30 December 2010


The safe arrival of Angus John Lindon Brock.  Born the 28th of December at 8.55pm, and weighing in at a hefty 9lbs 2ozs!

Now our family is complete.

17 November 2010

Winding down

I'm doing my best to keep up with all the blogs I read, plus being active on Ravelry, and Facebook.  However I fear my motivation to keep my own blog updated has waned.  I think it's more to do with massive baby brain than anything, I try to think of a post to write and my mind literally goes blank.  Well.... that's my excuse anyway...

With only five and a half weeks to go I'm finding myself spending more and more time relaxing on the couch with knitting needles in my hand.  This works well as I can also supervise the wee girl at play.  So without further ado here's some examples of what I've been knitting -
Some pants for Baby, knitted in sock yarn.
A spring top for Tamsyn (Nikki, you'd love this one!)

Something for one of my sisters but it's for her birthday so I can't show it yet.  A couple of other things that I haven't got around to taking pictures of either.  But it's all good and very very satisfying.

So to finish off this meagre post I have to share this photo taken at the recent Teddy Bears Picnic in Launceston's City Park -
Dressed entirely in clothes her Mummy made for her.   :-)

20 October 2010

A small diversion

I needed to do something fun and for me, well, mostly for the wee girlie.  I've admired what this talented lady does for a while and thought why not?  A lovely simple square patch quilt in fun bright spring colours.
 Just a small quilt, using fabrics only from my stash and simply quilted in the ditch.




... and then I cut it....


Five times in fact...


 But for good purposes.
 You see it's an old pram (made when 3 wheelers were a new thing), a hand-me-down that has been oh so useful but in desperate need of jazzing up.  In winter it has a sleeping bag (which can be seen here, gosh wasn't she small back then!) for keeping little bodies very warm and snug, but it's spring and I wanted to capture it in quilt form.  So to speak.
And the quilt-as-you-go dream?  It's still there, and I'm going to make a start.... soon.... honest....
(Tamsyn's hat is from Foal Design)

04 October 2010

A quilt for a little man called Felix

I meant to post this last week and not have so big a gap between posts.  But hey, I'm just over 6 months pregnant and baby brain has been quite intense this time, not to mention the tiredness and just plain laziness...  I seem to reserve most of my strength for Tamsyn and the bare minimum of housewifery.  Even though I make sure I read (almost) everyone's blog each day, comments may be brief.  I think "cool!" has been all I can manage some days.  :/

I don't altogether see this as a bad thing, my body is working hard at growing a little person and apart from the occasional meltdown things have been pretty cruisey.

Felix's sock monkey quilt was the first I've ever made where I didn't have a plan other than doing a whole heap of bias squares, and the width of the fabric (all half yard cuts) dictated the size of those squares.  I thought I'd leave the Brady Bunch style fabric whole which would be good for alternating blocks.  When it came to laying out the blocks on the lounge room floor after Tamsyn had gone to bed one night I had come up with a star style.  Ant looked at it, screwed up his nose a bit and said "how about this instead".

I knew he was right.

It's the first quilt I've made purely out of flannel: front, back and binding.  I made sure there was enough fabric left over for a very scrappy back and did some basic machine quilting.  I'm never going to do a purely flannel quilt again, it's so much more temperamental than quilting cotton - it seems to give/stretch more, but I'll continue to use it as a backing fabric.  That works well.

Next up, I want to try my hand at some 'quilt as you go'.  I've been quilting for over 20 years and have never tried it.  I've also been inspired by what this talented lady can do here and here. Oh and here too.  ♥

18 September 2010

It's been a long time between quilts...

But I'm getting there, and it probably means that Felix should receive it before his first birthday.  That has to be a big fat tick on the To Do List.

I shall reveal all once it's quilted.

07 September 2010

I must be nesting....

Spring has sprung and summer will be here before we know it.  I've felt the urge to make the girl some warm weather clothes now because come Christmas time the opportunity to even look at the sewing machine will be rare.

A couple of weeks ago I had a little op-shopping jaunt with Tara in Deloraine.  One of my finds was this girls' summer top.  Even though it wouldn't fit Tamsyn for probably another five years, I was too smitten with the little cat print and thought I might be able to do something with it.
With a bit of help from one of my Ottobre patterns I've turned it into a little summer dress by cutting out arm holes and adding a ribbon casing to the neckline.  I already had the spotty ribbon in my stash and was just the right length.
While in Deloraine I couldn't resist a visit to the local fabric/quilt shop Fresh Fabric, and fell in love with this Heather Bailey print.  I've made this dress before, this one and then this one for her birthday, each one a bigger pattern size.  I decided to leave the contrasting panel off the bottom edge this time, mainly because I didn't have a suitable contrasting fabric.
And then perusing my fabric stash a couple of days ago I rediscovered this fabric that Tamsyn's auntie sent her for her birthday.  It's an Alexander Henry and was just enough to make up this little number using a pattern I bought on Etsy.  I love the way that it's reversible too and for some reason I had plenty of purple gingham handy to line it.  This is a super fast, super easy pattern so I think there'll be a few more of these coming out of the sewing room.  Yay!

05 August 2010

And the winner is...

... with thanks to random.org -
That would be Rel!  Congratulations sweetie, email me your address and I'll pop the bag in the post quick smart!

So, to give this post a bit of variety I'll get my act together and show you one of the things I've made recently for the little girl.

A little sleeveless dress/pinafore which is not quite little enough at the moment, but I'm thinking it'll be great for spring.  It's a Drops design, size 12 - 18 months and very easy to knit up except for the lace pattern in the skirt. 
I've never been terribly great or persistent when it comes to patterned lace and gave up after 2 repeats, but that's just me.  Still, I don't think it looks too bad and was glad I didn't undo the knitting (or frogged, to use an American term!).  The yarn was a great find from The Potty Knitter, who recycles yarns from old knitwear.  I'm tempted to buy a few balls of the slate as well.  Time will tell....

29 July 2010

*Giveaways* are a great way to say thank you...

... to that wonderful blogging community who has bestowed on me such kind words (and I've also been on the receiving end of some lovely giveaways too!).  So to spread the love this is what's on offer -
And a back view -
Lovingly hand made by me, this little backpack is surprisingly roomy and has leather straps for durability.

The usual drill applies, leave a comment at the end of this post and I'll close entries on, say, Sunday night (which would be Saturday night in some parts of the world).  I'll get the random number generator thingy to do the hard stuff and announce the winner on Monday.

This pregnancy has been pretty cruisy so far (except for the nagging nausea in the first trimester which has thankfully passed).  I've been making the most of each moment because this will be the last time I'll ever be pregnant (I've discovered that I'm one of those women who love being pregnant), I'm no spring chicken and that biological clock was ticking pretty damn fast.  We really wanted Tamsyn to have a little brother or sister so we're very thankful that we got the opportunity, and no, we're probably not going to find out the sex before it's born no matter how tempting that is!

Edit: After I posted this I thought that I probably didn't give a very long time frame, so I'll extend the deadline to Wednesday 4th of August.  

Also,  a few have mentioned my ability to sew leather.  I can only do this because I have an industrial sewing machine (we call it The Thug...).  However Nikki has a terrific leather sewing tutorial if you want to give it a whirl!

25 July 2010

My excuse for being a lazy blogger lately...

Seventeen weeks (or eighteen, I keep losing count).  Due date: Christmas Day.

All going swimmingly.

13 July 2010

I love before and after photos

It's true, I really do.  Although I feel confident that most of us do anyway.  It's just so satisfying to see ugly things made pretty.  Here's my contribution...
Before: A vintage dolls pram found at the op shop (thrift) for $15, I think, or was it $25?  Anyway Gracie was quite taken with it's smell.  I think it'd been in the back of someone's shed for a loooong time, it was very grotty...
After: Pulled apart, sanded and spray painted.  I had to drill through the rivets in order to pull it apart, so this meant that I had to come up with something else for putting it back together.  I remembered those screw type things that are often used for book binding, you know, one screws into the other.  After much searching I discovered they have a name - Chicago Screws, and found someone who sells them on Etsy (I only like using sites that have Paypal).  The screws arrived in the post yesterday and as I had done all the sewing the pram was put back together in a jiffy (with the help of those reference photos tacked to the wall!).  Oh and the fabric?  I splurged on some lovely oilcloth from Cath Kidston.

Some may even remember me blogging about this pram a while ago, and my intention to have it finished in time for Tamsyn's first birthday.  Well, I was only 2 months out so I don't think I did too badly.
Besides, I think she likes it.

23 May 2010

Tamsyn says "ta"

From the bottom of her dear little heart, she thanks you for all her birthday wishes.  Turning 1 really does seem to be a milestone, and in some ways is a great confidence boost.

This photo was actually taken in late October last year, so she wasn't even 6 months old.  I took it on the phone's camera, one of those spontaneous moments that you can't help but love.  I can almost hear her saying "Give me the phone Mum, I want to eat it".  That's my girl....

So a bag update is in order.  Agfest wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, but then I was never sure it was the right target market anyway.  I'm thinking of re-opening the Etsy shop, otherwise it's local weekend craft markets which is virtually impossible for me.  I currently have 2 bags for sale at Hilbarn's little shop, and if you're in (or likely to visit) northern Tasmania then I recommend a look see.
The shop is full of lovely vintage finds, and also some of Tara's beautiful cushions.  The bag on the left is using some more gorgeous Ink & Spindle Birch fabric and the other has Pippijoe's ever popular Nest fabric.

I really need to pull my finger out and sell sell sell!!!

11 May 2010


One year ago tonight this was the scene, a new Mum with her new baby girl.  We hadn't even decided on her name yet, and judging by my expression I was too exhausted to think about that right then.
But she couldn't be any name other than Tamsyn, and this first year of her existence has been filled with a whole lot of love, lessons and laughter.
Let the good times roll....

(the dress was made in time for her birthday, another pattern from Ottobre magazine)

08 May 2010

time to get out of this funk...

...before it swallows me up whole.... and before Tania tells me off again.... ;)

Things have been pretty mad around here and I just didn't feel that I was in the right frame of mind to blog about it.  I struggle enough with writers block as it is, although it's interesting that I find myself composing a lovely little blog post while sewing and as soon as I go near the computer it's gone.  Does this happen to anyone else?

So anyways, I made a prototype bag for myself a while ago.  Something that sits nicely in the basket of the pram and holds all my stuff without giving it a pot belly.  I was quite happy with it and decided to make some more to sell -

(thanks to Miss Gertrude for being my model)  I'm really loving these Ink & Spindle fabrics, and are so inspired by what these girls can do.  I may also make a satchel style as well, it just depends on how popular these are at Agfest - a friend has a stand there each year and kindly agreed to try and sell them for me.  Although I may be catering to the wrong clientele.  Only time will tell......

14 April 2010

is it cheating?

I did an op-shop (opportunity shop/thrift etc etc...) hunt this time, and found this beauty for $4.99.  Yes it is handknitted, but in China, so I didn't feel too guilty about undoing the seams.

I wanted to make some footed, knitted pants for Tara's bub-to-be and knew I wouldn't knit them in time -
So I used a legging pattern from one of my Ottobre magazines and the sleeves from the jumper, cutting them long enough for me to sew the cuffs shut and make feet.  I didn't line them because they'll be worn over a growsuit, but did make a casing for the elastic waistband out of some light weight jersey rib so it wouldn't be too bulky.

I was really pleased with how these turned out, and couldn't wait till Tara's baby shower so gave them to her the other day.  She was pretty happy with them too. 

I'm still trying to come up with ideas for the body of the jumper...

Oh and the foot?  I had my six week follow up appointment with the surgeon on Monday.  He's happy with the way it's healed so no more daggy boot.  The challenge now is to get my walking fitness back, doggy is pleased.

28 March 2010

meanwhile, back at the sewing machine.....

My foot is letting me sit at the machine for a bit, which has cheered me up no end.
Tamsyn needs some new cooler weather pants so I made these from red cord with some Kokka (I think) print lining.  I've also cut out a pair in green cord at the same time, and are literally sewn up in a jiffy.  :)

I've also made some more bibs, using some of my stash of discontinued upholstery samples in linen/cotton blends and backed with an old bath towel I've cut up which makes them ultra absorbent for one spewy dribbly little girl.

Ant likes his black shirts, and this one was getting really ratty on the collar and cuffs.  So the other day I mentioned to him how I'd like to cover said collar and cuffs with some contrasting fabric.  He straight away grabbed my little stash of more groovy fabrics (with me hovering beside him telling him which fabrics were just too precious to cut up yet!) and pounced on this loud orange Prints Charming fabric.  I knew it would be best not to tackle this sort of thing on the machine, and I really enjoyed spending the afternoon and evening sewing these on by hand, while Tamsyn played or slept.  Too easy.

This is the Pod Swaddler, which I've made for Tamsyn's cousin who's due to enter the world in June.  Tara chose the fabric (Amy Butler) and I lined it with flannel.  I wish I'd known about these before Tamsyn was born, I probably would've made a couple for her.  At least I know what to make for future babies, and would be the perfect baby shower gift too.

12 March 2010

in my invalid state

I laid aside my knitting....

..... and picked up my hand quilting....
Some of you may remember this quilt, and I'm ashamed to say that it had been neglected for a looooong time.  But hey, I've done a truck load of other stuff in the mean time!  I may get this quilt done in time for Tamsyn's birthday which is in 2 months time, can you believe it?  My girl is nearly one year old!!!  (and not far from walking either....)

My foot is mending nicely.  I went back to the surgeon on Wednesday and he took the plaster 'splint' off the side of my foot, which was wonderful as the thing was really starting to annoy me.  Each day it's getting better and better, although I still have to wear that daggy boot and have to walk on the heal of my foot.

Have a great weekend everyone.

03 March 2010

no pain no gain

At least that's what I keep telling myself...

Thank you all so very much for your well wishes, it really means a lot to me.  Now I have to take it easy and mend, and accept the help of others (I hate being a burden!!).

I might even pick up the knitting needles tomorrow....

26 February 2010


Yep, that's my foot and yes, they're sporting a healthy pair of bunions (just below the big toe joint).

They've been coming on steadily since Tamsyn was born and I finally got to see the surgeon last Tuesday.  I'm booked in for surgery this Monday, apparently it's more complicated than just removing the lump, a pin needs to be inserted and other stuff played with.
So I'll be wearing a special shoe for six weeks and won't be able to walk very far (doggy won't be impressed!), but if in the long run it means that I'll have a lot more energy, less lethargy and won't walk with a slight limp then I'll be happy.

14 February 2010

take one big old jumper....

Cut it up.  Put it back together with a zip across the bottom...
 ... and you get a sleeping bag for a girl who sees bedclothes as a challenge..

I lined the sleeping bag with some cotton jersey knit as well, and used some rib knit to finish the neck and arm holes.  In hindsight it would've been good to put a zip down the front as well so there's less bulk to get over her head, but I didn't want to spoil the look of that lovely cable pattern.

Think I'll have to make some more of these.  Especially as the nights are starting to get cooler.  :-)

02 February 2010

more knitting and sewing for my girl

This girlie is growing well, which also means new clothes.  Cheap clothes don't seem to me as an option, and to be honest I'd rather make them anyway.  Therefore I've been finding some lovely original patterns on Etsy, namely these Monkey Pants, made with some dark khaki cotton jersey also found at the same shop.  Unfortunately I didn't pre-wash the fabric and it's shrunk ....  :(  So I made another pair in black jersey which I had bought locally and knew didn't shrink (the spotty fabric is some Nani Iro which I just love).

I may put them aside for the next baby due - Tamsyn's cousin.  :)

The Whirligig Shrug was an absolute joy to knit.  I was in my favourite newsagents flicking through the latest Interweave Knits (Weekender edition), noticed this pattern and knew I had to make it.  It's one of these knit from the top down on a circular needle type jobbies and I'd been wanting to try it.  Being the type that doesn't enjoy sewing up knitted pieces, the additional fact that this method is seamless made it even more attractive.  I decided on the 9-12 months size, so it's a bit big at the moment but should be perfect for the cooler autumn evenings which I hope aren't too far away.

She seems happy ...

22 January 2010

sometimes blog post titles stump me...

It's true, I can sit here for ages trying to come up with a catchy title and end up drifting off to play Spider Solitaire.... again......

Looks like Craft Hope on Etsy has really taken off, they've had 1,174 sales so far. Isnt' that wonderful!
Another fabric purchase arrived in the post the other day. This time from Tessuti who sells ex-designer fabrics, usually from the previous season. They're not cheap so I only bought 2 half metre cuts, but who could resist those bunnies? Still have to decide what I'll do with it though.
Any Australian over the age of say, 25, grew up with Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. And so many Australian children in the 70's ate their meals off a Skippy plate. I did, and so did Ant. Neither of us have our Skippy plates any more so when we were driving past Recycled Relix the other day and saw one in the window then we had to have it, no questions asked.

Tamsyn can now have her own Skippy plate too.

I may be a bit quiet in the blogosphere over the next few days. I have to take my computer in to be serviced and 'cleaned up' (Mum had hers done last week and she said it's like having a brand new computer!), so Ant and I will be fighting over the laptop. Let's see who wins......

16 January 2010

craft hope

Just a quick post. Like a lot of people out there I've been wanting to help with the terrible situation in Haiti, but like the Bushfire Relief project that was so successful last year I wanted to find a crafty way. Reading Syko's blog today, she has a link to an Etsy shop that has been set up with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. If anyone has items to donate and sell, click on the picture/button above for all the details.

14 January 2010

the hiatus is over

Now to get my blogging butt into gear...

The Christmas and New Years period was great, with lots of relaxing and family time. With that comes sewing of course and the wee girl didn't miss out on her share.
The dress in the foreground was actually a purchase from the very talented Gemma of Loz and Dinny fame, snapped up at Niche in November. It's been perfect for these hot summer days we've been having of late. The other dress I made from a pattern in the Amy Butler book 'Little Stitches for Little Ones', which has been perfect too. Some may recall I made the nappy bag from this book, and to be honest I don't really like the instructions for the patterns - not that easy to follow. Fortunately the dress was so simple I didn't need the instructions. The pink fabric is a Heather Bailey and even though Tamsyn isn't a pink girl (her skin is too pale like her Mum), this one is pretty good, especially with the grey bodice. I enjoyed making this one so much that I made a Christmas dress as well, must take a photo of it too.
When family asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year I said fabric (or a Spotlight gift voucher - already spent!!). One of Ant's aunties, who has very good taste, gave me this grey linen and contrasting orange flower print. It wasn't long before I whipped up this tunic style dress and it too has been perfect in the hot weather, worn with black 3/4 leggings underneath. It's huge though, like even too big for me. But I wanted something I could be a bit lazy in, and to tell the truth I cut it out a bit larger because the pattern pieces were cut to my pre pregnancy size and I didn't want to waste such lovely linen. Still working on that size reduction thing, getting there slowly.....

I had to wash the little wooden dog the other day because someone spewed on it, later on when I came back into the kitchen the sight made me go a bit gooey so I had to capture it. :)