Quick crochet project

Have any other Aussie readers discovered ABC iView on the iPad?  It's catch-up TV from the Australian Broadcasting Commission in a handy iPad app.

Crochet flower hair tie

Last night it was me with my crochet hook enjoying "The Hour", "Brideshead Revisited" and "Restoration Home".  And the best part: I was tucked up in bed.  Now that's what I call a great Saturday night in.

My first cloth doll

With Christmas coming up I had the idea that I'd like to make Adelaide a cloth doll with its own wardrobe of clothes.

Inspired by Fiona's fabulous Hop, Skip, Jump book, I pulled out some fabrics and set to work.

Doll in train

I used the Poppy doll pattern, which I received from Fiona a long time ago, but never got around to making up.  It's a lovely pattern with very easy instructions for the first time doll maker.  Next time, I think I'd like to try these pigtails.

Anyway, here's my first attempt.


I'm not sure what Adelaide is going to think of this miss.

Doll face

To me she looks like she's just had a tooth extraction and is still sporting cotton wadding from the dentist.  I'll have to get out my long embroidery needle and work away at those lumps of stuffing in her face.

Flutter top

The doll's top is made from some Liberty scraps from a recent top I made for Adelaide.  I wonder what she'll think of matching outfits with her dolly.  This fabric looks ever so pretty with the little Jacadi hot pink cardigan that is also pictured.


And now that all my Townmouse stock is nearly sold I have moved Adelaide's wardrobe into the armoire in my studio.  I'd much rather look at this pretty selection than the remains of the Townmouse stock, as I've been looking at that since last summer.  We can use the extra storage space in the children's bedrooms these days, so the armoire is a handy alternative.

When I tidy out and straighten up the whole armoire, I'll show you a wider view.

Lovely softie book

I was very excited to receive my copy of Fiona Dalton's new book, "Hop, Skip, Jump".

Hop Skip Jump

This book is fabulous.  I absolutely love it.  Fiona is a such a talented toy maker, and the little outfits she makes for her softies are so clever.


Look at the cute little vest this chap is wearing.  See more in her amazing Flickr stream, or on her blog, Hop, Skip, Jump.

Softie fox

I can't wait to find some time to make up one of the patterns in the book.

But it seems I'm not the only family member who likes to make soft toys.

Henri's softie

This is 6 year old Henri's creation that he made in art.  It made it onto the School Library display wall.

Prep softies

Henri was very proud when I bought my camera into the library especially to photograph it.

Where I sew

Do you love peeking into other people's sewing spaces?  I definitely do.  Pink Chalk Studio is sharing the eye candy you crave, with a month long look at people's sewing spaces.

Where I sew Kathy is profiling different well known bloggers and giving you a tour of their sewing studios.  You can join in by adding a link to your sewing space.  Pop on over and take a peek.  There are some lovely creative spaces featured there.

Most readers of this blog have probably seen the photos of my sewing studio.  But for the fun of it, I'll share them again here.

Studio - threads

I was lucky enough to score one of the two largest rooms in our house for my sewing space.  The other large room, on the sunny side of the house, is our master bedroom.

Studio - table

If I didn't sew, this room would make the perfect formal dining room I suppose.  Which means it would never get used, as no-one entertains formally these days.  I love this space.  As you would expect, it's my favourite room in the house, and where I spend of lot of time (when I can).

Studio - sewing machines

You can't quite see the full setup in the photo above, but I have three tables laid out in a "U" shape that contain my laptop, my industrial sewing machine, and my domestic machine and overlocker on the third side.  This makes sewing efficient.  I can check orders as they come in, and move from sewing buttonholes or applique stitch on my domestic machine to straight stitch on my industrial machine. Ideally I'd have another surface with a mini ironing board and iron setup so I wouldn't have to leave my chair to press seams. Then I'd really be humming along.

Studio - comptoir

This is my favourite piece of furniture in our house.  It's an old oak shop counter from France.  I was told it was from a Parisian haberdashery shop.  It provides fabulous storage space for my stock - 16 drawers in total!

Studio - armoire

When you stand outside our front door, this is what you see through the sewing room window.  I had this armoire custom made many years ago to store my quilt collection.  It has proven to be perfect for this space, and for displaying the current Townmouse range.  Again, it offers wonderful storage. The top drawer contains t-shirts and bodysuits ready for applique, and the bottom drawer stores my stock of pyjamas. This means I'm not always running to the garage to pull stock to fill orders.

Studio - fabric storage

This set of pigeon holes is the perfect height to sit under the sash windows on the south side of the room.  At the moment it stores my fabric stash.  My favourite craft books sit on top.

So there you have it, that's my sewing studio.  I consider myself very lucky to have the space to spread out my craft mess, and to be able to leave it there until the next sewing session.  It's one of the reasons I don't want to move house in a hurry.  I know I won't be so lucky in our next house.  There are more photos of my sewing studio on flickr.

EDITED: Now that we have moved house, you can see my new attic sewing studio in this blog post.

Who can resist?

It seems that every quilt blogger is caught up in the Farmer's Wife Quiltalong that is sweeping the globe.  And I'm happy to say that I am no exception.

FWS equipment

While I wait for my copy of the book to arrive from Amazon I've jumped right in and started with simple blocks that can be rotary cut and whipped up lickety-split.  

FW mosaic

These blocks are all on a 4 x 4 grid (is that 16 patch?) so the little triangles and squares all share the same measurements.  

When my book arrives I'll tackle some of the trickier blocks.  

Without the book I've been getting along just fine by using some of the great resources on the Yahoo group for this quilt. If you are making this quilt and haven't joined you should.

Freshly pieced You can see what other quilters have in progress over at Freshly Pieced. Maybe next week I'll be brave enough to post a full inventory of all those half completed projects.

You can also see the myriad of other blocks that have been made for the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt on Flickr.

Sewing with linen

The massive laundry project continues today.  Thank goodness it's a heavenly autumn day here and I can dry all the washing outside.

Tide pool sewing 1

In between all the unpacking, laundry, and sewing nametags on winter uniforms, yesterday I managed a quick sewing project with scraps from my tide pool quilt.  The quilt has not progressed at all, but these scraps were put to use for a little hot water bottle cover.  I love sewing these hottie covers. They are quick, don't use much fabric and are a good creative outlet.  If I have the inclination to make a few more, I might list them on my website for winter.

Tide pool sewing

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.

Owl softie

Meet Orson.

Orson 1

He's supposed to be a wise owl.  Stunned mullet is more the creature that comes to mind.  He is perched atop my sewing basket.


I rather like a scarf-wearing softie.

DoudousOrson's pattern comes from this book, which I picked up at Entrée des Fournisseurs in Paris.  

You can read more about this shop and others on my craft shopping tour of Paris blog post.

I started a little Flickr gallery of Softies that I've fallen in love with.  There are some extremely talented doll-makers out there.  I have a lot to learn about softie making. For example, how much to stuff them. Nothing to do but practise to perfect the art (or craft) I suppose.

Liberty fabric weights

Wow, I loved Elizabeth's idea for her fifty cent fabric weights on her blog Oh, Fransson.  Such a simple and handy project. So while I was fiddling around with Liberty scraps for another project I decided to make some of these myself.

Fabric weights

It was the perfect use for all those pesky foreign coins Will brings home from his business travels.  They were cluttering up his desk in the study and I didn't know what to do with them. Now, problem solved.

Fabric weights 1

And, well, if we ever have need for a French franc or some Italian lire we know where to look.  These are a much prettier way to hold my fabric on the table than my sticky tape dispenser.  Great idea Elizabeth.

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.

Small crochet project

ISBN 9784413009683 There has been no time for personal crafting around here lately.  I have had my head down in the studio keeping on top of Christmas orders.

When I do crash on the sofa in the evening I have enjoyed flicking through recent purchases from Amazon Japan. 

This crochet book has some simple projects in it, one of which I have had an attempt at.

Crochet flowers

Inspired by the above image I attempted a little hair tie for Adelaide.  She now has long enough hair for a very straggly and scruffy ponytail.  I think the ponytail is more wishful thinking at this stage, but these simple crochet flowers are fun to make and can be whipped up in a few minutes. 

Hair tie for Adelaide

I crocheted the flower onto a plain hair tie purchased at the local supermarket.

Hair tie

And with the beautifully clear instructions provided in all the Japanese crochet books, you can't go wrong.

Crochet flower pattern

The books include a legend too, so you can easily decipher the patterns.  The Japanese are so wonderfully thoughtful and clear headed about this sort of thing.  I find this diagram so much better to follow than a written pattern.

The best mail

I arrived home this morning to find this:

Good mail

See that.  Yes, on top of the letterbox.  The very best kind of mail.  We have a night in tonight, so I'll be on the sofa absorbing some lovely images from a few new Japanese craft books.  When I find some time I'll scan some images to share with you.


For now I'm madly packing orders.  While looking for stock in our storage room I spotted our Christmas wreath tucked away.  Now it is on our front door, reminding me that I only have a few weeks left of madness on the work front.