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November 2007
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December 2007

Island idyll

We've just returned from a fabulous 3 day adventure on beautiful Three Hummock Island.  The island is just off the coast of North Western Tasmania.  It is only really accessible by air so we chartered a small 6-seater plane from a Melbourne airport and flew down over Bass Strait.  An hour later we landed on the island's airstrip and were picked up by the island's caretakers.


We enjoyed 3 days of swimming, boating, walking and sleeping.  It was divine.  If I was a better descriptive writer I could express to you how perfect this place is.  As I'm not, I'll let my photos tell the story.

The island's only inhabitants are the caretakers - two students of Environmental Management from WA.  It's quite a wonderful feeling to know that there is no-one else around and that you have the many beautiful beaches all to yourself.  It's truly good for the soul.  What a great way to see out 2007.   


Happy New Year everyone!

A place for everything

...and everything in its place.  Well not quite, but I'm getting there.


I now have clean work surfaces.  I've even thrown out some fabric.  Gasp!  And a friend who likes to make quilts will get some Freshcut fabrics as an extra belated Christmas gift.


I love my Ikea trestle table.  Raised to its full height it's perfect for patternmaking.  I don't have to lean over and strain my back.  And the trestle legs are great for extra shelving.


The little table below is an old music table.  It would have originally held gramophone records.  It now holds all my reference folders.  I keep folders on subjects like Embroidery, Quilting, Children's Wear, Women's Wear, Patternmaking, Interiors (for past renovations), so that whenever I see something I like in a magazine I have a place to keep it.  This is a habit we were encouraged to develop at fashion school, and one I've been happy to continue with.


See, on a good day, I can be quite organised.  Really I can.

I want to wish all my blogging friends a big Merry Christmas.  You have given me so much inspiration.  I hope you all have a happy day tomorrow.  I look forward to sharing more craft with you next year!


We're all feeling just a wee bit tired in the house of Townmouse.


Last night was Will's birthday dinner, which we celebrated at home with friends. 

Amidst it all yesterday Melbourne experienced an extremely heavy dump of rain.  I don't know many people whose homes weren't flooded in the sudden downpour.  We were no exception.


Out of frame of this photo are towels on the floor and mops to soak up all the rainwater that leaked through our cornices in several places.  Thankfully the internal dripping had stopped by the time our guests arrived.  But as well as preparing for a dinner party I spent the day washing and drying towels and mopping floors.


The town's gardens will be lovely and green for Christmas - that's for sure.

Done and dusted

That's it.  I'm done.  All Christmas orders have been shipped and the Townmouse studio is now closed, chiuso, until the new year.  Yippee!


I can't tell you what a relief that is.  I've been working my little butt off for months and I'm soooo tired.  Work has been a bit too all consuming so I'm looking forward to the next few days when I can focus on other things; like wrapping presents with the boys, spoiling Will on his birthday and cooking for our friends on Friday, tidying up around here and getting organised.

Speaking of organised, how beautiful is this work space?


I wish I could say it's mine.  This studio belongs to Something's hiding in here.  I'm inspired to get tidying when I see this great space.

In_chaosThis is how my studio has been looking for the last little while.  I've been too busy to tidy, so one little work pile gets put on another little work pile until it's a screaming nightmare (click on the photos for full-sized horror - it's just too ugly to post in the regular size).

In_chaos1So I'm showing you the "before" pictures in the hope that you'll be able to see a noticeable difference between these and the "after" pictures.  That's after "The Great Tidy-up of 2007".  I don't know that my space will ever be as clutter free as the above photo, but that's what I'll be aiming for.

But for now I'm off to have Christmas drinks with the team behind Living Creatively.  Cheers.

Inspiration everywhere

It's always interesting to see where people gather their inspiration for the designs they create.


One day years ago I was driving through St Kilda in Melbourne.  I stopped at the lights and noticed a shop called the White Elephant on the corner.  They had the cutest graphic on the window of a simple little white elephant.  As the light turned green I scrambled frantically for pen and paper and did a quick little sketch.  I then went round the block and stopped at the same red light to make sure I had captured it.  That little elephant design has been the most popular applique in the 6 years of Townmouse, and I'm still not sick of it.

Originally I appliqued the elephant onto PJs and girl's denim dresses, and then this little snippet in the much missed Martha Stewart Baby openend up a whole new area. 


Martha_cover_2Until I saw this picture in the April 2002 issue it had never occurred to me to applique onto stretch fabric.  So I started down the path of sourcing t-shirts and bodysuits. 


I love these wooden animals.  They are made in Germany and so beautifully and subtly painted.  I could collect the whole set.  Every animal is so sweet and the artist manages to really capture the uniqueness of each creature with a few simple brush strokes.


This fox applique is a more recent addition to the Townmouse range.  The wooden version sits above my sewing machine.  When I get up some sewing speed he vibrates off his little perch and drops onto my work.



There is a lot of mail going out of the house at the moment as, one by one, I'm ticking off the orders (only 28 open orders left to fill).  But today an interesting package arrived on the doorstep for me.


A parcel of flat bolts of this very pretty pink spot.  You may remember seeing the fabric here before.  I'm not sure yet what I'll do with this fabric, but I know it's one of those prints that is very versatile and perfect for little girls.  When I next find some quiet time (around March when the boys are settled in school) I'll enjoy the task of designing my next range, developing some new patterns, etc.

In the interim, it's just lovely to get some incoming mail of the very best kind - fabric!

Setting a place

Last year we hosted Christmas lunch for my family and Will's parents.  We drank a lot of peach juice in the weeks before Christmas to stockpile these little bottles that I used as place markers.


The labels are from here.  The snowflakes were made using a decorative hole punch.

This year we are guests at the tables of other family members on Christmas day.  We are having a small dinner for Will's big birthday next week though.  So I have pulled out the peach juice bottles and I am thinking about reusing the idea with a less Christmassy theme.


I've cut an Oak Leaf Hydrangea from the garden.  It looks pretty with the biscuit colour of the placemat.  I think I'll switch the red labels to blue, which will match the colours in our living and dining room.  The check fabric below is on our dining room chairs.  It's from the French fabric house Pierre Frey.  I'm not sure if there'll be anything hanging from the neck of the bottle - maybe a 4 and a 0.


I'm hoping this will all work quite well with our new-ish dinner plates which have a nice amount of the same teal blue in them (although you can't really see it in the photo I've linked to).

An apron

I have a new apron.


It's a chef's apron, in that it doesn't have a bib part to it.  It has a lovely big pocket with an initial in cross stitch on it.  It has a border at the bottom in the red mattress ticking.  I'm rather enamoured.


It's too good for cooking in.  I aim to wear it when I have a market stall.  The front pocket is rather handy for storing a pen for taking orders, or a safe place to put large notes of money into.


Christmas cheer

One of our first tasks upon arriving home from Mauritius was to trim the tree with the boys.


They embraced the project with much enthusiasm.  Our Christmas tree is now set up in the hallway.  The boys had story time under the tree before bed.  We searched through the bookshelves for any Christmas stories.  Tonight's story was "Barbar and Father Christmas".


The tree is looking rather lonely in the hallway so there'll have to be some time for wrapping presents in the next few days.  Our tree will look better with a few gifts under it I think.


These are some Christmas decorations that I made with the boys last year.  Max and Tom cut the circles and chose the colour combinations.  I did the messy gluing.  Badly written instructions are over at flickr.

Love my way

I've been reliving my youth while here in Mauritius by getting back on a windsurfer (that's not me in the photo). 


1983 was the year I learned to windsurf - I was 14 at the time.  Every Summer Sunday our family would head to Middle Park beach in Melbourne with the board on the roof and an eski full of cold drinks and salad rolls.  We'd meet our family friends and spend the days windsurfing together. 

More likely than not, we would be listening to 80s gems like this one:

They were great days.  As I was skimming across the warm waters of Mauritius I was getting sentimental for all those memorable Sundays and making a promise to myself that we provide the same wonderful experiences for our boys - great family rituals that will always be remembered.

What a difference a day makes

On Tuesday I was up until after 2am finishing as much sewing as I could.  It was the third 2am finish in a row.


These skirts were parcelled up after midnight.  Then I was up at 4am to catch an early morning flight.  I slept a lot of the flight, and for 14 hours last night.  What a difference a day (and a good night's sleep) can make.

While on the flight I was happy to read a little bit of editorial in the Qantas magazine about my Sling Bags.  It's ironic that the magazine editor wanted to feature the Sling Bags of all my products, when I actually made them for the boy's to take on the plane with them for our July Port Douglas holiday.  It's funny how life works.