Saturday, 28 June 2008

fencing patterns

Sorry about the unscheduled blog break. Quite simply, I wore myself out. I am just crawling back into action now.

Meanwhile, I have been nurturing a new obsession with pattern. It began with a book that my talented younger sister bought for me, Pattern Design by Lewis F. Day. (This link is highly recommended as it gives a very generous portion of the book in .pdf.)

First published in 1903, Pattern Design is almost worth reading for the language alone: "But in the very variety of demands made upon us there is some compensation for their unreasonableness."

So I started looking for patterns around me and found a lot that I like in fences, of all places.

But enough unnecessary chatter. It's time for some pictures!

1. PhoneCam Texture: Iron Fence Greek Design, 2. Curled up, 3. Follow, 4. iron fence, 5. fence 2, 6. patterned fence, 7. fence, 8. Fence, 9. Metal Grid 4, 10. Pattern, 11. Queensway fence, 12. Fenced in, 13. pattern, 14. Repeating Patterns, 15. red fence, 16. Don't fence me in, 17. Fence Patterns, 18. IMG_0331-800px.jpg, 19. Geometry, 20. fencepattern, 21. Fence Pattern, 22. Red fence, 23. Stockport-Mersey Fencing., 24. Chain Link Fence#1

Ah, Flickr. You never cease to make me happy.

Monday, 16 June 2008

stamp it

I know that I promised myself no more crafting until the homework is done but I have been seeing rubber stamp tutorials on the likes of Geninne's Art Blog and Creative Kismet. It looked so easy and I already had the tools required so how could I resist? Besides, it's such a portable activity that I could do it anywhere. So far I have tried in the car, at work, visiting relatives and on the train. I am addicted!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

this is ... the space in which I create

I thought seriously about not participating in "this is ..." this week. I like Michelle's topic and will be doing the rounds to see how everyone else fared but when I looked into my craft room I was embarrassed, nay even ashamed of the mess that it has become. And I have promised myself that I will not sew or otherwise play in my craft room until all of my TAFE homework is done. Luckily the homework is reasonably fun (tapestry weaving and painting with gouache) and it is due in less than two weeks so I should survive. Just.

Anyway, rather than slinking quietly into a corner I thought I would expand the topic a little and show you some shots from my whole house. Because, after all (and much to my partner's frustration), my crafting rarely stays confined to its designated room. So here it is:

Double French doors (behind Beaker, who thinks it's all about him). We have three sets of French doors: two in the lounge room and one as the front door. They are beautiful but not very practical as they take up an awful lot of wall space and are probably not overly secure. But they're pretty.

Radiator on the bathroom wall. There are matching heaters in the kitchen and second bedroom. I'm not sure that they even work any more - I would never actually use them because they guzzle too much power. And yet I do like knowing that they're there.

Lino on the kitchen floor. We also have killer vintage lino in the second bedroom and the toilet.

I fell in love with our house from the moment I first saw it thanks to these features and more. It is a genuine 1940s time capsule with only one set of owners before us and almost no modifications. I didn't even show you the wood oven! The really sad thing is that it is sitting on a huge block so I know that when we sell it will get bulldozed to make way for two or three ugly new townhouses. There is even a proposal to turn our road into a six lane highway, which will spell forced acquisition of either the whole block or just the front yard, leaving trucks to whiz past just inches from our bedroom. We're not budging yet though. We must protect the picture rails, the ceiling roses and the extra-wide timber floorboards!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

a mole's guide to making linen

We received a fantastic surprise in the mail this week. All the way from the Czech Republic, courtesy of my partner's chat friend most commonly known as "nice girl", came two board books for Olive. They were written by Zdenek Miler, illustrated by Eduard Petiska, and were also produced as a children's tv cartoon in the 1980s. The characters and pictures are really cute but it wasn't until I started reading the test of "how come little mole has trousers" that I seriously got excited. It's all about how to make linen!

First, you have to grow some flax plants.

When the flax is ripe, reap it and soak it in water. Once it is completely soaked, dry it.

Next, break the stems of the flax.

Comb the broken flax.

Spin the threads.

And weave the yarn into cloth.

Thank you, Barbara, for your insight and generosity. The books will be treasured for many years to come.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Mosaic meme

There's a fun meme doing the rounds that I thought I'd try. The rules are:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

1. La Leona, 2. gingerbread in a jar + gingerbread softie, 3. Simply clouds, 4. Autumn walk, 5. Clara, 6. Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes, 7. Nocturnal hike into the bamboo forest, 8. Ice Cream Dressed in Red, 9. Noche de luna llena - Full moon night, 10. high rise urban hasselblad, 11. bianca7A, 12. Esmerelda Owl

Thanks to Lisa of Strickerin for introducing me to this fun meme.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

this is ... my favourite travel memory

Ah, what a great topic this week. It was a great excuse to go back through all of our holiday snaps and I was pleasantly surprised to realise that one of our best overseas trips was also one of the easiest and cheapest. New Zealand was abound with fun things to do and spectacular scenery but the undoubted highlight of the trip was our day spent on the Franz Josef glacier.

The view from partway up the glacier. Can you see the tiny people on the half day trek? And the river of melted glacier water going out to the sea?

Yes, the steps really were as steep as they look. We had ice picks on our shoes but it was still pretty scary, especially coming down.

Sliding down a wormhole - a naturally occurring tunnel in the ice. It was cold and wet but so much fun!

A kea. These parrots are notoriously cheeky. Our guide warned us that they like to steal lunches and told us about a bird that once stole one of his party's lunch out of their bag then came back later to drop the empty container on their head.

Still on the topic of travel, we are planning a trip to Europe with Asian stopovers in August. I've found lots of crafty things to see in London but wonder if you can advise on any particularly good shops or lesser-known museums in any of the other cities we will visit: Shanghai (I know there's a shoe museum there but frustratingly can't find an address!), Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and Singapore.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

little lost land

I have been very busy! As a result, I am happy to be able to report that some of my wares are now available in a real live shop. Little Lost Land is a new store selling a mix of vintage, imported and handmade clothes and accessories, including loniemay dresses, bibs and onesies. Find Little Lost Land at 300 Carlisle street, Balaclava, here in Melbourne.

One of the appliqued onesies.

A selection of bibs. All are made with plastic coated fabric that I bought whilst in Japan and are great for starting solids because they wipe clean.

All of the dresses are made from corduroy with cotton lining. They feature coordinating buttons, applique or sashes.

This blue dress is lined with the same floral fabric that is featured on the front. It was originally a vintage pillowcase and is deliciously soft.

And in a lovely coincidence, a friend from high school is selling her baby blankets there too. They're handmade from gorgeous soft Japanese fabrics and can also be found online at her FunkyGrammy store.

Update: Little Lost Land is establishing itself well with lots of lovely clothing and accessories for adults but babywear is not its niche, so you will no longer find my wares there. Ah well, you will have to await news of my next outlet!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

apron's away

As promised, here is the sassy apron that I made and have sent off (Only one day late. That's not bad, is it?)

Even though I left the construction to the last minute and I have never made an apron before, I decided to make do without a pattern. I also wanted to use this project to push myself to mix fabrics and add more embellishments than I normally would. And just to complicate things further, I thought that a double sided apron would be a good idea so that I could double my chances that my swap partner would like it.

Funnily enough, none of these factors were as troubling to me as the theme. With 4 degree mornings and days of endless fog, I had real difficulty making anything fit for summer. Ah well, while I'm not entirely happy with the end result I do think that it turned out better than it might have! I was also amused that while I was busy sewing the apron, my partner was watching The Stepford Wives.

This was my first swap and will probably be my only swap for a little while, but only because the end of semester is looming and assignments are due. After that, watch out! You may just be partnered with me...

Oh. And while I'm on the topic, I thought I may as well show you some of my favourite aprons. The orange one is thrifted but the other two are hand-me-downs from great aunties. They make me happy :)

Monday, 2 June 2008

welcome to the world

Our first niece was born on Saturday. Ella Charlotte didn't need much encouragement, arriving in just two hours and weighing in at a healthy nine and a half pounds.

Of course, I couldn't resist making her an elephant or two.

Welcome to the world, sweet Ella. We promise to love you, look out for you and have lots of fun together. We are so very glad to meet you.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

this is ... my pets

We have many pets (ten at the moment!) but Muzzle is our most beloved. She is part whippet, part mutt and very, very bouncy. So bouncy that she can jump most of our fences so we can't leave her unattended in the back yard but instead have to lock her in "jail" during the day - a space along the side of the house where we have extended the fence and installed a gate. She doesn't seem to mind though, obediently trotting in when we command her to "go to jail". Muzzle suffers from a common whippet behavioural disorder known as "excessive greeting disorder" - she gets so excited when anyone she knows enters the house that she dances on her hind legs howling "He-wo!". The other word that she knows is "walk". If we pick up our house keys, pick up her lead or mention the word she dances again, this time saying "A waaall. A waaall." Not perfect diction, I know, but hey she is a dog after all.

Another pet worth mentioning is Beaker, our cockatiel. We never had the patience or inclination to teach him to talk but he has learnt to make the sound of the telephone ringing, water going down the drain and my sister's laugh. He adores taking a shower with me and has decided that I am his mate - he will only sit on me and bites anyone else who comes near. Like Muzzle, Beaker is also good at greeting - he recognises the sounds of our cars and starts chirping as we pull up in the driveway.

If you want to get to know our pets better you can join my partner's social networking site for pets, My Star Pet.

Thanks so much to sweet Kyla for suggesting this week's theme. Check out three buttons for links to everyone else who is playing along.