Saturday, April 30, 2011

Start at the very beginning...

(See, Curlypops is not the only one who is keen on the odd blog title with reference to a 'Sound of Music' track!)

Tanya and Nicole. Part 1.
So, by 'the very beginning' I don't mean the beginning of the book. Gosh, no, I am not that linear
I will be doing all the projects, but not in the order that they are presented to me. That would be far too structured!
So, the beginning bit is about the 'level' of the project- who it would be most suited to (beginner, advanced beginner etc). This little zipper pouch is a beginners project. It was one I pattern tested, so I started with the familiar as well.
Do you know the eye rolling thing about making it?
First seam and the 'quick upick' (or 'my best friend', as Cheryl calls it!) was required. 
Distracted mistake. I sewed the zip onto the wrong side of the fabric- not, as the instructions said, the right side.
The positive about this is that- it was a short seam to unpick and has reminded me to not get 'blase' and over confident, to pay attention to detail (and, er, the instructions!). This mistake has put me in my place.
Anyway, over that and on with it, not too much later, and the 8 year old has a new little pouch to store all sorts of treasures in.
And when you peek inside, there are a few stripes...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tanya and Nicole/ Julie and Julia

Tanya and Nicole doesn't have quite the same ring to it as 'Julie and Julia' I understand that.
Are you familiar with Julie and Julia? Julie Powell, New Yorker who fancied herself as a cook who was up for a challenge, took Julia Childs cookbook and decided to cook herself through it in a year- 365 days. 536 recipes. And she blogged about it.
Okay, so look what arrived in my mailbox today (I flogged the photo from Nikki's blog)

I am too excited (other people are as well- and many more I am sure!)
I did some pattern testing for Nikki and wondered how the book would turn out. It feels like its been a long time coming (and it's not even my book!) but wow, it's a really great book. I haven't had a chance to sit for a big read yet, I just keep flipping pages at the moment. I will though, soon.
 It's great for lots of reasons- Nikki is a thorough professional. She dots her 'I's' and crosses her 'T's', that girl (admirable!). It's practical and it has lots of clear photos- her explanations are understandable and she has the theoretical background to hang her practical hat on, which I value and can learn alot from.

When I stop flipping and start reading, do you know what I am go to do?
I am going to sew my way through the entire book. I am not giving myself a timeframe- no need to add pressure- the idea is that the process is fun and formative- can't rush that.
I will 'keep you in the loop' as I go along.

Edited to add: Top right of my blog- see up there? I have just made a button for anyone who wants to do this challenge with me, collectively. That would be fun. A few people left comments saying they were keen on the idea. Obviously you will need the book, you can get it from many bookshops (and your local will order it in for you with pleasure, I am certain) or, from Nikki's website. It's $40, which is about the same price as you'd pay for 2 or 3 boutique patterns but the book has heaps as well as invaluable tips and tricks. It's solid. I am not doing the patterns in any particular order so this challenge suits me well- there is plenty of room for spontaneity- knit or cotton fabric, bag or purse, clothing or belt, adult or child, pattern or 'pattern free'. 

I have added to this challenge a special stash busting clause which you may or may not choose to participate in. That's right- no new fabric for the entire book (interfacing and bag hardware purchases allowed). Ah, the thrill of it!

I don't know if I need to add this, but will in case anyone wonders- Nikki didn't ask me to do this, she's not 'sponsoring me' or anything, she didn't know I was doing it until she saw it up there on my blog. I did do pattern testing for her and I do love her patterns and inclusiveness for all sewing levels and confidence. I have bought my fair share of craft books and have sometimes been abit disappointed but this one I flicked through and was  happy.  

Any questions? Feel free to email me, and if you do use the button or join in, I would love you to let me know and  to see your progress.

The thrill of the research

I am participating in a swap.
Hooray. I haven't done that for ages.
But Punky's mama has organised a cushion swap.
I am getting rather excited.
I have received notification of who I will be 'cushioning' for. It's top secret.
I may know them and their blog or I may not (not telling).
But, regardless, it's so fun trying to look at their blog, read their words, look at their photos and try and get a good sense of what kind of cushion is 'calling me' to be created. For them. 
So to speak, You know what I mean.
I hope my cushionee likes it.
I haven't decided yet-to knit, to sew, to stitch, to print...I wonder.
I am determined not to leave this to the last minute and stress myself out about it (as has been my tendency in the past...)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The simple things

Holidays give the illusion of time. Well, it's not an illusion, there is actually more time to do 'stuff' but, it's sort of an illusion when I manage to fritter away alot of time whilst achieving very little.
At least I feel like I can do that at a leisurely pace!
I love school holidays, kicking around with the family and friends (by the way the great bike adventure went really well and I am keen to do it- or some other rail trail, again).

It's on holidays I think of doing things like making pasta.
I didn't have a recipe but I knew the ingredients, I put all the plain flour I had in a bowl (maybe 2 cups), with an egg, a pinch of salt, a good slug (just channelling the Jamie Oliver in me!) of olive oil and enough water to make a stiff-ish kind of dough.
Then I let it rest for ages- like hours, I had other things to do.
Then the helpers gathered and we laughed, mucked around (well, it was kind of like play dough that you can eat it) and created and made the best pasta I have had in a long time.

It's during school holidays that I make big claims like "I think I will make the pasta from scratch every time we have it from now on".
My neighbour makes her lasagne sheets from scratch every time she makes lasagne, that's just her habit now (she isn't Italian in case you were wondering).
It really isn't that tricky, it is pretty fun. It could be achievable. Is it a priority? We'll wait and see.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tradition...of sorts

It's that day again, the big bake day. Making Hot Cross buns for the neighbours.
This year the gluten free ones became 'not cross buns'...
This year I used a new recipe, not deliberately, just kind of...vaguely. Oh, okay, I will spell it out, I couldn't find my recipe when it was required. It will be around. In a pile somewhere (or at the bottom of a pile somewhere!). 
I had it out a few weeks ago because a friend and I took it upon ourselves to go and spend a few hours (which turned into a fair part of the day) making hot cross buns with the Grade 3's (both our girls are in Grade 3). Our school has a great kitchen and every time I have offered to come and do some cooking in small groups with the children, my offer has been gratefully accepted. 
It's interesting- hearing how the different children talk and approach the task- some are obviously pretty comfortable in the kitchen, some not, some used to trying new things and tasting new foods, some not. I was pleased that this time around, by the end of the day everyone had had at least a taste of a bun (there was one strong resister!). I wonder if any of them made Hot Cross buns today.

These are some of them waiting to be divi-ed up and delivered.
And all the gf 'not cross buns' stayed at our place.
And their number was rapidly depleted!

Friday, April 8, 2011

We're off on an excellent adventure.

Earlier in the year, I wrote a list. I have been meaning to print it out but well, haven't yet. I look at it every now and then. I still like my list, and am still making progress on it.
Upcoming list action- riding from Beechworth to Bright. I hear it's lovely at this time of year. I am abit nervous- our family are more your, ahh, wanna be campers rather than the real deal... never really done it much (you?). And the cycling? It's a long way- I will report back next week!
Lucky we are going with lovely friends who are helping to get us organised, have arranged a tent for us to borrow and have been encouraging and practical. Great.
photo by lauricebryant- I looked up bicycle images in photobucket and liked this one. didn't say copyright so I assume I can share? (Advice welcome here, I don't know the rules)

I would love to be riding this fun looking bike- mine is someone rustier and without the basket. 
I have been packing today, it's taking a while. I am not really interested in packing. I am interested in just hanging out, though, riding, chatting, laughing and being, with my family, with my friends. 
And the night before we actually start camping we get to stay at Bec's house near Beechworth- it's awesome! (I reckon she'll let me put photos of it on my blog- so I had better remember to take some). 
Back to it, pity that packing doesn't just do itself!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I promised I would draw my 'giveaway' (well, donation inspired giveaway) today. Thank you to those who entered, I appreciate you getting behind the effort.
I took the least labour intensive (and probably least fun method!) to choose the winner and headed over to .
I deleted comments that weren't entries and plugged the numbers in and Celeste's number came up as the winner.
Celeste is a 'real life' friend of mine, who I don't see half as often as I would like to. We went out for dinner a couple of weeks ago and mentioned something about my blog and she said 'I don't get blogs' or something like that. So I showed her my blog- and the most recent post was the giveaway- so I bullied encouraged her to enter. Celeste has lived in Japan at different times in her life so I am sure she has a greater understanding of  this tragedy than I do.

Anyway, Celeste has a girl who would like a new dress but she is much smaller than the dress I am offering (I changed the rules during the week and said I would make a dress in the size that the winner chooses)- that means that the original give-away dress was still available. 
What to do? A re-draw, how fun, two winners. Using the same (boring but efficient) method the next winner is Mary
So Mary, this is off to live at your house
and Celeste, something else will be made for your girl to wear and twirl in this Autumn.

And if you are looking for another reason to inspire your donating head over to Nikki's place

Gratitude and thanks to my elders.

The thing about the vermin issue, is that is has me slightly hysterically sorting through my crafty cupboards. 
I probably needed an incentive to sort, discard and organise (would rather a positive incentive but anyway...). The fun thing (the only fun thing) about doing this is the rediscovering... I had forgotten that when my grandmother died a few years ago, I saved this from being chucked out...
I don't know whether it was intended to be a vest or a jumper. My grandma was an amazing knitter (and crafter in general). She made funny knitted toys, jumpers- I got to choose one- pattern and wool (she would hand us the Bendigo woollen mills colour chart- they must have been around for years)- every few years. She had at least 13 grandchildren so I reckon she must have been knitting fairly constantly.
She was absolutely of sound mind until her death but the preceding years had seen her eyesight fail severely and that meant the she couldn't read (she was a librarian who loved books) or craft. It must have been extremely frustrating, but I didn't appreciate that at the time. Her work was fine and detailed. I don't know what ply this wool is but it seems pretty thin to me!
The other funny thing is I reckon this would have been an unfinished object for years. Before 'bright colours for babies' was 'okay'...maybe it's been hanging around since the 70's- it's a very 70's kind of green, which the photos don't replicate. So, when I rediscovered it this morning it was in the same place as this;
MY unfinished vest! Started in a burst of enthusiasm last year, or the year before, for the young girl- who is now 8 and won't fit into this even if I did finish it. I have the pattern but have no idea what size I was making. I really need to document my projects better (I have thought that on more than one occasion!).
I wonder what I would find in my mothers unfinished project pile. I suspect I am a third generation project our defence the 3 of us would have a very serious pile of finished projects if they were all in the same place and time.