Monday, December 21, 2009

xmas stockings

Finally, we are spending a christmas at our own home, and our 3 1/2 year old is old enough to get excited about christmas. I planned to make something more intricate and beautiful than this, but in the end, there is limited time between putting the kids to bed and feeling too tired to sew... and when the 3.5 year old is awake, he is always at my elbow asking me what I'm doing and trying to press or turn knobs!
And so what we have is functional. Maybe I can embellish it in future years. A benefit of making your own is you can control the size...
Firstly I cut out a template in baking paper, and pinned it to a doubled over bit of red felt, and cut it out.
Secondly, I glued a strip of white felt over the top using craft glue, and pinned a loop of ribbon at the top of the boot.
Thirdly, I sewed around the edge, and trimmed the uneven edges.
Finally, I stuck on the christmas tree.

What I'd do differently: I bought the felt a while ago. You could easily recycle red or green pillow cases or whatever to make these. You could do patterns with applique, which would be more sturdy than glueing on felt.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

hey good looking what's cooking?

Well in this instance, gingerbread cookies and pfeffernuze. Spent a few hours late Sunday making mixtures, wrapped them and popped them in the fridge, then baked early Monday. Thanks to the (half)naked chef for last minute dash to the shops for ingredients I'd forgotten, use of funky kitchen equipment and not complaining even once about coming home to biscuit factory after a day spent at work serving food.

One only just realised hazard of the 'lets bake biscuits for Christmas' caper however, is the 'gee my porridge is taking ages to cook I might just have a few biscuits for breakfast' syndrome. Give me a beard and call me Santa, as I rub my rolly poly Christmas biscuit belly.

But am I deterred? Not in the slightest. This week - Miss Ali's passionfruit butter cookies I think...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Jolly little fellow and sea horses

Paintings (well oil pastels and collage) I did for Miss Astrid and Mr Ethan. Click on the image to get remarkable larger than life detail.

Note to self - oil pastels also need time to dry - not nice as a gift when sticky!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stitch and be-arch

Pics from the second crafternoon..

-Miss Nic drawing this time
- Mango Mitzu doing stripey scarf with mixed wools, using up ends of balls, knitting lengthways with great tassles at the end
- Snap Dragon knitting a great brown wool top with funky neckline
- I think I did some mending that day - nothing glamorous

One lazy crafternoon...

The girls came over for crafty fun a couple of Sunday afternoons this winter.

Here are some of the projects:

- Mango Mitzu's knitted gauntlets in hand me down acrylic rainbow yarn
- Miss Nic's refashioned summer dress featuring new adjustable fabric ring to pull sleeves in and create adjustable neckline
- My removing of sleeves and hand sewing of hem around arm holes on nice silk chiffon print dress from Vinnies

many cups of tea and much fun was had by all.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Vicariously knitting

These pics taken as I walked past a nice warm looking knit-in at a shop somewhere.. um...Lower East side? in Manhattan on recent very fun trip to NY. At the time I think we were power walking our way to wards a gig, but a teensy part of me wished I could join these ladies instead for some groovy intercontinental knitting and perhaps a cup of tea.

Creative winter workshops

Thought some of you might be interested in these. Sally is amazing, really patient and grounded, sets up a great space for play and remembering what's important to you. She has a background in art therapy but is also trained as a career counselor and is a practicing artist herself. Imagine her workshops would be a great way to refresh and refocus.

Treasure Maps
"Dare to dream. Care to collage. Create a picture of your heart's wishes. No art experience is necessary - just BYO (Bring Your Openness)"
Saturday morning 13th June
10am to 1pm in Glebe
$75 inc materials

Creative Flame
"What do you love doing? What ignites your spirit? How might you be light-arted?!
Spend a couple of mornings in a cosy, safe space playing with art materials and journalling. Create pictures to help sustain you through the heart of winter and beyond."
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July
10am to 1pm in Glebe
$150 inc materials.

Contact: Sally Swain
sally [at]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kokeshi dolls: friends for life, not just a summer or a spring...

Sorry for cheesy title.

Spotted a Kokeshi doll kit in a toy shop when I was buying my nephew his birthday present, and thought it looked like a fun project. The dolls came blank, and the kit came with paint, brush, and varnish. I thought it would be a nice present for #1 child to give to #2 child when they're born.

Detail was fiddly to do with the arms stuck on - would have been better to have the wooden bits, paint them separately, then stick them on once painted. But it was a fun exercise, and they look cute!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

arty craft

Two exhibitions featuring textile works that people might be interested in:

Fashion Craft: Fashion Technology
Various artists
UTS Foyer

27 April - 19 May

Coinciding with the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, Fashion Craft: Fashion Technology showcases two exhibitions that consider the relationship between craft and technology in future fashion and textile design.

Fashion Craft: Drawn Threads exhibits contemporary, collaborative works between UTS fashion and textile designers,students and members of the Embroiderers Guild of NSW.

Fashion Technology: The Rip Curl Project features the work of third-year fashion & textiles students who have created the unlikely re-production of jackets made from the off-cuts of old Rip Curl wetsuits.

Fashion Craft: Fashion Technology will be held in the UTS Tower Building, Level 4 Foyer. Broadway, Ultimo, short walk from central Station. Sydney Australia.

Forgotten Fragments

Sarah-Jane Cook
At The Vanishing Point - Contemporary Art

23 April – 3 May 2009

South Australian artist Sarah-Jane Cook unveils a body of work entitled Forgotten Fragments stemming from a collection of everyday notes and lists collected over a period of thirteen years. From the mundane to the bizarre, Cook has reconstructed and decontextualised the notes, lists, reminders, tallies, jots and messages by presenting them as embroideries on doilies, handkerchiefs and canvases in a gallery setting. Forgotten Fragments investigates the marks left by human interaction, either written or verbal and the transitory words and pictures that are no longer with us.

Drawing on personal experiences as an individual of mixed origins Cook has been drawn to investigating the day to day activities, beliefs and rituals of others around her, predominantly addressing universal notions of ethnicity and its impact on one's own sense of origin and how time and place can influence the life of an individual.

Sarah-Jane Cook graduated with Honours in Visual Art from the University of South Australia, Adelaide in 2005. She is currently undertaking an artist in residence program at Petersham Town Hall under Marrickville Council’s Local & National Artist Residency Program.

At The Vanishing Point – Contemporary Art
565 King Street Newtown NSW 2042

Both are FREE entry, all welcome.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

beady little prize - part 1

These beads are from 2 different multicoloured necklaces, neither of which I liked much in their entirety, but I did have a yearning for some beads in the brown register, to go with my brown boots and a few specific wintery dresses. I pulled them apart and separated out the beads I thought would be nice together.

Finished product was put together while I sat on the couch watching tellie one weeknight last week. Photo of finished product to follow.

skirting the issue

This skirt is the first wearable thing I ever sewed - five bazillion years ago, with Ambiguity's help. later, I took up the hem because I wasn't sold on the length, printed on some of the leftover fabric, covered these buttons with it, and hey presto - detail. Wore it last week for the first time since the remodelling.

very bunny

This little softie is the completed version of one I posted earlier while still in progress. She is a funny little bunny, with button eyes and cotton thread stitching, with recycled bed linen straight from the 1960's.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

your correspondance correspondant

These pics are of some writing paper I decorated for miss Alison, now that she has moved away from the Emerald City and may need to take to her writing desk and pen darling notes for people about gardens and the weather and who she saw at the local markets. Or whatever.

I started with some geometric, art deco inspired jewel coloured pages...

And then got progressively less stylish and more silly as I decided everyone needs writing paper decorated with unconventional images of classic pairs:
- cow and glass of milk
- foot and shoe
- great hairstyles of history
- sun and moon, and my fave
- beer and packet of chips

All done with pen and water colour.

Riotus fun with ribbon straw

A girl at work's grandmother was cleaning out her shelves, and my friend thought that I might like this one. It's a series of patterns for nifty clutch bags and purses to make out of 'ribbon straw' (which I also know as raffia). Aint they neat? If anyone feels inspired and thinks they can use this pattern to create accessory gold, just answer this question this simple style question in comments to be in the running.

Q. Ribbon straw handbags are:
a) super cool
b) naff and scratchy to boot
c) a great opportunity for reworking old styles using funky new materials and smokin' colour combos
d) way too small for all the crap I lug around daily on my shoulder
e) baffling
f) other (please specify)

Winner to be notified within the week, and I will send said lucky reader pattern in the post. Aaah - is this the first 'making groovy things' giveaway?

I wont take it personally if no-one enters and will assume that a non-answer pertains to an answer of 'b' or 'd'.

woof woof

This little felt puppet is not something I made, but thought I'd share anyway. Felted by hand in Nepal, but designed in Australia, aiming for fairish trade. One of a few enterprises doing that with Nepalese feltmakers I think. It was a present for Master Fitzk on his first birthday a couple of weeks back. Website in photo below.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Just for completeness I thought I'd post pictures of the quilt that mum made out of the fabric squares I painted some while back. Nicely paded and snuggly looking I thought, and the touch of colour she added to make the pics match the backing fabric and sheets also cool. Clever quilt making mum!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Zero zero zero zero zero zero one*

This creation isn't mine, it was made by my lovely Mum for my baby brother (who is modeling it). A very cool use of a cardboard box, some old air conditioning hosing. He loves it and happily put it on to show me when I was visiting at Christmas time, bless his little binary heart.

*(That was the robot song chorus from Flight of the Concords in case you missed it)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Big Softie

Now that I've finished and posted this little monster in the top right(literally posted - in the actual mail), I can post this picture of it 'in progress' on here. This one was for PJ in Adelaide.

These was the first soft toyish creatures I'd ever made. In fact it required dusting off my lovely aqua sewing machine and actually sewing - something I hadn't done unassisted for years. The fabric is soft, vintage bed linen. I did eyes and mouth in satin stitch in multicoloured silk thread (not pictured - at this stage I was still thinking buttons, but decided not to for safety). The arms are knitted from superfine Italian merino. And it's stuffed with that fluffy Dacron stuff. No bits that can fall off (hopefully) and thoroughly chew proof (ditto - hopefully!). I think she's kind of cute and looks a bit like a friendly bubble flower monster.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pics for 'zac

Made these for friend's baby. They are ink and oil pastel on recycled rag water colour paper from India.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goodbye dress - hello tunic top

So I had this lined, grey, shift dress, just above the knees, that I thought would look 'smart' for work, but found I was just never ever wearing and felt like a nob any time I put it on. Decided that I loved the neckline and liked the fabric but just didn't love the overall effect - too prissy for our fairly casual office. So, with Miss Snapdragon's help (and the help of her overlocker) I transformed it into a tunic top - kind of crotch length, so that it can be worn over pants or a skirt without any fear of butt crack or knicker showing. It's still fitted, but feels less conservative than it did before. I put two little slits at the sides just to make it look more finished, and Miss SD made a rosette out of the bit we cut off the bottom. Also I ended up cutting the lining out because it was a bit funny, and the fabric has a little stretch and the lining didn't, so it's nicer to wear now.
Attached the rosette to a pin so it's removable, so that it doesn't have to go through the wash and also so I can have it plain sometimes too. Making it was fun. Taking it out on the dressmaker's dummy and taking photos was even more fun!