Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box

Today was a cloudy, cold, windy day - the perfect preview to a Canberra winter. I'm at the end of a lingering virus and had spent the morning outside pegging out the washing. Every part of me was cold to my bones, so I had a hot shower.

I put on my favourite cardigan and my brightest crocheted socks.


I gathered up my bags and walked out the door.


And then we spent an hour drinking hot chocolate, people watching and crocheting. Well, I was crocheting - he was reading the newspaper.


It was a perfect Saturday afternoon. Even the washing dried on the line.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Friday!

By the time most of you read this, it will be Friday in Australia.

And we all know what Friday means, don't we? It's Michelle's last day in her job!! *

Here's a little something to make your Friday that little bit more tolerable. It makes me smile every time I watch it, and I hope it makes you smile too!

* and this fact fills me with both joy and terror. I've mostly enjoyed my job, but it's also been the hardest job I've ever had. Right now I am so tired. It's probably not the most opportune time to be an unemployed contractor on a deliberate break. But other things, like sanity, and painting my kitchen red, and sitting in Tilley's all day with a sketch book and a few cups of coffee are more important right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giveaway Day!

Comments are now closed, and I'l be drawing the winner on Monday. Thanks so much to everyone for your fantastic comments!

I'm participating in the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day in May!

You can win ...


A Box for Socks!!

*ta dah!!*

May Giveaway

All you have to do is comment below, and tell me what else you would use this pouch for, if not as a Box for Socks. The bag measures 3.5 inches high, 5.5 inches long and wide, and 7.5 inches across the diagonal.
May giveaway

Let your imagination go wild! I'll be closing the contest at 11.00 pm AEST on May 31st and drawing it on Monday morning. Click here if you want to see what time of the day or night that is in your part of the world.

Oh! It's a random draw, but don't let that stop you!

Thanks for entering! And if you're a new reader, welcome to Buttontree Lane!
Comments are now closed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

When "mark all read" is not the only option


I currently have 295 unread blog posts in Google reader. By the time I log on again tomorrow night I will most likely have 350 unread posts.

Having so many unread posts fills me with a dread not unlike having an unfinished and overdue project at work, or an appointment you've forgotten about until it's too late. Most of the time I cut my losses and clear my conscience and mark all the posts as read, but this time I'm going to make more of an effort.

I'm going to try and leave a comment on at least one post from each blog that I haven't read. I figure that I love getting comments, so I'm sure the other bloggers appreciate comments too. And with a blog reader, you can get so lazy with not leaving comments.

Reckon I can do it? What do you do about your unread blog posts?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Etsy was down for a few hours tonight, but I have just managed to load four box bags and a sunnyboy before I turned into a pumpkin. I love this kind of sewing - no pressure, no stress, and I know the pattern well enough by now that I don't have to think too much about how it's coming together. Well, you'd hope I'd know the patterns well, since I wrote them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I've got Friday on my mind

Yesterday was just insane and I mostly felt like I was running around like a headless chook. But it was also a fantastic day with the finale of pulling off a very nice dinner for the birthday boy. We spent a wonderful evening in the company of some of the nicest people you could ever meet, and who we are blessed to count as our friends.

Today we decided to take a breather from all the rushing and just be. An early morning breakfast at Gus' Cafe, the rest of the morning spent in the sewing room (and him in the garden), and a Sunday afternoon drive to Queanbeyan and Piallago.

And now I just need to sleep.

Speaking of the sewing room, this morning I had cut out, quilted and trimmed twenty bags ready to put together. Half of the fun in putting bags together is selecting the zippers. I have about 40 zippers in my stash, but discovered this afternoon that I only had the right colours for six of the bags. So frustrating!

However it was probably fortunate in one respect. If I'd have the perfect zip for every bag, I would have tried to make all twenty at once, and spent the rest of the week at the physio getting my back kinks ironed out.

There is a sewing fairy godmother, after all!

FIVE DAYS TO GO!! I'm getting rather excited at the thought of getting a full night's sleep without having nightmares about Excel pivot tables.

P.S. There will be bags in the shop tomorrow night - both Sunnyboy and Boxes for Socks. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the giveaway on May 26 or 27!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There’s comfort in the way that everything still looks the same

Sometimes you have to look at things from another angle to get an understanding of what you are trying to undertake. The macro function of your camera also helps.

Malabrigo lace scarf

This is a scarf I'm making from Malabrigo Lace. I really wish you could see what a lovely orangey-red this yarn is, but red under a daylight lamp at night is never a successful scenario. It's the kind of colour that has had people saying "Wow! That's a great colour!". It's Sealing Wax, and it's probably my favourite Malabrigo colour. When the scarf is finished, I have to steam block it, and all these little ice patterns will appear. Well, that's the plan, anyway.

I'm making this scarf because I find that with wearing a jacket and overcoat on the long trek to and from work, there isn't much room left in my collar for a thick scarf without aggravating the heck out of me. Mind you, in a week and one day (a week and one day!!) I won't have to worry about that dilemma for at least a month, but I'm going to continue making it anyway.

Key Lime socks in progress

I started these socks over Easter, and then stalled, and then picked them up again. Turn. Repeat. It feels like the longest sock project ever, but only because they are so fast to make and it's taking me so long. I can do a leg or a foot in a night. That fast. It's a lovely relaxing project to take to bed with me, when I'm too tired to read yet too wired to sleep. I prop myself up on a few pillows, put the oil heater on, and allow myself to be hypnotised by the stitches until I relax enough to fall asleep.

I am up to the heel of the second sock, and I really love them so far. They could become my new favourite socks.

Stamp pad

I added this photo because I love the colours in it. It's my trusty stamp pad. Sometimes I wish I could justify sourcing white paper bags for my shop packaging, because some of these stamp colours don't show up very well on brown paper. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I remember you

Autumn light, originally uploaded by kasia-aus.

I am loving:

*Kootoyoo's beautiful little crocheted accessories.

* The adventures of Parsley and Beet, two busy elephants who are not quite big and not quite small.

* Masterchef Australia. I tried to resist, I really did. But it is just. so. entertaining.

* My 19th autumn in Canberra. We didn't have autumn in Townsville.

* The promise of freedom in 1 week and 2 days

* My friends being patient with me when I constantly declare "2 weeks and 3 days!" and "1 week, 4 days, 2 hours and 20 minutes!".

* Walking at 6.30 at night, when the air is clean and fresh and the wood smoke hasn't invaded my suburb yet

* My sketch book filling up with new ideas and new designs.

Sure there are some shitty moments, but life's good. What are you loving at the moment?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Got a book full of half ideas and a heart full of wonder

So here it is - the new blog. I had started to write lengthy prose on the reasons why I've switched names, but it would have bored you to tears. I was certainly feeling dozy writing it, and I'm sure the glass of wine I'm currently drinking had nothing to do with it. So the abbreviated explanation is : community, continuity, branding, not-just-about-quilting, pretty name, ooh look sparkly new banner!

(You got bored at "branding" but perked up at "sparkly new banner", right? I know you people too well).

To celebrate the new blog I'm going to have a giveaway in a week or so, as part of the Sew Mama Sew May Giveaway Day. So make sure you add Buttontree Lane to your blog readers to keep up to date with the giveaway!

Saffron Craig fabric

I promised to show you the Saffron Craig fabric I recently bought.


Pretty, no? The owl panel will go into a quilted satchel for Brown Owls meetings, and the other fabric will go into a quilt. I'm itching to get started on both projects.


And from Japan, I received the most gorgeous little boxes of stamps. Isn't that box in the photo above the cutest thing ever? It's taking a lot of self-control not to jump back online and buy the box of letters.


From now on, people who buy stuff from me are going to get the cutest paper bags as packaging!


It's going to be a very crafty week for me. Today started with breakfast with the Canberra Souther Cross Quilters, followed by a lovely walk in the sunshine to the Old Bus Depot Markets, where they were having a wool day. There were some really lovely things to see there and much smooshiness to be felt. I was tempted to buy some Burrawool, but then realised I had a lot of undyed alpaca at home that I should use first. But instead I succumbed to some Glenora Alpaca/Silk laceweight and Waratah Fibres Wensleydale.

Glenora Alpaca/Silk laceweight

Waratah Fibres wensleydale worsted

A friend and I decided that it was OK to buy these things, as they were special and didn't come along every day. Do you like our reasoning?

Tomorrow night we have our quilting group, where we spend more time reading magazines, talking, eating, drinking, knitting and crocheting than we do quilting. But it's always heaps of fun and having it on a Monday night puts me in a better mood for the rest of the week. And on Saturday is the Handmade Market, as well as Brown Owls, where I'll be hopefully making this pincushion, and trying not to die from the cuteness.

Crabapple, sunset, autumn

I'm going to leave you with a photo of my crabapple tree, taken this afternoon as the sun started setting. It finally lost it's leaves a week ago. This tree is beautiful no matter which season we are in - from the beautiful flowers in spring, to the lush green leaves in summer, the startling yellow in autumn and the stark sculptural branches you see here. If only it fruited so I could make crabapple jelly! That would be only complaint, and it's a tiny one at that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Will we have rainbows day after day?

Since last we spoke, I:

* have made quince paste and quince jelly, and I only burnt my hand, arm, forehead and foot** with the volcanic quince paste brew. I was expecting much worse.

* discovered that paying only $8 a kilo for regular mince from Coles is not worth it when there is so much fat in your bolognese sauce that no one can eat it, even with straining. It didn't look at all fatty when I bought it. Damn you, Coles.

* received not only the Saffron Craig fabric, but some lovely wooden stamps from a Japanese seller. Soon there will be photos.

* had such a longing to make a quilt, it actually hurt. Please, please, please let me have some time off work soon.

* had a job interview ***

* baked bread using the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day book.

* discovered that I'm a fan of the smell of baking bread, but the smell of fermenting yeast not so much.

* crocheted one sock but not sewn it up.

* bought a paper shredder to make disposal of financial papers from 1991 a little easier.

* had absolutely no time to read blogs, and now I have 239 to deal with. Nope, make that 241.

* have bought air tickets for not one, but two mini holidays away.

* planted lots of bulbs in the front garden so that I can have my own mini Floriade in spring.

Pink Tulip

Between now and when we next speak, I may have:

* recovered from the sore hamstrings I sustained from planting millions of bulbs in my front garden

* changed the name of this blog

* decided whether to bake or buy a birthday cake for Mr Quiltingmick's 40th birthday dinner.

* designed a quilt.

* eaten a bit too much quince paste.

* seen at least one performance at the Canberra International Music Festival.

* applied for at least one other job.

* finished shredding the last of the papers.

* wished the Aunty Chelle Admiration Society a happy third birthday.

* relaxed.

** I burnt my foot because I took my slippers off and cooked barefoot. I took my lovely new slippers off because I didn't want them damaged by boiling, shooting quince paste. I really was not expecting the paste to shoot that far away from the pot, obviously.
*** While standing at the stove and dealing with boiling quince paste, I was also reading my job application in preparation for the interview. When I got to the interview, I took my application out of my handbag ... and the pages were stuck together with little dots of quince.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Loot, Glorious Loot - Days 2,3,4 and 5

Well, that was a bit disappointing, wasn't it? A nasty back strain on Tuesday became a big neck pain on Wednesday became a sore left knee on Thursday became a flare-up of my usual foot problem. Nice. Thank heavens for lovely massage therapists and my old pal, Mr Ibuprofen!

So I'm behind with my lootage reportage. Here's days 2 and 3, and you're going to have to be happy with this lot for the rest of the week.*

Kaffe Fassett books

On one of my trips to Melbourne this year, I popped into Readings at Carlton (as an aside, is there a better store than Readings Carlton? That, and Mary Ryan in Paddington Qld, Kinokuniya in Sydney and Powells Books in Portland Oregon would rate as my top four bookstores.) Anyway, I popped in and popped back out again sometime later with a hop in my step as I'd found and purchased my fifth Kaffe Fassett quilting book to add to my collection.

Kaffe Fassett book

I love Kaffe Fassett quilting books. They are a total riot of colour and appeal to my "break the rules" quilting methodology. His guest quilt designers, like Mary Mashuta, are quilters that I have always admired. I love the stories that go with the quilts. And the photography is always top notch, probably because Kaffe is the art director as well.

Kaffe Fassett book

I went to a lecture that Kaffe gave in Canberra a couple of years ago, existing Kaffe books in hand for signing. At one point he mentioned that he didn't sew quilts and there was an audible gasp from the adoring quilters. But I didn't care - the man has designed the most stunning fabric, and put together a collection of really amazing publications. Plus he is very good looking. He doesn't need to sew quilts as far as I'm concerned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let's now pretend it's day 3. This was the day I was going to tell you how much I love buying stuff from Japan. The packaging is always amazing, you often get little extras, and there always seems to be an aura of friendliness and joy that pop out of the envelope when you open it up!

Case in point:


I bought some fabric from A Little Goodness on Etsy, and what I got was fabric, cute paper bags, some fabric tape and reusable paper wrapping. And the cutest little note.

To top it all off, the fabric I received was pretty nice too!


* Today I may have bought some Saffron Craig fabric online. Then a couple of hours later I may have gone back and bought some more. It's for a quilt, for me. And maybe a bag too. I haven't decided yet. But I will share (photos of) the loot when it arrives, hopefully next week.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Loot, Glorious Loot - Day 1

A fair whack of stuff has come through my door in the last few weeks (I think I'm hoarding for the imminent UBC (unemployment by choice). Either that, or I just can't help myself. I'd wager a bet on the second reason, actually.

So I'm joining in with Tinniegirl on the-showing-of-the-loot. Unsurprisingly, most of this loot has been craft books. Oh stop it. Don't look so surprised.

Sewing green

I love felted goods, but the idea of me felting doesn't appeal. But I have been interested in the goings-on of Betz White regardless. Her second book, Sewing Green, has just been released to much fanfare, and having just obtained it I think the fanfare is justified.

Sewing green

A couple of the projects aren't to my taste (and this is my opinion only), but only a couple. The rest are very clever. Interspersed with the projects though are the best bits of the book - hints and profiles and examples of other crafters 'doing it green'. It's certainly an inspiring read, especially as I think every day about what I can do to live a little greener.

Sewing green

My favourite project is probably these aprons made from old men's shirts. Would love to make one, but that's another issue - too many craft books, not enough time!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And by the grace of God we will be in Massachusetts

In October and November 1996, Mr Quiltingmick and his Mrs (that's me) went to the north east of the United States, and spent five weeks travelling on the train from New York to Montreal, Canada, to Boston, to Washington D.C, and back again.

One of our stops was Amherst, Massachusetts. We had never heard of Amherst until we decided we needed a stop on the train line between Montreal and Boston - a stop that meant we could experience a New England town in fall. The guidebook revealed that it was a college town and the hometown of Emily Dickinson, and this just sweetened the deal. We splashed out on some lush B & B accommodation and arrived into the arms of a very welcoming hostess and a very beautiful town.
Amherst, Massachusetts

We spent a few days walking around Amherst and nearby Northampton, checking the book stores and the cafes, the cemetary, the college campuses and the Queen Anne Stick style architecture. It was all new and exciting and so very 'New England'. Mr Quiltingmick still reckons he'd like to retire to Amherst and make pocket money by chopping wood.

Not being familiar with the concept of an enclosed porch, we were captivated by the one at our B&B. We were encouraged to enter the house by way of the porch rather than the front door and it certainly felt more welcoming. Because we were there in fall, the porch smelled strongly of the over ripe apples that were kept in boxes on the porch. It was an amazing smell and very heady. Whenever I think of Amherst I think of that strong smell of apples. I don't think I've smelt anything like it since.


That was until today, when I brought 5 kilos of quinces into my house. I'd read of the amazing fragrance of quinces, but didn't believe it until this morning. It is a magnificent fragrance - slightly sickly sweet, strongly perfumed and so much like the smell of over ripe apples. I am going to make Quince Paste, and Quince and Orange Jelly. It might take me days to make these things as quince takes a long time to cook, but with a smell like this pervading the house I really don't mind how long it takes me. It's taking me back to Amherst, Massachusetts and that can only be a good thing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

All boxes and points

I used to be so scared of putting in zippers. Over a hundred sunnyboys and boxes for sockses later, and I don't think I'm scared anymore, Toto.