Friday 30 July 2010


More fabric in the mail - but this time its my own design :-) Do you remember the Spoonflower cheater quilt contest I entered. I ordered these proofs at the same time (in fact all the fabric I've received this week has been a long time in the coming, I'm not sure why they all arrived at the same time - though I'm certainly not complaining!)

I've had Spoonflower designs printed once before and I was curious to see the quality of the product since it came out of Beta, and also I was curious too to see how my designs printed up. So I ordered proofs of both my cheater design and the floral print I used in some of the squares.

I'm really pleased with the quality of the printing, which to my mind has improved noticeably since last time. The finish on the dyes is much smoother and the colour match is excellent. All my colours look very close to how they did onscreen. Which also means happily that my artwork and colour specification were correct. If you look here you can compare it for yourself with the artwork I sent. In fact if you are a regular here you have seen most of the steps involved as I worked toward the repeats.

The quilting cotton is quite light and thin, I think I'd prefer it a slightly heavier weight, but it has a lovely fine texture. (I'm tempted to order enough of my floral print to make pillowcases because this fabric is really smooth against my skin and I love fine cotton against my face.)

I love all the different repeats, the green spots, the love hearts, the chicken spots! I also really love the colour palette. The limey green is especially fantastic but I also love the deep pink and the orange. And the fine detail in the numbers design is wonderful. Yay!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

in the mail

I think you will be starting by now to get an idea of why the parcel guy and I are such firm friends, and why he waves to me when he sees me down the street :-)
Here are two parcels I received yesterday, a selection of my booty from the Vintage Sheet Swap (yay, don't you love them!) and a little fabric scrap pack that I couldn't resist when I stumbled across it on Etsy. Dangerous place that!

I have grand plans of making a quilt with my red rick rack and I've been collecting red and white, and now pink and red fabrics to match.

Monday 26 July 2010


From the first time I saw Lotta Helleberg's work I was in love with her graphic botanic prints. The amazing detail she gets in her leaf and flower prints and the beautiful contrast of white and black ink on fabulous coloured linens is just beautiful.

If you haven't seen her work you are in for a treat, her inleaf shop is full of beautiful handcrafted pieces made with the most wonderful attention to detail.

Lotta is a keen gardener like me and shares beautiful photos of her garden on the other side of the world in her garden blog. I like that our seasons are so opposite, I get to savour spring in her patch while the leaves are turning here and she can taste a bit of my blowsy midsummer in the depths of her icy winter and vice versa.

Quite a long time ago we decided to do a swap. And while its taken us this long to get organised (busy lives!) its been definitely worth the wait! Last week my precious parcel from Lotta arrived in the post, two cushion panels and backs cut from the most beautiful green and grey linen. Lotta was generous enough to let me choose the colours and leaves I wanted and printed them up especially for me.

I do love them. Thank you so much Lotta :-) It will be so special to have a piece of your work in my home! There is something so wonderful about having a friend's work around. It gives things another layer of preciousness. Here are some other pics of Lotta's lovely work.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

show & tell - kirsty macafee

Each week Kirsty Macafee hosts the most amazing and popular blog meme 'My Creative Space' on her Kootoyoo blog. And each week a hundred or more bloggers join in to share their creative processes, their workspaces, their lives. This celebration of crafting is not just about the end product, sometimes its just about sharing new materials, processes, patterns or inspiration. Sometimes a work in progress might reappear each week until finished. It's about being creative in what ever way you want and getting and giving support, encouragement, advice and inspiration.

Unsurprisingly Kirsty's own creative space is always clever, beautiful and innovative. Looking through her blog recently I remembered so many of the projects, all of them interesting and fresh, from her repurposed blanket slippers and tv blanket, her enormous granny square shrug to the wonderful shared quilt project which she cites as her proudest achievement.

One of the things I was dying to know about Kirsty was the story behind her blog name Kootoyoo. So I was a bit embarrassed to find I've been mispronouncing it in my head all this time!

Kirsty has also been kind enough to share a recipe with us, a first for Show and Tell. Its one that I'm sure will be popular after (during) a long day crafting. I know its one I'm going to make and enjoy ;-)  Thanks again Kirsty for sharing yourself here, and for all the enjoyment and community you give us each week in your Creative Space!

Kirsty Macafee

Short description of your blog/style/work...
Usually short & to the point.  The blog is just a catalog really... of ideas, beginnings, makings & random other drivel.

I really enjoy the process, the actual making so there are litterings of in progress shots each week.

1. Why blog? How did you start?
I'd been reading blogs for a goodly long time & felt that maybe I had something to contribute.  I think that one day when I'm a grumpy old lady (rapidly losing my marbles) my kids might enjoy this little glimpse of my makings way back in 2007-2010 (& beyond?).
& of course I needed a pants kicking.  That was provided by Pip Lincolne to whom I will be eternally grateful.

The making of some really, truly amazing friends was entirely unexpected & the absolutely BEST thing to come out of the blog.

2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
I guess I've learned a bit by absorption from family (immediate & extended) and from my cleverest of clever neighbour Vicki.  I probably picked up a bit swanning around the art department at school.  But I confess my love of the arts was really more a love of slacking off than actually creating anything worthwhile.

3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I do have a space.  It adjoins the kitchen & contains the washing machine & laundry trough (which is handy).  I love it but I do tend to leave a Hansel & Gretel trail around the house.

I also love that my kitchen bench has become a craft space when friends come around.

4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
My nickname is Koo.  Until I became a parent the only people who called me Kirsty were people who didn't like me, employed me or spoke of me in the third person.

I'm Koo to the people who know me best. 

It's kind of classic Aussie to do stuff like slam a whole lot of words together omit or replace letters and form something so bad it's good.  I love it when you see country properties named  "Sinkatinny Downs" & "Didyabringyagrogalong".  My Dad's farm is called "Billongaloo" because his wife's name is Lou.  I love a good Dad joke.

& really kootoyoo says it all.

5. Favourite medium to work in?
Hmmm... I'm such a craft leap frogger but I guess embroidery.  I love anything "by hand" though.  The machine is just a means to an end for me.

6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I only work in 24 hour blocks & I'm terrible at promoting myself so my aspirations are pretty basic.  I like pottering around, I want someone to pay me to potter.  I don't think that's too much to hope for.

7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
All or nothing.  Super neat and then completely out of control.  Messy until I can stand it no longer and then super neat again... it's a vicious cycle.

8. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own?
Brilliant antique scrappy quilt.  

9. Favourite food/recipe?
1/2 Lime cut into 8 pieces
1 Teaspoon brown sugar
60mls Vodka
60mls Ginger Beer

Muddle lime, brown sugar & vodka. Be careful not to overwork the lime or it will become bitter. Add the ginger beer & then serve over crushed ice.

I'll happily go without food but I really love a pretty drink.

10. Favourite colour?
A quick scan of the wardrobe would indicate it's still brown despite the brown granny disaster.

11. Star sign?

12. Favourite place, landscape?
I climbed to the top of Mt Gower [Lord Howe Island] with two superfit guys and the experience and subsequent view was really quite amazing.

13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
If it's too hard... stop.  I packed the craft away for about 4 years when the kids were small.  Now I just try to focus on the hand stuff that keeps me part of the action.  Having my space off the family room & kitchen has certainly helped. BUT often the washing goes unfolded & the kids eat toast for dinner.  Oh & an iron should only ever be used for craft.  If you plan to iron a shirt or teatowel or jeans or undies (!) sling the flipping iron in the bin & get one of those mini clover ones.

14. Favourite artists?
As I said, my time in the art department was all about the slacking off.   I like people... if I know you & you're an artist/illustrator/maker/photographer then I'll love your work.

15. Favourite blog post/thing you've made/photo?
Just so enormously proud of that piece.  

16. Three words to describe you?
honest, real, obsessive

I'm crap at stuff like this so I asked The Date.  He was most unhelpful (& not entirely G rated).  I said "C'mon, something nice.".  To which he replied "How do you say nice things about yourself without sounding like a toss?" 

17. What do you like to do besides creating?
Running... far & long all by myself & chat, coffee, collect.

Sunday 18 July 2010

chicken risoni

Thanks for all the encouragement for my little carved block. I'm still working on the finished product and I promise I'll share more soon.

Tomorrow is the next instalment of my Show & Tell interviews and its another great one. Such a creative blogger (hint) I know you are going to love it!!

Since we bought a little upright freezer a few months ago Mr F. and I have been trying to cook in bulk more often using our Make Two/Freeze One theory. Its so wonderful to pull a meal out of the freezer on those days you don't feel like cooking. So far we've mostly been making pies, slow cooks, stocks and tomato sauces.

A while ago we made up a new simple recipe of our own and I thought I'd share it here. It's easy, child friendly and delicious. We were cooking prawn risotto with a home made chicken stock one night and had about a litre of hot stock left. There were some chicken thighs in the fridge too that were on their last legs use by date so we threw the two together in the oven. The next night we heated it up, added some risoni pasta and ta da, dinner. You can also do the whole thing on a stovetop and finish it in a camp oven over a campfire, like we did last week.

I've added some pics too of the dessert we made when my sister was here - bread and butter pudding with cut up croissants instead of bread. I used a Jill Dupleix recipe from her book 'I Hate to Cook' and just used the croissants instead of buttered bread. It was dangerously good!

Apologies for the quality of the pics, both dishes went too fast for food styling!

Chicken Risoni

Cut about eight chicken thighs into smaller pieces, season and fry off in a frypan. To make 12 thighs add another can of tomatoes and a bit more of everything else.

Chop and fry two onions and some garlic. Add chicken and onions to casserole dish.

Add one can chopped tomatoes, 2 carrots cut in rings and about a litre of chicken stock with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 45 mins at 180c.

At this stage you could freeze the base or use half and freeze the other.

To serve, add handful of black olives, some frozen peas, about a cup and a half of risoni and a dash of worcestershire sauce cook until pasta is ready, 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Thursday 15 July 2010

my creative space 15.7.10

I wasn't expecting much creative space this fortnight, between having my sister to stay, being away and the kids home on holidays its been hard to fit any creativity in. This afternoon though lovely Mr F has taken them all fishing, for my benefit as much as theirs I suspect! And so I've been making. Here's a hint, just a peek I'm afraid, can't stop now! More photos and a sort of tutorial to come.
Have a look at Kirsty's delicious morning tea ;-) and share some other creating here.

Wednesday 14 July 2010


The theme for the stitched postcard swap I'm part of is TIME. I'm not sure why but I had a bit of trouble being inspired by this one. Contrarily I didn't want to do a clock! And so I ended up starting work on the ages of a rose which I thought would be a good way of illustrating the concept. The result, below, turned out a tad pretty for my taste and I thought I'd try another more graphic idea.

Thinking about time again, my favourite line from Peter Allen's song Tenterfield Saddler floated through my head. I've always loved the metaphor and I thought it worked really well for a message that was going in the post to travel to the other side of the world!

If you don't know it, please watch the video. Peter Allen has his cheesy moments but this is a very moving song. It always makes me cry.

This postcard is wonky on purpose, but seems to have photographed even wonkier! The stitching too. Both postcards went in the post. And funnily enough Chris liked the roses best. To see more postcards follow the link on the left.

You know, they are funny those swaps, kinda stressful, but I think I like them. The deadline speeds up and then you have to create, collect, send. I was similarly last minute posting my vintage sheets the other day but looking at Ange's blog with vintage sheet inspiration I can't wait to get my parcel in return!! I can feel another quilt coming on.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

a big sky

We've been away.

Its almost funny really. I was so stressed when we left - thinking of all the things I needed to do, to pack, to clean. Bills to pay, emails to write, clothes to wash, food to buy, packages to send.

Nothing like a long horizon to put things in to perspective. Time with family, a cup of tea, some home made cake, home made marmalade. Talk. Walking through the still of the bush, the smile on the dog's face as she dives in the creek. More talk. Camp oven dinner round the fire with grown up nephews, burning sticks and gazing transfixed into the coals. Old photo albums and finishing my book.

And the sky! So amazing on the dark winter afternoon we headed west into the sunset. The morning clouds a hundred storeys high the day we left, painting the sky a million shades of grey and white.

I've got a few more pics from my time away I'll post them tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who commented on our little Peppermint ad :-) I keep meaning to say here how much I truly love to receive all your comments. Thank you! I love to reply too when I have time so if you don't have your email address in your blogger profile (its easy to do) why don't you leave it in your comment or email it to me separately so I can get in touch.

Wednesday 7 July 2010


My lovely Down Under Street Team of Australian Etsy sellers, DUST, were given an Etsy advertising grant earlier this year. And so it was decided that interested Dusters would join together and pay a little extra to take out an ad in the fantastic Peppermint mag "the new green fashion magazine, covering eco and ethical style in a positive, uplifting and forward-thinking manner".
We held a competition to choose which items would be featured and I was lucky enough to be chosen, see my little tea towel! Yesterday I picked up the magazine and here is the ad full of talented Dusters, Peppermint readers can use a special discount code on checkout with all the participating Dust members, there are quite a few of us. These wonderful sellers are featured on a special webpage where you can see their products and discounts. We'd love it if you wanted to support Peppermint and Dust by buying an issue and using this great discount.

Friday 2 July 2010


Last week I told you I'd been playing around with more spots and I teased that they were headed somewhere fun. Today I can reveal that I ending putting some of them together to make a cheater quilt top for the latest Spoonflower design comp, whose theme is Cheater Quilt. The contest is up today, I just got the email (with my design on it!) and you can vote on it now!

One of the things I like about the Spoonflower contests is that you can VOTE for as many or as few designs as you like. There are eight pages all up and you can click on each one you like as you go through and then vote at the end.

I'd love it if you have time to go and vote - for me!! whoops, no I mean for your favourites ;-). There are some great designs in there and some interesting ideas.

The designs are designed and previewed over one yard of fabric, which I think would make a great quick and inexpensive baby quilt, I like to think mine is not too girly and would match a range of contemporary colour schemes.  I've ordered a test swatch to check colours (I'll show you when it arrives) and then I intend to order at least one yard to keep in my stash for the next girl baby that comes along. I think it would look lovely backed in pink flannel with some straight line quilting between the squares.

Each of the squares in my cheater is a repeat so I'm uploading my favourites to Spoonflower too. I think they would be great to sew matching accessories like bibs and baby shoes. And most of them work for boys or girls too.