October 18, 2011

So I went to Vegas and got married....

We had lots of trouble uploading photos while we were away, so here are a few to make up for a lack of sharing!!

October 2, 2011

Today we leave...

...on what is to be our weddingmoon!!!

After weeks of mystery and hints (including one in the recycling bin - yes, I admit I caved in and went through the bin like a desperate woman!), it has finally been revealed that there is a high likelihood of a Vegas wedding!

The catch is - that is ALL I know! All plans are being made by Peter... he says he feels a bit like Shaun Micallef on 'Talking 'Bout Your Generation' , as part of the surprise is going to involve envelopes which I must choose from... Scary!!

He's all about surprise and spontaneity, but I don't deal all that well with either!

HOWEVER.... I've made the very gracious decision to sit back and let it all happen around me! I will buy a dress on the day if necessary....I've made it clear, however, that I won't jump out of a plane or off a tower, or ride a rollercoaster with a celebrant at 60 miles an hour!!

If I have any say, I'd love a vintage-inspired dress, but besides that, I have very few wants... I'll just be thrilled to marry my gorgeous partner of 12 years!

Stay tuned for more details!

September 24, 2011

And another dress!

 Okay - the second pattern I've been using (Simplicity 2373) is much more of a hit! I've made the pants, adapted to be 3/4 and a closer fit in the legs, a strapless top from some satin jacquard that was kicking about, and this halter neck dress! The jacket has also been cut out and is waiting for a turn...

I really love this candy-striped binding... Spotlight had a small range of it - baby blue, red and black. I might be heading back for some more, I think - I can imagine all sorts of creations using it!! However, sewing it at night was a headache.... a bit like watching repetitive white lines on the road roll by constantly!!

Eight sleeps left now till we take off! And many, many hints of a surprise in Vegas...

September 18, 2011

The count down begins...

Only 13 sleeps til we take off for the US!
We have finished booking transfers and pre-purchased tickets to stuff (Alcatraz, Universal Studios, Disneyland, etc) on the interwebs, and collected our tickets, so it finally feels real!! Ok - I admit it - I'm starting to get excited at last!

I'm less excited, however, about the clothing I've been making to take...

The Lisette dress, which I had high hopes for, is a terrible shapeless sack, as you can see above. I put it down to my usual problem of thinking I'd somehow end up looking like the leggy model on the envelope, but my tall thin friend Mel had a go and she wasn't happy either. It will be okay for wearing on a hot day at home, but no way am I wearing it in public!!

On the up side, though - two vintage patterns I melded together and graded up, (Simplicity 3153 and McCall's 7573) came together well in the long run. I WILL wear this in public!! Like my glowing shoes?!

I planned to have short sleeves on this, but quite like it sleeveless - I've bound both the neck and sleeves with red binding.

I will say, this dress was something of a drama to fit - the men at home here are pretty much USELESS at pinning stuff, particularly in any helpful kind of way! I ended up removing almost as much of this dress as I added in the grading process... why, oh why, does this always happen!? I was so careful to measure the pattern and myself and it clearly wasn't going to fit, but then I end up taking heaps of fabric out anyway. Does this happen to you, too? Ah, the joy of sewing vintage patterns!

Next on the drawing board is the black sun dress, which I plan to add interest too using some candy striped bias binding I found this week... should be fun anyway!

September 2, 2011

Here we go then

Patterns? Check!
Fabric? Check!
Buttons and zips? Check! (There's a surprise!!)

Gentlemen, start your engines.... Let this weekend's sewing commence!

Must have:

I'm off to Old Midwest this weekend with some of my holiday saving burning a hole in my pocket. These are PRECISELY the boots I wanted to get in the States - around the same price here, and I can have them NOW!!!

Holiday wardrobe plans

I've been plotting what I should take with me to the States.

I'm thinking a black, white and red palette...

Maybe this top, dress, and the jacket....

And everything here!

I cut out the short top last night, and am pretty happy with how quickly it is going together. The pattern has an opening at the back neck, but I cut it all on the fold from some cutesy anchor knit fabric I had on hand. I've made it about an inch longer than the original as it was feeling a spot short.

August 29, 2011

Baby boom!

My youngest brother and his wife are having their first precious child, so having waited patiently for 14 weeks, I now have permission to start making stuff!

Thought I'd launch into some generic baby embroidery to start off... Thanks Jenny Hart!

Actually, the 40s weren't so bad...

I've long been a fan of fifties fashions, mainly because I love the shapes and design features, but I have to say, I'm becoming much fonder of some forties patterns lately...

This last weekend I spent a day redrafting this Advance pattern (the top version) for a blouse from some ridiculously tiny size to something that would fit me... I actually loved the pattern illustration more than the blouse itself, but the finished product was okay.

I used some fine old synthetic fabric from an op shop, thinking it would just be to make a toile, but having something wearable as a result was even better. I shortened the sleeves by about 5cm, and used bias binding around the neck, sleeves and hem.

However - after playing around with the finished product, I decided I loved the sleeves and neckline, but that it would look much nicer on me as a dress..... It has an elastic waist and belt loops, and an a-line skirt (keeping with the forties sensibilities of not wasting fabric). Pictures to follow when I can get a reasonable photo! Maybe the next version, I'll try the peter pan collar...

August 20, 2011

Something to wear stateside...

Anyone else have those weekend mornings where your sewing mojo kicks in while you're still in your jamas? I love them!!

Last night I had a flash of inspiration to use the fabric I had planned to make a skirt from into a dress instead. Last year I made up a pattern based on Simplicity 5497 (from 1964, and once belonging to Olive Egan!) - I gave it an empire seam and an asymmetrical false front placketty thing. I love the extended shoulders and neckline of the pattern, so didn't touch them. On the pattern I created, I made the whole dress a bit more fitted and the skirt more a-line, however for this version, I have narrowed it again.

Last year, I made the dress from a single fabric, so I was interested to see how the print and solid colour would work together. I couldn't wait to start sewing this morning! I knew this dress would go together really quickly...

I had a few qualms about having the natural-coloured linen/cotton near my face - I never wear that colour. I managed to overcome this by sewing a band of red around the neckline instead of using a facing. The self-covered buttons liven things up, too!

A shot of it in action will come another time - just getting over conjunctivitis, so I'm not feeling so much like having a photo taken! From starting to sew to a finished dress took around 3 hours. Not bad at all!!

The kid and I were looking at some hilarious footage of runner ducks recently... this stuck in my mind!

Are you my mother?

August 17, 2011

Finally... some inspiration!

For the last two weeks at school we have been involved with the Artists in Schools program through Carclew... A very little group of our lucky students have been working three days a week with artist Sam Evans on a whole array of different projects - charcoal and ink drawing, life drawing, wire sculpture and soon aerosol art.

I have been taking part in each of the activities while I supervise my class, and boy, has it got the creative juices flowing again.... I have realised how much I miss making, and talking about, art with other people around. Ideas come flooding into my brain!!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed making the wire sculptures with the class... it is very much like drawing, but using pipe cleaners also brings back memories of childhood - I think in a waythis helps you be more creative and somehow less inhibited...

Anyway, some of what I have made so far... the house is still a work in progress.

Winged Victory

Alice Flew the Coup (this is an autobiographical piece!!)

Facade No. 1

August 8, 2011

So, I was thinking a new skirt for our trip to the US... Not that we are actually going to New York, but I figured the sentiment is appropriate! I haven't nutted out how it will look yet, but I'm thinking a red yoke, print skirt with two narrow red bands around the bottom. Any other ideas??

This weekend, we went birthday shopping for a 14 year old with extremely quirky taste... We went to bric-a-brac heaven (Strathalbyn) and came home with these (excuse the nasty photo!):

Yep - that's right... HORNS!

The funniest part of the shopping trip was sending the fellas back to the shop to negotiate a fair price for the horns... The young bloke was terrified, but triumphant when he got them under budget!!
Apparently the birthday boy was thrilled!

July 22, 2011

Last dwindling days

In the mad rush to feel like I had made the most of my school holidays, I made this.

It was from a pattern I created a couple of years ago, but sewed from some weird op shop fabric I was never really sure about... I like this version MUCH better!!

It is a stretchy, felted wool - unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was $10 for 2 metres from Tricia's, so I though it was worth a shot! I even have enough left to make a slim skirt. Because I'm not a purist, I lined it with a cheerful oriental-flavoured red faille. I like it!

June 29, 2011

Planning ahead...

(For a change!)

I don't have a whole lot of goals or aspirations - outside of having a happy family and, one day, a 50s caravan...

However, I now have something to aim for. In October, the three of us are having a short visit to LA, Vegas and San Francisco. Now, as far as the boys are concerned, a day spent at Alcatraz is like some kind of nerdy, history-buff heaven... as I have a serious aversion to boats (and planes for that matter!), I would prefer to give it a miss.

Instead, I think I'd like to find a couple of crafty bloggers from the area to hang out with for the day! So here is where I could do with some help - who can you recommend in friendly downtown San Fran????

May 3, 2011

Ta da....

So - not nearly as classy as some of the examples I looked at, but I'm pretty happy with my new terrariums - all four of 'em!
We went for a meal at the Bridgewater Inn and wandered around the creek at the back to find, not only a wealth* of moss, but also someone's deserted bonfire!! So we filled our zip-lock bags then poked the fire for a bit before heading home to get all creative!

I also removed the super-daggy curtains in the new sewing room and replaced them with something a bit craftier... call it a work in progress!

* I'm not entirely certain that a 'wealth' of moss is the proper collective noun... Any other suggestions?

May 1, 2011

World within a world...

English Creek Gardens

I need a terrarium. When I was small, my grandparents had a terrarium in their home... I could sit and look into it for hours - it really was a teeny little self-contained world to develop your imagination and get lost in. I think our home would be a better place with one, too.

Smith and Hawken

This was to be my holiday project, but with a day left it's not looking hopeful! Inspiration abounds, but where to begin? I love moss-based terrariums, and regret not bringing home the collection my nephew gathered while we were in Halls Gap!

Katie Goldman Macdonald and Evan Kolker

There is something delightful about Design*Sponges 'found terrariums'...

little samples of life from the surrounding streets, right down to the weedy bits!

Paula Hayes

Stay tuned, and I'll show you where the obsession leads!


April 29, 2011

A little disappointment but a lot of love!

What a truly fabulous time we had this Easter! I get very little time each year with my two brothers, so getting a super-long long weekend together this year was terrific!

For a moment there we weren't sure if everyone would make it - the top was torn off of L's camper van only a short distance from his home, and their carefully packed load was strewn up the highway... Very luckily, no cars were behind them and only property was damaged. After a quick re-pack, with tents this time, L and co made the Grampian Gardens Tourist Park in time for dinner and plenty of marshmallows on the fire!!

As we headed for the Grampians, we were aware of some parts being closed as a result of flood damage earlier in the year. However, finding 80% of the park closed was a huge shock. Sadly, places we remembered visiting as kids and hoped to return to are not accessible at the moment. The amount of work done along the Silverband Falls walk that we took was enormous - new paths were laid all along the creek, and unsafe areas had been cordoned off, but everywhere we went, there were massive piles of broken trees and debris.

This is the bridge that had been swept along the creek.

Despite all the mess, the landscape was still a beautiful thing!

I think the very best part about camping has to be the stars... I forget how soul-repairing they can be. Having lived in the city now for 11 years, I am always surprised by how amazing a clear country sky can be.

April 21, 2011

Wishing my life away

Did you know that teachers spend more time wishing their days away than people in any other profession??
"Just six more weeks until the next holidays, only a week until the next assessment, just four days left and we go back to school, just 2 hours of sunlight and the weekend is over, just another term and we're done for the year..." What a truly negative way to live... or is that just me!?

Thinking about this has made me want to make much better use of my time, as it occurs, rather than as I anticipate it!
So, we have a new office (and I have a new sewing room!!!!). The little guy needed more space and I needed a big reorganisation, so we swapped rooms. Everyone is pleased with the outcome... I just need to stop calling it "MY sewing room" - Peter suggested he might be able to have the bathroom, as everyone else has their own room but him!

The day bed, or 'Princess and Pea' bed, is waiting for hard rubbish collection to return to it's normal height, however it makes a superb cutting table at present!

And in true holidays form, a bit of family cooking has occurred - cherry cookies for our Easter camping trip.

I have also been collecting reading matter for the break:

  • Captain Freedom - G. Xavier Robillard
  • The Running Man - Micheal Gerard Bauer
  • Why do I need a teacher when I've got Google? - Ian Gilbert
  • The Einstein Factor Quiz Book (for long car trips!)
  • Yummi 'Gurumi - C Haden and M Sala
  • World of Geekcraft - Susan Beal
  • Handmade Nation - the rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design - Faythe Levine & Cortney Heimerl
I shouldn't be bored, anyway!!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter... We are heading to Halls Gap to spend time with my two lovely brothers and their families. I can't wait!!!

March 18, 2011

The Sound of Music

After a beautiful, music-filled long weekend with a houseful of my favourite people, I just wanted to share me latest acquisition... a sweet little uke! My ukulele is the one that matches my guitar - a Shrinky version of it, in fact!! Wish I'd started with one, as it is sooo much easier than a guitar to learn! Mum plays almost any instrument she can get her hands on - that's her mandolin, and dad's tenor uke is the other one. Such a fun weekend!

January 21, 2011

A Little Revelation

Who knew that hessian was a useful material? As an art teacher, I have only ever seen value in covering dirty old pinboards with it... Never to actually sew with. All those hairy fibres dropping off everywhere, and the SMELL...

But I needed some neutral coloured, textured fabric to make some small fabric baskets for the bathroom and it was perfect!



Nice, huh?

Also wanted to show off this top I made before Christmas... I ripped off the pattern of a Portmans top I have, but changed the neckline.

And last night's dinner...

Pesto, prawn,tomato, fetta and basil on the left, and roast pumpkin, salami and jalapenos on the right- I love pre-made pizza dough!

January 19, 2011

A New Project

I have decided, although my wardrobe is bursting at the seams, that this year I shall sew a dress or skirt for every month... They are what I love to wear the most, but I've been getting out of the habit lately!

SO... I found this free download for Simplicity 4116 on the Sewing Patterns website, and liked the look of it. After all, who can go past a peter pan collar?

I decided to try it in a heavy knit, just for something new, and so I could get away with no zipper. In the end, I chose navy and cream Ponti de Roma from Spotlight. At $8 a metre I was persuaded, although I've always thought of ponti as nana fabric...

I cut out the front on the fold, rather than include the goofy centre front seam - it worked well! The entire dress came together very quickly, but when I tried it on with skirt attached it was HIDEOUS!!!

Note to self: stay away from the dropped waist!

I was pretty disappointed after it was going so smoothly to begin with... After a bit of pinning, I came to the conclusion that 1) the bodice was miles too big, and 2) it would look heaps better with an actual waist seam. And pockets.

So I cut off and lifted the waist, trimmed the whole dress back THREE sizes and got this:

And I quite like it! It is a bit 60s, with the contrasting collar and pockets, and goes with all my red belts and shoes... and it turns out - I quite like sewing ponti!

January 16, 2011

Summer rain

I guess like lots of people I'm feeling sad and a bit overwhelmed by what's been going on in Queensland... and a little bit angry at all the idiots who just keep going against the recommendations of Police and emergency services.

The last couple of days have brought this all closer to home, as my parent in Rochester, Victoria, have worked with others to keep flood waters out of their homes.

This is a picture of the main street... if you turn right behind that four wheel drive, and head up the road about 500 metres, you get to my parents' home. They are lucky that their house is on a small rise, but the granny flat where mum does family day care had water lapping at the top of the verandah, and bikes were floating in the yard! Hundreds of people were evacuated last night, including the hospital and nursing home, so mum and dad were lucky to be able to stay put.

The water rose to 9.14 metres... a bit higher than ever recorded. Water levels are going down this morning, but more is expected later today, as the weir nearby is beyond capacity... wish I could be there to help with the clean-up.

January 12, 2011

Treats for a special visitor

My very special friend is coming to stay for a couple of days, so we whipped up some of these this morning. (As if I need an excuse!!) These are jaffa macarons - orange rind in with the shells, and a spot of orange essence with the dark chocolate ganache.

For the sake of quality control, I have taste-tested them and, just so you know - they are DIVINE!!!