Thursday, 31 May 2012

my creative space - skirt


I'm squeaking in on the last day of Cam's 'Make it in May' skirt sewalong today as well as joining in with My Creative Space. And I'm sort of cheating by entering Miss A's skirt which she finished last week. For one of her birthday presents this year I promised her a pattern, fabric and help with making her first sewn garment and this is what she chose. So technically I didn't make it, but I was a consultant on the project and might have sewn a couple of stitches here and there.

I was about thirteen or fourteen when I sewed my first skirt, from memory it was a wrap around in a thick blue drill which never really worked out. My friend Miranda and I went along to a night course and learnt the secrets of pattern sewing. She'd chosen a button front skirt in an expensive hessiany fabric. I can't remember seeing her wear hers either! I did go on though to use the skills I learnt there to make quite a few garments in my teenage years that I did wear.

I'm delighted to be passing on some of my skills to A, at about the same age, teaching her how to read a pattern, how to pin and cut out, how to sew and hem, how to fit elastic. This was a simple project but a good learning piece. And she loves the outcome and the fabric. The pattern is New Look 6004 view A.

I lined my model up against the wall in the middle of the dinner rush last night for some quick pics. Pippie had different ideas though and was trying to get her to throw the squeaky bone while I was shooting her photo!

Do you remember your first pattern? What did you make, and who taught you how to read a pattern? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


This is so beautiful, I just have to share it, a wedding proposal in a Portland neighbourhood with family and friends helping set the scene.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

worm tower

wormsworms wormswormswormsworms wormswormsworms

One of the clever things I saw at a local Permaculture garden recently was a worm tower. I'd never seen this idea before and I think its great! The idea is basically to put a simple worm farm directly into your raised garden bed. The worm farms are then fed with kitchen scraps by the handful, straight into the top.

To make the worm tower you simply take a wide pipe, pvc in this case, and drill lots of holes into the lower half which then goes underground. Bedding materials like compost or aged manure are introduced into the bottom of the pipe, allowed a day or so to settle and then the worms are added to the pipe. Once they are settled you should be able to feed compostable worm food, i.e. vegie scraps into the top, the worms will then consume them and leave wonderful worm castings in return, which they also distribute through the bed, coming and going through those handy holes you made. You can cover the new worm hotels with a pot base or an upside down pot, like I have with one of mine, or a plant pot as I've done here.

Here are a couple of good local videos explaining how to make and use these towers.

I love my garden which is full of favourite plants, but its mostly been ornamental. I've always been jealous of people with big vegie gardens. The Mr did make me a wonderful wooden raised bed a couple four! years ago which is  working quite well since it was moved into a sunnier spot, but once a feral tomato plant and a self sown rocket plant take over there isn't much room for anything else. After my garden visit, I realised its something I really want, to grow more of my own vegies, so I had the idea to change a garden bed where plants never thrive due to root competition and poor soil into raised garden beds instead. This space gets sun in winter and summer and there should be room for a few more crops.

It was council chuck out here over the weekend and we managed to find and use salvaged timbers for both surrounds. The PVC was also being thrown out. We filled the beds with the contents of an old disused compost bin and an ancient and smelly bag of rotted chook manure to give them a headstart. Each bed then had its own worm tower installed and today I brought home the new tenants from the local garden centre. I also bought seedlings and seeds, and there are those garlic bulbs in the mail!

I'm thinking of this as a 'before' post in my mind, and hoping I will be back in time with a positive progress report. Fingers crossed!

Also new is the side garden where we've pulled out the concrete and the fly ash fill at last, a big job, and put in drainage and soil with a paver path. This once hot sunbaked area is hopefully going to become a shady green oasis with camellias and climbers on one side and perennial planting on the other, with a few ground covers growing around the paving path and the poor lemon tree which had to move a few metres along espaliered and thriving in its new lovely soil. It hasn't died, so that's a start!

Do you vegie garden? Have you got worms(?!)What are you growing and do you have any great advice for me?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

show & tell - Nova Flitter

show&tell24bUmbrella Prints Trimmings2011

It's been particularly hard this month choosing pictures for Show and Tell from all the inspiring projects on Nova Flitter's Cuppa and a Catch up blog, there are so many beautiful projects to choose from!

I'd come across Nova's work before online but I think I discovered the blog properly last year when she won the Umbrella Prints trimmings competition with these pieces above. I was really inspired by the way she had turned the small cuts of fabric into lots of beautiful sewing purses and bags and cards. I find it so hard to throw even the smallest scraps of pretty fabric out and here was someone who showed how to make the very most of every thread!

In fact looking through her blog I see that many of Nova's projects use small pieces to great effect. Take her Liberty Scrap Challenge theme where she shows each month how to sew with those precious small leftovers from larger Liberty projects. And in her distinctive style they never look like afterthoughts but more like a chance to mix and match your favourite patterns.

I also love the way she mixes embroidery into many of her pieces, including the wonderful redwork quilt she sewed with her Mum. Nova gives a wonderful tutorial on her blog which shows how to customise your own images for embroidery. I'm definitely going to try this.

As well as having her projects in a couple of beautiful craft books, Nova has recently produced patterns of two of her beautiful projects for sale, the pretty Petal Pocket pillow and Nesting Fabric Bowls (which helped her be named runner up in a recent Lotta Jansdotter competition). I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to future projects from this talented lady. Thanks again Nova for being part of Show & Tell this month!

Nova Flitter
Sunshine Coast, Qld
Pinterest –
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
I am inspired by & love many different things & styles so I settle for ‘random eclectic’ when it comes to describing my style. I think that describes all aspects of my life actually, not just the crafty part. My blog is a space where I record & share my crafty makes.

2. Why blog? How did you start?
Andy had a few months work in far north western Australia about three years ago & never one to miss out on an adventure, off I trotted too.  Hmmmm... to say I was homesick is an understatement. From the moment I stepped off the plane I knew I didn’t fit. Not to be beaten though & with my trusty  sewing machine in tow together (from the comfort of our caravan and 40+ degree heat) we conquered it and I reached out via the interweb to other crafty types. Starting a blog in that strange time got me through it and I made many friends.

petal pocket

3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
I guess I’ve just always been crafty. My mum is very creative and I grew up making & snipping & gluing & stitching.

4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I have my very own playroom. It’s actually two smallish adjoining rooms which I just love. I think though that however much room I had for crafty shenanigans I could always fill another room, and another and another...

5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I have a bit of a tea habit & most things around these parts revolve around a brew -  the blog name came about as it’s just something I would say to friends – “let’s have a cuppa & a catch up!”

shirt quilt

6. Favourite media to work in?
Fabric, though I am loving the yarn right now too.

7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I’d really like to expand my new found love of yarn into learning to crochet at some point. I have dabbled in silver smithing in the past and would really love to explore that more as well one day.

8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Creatively cluttered would perhaps best describe my work space. I do like to make in a tidy & organised space though so have to work hard to keep it neat(ish).

nesting fabric bowls

9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
I love everything that has been made for me & as well as receiving some beautiful handcrafted gifts I have been lucky to participate in some wonderful swaps too. It’s so special to have pieces around the place that have been made by others just for you.

10. Favourite food/recipe?
Cheese. Love the stuff.

11. Favourite colour?
Blue. Ooo & green. I love grey too. I’m also partial to a splash of red.

12. Star sign?
Liberty Scrap Challenge - Feb Edition

13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
Home. There’s no place like it.

14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
Make any spare moments count - it’s amazing what can be achieved in just 10 minutes sometimes.

hello Liberty!

15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
I am constantly inspired by others & it is really hard to pick a favourite.  Currently I am loving the Foreclosure quilt series by  Kathryn Clark

16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
I really enjoyed the journey of the redwork quilt I made with my mum via correspondence. Living so far from family it’s great to be able to shorten the distance a little with a crafty connection like that.

Liberty Scrap Challenge - March Edition! Liberty scarf

17. Three words to describe yourself?
Content.  Crafty.  Happy.  

18. What do you like to do besides creating? Walking, reading, camping, gardening, cooking (& eating).

red work quilt

Monday, 21 May 2012

these days

Bees Seeds Bridge CracklesBridgeBouquet

Last weekend I was thoroughly spoilt for my Mothers Day with lots of presents and this little bouquet of garden flowers. In the afternoon we went for a walk in an the old palm gully in the Rozelle Hospital grounds where the Mr and I used to go with our lovely old white dog before we had kids. It was quite lovely seeing it through their eyes and reminded me how lucky I am to have these beautiful people in my life.

This weekend Ms A sewed her first clothes from a pattern, something we've been talking about for a while. It was nice to pass on my little bit of knowledge of pattern sewing. She's making a simple skirt (photo when its finished). I think I was exactly the same age she is now when I made my first skirt from a pattern, so that's nice. The days are cold and bright. Its inspired some more baking including these dangerous chocolate crackles.

On Sunday I spent the morning with an old friend and some like minded souls at a local permaculture garden talking about growing your own and other ways to be more sustainable. This suburban garden contains about fifty fruit trees, garden beds, a beehive and more. I've been wanting to grow more food in my garden and I came away inspired, with a few seed swap packets and compulsion to order a big stash of garlic bulbs to plant out.

I'm glad to say I'm nearly through the boring stuff, I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel so hopefully I'll have time for some creative pursuits soon, I can't wait! I have ideas bubbling away and looking forward to playing with them.

To see some really creative work, make sure you tune in tomorrow for May's Show & Tell guest. Lots of inspiration there!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

my creative space - kid's cushion

bricks cushionbricks cushionbricks cushionbricks cushion

I've been doing tax stuff this week, yeuch, so I've had limited time for creative pursuits. Luckily the other day I found these cushion pieces, which I'd cut and overlocked a few weeks ago, stealing a little time from other jobs and I had the satisfaction of quickly finishing a project.

The fabric was precut and edges overlocked already so it was a simple job to go and sew in the zip and the seams. I've actually got the cushion/pillow sewing down to a fine art through lots of practice. I love the simplicity and great design of the invisible zip and invisible zip foot. I must do a simple photo tutorial next time to share, if you haven't sewn an invisible zip you will be amazed at how easy they are.

This cushion is in the shop now. I think it would make a lovely pop of colour in a kid's room, and you could sew some matching accessories with the matching fabric. Or buy yourself a fat quarter and make your own. Next up the clouds are getting the same treatment. I love this print in the large format and I'm really happy to have some yardage of it to play with.

Can you believe too that another month has come around, the good news is that that means Show & Tell is on again next week, on Tuesday. My guest is a wonderfully crafty, creative blogger. I love her work and I'm so pleased to be featuring some of it this month. Don't forget to pop in and say hi.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

my creative space - duvet cover


More a plan than a project this, but I wanted to join in today with Kirsty's Creative Space which has moved to a new home here. Thanks again Kirsty for keeping this wonderful space going for us every week for so long. Its always a highlight for me being able to join in with so many lovely, encouraging and clever people doing amazing and inspiring stuff.

I have been promising Master J a bespoke duvet/doona cover made with my Flower Press fabrics for ages, and in particular this lego Bricks design. A Spoonflower parcel lost in transit and general busy-ness means I've only got this far though, whoops.

The other day though I finally got round to buying a sheet set to match the print. My idea is to back the quilt with the flat sheet to make the case and then keep the fitted sheet and pillowcase to coordinate. Its hard to find fabric wide enough so sheeting is is the perfect solution.

The only problem being of course is that at Spotlight the other day I fell in love with this discounted king size sheet set, which is the perfect vibrant blue colour to match my Bright Blue Bricks, and also has a lovely feel to it, high thread count and soft. And they didn't have the single size. Which means there will be some measuring and cutting involved. Which is why it keeps going down the to do list!! I find it so hard to cut and measure large pieces of material. Any hints on ways to make that easier are very welcome or if anyone has any wonderful ideas about quilt cover designs/tutorials, closures, sizes I'd love to hear from you too!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

sewing with flower press

pint softies
I've banged on about how wonderful it is to see projects made with my fabrics before, because it really is the most rewarding part of designing, getting those fabrics back and then transforming them into something beautiful and useful. Sewing with your own fabrics is a wonderful feeling, but seeing where people take your prints is equally fun and always a really nice surprise. Especially in the hands of talented peeps like the those who made today's examples.


I've only recently seen these beautiful softies from Megan Nicolson whose shop on Madeit is called pint. Megan posted this pic of Boyd the Bear the other day on my Facebook page. Isn't he beautiful, he's made from all Flower Press designs, from head to toe. These hello bears are for newborns, and would make such a dear present for a new baby. Boyd and the rest of the recently listed batch was snapped up in a day so its probably worth keeping an eye on Megan's blog to see when more are coming.

I'm not sure the wonderful CurlyPops needs an introduction, but for those few of you who don't know her, Cam is a sewer extraordinaire and a fabric designer herself. We did a swap last year and she sewed up the requested brick prints into these great toy bags for her nephews.

lego bag 1Lego bags 2

Another wonderful local crafter who does amazing work is Katia from Plushka. Her series of felt softies is so delightful and I was tickled to see this new blue bunny with my marble fabric ears and tummy. He's for sale in Katia's Madeit shop along with all her other amazing work, I love her detailed little embroideries and her new Fox softie is so sweet.


This dress below by Kimberley of BaaBaaBoutique was made especially for a Lego themed birthday party. Isn't it fabulous, I love the clever panelling and the lego head detail Kimberley has stitched onto the front. Her BaaBaa Boutique Etsy shop is here.


Last but not least is this beautiful pillow case design with applique lego brick from Audrey, sewn for her nephew. I love the little details that she has included and the way the small panel of feature fabric and applique personalises the pillowcase. Don't forget my pillowcase tutorial if you are keen to make your own. And I've restocked the Flower Press shop with Brick prints and Clouds in case you want to sew your own.

lego pillowcase

Saturday, 5 May 2012


collectioncollectioncollecting nature

My new print 'Collection' was born and raised on the blog, starting out as a photo and then a painting and now a print which I've just listed in the Flower Press shop, printed on A4  heavy archival matte paper perfect for framing. In fact I did just that with the first of the run, and sent it off yesterday to my Mum for her birthday. I meant to get a photo, it looked so nice in its white Ikea frame!

This image started with my collection of blue and white china, found in different places over the years, some dug from the garden, some picked up on the beach, some even from a beach in Vietnam.

I was inspired to make a photograph (above) of my collection a couple of years ago, you can read about that in this post. A year later I finally sat down and made a painting inspired by that photo and recorded it here in My Creative Space here.

I hope you like it!