Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is ... my best op shop find

Mostly I collect Agee or Crown Pyrex with coloured milk glass, but occasionally I come across a flameware piece which is so useful and so clever that I can't resist.

Case in point - my Pyrex Flameware tea pot, with infuser. From all accounts, they are hard to come by with the infuser still included. Found at the Mitchell Salvos in January for the grand total of $5.

Thanks Betty Jo! Thanks threebuttons!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

From El Paso to Texarkana

Marina, Port Douglas

What a wonderful trip. It was warm and there was lots of mum's cheesecake and trips to Kuranda and Port Douglas and the Cairns Esplanade. No one complained about me crocheting all the way up and back on the plane. I was so happy, I didn't even snarl at the All Saints actress on the plane who said "ooh pretty knitting". I even finished another baby jacket and crocheted half a scarf.

Succulent flowers

There was all the colour of a wintertime tropical garden, and sunshine, and blue, blue skies and the smell of mangroves and the feel of salt-laden wind on my skin.

Dickson Inlet, Port Douglas

But now I'm tired - bone tired - and in a lot of pain from too much plane travel and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. I'll be back in a few, OK?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I said hey, it's an ordinary day

Washday Tuesday

I have been so busy these last few days, I have no idea how I ever did it all with a full-time job. Just today I've done and hung out three loads of washing, unpacked the dishwasher, done a party's worth of washing up, and I've only been awake for a couple of hours. I still have to sew a gazillion Blythe stockings on order, catch the bus into town, send off a dozen packages and find something fabulous for my brother's birthday and send it off as well. (His birthday is tomorrow. He doesn't live anywhere near me. I'm a bad, bad sister. The worst. Sorry D. But you will have a present to open by tea, I promise).

And I haven't mentioned the packing yet. Tomorrow afternoon I'm off to the tropical north for three days. I have to pack - nay, find - summer type clothes. I've been in jeans, long sleeves and trackies since April. No idea where my cargo pants are, or my short sleeve shirts.

Finally, because it's been gifted, here's a baby jacket I made for George's bump.

Georgie's bump's jacket

Crocheted Baby Sweater by Beth Koski (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Paton's Jet in a gorgeous avocado colour - two balls plus a teensy bit.
Hook: 5.5 mm bamboo
Notes: Most ambigous pattern EVER but I loved making this. I think this might be my new standard pattern for winter babies.

Georgie's bump's jacket

And I'm tempted to order myself one of these. I first saw these bags at the Rose St Markets in April, and I bought myself a little shoulder bag which I adore. I've had neck pain again the past few days, and I really do believe it's caused by my heavy satchel. My back is always much better when I use a backpack. Plus these ones are so well made and so damn stylish. Shall have to save up!

Well, it's midday. Time to have some lunch and get cracking on the sewing. I'll be back next week, hopefully with an Etsy shop update I can talk about.

Monday, June 16, 2008

And we could pretend it all the time

These things make me happy.

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2008

Crocheting with new friends and old at the World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) in Darling Harbour on Saturday.

Wall of prints

Shopping in IKEA is never fun, especially as I get crowd rage. But we picked up these Ribba frames on Sunday and I've just spent the morning popping in the prints I've been collecting all year. I love these prints - the two on the left are by
Claire Robertson, the owl is by Jackie Amos, the hedgehogs by Maho Satoh-Britt and the houses by Lara Cameron. Putting them up on my sewing room wall has inspired me even further to paint the room blue. Maybe on a warm winter day sometime soon, that's what I'll do.

One of the first ever sunny boy bags

After the post on Friday night about the
pouch I made, I thought I would dig out another pouch I made a few years ago which used to hold my pegs. When our quilting group was just the two of us, my friend Cathy and I would make these bags. I called them humbugs, she called them "Sunnyboy bags" after the ice block. I think Sunnyboy is a better name for them, don't you? We had a lot of fun with the quilting and using different fabrics - I was obviously in my yukata fabric phase (nothing much has changed, to be honest. I'm still in a yukata fabric phase. Long may it reign).

Owl fabric

And finally, owl fabric. Because fabric like this always makes me smile.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is ... the space in which I create

I like to think I create everywhere in my house - usually creating lots of mess! But I do love to cook and I spend a lot of time in my very yellow kitchen (file photo from when we first moved in. But it is indeed still yellow).


But most of my creating, my late night thinking, and my thinking on answers to
Norman the Quiz are done here - in my sewing room/studio/space (I always think 'studio' sounds like I should be a serious artist or something. I'm not. I just like to sew.)

This is ... the space in which I create

Bloody awful shot, but it was almost dark when we got home from Sydney and I wanted to post something while it was still Sunday. You can, however, see the end of a rather spectcular sunset through my window. And no, I haven't cleaned up. That was not the point of finding out how and where you create! I want to see the mess!

When we lived in our townhouse, we had only two bedrooms - one for sleeping, and the other for a study and spare bed. My sewing "room" was a wall in the dining room, next to the kitchen. It was far from ideal, and I hated having to clean up for visitors. So one of the reasons for moving here was the fact we had more rooms to play with. Every house we inspected was judged on whether "Michelle's sewing room" was up to scratch. And when we moved here to Downer, I got first dibs on where I wanted my space to be. I am a very lucky girl.

Thanks to
three buttons for dobbing me in for the theme this week. I hope you all had fun with it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

You can blog, you can sew, having nowhere else to go

Taking inspiration from Jodie, and singing along loudly, here is what I came up with for the bunka fabric.

Sunnyboy zippered pouch

Vintage zippers, while they look pretty, can be quite rubbish with the easy zippy-up action. But I was all about the pretty tonight so I just didn't care.

Sunnyboy zippered pouch

The pouch is a bit too small for yarn and a project, but definitely the right size for sewing notions, makeup and those little things that always get lost at the bottom of your bag.

We played a jig and we sang up big

Fabric from Amitie

My Amitie Blog VIP package arrived yesterday. I love these fabrics. I especially love the linen one - I mean with Bunka Dolls and Robots, how can you possibly go wrong? I suspect Miss Little Bo Peep is going to made into something suitably Blythe, and maybe also into a project bag because I need more of them. The linen fabric will be made into a zippered pouch - it's part of a project I'm currently working on.

And speaking of Blythes, today I shut myself in the sewing room, ignored everything and everyone, and made some dresses and stockings to stock the
Blythe Etsy shop. It was strangely comforting working with such teeny pieces of fabric. I've missed it.

Green 'shrooms & red striped stockingsDeer in the woodsOrange sailor

Oops! Posted that one before I'd finished! We are off to Sydney for the weekend - Material Obsession, WWKIP Day (and RoseRed!), the footy and Patricia await us. Should be fun - I might actually warm up!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Please don't make me rush

What gives me the rage:

  • People in the US* who moan about their petrol prices. Effectively, $4.59 a gallon equates to $1.21 ($1.28 AUD) a litre. Swedish friends have been paying over $2 a litre for years. In Australia last weekend it was $1.65 and more. You've had it good for a really long time, unlike the rest of us. Take a bus. Ride a bike. Walk. You don't need to pay that much for fuel if you're not using your Hummer or 4WD, gashole.
  • People who judge me for owning (paying off) a house. We worked hard to get where we are today. Piss off.
  • People who try to bring others down because they need to feel better about themselves.
  • My ex-employer who STILL hasn't paid me even though it was promised for Monday.

Things that I LOVE (got to elimmmmminate the negatives)

  • Waking up to the sound of rain falling on the deck.
  • Sitting in Tilley's for two hours doodling in my design book, drinking hot chocolate and watching people. Wondering who the guy with the bottle of champagne is waiting for so anxiously. Listening to the beefy hunk at the table next to me chat up two students in the booth next to him.
  • Not being at work.
  • The fact it's still raining.
  • My ladies' lunches with the girls in town.
  • WWKIP Day in Sydney on Saturday.
  • Daydreaming.
  • The fact my stitches tape comes off today.

The other day I mentioned the Purple Cardigan of Doom. Well, here it is in all it's about-to-be-frogged glory.

Essential Cardi WIP - urgh

There's a lot to be said for reading the pattern. Really reading it. Because if I had really read it, I would have noticed the little teeny sentence at the end of one of the sections that said "fold lapel back over front and stitch down. Take a look here at the finished photo. That lapel thing? Pretty and all, but when you combine a thickness of 12 ply single crochet, and a thickness of double crochet rib, what do you think you get? Right - a 1 inch thick lapel to add to your already ample bosom.

So I frogged the front and lapel again and tried to create just a plain front that I could button or use a shawl pin on. By the time I did it, I had to face up to the fact that the pattern hadn't allowed for extra length or extra armhole space when it went up a few sizes, and the collar at the back was doubling over (I was aiming for a mandarin collar), and to fix that I had to rip out the fronts again. Plus it was stupidly heavy, and I hadn't added any extra length or the sleeves yet. I hated it. So it's back to the drawing board, aka Ravelry.

Chevron Waves scarf WIP

In instant gratification news, I picked up some Vintage Hues at Spotlight yesterday for only $2.99 a ball, and came home and immediately started this Chevron Waves scarf, using my own pattern. I really love it. It'll be my bus crochet for today when I head into town for lunch, and then back into town later tonight with my old work friends for a trivia night.

* No, I don't mean all people in the US. I mean those who moan about the petrol prices.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Let's go make a living singing lullabies

Yes, still on the whole Fred thing. I'll get over it soon. Ish.


It's been a lovely and relaxing weekend. I've had a catchup of sleep as I hadn't slept much these past few weeks. I also did a bit of bike riding, a little designing for my new Etsy shop, a touch of sewing and a lot of crocheting. A lot of frogging too - I'm about to (sadly) frog an entire cardigan, but I'll blog about that tomorrow when I have photos of the Cardigan of Doom [insert imagined evil laughter].

I'm honoured to have been asked by
Angela to nominate the "this is ..." theme for this coming Sunday. Thanks Angela! So to give everyone plenty of time, let's go with

"This is ... the space in which I create"

Show us and tell us a story about your creative space. It could be your sewing room or studio or kitchen or garden or dining room table or car where you create gardens, garments, quilts, cupcakes, poetry, designs. It could be all of those places!

I'm looking forward to seeing where other bloggers do their creating!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This is ... my favourite travel memory

I'd fallen off the "this is ..." meme wagon in the last few weeks while I sorted my life out, but I decided this morning, as I was lying in bed listening to some fool setting off fireworks at 6.27 am, that it was time to start up again. So I was thrilled to log in and see Hila's suggestion - I've been reminiscing a lot lately about things such as this.

17 mile drive
Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, California

We had a tough year in 2003 and that's a long story in itself, but the opportunity came up for Mr QM to take some piss-off-and-don't-sue-us money from his employer. So we took the money and ran away to America for a month.

Train tracks - north of Santa Barbara
Train tracks, southern California Coast.

We travelled by train from LA to Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (Canada), back to Portland because we loved it so much, back to Seattle (because we hated it so much the first time and wanted to prove ourselves wrong). Then we flew back to LA, took the train to San Diego, then back to Santa Monica and back home.

Golden Gate Bridge, SF

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

It was a great trip in so many ways - it was lovely to escape the stresses of our lives, to fly by the seat of our pants, sit in Powell's City of Books all day if we wanted to, walk our way around San Francisco, and stand outside realtors' windows and dream of living in Portland one day (compared to Canberra, it was very affordable!).

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

We finally felt some peace in our lives. That's why this holiday is my favourite travel memory.

Snow trail near Mt Hood, Oregon
Snow trail, Mt Hood, Oregon

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's no holiday finding seven ways to pass the time of day

I'm really going to have to stop using Fred Smith lyrics as post titles one of these days ... but not yet. His lyrics are gold for times like this.

I finished up work on Wednesday. I wish they'd warn you how much time you'd have to spend deleting files and emails and filling in forms and doing exit interviews and arguing about money and process with HR - Wednesday was a 10 1/2 hour day and I only came home when Scott phoned me and screamed "what the HELL are you still doing there?".

It took only 10 minutes yesterday morning to realise I am not one for being idle and silent. I went to talk to the broadbeans but they didn't talk back. Disappointing bunch.


The broccoli weren't much friendlier.

English Spinach and Broccoli

(We've had to possum-proof our vegie patch - Porku Possum seems to have followed us from Emu Ridge and has taken to snacking on our broccoli seedlings and strawberries.)

Luckily the electrician came over for a couple of hours so I had someone to talk to. I did force myself to sit down for 2 hours to watch some Gilmore Girls on DVD, but it was hard. In those two hours I also made Leek and Potato Soup, Spinach and Mushroom Risotto and mixed the bread dough for rising and baking this morning, so I really wasn't sitting down that much, was I? Then I paced up and down the lounge room waiting for Scott to come home.

I'm going to have to learn how to relax.

This morning I was up earlier than I usually am when I have to go to work (this is getting ridiculous, ), and I baked bread for Scott to take to work with his soup. June Cleever, move on over.

Home made bread

It is just perfect bread, using the no-knead recipe for Domaine de l'Arlot bread. I got it from Scott who got it from a workmate who got it from the Canberra Times, but I notice the link is actually a copy of her article.

Finally, thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts. I've definitely felt your support over the last week. As much as I am delighted to be paid for doing nothing the next 79 weeks, it's been a cruel and stressful time, and I think it will take me a while to get over what has happened. So please, there is nothing to be jealous of. And while I wouldn't wish this on anyone, the piss-off money will help me bring down our mortgage and enable me to check out whether getting further into the craft business is really worth it.

*edited to add some Fred for your amusement.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


My last day at work is tomorrow. Tomorrow. I'm absolutely shitting myself, but I'm also really excited by the thought of not having to work in such a toxic environment anymore.

Plus I get to craft for the next few months. No matter how hard I try, I just can't be unhappy with that idea.

I may take some tips from Blythe Mia on the gentle art of relaxation.

Lazy autumn day

Or even this tip, this time from both Mia and Evette's Tabby.

Mia heard this was what Tabby got up to in her spare time

I'm not too sure how dangling on the line with Justin's underwear can be considered relaxing, but there you go.