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February 2008
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April 2008

March 2008

Seeking sunshine

We have just enjoyed a long weekend on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland - the perfect alternative to Japan.  The boys have had an absolute ball.  In fact, they've voted it the best holiday ever.


It's common parlance in this state to sprinkle the word mate liberally through all sentences.  The waiters use it, the hotel staff use it.  Henri has picked this up and has been saying, "See ya mate" to anyone he meets.  And because we laugh at him whenever he says it, it's now his new party trick.


Proving seams

Yesterday was a marathon effort of pattern and sample making.  I worked for 5 hours straight making the patterns for one top style - the one I gave you a glimpse of a few weeks back.  Even though I was working from tried and true blocks (the basic shape and fit) I still had to modify the front and back pattern pieces, and draft front placket and collar pattern pieces.  I didn't expect it to take nearly as long as it did.

Part of the process is 'proving the seams', which means making sure that, for example, the collar is the right length to perfectly fit the neck seam when front and back pattern pieces are joined.


That's what I'm doing here.  I've traced along the neck seam from centre back to centre front, with the patterns joined in the correct spot on the shoulder seam and front placket.


Then I take my tape measure and place it along the seam line (I always work with 1cm seam allowances) to determine the length the collar needs to be.


Then I do my sums to work out the required length for the collar piece in each size.  If it sounds tedious it is rather; but enjoyable tedium.

A cuddling stool

Cuddling_stoolWe call this a cuddling stool in our house.  Because it's the perfect height for Tom to stand on and give me a really good cuddle nose to nose.  Sometimes when he just wants a cuddle he'll bring one of these stools to me, climb up and put his arms out.  Who can resist that?  Tom's a real softy and gives the best cuddles.  Apart from the important job of enhancing a cuddle, these little stools are very handy to have next to the sofa to rest a cup of tea on.

This is one I picked up in Flinders on the weekend in the newly relocated Tree.  Previously this divine store was in nearby Red Hill, next to another favourite store called Red Hill House.


As of this weekend I'm happy to say that this visual delight is now in Flinders.  The store is the creation of Daniella Moore, the creative talent behind the brand Succulent Designs.  The cushions are her signature screen print design.


The store is merchandised by colour and without doubt my favourite section was this pale blue one.  The beautiful stoneware is the brand Bison, which has a wonderful colour palette to choose from.


It's the sort of shop I just want to spend time in, to the point that I worry the shop assistants might think I'm there to steal something, because I'm spending way too long looking.  I just couldn't draw myself away.

Happy Easter everyone

I hope you have all had a great Easter weekend.  We are having a lovely time at Flinders.  There are lots of friends down here so we have enjoyed some catching up.  Fish and chips on Mt Martha beach with another family of five on Saturday evening, and having running races in the sand at McCrae with friends from Tasmania on Sunday (the children, not us).


The boys have been collecting their Easter eggs in these little linen bags.  They proved quite handy during the egg hunt.

A good team

We make a good team, Will and I.  We've been married 9 years today.  We're on the same page when it comes to the big issues like raising our children, values, life goals.  Being married is great.  Here we are in our back garden.  Hmm, I don't think so.  (It's the Giusti Gardens in Verona.)


Where we are polar opposites, is that I'm a planner.  Don't stress me out with a change to any plans.  Don't be spontaneous because I won't play along.  Please, just stick to the plan. 

Will couldn't be more different.  He likes open ended situations and options.  Trying to get him to book a holiday or, heaven forbid, buy a house (don't get me started on that subject) and he just can't make that final commitment.  If I ask him what he'd like for dinner he says, "surprise me".  He's brilliant at thinking on his feet and likes to keep his options open until the last possible moment.

Which brings me to the case in point.  Japan.  Plans have changed.  Am I stressed?  Well no, because after 15 years together I've come to expect it.  Note to self: flights are confirmed is different entirely to flights are booked.  Will has a lot going on at work and doesn't want to be a long way away for over a week.  He didn't relish what would be a full-on trip - long flights, young children - you can imagine.  I must confess to feeling a bit the same.  The early Easter has made work hard to get on top of.  So I have mixed feelings about the change of plan.  I'm feeling sorry for all those craft books that will have to stay on the shelves in Tokyo rather than come home and play with me.  But I'm looking forward to a much more relaxed Easter and maybe an express train from Malvern to South Yarra station rather than a bullet train to the snow.

Being the planner I am though, I have all the boys' winter wardrobes sorted, I have outfitted myself with fabulous ski pants and jacket; in fact, I won't have to go shopping for 6 months.

Now Will is in his element - options, options.  So far tonight he has tabled Coolum, NSW South Coast, hiring a campervan and just driving, Three Hummock Island.  Grrrr.  My bet is we will go to Flinders - a good fall-back plan.  Stay tuned...

Thinking winter

I'm trying to think cold as I struggle with the heat.  A cool change is promised for today, but not before it reaches 32 celsius (90F).

On my list of tasks for the day is to make 3 winter coats for the boys to take to Japan.  I just can't get motivated to pull out the heavy coat fabrics - as lovely as they are.


This is my yummy, slubby, tweedy coat that I'm currently having a love affair with.  I can't wait to get some more wear out of this favourite piece.  It has an asymmetrical collar and cuffed sleeves, so a bit of a departure from my usual conservative style.  The fabric is a lovely mix of chocolate, grey and taupe - all my favourite winter colours that I seem to live in during the colder months.


I'm clomping around the studio in these today.  I figured it was better to wear them in at home, than on the streets of Tokyo.

A craft garden

I had a really lovely day at the Living Creatively stand today. 


This is the gorgeous display designed and built by Angela from Living Creatively.  There are even two live bunnies (called "Lunch" and "Dinner") hopping around in there.

Craft_garden2This is a picnic made up of Hiromi Hughes' felt food and knitted items from Lark.

The best thing about the day was getting to chat to other craft bloggers that I've been exchanging emails with for a while.  It's great to put faces to the blogs.  I enjoyed chatting to Kristen, Bianca, Fiona, Lara, Louise, Cathy, Hiromi, Justine, Angela and others.

In fact the day was a little like therapy.  Even though I'm sewing all the time, I don't often get to sit, chat, craft and play with favourite fabric scraps without answering a million emails, fielding phonecalls.  It was very enjoyable.


Living Creatively today

Today I'm heading to the Stitches and Craft Fair to join in the fun at the Living Creatively stand.  Quite a few other craft bloggers will be there so I'm looking forward to the day.  I'm one of a few people in an informal demonstration area.  We'll each be doing our thing at little tables within the Living Creatively space, where we can chat to passers by and hopefully inspire them with our projects.


When the invitation to participate came through the brief was to help showcase craft in a cool way that would inspire even the non-crafters to give it a go.  What could be cooler than hot water bottle covers on a 38 degree day (at the start of one of our hottest March heat waves on record).  I must have been making that decision in a sleep deprived state.


I'll be taking my camera as there's bound to be lots of great stuff to photograph.  Angela, the lovely creative director behind Living Creatively has been busy designing and making a craft garden.  I can't wait to see it. 

Oh, and by the way, you can now link to the Living Creatively site with one of their newly designed buttons.  So no matter where you are in the world you can link your blog to this lovely site.  The team behind Living Creatively are all exceptionally lovely people and they've got some really exciting projects planned for the future.  So link and spread the word (there's even a prize to be won for doing so.)

Cherry blossom

There is much excitement in our house at the moment.  We are taking the boys to Japan for Easter.


It was touch and go while we waited for the airline to confirm frequent flyer seats but it seems they have come through.  And most exciting of all is that we go to Kyoto at the end of the trip which, from what I have read, will land us in the middle of cherry blossom season.  I am so excited I can't sleep at night (which is why I'm blogging after midnight).


As well as the huge list of Townmouse tasks on my list, there's a lot to do before we jet off next week.  I want to make a coat for each of the boys to take away.  I have to buy them new winter shoes.  There's the ski gear to organise (we're catching the bullet train from Tokyo to the ski fields on Honshu for a few days).  I'm off to Helly Hansen tomorrow to see what I can find for myself, as I don't like my chances of fitting into any Japanese brands.  Other than occasional weekends at Mt Buller this is my first skiing holiday.


I'll be doing my research for Tokyo and preparing to head to all the crafty places I didn't get to last year (Max is very enthusiastic about Tokyu Hands). 

Which leads me to a thought - that it would be great to have a central blog that craft bloggers could use as a resource for Japan; a place that people can post their tips and finds, with directions and photos.  Is it the lateness of the hour, is this a crazy idea, or does it have legs?  I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone.  If it sounds like a good idea to anyone other than me, I might just add it to my list of 100s of things to do this week.

Hit and miss

It's a beautiful autumn morning here in Melbourne - crisp air and long shadows, with the promise of heat to come - one of those days that puts a spring in your step.

Last night I had some success with a new pattern.  I find patternmaking, or new garment design in general, a process of hit and miss.  What you see in your mind's eye does not always come together in reality.  I've been nursing a design in my mind for quite a while now and last night I found the time to draft the pattern and make the sample.


It's a girl's winter top.  This is a section of the front placket.  All my samples are getting made in size 3 this year so I can try them on unsuspecting Henri.  He's none the wiser until one of his brothers asks, "Mummy, is that a girl's top?"  Things get a bit trickier at that point.

I was quite excited when I finished sewing after midnight last night.  It looked good on my little house model this morning as well.  This one will probably go into production.  Now I have to create the pattern in the full size range and make a few samples for the photo shoot.

Today I'm also tackling that skirt that I haven't managed to start yet.   Busy, busy.

Pyjama party

Pjs_2There's a winter pyjama special going on over on the website.  So yesterday my seamstress spent the day helping me in my studio so we could process the orders as they came in.

We spent several hours putting initials on PJ pockets, detailing t-shirts and stitching names for creche bags.

It was rather nice to have the company, as I'm usually here on my own.  There was as much chatting as there was sewing.