Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet thing

A sweet thing I found at the craft fair today... It's called a Sweet Roll. Apparently, quilters use these pre-cut and co-ordinated strips in their quilts, but I just love it for itself! Isn't it a most beautiful thing? I found it at the stall of a Bris-based quilting shop, Peppermint Stitches

Brisbane Stitches + Craft Show

I fronted up early for the Brisbane Stitches + Craft Show today and had a quick look around the stalls - so much to see, so little time! My favourite part was the bloggers area - I met Thea and Emily from Thea + Sami and Kristen from Cheeky Beaks, and the fab trio of Bianca, Lara + Tegan from Ink + Spindle. Thanks everyone for being so lovely!

Ink + Spindle

Thea + Sami

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday afternoon in Brisbane...

...and then it's nearly evening.

Here's Something I Made Earlier 2

I just found an old camera and downloaded it's contents for a look-see... and there, amongst birthday celebrations and other shots of daily domesticity(!) were these of a top I made for a friend last year. I'd forgotten all about it. Looking at it now I remember sewing all those sequins!
I made a simple white t-shirt, sewed on a muslin panel which I then block printed. Those sequins were the final stage to highlight the block print design. It's so lovely to see it again!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In a Perfect World...

All stairs would come with a slide ramp!

Make Do + Mend

Make Do + Mend brooches by Hoolala on Etsy

I've been very inspired lately by a collection of items in blog-land and on Etsy encouraging us to "Make Do + Mend". It's something I've loved doing for years. If clothing is partly damaged or too small etc but has the most gorgeous fabric, I'm not going to throw it out. Hence, I have boxes and boxes full of old clothes etc just waiting for me to recycle them. So, 'Make Do + Mend' is going to be a new feature here from now on. 

1940s Australian War Pamphlets. Find out more here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Little Boxes

Little Building Co. model Queenslander

A very cute find for all those Qld-ers with house-nostalgia or maybe just a long-repressed desire to build models again... Mmmm, that balsa wood smell with glue! I found mine at Coaldrakes Bookshop but there's a list of stockists at the Little Building Co. website.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I LOVE Wood Type!

A Treasury of Wood Type Online

There's a fabulous read with loads of type examples at the Hoefler & Frere-Jones site called A Treasury of Wood Type Online. It's a feast and I'm totally addicted to these beautiful imprints. If you're similarly afflicted, check out the source as well - the Hamilton Wood Type Printing Museum! Also, the Web Museum of Wood Types and Ornaments at Unicorn Graphics... Enjoy.

Here's something I made earlier

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Magazine - Cover Story

The fabulous Tilda Swinton models Future Fashion in S/S 2009 Another Magazine
Crocheted dress and knitted dress (worn as underskirt) by Sandra Backlund
Velvet cone hat with draping by Nasir Mazhar; Sculptured bustier top and tulle top by Louise Goldin; Elongated fringe dress by Mark Fast; Sheared cotton waistcoat (worn as underskirt) by Peachoo + Krejberg
Enlarged fishnet elasticated dress and fringed mesh dresses (worn as underskirt) by Mark Fast

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crafty Art - Michael Raedecker

I've always found myself drawn to mixed media art works. I love the way the mediums play with each other to layer meaning into a piece. I guess it should come as no surprise that my first choice for 3 sheets Featured Artist should be one who uses thread, embroidery and applique in his canvases - Dutch artist, Michael Raedecker.
An added touch for me is that his work is to open in an exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in London from 1st May (I used to work there!). This retrospective collection from the last 8 years includes still lifes, landscapes and flower paintings. Raedecker's original drawings are sourced from second-hand books, magazines, film stills and photographs. He layers these with paint, wool and thread to build a palette of atmospheric intensity which references the domestic. Any lucky London-types reading can see this exhibition until 28th June this year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Pie Time!

Every year about this time, I go into a frenzy of pie-making. Just so there's no misunderstandings, I'm not a great cook and it really doesn't matter because these pies are the easiest things to make and a real crowd pleaser. They can be frozen for up to 3 months, good for school lunches, picnics etc, but especially good to pull from the freezer when you can't face making dinner!
I've penned the recipe below, but I think I originally started with a fabulous Woman's Weekly recipe that has long since disappeared.
You can use just about any favourite combo as the filling - I also make buttered chicken pies and lamb curry ones too. As long as the consistency of your filling has a bit of structural integrity, it's perfect. Enjoy!


800g organic minced beef

1 medium onion, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, crushed  

1 carrot, grated

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 can tomatoes, crushed/chopped

1 can tomato soup 

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste or 2 tbsp tomato sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Sweet Chilli sauce

12 sheets of frozen puff pastry

12-holed muffin tray (easier if it’s silicon)

Makes 24 muffin size pies

preparation + cooking 3 hours

Cook the mince in oil and place to one side. Put butter in pan and cook onion, garlic, carrots and ginger until mixture is soft. 

Add mince to vegetable mixture and combine. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato soup. Combine and then add tomatoe paste (or sauce), worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce.

Lastly, add celery or whatever other vegetables you’d prefer to the bolagnaise mixture. Allow to simmer gently until the fluid has reduced.

Turn off heat and stand until cool (for an hour or so), turning the mixture occasionally to stop a sauce-crust forming on the top. (If you put hot filling into the pastry cups, the pastry will burst open in the oven.)

When mixture has cooled, retrieve 6 sheets of puff pastry from the freezer (use a knife to separate sheets) and lay flat on a bench to thaw for 5-10 mins. 

Use a 14cm dia (approx) bowl to cut out two of the large circles (per sheet) for the pie bases. Similarly, use a cookie-cutter or glass to cut out the two pie tops from the same sheet. That is, each sheet of puff pastry should be enough for the base + tops of two pies. 

Use a fork to spike holes in the pastry lids. This will stop the pastry puffing up too much. 

Take the large circles and fold the pastry over about 1cm at four equi-distant points. You should have a ‘cup’ that you can slip into the muffin tray. If using a metal tray, coat the muffin holes with butter. 

Add cooled filling into pastry cups, put the lids on and pinch the base pastry to the lids. 

In a small bowl beat one egg and a tablespoon of milk until smooth consistency. Use a pastry brush to cover the top of each pie with the egg mixture. Cook until nicely browned (approx. 20 mins). 

Lay out another 6 sheets of pastry and repeat cutting and cooking to use up other half of cooled meat mixture.

Package love

I've been a real patriot for the economy lately. Irresistibles have been jumping out at me all over the place. I'm valiantly resisting a show + tell session, but I do have to post on the gorgeous packaging. The packages have been so beautifully wrapped and presented, I haven't wanted to open them... well, almost. My most recent act of patriotism just arrived... look at this divine packaging from Artery
Okay, one show + tell... Orly Kiely stationery - I love it! It may come from over yonder, but if you buy it from Artery at least some of the cost stays in our economy and not lost to international currency exchange :)


This is fun! Click here to go the library geeks blog (otherwise known as Blyberg) and create your own library catalogue card. Thanks to the Designers Emporium for this. Oh, and I am also thinking about starting a craft group...!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sweet Tuesday

New Technologies - Fabric

From childhood, it's been a secret dream of mine to develop a paper-like fabric that can be paint-splashed or decorated in whatever way you choose and then washed clean ready for your next ephemeral creation! (Something to do with paper dolls, no doubt!)
Apparently, I'm not alone in dreaming up these fantastic things... The lovely Janet from Artery has sent me a link to the Tokyo Fiber Senseware 2009 exhibition, held last weekend in Milan. Have a look at the site to see all the fantasmagoricals. For now, above is Felibendy (it's feely and it's bendy!) by the designer Kosuke Tsumura. This nonwoven fabric is extremely lightweight with stretch-ability, and is acoustic- and water-absorbant. I just want to paint on it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Beautiful Bespoke

My Bespoke Letterpress parcel just arrived - look at these goodies! Thanks guys, they are just exquisite. (If you missed my earlier post about these talented Bris-types, click here.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Molly's Dress: Finished!

Yep, it's actually finished! I've taken my time on the last bits - I don't know about you but I could so easily imagine coming this far and wrecking it in the final stages. So, it's been slowly slowly here.
Funny thing is I'm so relieved and sorry at the same time. It was a project I'd thought way beyond my reach that has really challenged me. I haven't given myself a challenge in a while but it's actually a very invigorating thing to do. I'd forgotten how satisfying it is to extend yourself. Okay, enough grinding the organ! Moralising over. I can finally say it: Drumroll please! Molly's dress is done.
Tell me about your latest challenge?

Sunday morning

I love this view from my back deck. The things I miss when travelling: this, the smell of freshly cut lawn and the ocean. Funny really, for a dedicated city girl. Maybe that's one of the reasons people love travelling - to value what we've left behind.
What do you miss when travelling?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Card's finished, pressie's wrapped and I'm getting ready for the party!

If you'd like to try making something like this... I printed the photos onto printable canvas (I can't remember where I bought mine but I just did a search and found some here). It means you can sew and bend the image with greater ease and it has a fabulously tactile look to it. 
I then sewed on the felt shapes I'd cut out and hand-sewed the other lettering inside the card. 
Next, I cut out some 200gsm card and machine-sewed it to the back (this just gives the card a bit of structural integrity!) Lastly, I machine-sewed the guitar to the front bend point... and it's all done. 

15 Minutes!

I've been searching for inspiration to make a card for my friend Lisa's 40th birthday and came across these photos from... actually I'm not sure. I think it was about 1992. 
We were in a band together singing harmonies - the Sisters Karamazov! Here we are performing at the New Farm Street Festival. Happy days. Happy 40th Lisa! Card is on its way...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Molly's Dress (an Update)

One of my daughters snapped me working away - I'm still beading!

I really thought it'd be "Drumroll Please!" tonight, but alas the beading of the bodice is taking much longer than I thought. No matter, I'd rather do it properly. Also, it gives me a chance to tell you about the gorgeous thing that happened yesterday.
Firstly, I have to confess that, in the world of sewing, hems are just not my thing. They are so taken for granted; hardly noticed unless there's a problem. It amazes me how dressmakers do it. So... no surprises then that I've had a lot of problems with the hem of Molly's dress. Yup, this is a pic of my very sad effort at pinning the hem... (This has to be character building!)

Dog's breakfast is the term that comes to mind. 

Anyway, I went through my email list in search of advice. Rosie was extremely helpful with her subtle hint of the "don't pin it, tack it with thread!" variety. This made perfect sense - the weight of the pins distorts the drop of the fabric. (Thanks Rosie!)
Then, my lovely friend Maria rang with an irrefusable offer. Her mum, Geraldina, who used to be a tailoress, had offered to "have a look". Can I just say here that the gorgeous Geraldina is one of my most favourite people in the world? Not only did she have a look, she folded and tacked and worked her magic on that fabric with a skill and sureness that had me totally in awe. I couldn't help thinking it was like communicating with someone fluent in a language with which I'm still feeling my way (literally!). She is a maestro! (Is there a female word for maestro?)
Anyway, introducing the maestro...

She is such a beautiful person. I was humbled but determined that this hem would be finished by me so I trotted home and... viola! the hem is done and it looks great. Thank you so much Geraldina!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've been very busy today on Molly's dress - lots of close sewing of embroidered bits and my eyes are popping! (I think I'm ready for a new pair of sewing specs!) I wonder if eye strain affects the brain? It could have something to do with my true confessions of a weather geek below too....
More on Molly's dress tomorrow.

Weather obsessions

I don't know about you, but for me there's something alluring about knowing what the weather is like in other parts of the world. There's no way I'm going to cut out early before SBS news have shown the world weather report! My favourite widget on my computer is earthView, which not only shows me the forecast for any place I choose, it also has globes depicting the current world cloud cover, a NASA visible earth, living earth etc. 
Maybe it's having lived overseas and being able to picture favourite places in their reported state of temperature and weather conditions... whatever it is, I just love it. I just like knowing what it all looks like at any given time.
So, imagine my delight when I came across the weather forecast site of Kurtli Reid! Choose your city and see these cute, almost naive representations of what the elements are dealing folk in certain cities (love the peg!). It has a very limited list of places (typically, only Melbourne + Sydney are shown for Australia!) but all inhabited continents are covered, however minutely. 
Special thanks to Please Sir for this find.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Screenprinting Day

The girls + I had some friends over today for a bit of Screenprinting 101... just the simple stuff. We cut out paper snowflakes and experimented with using these. We also drew some simple shapes and cut them out for printing.
Then the screenprinting! Well, can I just say at this point it was all about a bit of Easter holiday fun? We used poor quality paper and we practised on unironed calico (I mean who's going to get the iron out when you have 5 excited kids running around?) 

So, taking everything into account, I think they did really well for their first try and they walked home with a Tshirt they'd printed themselves! Pretty cool I think. Thanks to my friend Anna who valiantly helped and stepped in with the good explanations - you're a star, Anna!