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November 2008
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December 2008

Getting around

We've just returned from several days staying with friends at Port Fairy, in South Western Victoria.  It's a beautiful little town - one of Victoria's earliest settlements - so there are lots of Georgian and Victorian buildings.

Port Fairy

The best part, though, is that our friends' house is right on the beach.  Those dots in the water are Max, Tom and friends surfing.  Me, I was enjoying a cup of tea on the deck (Will was keeping a closer eye on them from the sand).  It makes 'heading to the beach' a very easy affair.


Summer projects

I do love the change of pace this time of year brings.  Townmouse orders slow to a trickle, the streets are quieter and everything generally winds down.

Stranded threads 

I find time for my own craft projects without feeling guilty about all the other things I should be doing.  There are a few things on my list already.

  • I've stocked up on stranded threads, with which to smock my way through the summer;
  • I'm going to resurrect this unfinished quilt top.  Although now I'll make it into a cot quilt.  It only needs one more row to be the right size and ready for quilting,
  • I plan to make another one or two of these tops.  Yes, secretly I was making maternity wear.  The latest ones will have more room around the waist to get me through the 9 months.

Fabrics 

What projects are you planning for the new year?


A coastal Christmas

We had a colourful Christmas for over 30 extended family this year, at the beach house of Will's father's cousin.

Flowers 

One of the guests arrived with straw hats for all, each decorated with a different, beautiful grosgrain ribbon.  They were the perfect finishing touch to our summer Christmas.

Christmas table 

We donned our hats and had champagne on the deck, followed by traditional Christmas fare.

Gingerbread house 

The children were given a gingerbread house to devour, which kept them entertained while we lingered around the table.  The sugar kept them wired until 11pm, at which time they were reluctantly dragged off to bed.


In the neighbourhood

I love where we live.  We are two blocks from the "high street" or the local strip of shops where you can find bookshops, fruit shops, continental butchers, traditional bakeries and the like.

With the Christmas traffic so busy, we've been setting out on scooters.  (We gave Will a scooter for his birthday on Sunday so now I have wheels to borrow too.)

Donna Hay

With a little inspiration from Donna Hay's festive issue, we set out on a mission to buy the ingredients for Panforte.  A recent new addition to the long list of good shops is one called the "Royal Nut Company", where we were able to find all the essential ingredients.  (The boys have great pleasure in calling it the Royal Butt Company and then snickering away at their great witt.  Oh when will the toilet humour end?)

Panforte

Anyhoo...., I wrapped presents last night to the smell of the panforte baking in the oven.  It certainly lives up to its name (it means 'strong bread' in Italian), so I was fortunate to have Will at the ready to do the cutting.

We now have another treat to take with us when we go to stay with friends on the coast next week.


Family

I adore my three boys.  I enjoy a unique and special love affair with each of them. 

I've never made a secret of the fact, however, that I would dearly love a little girl.

First dress1

And doing what I do - making predominantly girl's clothes - it's a subject that comes up often.  Customers think its curious that I make all this stuff for girls and yet I have three boys.  I guess a large part of the fun of Townmouse is being able to get my girly fix of things pink and floral by dressing other people's little girls.

First dress detail 

So when the doctor told me 9 weeks ago that the baby I am carrying is a little girl I couldn't quite believe my ears.  We are all terribly excited - her three brothers included.  It's a safe bet to say there will be lots more girl's clothing to share with you on this blog going forward.

I had my 20 week scan this morning and the baby is healthy and perfectly normal.  With that news my Christmas wish is granted.  I hope your Christmas wishes come true too.


Going dotty

I've spent the whole evening packing orders.  I really must go to bed.  But before I do, here's a little smocked ensemble that is perhaps more my speed - not so conservative, but still rather classic I think.

Smocked gypsy top 

It's a size 2 top on 4 year old Henri (being begrudgingly modelled for all of 2 minutes with the promise of chocolate) so it looks a little snug around the shoulders.  It's inspired by this favourite of mine.

Green dots 

And then a little skirt with gathered pocket detail to match.


A first

Today it rained buckets; so much in fact that it was the lead story on the news tonight.  The boys and I spent the whole day indoors, apart from a quick scooter ride around the block with 3 corgies.  We have a guest corgi - Biscuit - for the week.  Three boys, 3 dogs on leads, rain, puddles - yes there were casualties.

Smocked dress 

In between Uno tournaments I managed to finish my first smocked garment.  I'd been smocking panels here and there for weeks now, but hadn't made any of them up.  For a first attempt I went for a very traditional style dress, complete with bow at the back.

Smocked dress detail 

I spent the late hours on Friday evening trying to get the perfect gathered sleeve.  I prefer a capped, gathered sleeve, rather than one that comes down the arm and runs the risk of looking too, uhm, prim.  So there was much unpicking, trimming, restitching going on.  On about the fourth attempt I was satisfied and made sure I committed the measurement to pattern card before bed.

Will arrives home from overseas tomorrow morning, so we're off to the airport bright and early to pick him up.


Only in Japan

This little family was happily sitting in a very minimalist interior design store in Tokyo.

Family of softies 

Only in Japan is this crafty cuteness generally acceptable - something else I love about the country.

I noticed with interest a rather streetwise, tougher looking older gent on the train with a little Hello Kitty-style phone charm hanging off his bag.  In Australia he'd possibly get beaten up for that in certain parts of the city. 


Little details

I spent my last afternoon in Tokyo wandering around the children's wear section of the very upmarket department store - Takashimaya.  Will had left earlier that day for other destinations so I had a few hours to indulge in my interest of children's wear.

There were some beautiful labels there - Japanese and French.  I made mental notes of all the pretty details I saw on the clothing, so I could sketch it all on the train ride back to the hotel (on my Japanese stationery purchases - more on that later).

Pocket 

I love these little gathered pockets.  Last night I had a play around and mocked up a template or two.  I couldn't find a coordinating ribbon so improvised with a very fine bias binding that I made using one of those nifty Clover bias tape makers.  The one I used started with fabric only half an inch wide.

Pocket trim 

I quite like the finished effect.  I expect you'll see more of this.


Back to reality

There is one more week of school before the boys break up for summer.  Which means one more week in which to get as much work done as possible before Christmas.

ISBN 9784277430777 linen shoes

I'm feeling a little unmotivated after a week away.  I'd rather be trying my hand at a pair of these, than finalising and packing orders.

ISBN 9784277430777 espadrilles

But the orders take precedence, so the shoes and other crafty projects will have to wait until the summer holidays.

ISBN 9784277430777 ballet flats

Images are from this book; one of only three craft books I picked up in Tokyo.  Whereas previously these lovely craft books were the price of a magazine, the big shift in the exchange rate has made them as pricey as a book.  They are now a more considered purchase.