Friday, 28 February 2014

The week that was

This week I had one of those weeks. I was hoping it would be full of exciting new things and unfortunately they didn't happen. Instead it was like my full-scale productiveness suddenly came to a sad end. I haven't sewn all week though so much beckons. I have barely blogged - OK, just once - and I feel very very tired. To fill the void my evenings have instead been chockablock watching Game of Thrones Season 3, which I just had delivered. I'm loving it all over again. Brienne is definitely the best. Very cool, generally calm and with such a strong sense of honour.

I've got two more discs to go, and I can't wait.

I've tossed aside Almost English, I knew I would, and picked up this lovely book. So so lovely.

I went to this shop many years ago and loved it. Ever since then I've always bought bits and pieces that are available in Australia, though that's not much. But how inspirational!

It comes with little pocket sections with paper designs.

How I would love that stack of fabric! Or even the scarf. Or the shoes. Or the bag. Or the chair. Or the dress.

And because life at work has been a chore lately, I've been listening to lots of Podcasts. I was recommended My Brother, My Brother and Me by a friend, and I laughed so much I spat out my tea at work. No-one noticed.

I also love the very loud and quite funny rant from One Bad Mother. I would recommend turning down the volume a little, but they bring a nice groundedness (sic?) to life as a mother.

Hopefully by next week I won't be so grumpy and such a bore. The fog will have lifted and I'll be sewing like crazy again! Now, shush, I'm going back to GoT (though I do need a little chocolate and tea....)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Bedroom finished!

Rejoice! I have finally finished my son's bedroom!
My initial intention was to get it done in two weeks (I can sometimes be an ambitious person) but its been six instead. I blame the heat... I always blame the heat. Too hot to sit in front of the sewing machine and too hot to get everything in place.
Here it all is in place.

No room makeover is complete with a teeny tiny Ikea trip but I managed to control myself and only bought a quilt cover, lamp, night light, rug and bookshelf. Practically nothing!
My own work consisted of bunting, pillows, pyjama case and a restoration of his wardrobe. So not inconsiderable either.

As you can see above, the bunting looks really nice. I found some lovely spaceman fabric from Spotlight and then dug through my stores for the other two contrasting pieces. The decals I bought from Spotlight too. They were quite fun to put on. I even tried to make a little story which, of course, always ended up with the Tyrannosaurus trying to eat something.

I've shown you the pyjama bag before but here are the pillows. Yes, a theme of dinosaurs and spacemen. Wish my room was like this.
Overall I think it turned out really nice! As a little extra something I also dug out two toys I had made for G years ago - a Bantha (from Star Wars) and a little gnome (from when he was a baby).

All I am hearing now is, of course, my daughter C nagging me to do her room. I feel a little depleted!

On a bookish note, I brought home a lovely one from work today. I've been following the comings and goings of Sophie Dahl for many years. Not with any great level of dedication but I admired her from her modelling days when she was so popular. And so voluptuous! 
OK, it's also because her grandfather was Roald Dahl.
She's a cook too! This is one of her books...

Beautiful photography as you can see. Really inspirational. She's not a large person anymore but her recipes are still really interesting and very comforting. A little waffly on personal stories but the recipes look delicious. Will definitely try them out.

What have you been cooking lately?


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Photo Safari

As part of my homework for the course Blog with Pip (I use the term loosely - this is fun, not mind-numbing drudge), I am to do a photo safari of my weekend. Very lucky to have had a rather pleasant weekend behind me. Now that I have a blog, I tend to take a lot more photos anyway so it wasn't too hard.
So here they are. Explanations come after each photo.

Every weekend we go to Belair National Park which is just up the road from us. Even though the week before there was an uncontrolled bushfire raging there, last weekend it was as if nothing had happened. The long very hot Adelaide summer has taken its toll though on some of the trees. This lovely conifer has shed more than half of its foliage. Lets hope it recovers.

Here are some of the leaves. They look beautiful all piled up but it does show the tragedy of how much stress these trees are under. A rather strange woman asked me what I was photographing so I showed her. Wasn't impressed funnily enough.

The lake is a little lower in level. Well, a lot lower (the sign is usually in the water), but I was heartened to see what we call the Mystery Island was still unreachable. Phew.

You don't usually see koalas drinking water on ground level during the day, but he/she was obviously desperate. We watched it for about 5 minutes and she didn't move from her spot. Just slowly lapped and lapped...

Look at this cheeky chap? I like the little head cocked on its side. He spotted the bread we were holding and bold as brass, loped up to us waiting patiently and with a curious twinkle in its eye. I like magpies (or maggie's as most Australians call them). I like their chat and chortling. The slight eye-pecking threat is also interesting.

There - that was a snap of my weekend.
It'll probably be the exact same this weekend. I like that.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Valentine's Day, reading and MONSTER TRUCKS!

As I said last week, I had been working on a little something for Valentine's day for my husband. Let me make this clear, we don't go berserk or overboard on that special day. My husband once said that the sight of couple's sitting in restaurants on that day depressed him. He calls them knuckle nibblers.
So ever since then we've kept it simple. This time I kept it craftily simple.
Years ago I bought this pattern for men's sleep shorts online from Made By Miffy (and I think it's no longer available). I bought the fabric too - a gorgeous spread of Tiki memorabilia. I cut out the pieces and then... LEFT IT FOR 3 YEARS.
Now I've finally finished it! Here it is! What do you think? I think they're rather snazzy and my husband loves them and wore them that very night. And they were mostly very easy. I can't say I want to sew on an elastic waistband ever again, but the rest was no problemo.
Here's a lovely photo - no, that is not my husband.

So after all that time... a long long time, they're finished. Add to that a cute little cupcake from Michel's Bakery and presents were complete.

Lucky me received a rather delish box of Haigh's Truffles. They lasted two days. While the kids backs were turned I sneaked them from the fridge. It's always hot here so I have to keep them there, chocolate afficionados, so please don't be angry. 

If you don't live in Australia, Haigh's chocolates have a cult following and are made here, in little old Adelaide. So delicious. You should look at their site. Then you'll understand.

Greedy, greedy me. 

On another note, I've been reading again. I finished An Iron Rose (got a little bored 3/4 of the way through - does he have to have sex, real or imagined, with every woman in the book?) and have now started on Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson. Hmm. I'll see how I go. I'm not enraptured at the moment and I'm 50 pages in. Life's too short, in my opinion, to persist too long with a book that's not grabbed me within, say, 80 pages. 30 more to go until the dice is thrown.

And on an even lighter note, the four of us went to see the Monster Trucks at Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide! I had quite low expectations but it was brilliant fun! I may even have punched the air a couple of times. Ok, I actually did. As well as doing lots of "Whoo-hoo!"'s.

I'm a convert.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Taking stock

This is the week to Take Stock (thanks Pip Lincolne!)
This is the kind of thing I can do lying on the floor. Lovely.

Making : a Valentine's Day present for my husband
Cooking : frittata
Drinking : Earl Grey Tea
Reading: An Iron Rose
Wanting: a cool change
Looking: at a smoky Adelaide at dusk
Playing: with my children
Deciding: what to write in my next post
Wishing: I could get a new job
Enjoying: being together as a family
Waiting: for the weekend
Liking: the idea of making more things
Wondering: why the children still aren't asleep
Loving: my husband very much
Pondering: our future together and where we will be
Watching: Spies of Warsaw and The Sopranos
Hoping: that the rain will come tumbling down
Needing: a little square of chocolate
Smelling: hot stale air
Wearing: a nightie
Following: lots of student blogs
Feeling: tired, sweaty but crafty
Admiring: the lovely cushions I made for my son
Sorting: out the mess on the dining room table
Buying: a bangle
Giggling: at the conversation I can hear my children having downstairs
Feeling: like its been a long week
Snacking: nope
Coveting: lots of things!

Why not give it a go yourself?


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"Forgive me Father, it's been two days since my last blog" because it's too damn hot to write and think about things (anything?). For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere suffering through floods and snow, we in South Australia are suffering through our hottest summer, ever. Every day seems to be somewhere in the 40's (109 F) and it's really difficult to get motivated to do anything other than sit directly in front of our one little window air conditioner and loll. (Loll... somehow that just doesn't look right)
It's not stopped me from doing a little making, something that I can't share until after Valentine's day as I've made something for my husband. But I've tried to spend my time wisely by watching some excellent television.

This is a really great short series. Now, I wasn't  huge Doctor Who fan (please forgive me), but I really liked David Tennant in the role and what he made of it. But good on him for moving on to something more. And this is definitely more. I've only watched one episode but it is gripping. Excellent acting, brilliant supporting cast and I love the way he looks totally convincing in his 1930's garb, as it often can be difficult to recreate the period, costume-wise, hair and make-up-wise. Certainly has given me some sewing inspiration.

See, he looks good doesn't he?

And when I don my glasses at night to read in the comfort of bed this is what I'm picking up.

I'm not a crime novel person, but watching The Broken Shore on ABC TV the other night it made me realise that I had one Peter Temple novel I haven't read yet. And it's great! Easy and flowing, the pages just skim by. I get the sense that it's directed more at men, but maybe the same could have been said for the The Broken Shore on television. Both of which I am/did find utterly enjoyable.

See, it's not all wasted time (says I lolling on the floor again).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sewing project number 2.
This time I started sewing from the brilliant Japanese sewing book Sweet Dress Book.

I loved this top on the cover so decided to make it in this beautiful fabric I found in Spotlight (gosh, I really love Spotlight, could spend all day there).

This was so easy to make and should have been a complete and utter delight. Except smarty pants me decided to make some changes. I thought the tie back (in a hospital gown type way) would be a little awkward as I just wanted to wear this on its own and just with a bra. Didn't think everyone wanted to see the back of my bra and I'm not a hang loose kinda gal. So I thought I'd just make it a solid piece. Excellent. Then, because the pattern said it was loose fitting I thought I would make it smaller - I've referred to my Euro body type before I think. Therefore, instead of my usual medium, I made a small. Lovely.

Nearly finished the whole thing, just had to piping neckline to go, and thought I would try it on. Uh... no. Could barely get it over my head and when I managed to pull it on it was so unattractively tight (my goodness, I can't tell you how unattractive) that there was no way I could save it.
Moi had a brilliant idea! Rather than throw it out I dragged my daughter Charlotte out from her Minecraft reverie, popped it over her head, pinned it to fit, and voila, she now has a lovely tunic top!
She seems less than impressed, as when I bought the fabric from Spotlight she said at the top of her voice "that is disgusting, I HATE it". That'll server her right. Now its hers!

Got home from work, childcare and school pickups and right there in the postbox my favourite little delivery. How much do I love this magazine? Muchly much!

What's your favourite magazine? Let's not venture into the "R" rated territory please!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Yesterday a friend at work showed me a fantastic site that allows people to receive postcards from anywhere in the world. I thought this was a really lovely idea. My children I am sure would love to help me get involved and I intend to buy some interesting postcards tomorrow and see how we go.
There are even collectors who ask for specific postcards. Even stamp collectors. I remember as a youngster always loving the Polska stamps, though at the time I did wonder if it may be a little bit of scam!

Why not give it a try?
I think I would love as many postcards as possible from Japan.

We bought these fabulous little postcard books years ago. I haven't taken them out of the display cabinet for years but they're really wonderful. It was good fun looking over them again.
Here's a little peek for you!

Do you have a favourite postcard?


Thursday, 6 February 2014

I made my first outfit from the book Simple Modern Sewing!

Another great Japanese sewing book filled with covetable and eclectic clothes. It only took me two hours to make and was very easy. Thought it might be best to start with something simple rather than find myself in a depressing fug of not being able to work out the instructions or trying to see intricate details on the pattern while tracing.

I chose the navy spot fabric that I mentioned in an earlier post and in one way I regret it. My eyes! Jiggly juggly dots in front of my eyes constantly and by the time late evening had set in I could barely see at all! Having said that, it look rather nice as you can see below - except for the ironing of course.

A couple of alterations - need to make it a little narrower (my Euro body needs some encouragement not to look like a pudding) and shorten the sleeves slightly and I'm done.

But, hey, check out this awesome dressmakers dummy! It actually belongs to my older sister but somehow (not sure how) I have it. This treasure does bring back a bit of a scary memory from childhood though. The dummy was set up in her bedroom and every time I walked past and the door was open, I would chant to myself with eyes averted "don't look at the dummy, don't look at the dummy, don't look at the dummy", with the full knowledge that if I did, it would move.
I still feel a little like that! Blimey, what if I find it standing at the end of my bed tonight???

Two things to decide today - what will I make next and what will I read next? (all about me isn't it?) The second question may be a little easier. I think I'll have a little rest from Eyrie by Tim Winton and seeing as I have this many books to read (!) ...

... I'm sure I should be able to find one. Is it ok do you think to revisit Pippi Longstocking? This is the volume I have - how beautiful is that?

I may be a little over the age of 6 but I've always liked Lauren Child's illustrations (how could you not love Charlie and Lola?)
By the way, how about those blue fingernails? My 8 year old daughter Charlotte said "Mum, they look ridiculous". I call it growing old disgracefully.

And quickly before I go, look at my library. Shameful. This is a weekend job...

So what are you reading at the moment? Please share - I'd love to know!


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Two great things have happened already today and it's only 1.30!
This is what I woke up to this morning.

Our beautiful cactus out the front of our house flowered. This only happens once a year and always at night. Stunning! All closed up during the day, but beautifully ethereal at night. I will try and do a night shot tonight hopefully.


I finished my book last night! Jim Crace writes really beautifully and this was no exception. It won the Whitbread prize a few years ago, and I had never got round to reading it. Finally did and am glad.
Crikey, look at the pile of books underneath that are still to be read! Having a lot of trouble getting into Eyrie by Tim Winton but I hear I'm not alone so it gives me hope!


Wow - couldn't even get through the day without blogging again!
My four days a week job is Library Acquisitions Officer, which to break it down, means I buy library books for public libraries. Sounds enviable I know! And I have the reputation within the company for being their best in-house customer. I can't help it! - buying adult non-fiction, graphic novels and adult fiction is a temptation that's often too difficult to resist.
Here's what I had delivered today. I just love these kind of books. I now have the whole set!

These are so beautiful. They come with patterns, which means I can't buy them for the public libraries but I can certainly buy them for myself. I've unearthed a lovely navy spot cotton which I'm sure I can put to good use.
Not to mention that they will all look very nice lined up on one of my bookshelves. 
Yes, I'm a collector.

Monday, 3 February 2014

As part of my new years resolution I have started decorating my son Griffin's bedroom. Currently he shares his big sisters room but now she has declared that she wants her room to herself. And rightly!
So, I had the enviable job of deciding how to do his room. And one of the starting points was to make some things. And here is the one of the very first things - a very cute pajama bag that he can store his various dinosaur pajamas in.
This project came from Pip Lincolne's book Sew La Tea Do. I really love this book. I made the Lion pajama bag for my daughter Charlotte previously and that was really great and easy.

This is always how I work - cup of tea close by (Earl Grey leaf thank you) and sitting on the lounge room floor!
Glueing done.

Closely following instructions.

The final product! Looks really sweet, really badly ironed, but it was very easy to make. I had a Pink Panther pajama bag when I was little and I LOVED it, so I hope this makes a little bit of an impression.

More to show tomorrow!


Day 1

Day 1

Well hello world!
This is (obviously) my first post as a bona fide blogger. A daunting task ahead I feel, but necessary.
This is the year when changes will be made, life will be better (crossed fingers) and there will be hope that the future is brighter.
About me - I'm a reader, a big reader, a crafter, a mother of two and a very devoted wife to a very busy husband. I live in Adelaide, Australia, so it's very hot in summer and nice and mild in winter - though I would prefer it the other way round!
I'm a bibs and bobs kind of person. My day job is Library Acquisitions Officer but when I'm home I'm a reader, a cook, a player of games and a keen crafter. Sometimes everything is a bit boring and sometimes everything is great. As you may be able to tell, today it's great!
I look forward to spending some time with you and hopefully inspire and be inspired by so many things, places and people.
Louise x