30 June 2013

Barrel of Laughs

First there were two:

Then four:

Then a whole barrel of monkeys.

Our craft group got together to solve the worlds problems and make sock monkeys for the school fete.  There is a lot of stuffing involved in making these little cuties, and they do take quite a bit of time, but hopefully they'll appeal to our school community and get snapped up come October.

26 June 2013


We went for our now-traditional lantern walk down by the Merri Creek last friday. It's my little nod to the winter solstice and the general joy of small children in winter woollies. It was a still, cold evening with an almost full moon. The creek was not at it's best - the recent rains brought a deluge of plastic shopping bags downstream to snag in the branches and reeds. Not very attractive and a bit depressing. But the children and their friends were excited to be out, together, after dark.

The first time I ever organised this it was a whole afternoon of lantern-and-winter-soup-making with a lot of people and it was long and big and chaotic. I'm learning, slowly, that less is more. A text message to some friends, old condensed milk tin lanterns, a packet of tic-tocs and some hot chocolate/red wine afterwards was all that was needed. (plus bonus brownies made by Kim)

25 June 2013

Little Rabbit

Isn't this rabbit sweet? I made it from a kit from this website. Normally I avoid kits, but I wasn't confident of being able to ge tthe exactly right thickness of felt for this.   The kit included a generous allowance of felt (enough boot felt to make a second pair) all the threads, liberty prints, yarn for the capelet and even elastic for the gathers in the dress.  It was an excellent, easy to follow pattern, with very handy details (use starch to make the whiskers stiffer, dab a bit of ink from a stamp pad on to make the cheeks) and was a joy to sew up. The entire body and boots are handsewn and all up, including cutting out the pattern and knitting the little capelet, it took four evenings to finish.  I also bought the patterns for a knitted dress and cardigan, but haven't knitted them yet, as I don't have a set of 3.75mm circular needles. It is one thing I find a bit frustrating about knitting - that there are so many needles that are required and the set I need invariably seems to be the set I don't have. I suppose the true knitter just gets everything - straight, dpns and circular needles in every size. I guess it would still be significantly less of an outlay than my sewing machine.

While I was stitching the bunny, I wondered how she'd look in linen. The pattern obviously doesn't have a seam allowance, as all the stitching is external, so I added a quarter inch seam allowance and whipped this one up on the sewing machine last night. I haven't made the boots and dress yet, but I was pleased with how she came together.

Linen must have more give than felt, as the head after stuffing looks quite a bit bigger than the felt head. I can feel a batch of bunnies coming on, they are so pleasing to make.

23 June 2013

What Happens When I Have a Lie In on a Sunday Morning....

I like: Ruby's crazy morning hair, Grace's delight in discovery PhotoBooth on, the special effect that makes our house look hand drawn, and the snapshot of a weekend morning that one day I will have forgotten.

I am reliably informed that no one was actually hurt and both Ruby and Nina think it is hilarious (and they also both consider it evidence that they were the innocent party....)

20 June 2013

Reds under the Bed

Remember this quilt? After taking counsel from my more aesthetically competent friends on how it could be improved, I finally faced it again and set about trying to fix it.

I am pleased with it now. A few patches to break up the colour and pattern and a bit of hand quilting to add some texture and I think it mostly works. I still probably should have stippled it, or at least machine quilted it much more, and the blocks should have been smaller and the overall design is far from perfect, but I feel that I like it now. It gives me pleasure to look at, rather than just feeling like it's a failure. It's a gift for my Dad and his wife as they move into their new home. Hopefully it will warm them on the chilly Adelaide evenings - my Dad notoriously hates turning a heater on, and I don't know how he will manage with colder weather after years in the tropics of Darwin. In the sweltering Adelaide summer it can lend a bit of background colour. The bits of red are very Dad: his bright red jumpers, his famous red terry towelling hat, his political persuasion.

15 June 2013


Right up next to the hydronic heating with a couple of blankets is the best way to work.


My friend Bridget found this panel of 'Recess' at a garage sale. The woman selling it had apparently bought it in Paris for 25 euros, presumably persuaded by it's look and theme that it was vintage, rather than part of the recent American Jane collection designed by Sandy Klopp. In any event, Bridget thought it would make a sweet wall hanging for her friend's forthcoming baby. Bridget strenuously maintains that she cannot sew. Whilst I strenuously maintain that anyone can sew, I am happy to accept that it falls into the category of things that one 'cannot' do because one really had absolutely no desire to. For example, I 'cannot' run. I 'cannot' maintain organised filing systems. I 'cannot' get up early to excercise.

Bridget asked me to make it into a simple wall hanging but I quickly persuaded her to let me turn it into a small quilt - something to put on the floor for tummy time (oh how all my babies hated tummy time...), or to make the pram a little bit cosier. I added the red panels to the sides and used some blue fabric from my stash that had a vintage feel with a dotted stripe through it as the backing fabric. I bound it in yellow stripes to stick with the primary colour scheme and quilted it up with a stipple effect in vertical lines. A very simple sew, but I'm pleased with the result and hope that Bridget and her friend (and her friend's baby) like it too.

14 June 2013

School According to Grace

I really love that stage where they are just starting to write on their own. It is such a joyous realisation isn't it, the power of the written word (even if written backwards).

13 June 2013

The Green Witch

I like her red boots and her gentle face.

07 June 2013

Old Jumpers, New Elephants

This is the fifth year that I've made a batch of elephants for the school fete.  Sometimes I've made them from donated fleece, or chenille, but these ones are old woollen jumpers and tops.  They are so enjoyable to make and each one is slightly different.  The close up photos show how the ears are attached - I promised to show this last year but the elephants marched out the door before I got around to taking photos and I had to wait until I made some more.  By the time Lily reaches grade 6 we'll have been through 13 fetes.  I wonder if I'll still be making elephants in 2021.  It's looking likely.

06 June 2013


My babies are sick - running temperatures, coughing, suffering with sore throats. Nothing serious, but enough to keep them home resting on couches or in my bed (why does your parents' bed seem much more appealing when you are unwell?). I confess that I love those hot red little cheeks.

05 June 2013

04 June 2013

Monster Mash

Old jumpers, old tights, scraps of felt, odds and ends.  Kim made these with the girls last school holidays but Ruby's (top) disappeared for an extended visit with the dust balls under her bed and only re-emerged last weekend for photographs.

03 June 2013

Treasure Boxes

An afternoon with our school craft group rendered this bushel of adorableness, based on the ones I made for Ruby and Nina. They come in their own hand-folded origami box (from old wrapping paper), accompanied by appropriate accoutrements - a basket, bottle of milk, peg, snowflake, apple, acorn, toadstool, cup and saucer. I probably didn't need so many photos but I couldn't chose between them. For the school fete.