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February 2011
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April 2011

March 2011

In the studio

Yesterday I took the day off work to make a quilt.  Wow, I would have done anything to be able to have done that back in the day I had my boring law firm job.


1. My Wedding Ring detail, 2. Lines#6, 3. Waverunner II, 4. Elements #2, 5. Color Study: Log Cabin 2 ~ 2007, 6. SWAPBOT - MUSEUM POSTCARD - GEE'S BEND QUILTS

In reality though, all that meant was that the few quiet hours I had in a child-free house were spent cutting into fabric rather than attending to Townmouse matters.

I had thought I'd better get a wriggle on in the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap.  OK, so quilts aren't due until the end of May, but I have a bad habit of starting many quilts and finishing very few.  So I was feeling the pressure.  The pressure to make something for someone whose style is quite different to mine.  I was fearful I wouldn't be able to break out of my own style constraints and make something that my cool and groovy swap partner would maybe like.  

Doll quilt fabric

So I pulled these fabrics out of my stash.  Not me at all, are they?  The geometric fabric I ordered online; a fabric that didn't appeal at all when I pulled it out of the parcel.  But here it is the star of this collection.

Inspired by a little gallery of wonky quilts I had created (a sample of which you see above), and led by this helpful tutorial on wavy piecing, I got to work.

And guess what?  I created a quilt that is so unlike any I have made before.  The fabric is not me, the style is not me, but I like the end result.  It's something I'll be excited to send to my swap partner.

Quilted doll quilt

Hopefully there's someone excited out there at the prospect that this creation could be for them.

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.

French trim and other finds

There are so many little things that the French do well.  I picked up this beautifully simple picot cotton trim in Paris earlier this month.  

Picot trim

I'm picturing it finishing the hem and sleeve of some little cotton nighties for Adelaide.  Little sleeves like this, but with maybe more width and slightly more capped so they come down over the shoulder.

The camellias are currently growing down the south side of our house.   The little jar they are in was something else I bought home in my luggage from France.  The individual yoghurts served at breakfast in our Paris hotel came in these sweet jars.  I love jars that don't have a thread, as they look pretty as vases.  I thought they'd also be cute to store buttons or pins in my studio.  (The waiter at breakfast thought I was mad.)

My creative space

It's great to get back to some garment making.

I have a few metres of striped shirting in four colours: pink, red, pale blue and navy.  It has a fine handle and is rather lovely to sew with.

Raglan top

Before I cut into a precious Liberty (yes, the real stuff) or other favourite fabric when trying out a new style I make a quick sample or toile. But I can't bring myself to waste my sewing energy on a cheap calico.  I'd rather make it out of something that, if the pattern works, is at least wearable.  So I use this shirting.  

I guess when making children's wear, fit is not so crucial, and the fabric requirements are quite small.  If I was making a sample garment for myself I probably would use a calico.

Raglan top detail

This is a little raglan top with a front placket and neckband.  I wasn't entirely happy with the fit of this one.  There's another one in the works with less fullness.  I've taken a few cms out of the width of the front, the back and the sleeves.  Because this one is so voluminous it will go into Adelaide's cupboard until next year.

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.

Doll Quilt Swap

I've joined my first quilt swap.  Kate from One Flew Over has recently organised the second round of the Downunder Doll Quilt Swap.


1. Finley's quilt, 2. fuchsia seas quilt, 3. Dutch Pinwheels top without border, 4. 006, 5. pinkquilt4, 6. 28.365, 7. Love Finished, 8. pink orange ., 9. Sweet Charlotte ~ domokun!, 10. IMG_3361, 11. Quilting Detail--Red Letter Day, 12. "Early Sunday Morning" - Functional Art Quilt - Detail, 13. more sachets

So I've pulled together a collection of my favourite flickr faves. Seems I'm into pink and orange as a combination at the moment.  I always like lots of white in my quilts and clear colours, rather than the muddy variety.

This is going to be fun as the person I am making for has quite different taste to me.  So I'll be trying some new things in terms of pattern and fabric choices.

You can see a little bit more about the swap over at Flickr, where there is a dedicated group for this swap.

Fontainebleau and Paris

On the way to Paris we saw the signs to Fontainebleau.  So we turned off the autoroute and spent the afternoon there.


My goodness the French know how to live well.  Or at least, the nobility certainly do.  The scale and opulence of Fontainebleau was mind-blowing.

Then it was on to Paris.  We spent our days in Paris getting around town on the Velib bicycles.  We covered a lot of ground this way.  The weather was very mild - perfect cycling conditions.


We spent much of our time admiring the architecture of the city.  I love this apartment building overlooking the Eiffel Tower and backing on to the Parc du Champs de Mars.  Talk about prime real estate.

I love it when all the lamps go on inside the apartments in the late afternoon and you get small glimpses of Parisian apartment life.

Le Manège

Adelaide would love this.


Possibly the highlight of Adelaide's week is riding the little three pony merry-go-round at the Prahran Market.  She would get so excited to see this, found opposite the palace gates to Fontainebleau.

I love the giraffe.  There's even an upper deck with a second tier of horses to ride on.

The perfect craft studio

I am obsessed with the rooftops of France.  I spend my whole time looking up at the rooflines and dormer windows of the top floor apartments.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's my love of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess" - my favourite book from childhood.


This pretty group of buildings are in the town of Beaune in Burgundy.  Wouldn't one of those attic spaces make the perfect craft studio?  I could think of nothing better than being tucked away up there on a cold rainy day with the hum of a sewing machine, surrounded by fabric.

Wine country

I have quite a restricted diet.  Not by choice, but because there are foods that don't agree with me.

Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet

I have to largely avoid sugar, rich foods, alcohol, bread or dairy.  When I overindulge the symptoms can range from aching joints, heart palpitations, blurred vision, a fuzzy brain or hayfever-like itchy nose and eyes.  The joys of food intolerances.  

View from the room

While this is good for maintaining one's weight, it is a little dreary when visiting places where food is such a large part of the travel experience.  I can get away with the odd gelato in Italy or the occasional breakfast croissant in France, or a glass of wine at dinner here and there, but certainly not every day.

In the village 1

So after four days of failing to resist baguette with insanely good home-made strawberry jam at breakfast each morning and a few sips of wine at lunch and dinner each day with our friends I am feeling the effects.

We are now en route to Paris from the Alps and have stopped for the night in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet in Burgundy.  This might mean something to wine lovers.  It is the home of the world's best chardonnay.  We are staying in the Chateau de Chassagne-Montrachet (first image).

It's rather unusual to go wine tasting and decline the offer to taste the world's best wines I'm sure. Will tells people I'm a recovering alcoholic.  It's a long way from the truth.  The last time I drank too much was in 1997.

In the village 2

Anyhoo, we are in this pretty little village and feeling very relaxed.  Staying at the chateau is rather fun.  We are the only guests and there is no staff here overnight.  We have the run of the house.  Currently we are enjoying an open fire in the sitting room and will soon venture out to dinner.  I jokingly asked if the chateau was haunted, "Yes", said the woman who showed us to our room, "But the ghosts are friendly".  She then gave us her mobile number, "In case the ghosts bother you."  I'm not sure, but I think she was joking.

In the village 3

While Will enjoyed the wines, I turned my attention to the sights of the village.  It is a rather grey day today so the colour palette is muted but very much to my taste.  The second photo shows the view from our room.  The landscape will look very different when the vines and trees have their foliage.  

Look at that pretty roof of one of the houses in the village with the gorgeous dormer windows.  The next photo is of the village school. It's a beautifully maintained village and so neat.  Even the weathered old shutters look handsome.


The weather has been very kind to us in the French Alps.  We have just enjoyed three picture perfect days of blue skies and no wind.

I had a breakthrough with my skiing on the second day, under Will's tutelage.  All in all, it was definitely the most fun I've ever had on a holiday.  Here we are on top of the mountain with our friends.

Top of the slopes

I think I've said it here before that Will is brilliant to travel with.  He has a photographic memory for airport terminals, freeway routes and city layouts.  This, I learned, extends to mountain trails.  The area we skied in has over 250 kms of ski runs.  You can imagine that is a lot of possible ways to get lost.  Not with Will.  I just let him lead me all over the mountain.  Brilliant.

Cafe break


Ski Happy

I'm not much of a skier. I've only ever skied in Australia. So to be here in the French Alps is a really amazing experience.

Les Carroz

It was quite incredible to take the gondola to the slopes above the village we are staying in.  To look around and take in the astounding views.  We have skied for about 6 hours today in the most perfect sunny conditions and I am happy and exhausted.

Les Servages d'Armelle

Our hotel is in the village of Les Carroz.  Will found the accommodation on Mr and Mrs Smith.  It's a beautiful challet at the top of the village - just where the ski run comes into town.

We came off the slopes at about 4 and are now enjoying a few quiet hours before dinner.  I think the thing I appreciate most about holidaying as a couple is the time off at what is normally the busiest time of the day with the children.  It's an absolute luxury to lounge around, snooze, read, take a bath, chat or do nothing at all.

From where I sit

As I type I've just grabbed my camera and taken the above photo.  The room has the cutest little glass enclosed fireplace.  The door to the balcony is slightly ajar so we can hear all the skiers swooshing past on their way off the slopes.

Australian friends who are currently based in Florence have joined us here.  We skied with them today and they are joining us at our challet for dinner.  I'm glad I don't have to walk far to dinner because my tired legs are feeling the effects of an energetic day.  Best I take a bath.