Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spreading sunshine !

Chest infection, sinus infection, vomiting into office bin at work -just another week in paradise until..........

This is just part of the amazing package I received this week from the very talented Natasha Burns as the winner of her 100 th post giveaway. When I collected this from the post office I couldn't figure out what it could be, as the box was HUGE !

Natasha also sent vintage patterns, bookmarks, papers, little notes - about a zillion frills, ribbons, trims, accents and all manner of things.

Natasha is one of the funniest woman you are ever likely to meet - she is the epitome of pink and pretty and girly, and then there's the football - she is a totally one-eyed supporter, and did I mention her love (and I mean Love) of cowboy boots????? She like a bag of mixed lollies - all in one bag. She is crazy kooky like all crafters but one of the most generous people. We actually met years ago when she asked me to donate something for a huge charity auction she was running on eBay and then years later I stumbled on her blog.
She is an incredibly talented painter and makes incredibly exquisite things - please go and have a look.

I immediately thought I will have to send her a thank you and then she could thank me for the thank you and I could thank her for the thanked thank you and it would go on forever, so instead of starting all that I will be paying this one forward Natasha and hoping I can do something for my 100th post (10 to go) that will brighten up someones week as much as you have done for me.
That and a very heartfelt thank you .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

They're breeding like Murphy's.

I' m going to try really hard not to bore you all senseless with this post but I feel like I have a lot to say .

Firstly I am so excited that I got the little taggy thing to work for the Softies for Mirabel button.

Have you ever met Pip of Meet Me at Mikes, No? well me either but I am convinced she is one of the most generous souls out there in blog land. She has decided to make softies for the kids of the Mirabel Foundation for Christmas and has invited other bloggers to join in. I've joined, I've planned I have even cut out !!! and I got the super cool badgy thing to work. I am so like a technological genius!!!!

This week I have been noticing lots of people pledging a handmade holiday season - I love the idea but have been telling myself it will never work with my (or Mr Ric-Racs ) family. Then my sister popped in on Friday and spied the little rag dolls (yes they are still unfinished but closer) and asked if I would make one for my niece for Christmas . Yay I thought to myself I can do at least one handmade thing..........thinking ....thinking....exactly why won't this work? Not because our families are plastic hungry monster consumers but because I will feel bad if they heap scorn on my tatty handmade articles right ???

So here is my decision. I will pledge to make and buy handmade this holiday season and I will include a note in each parcel explaining why I want to do this and as much info about the crafter / artist as possible. I plan to buy lots on etsy and look forward to you guys making suggestions when I get stuck -(I think the trickiest one will be Grandpa and the Grade 5 nephew- all suggestions, links to etsy sellers welcome). I am actually really excited by this idea, so much better that the bulk supply of boring gift vouchers that usually get purchased a week before Christmas. If I get organised i might even post a little list over on the side so you can follow how it goes.

My dear friend Flower garden is having a "Girls night in" this Saturday to raise money for Breast cancer research.and I have promised her something to raffle - ..... luckily as you see the Murphy clan have been breeding like....well ...Murphy's I guess.

These guys are going to be cushions and maybe bags - I am planning the cushions to have little speech bubbles with french words - Bonjour Herisson (hello hedgehog) I mean hedgehogs can be french can't they? I have Vliesofixed the prickly part on and am blanket stitching around - not sure how many washes they'll be up for but I just love the gocco print / fabric combo. I am thinking the same might work with little people and I could add the dress.

So maybe a Murphy cushion for Flower garden????

Op-shopping for the week, Linen teatowel (dolls dress) , 3 orphaned babushka's, knitting needles for you-know-what and 3 giant reels of string (I think its string).

Editors note : Technical bits and pieces. The wallets in the last post are paper and PVC. Murphy was gocco'ed onto a linen blend using Gocco stamp ink for cloth and just the regular Gocco machine. A big squeezy hug for all the tree love. I'm just glad Miss jem likes it. I would have loved to add a little bird but she just rolled her eyes at that suggestion. We are going to put teeny little hooks in the wall so she can hang Christmas decorations on it I'm told.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Insert title here.....

After that rather long-winded previous post , I figured I had best add the pictures of the week as well.

I apologise in advance for these bad photos- mostly taken in the evenings.

The last few weeks I have been working on Jemma's room (Connor's has been abandoned for the time being).

Her room had pale blue green sponged walls with a hand painted cornice at the top. As I have previously mentioned this room has been a big compromise!!! Like a typical (I hope) 16 yr old Miss Jem would have loved to have had black walls...mmm nice.

The compromise is cream walls with Knock-your-socks-off red trim and "The Tree"

The tree took the best part of three days to paint - This room now needs one more coat of paint on the skirting boards and then the carpet can go in (oh and a door to paint too). The tree was quite easy we just used an overhead projector to project the tree image on the wall , drew it and then painted it. Of course new curtains etc need to follow so I am planning a trip to Ikea to check out some fabric. (Inspired by Lara who always makes great stuff from Ikea fabric)

Of course one cannot paint all the time , one must find time to pursue the gentler arts as well - like making wee dolly clothes,

Little cardi made from a felted big jumper with a bit of needlefelting on the front !

and the promised wallets.........................

as well as a little experiment with Mr Gocco and fabric.

This is Murphy ! - You can expect to see more of him soonish.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

10 steps to a nanna nap !

1. Start with an unshakable belief in your own powers as a superwoman. This is best evidenced by setting yourself ridiculously unreachable targets for the week. Set these things in stone. Convince yourself the world will fall down if these things don’t get done.

2. Get angry. With every passing day that the plasterer doesn’t ring and every phone call that you make just to get him to come and look at the bedroom with whopping great gaps in the walls , get a little bit crosser.

3. DO NOT under any circumstances go to bed before midnight for 6 days straight but still get up and head off to work every morning. If you do go to bed before midnight when someone else is dropping your daughter home from the show – be sure to wake up every 40 minutes at first to see if she is home and then all night because your stupid brain can’t figure out that she is home and it is time to turn off.

4. Nominate yourself for worst mother of the year award when your daughter can be greeted by name at the local golden arches franchise after eating there every night since Monday and your attempt at watching your sons first ever member of sporting team touch football match ended in you driving laps around the sports field unable to recognise him.

5. Forget until the night before, that you have to provide the raffle prize for the staffroom on Friday. Regret deeply your voluble whinge recently that went something along the lines of “ oh I hate it when no-one puts any effort in and they just buy another bottle of grog – when it’s my turn I’m going to do something fun”. Devote some time to really truly hating your disgusting holier than thou self before you whip up a sock monkey for the raffle.

6. Convince yourself that your little bit of crafting in the lounge room each night is relaxation and not because your sewing room is so messy you do not have one square inch of space to move in. Concentrate on the mountains of unfinished projects and the bra you did not get decorated for the competition at gym because you thought it was the end of the month and not this week. (by the way – have you started your apron for the challenge???)

7. Drive around the whole town trying to buy white pantyhose on a moments notice – spend your lunch hour doing this – find none- try after work with daughter that has to be in the tights within the hour at the theatre – decide that you should have never ever encouraged any of this poncy theatrical tra-la-laaaaing in the first place and if you ever have any more kids which you never will because you can’t cope with the bloody two you’ve got, that you will train them to be accountants or widget makers and keep them swaddled till they are 18. Find footless tights – buy huge ones and sew the ankles closed to form toes with ten minutes to spare. Do the same for the ones bought for a friend because daughter generously offered to as friends mum was really busy !

8. WORRY – This is an especially important step and it should be adhered to diligently. Worry that Mr Connor , now living in the lounge room due to the gaping great bloody giant holes in his bedroom walls is becoming umbilically attached to the PlayStation machine. He will never see the sun again and become one of those nocturnal teenagers that you occasionally see blinking in the bright light of the supermarket when you have to go there in the middle of the night because you are so disorganised you are baking at 11 pm.

9. WORRY MORE. Believe that the fact you have barely seen your teenage daughter all week means you have lost all contact – Have anxiety dreams about not being able to find her. Worry that the very grown-up sleep over after-show party she is going to tonight will include Satanist rituals and every parental imaginable horror imaginable.

10. Saturday morning – rest day- Pop in to the gym where the way-to-bouncy instructor makes everyone call out the number of times they have worked out this week. Call out “once” through gritted teeth (feel bad about that too) but decide maybe you could have the plasterer use her to bog up one of the wall holes when he finally turns up. A cup of tea with Flower garden and Barking Mad. Flower garden needs to cuddle Mr Ric-Rac as I am snarking along at him and pointing out everything he has done wrong according to the rules set down by me and told to no-one!. Daughter left at 10am for hot chocolate with friends, then matinee, more golden arches, night performance , party !(panic) Finish off four wallets that have been on a promise since Noah built the ark. Eat cold meat cut straight from the leftovers for lunch – who needs a sandwich. Paint tree silhouette on daughters wall– feel not great , paint , feel not great, paint , maybe think vomit type thoughts. Get down of ladder , clean up paint stuff , go to bed …………………………………………………
(insert glorious middle of the afternoon nanna nap here)

Wake up to find Connor happily playing with approved child and no longer umbilically attached to playstation. Mr ric -rac has planned Thai Beef salad for dinner , and a trip to the beach tomorrow for Connor and friend , lots of good sun –filled health there. Phone daughter who happily gives mother all the details of the party and promises to text if there is a whiff of goat sacrificing!

The power of a good Nanna Nap should never ever be underestimated. It has the power to restore your equilibrium, balance your life, heal your woes and address what ails you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tagged ! Your it.

Somewhere amidst the day job , the painting and everything else I was tagged by Cathy of Miss Marzie..... I am hopeless at these things - I really think about them too much but this time I have crawled down from the ladder (yes painting Miss Jem's room this week) and have changed the tag just a teeny bit. (hope that's ok Cathy).

Here’s how it works:1. Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of their first or middle name.2. When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.3. At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.4. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them that they have been tagged, and to read your blog.

I have decided to share with you some of my favourite blogs that correspond with the letters of my name (skillfully deflecting my own inadequacies and my inability to think of anything about myself that begins with j- except my name.)

This is not a definitive list by any means ( I have at least 80 blogs on my fave list) but I pop by these great places at least once a week and catch up !


  • Jellywares - A very talented blogger called Jodie (hmm maybe I should Tag her and she how she does. She appears to be related to about a zillion other bloggers and it is great to catch up with them all!)


  • Oh Dear, Can you believe in my favourites list I don't have one that starts with O .


  • Doll (The blog of Mimi Kirchner, one of the most talented doll makers ever - you must see her tattooed men,

  • Dolly Dilettante - the delightful and patient Meg, she has craft fairies who visit her studio and help her out . No-one could be as productive as she is without some secret help!

  • Dragonfly crafts - Fiona's blog makes me feel good ! I am convinced this woman could make a handbag out of anything!

  • Daisy chain - seriously beautiful photos from Jenny, especially the recent beach ones. She seems able to master all crafts, sewing felting - just about everything and she even shops at my local patchwork shop via the internet these days!


  • Inside a Black Apple - Seriously what can anyone say about this Miss Emily- she does everything and she does it all AMAZINGLY WELL. More than a few of her items have joined me at my house! I would love to be Miss Emily when I grow up.

  • I'm a ginger Monkey - a newish site to me , very very pretty and has the cutest ever little horses.


  • Etsy - Ok not a blog but a seriously, how can you go past etsy. I only wish they still had that random sampler thingy -I always found new things and sellers that way. Lots of people have asked if I have an Etsy shop, no I don't, but you know the idea of it intrigues me.........

I will tag Sue and Annie and Emma and Jodie and I will apologise in advance for what may be a lost week. I have to try and get Jem's room painted before the carpet layers come and forcibly put the carpet in. The show Jem has been rehearsing for four months or more opens Thursday night, Connor made the school footy team today (yes a practice and a match to fit in every week), staff meeting Tuesday, plasterer on Friday (fingers crossed)...........

ah can you smell the chaos?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

and some crafting

After feeling like I was getting nowhere in the crafting stakes, I did manage to put together my new bag .

This is made with the most beautiful fabric panel from Kristen Doran. I bought this fabric and drew up the pattern months ago but just didn't get to it until the weekend. I originally had a blue gusset as well but it just became too large so I took it out again.

Inside there are lots of pockets and I lined it with chocolate brown linen - Easiest bag in the world to make as you add the handle later -

Do you dig the covered buttons ? I love them !

The dollies are getting there as well - I am always scared to do their faces as I have had to perform a few total head transplants in the past after their faces became demonic looking - I now no longer sew the head on till the face is done !

I am just finishing off their frocks and toying (ha ha) with the idea of little travel bags and then they will be done.

Then it will be wallets, boy dolls, boy monkeys, bedroom painting , attempting to paint a tree on a wall, more spotty bags, some new things that might not work and some kind of half thought out stuff with the vintage fabric haul.

* editors note: The last statement should by no means be taken as fact, some or all of these projects may be changed, altered or never even attempted.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doctor...Doctor... Is there a Doctor in the Hallway

Yesterday a few of the fats ( and one of their mothers) came over with their machines and we embarked on some cute little kitties ! Another cute Melly and Me pattern.

I made a dress from the huge vintage fabric haul of last week.

The hallway is now all but finished (We have one door to paint).



What do you think? Of course we will put something on the table, we stole this from another room to see if we liked it and I love it - so much better than before (and the old hatboxes cover up the wonky floorboard that you can't walk on). I am not sure what to put on it yet - I have tried a few things but they weren't quite right. It does look a little cold in this photo but with things on the table and some new things on the wall I think it will warm up!

The two quilts are both old beauties that I have rescued from second shops - they are slightly shabby but still beautiful. And even though Master 12 says I am turning the whole house into a craft room- they will be staying !

More things will be put on the walls (I would love to hang my Lark Tea towel there but Mr Ric-Rac is yet to be convinced.) I keep saying it would nice to have some red in there somewhere and when I looked at the before shot I saw the huge red bin - that was not what I had in mind!

Tomorrow is the last day of holidays and I have still not made myself a new bag to start back at work - I have unfinished dollies (and another kitty) a very unhappy Mr Gocco (he was promised lots of attention this holidays - oops!) , wallets cut out but not sewn, the bag of fabric still unsorted sitting in the corner and what feels like a zillion un-finished, un-started and un-figured out just yet projects on the go at once.

Just the way I like it!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dear Enid

What is it with the pointy end of holidays - it all just seems to rush away !

The last two days have been a glorious time - lying on the floor oil- painting floorboards and climbing ladders to give yet another coat of paint to the the door surrounds. I was determined to finish at least one room this holidays and it is done (all bar one door which I will do after the carpet comes out).

The carpet people rang to say our carpet is ready..... ooops.............pity the rooms weren't.

So what of the crafting ? I did manage to totally stuff - up a bag yesterday - that's an achievement. Having received my gorgeous spotty slicker from Spotlight courtesy of Jane I decided I could use the bits I had hoarded.

So, cut out and sewn , with lining and pocket and handle and the little bag tucks at the bottom and then sewed the bloody panel one a good inch or two off to one side - totally crappo. I thought of adding something artful to the side for balance and it looked pretty much like someone trying to cover up the fact that they put the piece on in the wrong spot. Could I take it off an move it? No because all the little needle holes are right there in the plastic. Oh well - I take the stuff-ups quite well as i am so used to them !

Hopefully I'll have pics of the hallway tomorrow and today's craft as well - all these little bits will be in the hallway !

This look like an eye-spy page. So can you find the box my mothers wedding ring came in? The man with wonky arms?, sauce bottle stoppers, teeny tiny spider-web like embroidery.
Plenty more of these little treasures, all collected and waiting for their new home (anything is an improvement on living in the underpants drawer).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Are you kidding?

So, you just want me to stand here right? Ouch ! but these pins keep sticking me. I know ! But you said 2 minutes about 20 minutes ago.

Seriously, this is so humiliating. You better not let them see my undies ..........What ? oh arms up...arms down as if they care !

Just take the photo will you???

I cannot believe you have me standing here, full of pins in a dress made of kitchen paper towel ..yes PAPER !!!! and PINS ......................

All the other dolls are going to laugh at me - they have real dresses know, made of actual fabric. (sheesh it's not like you don't have any).

anyway don't you have a house you should be painting......

Monday, October 1, 2007

Just doing stuff.....

So the last few days have involved a bit of this..................

and a teensy bit of op-shopping

Today we went and looked at carpets for the kids rooms. Miss 16 chose "strawberry crush" - a gorgeous red . Master 12 chose evil-skull-death-depression or something along that line but I think it will work...and if not, we'll just keep the door shut for a few years.