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December 2007
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February 2008

January 2008

Sleep tight

When Henri starts 3 year old kinder next week he will need to take a quilt or blanket for his daytime sleep.  He will use this simple cot quilt I made a few years ago for Tom when he began kinder:


The other day Maritza made reference to a particularly lovely song that I have loved for years but have not listened to in ages.  So last night I put on my Stan Getz CD in the studio and enjoyed some midnight crafting.   I made a bag for Henri to keep his quilt in at kinder. 


It is a requirement that they have a bag to put their sleep things into so they can practice being responsible children who pack up their own stuff.  Can you picture 16 or so children dutifully trying to stuff bedding into a bag.  The thought makes me giggle.


The tidying continues

Over Christmas we moved Henri from a cot into a bed.  He now shares with Tom, and our eldest, Max, has his own bedroom.  Where the cot once stood, he now has a desk, from which there is a pretty view down the side of the house to the front fence.  The desk is already covered with the accoutrements of a 7 year old boy - dinosaurs, Lego, books on construction.

I still like a little bit of cuteness, so until he notices or protests, things like this will stay:


I have been looking for a presentable doona cover for his bed.  Today I found this one which is pure linen.  It was hard to find something that wasn't covered in spaceships or sharp coloured blue gingham.  This one has fitted into the room nicely and goes with the rest of the soft furnishings.


Is that a hint?

The other day my mother-in-law left a dustbuster as a gift on our front doorstep.  A couple of years ago she gave me, along with another gift, the book Spotless for my birthday.  It's an Australian bestseller on how to clean every aspect of your house.  With the buy line on the cover, "Room-by-room solutions to domestic disasters", do you think she was trying to tell me something.  Probably.

I'm quite happy to admit to my faults (well some of them), and my housekeeping ability is certainly not a strength.  So I was not offended to receive these gifts from my mother-in-law.  She is quite quirky so these little gestures make me giggle more than anything.  (And the dustbuster is good!)


If housekeeping was an Olympic event, my mother-in-law would be a gold medalist, for sure.  She is the most superb housekeeper I know.  She cooks brilliantly - and always exactly what you feel like eating; lamps always come on at the right time in the evening; rooms are always the perfect temperature and designed for your every comfort.  So I often feel a little sorry for Will who has gone from living in 5 star comfort to.. well, let's say 3 or 4 star, ahh, disarray.  I'm just thankful he had a few years of boarding school and housesharing with friends in between before we set up house together.

Today I'm determined to get the house in order.  The boys are spending a few hours in the holiday program at school, giving me an empty house and a few hours to get organised.  Starting with the smallest room in the house - the laundry - I'm sorting, tidying and decluttering.  Let's see how far I get.


I find the process of sketching a useful way to sift ideas for new garments.  If January is the month to rest, February is sale month and the month to design the next range.

Sketching ideas on a child's figure helps me to think it through.  It enables me to determine where design details like seams or pockets should sit.  It's also a way to bring together different design elements in the one garment and see if it works. 

Sketch_4 A detailed sketch like this is stage two.  That's taking really rough drawings and drawing them in proportion.  I also gather ideas from a reference folder on Children's Wear that is constantly being edited.

If the garment works in the sketch, I then try making the pattern for it, or a sample garment that gets tried on a dressmaker's stand (or one of the boys if they will comply).

Ruffle_dress_2The dress in the sketch is a favourite from 3 summers ago.  This is the end result.

I loved this dress so much that I then did a revised version the following summer.  It had a crossover front, same sleeve and ruffle trim, and buttons down the back.

Sketches from ranges past go into the reference folder.  They are always good starting points for new designs.  Here are a few more from summer ranges past.


Rhythyms and routines

I confess to being a bit of a creature of habit.  I love routine.  After 6 years with my little business there has developed a rhythym to the year, with a main focus to each month.

January is the month of relaxation.  I fall into a bit of a heap after the Christmas run-up and it takes the whole month to regroup.  I lose interest in Townmouse and prefer to read, hang out on the beach with the boys, sleep and do the things I generally don't have a lot of time for at other times of the year.  (And let's face it, there's scant little time for work with 3 boys with me every day.)   Now I am longing for this day.


As I was sitting on the beach today I got that sudden burst of enthusiasm that I've been waiting for; you know, that itchy fingers feeling.  It's hit me - I'm now ready to take on another year and get stuck into work.

Enough of rest time, let's get cracking!

Summer reading

Lazy summer days are great for flicking through magazines and favourite books.  Here are some pictures from a lovely Japanese craft book I picked up in Tokyo last year.


I love whitework, particularly whole cloth trapunto or boutis style quilts.  The photography in this book is beautiful.


I want this tool.


Some more images from the book are over here.

Instant beach house

We visited Prebuilt the other day.  The concept is fantastic.  They build houses in their factory, then deliver them on a truck.  They are "installed" in one day.  Now that certainly beats endless site visits with the builder, delays due to bad weather, etc.


This one, called The Mod, is our favourite.  It's a 16m x 5m cube.  You can have any configuration of rooms and walls within the cube.  You can stack them one on top of the other, side by side, at right angles.  There is every possibility.

They are a great concept for a beach house when you don't want to break the bank.  Now it's just a case of finding a site like the one in the picture.   Well, one can dream.

A birthday

We are a family of Aquarians - me, my mother, Tom, and Townmouse.

Recently I received a notice to renew the Townmouse business name, which reminds me that Townmouse turns 6 next month.  Six years ago I had sent an idea for editorial to the then bi-annual Australian Vogue Kids.  The result was this little feature:


I remember being nearly 9 months pregnant with Tom when I got a call from one of the editors saying they liked the idea and were going to put it in the magazine.  She wanted to know the name of the business.  I had a list of names that I'd been gathering for about 6 months.  Townmouse was always at the top of the list.  That's how the business got named, then and there.

By the time I checked in to hospital to have Tom I had registered the name and my fledgling business was official.

Early riser

Since Henri has moved from a cot to a bed he has become a bit of an early bird, known to do a lot of chirping (and that's putting it nicely) from 6am.  And me, well you can see by the time of this post that I'm a night owl.  On school holidays I take that to the extreme, as I crave that me time that is impossible to find during the day with 3 little boys.

Early_bird_2So I'm trying a new tactic.  Here's Henri's breakfast all laid out - he just has to pour the milk.  He seems to think that the more he says something, the more likely it is to happen.  So this is to avoid the "What can I have to eat" stuck record in 4 hours time.  I think it might buy me an extra half hour if I'm lucky.

Coat love

I am a big fan of Max Mara.  I like conservative, classic clothes so this brand is just my thing.  I particularly love their coats and go into raptures over their fabrics.  So I was very excited to stumble across this book the other day.


It charts the history of the brand, and specifically the evolution of their coats.


If I had a job with that firm I think I'd be skipping with glee too.


My favourite photo (above) from the book.


I love these design sketches shown with the finished garment.  From what I can gather from the foreword, the book was compiled as the result of a gallery exhibition.  All the sketches, swatches and actual samples are held in the company's archives.  Wouldn't you love to go digging through those!


Look at the roll on that collar - just perfect!  Can you tell I'm a fan?


Tom's big day out

Tom_2Tom and I spent the day at the hospital yesterday.  The plastic surgeon fixed up his cut under a general anesthetic.  Tom was very wide-eyed and quiet throughout the whole event.  All in all I think he rather enjoyed the undivided attention of Mummy by his side, and then Daddy later at home.

When he came home there was a special parcel of food from his grandmother at the front door too.  Punnets of fresh berries and a special slice of cake that is only being shared with the family members who are extra nice to him (as a middle child he knows how to work it for the attention).

There will be no more swimming in the surf this summer and his wound will need to be taped for several months to ensure the contour of his cheek remains as it should.

He was given a teddy in a nurses outfit by the hospital so he's rather happy to have a gift to give his girlfriend at school.  So after our slight hiccup life returns to normal.