In the post this rainy autumn afternoon are these three pieces of treasure, bought on Etsy the other day. The seller tells me they are cut from a civil war patchwork from the late 1800s and I love imagining where and by whom they were sewn, where the fabrics were bought, where the fabrics were printed. The little half square triangles of this vintage quilt are only about an inch high and are hand pieced on the reverse side with the most even tiny stitches.
I've been poring over the fabrics looking the different styles up in my wonderful Textile Designs reference book which I bought last year at Kinokuniya. The patchwork includes madder prints - dyed with the madder plant, neats - simple small scale florals, and maybe some Cinnamon pinks and Half-mourning prints.
Sounds a bit like an eighties band but actually the names of some new friends to our gang, joining the fat tadpoles in our new pond this rainy Saturday afternoon.
The cold and rain saw us holed up at home with a hearty minestrone for dinner (based on Pip from Meet Me at Mike's recipe). And the alfabeto pasta shapes meant we could write love letters in our dinner - 'i love soup'.
It was also the perfect weekend to start this knitting project, my first every baby knitting project. It's for a young friend's first baby, due this month. And its also my first go at cables, albeit baby cables. It seems all the nicestpeople are knitting hats this weekend, so I'm in good company :-)
Oh dear, every week I see so many fantastic creative spaces and I always mean to join in but I'm not organised. Anyway, so I'm posting this in a bit of a rush. Luckily I have photos on hand of my latest finished knitting project. Its a pattern from Ravelry from a blog called A Friend to Knit with and its called Toast, though actually this one with the thumbs is called Toasty.
After the sock knitting these were such a cinch. I made them in a couple of days all up.
I made them special for Miss A who is obviously headed for an illustrious career as a hand model!
Speaking of Miss A, here is some food photography I did of her Food Tech assignment to design and package a new biscuit recipe. These are BANANA biscuits, they're great. She loves to cook and she's a great baker. The chocolate is an added perk that makes them just perfect. We are going to experiment a bit with putting it on better!
I promise to share the finished recipe once we get that far.
As always there are loads more fabulous creative spaces at Kootoyoo, and this week I have one of them!
I'm a little late posting this morning because of Grandparents Day at school. The school bands played in the music hall and then my friend's Dad who is 85 (and played with some of the greats in 60s London) got up and played some Blues piano. Very cool.
I know my Show & Tell interviewee Nanette Louchart-Fletcher would have enjoyed the concert. Nanette writes one of my very favourite blogs - Rummage - a mix of stunning photography, food, craft, life, interiors, gardening, thrifting and more. I love the way Nanette writes. To me she celebrates and shows the beauty in the everyday, the people, the food, the seasons. And I adore her beautiful interiors - even her mess is photogenic! On top of that her stories of life with The Frenchman, the kids and her dog Kipper often make me laugh, think and see.
I hope you all enjoy reading her interview answers. If you haven't seen all her work, check out her links below. Pop over to her gardening blog, explore her guide to Melbourne, cook some of the recipes from her Christmas offering and dream over her beautiful photos. Thanks Nanette :-)
1. Why blog? How did you start?
I have written Rummage for about three years now which is endlessly surprising being someone with a short attention span. I think the reason that I keep writing it is because I write largely for myself. It's great that people sometimes read Rummage but I write what's in my head at the moment that I sit at the keyboard which is most often of very little interest to anyone but occasionally cathartic. Put it this way it's a lot cheaper than a shrink.
2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
Hell yes, I have a workspace that is of cathedral proportions. The Frenchman agreed to forego a lounge room and now has an office in the walk-in-wardrobe. Despite all this I'll be damned if I can find my seam ripper.
4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
The name Rummage comes from my propensity to be heads down bum up in a box of old tatt in the op shop.
5. Favourite medium to work in?
Favourite medium to work in? It depends what day you catch me on. At the moment I am at one with my sewing machine and I quite fancy the odd bit of patchwork by hand.
6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
Ambitions? If someone would just give me a damn book deal I would retire and live in ugg boots, polar fleece and make the occasional dash to the shops for some cooking chocolate.
7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
I just checked with the Frenchman and he gave a gallic snort and said I am 'verrrrry messy', but who'd believe a man who resides in the walk-in-wardrobe.
8. Favourite handmade item you own?
The small people give me all sorts of excellent handmade items. The other day the littlest presented me with a colour pencil picture of a poo. It's hanging on my noticeboard.
9. Favourite food/recipe?
I would be a complete liar if I didn't say that my favourite food is chocolate.
10. Favourite colour?
11. Star sign?
Leo (no eye rolling)
12. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
Tricky question, I used to live in the Hebridean islands of Scotland which are swoon inducing.
13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
THERE ARE NO TRICKS AND ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU OTHERWISE IS FIBBING.
14. Favourite post?
I don't really have a favourite post or thing that I've made.
15. Three words to describe you?
impulsive, absent-minded, adorable (ahem)
16. What do you like to do besides creating?
I like to hang with intellectually precocious teenagers and engage in a bit of radical pedagogy.
Before Christmas I introduced a new product to the Flower Press shop, Tea Towels x Two, sets of two tea towels packaged together, at a discounted price. In my mind I've always thought of certain towels as being good partners and so it is very satisfying to put them together and see them travel off to a new home to live forever in coordinated bliss!
These were so popular that when I got new stock I made up a couple of new combinations.
The first of these is the Ocean set of the Filigree and Chrysanthemum patterns. The Filigree tea towel has always been a real favourite in this lovely deep blue and now I am printing the Chrysanthemum towel in the same colour it makes sense to put them together. And this combination has been flying out the door!
Another two I've always loved together are the Chalk Filigree on Natural Linen paired with the vibrant pink Chrysanthemum towel. It makes me happy to see them with each other! A real garden party set.
Today was packaging day, I finally have new Flower Press labels to sew on my towels. Today was the first time I've sewn a lot of labels with my new sewing machine and it was a dream! There was absolutely no swearing at bunged up threads or unpicking, or broken cotton, regular features of packaging days with my old machine.
And while I was folding and wrapping and sewing I dreamed up a couple more combinations to put in the shop. The first is this graphic duet of white on black and black on white - a perfect match. The second is this set of cotton Chrysanthemum towels - Bottle Green and Rose Pink. At just $19 these are a great bargain with the same great designs and quality as the linen towels. Keep one and give one away, the only problem will be choosing which one to part with!
I am in the process of editing pictures for tomorrow's Show & Tell, see you then.
I'm often guilty of trying to do too many things at once. With the result that many things remain half finished or half started for too long. I get distracted and break off one thing to start another. Often I'll just get up to find a pen or get a phone call and that's it - I'm off doing something else till the next thing distracts me.
The internet doesn't help. I see all those superwomen doing so much fun stuff and think somehow I can fit it all in. There are so many tempting and inspiring projects!!
Sadly the result is that things don't get done. The boring stuff sits in the back of my mind pointing accusing fingers, and the fun projects aren't as much fun because I'm feeling guilty so I pick them up and put them down a million times. That's never going to completely change - its very much how I'm made - I like to be busy and I get excited about things and have to start them now! But, for the past couple of months I have been trying harder to focus and finish one (!?) thing at a time.
I'm wary of the shiny new system that takes lots of energy to set up and only lasts a week (been there done that - I used to have the most beautifully drawn and coloured study timetables around!). So I have done it quite minimally this time by simply trying harder to finish things. By doing one thing at a time. ONE THING AT A TIME TILL IT IS FINISHED. That's my new motto. Every Monday I transfer my to do list to the new week of my diary. And the list has everything on it good and bad. Having those things that you don't want to do reappearing each week has been a good prod to getting them crossed off. And doesn't it feel good to see them gone! The fun stuff is scheduled too so it gets its turn.
The bonus is more space in my brain and more completed projects. This week and last I've been working on my web pages and in the process updating my Dreamweaver skills with Lynda.com (web based tutorials for software programmes.) I've been tempted by many other things but I've stuck to it.
(Of course in between there has been a party invitation designed, two nine year olds taught how to knit for school, biscuit recipes tested for a high school assignment, tea towels and fabric sent, lovely brother for dinner, dentist visits, sport, music, personal tax stuff sent, receipts and wages sorted for our other business... )
Most exciting though is Mr Flowerpress' finished project - this garden pond which I have wanted forever! It has a great edge you can sit on and watch the tadpoles swim by. Very zen. It needs more plants in it and some fish, and some plants around, but you get the idea.
I do hope your week has been productive too. And if you have any tips for getting organised please tell me. I have a long way to go!
Sorry to have been missing from the blog but I will be back with a bang next week for the Show & Tell series. At the risk of repeating myself I'm really excited about this one - a blogger who has the most fantastic photos and words! I'm taking suggestions too for future interviewees if you feel like commenting or emailling about someone you're dying to know more about. Happy Weekend!
p.s. I've added a link to my email up there on the left to make it easier to contact me. Just don't share it with the lottery guys or the viagra people!
Imagine my delight when I spied this fantastic piece of guerilla knitting at my local dog park the other day. Luckily a tag on the bottom led me to grrl + dog's website and the lovely guerilla knitter Denise Litchfield, who has kindly let me use her photos. Check out her blog and flickr gallery for more wonderful knit pieces. (I love the fluffy yellow part in the middle of this one.)
Our local dog park is an amazing place, a cafe at one end called Cafe Bones serves chocolate chip bickies and mugs of chai to the human customers and liver garnished puppacinos to the pampered staffies, labradoodles, great danes and cattle dog clientele. Inner West Sydneysiders love their pooches and the park is always full of such a wonderful range of people and mutts. And on the whole they are all pretty well behaved :-)
OK, I did it, here are two, count them, TWO socks. No, wait a sec, don't look yet, screw up your eyes so they are a bit blurry, ok, now look!
They are far less than perfect, but did I say yet that there are TWO. And my feet don't know the difference, they can't see the mistakes.
In the interests of honest blogging, let me share the fact that the first sock is bigger, and in some places the dropped stitches seem to have got twisted when I picked them up. On the other hand I blame the pattern for the matching holes on one side of each sock where the decreases didn't add up. I frogged number one and did it again so I'm almost certain its not my fault. I couldn't have done it wrong three times... could I?
A few locals have asked when I'm knitting a pair of socks for them. Don't hold your breath! I've cast on a project in larger needles and wool and I love how fast the rows appear. I will say thought that my knitting has improved and I happily cast on to dpns without a second thought. And I love the feel of my hand knitted socks. Luxury :-)
1. littlelom 2. dudley 3. allana c 4. oh deer 5. bob & mabel 6. curlypops 7.worden 8. treepartydesign 9. turn left here
For those of you who don't know it, madeit is an Australian online marketplace, similar to Etsy, but with all Australian sellers and currency. Just lately I've been selling a lot more through the Flower Press madeit store and spending a lot more time there browsing! I also subscribe to the regular madeit emails and each week there is something tempting that sends me exploring another wonderful madeit store, most of these images are taken from their regular Monday Must Haves mailer.
If you're Australian I think its really worth a look, its so nice to think in Australian dollars and postage is simpler and quicker buying locally. On the other hand I'm pretty sure that like me, some of the sellers are happy to send internationally so its a great place to find Aussie makers.
Another plus is its not so big as Etsy, so its easier to find specific stuff, unless of course you are like me and easily distracted!!