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April 2009

The Countrymice

I'm sure I'm not the only Australian girl that dreamed of being carried off into the sunset on the back of a horse ridden by Tom Burlinson.  I'm talking about my little girl crush on the star of "The Man From Snowy River", my favourite film as a young teenager.

And if horseriding was part of your girlhood, it's fair to say you probably wanted one of these.  I know I did.

Will's business became involved with the iconic Australian brand Drizabone a few years ago, which we confess to being rather excited about because of the nostalgia so many Australians carry for its products and Drizabone's positive association with our country's pastoral heritage.


The other day will came home with Drizabone coats for each of the boys.  They were the perfect attire last Sunday at Flinders, when the wind howled and the rain came in sideways.  The boys and Will rugged up and headed out for a walk while I stayed indoors and kept an eye on the fire.

Oh, and if you liked these scenes from the movie, see if you can catch the whole film.  I haven't watched it in 20 or so years but I think I'll have to track down a copy.

Baby blanket

I'm getting a little compilation of baby items ready for the hospital.

I've got a pile of Townmouse bodysuits with my favourite applique designs all packed, soft cotton burp cloths, bunny rugs, and this baby blanket that I made before our first child was born.

Baby blanket 1

It's a pale teal cashmere with embroidered strawberries, to match the fabric binding, which was a favourite scrap from my fabric stash.

Baby blanket

There's a cotton flannel bunny rug that goes with it.

Baby items always look so icky when pulled out of storage - stains seem to materialise.  So all these has been through the wool wash cycle on my washing machine.  I'm happy to say the cashmere fared very well.

Before and after

Remember our little bit of found treasure?

Before and after

Our $20 armchairs have returned from the upholsterer.  Enhanced by a linen-backed Liberty cushion and my macrame shawl, they are certainly easier on the eye than the faded pink of before.

As the baby deadline approaches our front sitting room is finally coming together.  This week I will be on the hunt for a rug for the floor.

Hopefully I will have an "after" shot of the whole room in a week or two (which will probably comprise a baby bassinet in the mix, as this is where bub-to-be will sleep initially.)


Yesterday a lovely parcel arrived from Sarah Jane Studios.

Thank you cards

Some children's themed thank you cards to use when bub-to-be is here.  I will pack these for the hospital stay because, lets face it, those four days in hospital will be the quietest time I'll have for a long while to come.  So I'll be using the time wisely and keeping up with my correspondence.

The cards are just as lovely in real life as they look on Sarah Jane's Etsy site.  Pop over and have a look.  Her work is just perfect.   I'll definitely be back for more.

For all those little scraps

For those of you who, like me, cannot bear to throw out even the tiniest scrap of fabric - here is some inspiration.

Vine quilt

I was tidying up my studio last night and came across an old quilting book that had this image in it.  (Click on the image for an enlarged version.)

Isn't it wonderful?  Each leaf is comprised of multiple fabrics.  The use of colour is so clever.

Coat care

I have a customer who orders Townmouse coats for her four children each winter.  Her youngest has 4 or 5 to choose from, because all the hand-me-downs hang in his cupboard, alongside his own.

Coat My customer tells me that she has the coats hand washed.  I quizzed her on how she washes them, as I've always taken them to the dry cleaner. 

Here are her tips.  Wash the coat in tepid water with white vinegar.  Hang it in the shade to dry completely.  Then put it in a cold drier to fluff up the pile.

I've always used the best quality fabric I can find for the coats I make - pure wool or cashmere from Italy.  So I've been hesitant to try hand washing.  I tested this washing method on an old cashmere coat of Henri's and it worked wonderfully.

So if you're dragging out old coats from last winter that are looking bedraggled, or putting away winter clothes for next year, you may want to give this a try.

A new dilemma

I have collected new season's stock from my manufacturer - winter girl's tops.  These are my favourite Townmouse tops for winter to date. I love the fabrics and colours - let's hope my customers do too.

Winter stock

I'm tempted to keep so many of them for bub-to-be.  This is a new dilemma.  In the past I've kept one or two favourite girl's pieces from the entire 7 years of Townmouse for sentimental reasons.  Now that I will soon have someone to put them in, I'm tempted to squirrel away too many items from the range.

I'm busy building the website with new content, ready to switch over in a week or so.  So it's back to cropping photos, scanning fabric swatches and writing product descriptions.  It's a good thing I have all that Easter chocolate to sustain me because I'm rapidly losing momentum as my belly grows.

Easter knitting projects

Visiting the Stitches and Craft Show a few weeks back, my favourite stand - other than the wonderful bloggers' displays - was that of Pear Tree Yarns.

Pear Tree Yarn 4 ply I'm not really a knitter, but yarn is such a tactile thing, it draws me in.  I want to touch it. 

And the pure merino yarn at Pear Tree's stand was in such lovely colours, I just couldn't resist.

Pear Tree Yarn bear This teddy's scarf is knitted using a yarn they call Hundreds and Thousands - very cute. 

So I left their stand equipped with this knitting book and a skein of 4 ply merino in Coral Blush. 

As well as finishing off the hand quilting on the Baby Quilt, I have a knitting Easter project to take to Flinders as well.  I'm hoping for some cooler weather and open fires.

Pixie hat

This is a little pixie style baby beanie that I saw on a craft blog a few years back.  I can't find the pattern or remember which blog I saw it on.  So I'm flying blind and have no idea what age I'm knitting for or whether it will work.  If it does, I will post knitting instructions.

Baby Knits cardi

My mother, who is much better knitter than I, is going to knit this little baby cardigan for bub-to-be.  This pattern is from the book mentioned above.

Baby Knits scarf

I also loved this scarf from the same book.

Pear Tree alpaca This could be cute in this lovely grey marle for one of the boys. 

From what I was told at the fair, this yarn is organic alpaca I think - I could be wrong.  I think the colours are natural - really yummy anyway - sort of nut coloured.

I couldn't resist taking home a ball of this too.

Back to basics crafting

I don't think I've made a baby's bib since I was expecting Max over 8 years ago.


But today I just felt the urge.  It's the first day of the term holidays.  We are all a bit sniffly and it's cold outside.  The boys are still in their PJs and we're all happy just cruising about the house - them playing with Lego, me in my studio.

Bib detail

The little embroidery motif is from this Japanese craft book.

Baby quilt

I've nearly finished the quilt for the new baby.

Baby quilt 3

It's bound and mostly quilted.  Although there's still more quilting to do, I couldn't resist washing it today - just to give it that vintage, crinkly look that I love.

Baby quilt 4

It's whizzing round in the drier now - just to finish it off.

Baby quilt 2

I've enjoyed having some hand quilting to do in the evenings, although it's getting harder to find a comfortable position as my belly gets bigger.

Couldn't resist

Max and Tom have become voracious little readers - a habit I actively encourage.  We often end up in bookshops topping up our supply of chapter books and other treats.

Our bub-to-be, when she is old enough, will be very unimpressed with the selection on offer in our house.  Other than some lovely classics from my childhood or well-read godparents, there is shelf after shelf of books on road construction, marine life, emergency rescue vehicles, spy kids, trains, space, natural disasters, dinosaurs and the like.

Little cat So when I found myself browsing in a bookstore with the boys the other week I couldn't resist this beautiful book

The illustrations are just sublime, and the colour palette so appealing.

Even the boys appreciate it (it is about a large vehicle after all.)

Little Cat 1

The illustrations are by Anna Walker.

Little Cat 2

A school bus in the perfect red.

Little Cat 4

Even the back cover is irresistible.

Little Cat 5