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May 2008

Three has become five

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment.  Wow, there were lots of lovely ideas there for using Liberty scraps.

I have enjoyed this process because it has brought a few surprising lurkers out of hiding.  I didn't realise that many of my customers were readers of my blog.  That is definitely a nice surprise.  I wasn't sure when I started my blog that there would be much overlap between my customers and craft blog readers.  So I specifically chose not to link to my blog from my website, or put my blog on any search engines.  I figured it was nicer for people to find me through the craft blogging network, and so you have.


So here are all 69 commenters in a little bowl.  I drew out 3 winners and they were all fellow Australians.  So I drew two more to make five.


I love the fact that there is a global appreciation for Liberty, so it only seemed right that I send it beyond our shores.  I'll spend the rest of the morning putting little parcels of fabric together.

A blog birthday

The Townmouse blog is one year old today.  And what a fun year it has been.  I've loved the blogging journey more than I ever thought I would.


In the tradition of craft blogs I'm celebrating this milestone with a fabric giveaway.

In our last house we lived next door to an elderly bachelor who had lived in the same house all his life.  One day I locked myself out of our house, with Max inside in the high chair, and toast grilling in one of those old fashioned gas grillers in the stove.  So it was only a matter of time before disaster struck.  I raced next door and knocked on the front door.  Our kind neighbour let me in to use his phone.  In my panic I didn't really take in my surroundings until I had dialled the number and was waiting for it to connect. 

When I finally looked up I was amazed.  He was a hoarder!  I think there must have been every edition of the Age newspaper for the last 50 years stacked up in teetering piles around his front sitting room!  No wonder he never drew the curtains.

I know there are worse fates than being surrounded by piles of pretty Liberty fabric, but I'm not quite at the compulsive hoarding stage of my life yet.  One needs to draw the line somewhere.


So dear blog readers, please help me out.  Leave a comment over the next few days telling me what you might make with a collection of Liberty pieces.  I'd love to hear your ideas, if only to be inspired.  I'll draw three names at random and put together three little parcels to go anywhere in the world.  Let me know too if you like greens, blues, reds or pinks.

A little sale

Walnut_navy When I was asked a few weeks ago if I wanted to take part in a little sale with Walnut shoes, I jumped at the chance.  So this Wednesday and Thursday morning I will be setting up shop temporarily at the Walnut premises in Richmond for a little warehouse sale.

Juicybear Another favourite brand of mine - JuicyBear - will also be there.

For any local readers, drop into Level 2, 29 Stewart St, Richmond in Melbourne on either Wednesday 28th May or Thursday 29th May between 9.30am and 1.30pm. 

It's cash only, and there will be bargains afoot (pardon the pun).

Jealous, so jealous

Will just called from London.  One of his meetings there was with a company that makes fine woven fabrics for the men's suit market.  With them he paid a visit to Savile Row.

Savile row

He visited the workrooms of some of the businesses in the row.  Now that's one meeting I'd love to tag along to.  He described to me the fabrics, the women sitting working at their machines or hand stitching.

Wow, I would have loved that.  Next time... next time.

Coat weather

It was a cold day in Melbourne today - frizzling cold as our Tom would say.  So it's a good thing my seamstress and I have been busy making up coat orders.

Blue coat

This is the blue cashmere version of the red one.  I love the fine blue spot that lines this coat.  I wanted to use it in the winter range for the little girl's top, but it couldn't be delivered in time.  I took a bolt anyway, for lining coats and my own quilting projects.

Blue coat1

Some fabrics are so lovely you feel good just having them in your stash.  This is such a fabric for me.

Inspirational embroidery

Aren't these beautiful.  I can't decide which is my favourite.


Maybe when I'm retired and my children have moved out of home I'll have time for this sort of needlework.  But by then my eyesight and steady hand will have fled.

These are from two little Japanese craft books I picked up in Tokyo last year.  ISBN details and photos of each individual design are on flickr here.

A new toy

I have a new kitchen toy and I'm loving it.  I haven't bought a new kitchen gadget for many years.  For me, having to cook children's meals every night has taken the shine off being in the kitchen.  Not any more.  I haven't been this enthusiastic about cooking since Will and I moved in together.

SoupThis machine combines the function of about 15 kitchen appliances, plus your stovetop.  You cut, chop, mix and cook your ingredients in the one bowl - brilliant.

With very little effort I have made chicken stock, potato and leek soup, chicken curry, banana and choc-chip icecream, porridge, frothy hot chocolate, my Nana's famous shortbread - all in the first 24 hours.

Shortbread1If it sounds like I'm bragging I'm not, because the machine did it all for me.  I just pushed the buttons and stood back and watched in amazement.

Yesterday I spent the day food shopping and stocking up on lots of pantry items - things I haven't cooked with in years.  I dragged out all the old spice jars from the back of the pantry and started again, filling them with new, fresh quantities.


This weekend I want to make ministrone, wheat free pizzas, pineapple and coconut icecream ... the list goes on.

When creativity strikes

I don't know why, but last night at around midnight I felt compelled to make this doorstop.


It probably had something to do with the fact that I kept seeing this gocco printed linen scrap every time I opened a certain drawer of supplies.  And then yesterday I found the lovely linen tape that makes the handle.


So there I was, in the wee small hours, feeding rice through a tiny hole in the seam, while the rest of the family was sensibly asleep.

It was very quick to make and a nice way to use up scraps of linen.  I went to bed happy.

Coat time

I spent this morning cutting coat orders.


Seven of these little bundles will be waiting for my Wednesday seamstress so I can finish my recent coat orders.  Cutting is not my favourite job in the world so I podcast local breakfast radio shows for company.

Oh, and speaking of cutting, you might enjoy this short doco on Savile Row

I spent half the day in a queue in Spotlight.  Well, it seemed like half the day.  While I was waiting for my number to be called I spied this oatmeal wool flannel (photographed under a little stack of lavender sachets that keep my stock smelling sweet).


It's not 100% natural, so I won't use it in the range.  I thought it would make a cute softie.  I might try making a little Hop Skip Jump monkey from the Softies book.

More feathered stars

I can't decide what to do with this quilt top.  This is the one I referred to in my last post - the paper pieced top that has been a WIP for a while.


The problem is I still love the design, but I'm not mad about the fabric I used.  I started the quilt, just to see if I liked it, without really putting much thought into the fabric.  So it sort of limped along until it got to this point.  I pull it out every now and then, do a little on it, then lose interest again.


This quilt is more about the quilting anyway I guess, so it will improve when I get around to that part of it.  For now it's got tea stains, vegemite toast marks (thanks to the boys) and corgi footprints across it.  So it's looking pretty uninspiring.  I can't bind it until I've done all the stuffing, and I can't wash it until I've done the binding.


I guess it will just limp along a little more, in between other projects.

Playing with fabric

RedsFor me the colder weather always brings with it the urge to stitch.  I've got itchy fingers; I want to start a new project but I'm not sure what it will be yet.  So I've dragged out my big box of fabrics to find some inspiration.

I've also been inspired by Moonstitches to unearth a project from last winter that didn't get very far.


I would describe feathered star blocks as extreme quilting - not for the faint hearted.  The first feathered star quilt top I made was paper pieced.  Thirteen stars!  That took two years.  I'm trying to speed up the process this time around by machine piecing the star blocks.


Last night I finished another block - two down, eleven to go.  I like the precision involved.  But they can be frustrating if you don't get the seam allowance exact.  The second block is slightly larger than the first.  I'm not sure what to do about that.  There might be a few discards along the way.  The worrying question is, how many star blocks will I have to make to get my matching thirteen?

Liberty_2I've also prepared two little parcels of Liberty scraps to go to some inspiring bloggers.  One is off to Japan, the other to Norway.  Some of the scraps have been in my stash for over 15 years.