{making} King Lion + Princess Unicorn

I made these blankets for the kids for Christmas gifts. I wanted something lightweight that they could use as Summer blankets, and also something they could take in the car (for when we stay out late and they fall asleep on the drive home). Mostly I just wanted an excuse to have some more of that beautiful, delicious double gauze in our home. Being used, and not stored in a box or cupboard (or shipping container as is the current living/storing conditions until our new home is designed, planned + built). 
I'm so pleased that they both love them. As much as me, perhaps. Every night for bed they snuggle up under these creamy and soft pieces. It's been quite a mild Summer here, with rain for weeks on end (resulting in the flooding that has ripped through our communities). This week past we've had the only two hot Summer days for the whole holidays. {And yes, those were the two days that Sam packed our new shipping container! Preceeded and followed by walking and working and packing and cleaning the yard in the pouring rain}.
All I did was stitch two lengths (1.5meters each) of double gauze together. With an edge stitching detail to finish it off. Nothing fancy. Simple, quick - something that would be finished in time for wrapping and giving on Christmas morning. Ari's is Echino's Chelsea Lion in purple one side, with aqua on the other; while Mishi's is Heather Ross's Far Far Away Unicorns in purple, with Nani Iro's Fuwari Fuwari in white on the other side. I wasn't sure if I'd like the Fuwari Fuwari as much as some of her others, but it's perfect for a little Princess's blanket (or cloak as the case may be).
I'm sure I'll be making more of these simple to sew up, but splendidly wonderful to use and have and hold blankets and quilts over the coming years. After all, you know - I'm moving to the country, where life is simple and of course that means I'm going to suddenly do all the things I've always had on my really long (in my mind only) list of things I want to do.

{love} the Nani Iro double gauze wedding quilt

 I so enjoyed making this. Every single part of it; from choosing the fabrics, and receiving it in the post, to designing and cutting and sewing. Then laying it out on our bed, deciding on how best to 'quilt' it, what stitching lines, etc.

I use the term 'quilt' quite loosely. As this doesn't have any intricate 1/8th of inches measurements or design fancies like that. And there's no binding - that is still something that is beyond my mental process abilities; though I do have feelings that if I just sat down and did it, then the binding wouldn't be too much of an issue - just have to leap that wall in my head telling myself it's too hard!

I used a bamboo + cotton batting, which is really soft, not too thick. This isn't a deep Winter snowing country quilt; more like a light Autumn / Spring NZ weather quilt. 

It was Sam's suggestion of the slightly waving lines of quilting, rather than straight lines following the straight rectangles of fabric. It's good having someone around to help with things like that - who looks at things properly (rather than a fleeting glance), and thinks about it. It wouldn't have worked with straight lines, the waves are exactly what this quilt needed. 

Working with the Nani Iro is so so so lovely. I could have done basically anything with these designs and colours and it would have been beautiful. The whole collection of fabrics I bought are simply divine (except this one, which was a totally different colour in real than on screen, and I'm not sure I can use it for anything - perhaps I'll overdye it at some later stage). The double gauze is soft, buttery, luscious, delicious; it's beautiful beautiful beautiful to feel, to snuggle up to. 

The only one 'thing' (problem/issue?) with the double gauze that I found was the top piece of fabric/layer (each piece of fabric is two layers of gauze, hence the name "double gauze", and I sewed two pieces of fabric together, which meant four layers of gauze) slipped forward while I was sewing. My feed dog obviously took the bottom piece of fabric, while the top piece clung slightly to my machine foot and didn't move along at the same pace.* This meant that there were little puckers at the end of each seam (as the fabric on the top slipped so it was longer than the fabric underneath); but I think they didn't matter too much, in the end. And the little puckers will only add to the beauty of the quilt, as it ages and washes and puckers more and more; won't it!

While sewing this, for my dear friend's wedding gift, I remembered things about our growing up together. The plays and performances and shows and art works and stories and feuds and making up and teenager-hood and growing and learning together. Becoming parents at similar times, though on the other side of the world to each other, being able to find our similarities and remember our childhoods together. 

That's what makes a quilt isn't it. The reasons why, and the memories, and the because, and the love. So, really, I can call this a quilt, rather than a throw or a blanket or something else. It's layers of beautiful fabric {our life} stitched together with thread {memories, love, tears, laughter, loss, growth}, and squashed around soft batting to keep us warm, cosy and loved. 

*You know when you're on one an escalator and the bit you're standing on goes slower than the bit your hand is resting on; you end up slightly pulled in your body - arm forward, legs with the rest of your body.
**I'm having issues with blogger saying that I've used up my free photo space (on PicasaWeb Album). Does anyone have hints on how to easily/quickly upload photos from Flickr in a batch. I only know a stupidly tedious way.......
More photos over here - if you want to see all the beautiful close ups that my new camera takes. 

on learning to breathe {embroidery with children}

This afternoon we got all my fabrics out (from the big piles of boxes that I brought home from the studio, in anticipation of sorting and organising and culling), to decide which ones we would use to make this little project. While we were planning what fabrics to mix&match, and how many girlish or boyish types ones we would need, we also talked about what gift we may make for the teachers. 

I had originally suggested I would make some hand-cut-stencil screen printed tea towels, from the kid's drawings. Well, I ran out of time for that - with only two days left of the school year. We eventually decided on some little embroidered coasters for them to use in the classroom. (That's after Ash looked through my crafting books and presented me with numerous day-long, one yards' worth of fabric  projects). 

So, all afternoon we had the embroidery threads and some large eyed needles for the kids, and little embroidery hoops. And some lovely designs. I must say that I was totally amazed and impressed with how all three of them had changed since last time I embroidered with them (which I must admit was too long ago). 
Ash got straight into it, threading his needle, and only needing help to tie knots and separate the six strand threads into three strands. He quickly finished one - a beautiful spiral - and set about putting his other fabric into place on the hoop, and then completed his next one with even more thought and concentration - a bird with mountains in the background.
Ari decided that he didn't want to make coasters; instead he made a piece to hang on the wall, that will stay in the wooden hoop. He needed help threading the needle and tying knots but no help at all with the size or length of his stitches. Straight away he knew what design he wanted, and thought carefully about the colours and placement of stitches. Last time he sat and did embroidery he continued to loop the thread around the wooden hoop, meaning lots of work for me to have to unstitch the errors and keep fixing it; and lots of frustration from him. This time there were only two times that happened, and Ash managed to fix it each time, with no frustration from Ari. 
Mishi took it upon herself to make a wall piece as well, and happily stitched little blops of colour and threads around her fabric, and sometimes around the hoop as well. At one stage I looked over and noticed she had new colour on her needle - she had cut the thread to length and threaded the needle all on her own. She kept on happily the whole time, cutting and rethreading the colours she wanted, telling the boys 'just do it like I am'.

I only wish I could have had a few more moments of sitting and enjoying it with them, rather than being constantly asked to snip threads of change colours and rethread the needle or  get more fabric, and some other thing. It was a noisy afternoon indeed. But, much more relaxing than any other activity we've done for quite a while, and with wonderful looks of concentration and thought about what each teacher would like. Learning to stop and breathe, to not worry about the things I'm not doing, and enjoy what I am doing. That's my constant lesson - if I only have one moment in each day that is more than nothing.

I didn't, of course, actually get the time to start cutting the pieces for the school kid gifts. And so declared to Ari that we would not being giving any of the kids gifts, as I would prefer to spend my time making something for him (or another family member) than for 25+ school kids. {What a mean mumma I am! Or perhaps one who is thinking a little more sensibly than the one who offered to make such gifts with only 2-3 days left of school term....}.
{no embroidery session would be complete without Barbie and a kid-made plane}

So, anyway - I will be turning Ashey's little pieces into coasters, and Ari's will need backings on them to use as wall hangings. If I get up early enough in the morning, they may be able to give them as gifts tomorrow. 

PS - this fabric arrived today in the post. What fast service and beautifully wrapped little piece. Oh, I can't wait for the rest* to arrive (tomorrow??). I'm so excited about the quilt making.... think I will really have to make one for myself as well. 

* I just noticed that they have my absolute favourite Fucca in aubergine and teal. It is taking every ounce of will power to not click on the buy now button, as I know these sell out quickly.


Went to Brisbane Brown Owls meet-up today.
Danielle's the 'goods'!

First we all met at the lovely lovely shop, Nook, which I've mentioned before. This shop has shown itself to be a Brisbane {crafty} must-go-to, each time I go there Michelle has new stock, and new displays. I finally remembered to take my camera - so some photos.
Then a morning of chatting and crafting. What else could a gal wish for? Getting to talk craft with others who get you, and market stalls - so good to have thoughts from other marketeers (and be able to moan about the same things!).
Time without the kids, and without having to think about how long until someone calls and needs them picked up. (My mother-in-law is very very good and thoughtful and caring in that way - combined with the fact that she loves the kids as much {more?} than me!).
So, my craft - well, I have grand plans and ideas of sewing some form of quilt thing for Ari, for his birthday. Silly, silly - I know. His birthday is in one month, and in that time I have 2 markets, and to prepare for another massive market. And of course his party, and all the little things for that (which we'll talk about another time).
But, I read things like this - and get inspiration. And say, oh of course I can do it. And, well I made that little quilt for Mishi, and Ari would love something for himself.
My head is working on something simple, but with major inspiration from this idea here. Check out other links and images here.
So, any helpful inspirational links and thoughts are welcome. Oh, and some prodding and encouragement will most probably be necessary.
I want to give my boy something special that he'll carry with him possibly for the rest of his life.

Also, must note down here. As mostly I forget to record "kid stuff".
A few nights ago Ari was asking me the difference between 'possibly' and 'probably'. He knew, too, what things went with what contexts. Like "mama, would you possibly be able to get off the computer". And "would there ever be a probability of finding an alive dinosaur"; "no darling, but a possibility".
Oh, I'm loving this just-about five year old language development. And understanding - and when I think about it with happiness, I love the attitude and cheekiness that is happening too! 

trials & prototypes

Hmmm. Been busy. And tired. And... usual stuff.

This week just past I had a lovely day at home, on my own, for sewing. Finishing up some long long long overdue projects, that have been sitting on my sewing table for ages and in my head for longer.
I also sewed up a prototype of a bag that we are going to be selling at our upcoming market stall (more about that a bit later). I had a bag that I liked the look of, and tried to make something similar, but also my own style. I'm quite happy with the result. As a prototype it does have a few errors, but I know what I need to fix for the proper batch of bags.
Sort of like a market tote bag, with topstitching to make a piping on the edge. It's all one piece front to back, with a gusset on each side. I want to make it out of hemp or organic cotton; and still trying to find a local (well, Australia local) supplier. And we are going to screen print Sam's designs onto them.
I have another bag idea / shape in my head, just need to find a few spare hours to turn it into a proper form. Something similar - a simple market tote, but with a different shape. You'll see it next week.
The other things that were taking up head/desk space are the things I am making for the 100th Post Giveaway. Yes, I know that most of you have probably given up on me with this one. Seeing as how it was.... months ago. I think the main issue has been that I really wanted to make something totally special and unique for each and every one of you. So many ideas formed in my head, and I wrote and drew. Yet nothing seemed quite right. It has taken me this long to finally come up with what I am happy with.


3. (two of these).

Also, I told myself to stop procrastinating and get it made already! I knew (hope) that you'll like whatever I send you, based on the fact that it's been made with thought and care and attention and love. I'm going to let you choose which one you each like best, colour wise. There will be a few other little goodies as well.




So, if any of you winners are still reading my blog - please comment on which little pouch/bag you like best. And hopefully everyone will be happy. (If you really like one that someone else has picked, let me know, as I can possibly make more. I have little bits extra of most fabrics). Excuse the terrible photos, I just wanted to get them done, and kid-free time is precious.




And finally, thank you for all your patience - not one of you asked or hassled or prompted me. That makes me feel that you do respect me, and acknowledge that I am something doing a little more than I should be. Also, I have learnt :: no giveaways unless I have something to giveaway first!!!

10. (two of these).

crashing waves and other dreams

Last night I dreamt that I was being washed over by a big crashing wave. We had all been sitting quietly, happily playing on the sand - looking at shells and digging and exploring in our own thoughts. And then suddenly a massive wave - over our heads. I couldn't keep afloat easily, I was holding both kids in my arms and struggling. People were around me; family members - Sam, Dad, other people; all trying to keep their heads above the water and away from the rocks. For some strange reason (okay, it as a dream - lots of strange things happen!); there were knives flashing through the water, and that was something else we had to be weary of.
When I got up this morning, with the dream still in my mind, I knew that I was about how I'm feeling with things :: life :: at the moment. The knives I'm not so sure about, little bit scared to delve into what they could mean. But the water over my head - trying to stay afloat, well that's pretty obvious.
There are lots of things I feel so waterlogged about, that I'm constantly playing chase with, trying to achieve and getting done. So many things I have promised - to myself or other people - that I'm very behind in. I think the most important person I feel I'm letting down is my little Ari.
I promised him a bunny a long time ago, and have run into a few issues with that. Then we talked about a turtle - a red one; as red is his favourite and turtles are his favourite. I keep promising that tomorrow it will be ready. Yet, somehow, I don't quit know where to start.
And the 100th Post prizes are still "in the works". Sorry everyone, but they will happen. I know it for sure, just not sure when. And I still haven't finished or posted these two swaps that are now more than a month overdue - I feel really bad about that.
And then, for myself. All those sewing things I keep planning and dreaming (and talking) about are happening much too slowly. The market I am hoping to have a stall at is next weekend and I don't have very much stock at all for it.
BUT :: in the past two weeks we have had some lovely days. And I have made a few things, for some special people. And my mind is still ticking over, and planning and dreaming................

A gift for a special friend's birthday.

Hand embroidered, zippered purse and

a hand stitched ribbon, button and yoyo bookmark. With some lovely soap.

With beads from the collection my Mum gave me years and years ago. That I have been too scared or tentative to delve into until now - slowly slowly.
Bread rolls for my family's dinner. LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) makes a lovely addition to the plain organic white flour. Kneaded and rolled with love.

A new dress for my Mishi. Based on a dress that my Mum made for Sylvia when she was a little girl (25 years ago); and that I discovered when visiting my Dad a few months ago. I made another that was a little too big, but will be wonderful in Summer time! Alexander Henry Yellow Birdseed, with a green gosgrain ribbon - though it still needs a button at the back.

And beautiful sunlight and views and smiles and laughs and happiness at home and out and about with our loved ones.

And lots of treasures from Mother Earth.

immense satisfaction

Firstly:: I want to say thank you to everyone for your thoughtful and kind and heartwarming comments about my Mum. When I had planned to write that post, it was going to be different - about how I felt at five years I was missing my Mum more than previous years. But what I wrote just came out of me. And, I suppose, that letting it spill out was an indication (to me) of my continued immense grief for my Mum. Even if I don't cry about her, and achingly miss her all the time. Thank you, also, for sharing your stories with me. And thanks to the dear friend who rang me up last night, such a lovely little chat.

We have all been sick for more than a week - flu and snuffy noses and not much sleeping. We are all still working through it, but night-time sleeps are getting better (and hopefully the constant train-works noise from across the street has stopped). Mishi has been having difficulty with sleeping, so her day-time naps have been minimal, if at all this week.

Despite this, I am really proud of the crafting I have achieved this week. This cushion cover was a gift for a family member's 60th Birthday a few weeks ago. I only got one finished in time to deliver to him, the other one has now been completed and will be posted this week. I really like the design that I made up for this - I came up with it while breastfeeding Mishi. Those moments can often be so reflective and I seem to think and plan so many things. The cushion doesn't have button holes, just a really big envelope back - I don't really like sewing button holes, so try to plan around that process.
Last week I made a new cushion cover for us too. I'm going to make some more in the next few weeks, as we have spare cushions with falling apart covers! I love laying my head on this cushion, on the couch. It is soft, yet has strength. But, mostly, I made it - and feel pride looking at it and using it. Simple strip piecing, with lots of over-stitching details and then a great red Indian cotton (from Ikea), as the main body.
I also made some new pyjama pants for both the kids. I know they are so easy to make, once I get down to actually sewing them. But in my house it is generally much harder to actually get to the sitting down part! Soft flannelet with little rocking horses on it - at first Ari said that it was too babyish, and he didn't want any, but on seeing Mishi's he changed his mind. Luckily I had already made them.
And while all of this is making me feel basically contented that I'm completing little things (though not enough for the market stall in less than two weeks....), the thing that is giving me the most pleasure is the fact that I am remembering how to embroider. I grew up with a Mum sewing, stitching, knitting, crocheting, potting, making bread, pies, cakes...... So, of course, I learnt all these (and more). And, of course, over the years I have neglected so many of these everyday arts.
Well, just a few nights ago I picked up an embroidery hoop and some calico and embroidery thread and..... I am totally addicted. I am taking it slowly. Relearning stitches from a great book (Creative Needlecraft - published in 1979) that my Dad pulled out of his bookshelves (which are bursting with the world). I am planning on using some small embroidered pieces on little purses that I'll be making for the market. I feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction looking at this humble piece of work, that I have made with my own hands.

Another great thing is that both the boys really like it too. And they don't need too much assistance with it - except that with their big stitches they use thread quickly, and it needs to be replenished often. I am trying to impress upon them that it's a quiet, sitting down, relaxing kind of activity - not standing and wiggling and jumping and.......

100 - finally here

Well, here it is :: my 100th Post! I know, I know - a lot of you would have done this within 3 or so months. My 'regular' 8 or so a month posting has landed me here. Finally at 100. I've been wanting to use it as an excuse for a giveaway - have been thinking about it for ages.
So, here you go - as a celebration of me sticking at this, and enjoying it, and finding new friends, and inspiration, and doing a bit of sewing and photography and me time. I really love this little space of mine, and I love having all of you as guests in my home.

We may have a party this afternoon - please join us. (Ari can't wait for his birthday in October, so we get to have lots of parties here).

As a party gift, and a thank you for being my friend, for opening up and sharing and listening - I'm going make something (I don't know what yet??), to send to one lucky guest. Please, leave me a comment - say hello all you lurkers (friends + family welcome, too!). I'm going to wait a week or so, and then choose a name. Tell me a little about yourself in your comment.

Thank you for being here for me, and encouraging me.


Well, I managed to get all the presents finished on time! A few had their final touches added on Christmas morning :: but they were all done and wrapped, with enough time to get out the door for family lunch. Ultimately, I'm quite proud of the presents we gave this year. I'm pleased that I managed to stick to my (mostly) handmade for all the family. We did get Lego for Ari - his first 'big boy' Lego, rather than the Duplo we have and love playing with. And boxer shorts for Sam were purchased, rather than made.

Crayon Rolls for the kids :: I really like the fabric combinations for these :: the kids really liked the People Pops they found inside!
Placemats for Sam's parents :: and his brother + girlfriend

and a painting each from Ari, plus some chocolates ::

A last minute gift for my Grandma. I can't belive that I forgot to make anything for her, considering she was spending the day with us - something that doesn't usually happen. I made her a little bag / pouch thing, for her to put her magnifying glass into. She has a degenerative eye cancer, so only has periferal vision, which means she can't read menus or see people so clearly. She carries her magnifying glass with her everywhere, yet seems to always be searching for it in her bag. I used Alexander Henry birdseed in bright yellow with a red trim and pale green inside, hopefully it'll be easy to spot in her handbag.
I didn't get the apron made for Ari that I had planned. My Grandma bought a play kitchen for the kids to share. (She gave the money, so I got to choose what I wanted). I'm hoping to get a little apron made for Ari over the next week or so.
Also, no new Christmas outfits were completed. Seeing as how I never get to go clothes shopping, and have no clothes (that fit me since having babies!), I have been hoping and hoping to make some new things for myself. And I would have loved to make a new Christmas outfit for Mishi (at least), but that too wasn't achieved.

I have to stop making myself feel so bad about the lack of time, energy, motivation, space issue I have with sewing. Possibly, though, I should stop buying fabric until I start using what I have!