23 December 2008

birthday books

I so totally scored this year. For some reason people think I like to cook and sew, and collect Cornishware (I'll take a photo of that lot soon-ish), it's nice when people actually listen. He he he...

Of all the books here I only requested one of them - Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, and the only thing given to me that's baby related. Which is fair enough because it was my birthday, not juniors. I've been eyeing off this book for a while and it's gorgeous, so I might post some photos of it soon-ish as well.

The others there are Kaleidoscope of Quilts by Kaffe Fassett, sumptuous quilts and fabrics. Faking It by Valli Little, from delicious magazine (top mag that one!). Fresh + Fast by Michele Cranston, full of scrummy recipes that make me want to plant more vegies. Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, I've heard great reviews about this one so was deliciously surprised to receive it from one of my sisters. And Maggie's Harvest by Maggie Beer, another book I've been eyeing off but couldn't afford to buy - just the cover is worth getting it for (the pattern is actually embroidered on!!). Ant's Mum and Dad gave it to me, they knew how much I had wanted Stephanie Alexanders book The Cooks Companion which they gave to me last year and I must say no Australian kitchen should be without. I'm using her gingerbread recipe today even. So to receive Maggie's Harvest was a wonderful surprise as well.

If I can't sqeeze one more post in before Christmas then I wish everyone a wonderful time, with lots of food, drink and festive cheer. We're hoping it will be warm enough for us to go for a dip in a swimming hole up the Meander River near Quamby Bluff, it's been too cool the last few years so here's to keeping our fingers crossed!

18 December 2008

a fun day was had by all

Thank you lovely peoples for your birthday wishes, those thoughts plus the enjoyment we had on Sunday made my birthday something to treasure (actual birthday is the 16th). No, really, I mean it - I'll have to turn 40 more often. Like every year. For the next 20 years maybe. ;)

The cake above was one of Tara's concoctions (psst! go check her blog - she's having a giveaway!!). I can't remember what it's called but it was filled with so much decadence. She also made a black forest cake for the kids, with sugared rose petals on top. Renee wasn't to be outdone and made a sticky date pudding - one of my favourites, along with some chocolate choc chip mini muffins. And then of course Mum had to make a pav -
Which Tara tried to set on fire ..... while singing Happy Birthday.
The weather was terrible all the day before, and we even had to light a fire that night so things weren't overly promising. When we left town to head out to my parents (the party venue) it was spitting with rain. Oh well, we thought, there's plenty of veranda and a big front room to occupy as well. I'm sure we'll still enjoy ourselves.

Oh yea of little faith.

The day turned out to be a stunner, and the garden looked it's best.
Ant's niece Laura found the perfect swing.

The poppies were on their best behaviour.

The vistas begged to be explored,

and kept you wondering what was around the next bend.

This was also considered to be a practice run for Shannon's wedding at the end of 2010, I think it will work a treat.

12 December 2008

book review

I have to talk about this book, and besides, Shannon's not the only family member who can do reviews!

Naturally with your first pregnancy there's a lot happening with your body that you're just not sure whether it should or not. Successive pregnancies must be a doddle in comparison. After a few weeks of knowing I was pregnant I wanted to buy one of those books that can help guide you through the 9 months of this body and mind changing journey.

So off I trundle to my local bookstores, only to find that most of the books were about what to do with baby once it's born. They also had cutesy vomitty pictures of angelic little babies, yeah right.....

Then to my relief I spotted Up the Duff by Kaz Cooke. Kaz is a writer and cartoonist, this book came about as a result of her own first pregnancy and the lack of realistic books about it. Each chapter is based on each week of pregnancy, and also goes beyond to when baby arrives home. A lot of books stop at birth. The start of each chapter tells you 'what's going on' and then gives an excerpt from Hermoine's diary, which is loosely based on Kaz's own journal and is hilarious.

This is the beauty of this book, it always tells you that you can expect a certain thing to be happening but not to be worried if it doesn't straight away. The best example I can think of at the moment is when you first feel baby's movements, this is mentioned at Week 18 but also states that some women don't feel it till later. (this example is fresh in my mind because I've been feeling baby tickle me this week and hey, I am at 18 weeks!)

Since we've gone public with our baby news, so many friends have told me to get this book (more unsolicited advice, it's amazing the amount of things I HAVE to do or be because they say so). Thankfully I can smugly say that I already have it. Even my obstetrician says it's a great book, so there you go.

So before baby is born I need to get this book methinks -
And then I shall be complete.

To change the subject entirely, it's by birthday next week and I'm turning the big 4 - 0. We're having a garden party on Sunday arvo, weather permitting. Rain, rain and more rain has been forecast. Still, hopefully I'll have some pretty pictures of Mum's garden to post next week.

01 December 2008

finding one's niche

This was Tara's stand at Niche over the weekend. Niche was a St Giles initiative, which invited local artisans and craftspeople to have a Christmas market at the Architecture building in Inveresk. I was also invited to take part but I didn't have the energy and time to make enough stock. Next year......

Tara did quite well, selling some of her pincushions and purses. I purchased a kitty from The Purple Finch, which Tifa thought was expressly for her, I'd like to keep it for baby. I also finally met fellow blogger and creator of gorgeous kids stuff Suse, of Black Eyed Susie.

I finished the top. It's very comfy but tends to show how big my bazoomba's really are, and will only get bigger - yikes!
I'm lifting my head up so it doesn't show off the double chin I seem to be acquiring...

I do like how it has a tie at the back as well.Cheers.

27 November 2008

new eye candy

Thank you, thank you so much for your lovely comments. They mean so much to me. This journey that Ant and I are on is exciting and scary at the same time, but I am cherishing every moment of it. Knowing that a wee person, who already has it's own personality, it's own looks and it's own feelings is growing steadily inside my tummy fills us with great joy.

Writing the above has already cheered me up. I was intending to start this post with a rant, as I'm still getting tired a fair bit which also brings on the miseries. But so what if my second trimester 'energy boost' hasn't hit me yet, so what if I'm running out of clothes to wear. The boost may never happen and I've started cutting out a new top in black stretch knit cotton. Easy. I've also just read this post, the blog of which I've been following for a while and find it very inspirational.

So the above 2 bags are commissions I finished yesterday. They took a little longer than usual as I had to keep reminding myself of what to do next, I'm that bad. Decisions are also a challenge, and I've charged Ant with the job of making them. Bless 'im.

So, more eye candy - yes? A parcel arrived in the post yesterday, the book I had pre-ordered (when the exchange rate was a lot more attractive and then wasn't by the time it was charged to the credit card, but we'll let that pass) a couple of months ago is now in my hot little hands. I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Posie Gets Cozy, and her book is filled with lovely ideas for creating keepsakes.

I do like the idea of resurrecting the art of the silhouette and making it funkier.
Baby stuff, well what do you know, I might just have a need for that.

But wait, there's more.

My parents have just returned from (another) trip to Japan. This time it also incorporated a visit to my youngest brother who is working over there (Tifa's daddy). What better opportunity than to ask Mum to buy me a couple of Japanese magazines.

Lace must be making a comeback. Nice.
This mag is a Poachee one. I don't know it's proper name because it's in Japanese, but it's got the most gorgeous patterns in it.
And very maternity friendly too. Hee hee hee....
So I now have the creative juices literally flowing out of me in a steady stream. Bring on the energy boost!!

14 November 2008

new clothes for summer

A little while ago Ann and I bought the same fabric from our respective Spotlight stores and then mused at what our interpretations would produce. I had decided to do an overshirt type top for summer. I've used this pattern before and especially like the added touch of the pintucks on the front. This time I've made it longer so I can also wear it as a dress with footless tights, should look alright.

So why do I need a loose fitting top? Why, to accommodate the developing baby bump!

This is our first, so it's very exciting and a bit daunting at the same time. Also because of my age (39) there are more risks to consider, however I had my 13 week scan on Monday morning and everything appears to be 'normal'. I've been feeling pretty good too, only a bit of nausea in the afternoons and evening, and getting tired a lot of course. I'm looking forward to the second trimester happy hormones and energy boost, so here's hoping there'll be a lot more creativity coming from my sewing room.

07 November 2008

so where were we?

I've been really pre-occupied of late, I can't say why at the moment but all shall be revealed in due course.

So it was one of my sisters' birthday the other day and she always likes a bag from me. I've already given her one of my backpacks and I've been wanting to get back into satchels -
This one has a cute Japanese fabric on the flap, and also has a clear plastic cover (a la Nicola Cerini love her bags!). I've since made one for myself using some yummy yummy Cicada Studio fabric, and still have to take a photo of.October, November and December are mad months as far as birthdays go, so I can't even think about Christmas presents until early December (grrr!). This little purse was made for my friend Rosie's birthday, the pattern is from Amy Karols book Bend the Rules Sewing. It's a handy little book for making gifts I've found.
It has 2 pouches inside which are big enough for a credit card and a couple of folded up notes. Perfect for when you're going out on the town and don't want to take your entire purse. The aqua print is from one of those talented Melbourne girls.
Ant's work received a couple of boxes delivered from a new supplier who also distributes McCalls and Butterick patterns. However it was rather surprising when said boxes didn't have the usual bubble wrap (or similar), and instead used dressmaking patterns! So of course they saved them for me, and I spent an entire evening sorting, ironing and refolding each sheet. I haven't quite finished but it seems most of the patterns are complete. Some are so not my size (or just not me) and what I was thinking of doing is posting photos of them here and if anyone wants them I'll send them - free! Aren't I nice? I didn't pay anything for them so why should I charge, and besides, I had my 100th post the other day and didn't offer a giveaway. Was that bad blogger etiquette?

Have a good weekend all. Here's hoping I won't be so slack next week......

20 October 2008

sew choice

My apologies for being so tardy on the blog front. I had a nasty little head cold all last week which really knocked the stuffing out of me. I've never had so many colds in one year, should have gotten stuck into the vitamin C early on.....
So anyway, I found out about this English mag through the Prints Charming blog and the website allowed for pre-ordering using Paypal. The opportunity seemed too good to refuse. So I was naturally expecting a Prints Charming item in the issue, and was very impressed to see it made the front cover. Although more goodies were to be had, a the flick of a page....
Alicia Paulson is amazing, terribly creative and writes a beautiful blog about life, pets and crafty stuff. So it was a lovely surprise to see her featured also.
More Prints Charming goodness.

And even an article about Amy Butler! Awesome...
This little scamp is a great idea, designed to make use of left over fabric scraps - perfect!

I think it's wonderful that they're showcasing crafty talent from all over the world. My only hope is that this magazine will continue to live up to the standard it has set, and I look forward to seeing what the next issue will be like.

10 October 2008

Show Day

Yesterday was a local public holiday for the Launceston Show. However I went the opposite direction to my sisters home near Chudleigh, collecting Mum along the way.
We spent a pleasant, and almost bohemian afternoon sitting on old quilts and some of Tara's cushions on the sunny side of the verandah. Sipping tea and indulging in some home made treats (Tara makes a mean pavlova).

I took my knitting. I'm not far from finishing Ant's pullover thank goodness. I don't do big projects very often, I tend to gravitate towards gloves, beanies and socks - I love knitting socks on four needles.

I'm typing this while Tifa is playing with an old ball of wool she pinched from my knitting basket. She's managed to tangle the yarn around almost every chair leg in the room.

And hey, guess what? You'll never guess ..... but we're off to Bruny Island this weekend - what a surprise! Sorry, it's just a fact of life this time of year and I need to get over it. Don't get me wrong, I love the place to bits - it's just the travelling that gets to me.

02 October 2008

because I can't help myself

A few weeks ago the lovely Ann posted about the spring fabrics she bought to make some clothes, and I recognised the fabric above as being available in my local Spotlight store also. I suggested that I buy a few metres as well and then we could compare the results. I'm thinking a nice long over-shirty type top, with pin tucks down the front and a bit of shaping at the waist. I have a pattern I can easily adapt to do this so I might just give it a try.

Something like the above would be nice for spring/summer too. I can't remember where I came across this magazine, may have been A Little Goodness's shop the other day but has sold since.

So what are you going to make for the season that you're in?

26 September 2008

friday fluff

Going to Melbourne this weekend to see the chappy above, yay!! It was a fairly last minute decision to go and are only staying one night, but it should be a jolly good time provided we don't get caught up with any Grand Final after parties.

Although I do have to say this - carn the Cats!!

23 September 2008

getting the better of spring rain and wind

and how do I do that? Why, go and buy a new Bernina!Well, newer Bernina.

It's brought a little ray of sunshine into the sewing room.

It's a 1230 with lots of beautiful bells and whistles. I've been asking the owners of my local sewing shop on a regular basis if they had got in any secondhand Berninas - as they advised me to check now and again. So when I picked up the overlocker/serger last week from being serviced I asked the question (for only the third time I think) and there she was - Beatrice (no not Bernadette!!). She was also a price I could afford, a fraction of the cost of a brand new machine.

We still have to alter the sewing table my Dad made for Bertie the 830, as you can see here it has a wooden plate which slots around the free-arm - rather than using the metal one it came with. I've propped up the 1230 a bit with a thick piece of foam so the plate just clears the table, this way I can still comfortably machine quilt if need be. So of course I had to start using it straight away and finish the apron (Simplicity pattern 2932) I had been working on. You can see why I needed one, the old apron was well past its use by date!
Lucy didn't want to be left out either.....

21 September 2008

don't mock the Moke

Seriously, these people love their Mokes.

Us Northerners met up at Perth before travelling in a convoy to Campbell Town. The day was very very windy but this didn't dampen our spirits.There's our 'Yellow Devil' in the middle there. We waited here a little while so the Hobart group could meet up with us, compare cars and then move on to another location that would provide a good photo opportunity.
So in all we had 19 Mini Mokes in one gathering, the organisers think this may be a new record as the previous was 13. This is a world record mind you! Edit - this is only for the International Moke Day events. The Moke Fests can draw up to 150 Mokes (imagine that!)
It was interesting to see how each car varied. Canopies were different, some had roll bars, some had their original paintwork and some didn't. Some were a beautiful example of restoration work - these people really like spending money on their Moke. If there were awards handed out then we would receive one for the most amount of rust! Oh well, time and money ....... time and money.

19 September 2008

friday fluff

<- Look over there, yes there, to the left, did you notice this blog now has 3 columns?

I've been wanting to do this for a while because I didn't like how everything was stuffed down the right hand side and as a marketing strategy, I felt it was important to make my Etsy shop prominent.

A lot of Typepad bloggers have this option as standard but Blogger didn't in it's array of templates. So a while ago I found out about Blogger Buster, a site dedicated to helping Blogger users customise their blogs.

To make 3 columns means altering the HTML code of your blog (and works best if you're already using the 'Minima' template). Yep, that can be daunting but if you copy the entire HTML code and paste it into a Word document before you make any changes then you've got an instant back up. The last thing I wanted was my banner in a side bar and a photo of Lucy where a post should be! Amanda's instructions are pretty clear but you really have to make sure you understand the procedures before attempting anything, and she'll always reply to any questions you make.

So no oysters this weekend, on Sunday we're off the the Moke Day at Campbell Town - weather permitting. Should be fun, providing the little car makes it there!

Oh and no post should go without a photo -

17 September 2008

as promised ...

A better photo of Ant's shirt, pretty groovy eh?
I should also include a lovely 'before and after' photo of the Moke seats. All the cushions are completed now so the second lot just have to be put on and the seats re-attached to the car. These cars are pretty small so these seats are virtually hard up against each other. Ant likes that, as he sometimes drives with his left arm around my shoulders - aint he sweet.

And this little kitty has proven that she's a very quilty cat. She tries to burrow underneath and gets all excited if you poke and play with her while she's under there - a little too excited at times though. I recieved a nasty little jab from a wayward claw so she was told off and banished to her bed. Kitty has to learn scratching is bad. And the quilt she's playing with? It's not finished yet so you'll have to wait and see!