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March 2010

An embarrassment of riches

More than a thousand metres of fabric have landed in my studio in the last few weeks.  That's only half of what is due, and then more still will bypass my studio and go straight to my manufacturer.  I haven't received my Liberty order yet - that's always one I look forward to.

Sunny top

So while I might be low on stock, there is an excess of fabric.  The space is a little tight, but there are worse things I could surround myself with.

The above fabric is one that is destined for summer dresses - the happy colour I just couldn't ignore.  Somehow this pretty fabric didn't speak to me in the other colourways; I only liked the yellow.

This is a sample of the winter top style (that I still haven't put into production).  Adelaide test drove the sample on the weekend and I'm happy to say I liked it just as much at the end of the day.

A horse of course

We've had a busy, yet fun weekend.

Rocking horse We had a quick lunch in Flinders on Saturday. 

Adelaide is now old enough to sit on this rocking horse that my grandfather made for my mother. 

It's made using an old car spring. 

My grandfather was an engineer and made a lot of my mother's playthings - from surfboards to the toy train that now resides in the boys' room.

SaddleWe then caught the car ferry across the bay to stay with friends on a farm near Lorne.

They have converted the old shearing shed into a lovely, roomy house that overlooks the valley and pretty stableyards.

There the children got to ride real horses (although I don't advocate horse riding without boots and riding hat - this horse was on a tight leash).


An organised kitchen

In my attempts to be a little more organised I have streamlined the process of feeding the family.

Glass storage

I picked up these lovely storage containers over summer.  I much prefer storing food in glass, rather than plastic.  These are for keeping Adelaide's mashed vegies in the fridge.

Flylady mentions the importance of menu planning.  This is something I've always been terrible at.  I'm trying it (and doing quite badly at the moment).

Organised kitchen

The above two things have helped.  A shopping list of all the things I usually buy, by category.  This works as a reminder too.  I can do a quick pantry 'stocktake'.  All I have to do is read over my list and tick the boxes.

I store a supply of these lists in the front pocket of my recipe folder.  If a recipe is good enough to be made more than a couple of times it makes it into my folder.  That saves me dribbling food spills over good cook books too.  It's one of those folders where you can pull out the plastic sleeves.  So if need be I can grab the page as I'm flying out the door to the market (if I haven't done my pantry stocktake and shopping list preparation, that is).

So I'm not there yet, but with a few pretty props I'm on the way.  (Happy to share my shopping list with anyone who wants it.  It's in Microsoft Exel so you can easily edit it for your own ingredients.)

What keeps you organised in the kitchen?  I'd love to know your secrets.

Boys on billycarts

While we're on a "men on modes of transport" theme, I thought I'd share with you a few action photos from the weekend.


While the boys played around on their homemade billycart I played around with my camera and different light metering modes.


Getting the right amount of exposure for a moving subject in patches of bright light and dappled shade was the challenge.  I will await the feedback of my photography teacher to see how I went.  Meanwhile, these are good enough for the family album and captured the spirit of the moment.

Dangerously good

What I love about breastfeeding is that you can indulge in food like this and it goes to someone else's hips!

Just baked brownie

Corrie has posted her brownie recipe twice on her blog.  If it was worth mentioning twice I had to try it for myself.


This gets my vote for best brownie ever (if you can say that about your own cooking).  I don't think the 2.5kg bag of Lindt Bittersweet cooking chocolate I bought today will last long.

One perfect day

Saturday will go down in my memory as a favourite day, a top ten, a perfect day.


We visited Three Hummock Island with some friends who are in Australia from Italy.

Granite rocks

There's something about this place that gets into your soul and lures you back.  It's simply heaven on earth.  The complete solitude has something to do with it.  The pure beauty has much to do with it. 

The sand pools amongst the granite boulders soon enticed the boys into the water.  They had a wonderful time hopping from pool to pool.  There is so much to explore on a beach like this. 

Shutter speed

Each week in photography class we have to submit 3 images for in-class critique at the end of the lesson.  This is a really interesting part of the class because everyone's work and subject choices are so different.

Low speed

This week we practiced panning.  With a slower shutter speed you follow the subject so the background appears blurred.  This is Max running across the front lawn at Flinders.

High speed

And a slightly disturbing image of Tom taken with a fast shutter speed. 

One block, many variations

When I studied fashion, a large focus in patternmaking was on the development of blocks based on our individual measurements.  These would serve as templates for our various garment designs.

Blue Cap Sleeve Top

I've had little shirt blocks since Max was a baby that I use for all the top variations I have designed for Townmouse over the years.  Once you have a block you are confident fits well, the basic dimensions like armhole depth or shoulder width don't change.


You can then chop and change the design details - change a front button wrap to a back button wrap; add a cap sleeve; remove a collar; insert a bodice with gathered front body.  All the design variations above are derived from the one simple block.  It's a handy thing to have.

Blog giveaway for expectant mums

I've spent the night listing some of my old and unworn designer labels on ebay.  In amongst them I found this black wool maternity dress that I made from my own pattern a few years ago.

Maternity dress front

Rather than list it on ebay, I thought I'd ask if any of you crafty girls might be interested in it.

Maternity dress back

It's an a-line shape with a box pleat at the centre back.  The side ties tie at the back and can be drawn in for the newly pregnant or post baby bodies, or let out to accommodate the third trimester.  It's an Australian size 10 to 12 (that's a pregnant 10 to 12) which is a French 38 to 40, Italian 42, US 6 to 8 more or less.

Maternity dress side

There's no shaping at the front that makes it specifically a maternity dress.  It's rather flattering on, as it's not too figure hugging but does provide a slim silhouette from various angles.

Maternity dress detail

I made it to wear to the Melbourne Cup but it also came in handy last year for a funeral when I was expecting Adelaide.  I lined it in the red lining because I wore it with a red flower to the races.  You don't really see the red detail unless you're looking for it.  The fabric is a black wool of mid weight.  Suitable for any time of year except high summer.

If anyone would like it, please leave a comment by next Wednesday.  However, I ask that you cover the postage - $8 within Australia, up to $25 for international.  I can PayPal you a money request.

Oh, and if you're after St John or Loro Piana bargains, jump on over to ebay before next Wednesday.

UPDATE:  The dress has been snapped up by a local reader.  Thanks

Like learning to drive a manual car

I have started a 5 week photography course to get to know my SLR camera.  Since I bought it in December I have been afraid to take it off auto.  Last Wednesday was the first class.  I was probably one of the least experienced photographers in the group - the one that asked the really obvious questions and had no clue how to change settings on a camera.  But I view this as a good thing, because I have the opportunity to learn the most.

Tom in PJs

We were given an assignment - to take photos.  Funny, that.  Tonight the light was pretty in our front garden.  Tom came out to see what I was doing so I turned the lens on him.

Tom in PJs 3

Tom has a 3 second attention span (just like his father); he never sits still.  So trying to photograph him involves lots of cajoling - and lots of deleted images.

Tom in PJs 2

Some of these are keepers.  I know the grannies will like them.  I just wish he wasn't wearing his worn out old PJs.  They're not even Townmouse PJs.  Quelle horreur!  I think if I had made him go change I would have lost the moment though.