Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A dreaded sunny day so let's go where we're happy

A couple of months ago, I put in a pre-order for a book, as one tends to do for books that one thinks are going to be pretty darn special.


it arrived.

I leafed through it quickly last night while at my stitching group, but I think I was just too tired (and probably too distracted chatting with the girls) to really notice what was in the book. But then I got home and took the book to bed with me to read a bit more, and that's when I knew that my expectations of the book had been realised. This was a special book; a bloody excellent book.


Because let's be really honest here - how could a book that recommends a cup of tea and an iced vovo as part of the project preparation NOT be an excellent craft book?

It's not often I want to make every single project in a book. I even want to make the baby projects, and last time I checked I didn't have any kids. But which project to make first?




Or ...


(He he - anyone else remember Hobbytex?)

Ok. I've decided.


To be continued ...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nothing but blue skies from now on

Today when I rode my bike to the local nursery I noticed that it was the same blue ...

Blue 1

...as the sky ...

Blue 2

They are such good blues - much better that those other blues that can completely shatter your week. So I kept riding to the bike shop nearby and bought this...

Blue 3

... with the hope it will banish the blues for a while longer.

Ding ding!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You knock me off of my feet now baby

So finally (finally!) I have an hour free to myself to post about my weekend away. I have been so frantically busy that it doesn't feel like only a week ago I was getting on the plane to come home to Canberra. It feels like years, but the memories I think will be with me for a long time.

I was having a particularly rotten week when the thought of going to Melbourne for the Stitches and Craft show first occurred to me. All the Melbourne craft bloggers were talking about it, and many had been invited to exhibit at their own stall. An email from Lara convinced me I should run away for the weekend so I booked my ticket, found a hotel, and broke the news to Mr Quiltingmick that I was going alone (he didn't mind in the slightest).

Zipper Mouth Monster
(a gift from Jodie. Thank you so much!)

It turned out that the show wasn't the only thing that was happening while I was in town. There was a crafters/bloggers dinner on the Friday night organised by the amazing Suzie, that Lara kindly put me on the list for. I
foolishly left my camera at the hotel, and I was busy gas-bagging with people all night so there are some very, um, spirited photos of me around the interwebs looking drunk (I did not touch a drop all night, except for at the end maybe ...). But as I didn't bring a camera, you will have to read about the dinner here, and here, and here, and probably also here. Thanks Suzie. Thanks Lara for putting me on "the list". I had such a great time, surrounded by amazing and gorgeous and very crafty people, including people like the girls from Ink and Spindle who I think I have bought so much fabric from in the past, and who've inspired me, with their designs, to do nothing less that special things with their fabric. Their fabrics deserve nothing less.

The dinner on Friday night was just the shot in the arm (and the kick up the bum) I needed, with regards to my own crafting, Buttontree Lane, and even this blog. As if that wasn't inspiration enough, on Saturday I went to the

I attended two workshops on Saturday - the first by Jhoanna from One Red Robin, making a woodland brooch. Gah! Such cuteness! And very Blythe-like.

Woodland brooch

The second workshop was on how to make a selvedge purse with Jodie from Vintage Ric Rac. For those who commented about the dress on my last post , yes, it was THAT dress. And I met THAT Jodie. She's lovely, funny, gorgeous, generous and just a top sort ... and I still don't think I have enough words to describe Jodie. Her selvedge creations had pride of place at the show, with their own display.

Selvedge creations

Here's the purse I made in her workshop. Ah - my very own Selvedge Purse! Jodie reckons I won't send my selvedge to her now - I fear she may be right.

Selvedge purse

The Incubator at the show was incredible and such a great idea. It showed that the crafts don't just belong to the older generation anymore - the "young ones" are catching up, and inspiring and teaching other crafters as well. I don't have any photos of the Incubator, except for this one showing how well laid out the show was. The incubator was against the wall on the right. You can see other photos of the individual stalls at Miss Marzie's blog.

The main shed at the Stitches and Craft Show

There were of course quilts to admire.

Clothesline of quilts

And fabric and patterns to buy.

Fabric loot from the show
Clockwise from top left -
Green Olive, Thea & Sami, One Red Robin, Kelani Fabric, Kristen Doran and Ink and Spindle.

Pattern loot from the show

And I saw "Handmade Nation". If you haven't heard about this documentary, and you love craft, crafty people and markets and Etsy and the internet, go and see this if you can. I don't know where else it will be played, but I loved every second of it. It showcased different artists and crafters in the US, and when one of them talked about fashioning their own culture of craft, because the culture they were in didn't suit them, I actually cried. These people were speaking my language. They want to make the world a better place - through their creations, through sharing their excitement and their joy for life, and taking opportunities as they see them.

Yes. I cried during a craft documentary.

Redwork quilt

The weekend was rounded off nicely by dinner on Saturday night (during a wild thunderstorm) with a good friend who moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago, and breakfast on Sunday morning (during a wild drizzly windstorm) with my union-ex-ABS-singing-Fiji friend Helen. I had a nice walk down Brunswick St to
Mike's (sadly not open) and then a stroll through DeGraves St, and then it was home. A much needed break, friendship and inspiration all rolled into one weekend. Perfect.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You laugh until you cry, you cry until you laugh

So how was the weekend, you ask? How was it?

Jodie from Vintage Ricrac's selvedge dress

It was bloody spectacular, actually, but I can't talk right now. Big job application due. Bigger work deadlines due. Battles with self-esteem to overcome. I'll be back in a few days.

But jeebers, I'm a lucky chook. I thought I already knew the loveliest people ... and now I know even more of them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I love autumn.

Virginia creeper

There is something about it's freshness and the changes that have yet to come. Coming from the tropics, I'd never experienced autumn until I moved to Canberra, and it's one of the many reasons why I love Canberra so much.

It's also a time when the daytime temperatures are a little less fierce, but when the sun dips below the horizon the temperature can suddenly drop. And I think autumn, more than spring or summer, inspires me to do stuff. Especially stuff around the home which has needed doing for quite some time. Painting, planting, cleaning, sorting, starting, finishing. Doing something about this wall, for instance.

Sandpit wall

But not this weekend. After the last few weeks of nine and ten hour days at work, I've been granted a few hours off tomorrow afternoon. I'm going away for the weekend by myself, but I'll be surrounded by friends both new and old.

Which I reckon will be pretty nice, don't you?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweetness follows

If there's one thing I absolutely love, it's a long weekend. A long weekend spent at home with no obligations and no plans is even better.

Although I did have a plan for this long weekend - to do nothing but relax - and so far I think I've succeeded.

This morning I sat in my sewing room and ironed some blank coloured handkerchiefs I bought a while ago. Then I went through my shelves (yes, shelves) of Sublime Stitching patterns, selected some suitable embroidery floss, and spent the next hour stitching. It was mindless, it kept my hands busy and it was a fun thing to do while I listened to the radio.

Sublime Stitching hankies

The daddy-hankies are ones I stitched years ago. I'm not too sure today's effort turned out looking much like an owl - Mr Quiltingmick reckons it looks more like a ghost from PacMan - but I think it's tarted up a plain hanky quite nicely and that was my goal.

I think this counts as project one towards my
challenge. I've already started on another stitching project, which is perfect as our next Brown Owls meet is a stitching tea party!

Tea towel in progress

Last night was an eating pizza, eating ice cream, and watching recorded crime shows kind of night. A perfect night for starting a new crochet project. I haven't touched any crochet, apart from joining blocks for bushfire blankets since I finished off my show projects, and I thought it was time for something a little more challenging than crocheted socks. I picked up
Interweave Crochet Winter 2008, flicked to the Alpine Frosted Scarf pattern, and tried to decide between the Sealing Wax (red) and Verdes (green) colours in Malabrigo Lace. I have a couple of reddish scarves already, so went for the Verdes.

But in this pattern, I very quickly became a non-fan of the Verdes, although in the light of day it looked marginally better. The shade differences are just too dramatic when crocheted with tall post stitches, and it came out looking like camouflage. So I changed yarn and went with the Sealing Wax. It's plainer and seems to be a little finer for some reason. It certainly shows the pattern up a lot better. I'm really glad I tried both though, and thank heavens for a stash that enabled me to try both!

Swatched - Malabrigo lace

Speaking of stashes, I have bought nothing this year except for some very special Wollmeise (as opposed to all that un-special Wollmeise!) and some yarn for bushfire blankets. Neither of these purchases count, especially the Wollmeise. I've used up about 17 x 50g balls this year. I'm pretty pleased with my stash reduction efforts so far. Now, if only I could stop buying books to add to my book stash!

Monday, March 2, 2009

It makes me smile

Twelve months ago I was supposed to be at Cobargo for the folk festival, but I was too ill to go away so I went to the Canberra Show instead. It was a quick, early morning visit and I think I went home and slept for the rest of the day. At that point I was moving into the second half of a year-long stint of chronic illness, endless blood tests and insurmountable anxiety levels.

I had no idea back in February last year that I would take a redundancy from my job only three months later and spend several months trying to make my life better. And it was so worth it, although it was also one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I got my health and life back, and I worked out that what I wanted to be when I grew up - HAPPY.

And I am! Life is good, and I feel blessed every day.

On Sunday I went to the show again - in great health, and very happy. I left my outer 39 year old at the front gate and allowed the inner eight year old to shake free. We had so much fun. Visions of vegetable growing glory were dreamt of, and scone recipes planned so we could enter next year. In the crochet section, where I had entered three items, I was lucky enough to get a first, a second and a highly commended.

First place - Chevron Lace cardigan Second place - baby blanket Highly commended - crocheted socks

(Yes, the blanket really was pinned to the board like that. And the cardigan has had it's neck pulled completely out of shape, and the yarn has also caught and pulled with the pinning. I don't know whether I can fix it. So while I am very, very happy I am also fairly livid at the way my possessions were treated.)

After allowing my inner eight year old to jump around and squeal like, well, an eight year old over all the prizes other people I knew had won as well, it was time to check out the cattle and the champion's parade!

Champion cattle at the Canberra Show

And play with the clowns, of course. No losers! Every child wins a prize!

Clowns at the Canberra Show

And in "other things that make me happy" news, last August I wrote an article for Mixtape zine. It got bumped to the next issue, and tonight I finally got to see the latest Mixtape for myself!

Blythe article

Ooh! There I am! Do you subscribe? You should! It's a fabulous zine and I'm not just saying that because I have an article in it. I've been a huge fan since the beginning! And the front cover this month is amazing. I would love to have this hanging on my wall at home.

Mixtape zine

And with that little brag, I'm off to bed with my zine. 'Night!