home and family

A busy life and a new pattern

Wow, life gets busy doesn't it?  I have been largely neglectful of my Townmouse Pattern business for the last two years.  It has ticked along without me.

Our children are growing up.  

Adelaide is 9 and has developed an obsession for horse riding.

Adelaide on Tappy

We have two children old enough to drive (both still Learner drivers).

Max Tractor

We have a new family member of the four legged (canine) variety. We now have gender balance in the home!

Lucy and Tilly

We renovated our farm house last year. While the builders were on site, the site manager and I made improvements to an old barn on the property. I feel very proud of the makeover we have achieved on the barn.  It's amazing what a lick of paint and a pergola can do. Bunnings became my favourite store. We made simple changes on a budget that brought about improvements to the look and feel of the building. It's now a busy AirBnB rental.  So yes, I've also become an AirBnB host in the last 12 months.


Lately though, I've found my way back to my attic studio.

Studio 1

I had a big tidy up a few weeks back and now I'm enjoying spending time there again. A podcast or Netflix series and a dog (or two) at my feet for company and I am back in my happy place.

Studio corner

Yesterday I launched my latest pattern, the Sienna Gathered Skirt.

Sienna blue blue stripe

I had done 80% of the work on this pattern two years ago, and then life sidetracked me.  

Adelaide in skirt

I enjoyed getting back to the old files and bringing them up to a standard to release to you.  I'm even thinking I might make one of these for myself.

Sienna launch blog

To celebrate the launch there is 15% off all patterns until the end of July with the code SIENNA15.

I just love this rose gold stripe version by Kristie @thesewcraftybaker who kindly tested the pattern for me.

The big question is, what pattern to work on next?

New details around the house

We will have been in our house 3 years next month.  Before we moved in I worked hard to get all the details ready for move-in date, including curtains and blinds.  Our furniture that came with us fitted in very nicely and there were very few gaps to fill. I even brought three sets of curtains with us from our old house (I find fabric hard to part with). We bought a new, but very old, round hall table, and I had a sofa made and covered in a much loved Rose Tarlow fabric.

I knew that without a deadline of a move-in date, anything that didn't get done before then, would have to wait a very long time. Because, lets face it, making all those renovating decisions is exhausting and I knew I'd run out of steam.

Entrance hall 2

We were happy with the job that I'd done furnishing the house. We have had some lovely pieces of furniture gifted to us over the years by Will's mother who has such a good eye for these things. I sought help recently to do the last little 5% to really bring everything together and make the house sing.


Like most crafty types I'm obsessed with fabric. Some lovely new fabrics entered our house today in the form of new stools to go under our old, new hall table, some cushions and an upholstered ottoman for our living room, and some more cushions for our formal sitting room.

Living room sofa

The cushions have beautiful details in the way of coordinating trims.

Entrance hall

The fabric on the little hall stools has also been used on lamp shades in the formal sitting room, and a lamp shade on a standard lamp in the family room.  It's all designed to mix and match so the pieces can move around if need be.  These little stools will become handy on book group nights when an extra seat is needed around the fireplace, for example.

Formal sitting room details

Our dining chairs have had a new lease on life with another stunning Rose Tarlow fabric.  Teal blues are a favourite interior colour of mine, and I love that the colour pops up here and there throughout the house. And I love the way the chocolate stripe in this fabric works with the dark wood of the chairs.

Dining chair

All the rooms are interconnected so I like that there is colour harmony from room to room.

Entry hall to dining

The house feels rather grown up now.

Entrance hall to dining

There have been some lovely additions to our bedroom too, and I can now say that our house feels complete. Although I do have a sofa sitting in our garage that I picked up at auction for $100 that needs reupholstery. So I guess there is always a project still yet to do.

Adelaide's bedroom

Today I picked up this chair from the upholsterer.

Adelaide bedroom-2

It's a child's armchair.  It used to be in my mother-in-law's childhood bedroom. She gave it to us for Adelaide's room and I finally had it recovered this week.

Adelaide bedroom-1

Adelaide has two little single beds in her room. I like the idea of her having little friends for sleepovers.  When we moved house I had the curtains and bedheads made.  I ordered a few metres of the chair fabric, along with a few extra metres of the bed skirt fabric, in order to make matching whole cloth quilts for her beds.

Adelaide bedroom-4

That never eventuated, and I decided the fabric was best put to use recovering the armchair. There was fabric left over to have two little cushions made for the beds. I might get around to having a lampshade made in what's left.

Note the Casita night light on her side table.  Adelaide can't go to sleep without it on. The ballerina print is one of two that used to hang in my grandmother's house.  The second one is above Adelaide's bedside table.

The armchair is proving to be the perfect spot to nurse a doll or have a chat with her favourite BeanieBoo.

New Townmouse Pattern - the Henri Long Shorts

There is a new pattern in my Etsy store.  This one is for boys. It's called the Henri Long Shorts.

Henri long shorts 3

When I was growing up my Australian godmother was living in Paris with her young family.  Every Christmas they would come home to Australia for a visit.  Her son, at 5 or 6, always looked terribly dapper in his long shorts and polo shirts.  It was a very different look to that sported by Aussie children in the 1970s.

Henri long shorts 4

This pattern was very much inspired by the French style brought home to Melbourne by my godmother.

Henri long shorts 10

I've just spent a lovely morning looking through my collection of family photos.  

Henri long shorts 12

Over many summers these long shorts were all my boys wore. They had about 6 pairs each.  All their summer shenanigans took place in their long shorts.

Henri long shorts 17

Fighting, jumping, racing, digging, fishing, you name it.  The shorts stood up to the task.

Henri long shorts 11

And then if I needed to smarten them up for a more formal occasion, the shorts did the job paired with a polo top or shirt.

Henri long shorts 8

Here we are trying to get a nice photo for Daddy's office.

Henri long shorts 9

Not the greatest photo of Adelaide - it looks like someone has stuck a pin in her.

Henri long shorts 16

The Henri Long Shorts are a very simple pattern to make. They are ideal for the beginner seamstress.  I've rated them One cotton reel out of Five.

Cotton reels 1

Do you like my cotton reel graphic? I had fun drawing that in Illustrator.

Henri long shorts 13

The shorts feature a gathered waist and 4 patch pockets. All you need is around a metre of fabric (yardage for each size is detailed in the pattern listing) and about half a metre of 1 inch elastic. They suit a range of fabrics from denim, linen, cotton, seersucker or cotton canvas.

Henri long shorts 14

If you make a pair, please tag your photos with #townmousepatterns on Instagram or post them in the Townmouse Patterns Flickr group.  

Coupon badge Henri

To entice you to try them, please use the coupon code "hellohenri" to get 10% off any patterns purchased before Sunday 16th August. Happy sewing.


Monogrammed towels

A bit of a break from garment making today to do a little necessary crafting for the home.

Monogrammed towels

There's been a bit of squabbling amongst the boys about who is using whose towel. (Hmm, just had to look that grammar up.)

This isn't the first time I've been known to monogram a towel - I do love a monogram.  This time, I worked out where on the towel to put the letter so it would work when the towels are hanging up.

Of course it's never going to look this neat when the boys do it.  More than likely the towels will be in a damp heap on the bathroom floor, post shower.

Monogrammed towels detail

This font is Times New Roman at 598 pt.  I increased the font size until the letters just fitted one to a page.  To save printer ink I recommend putting the letters in outline mode.  Use some Heat'n'Bond Lite to adhere the letters.  Here's a uTube video explaining the technique.

An oven mitt

I have a rather old fashioned kettle that goes with the old fashioned Aga cooker we installed in our new house.

Aga kettle

The oven has barely changed its design since it was invented in 1922.  There are no bells and whistles on this beast. But boy can it cook.


Kettle design has no doubt come a long way in the near 100 years since the invention of this cooker.  As pretty and original as this kettle is, its function is not quite so pretty.  It's hard to pour boiling water out of it without the steam scalding one's hand.

Kettle mitten

Ah, but being the handy seamstress that I am, there is always a sewn solution to such a dilemma.  This mitt has a little sleeve to put my hand into before I lift the kettle, and I'm protected from wayward steam.  And its colours fit in nicely with my white, grey and wood accented kitchen.

The Townmouse attic studio in our new house

Now that we are a few weeks into the school year I am finding the occasional hour to potter in my attic studio and I am loving it.

Come on in, I'll give you a tour.

To create the attic studio we sacrificed a small room on the first floor (or second floor for American readers) and used that space to install a staircase.  During the renovation the roof came off, the attic was built and the old tiles were put back on the new roof. This is what you see at the top of the stairs:

Studio landing

I love my glass lamp base filled with vintage thread bobbins. The bobbins I sourced on ebay.

Studio entry lamp base

Through the glass doors is my little haven in the treetops.

Studio door

The room is a great size (about 4 metres wide) and this is the view from the doors:

Studio view from the door

This is how the space looked on the day we moved in:

Studio moving in 1

Studio moving in 2

I loved unpacking all my boxes and seeing all my much loved crafty items again.  It was better than Christmas.

Studio Basil the cat

I now have lovely bookshelves to store my quilting and Japanese and French craft books.


Some favourite storage units and pieces of furniture are doing their thing.

Studio fabric stash

Studio threads

This little storage unit was once in my grandmother's garage storing jars of nuts and bolts.  Then it came to us and stored our CD collection (remember those?).  Now it's keeping my stationery items in one place.

Studio stationery storage

My quilt tops hang on this airing rack.  The hope is I will be inspired to finish them if they are sitting out on display rather than forgotten in drawers.  This tactic hasn't worked so far.

Studio quilt storage

I have my own little nook.  When Will pops up to the attic in the evening he sits on the sofa on the right and I sit in my nook in the window and we chat.

Studio my nook

I've made a couple of trips to Ikea in recent weeks.  I now have my overlocker and old domestic machine on this table.  The four machines I use are in a "U" shape which I can access easily from my swivel chair.  The ironing board makes up the fourth side of the area.

Studio view from my sewing machine

I also bought a second fabulous trestle table so that when I roll out wide rolls of fabric they don't spill over the edge of my single table.

All in all I'm as happy as a lark in my new studio.


Sweet storage dreams

Over two years ago I wrote a post about some lovely storage jars I'd found.  I also wrote about my dream of having a blow-your-mind pantry and laundry one day.

The architect we chose has a reputation for his amazing kitchens, and also for his very sympathetic and timeless renovations of period houses.  That ticked two pretty important boxes for me, so he became our man.

So what became of my dream for a fabulous kitchen?

Scullery and Laundry

I'd have to say it's been well exceeded.  This is our scullery, taken from the door into the garage.  The scullery continues into a laundry.  That full height cupboard houses the washer and dryer.  Beyond that are my six sorting drawers - one for each member of the family's clean clothes. And the next full height cupboard is our drying cupboard, with hanging rails and room for a clothes airer.

Scullery 2

My storage jars have found their home.  

Right now I have my washer, dryer and dishwasher going. There is a pork ragu slow cooking in the oven, and I'm as happy as a lark.

Casita night light

We have moved!  We are all settled in our new house and loving it.

But before we get on to that, I wanted to tell you about another favourite house of mine.

Casita night light 3

This gorgeous little house is a night light made by a blogger I follow - Daniela - who lives in Atlanta.  I had been following Daniela's blog, Trebuchet, for a little while and it was one of my faves.  So late last year when Daniela announced her new venture on Etsy - her gorgeous night lights - I quickly placed an order for one.

It arrived in divine packaging and was even cuter in person. I've been keeping it wrapped up for over a year, waiting to set it up when we moved and Adelaide had her own bedroom.

Casita night light 1

We call it the fairy house.  It sits on this little table between Adelaide's two windows.  Our nickname for Adelaide is Birdie, so there's a little bird in a nest, and some cute animal cutouts I found in Le Bon Marche last year to keep it company.

Here's a photo of the same night light taken from Daniela's Etsy site:

Casita Night Light

Isn't it just the cutest?


A fabric day

Today was an exciting day in our renovation.  The curtain company was installing all the curtains and blinds.  We are taking three sets of curtains with us from our current house. They are all in fabrics I love so much I couldn't bare to leave them behind - Will's study, our formal sitting room and our bedroom.

In between visits to site today and lots of running around to hardware stores and upholsterers I dropped in to one of my favourite fabric suppliers. I was very excited to pull together this selection:

Playroom fabric 1

This will go into the children's retreat or playroom upstairs. The herringbone fabric in the natural colour is for the cushions that will go on the bench seats. The three green fabrics - the plain, the print and the textured weave - are for scatter cushions for the children to pile up and recline against. There's the carpet sample in there too. The fabric with the white spots is going to cover 4 fabric cubes that will go in the centre of the room to work as an ottoman or footrests. I thought they'd be practical in the space as they can easily be moved out of the way for some serious Lego play or other activity on the floor.

Playroom before reno

This is the room as it was when the house was for sale.

Playroom in progress

This is the same room from a different angle taken a month ago. Since then the carpet has gone down, the windows have been cleaned and the handles have been put on the drawers under the bench seating.

Those wide angle lenses the real estate agents use always make rooms look so much bigger than they are. It's hard to recognise it as the same space.

Eight more sleeps.

Sewing withdrawals

It's desperate times around here.  I packed up my entire sewing room back in August to get our house ready for the September auction. I knew I'd be too busy to sew before we moved house so all my fabrics and other sewing possessions got put into storage across town until we move house later this month.

But I'm seriously missing my fabrics.  I'm pining for them.  I don't even have needle and thread to sew on a missing button or take up a hem.

Liberty Aquas 1

My favourite children's shop in Melbourne is Jacadi.  They make beautiful, sweet children's wear that I adore.  I particularly love their cardigans.  Each season I visit the store to stock up on these very handy garments for Adelaide.  The beauty of a cardigan is that it fits for more than one season - unlike a jumper - and can still be worn even when on the small side.  Adelaide has a better knitwear collection than I do.

I justify these expensive cardigans by rounding out her wardrobe with homemade coordinates to go with them.

Liberty Pinks

I've been topping up my Liberty stash of late and can't wait to be reunited with my industrial sewing machine (the removalists are going to have fun getting that beast up two flights of stairs).  As soon as my sewing room is set up I will be madly cutting into these pretty Liberty lawns to make dresses, skirts and tops for Adelaide.

Liberty Purple

On the To Do list is this top pattern, at least one top and dress from this pattern, definitely one of these favourite dresses and maybe some Oliver + S Puppetshow Shorts.

I'm going to be a busy seamstress between now and Christmas.

The sewing room that was

This year I have been way too busy for any lovely down-time in my sewing room.  And it's just as well, as it now looks like this.

Dining room

There's not a thread, a scrap of fabric or a sewing machine in sight.  Our house is currently on the market and, taking the real estate agent's advice, I have transformed my little haven at home into a dining room.

I personally think a potential buyer would get more excited over a crafty den than a dining room that rarely gets used, but hey, we crafters are in the minority aren't we.  Not everyone gets excited about piles of fabric and spools of thread.

Sewing room

It's hard to recognise the space.  And of course real estate agents use those fish eye lenses that make rooms look so vast. You can just make out the fireplace behind my card patterns above.

Our house auctions next weekend.  Fingers crossed it sells on the day as I can't maintain this state of cleanliness indefinitely.

On other news our renovation is rocketing along and we will be in for Christmas.  Famous last words I know.....