Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Wow.

I know you've all probably seen this by now, but just in case you haven't:



Jodie from Ric Rac constructed this dress entirely from selvedge.



I'm blown away by this project. Not just the time and effort it must have taken to sew all those strips of fabric together, but the pure, crazy, Crafty Lady vision behind it too.....

As people who make things, I know all of us are susceptible to looking at a vintage treasure (a quilt, for example) in amazement, marveling over the time and effort put into its creation, and understanding the links forged between women of the past and us. A link forged through quiet time with thread and needle, the inspiration that comes from thrift and necessity, the vision of women of the past, and the creative work that informed their lives.

What I think we forget, however, is that we ourselves are capable of leaving the same such legacy - a well worked and skillful project to be left for the women of the future - to be discovered packed away in a box, or at the op shop, or in a cherished family collection, for some other girl to marvel over, astounded that once there was a woman who sat down to sew this amazing thing.

This is one of those projects. I think we all have one inside us..... do you?

xxx

(thanks so much to Jodie for permission to use these photos, and for inspiring that wee bit of selvedge in my header!)

Friday, 24 October 2008

When the Red, Red Robin Comes..

I found this on Flickr today.

The whole photostream is well worth a look.....

xx

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Shop @ Home.

As promised: How to get Spotlight to find your fabric for you. Without leaving the house.

First, an explanation.

I rarely buy fabric from Spotlight, (for our International friends; Spotty is one of those big fabric chain stores) but last year they bought out a linen/cotton blend that I immediately fell in love with. I bought as much of it as I could find, and I've been making my Nongs predominantly from it ever since.

selvedge

Sadly, earlier this year, they discontinued the linen, and after visiting all the Spotlight stores I could find, I was facing having to find a replacement fabric.

*sigh*.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I recieved my regular catalogue in the mail, and saw that they had it featured on special for $5 a metre. Woo hoo! I called my local store, but they had none in the colours that I wanted. So I hit the website for more info.

Nongs In Progress

(gratuitous shot of Nongs in progress)

And thus it was, that I discovered Shop @ Home.

Basically, the deal is this. If you want a certain fabric, you call them up, tell them which fabric you want and what the catalogue price is (if you know it - if the fabric is on sale, the sale price will hold for however long it takes them to fulfill your order), and then they will get in touch with all the stores all over Australia looking for the fabric you want.

If a store has the fabric in stock, they'll call you to confirm that you still want it, and charge a flat rate postage fee of $6.95, no matter what size the parcel is. Basically, they'll do all the hunting for you, while you swan around having cups of tea and making stuffed toys. And even better, the service itself doesn't cost a bloody thing.

For me, this process took about a week and a half, and I ended up with 16 metres, nay, a FULL ROLL of the linen I wanted. And they're still hunting me down some in another colour.

I'm super impressed.

For all it's faults, cheap nasty poly cotton knockoffs and huge waiting lines of people, half of whom have forgotten to take a number, and knitting yarns with awfully high acrylic content, this is an old school service that is hard to beat. I become inordinately fond of any establishment that is willing to go an extra mile to get you what you want, and thus, Spotty has redeemed itself in my eyes.

So get shopping, ladies!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Supplies.

Lately, I have found myself in the lucky position of making more and more Nongs for custom orders and wholesale shop orders, and as a result, I've had to step up production a little bit.

I've had this post brewing for a little while, and I wanted to share a few things that have made my life a thousand times better over this busy phase -

First of all - an iron. I am an iron abuser. Like most other crafters, I'm guessing. I leave it on for hours at a time, I use loads and loads of steam, and the natural fibres I work with (especially linen) means I keep the poor thing on full heat, sometimes for HOURS a day.

Previous to investing in my current iron, I used to buy cheapies, and I went through three irons in 3 months. The last one put up a brave effort for a whole week.

Clearly something needed to be done.

Americans; you have the divine luck to be able to buy this little number:



This bit of retro styled brilliance is the Black and Decker Classic Iron. It's under 30 bucks, and everyone raves about it. We have Black and Decker in Australia, but apparently they don't think Aussie ladies warrant fabulous, retro styled irons. We get vacuum cleaners instead. Bah.

Anyways, I digress.

So instead, I invested in this little beauty:

iron

It's the Sunbeam Ultura 55 platinum.

Now before you get all "what the fuck is she rambling on about irons for?" - let me tell you - I found it near impossible to find a good review on an Australian iron when I wanted to buy one. I bought this one purely because it didn't have auto shut-off.

But here's the good bit - I LOVE IT. In an obscene, i-can't-believe-i-feel-this-way-about-an-appliance kind of way. I gets super hot on the high setting, has loads of steam, doesn't turn itself off every two minutes, nothing is stuck to the plate after nearly four months of use, and I HAVEN"T BROKEN IT YET. Take it from me. This is the iron you want.

And just when you though my nerdiness had reached whole new levels - here's a photo from my studio:

studio

I keep a big glass jar full of water on the shelf, so that when I need to refill the water chamber, there's always water right there when I need it. I used to get so annoyed when the water ran out. Not anymore. Just sayin'.

*ahem*

So, onto the next thing that has revolutionised my life:

wool stuffing

Wool stuffing.

I ordered a kilo of this stuffing a little while ago to experiment with, and the other night I ran out and had to use the poly fill stuff again. I almost cried.

I hereby swear that I will NEVER ever use polyfill again.

Not only is the wool stuff nicer, more natural, and not too much more expensive, it's so much easier to work with. I promise. No more horrible lumpy bits where you can't get the polyfill to behave. The wool stuff actually sticks to your knitting needle or stuffing tool, so you can get it to go exactly where you need to. And it's SO much more cuddly and natural looking. I love it.

So if you make anything that requires stuffing, go get yourself some here:

Winterwood Toys.

It's 25 bucks a kilo - and worth every damn cent.

I have more stuff to share, but I've run out of steam, so instead I'm gonna show you some nice things in the house today:

Some new fabrics for the ever increasing pile of Nongs:

new fabrics

This cobweb appeared overnight in the loungeroom:

cobweb

and behind it?

Puzz in Window

Sorry. Couldn't help myself.

Tomorrow - how to get Spotlight to find your fabric for you. For free.

See you then!

xxxx

Friday, 10 October 2008

Adventures in Linen and Thread.

A good pile from the op shop today:

Thrifted Fabrics

Seems there was a blue thing going on....

My favourite is this:

The Most Beautiful Selvedge

The most beautiful selvedge ever. I still can't get over vintage linens - this is a humble glass cloth, a practical everyday item - but the simplicity and gorgeousness of it takes my breath away..... I think my conversion to linen fanatic is absolute, so much so that even the loveliest cotton looks drab to me now.

In the spirit of this obsession, I have been tinkering with the idea of a new quilt. I came across some old cross stitched quilts on the internets, and I've been playing around with some ideas for constructing one of my own:

experiment in linen and thread

I would never have the patience to embroider an entire bed sized peice of fabric, so I think I'll work it in squares. This experiment was embroidered through the linen and the batting, then I sewed the squares together on the machine. The batting creates a ridge along the seams, so I thought I'd make it a feature by stitching along the ridges in white.
I then put the backing fabric on, and machine stitched next to the ridges with the zipper foot:

experiment in linen and thread (reverse)

Does that make sense?

I think the ridges would soften down and relax after a wash - I'll throw this experiment in the washing machine and see what happens. The whole thing is only about 5 inches square, and the embroidery is just a little hack-job just to see the effect, but I think on a large scale it could be quite beautiful..... any thoughts?

I'll be sure to post any progress I make - I completely forget that this is supposed to be a craft blog after all - so little of what I actually make ends up on here - I'm hoping to rectify that now that we have some beautiful Springtime light to photograph things in.....

Anyways - have a good weekend...

xxx

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

aaahhhh.... the 1960's.....

If there was ever a doubt that I look like my mother, this post should clear that right up.

My creation

Except for the afro one, that is.

You still doubt me? Perhaps this photo will help.

G&D honeymoon

heh heh heh. Sorry Mum.

(silly pictures care of Yearbook Yourself)

shit.

I've just realised that I have had an entire folder of blogs in my Bloglines closed for who knows how long.

I just opened it, and found 1212 new posts.

And here I was thinking lots of my bloggy friends had been so quiet!

What an idiot.

I'll see you all in about 20 years, once I've finished reading.......

(better put the kettle on)

xxxxx

Saturday, 4 October 2008

One Quilt - September.

This month was my month in our
One Quilt project, and as it's the beginning of October now, finished blocks for my quilt are starting to appear....

I finished my own block yesterday, and thought I should share:

One Quilt - September

I've got a bit of a thing for pinwheels at the moment, so I paper pieced the triangles together, and then appliqued the finished shape onto the white backing fabric. It's a little wonky, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'm a bit concerned that the corners might fray though - I'm sure there's some secret trick to doing perfect corners, but alas, I don't know it.

For the rest of the squares, I sent out colour coded bundles to the other 11 participants, comprised of scraps from my stash - each person got a pile of scraps in either red, blue, green or orange/yellow, plus a fat quarter of white homespun. You can see some of the scraps here:

selecting fabrics



I wanted to end up with a bright, scrappy quilt on a white background - something a bit eccentric and all over the place, so I wasn't too anal about giving instructions - and so far the results are coming up perfect:

This one from
Craftlog is right on the money - and I was hoping someone would do a log cabin - I've got a bit of a thing for them, though I've never made one myself.....



And check out this one from
Dorie - such a complex bit of piecing - I love the stars, and if I had the patience I'd love to make a full quilt in this pattern - gorgeous!




As more blocks come in, I'll be sure to share them - I can't wait to have a quilt that has been made by so many talented hands.... such a privilege, no?

Have a good weekend, m'dears.....

xxx

Friday, 3 October 2008

Puzz.

How exactly is one supposed to get any work done, with this happening on one's desk?

Puzz

And when we aren't playing with the pens, stomping on the keyboard, or chasing the cursor around on the screen, we shall retire to the filing drawers for a nap:

puzz

And just for comic value:

mrow

I promised myself I wouldn't go all Crazy Cat Lady and start devoting entire posts to my pets - how tedious of me to be just as susceptible to a cute pair of paws and a warm, purring bundle at the end of the bed......

Oh, and she still doesn't have a name. The Man calls her Puzz, and I seem to be calling her Possum quite a bit - is that like having a dog called Bird or a horse called Hamster? Hmmmm.....

Rest assured, once the name is set, you'll all be the first to know.

Before I go, I wanted to commend you all on your fine taste in whisky - who would have known that blogger ladies have secret stashes of MacCallan and Highland Park and Talisker in their knitting baskets? Actually, come to think of it, maybe I'm not that surprised after all..... !

My personal favourite is Talisker DE. Or perhaps Ardbeg 10. One of our Whisky reps at work said that drinking a good, peaty whisky should be like being hit over the head with a dirty big burnt log wrapped in seaweed. Couldn't agree more.

Cheers.

Or as they say in Scotland, Slainte Mhath.

xxx

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Thrifted Tuesday - The Best Of.....

Geez.

It's been so long since I did a Thrifted Tuesday post that I had 5 pages of new stuff to sort through!

As usual, thrifty mamas from all over have been digging up the goods to share with us:


Thrifted Tuesday

This week, because there was so many, I decided to go with the mosaic - so please click on the links below to check out the photos, and to meet some of our members! Even better, come and join us, and show us what you found.... we'd love to see it....


I'm still on a bit of a hiatus - hanging out with the cat, doing some cathedral window stitching, contemplating Spring cleaning, watching episodes of Mad Men and True Blood, contemplating my parcels from here that should be arriving soon... y'know, the usual.... I'm stockpiling things to share though, just need to take some photos - it would be so nice to have a photographer as an assistant - that way I'd only have to make stuff, and then someone else could take lush, gorgeous photos for me - *sigh*. What a nice thought.

Anyway, enough rambling.... bye for now m'dears...

xxx



1. Vintage blue pyrex, 2. Imperial detail, 3. Picnic set, 4. little ball game, 5. Thrifted, 6. Thrifted Tuesday, 7. bark cloth curtains, 8. 60s shift dress with pockets, 9. Chrystelles Sew Thrifty image 2, 10. cups, 11. Thrifted Tuesday, 12. daisy, 13. thrifted 1960's dress, 14. collection of granny squares from the op shop yesterday, 15. Thrifted dish, 16. new wooden bowls