Monday, November 30, 2009

Summer photo #1

Raindrops, originally uploaded by quiltingmick / michelle.

It's the last day of Summer Spring, and we've been treated to cool temperatures and rain showers all afternoon. I took this photo during a sun shower. To me, tomatoes seem to come with the promise of warm weather - even though we've had a lot of warm weather in the last month or so. This week I'm happy for it to stay a little cooler, and for my tomatoes to keep getting their water from the sky.

This summer I've joined in with Jodi to post a photo of summer each Monday. As much as I don't enjoy the extreme heat of our Canberra summer, I do love everything else that comes with it, like swimming, Christmas and sitting under the elm tree. Can't wait.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My creative space

My overlocker is back and it's fixed! Hooray! Not much sewing is happening at the moment though. I have a pile of fabrics to cut for sunnyboys, and this week a big box of vintage sheeting arrived courtesy of Cathy! . Lovely girl!

Oh, and an art folder from Poppy, Bean and Bloss. It's so clever and cute and practical, it really deserves it's own post.

I'm doing my first market (eeek!) in two weeks, sharing a marquee with Michelle from Poppy, Bean and Bloss at the MOCCA super fete and market in Manuka. Of course markets mean stock* and I have none, and I am busy or away for the next two weekends. Ooops! Wish me luck!

Head to Kirsty's for more!

* markets also mean being organised, having labels, having change, having a cashbox, props, bags .... and probably thousands of other things that I haven't thought of yet!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting some perspective

A month or so ago, a customer got in contact with me and made some very helpful suggestions for my Etsy store. She suggested that I include photos of the vintage sheeting I use as the lining for each bag, and also to include an item next to the bag so the customer could better relate to the size.

Apple for size #2

I thought they were both great ideas, and the search was then on to find a suitable item to compare size that everyone could relate to. I could use a cotton spool, but not everyone sews. If I used a jar of vegemite mostly the Australians could relate but not many other people. A ball of yarn? A lot of my customers aren't knitters or crocheters, so would they be able to work out what size I was comparing the bag to?

Apple for size

I ended up deciding on a medium-sized apple. Hopefully the concept of the medium-sized apple is the same the world over!

The shop has new stock and new photos in it. There will be more in the shop on offer once I get my poor, sick (and very old) overlocker back from the sewing machine repair guy. I haven't been able to sew all weekend and I'm getting a little twitchy, although thankfully the weekend has happened at a furious pace so the twitchiness hasn't been as bad as expected. Hopefully it's back with a clean bill of health very soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My creative space - lunch duty

Lunch Duty, originally uploaded by quiltingmick / michelle.

On most mornings my creative space is at my kitchen bench. Lunches are not my forte. I can't handle eating boring sandwiches, so I try and get a little inventive so I can enjoy my lunch and not be tempted to eat out most days.

A couple of years ago I got some Fit & Fresh containers - one a bento-style lunchbox, and the other a salad container. They come with ice packs which was handy when I rode my bike to work in the hot weather. Earlier this year I discovered a Flickr group for not only photographing your Fit & Fresh lunches, but all lunches! So exciting to see what people take to work for lunch ... although maybe that's just me. So most mornings I photograph my lunch and add it to the groups, because I'm a bit weird like that.

For more!

Edited to add - these are not kids' lunches. They're for me! I don't feed my children anything ... mainly because I don't have any.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can't sew - too busy being inspired

Handmade Nation

My copy of Handmade Nation arrived today. Thanks Justine!

I enjoyed watching it this time even more than when I saw it in Melbourne in March (and that was fabulous in itself, because Faythe was there).

I did feel guilty not attending to my sewing obligations. However I think the inspiration I gained was worth it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bean there, done that

Today I stripped six broad bean plants of their beans to make way for some more tomato plants. There are still ten broad bean plants standing.

Broad bean harvest

I spent the afternoon shelling them, but not all in one go. I'd sew for a bit, shell some beans, sew a bit more, shell some more, have a drink and a sit-down, shell. Repeat. It was kind of fun. Mind-numbing fun, but fun just the same.

I woke up at 6 am today, and not by choice. Bloody hayfever. I ended up in the sewing room, drugged to the eyeballs, and made a big effort on the sunnyboy sewing. By lunchtime I had eight all made, and that was with my usual Sunday swim-and-coffee in the middle of the morning.


Eight down, eight to go.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Amanda, Amanda, Amanda!

It's finished, and I love it.

Burdastyle Amanda

This pattern was a total pain in the posterior. Not only was the waist casing pattern missing, so were the instructions for the waist casing. On top of that the rest of the instructions were absolutely wretched.

My first attempt at this blouse took about 3 hours of sewing and millions of hours of pattern decipherment. But I love how it's turned out, and I will make it again because, dude, it will only take me 3 hours now I've mastered Burdastyle-speak.

Burdastyle Amanda

I made it in cotton voile in lieu of the recommended chiffon, because I live in Canberra and it's bloody hot here in summer and I need to wear cotton. I saw some pretty printed voile in the fabric shop today which will be perfect.

At the moment though any plans for more Amandas are on the backburner. Now that I can move the red thread off the sewing machine and the overlocker, I can finish off my sunnyboys. They are well overdue.

Burdastyle Amanda

Just let me cut that loose thread off first, OK?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My creative space

Last weekend I was forced to stay indoors due to chronic hayfever, and I got a lot of sewing done as a result. But then the working week rolled around again, and the sewing table became the locals' dumping ground again.

Messy again

But never fear - this time it was my rubbish and I didn't let it get out of control. Five minutes after this photo was taken it was clean again and my projects sorted out. These are my two major projects for this week.

Ready to be made into bags

A monster batch of sunnyboys and boxes, already quilted, waiting to be sewn together and sent to Material Arts in Braidwood. Some will be for my Etsy store. The Ink and Spindle fabric which arrived yesterday will be made into some very nice bags indeed, but in the meantime I think it is too pretty to cut out and I'm just admiring it. Often.

Amanda blouse

My Amanda top. It's looking pretty good so far, and I only have a few more parts to construct and add on. But a big thumbs down to BurdaStyle's silly and illogical instructions. I've been sewing from patterns for 18 years and have never been so confused. The fact that there is a missing pattern piece (and corresponding instruction) from this pattern is not helping me at all. Still, it means the next Amanda top will be a heck of a lot easier to make, given I've wasted so much time already.

And as you can see on the chair in the first photo, I have a lot of mending to do too - four blouses and a pair of trousers need to be taken up. But those can wait until the weekend, I think.

Want more creativity?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My creative space

Amanda, originally uploaded by quiltingmick / michelle.

I've been a bit meh with sewing for others and for the shop and gallery. It's time to sew for me, I think. The weather has warmed up, and my mind is a-flutter with ideas of what I can make myself.

Enter BurdaStyle. My creative space today is what happens when I glue and sticky-tape 18 pages together to make one gigantic sheet. I'll wait for everything to dry and then I will cut out the pieces. I'm making the Amanda blouse in cotton voile. In red, of course. I hope it turns out OK.

You know where to go for more creativity. Go on.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adventures in a Canberra Kitchen

Finally my broad beans are doing something, albeit wee little bits of something. It looks like I will have to leave them in a little longer than expected but that's OK. We found room for two tomato plants and we will plant another four plants when the beans have finished.

We have a public holiday here in Canberra today. It's actually called "Family and Community Day" and was a reaction by our local government to the WorkChoices legislation brought in by the last government which banned union picnic days. So the ACT Government, bless their little red socks, gave us a holiday that all, not just blue collar workers, can enjoy. This year I took the Monday off work too, so it's been a fun-filled four days, let me tell you.

It kind of sucks that the holiday happens on Melbourne Cup Day, as we miss out on a champagne and sweeps-filled boozeup at work while watching a horse race that I couldn't give two hoots about, but all that changes next year when the holiday moves to the first Monday of the school holidays, when the timing will just suck for children and their teachers. Plus next year it falls on my birthday, which is so nice. Thanks, government.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, my broad beans.

See, yesterday I got this book in the mail - Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier, a recipe book based on the blog of the same name. In a moment of good luck and fortune the book opened at the page with a recipe for Fava Bean and Mint Frittata, fava beans being the oher name for broad beans. So I made it.

Broadbean (fava) and Mint Frittata

Admittedly my beans were a little on the teeny side, especially by the time I'd double-shelled them, but the feral mint that grows near the back step was just fine. The frittata didn't rise as much as I would have liked, but next time I'll whisk the eggs more and bake it in a smaller dish.

And another photo, because food looks (and tastes) much better in vintage Pyrex.

Broadbean and Mint Frittata

And now another photo showing you the perfect lunch for the hot scorching days we've been having lately, and also proof that you can have salad without tomatoes, and lunch without bread. I mix together massive amounts of homegrown (feral) lettuce and snowpeas, some capsicum and carrots grown by someone else, and a can of flavoured tuna. Drizzle some balsamic and olive oil on top and lunch is served, ma'am.

Monster Tuna Salad

Zipper me this

This is the photo I took at 6 o'clock this morning, an hour after I got out of bed due to a bad dream that I couldn't shake. Don't you hate those? The bad dreams? Luckily it was nice and cool in the house after a couple of really hot days, so with a cup of coffee and the radio on I was a happy girl in my sewing room, dream almost forgotten.

I've just put my etsy shop on vacation for the next week or so. In case you are wondering what I am up to, don't worry - it's not permanent. I'll be back with new stock and better photos soon. I had to consolidate my stock and work out what I needed to make - with a request for bags for a school fete this Friday night, and also a re-stock of bags for Material Arts in Braidwood.

Speaking of Braidwood, the quilt event is on at the end of November. I haven't been for a couple of years, but I am going this year on Saturday, for the airing of the quilts. One year I might also enter a quilt into the show.

But of course, that would take some kind of organisation on my part.

I don't want to push it.

In the meantime I have 25 bags in various stages on unmade-ness that need my attention. Thank heavens for public holidays, hey?