TV ... so a quick blog post is what is needed to round off a wonderful weekend where I got the opportunity dress up and chat with lots of old friends.

I came across this etsy shop and I love the stuff that Beth Millner is doing. Isn't the bee gorgeous!

When I buy jewelry it has to be hard wearing and it has to last more than a season of wearing. I like modern pieces that have a classic edge to them. Victoria Mason is an excellent example of a Melbourne artist doing what I would call timeless pieces. Her name is definitely on my Christmas List this year.

I spent far too long on Beth's blog tonight looking at her ideas and posts about her creative process. I love the way she shows you the different ideas and techniques that she has used in preparing her jewelry.

The Strawberry Lovers series is unlike anything I have seen elsewhere. I am not sure if something like this would suit me, but it is lovely anyway!

I done jewelry bead work in the past and enjoy putting pieces together, but I would love to learn a bit more about silver smithing and silver casting.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

As I peruse through my blog reader, more and more bloggers are posting about the impending festive season. Handmade decorations and table runners seem to be the popular things this year.

We too have been starting to think about Christmas, even though my hubby denies it's existance until after the German Christmas Bazaar at the end of November.

Even though I am not hosting Christmas this year, I went and bought myself the Margaret Fulton Christmas Cookbook from the Book Club at work. At $20 I thought it a bargain.

Lots of yummy recipies including the traditional roasts and Scandinavian Gravlax.

But the one that caught my eye was Watermelon with Gin ... must try that out!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Moment of Tranquility

A moment of tranquility this week was catching my youngest girl cat, Natasha, on the stairs in the house, lapping up the sunshine. She was still for long enough to get a few good snaps. She is so photogenic.

It has been quite a full week. At school I am rapidly approaching the end of the the teaching year and all the reporting that goes with it.

This afternoon I bumped out of incube8r, but only until mid next year. With the baby due in February, I need to be realistic about how much I can fit into my life. I can confidently maintain an online shop, but I decided I needed a break from sewing for a retail space.

Hope that your week has been good and that you have managed to find a moment of tranquility.

Monday, 8 November 2010


I've always secretly wanted a large family. Not Brady Bunch large, but certainly more than one child. To many of my friends this might seem so strange. But I come from a small family, a small immigrant family. So Christmas times were always small and contained.

Last Christmas we were amazed at how much joy Victoria gave every member of our family. Yes there are times when raising a child is hard work, but when we see the joy that she gives people, we know she is worth it.

Tori and Uncle David Christmas 2009

Anyway, I am not too sure whether the universe will bless us with a large family, but we have recently been blessed with knowing that we are expecting baby #2. Currently gestating, due for a February 2011 release.

As you can imagine, pregnancy can turn your world upside down and as a result I have scaled back my markets and this Friday is my last day with stock in at incub8r on Smith Street. Exhaustion is certainy an understatement at the moment, and I have four more weeks of teaching left.

I plan to resume my offline business opportunities when I can get a hold on what is happening to me and work out how I am going to manage a toddler, a baby and sewing regularly for a business.

There are lots of reasons why I haven't posted until now. But those crafters that know me in real life, know that something has been happening.

I promise you that I won't woe you of stories of gestation and labour, but there might be a gratuotous belly shot in the near future.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Dirndl Project 2010

Every year our Family Church has a Christmas Bazaar. This year it is on Saturday November 27th, 2010 at 10am. Otherwise known as German Cake day by some of my friends due to the variety of German Cakes available for purchase.

A few years back a family friend had a Dirndl made for Victoria when he went to Germany and we managed to get two years of wear out of it for the Bazaar. But it doesn't fit any more :-(

So the challenge is to make a new one for her. I'm pretty good with the pattern that I am going to use. I am going to draft a pattern off a dress that fits her at the moment and hopefully re-use the apron that came with this dress providing it doesn't look too small. But the lynchpin in the outfit is the embroidery along the top of dress.

My Dirndl that doesn't fit me anymore :(

I've been looking at Barvarian Embroidery for my Janome Embroidery machine. I love the idea of doing it by hand, but it would take too long and I have end of year reports to write as well!

If you are wanting to do something like this by hand then the Mad Sampler Book Company has some images from books that are out of print that you could use. Alternatively Dover Publications have some Peasant Iron On Transfer Patterns that you could use.

Sewn by Joan has some free electronic embroidery files that might be appropriate but the bought ones might be a bit better such as Elke's Emboidery Patterns.

Then I came across "lancaster embroidery" which could be well suited, but it is not German or Barvarian. Hungarian machine embroidery styles might be good if I delete some of the decorative accents.

I like the image above of the acorn's and love hearts, as Victoria has a thing for acorn's at the moment and there is a big Oak tree in the front of our family church.

Dress Patterns

My aim is to make the dress out of black linen with red accents and a white linen blouse, which we already have. I have some red ric rac that might look good around the hem of the dress. We are going to use the white apron from the original dress that was made for her. Zip up the back of the dress rather than the front.

I pretty much have the pattern worked out for Victoria, but as with most machine embroidery, you have to trace the pattern out, do the embroidery first and then cut out the pattern later. So the hold up is the embroidery.

But if you don't have a pattern then you could try these ones.

Vogue Patterns has an Austrian Dirndl pattern.

Simplicity have a children's pattern that you could use. I would just use the base garment of 'B' and not include the rouched waistband and over skirt.

via Simplicity

Alternatively, you could do a hunt for a vintage 1960s pattern to do the job.

via GrayMountainGoods on etsy

So we will see how we go. Hopefully I will have time to finish this project before the 27th November.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Grandma's Quilt

I came across this while procrastinating ... and I just loved the idea of taking something that is so precious and tactile and encasing it in resin. I'm thinking of taking some close up macro shots of my creations, maybe I can do something creative with them at a later date.

Image is from the site "Just Something I made".

I have a pile of my grandmothers crocheted and embroidered creations that I have been wondering what do to with. I am not much of a doily person in my home, but I do want to show off my grandmothers work somehow. This project certainly gives me food for thought.

If you really love patchwork accessories, head over to Two Bits Patches, where they have patchwork socks on sale - how cute!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Victoria the Scone maker ... with a strange look on her face!

Try as I might, I couldn't get a decent smile out of her ...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Punctuation patchwork experiments

Remember this baby quilt top?

Yesterday I managed to get an hour to myself in my sewing room (while the jet setters were passed out) and I started to play around with using up the scraps from my Punctuation baby quilt top to construct some more blocks either for pillows or another quilt top.

Rather than a block of 4 x4 2.5 inch squares, I played around with including a 4.5 inch square white block in the middle. Yet again, I am cutting into my Kona Solid "snow" that I have put aside for my daughers neverending Paintbox Quilt.

I am still undecided as to whether to hand embroider letters or punctuation marks onto the white insides or applique them. The appliqued letters use up a 2.5 x 2.5 inch square, but for me, hand embroidery is sometimes much easier.

Quality Control officer Anastasia

I think they would make either yet another cute baby quilt top or some cute nursery cushions.What do you think?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Pot Holder for Paul

Friends of mine have just finished renovating their kitchen. I've been wanting to make some pot holders for myself for a while, so I thought I would rise to the crafty challenge and make them one first!

The front of the pot holder has a scrap of "apron" fabric, black homespun and then some spotty fabric from the Madagascar Fat Quarter Bundle that I got from The Fat Quarter Shop a while back.

Bordered with pre cut and pressed black poly bias.

The back has some kitchen recipe images on it. Not sure where I got this from, but I only got a fat quarter of it and I made a fabric covered diary for Christmas and then this pot holder.

The quilting for this was simple, I used two layers of cotton batting and two sided fusable interfacing to keep it all in place while quilting. I didn't have the patience for safety pins.

Now to choose the fabric for my pot holder!!