happy making

I decided yesterday that I needed some happy making happen'.....

So - I washi-taped some little bottles. I coloured the water with paint. I gathered some flowers and the most wonderful moss, lichen, mushroom covered twigs. And I made some happiness.
{These moss covered sticks are all around in my garden. Whole trees covered with them. Wonderfulness. I saw something similar in a magazine once; these things sell at specialised city florists for $5 a teeny branch. It's like buying tumbleweed from a shop, or bamboo..... Not that I have tumbleweed, but oh do we have bamboo. If you want some - come and ask!}

I also made some little happiness bags and pouches. Pure goodness these are. Heart swelling happiness. The making of them was fun. The looking at them. And then the possibilities of what else they evolve into. That's super good. I'm learning that being creative is creative inducing - you need to make to be able to keep making. Sometimes the making isn't neat.good.art.your best, but that doesn't matter, because it makes more making happen.

So - happiness is easy to make. If you only try. The process of the making was happiness in itself, but the having and looking at and enjoying. That's pure happiness. Yah to finding some happy on these rainy, dismal days.

It's Thursday. So, here's to Our Creative Spaces today.

And in other SUPER exciting wonderful happiness making news. Look where I'm being *featured* this week - one of Brisbane's Finest Intagramers on The Weekend Edition! Super YAH!!

saturday things

the sun is shining outside. it hasn't yet made it to our little house, as we are under a hill and under trees. but i can see it stretching slowly across the dewy grass. slowly warming places of our space.

i've feel like i've been talking about the sun a lot lately. we'll around these parts it's big news that this is the fourth sunny day in a row. after a year of endless rain, four days of sunshine is good. not that we know how long it'll last. so it doesn't mean we can set to house building - it could rain again for the next weeks in a row.

i'm procrastinating tidying the house. and doing the washing up (a few day's worth, that both Sam and I have been avoiding). we do not have hot running water in our home, so we have to put a big pot of water on to boil on the stovetop. sometimes that's annoying, but something it gives you five minutes or so to build up to doing the washing up.
for those of you wondering, we do have a hot running shower. it's a wonderful shower for sure. one of the best. outside, which is sometimes cold. but i can see the moon rising or the trees above me while i shower. when we build our proper bathroom (rather than the pad of bricks that currently is our bathroom) i want to have a window in the roof so i can see the trees while i bathe. oh yes.

good things today -
+ figs, walnuts and chocolate - oh yum. and so easy.
+ fabric play money - Ari is having a hard time learning his numbers and counting and money. i think this would be a good thing to make for the kids. plus they love playing shops so much (a favourite game of mine, as a child too)
+ this simple and lovely reminder for me to make some fabric napkins for our table
+ the wonderful wonderful uplifting colours on this new-to-me blog
+ is it Easter soon, or something....? i am seeing eggs and decorations all over Pinterest at the moment. and again, i'm going over (in my mind) what Easter is about for us. if you have any interesting thoughts about what it means to you, i'd love to hear. it is neither Spring here - reason for eggs - or are we Christians, so don't talk/believe/think about the Resurrection aspect; but i want some meaning for my children - rather than just more chocolate. i am planning to only buy / eat Fair Trade chocolate this Easter time; i want to continue this on for all year round - but i do so like Lindt chocolate a little too much. and i personally find most organic chocolate to be much too sweet and a little grainy. tell me, what is your favourite Fair Trade chocolate?? i'd love to know.....

one last good thing is this slowly growing stack of zippered purses i've been making. i am not at my sewing machine often enough these days, and it seems i need to relearn how to do the most basic of tasks all over again. sewing zips - eeeekkk, i really thought i had it down pat!

enjoy your Saturday, your weekend, your week, my friends. look up at the sky, the clouds, the sun, the moon, the stars. and breathe and deep proper true breathe. xx

stitching :: planned mistakes

I have two slow stitching projects on the go at the moment.
I'm calling them 'slow' for two reasons :: firstly they are taking me time to pick them up between stitching days and get working on them, secondly because I am working by hand on them both.

Crochet, of course, is always by hand (rather than machine) - but I think it's the process which which I'm working it, that's making it feel slower and more by hand than usual, for me. This is the piece* that I started last year, sometime. I took it with me to the Brisbane school pick-up and drop-offs, standing there waiting and stitching row upon row upon row. Straight rows, one after the other. Occasional double crochet added, but mainly single crochet stitch after stitch. I got bored with it. I love the organic wool. I love the feel, and the colours. But I got bored stitching row after row and wondering when (if) it would ever get to a suitable size to be called a blanket - rather than a big scarf. So I unraveled it. All three+ balls of it - the kids helped me to pull and then wind it all up into one big ball.
Now I am stitching in the round. It started as a spiral, then morphed into circles. It's meant to have stepping ups to the next row - but generally it doesn't. So there's a lot of mistakes. But that doesn't matter to me. It's happening. Enjoyably. Fairly quickly - slowly or not at all at some times. Of course it won't be ready for this Winter - but that's okay. Perhaps next Winter we'll have it in our new house, to snuggle under in a new room, on a new couch (or some sort of thing to sit on, depending on funds at the end of building!).

Hand stitching these pieces together is fun. Giving me the freedom to allow myself to stitch loose and big and not at all in any sense of 'perfection'. At the moment I've lost the needle somewhere within a pile of fabric, but next week (or even this afternoon) I'll find it again and pick it up and start stitching some more. These warm flannel fabrics are lovely to work with, and easy to imagine joining the crochet blanket next year in that new house of ours - despite the fact the colours won't match at all. All I did was cut the big squares (don't know the sizes, as my tape measure is packed somewhere in a box, with the spare sewing needles and extra threads) into quarters, and now am stitching them back together in different colour variations. I'm working on all reds / pinks together, all yellowy / orangey / pinks and then the blues / greens together. Once they're working into bigger squares of block colours, I'll arrange it again and see how the colours + patterns work together. I'm doing it without thinking too much, or more to the point, without overthinking it (Something I do too much, too often). It won't be perfect - but that's good. I'm aiming for not perfect. I'm even assuming and planning for the fact that I'll probably have to do repair work on my wonky, loose stitching at some stage (perhaps even in it's first year of use).

Planned mistakes, letting things evolve as they happen - stitch by stitch, row by row (either crochet wool or stitched cotton fabric). That's a good thing to do sometimes. Letting my hands work slowly, happily bit by bit by bit by moments at a time......

{I'll find the pieces I'm working on, along with the camera, and the correct sunshine lighting, and the spare moment - possibly with or without little hands in the frame - and show you the actual stitches that are happening. Rather than the before shots - before it was unraveled, and before it was cut}

*Looking back on that blog post, and seeing the drawn plans for our home. How lovely - of course, there have been at least a half dozen or more reinterpretations of the ideas since then. But always, always, with a room of my own.

the kids clothes challenge

Well, this is the week for Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge.

I'm not sure it's going to happen for me this week. As no cutting, planning, pinning or least of all sewing was done on Monday or Tuesday, and none is planned for Wednesday or Thursday (and then I'll be at preschool all day Friday); seems as if the weeks a bit of a write-off. Of course, I'm going to make excuses for myself, why wouldn't I!

{images are all from Elsie Marley. Top two are Mani Mina, bottom left Much Too Sweet,
bottom right from Pinterest; looking for original link!}

My big excuses :: I really do have barely any space in our tiny house for storing of fabric (it's all in the shipping container, stacked in boxes), and there's no light what-so-ever at night time to see anything, barely to read a book at all. Sewing machine is at my dads (where the electricity is), and while I know he won't at all mind me being there to sew, I do know he won't be too keen on me leaving my stuff all over the place.
I had planned on making them both a dressing gown from the Amy Butler pattern, but have searched high and low for some decent flannel fabric. I did not get enough time in Brisbane to check out the range at the dreaded Spotlight, and our local fabric shop has the more boring and uninspiring selection of any sort of fabric at all, ever. And without being able to feel the weight of a flannel I'm not sure that it will actually be warm enough for our Winter - which means barely any use buying, cutting, sewing. I do love Anna Maria's flannel fabrics, but they are awfully hard to find in Australia's stores (either online or in my local vicinity), at least not in the designs we like best. I do have the full collection stack, cut into fat quarters (purchased from AMH's shop), and I did consider getting something from there; but she seems to only do her fabrics in pre-chosen pairs. I wasn't really keen on spending $50+ per dressing gown...

One more excuse is that if I do manage to make it to the sewing machine any time in the next few weeks (months, eeekkk??), I really should be making something for Red Seed. You know, that business I'm trying to run. Well, we'll talk about that another time, maybe. {There are things being planned, planned, and over-planned, just nothing being done}.

Ari does need an apron for his Kids in the Kitchen class on Friday, and I believe that that is something I can manage. A simple apron. All I have to do is cross my fingers that I have some suitable fabric and can find it somewhere in the storage....

In the meantime there is so much delightfully wonderful inspiration over at Elsie Marley's blog, with some beautiful images that I'm adding to my 'clothes for the little ones' Pinterest collection. Oh, I'm loving the colours in these pieces - wow! Kids clothes are just the most fun.

Some time in the {near :: distant :: unknown} future I'll have my sewing machine, and my own space again to put my dreams and ideas into practice. In the meantime, while living in our little house, I am enjoying our family time, and lots of early nights to bed and reading with a torch. {I've just 'labeled' this post under sewing. I think I really should have a 'not sewing' label as well, don't you agree?}.

kids clothes week challenge

Elsie Marley has her KCWC (Kids Clothes Week Challenge) on again. I'm trying to decide if I can commit to doing it or not. Perhaps it'll be the perfect boost to getting something done. 

I've been playing on Pinterest these past few days, and have started a board filled with inspiration for clothing for the little ones.  There are some very very pretty things over there, do have a look. Lots of girly things, of course. So, I am on the search for some boyish things too.

When I got the Weekender pattern, I also bought the Little Splashes pattern as well. I plan on making it into a dressing gown for each kid, as well as a raincoat - in this wet, cold Wintry weather we've been having these will be worn lots. I've yet to get fabric for both those projects. Do you know how hard it is to find boy fabric that isn't babyish or grey/car/guns/etc? Especially in laminated oilcloth and flannel fabrics. 

Both kids also need some more warm long pants + tops, for our just.about.on.us Winter cold. They've both suddenly gained a  lot of extra  length in their legs. Ari particularly has grown out of his pants; while Mishi's dresses are just much shorter (and look very cute over colourful tights). I found some stretch cottons at the op-shop last week, that would be good for making into tights for them both. {Am currently having conversations about how boys actually can wear tights if they want, and it's not just for girls!}. I may also aim for another nighty like this one I made last year, that's still being worn even right now as I'm typing. And these pants look like they'd be worn quite a bit by my boy - they're very similar to some I made a few years ago for one or other of the kids.
Seeing as how the challenge is to encourage about an hour of sewing each day, I know that realistically this is even more than I can make in a week. So, really, it's no use planning or listing more, is it? The kids will be back at school and (3 days per week) preschool by the time the challenge starts; which makes it much easier to know I'll have time on my own with fabric and a sewing machine. I'll cut out the patterns / fabric in the evening on our kitchen table, then up to my dads once the school drop off is done (and the second coffee of the day!) to sit and sew for a while.

Are you joining the challenge as well? I'd love to see what you've got planned, and how you progress throughout the week.

planning the Weekender

Since we've moved out of Brisbane, I think we've been away for more weekend (or longer) trips in the past few months, than ever before. Sam + the kids have been to Brisbane (without me) at least 2-3 times; I've been with them another 3 or so times. That's 6+ times (in the past 3 months) of packing clothes for four people into a random assortment of bags, baskets, totes. 

I decided, last time, while packing all the clothes (do you always take more than necessary for a long weekend visit?), that I really needed to change the bag situation. You'd think, wouldn't you, that we'd really have enough bags in our belongings. But none seem just suitable for a weekend away.

Finally, after a little bit of research, I decided to actually buy a new paper pattern. I normally don't like buying single patterns, as they are so much more expensive than a whole pattern book. But I've heard (read) good things about Amy Butler patterns, and really wanted this very specific Weekender Travel Bag. {I got mine from Kelani Fabric, who always has excellent speedy and free postage - within Australia. And a lovely website to browse through as well}.

I've read through the pattern about twice now, and it seems quite easy and very do-able. I must admit I've scared about the piping/cording - as I know I won't sew it as perfectly as I want to. There are some excellent tips from other sewers around. The scarier thing is that most of them say how hard, and what a challenge, this bag was to sew, even for experienced sewers. Not because of the pattern or the bag, but because of all the layers of fabric, interfacing + Peltex / Timtex that has to go through the machine. The excellent thing is that everyone says that even after the challenge (and swearing, unpicking, ripping out, hours of cutting the fabrics) they still love their bag.

I'm hoping I love it so much that I want to sew more than one. As I'm planning one for myself, and one each for the kids. And I've already been asked to make one for someone else (she even offered to have my kids while I sewed it). 

These are some posts that have really urged me on. here. here {love the fabric}. here. here {cute styling}. and here {great idea; extend zip so bag opens wider}. and here as well. oh and here and here as well. There are a lot of Weekender Travel Bags out there; I do hope at least some of them are going on regular holidays and not languishing in the wardrobe (though this is pretty languishing, isn't it).

My biggest challenges right now are ::
:: I can't decide what fabric to use. 
> I'm thinking of going with this Heather Ross Sleeping Beauty in grey linen. But only using it for the main outside pockets, and using a darker linen (which I have yet to find) for the rest of the bag body. But I'm really not sure if I'll get bored of the fabric after a short while; is it too cutesy?
> I've also been thinking of some Ikea fabric (though I don't even know what may be in store when I get there). But this involves going to Ikea; which I dread dread dread and don't have time to do on my next Brisbane trip. Ikea fabric is such an excellent bold design, cheap in price, but good quality woven fabric. But, I sometimes feel.think that it's sometimes just a bit too obvious. Is that a bad thing?
> And right now, I've just seen this Poppy fabric, over at Tree Fall. It's so pretty, and vintagey. I'm not at all sure if it's my colours - but then, does that really matter too much for a travel bag? Using piping in any of those four colours (yellow, light blue, dark blue or grey) would make a big difference to the finished look. {It's grey and raining here today, and cold.cold; this fabric is making me sunshine happy. Plus it's only about $9 yard}.
> Oh, and this is organic cotton, and such a great print. All Heather Moore's designs are excellent, aren't they.
> If you can suggest anything - please let me know. I think I'll never start the making, due to the planning!

:: Setting up my sewing machine involves finding the sewing foot in a box in the shipping container. I'm quite sure it's just there, out of reach, under something else. At least I know that I did label all my boxes.
:: It also involves going up the hill to my dad's house - as he has electricity and we don't. Which involves waiting until the kids are somewhere else, or with someone else (and not on school holidays). 
:: I have other sewing to do that NEEDS to be completed this week. A little tulle underskirt for Mishi's flower girl outfit, and the ring pillow that Ari (the pageboy) will carry down the aisle. Both for my brother-in-law + sister-in-law's (to be) wedding at the end of this month.

Until I start the cutting and stitching - there's a lot of dreaming and wishing happening around here. And lots more 'research' (you know the sort.... hours lost in looking for just the right fabric).

*Images from each fabric website listed. Others are Amy Butler images.

{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. 

planning a new dress

We're heading off on our holiday in just a little time. {Sam + me, no kids, 4 glorious days of no kids. Did you hear that N.O. K.I.D.S!! And we're staying at a lush looking 4 star resort over the bay of Tauranga. Yah to the NZ-Aussie$ exchange rate}.
Going to my dear friends wedding. And a wedding is an excuse, no a need, really, for a new dress. Being a fabric + sewing + designing type of person I really have to make my own, don't I! No flitting off to buy some off-the-rack mass produced thing. Oh, no, not for me. 
As I'm running out of time before we leave (and also planning our house packing, and still have to make the wedding gift) I'm designing something simple to make, with no darts and minimal zip / button hole details. I'm hoping to sit down tonight and start a prototype (a muslin or toile), so perhaps I'll have something to show you soon(ish...). 

As we've got a new camera (oh it's lovely), I don't have any photos to show you of anything from our daily happenings. Still haven't worked out how to get the photos from the camera to my computer (think I might have to go via Sam's computer, which has more editing programs than me). So, I'm leaving you with a few images from wedding dress inspiration - things that are feeding ideas in my mind. It's a casual garden party wedding in Summer time NZ; so I'm aiming for something simple and pretty, enough twirl for dancing and walking through lush NZ fields and  visiting  a really very pretty.pretty.colourful.warm.bright.home. (and meet a blogger who I've loved reading).

I love the soft suppleness of this. The silk is just the most beautiful colour. Of course, I won't be using silk as I'm aiming to use what's in my fabric piles. (Some lovely herb-dyed organic cotton + vintage kimono pieces, perhaps).

This one is on a similar idea, but with more structure at the waist, which is what I need for my body. So the dress don't look, as my husband said, 'frumpy'.

And I can't believe how much I love love love this beauty. Even the colour (which would never work with my skin tone) is something I'd consider for another time.another dress. But I think it's the layer upon layer of tumbling frills.
*all images used with thanks from original sources.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some photos of our holiday times.

wishes & peace

I want to thank all of you who visit and read this little blog. Who encourage me with your words, ideas, input and just being here. Thank you for another wonderful year of connections a(nd getting to know myself more.)

We are heading out of town for a week. A quiet (fingers crossed) Christmas in the bush (not our new home - we are house-sitting). Sam won't be joining us there until late on Christmas eve after he finishes work and drives down. So, it will be me and the kids. 

I'm hoping to get some sewing finished for everyone in my family - some little things for the kids that I've been too sick to work on over the past few weeks. And just the teeniest little something for Sam too, nothing much really, as we are buying ourselves a new camera (and neither of us actually need anything!). I have piles of glorious fabric (this, this, this and this) that I am excited to be sewing up. I'm just planning simple things - lots of straight lines and not much need for brain use or complicated thought processes. 
I don't think we'll have internet while we're away, so I won't be back in this space until some time next week when we are back home. (If the country internet works, then I'll be perhaps popping in with some fabric / sewing show+tell). 

I wish you all beautiful holidays, time spent with family, friends and loved ones. Wishes of calm, thoughtfulness, peace, love and light to you all. And of course some delicious food, and the enjoyment of preparing and then sharing your holiday table. 

With love, Ellie
{These are the little pouches that I ended up making for Ari's school class, as a farewell gift. Mishi and I filled them with a little bead, and Ari's love note. He handed them out on the last day of class, and I do think all the kids (plus the parents) quite liked them. They did take much longer than anticipated - though I'm realising that everything always does for me lately. I made about 25 or so, and I think they took me 2 - 3 hours (plus a whole lot more of procrastination about it and fabric choosing).}

:: flying

I made these little bunting type flag things for our open studio day. So quick to stitch up - I used bias binding tape and a heap of fabric scraps left over from another project. I didn't plan or square or colour co-ordinate. I simply stitched and picked up the next fabric piece, and added it on as my machine flew down the line. It's very important to have projects that are quick, simple, with no worry about straight lines or good fits. The exact type of project my mind needed. 

:: Lately I feel like I'm flying without a safety net. Or any proper landing gear. And I think I'm running out of fuel..... I wish I was gliding more elegantly. But I'm not. I'm spluttering about. Looking for a clear place to land - there are no clear places anywhere in sight {there's patchwork fields down there, made up of fabric projects in the works, or piles of fabric waiting to be started on, lego and more lego, drawings and Christmas cards, the final bits of work I need to do before I can pack up and go on holiday, the clothes to be put away - some to be sorted & given away.}.
Perhaps tomorrow I may see a clear field to land this little plane in. Or better yet, a strong breeze may come and lift me up - from under my wings and help me soar up into the cloudless sky. Perhaps. 

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.

things for {other} kids

Ari and I have been talking, for a short while (as I'm not too organised with the gift doing this year), about what he might want to give any of the kids from his class as little end of year treasures. Generally I'm not much in for having to give gifts to random (as in 23+) kids, especially as christmas gifts. But, I'm thinking of it more as the fact that he's had a great year at school, and they really are a lovely bunch of little kids (5-6yr olds), and that we're not going to be here next year.
I haven't been able to think of anything that a) doesn't cost a heap of money to buy/make b) doesn't take me hours and hours of thought and making process & c) isn't something that they'll either throw in a corner in their room, to become a pile of stuff.
We all know how those piles of stuff build up. 

And then, I came across this lovely tutorial. Quick, easy, colourful, I can use basically whatever fabrics I have in my stash, and make a whole stack in a few hours. This is perfect for little kids - they can store treasures, collecting cards, stones, or sweet little hankies. I am not a tissue person - in case you haven't guessed that aspect about me (one less wasted tissue, I think) - so I'll be searching for some (cheap) but pretty hankies to include in this pouches. I suppose I could sew up my own hankies; but what sort of fabric would I use?? 

If you have any other ideas of things I could make, instead, please let me know. I'm planning on bringing my sewing machine home from the studio, and will have to get these made over the next few days. As there is one week of school left. WOW - that's gone so quickly....

PS - it's raining again, here. Sylv + I have decided not to do the Southbank YDM today, as I really don't want my clothing range to get wet and damp in our soggy weather. There's no end to the rain anytime soon....

*images used with kind thanks from Sew Mama Sew & JCasa *handmade. Thanks Jennifer for this perfectly timed tutorial. And weather radar from Bureau of Meteorology.

I need your advice fabric people.....

This is a plea for help. I'm planning the making of a very special gift for a friend who is getting married very early next year. {If you are that friend, and you are reading this now. STOP reading right now. And some back another day!!}.

I want to make her a special quilt, but I'm not really a quilt making person - so am thinking more a simple bits of fabric sewn together into a blanket shape style of quilt. None of this 1/8th of inches or anything like that. Anyway, where you come in is :: this buying fabric online is all good and well, but it's also really hard to put fabrics up next to each other and see how the colours and tones and patterns all work together. There's only so much swapping from web page to web page trying to visualise it.

Please let me know if you think these look beautiful together. Or just okay. Or no good at all. They're all Nani Iro double gauze - I'm aiming to make a light-weight Spring / Autumn quilt. I'll put 100% cotton batting inside (I think??). 

Of course the layout wouldn't be like this, it's just for ease of mocking something up quickly {with a child on my lap and another at my side wanting to touch the screen}.

The more I look at this collection, the more I'm liking it. I think I have some grey + white spots in double gauze at my studio that I could add, or perhaps use as the backing. (But the studio's at another location, so I can't check what's there or not). I'm limited to only being able to buy from Australian (online) shops, and my local shops didn't even know what/who Nani Iro was. {I tell you, I was aghast at that, and will not be visiting that shop - I rang them up to ask information before dragging the kids across town}.

Please send me any other ideas of what I can add to the mix, as perhaps just those three fabrics won't be enough for visual interest in a double size quilt. I'm wondering if this or this might work, but they are both only single (not double) gauze, and I'm not sure if that will work, or I'll have to buy extra and layer them when I sew. And I really like this, but think perhaps it's a bit too dirty white.

I'm waiting for all your words of wisdom. And will not be ordering anything until I have your approval. Oh yes, fabric loving friends - I have total trust in you being able to solve my selection dilemmas.

lofty goals

I keep telling myself, quietly in my head, that I really want to start and complete just a few lovely quilts for my family before our next Winter. (It's just coming up to Summer here, so I have at least six or so months).
I'm thinking a lovely blue-ish sort of one for Ari. I've even been collecting the fabrics, not sure if they're right or not, but I suppose i should make a start anyway to see how it will go.

There's one I made for Mishi quite a while ago, in pinks and greens (some old Joel Dewberry and just as 'vintage' Amy Butler), which still hasn't been bound. We do use it, on our couch, with the horrible edges poking out - but the fear of learning how to bind it is putting me off finishing it.
I'm wanting something very special to make for Sam's + my bed. Perhaps some beautiful soft creamy white hemp. I've been thinking of white, black and grey. Hemp, organic cotton and hand screen printed images - very intriguing sorts of ideas, something a bit obscure with detail that you have to look closely at. Of course, it will turn out quite differently than the vague images in my head.
And then I'd like to have a couple of little lap quilts, for our couch. For snuggling and reading or hand sewing or perhaps even finishing off some crochet (I started late in Winter, and may finish some time next Winter?!).
Not to mention one that I've been working on since May. Stitching by hand, slowly here and there. Which lately hasn't had any hands touching it, and does need some more attention to be finished so it can go to it's intended new owner.

Tiel is so much further along on her quilt list. I actually remember seeing (at least a year or more ago) her doing some hand piecing on the one she talks about having sitting on her bed. It makes me realise that we all continue to add things to our long list of to-dos, while we are all so caught up in reality of daily living. And how things so easily continue to be put away, especially lovely quiet quilts that don't demand our daily attention. 
Amanda looks like she's so very close to fulfilling her high Summer wish of completing five knitted jumpers for her family for her Winter. Throughout a busy-filled year, she has taken moments here and there to work on her pieces. Reminding me that each moment really does count; that things can be completed bit by slow tiny bit, and I don't need to expect to start and finish something at once. 

I'd love to hear your quilt, knitting, crochet, sewing to-do list. The plans that you have, be they dreams or closer to reality. What are you making?

{my creative space} stacks and layers and piles of beautiful fabric

My creative space over the next few weeks will include stacks and layers and piles and stitches and lots of beautiful beautiful fabric. and screen printing, too. and cutting and sewing. and organising. and deciding. {all for this reason}.

These are some extraordinarily beautiful pieces of vintage Japanese Kimono silks and cottons. Scraps and off-cuts, all tidily rolled into unassuming bundles. These will be curated into little zippered purses and a new version of the Cumulus Clutch. And perhaps, only perhaps, if I have time some cushion covers as well.

But for now it's all about picking and choosing and layering and deciding which colours and designs and patterns match best together, or clash best together as the case may be. I'll show you the finished results once they're done.

These little piles of orange glowing loveliness are for some new skirts in the collection. I cut them before we went on holiday, and will be picking them up from my sewer/machinist in a few days (when I drop her off some more work). oh.i.do.love.having.a.sewer to help me out; more time for me to design and create, rather than unpicking fussy and disobedient zips!

The orange is a Japanese cotton with sweet little leaves and blossoms. Combined with the black hemp/organic cotton. Sewn into a simple cut. Easy to wear - I've been wearing my sample for the past week.

Head over to Kootoyoo for some more creative peeps. 

september stitches

Well, seeing as how it's getting very close to the end of the month (yet, again, again, again....) I realised that I haven't once written about my self-stitch-september.

i believe the main reason is that well, i didn't keep to wearing my own stitched clothes every day. i guess i shouldn't really have signed up for this project when i was busily, steadily, madly, frantically, dedicatedly working on other things. ie - sewing clothes for myself took a far back seat to sewing clothes for my new collection.
but then again - it did mean there are just a few sample pieces that i've been wearing. (as well as wearing other self-made items).

i've not taken photos of me wearing my new pieces. perhaps because i don't look anywhere near as wonderfully rock chick as Sylv, or sweet pretty little thing either. (different clothes, different light, different shoes and different styling makes for a different girl - doesn't it). mainly because getting the photos taken just simply doesn't always happen (rushing out the door, or wrong light the camera, or no-one to take the photo, or ........).

Ari took these photos a short while ago - the three of us went out for dinner (Sam was working late) with some friends. the blue skirt was one i'd just made the few days earlier (i'm still deciding on the length it will be, think it needs to be shortened). the belt is one i made quite a while ago from some beautiful kimono silk remnants - love that intense deep red.

Kim did take some photos of me the other night in my new red Art Skirt, but i'm not sure how they turned out (perhaps they didn't?).

anyway - self-stitched me is a continual progression. i don't / won't buy new clothes for myself unless they are {at least one of the below}
a) handcrafted
b) locally made
c) organic / fair trade
d) second hand
e) something i will have + wear + cherish for many many years more (longevity in fashion is very important to me).

so - once my full fashion collection is finished and ready i'll have a whole new wardrobe of my own things to wear. won't that be good!

pin cushion swap details {and sunshine smile photos}

I'm listing the details of my little pincushion swap, so that I can keep everyone's details in one place.

Golly - having nine people in the swap was more than enough for me to organise. Super glad that I didn't have more sign up, or I'd have been organising emails and addresses for longer than my mind could figure. {It's a bit distracting having the 3 1/2 yr old asking me about, and chatting incessantly about, fairies and princesses and mermaids and things. "I only know about mermaids and princesses and fairies. Mum how do you write Snow White, is it an 'S'." (except she doesn't say "snow", she says "no white"). "What colour is Rapunzal's hair? I haven't seen the show or movie or book, have I mummy." and..........}.

So - the swap details are:
+ Everyone has two swap partners (except for Holly who has one partner - due to being the only realist in life and acknowledging that she shouldn't take on too much extra workload! If you've received two partners, and only want one - let me know so I can reallocate the names).
+ Make one pincushion to send each of your swap partners. You may include other little bits and pieces in with your swap, but you are not obliged at all. I trust all of you to make and send something beautiful.
+ Your partner doesn't know who you are - it's a secret swap. So you can blog about what you're making and sending, but please don't say who you're sending to..... You don't need to blog until you've posted your swaps, if you don't want, or you can show progress as you go.
+ You have one month to get your swap made and sent. I'm setting 25th Oct as the date to (try and) have your parcel posted off. But please, don't stress about it - if you feel that you can't get your swap posted in time, let me know, so I can let your partner know.

The swappers are:
and me.

Holly suggested the fun idea of  these shrinky dink pins (from Wee Wonderfuls), if anyone wants to have a go at doing that (looks like good kid fun as well). And Diana sent me this link for some super cute vegetable pin cushions, that double as little table decorations -
There's also some tutorials and links that I listed on my original posting about the swap, here. Do send any more you find and I'll put them up for all to look at. 

Okay - go off and have pin cushion making fun. I know it's school holidays for some of you (or coming up soon anyway), so perhaps you can get the little ones designing pin cushions and helping with the fabric selections. 

*These images are making me smile with happiness. The top one taken with my computer camera; Ari + me sitting in the afternoon sun on the front steps. (look at that glow in my newly-hennaed hair!). The other two taken of me (by Mishi) and Mishi (by me) with her flower fairy mask on. And big smiles. Sweet sweet little babes.

a serene and quiet and thoughtful day

 today was my studio day.
a lovely time for some quiet thinking, and lots of doing. which is good.

i had three friends visit today - nice to have the quiet broken up with some good conversation. sylv came and tried on a few extra pieces i'm working on; rejigging of patterns and such. and also a skirt i'm making her from some buttery naniIRO goodness. oh.so.good. it's taken us a while to feel ready, with the right skirt pattern, to cut into the fabric. i have some too that i will cut and sew next week.

with spring already here, and summer warmness fast approaching, some cool soft whimsical dreamy floaty double gauze clothing is the perfect thing to wear.

i'll show them off next week. {he he he. i'm not the only one who's held onto my naniIRO for so many years out of fear of cutting into the beauty and not showing it the true respect it deserves. sylv + i did get our pieces a few years ago, before it was so easy to find online and in our local shops. well, not the Iro, but the double gauze.}

i have achieved so much these past few weeks. in terms of moving forward with my fashion collection. i am just.a.teeny.bit pleased with myself.
{i am not a trained fashion designer or pattern maker, or even sewer for that matter. i am self-taught in all those aspects. i know there has been much talk, over the years, especially around blogland, of self-taught not being quite as good as professionally trained. yes, possibly true. possibly not. i don't know. what i do know is that having to teach yourself sometimes takes longer to do things that it should. and you don't know the little insider's tricks and tips. i do think perhaps next year i will see if there is time - while we build our house! - for me to do a part-time fashion / pattern making course. we will see}.
in the meantime, i feel that i'm doing very well anyway. if i do say-so myself. and i've had some wonderful, supportive, generous assistance from nina, who is a trained and experienced fashion designer and pattern maker.
so there! ha....

* these images were taken at the studio the other day. all by ben messina (my brother-in-law who shot my fashion shoot... tomorrow i'll show it, i promise - for now the lovely quietness of the afternoon light in the studio).

pin+cushion swap

Do you know that I don't actually have a really suitable pincushion. That's a crime, isn't it! For a sewer, crafter, maker sort-of-person. I should have enough pincushions for every crafting space in my life. {downstairs studio, upstairs room, that draw in the front room, my go-places-sewing-stuff, and now at my new studio}.
But I have only two teeny little pretend pincushions. Just little bits of stuffed things (one's a pear, the other's a cone thing, based on those cone tree things that were very popular a few whiles ago -can't remember the link, sorry). Neither of them are big enough to actually properly accomodate the pins I have strewn around.

I love these apples from boxsqaure. Here's a tutorial.
{Mishi + I saw some of these at Sooki, made of the most beautiful silk 
Kimono scraps. She wanted, but I resisted......}

So, here's my thoughts. Because I don't want to just go the boring route and make myself one; I'm suggesting a little (big?) pincushion swap. I know one happened a bit ago somewhere in blogland, and I missed out on being part of that. It did look like fun. Did you miss out too, and now want to be part of something.......

Oh yum! Love this juicy pyramid from The Purl Bee. 

So - if you're in need of a new pincushion, or want to be part of some swapping fun; then just leave a comment and send me an email {redseedstudio@gmail.com}. I'll see how many people are interested and then organise partner swaps and things like that.
There's not going to be any rules about what sort of pincushion - I think most all bloggers out there are pretty decent about sending beautiful swaps (from what I've seen over the years). You can send just a pincushion, or send some other little things (but aren't obliged to). I think perhaps lets make it a secret swap - so you won't know who is sending you a pincushion, and you'll send yours as a surprise. {You'll get to do some blog lurking, so you know their favourite colours, fabrics, etc....}.

These Very Easy Pincushions, from Purl Bee, would look so cute en masse.

There's a friendly looking mouse here - who would look a bit like an echidna, hedgehog or porcupine when filled with pins. Cute!
And I can't get over this bee hive. What detail and dedicated for some pins. How fun. 
I've seen this lovely shape of pincushion around a lot - but, as usual, the fabrics really make it pop, don't they. Dear Fii makes the sweetest piles of pincushions.
Anna Maria makes some spectacular cushions for the pins. 
And this pretty little flower one.
{I could go on and on and on...... show me where your favourites are.}

So - are you up for it?
{Include your details in the email: Name, Blog name or flickr or whatever you online thing is, Fav colours (or anything you don't like - eg no felt or pink or something like that....).}