Wednesday 18 December 2013



It was primary school presentation day yesterday. I was under strict instructions about how and when I could cry (only if other mothers cried and no sobbing!).

I managed to keep it to a few small tears of happiness for my lovely boys, I'm so proud of them.

I didn't do quite as well at the big girl's presentation the day before. I was fine when she received an award but when her music class performed their cute version of Bohemian Rhapsody and the principal lavished praise on this wonderful year group who are moving campuses for years 11 and 12, I had to get the tissues out!

It feels like time for the move from primary school, but we have had so many wonderful years in this warm and generous community it will be sad to leave. This place has been a home away from home for our family for eleven years and those little everydays build up to something really deep and important in our lives.

My three kids all had the same wonderful Kindy teacher and she showed me a card yesterday she's saved since the boys were in kindy, illustrated with their pictures. How lovely is that! Teachers are so important. They can be such great role models and help kids to grow their minds in so many ways. Thank you teachers.

At the end of this week we get in the car for our annual trip north for Christmas with my family. I can't wait. It seems to have been coming for a while. Its been a long and emotional end to the year this year, what with all the farewells and orientations, the last times and first times as all three of my kids change schools.

I'm looking forward to stopping and staring at the horizon, preferably with a cold drink in hand and a book on my lap!

I'm looking forward to salt on my skin and the smell of sunscreen on my clothes, long lazy lunches and afternoon naps. I'm looking forward to squeezing the family members I haven't seen all year and telling them about my days.

There will be posts I'm sure, and I will see you on instagram too. But real blogging will be on holiday for a while, recharging for a big year next year.

I am inspired already by 2014. Its going to be different in many ways, and I'm hoping good different. How about you? Are you ready to stop already! Do you have plans for next year, are things changing at your house?

p.s. it was my birthday last week and the photos show some of my pressies, there was a flying visit from my brother for his gallery's exhibition opening at the AGNSW, a real old phone from the mister, new clothes, new creams and a lovely xmas surprise from Cam.

Tuesday 10 December 2013



A few weeks ago I posted about my green week. It seems that pink is on the menu now! Probably inspired by last week's printing.

The zinnias I planted from seed all seem to be coming up pink, various shades of pink luckily but pink nonetheless. The cosmos are mostly pink too and the echinacea flowers which have taken two years to produce blooms, have the lightest tinge.

Last week I carved out a tiny bit of time between high school orientation day and a dentist appt to go along to a free workshop run by Alex Falkiner, alfalky on etsy and instagram. I had such a nice time learning how to make a coiled brooch from Alex and she had the most wonderful colour palette in all goodies she had laid out to sew with.

I used a mix of pink and orange and green and this great corally red, which might be my new favourite colour. It was nice to play with colours I don't usually mix. The other brooch is by Laura my delightful workshop neighbour.

It seems that this year has been the year of the workshop for me and I'm really loving that. Its such a great way to meet other crafty people, learn new techniques and make without having to track down all the equipment and materials of a new craft, producing something in one day that you can keep forever.

Its a lovely way to support crafty makers too.

Christmas lights and decorations went up this week too. Christmas lists have been made and presents bought. It feels good to have made a start on this huge yearly task. Its not so much the buying but the choosing that I find taxing, I so want to get just the right thing!

Friday's street Xmas Party went off without a hitch, hoorah! We had perfect weather this year too. This event that I dreamed up with a friend six years ago has become an institution with a life of its own now and my heart swelled when I turned around to see thirty kids in a range of ages playing bull rush with huge smiles on their faces. It made me so happy!

In other news the mister and I racked up an adventure filled 17 years of marriage last Saturday (!) and celebrated with Korean BBQ for the whole family. We've been to BBQ King in the city once before and it is the most wonderful fun cooking at the table, and all the exotic condiments which come with your meal. So delicious!

I am so lucky to be married to my cute bestie and while I wish our anniversary was at a slightly less manic time it does make us laugh trying to squeeze some romance into this crazy month. But then life never slows down round here for long. Speaking of which I can't wait for my birthday next week ;-)

I hope your lives are filled with Christmas parties and nice food, and that you have all your presents bought and wrapped and nothing better to do on these warm nights than sip a G and T and watch the garden grow!

p.s. that's miss A's lampshade which she added stars in white paper to, which show up when the light is on. Isn't she clever.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

drawstring bag tutorial

drawstringbagtutedrawstring bag tutorialdrawstring bag tutorialmarble bags

I love drawstring bags, they are useful for holding a multitude of things. Just lately I've been making them to hold travel art kits, marbles and lego. Make them slightly larger and they are perfect for book bags, shoe bags or makeup. They make great wrapping for a handmade gift, as well as being a good present in their own right.

The pattern I use is adapted from Pink Penguin's patchwork bag. I like the way it is lined, that it's reversible, that there are no raw edges showing and the neat way the drawstring casing attaches which means all the seams are hidden away inside.

Although you can use two cords to draw it in, I usually make do with one. In fact I have always meant to experiment with joining the two top casings to make one long one. Next time!

A few months ago when I was making a big batch of marble bags I photographed the steps to share a tutorial and then promptly forgot about it. I rediscovered the pics recently and here it is - perfect timing with Christmas so close to make your own marble or treasure bags. A fat quarter of the main fabric is all you need. I have fat quarters of both prints in the shop. Or if you want to buy the bags readymade, marble bags and lego bags as well as marble starter kits with Alisa's beautiful instructions and including marbles and chalk they are there too.

Step one
Cut all the pieces for your bag.
2 x outer fabric, I've used my marble fabric here.
2 x lining, I've used plain calico for practicality, but the bags are reversible so it would be nice to use a patterned lining too.
2 x drawstring casing - I like to use a contrast fabric, here its my big bricks lego fabric.

I modified the size of these bags so I could cut two panels from a fat quarter.
The outer and lining pieces are 7 3/4 inches square.
The casing pieces are 8 x 2 inches.

drawstring bag tute

Step two
Turn the ends of the casings over 1/4 inch and press. Turn the folded edge 1/4 inch again and press.
Fold in half lengthways and press again.

drawstring bag tute

Step three
Sew around three sides of the main fabric, right sides facing each other.
Sew down two opposite sides of the lining fabric. (You could sew three sides leaving a gap at the bottom for a smaller seam if you were going to make these reversible but I like how quick and easy and neat it is to sew one seam at the end.

Step four
Turn the main fabric right sides out. Pin the casing fabric with open ends facing up on to each side of the main bag.

drawstring bag tute

Step five
Sew the casing to the main fabric using a small seam, less than 1/4 inch. Trim threads.
NB. It is quickest to use your free arm on the sewing machine and sew this in the round.

drawstring bag tute

Step six
Put the lining, wrong sides out, over the main bag (right side out) and pin along top open edge all around. I've folded it back at the bottom so you can understand the placement better. Casing stays as sewn flat against the sides of the main bag.
Sew 1/4 inch or slightly larger seam around the top with seams open out as shown in second photo.

drawstring bag tute

drawstring bag tute

Step seven
Pull the lining forward and press with the lining sitting out and casing facing up.

drawstring bag tute

Step eight
Fold edges of lining under to form base seam of lining and pin. I prefer this method as it is quicker and gives one continuous seam.

drawstring bag tute

Step nine
Sew shut.

drawstring bag tute

Step ten
Push lining into bag. Press again.

drawstring bag tute

Step eleven
Thread some cord through the top casings using a safety pin to pull the cord through the casing. You can either use one or two drawstrings on your bag, I always stop at one but two is nice too. I've used cord, cotton tape and fine rope for cording. You could even sew your own cord.

drawstring bag tute