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March 2010

February 2010

What to make

I'm loving this Liberty.  I can feel a sewing session coming on.

Pink Liberty

And it goes with the new favourite pants. 

I think I'll be otherwise occupied in the studio this morning though.  I'm having a final clearance of summer styles.  So the orders are flowing in.  Hopefully I'll have them flowing out the door in the form of packaged parcels on their way to customers.

If Adelaide wants a new top she'll have to cooperate and have a nice, long day sleep.

Nude Food

We're trialing new lunch boxes in the family today.

Nude Food

I like the idea of a rubbish free lunch.  By the time I've wrapped three sandwiches and 3 pieces of cake in cling film I've probably used close to a metre of non-biodegradeable plastic.

So I'm rather happy about these lunch boxes from Nude Food Movers.  The boys are rather taken by the novelty value of them too.  And they seem to be just the right size to accommodate all the items the boys usually have in their lunch. 

Here's one I prepared earlier

This little smocked top has been floating around the house for about 6 months.


I wasn't happy with it, so it never got put away into a wardrobe with Adelaide's other clothes.  In fact, it was sitting around on the sofa in the living room most of the time - a lost item that never had a home.

Smocked1 This morning I made a small adjustment.  I ran a line of shirring elastic around the sleeve hem. 

It went from looking like a cape one might wear at the hairdresser, to a cuter gathered sleeve top. 

Adelaide is happily wearing it now with a white pair of the favourite pants.

I've got a few other smocking panels that are half finished that I might now be inspired to make into a similar style.

Favourite pants

There has been much garment development going on in Adelaide's size ranges.  Babies grow so quickly in the first year so I'm madly pattern drafting, making and refining while I still have a fit model in the smaller sizes.

Pants cuff

One item that has been a favourite of mine is a pair of cuffed pants.  They come to the ankle but also look cute when Adelaide is sitting in the pram with her knees bent.  I've made her quite a few pairs.  The red and blue ones she has grown out of.  Now it's time for a hot pink pair.

Pants pocket

I like these pants enough to include them in the Townmouse range.  So I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing them in fine corduroy for winter, and then cotton for summer.

I'm just deciding what style of top to make for Adelaide out of the pictured fabric.  I do like flutter sleeves at the moment, so maybe it will be a little swing top with said sleeves.

Birthday boy

Tom turned 8 on Friday.  Will had to be in New Zealand on Friday and Monday.  He didn't want to be away for Tom's birthday so he took Tom with him.

Birthday boy

We've probably set a dangerous precedent, as Tom had the best weekend ever.  But I'm a firm believer that in a large family, one-on-one time with parents is really important - especially for the boys with their Daddy.  It brings out the best in them and they just thrive with the undivided attention.

Birthday weekend

The two of them hiked, swam, canoed and toured the south island around the farm, from Queenstown to Christchurch.  I think it's a weekend they will both always remember.  There's certainly plenty to keep men busy in New Zealand.

By the bed

For Christmas, Will gave me an e-reader (a Kindle thingy).  And I love it.

I do adore a house filled with books.  I have some favourite books that I would never part with.  But there are many books I read that, once read, I'm not fussed whether they go or stay.  An e-reader is perfect for this sort of read. 

My bedside table has gone from this:

Bedroom before

To this:

Bedroom after

All those books are going out.  The worthy reads will go onto my bookshelves.  The fluffy stuff will go.

Now who wants the Twilight series?

Restocking the studio

It's that time of year when my fabric stash grows in anticipation of new ranges and production runs to come.

Thread card

Just before Christmas I visited one of my preferred shirting fabric suppliers.  I was in need of a good plain white shirting cotton for little girl's winter blouses.  I always love poring over swatch books and dreaming of what garments might come from them.

It's an occupational hazard though, the all too easy justification for feeding a fabric addiction.  I tell myself it will be perfect in the range, when in reality, it's just about coveting fabric and wanting to possess a few metres of it.


As well as the white, all these will soon be mine, all mine.

Memorable prose about remembering

I loved Proust's moment with his madeleine, but I loved Craig Silvey's take on remembering all the more.

Jasper Jones His second novel, Jasper Jones, is a wonderful book, a perfect book, I read over summer.  It was recommended by the girl in my local bookshop as her "best read of 2009".

I am talking it up to all my friends as sublime.  It is just wonderful.  Here's a taste:

"What I'm feeling, I think, is joy.  And it's been some time since I've felt that blinkered rush of happiness.  This might be one of those rare events that lasts, one that'll be remembered and recalled as months and years wind and ravel.  One of those sweet, significant moments that leaves a footprint in your mind.  A photograph couldn't ever tell its story.  It's something you have to live to understand.  ...  Where things shift into focus for a moment, and everything makes sense.  And it becomes one of those things inside you, a pearl among the sludge, one of those big exaggerated memories you can invoke at any moment to peel away a little layer of how you felt, like a lick of an ice-cream.  The flavour of grace." 

This book is so good I want to contact the author to tell him so. 

I gave it a big wrap to my bookgroup last night.  It's now our book for April.  If you come across it in a bookshop, treat yourself to a copy.  Please.

New year's project

Strangely, despite the addition of a fourth child, last year I felt closer to achieving the elusive balance between work and life than I have since starting a family.  I intentionally pulled back on the pace of work so I could enjoy Adelaide's arrival in a more relaxed context.  It gave me a taste of what life could be like when I'm not always scrambling just to keep up.

I'm going to keep working on that this year.  My goal is to become a domestic goddess.


I've found myself adding blogs to my blog reader on the subject - blogs like Zen Habits and Unclutterer.  A couple of great pieces of advice that I've read of late are:

  • keep your horizontal surfaces clear of clutter to keep a space under control
  • never leave a room without taking something with you (in your own home, that is).

That first point certainly applies to my sewing studio.  I always feel so much better when I take the time to clear my patternmaking table and comptoir.

And the second point is probably pretty obvious to everyone, but when I consciously took that on board and made a point of always looking for things that need to be returned to their rightful place, the house looked a lot better for it.

Agnona cashmere slippers

Today I got the boys involved in that process.  We played a little game called "The Treasure Hunt".  I set the oven timer for 10 minutes.  Their challenge was to find items in the living room and kitchen that belonged to them and needed to be put in their proper place.  They had to present the item to me and tell me where it needed to go, and then put it there.  Each time they did this they scored a point. Ten minutes and 54 points later, the living room looked great and I was ecstatic.  It was so easy.  Got to love that.

Oh, and my favourite blog/site on the subject of organising is Flylady (recommended by Zen Habits.)  It's kooky and daggy but it offers some great systems.  Has anyone else discovered it?  I'm off to shine my sink.

Pretty pictures from here.