Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Postcards from the sewing room

On the very off-chance that I venture further than the sewing room for the next five weeks, Mr Gocco and I have have got the postcards totally sorted. I'll be sure to send you one!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Excuses , Excuses

Well obviously Christmas is a busy time

and then there are visitors

and the sewing room is a total pig-sty

and I have to find time to fully acquaint myself with the DVD and the hefty tome of instructions

OK and maybe, just maybe

there is a teensy bit of performance anxiety.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute..........

Because I am all set to embark on a bake-a-thon today and because it has to be said the kitchen is not really my natural environment, I have prepared myself a little gift of sorts.

(Image courtesy of My fantastic toys)

Once I get all the cooking done I am going to sit down and whip up a couple of these cute felt ornaments. I am going to embroider the kids names on them and the year on the back ..and hey presto! Another hand-made ornament for them.

The printable pattern and instructions are available from My Fantastic Toys .
May your days be merry and bright, sweet bloggers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The thinks you can think...........

I have been thinking this morning. The house is quiet and I have been wandering the past Christmases of my blog and thinking about all that has happened this year.

Did you know that around this time last year I was invited to join in the Stitches and Craft show in Melbourne. That invitation pushed me to have a go at pattern writing. I needed to get and ABN, which means I am actually a business - ooops !

I have been thinking how funny it is that I just fell into this whole "business" thing with no plan , no desire and absolutely no bloody idea what I am doing. As a business ? well lets say I am still working at the day job. I wonder if this business could ever be self-sustaining or if I even want it to be? Do I have the energy needed to take up all those opportunities? Do I want to push ? Do I want to hand over some of the responsibility to someone else, join a distributor or do I want to sit at the kitchen bench folding patterns and popping them into plastic bags in my pyjamas ?

I got to go to Sydney and step waaaaay outside my comfort zone by talking to a room full of people about blogging. I was really really surprised by how much I enjoyed this... I had an absolute blast! I would happily do more of this - all those school report cards were spot on - I can talk !! A LOT !!!

I have met, in real life some of the best people EVER. That whole meeting bloggers thing, at craft group or markets or get-togethers blows me away every time. This meeting and joining and sharing I want to do more of for sure! (and I want to win lotto so I can go and meet all my international friends - a bloggy world tour perhaps ? )

I have amazing friends who are so supportive of this crazy craft adventure and so many of you I have never met. You visit here, and provide a massive cheer-squad, you test my patterns for me and you share awesome stuff all the time. I owe so many thank you's.

I seem to have morphed into a person who makes toys, and I know this disapoints lots of people (and thanks for the emails telling me just how disappointed you are) and maybe it is a strange thing for a 40 year old woman to do - but I love it ! If I had the time and the skill I would make every single toy in my sketchbook....... It seems to make perfect sense in hindsight, I have toys in almost every room of my house. I wonder if this is some deep dark childhood piece of weirdness.....

BUT I also love to make "not-toys" like the robots at the bus stop. I can't explain how much I enjoyed that little project this year.....I really want to get better at that "not-toy" making stuff and better at taking photos .....so much to learn there ...

I think perhaps I am finished with selvedges for now. I'm sorry but that was not really a marriage as it turned out , just a brief but very passionate affair.

I had a market stall which I loved. I had such fun doing that market but I can't see it ever becoming a permanent fixture for me. I sew too slowly to ever have a great amount of stock and to be honest I don't want to make 20 or 30 robots or 40 elephants. I might want to make 6 or 7 but then I want to make something new. (and I suck at selling, really suck. I suck at putting a monetary value on something I have made. I suck at making sensible choices and adding costs and all that stuff and I give discounts to anyone who seems like a nice person - This was a bit of a revelation for me, I am quite uncomfortable standing behind the stall selling stuff, but I love to be at the front of the stall chatting and buying stuff from others. I suck)

I want to give a bit more....Does that sound weird? This year particularly I feel like this blog has opened up so many opportunities for me. I feel like I get so much from this blog and I am thinking of ways to maybe balance things out a bit .

If someone told me about all this "stuff" that would come about primarily because of my blog, when I started my blog I would have thought they were bonkers.......
I apologise if this all sounds a bit self indulgent ...basically it is me saying "far out ! what a year" and indulging in a bit of a one sided conversation with myself.

(one of the photos that I didn't send to a posh magazine when they asked me for a pic)

So I guess I'll be heading off into 2010, running a small business, folding patterns in my pyjamas, making toys and Not-toys, fondly thinking of selvedges but not sewing them, meeting bloggers, sharing stuff, talking, more talking, hopefully some giving, and saying thanks .

Yep that sounds like a plan , its as clear as mud !

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This one time, on craft camp....

I hereby decree that next May is going to be renamed The month of craft.

Not only do I have the FIVE day long Stitches and Craft show to attend , and a weekend at sewjourn to enjoy, but Sheridan has just thrown another crafty hat into the ring.
Next May Chaletgirl is hosting the Australian Craft Blog Convention.

try this on for size...Friday afternoon shopping at places like Tessuti and Buttonmania followed by drinkies at Nikki's studio. Saturday - a day devoted to crafting and chatting and eating followed by a bloggy dinner out. Oh and there will be presents and all manner of loveliness.

Now, I do realise that there will be very little of me left after the Stitches and Craft show, so I am not committing to the whole event, but I am going to be there on Saturday with bells on (and presents once I figure that bit out).

People will be heading to Melbourne from all over the place!

OK for actual facts and times and all the serious stuff go over to Sew it Together check out the details, and join in !!!

and just so you know, school finished yesterday, I had stuff that had to be done this morning but as of 4pm this afternoon I have been proudly pyjama clad and staring down six glorious weeks of holidays.

Monday, December 14, 2009


So, obviously I made a bag.
I made it for me and even though I forgot the magnetic claspy thingo I am pretty happy with it. Whenever I try something like this I lament my lack of drawing skills. But really who's to know I wasn't going for the whole naive childlike quality on purpose???
and yes, I made the bag when I should have been making Christmas gifts, or planning for Christmas, or making lists or sending emails, or doing housework or organising end of year school crap or taking my very sick computer to triage, but it was either make a bag or have my head explode.......so I chose the bag.
but you know in the cold hard light of day I have to admit that the exploding head may have made a more interesting photo.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December squint

What do you mean they don't look like Christmas presents yet ?

Maybe it would help if you squinted?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I have to :

Introduce my new boyfriend
(spunky robot courtesy of pinksnowflakes)
Say thanks for all your support of THAW in the last post - man you guys blow me away !

Tell you that Vic of Punky and me - is the winner of Rocket and he will be heading off to live with her really soon.
Share with you Miss Ric-Rac was suitably embarrassed about it all .....so I have yet to show her this .........

and tell you that the disco bot pattern is finally done and listed.
Can I also just whisper quietly that I am stuffed ! My brain has turned to blancmange and I wish I could sleep for a week. My kids are fully doing my head in and I am snappy and snippy and in need of a good slap myself.
Christmas is looming like some turgid bubbling quicksand and the Grinch is ringing and asking me for anti-festivity tips.......
School is like some crazed asylum where they are definitely not handing out enough feel-good pills and the calendar is filling up way too quickly.
I am off to a 50th birthday party tonight and I just want you to know that should the four horsemen of the Apocalypse interrupt my sleep-in tomorrow I shall get out of bed (sans foundation garments) and I shall grab the nearest weapon (quite possible an outdoor chair) and I shall quietly and calmly beat them to death.
(but I am not a monster, I would spare the horses)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pssst can you spare a few bucks? (You were warned)

I am maintaining some decorum as I start this post but please read right to the very end!

A little while ago, through one of the crafty avenues that seem to appear every now and again, I joined a loose group of local crafters. In that group I met Kim and then her husband Rohan.
Kim and Ro produce the most amazing zine here in Ballarat - full of local goodness, fashion, craft and all sorts of stuff. Kim and Ro have real day jobs and mothering jobs of course (like most of us) and two sweet baby girls and a vegie patch and a dog and a Kombi to keep them busy .....

BUT they are passionate about their zine and they work their collective butts off to get it out four times a year. ( and they do not batter an eyelid when you arrive at their house for chat in your P.J's and dressing gown - they just offer you a drink and pat of their dog like it happens everyday )

(all photos coutesy of Rohan)

This issue of THAW is full of lots of people you might know.....Kate and Brendon from Fox's lane and daylesford organics, The doily talking about her new roller derby passion, the gorgeous Beck of dandelion, Howl (winners of TripleJ Unearthed high), and yes there is an interview in there with me banging on (as usual) about craft and community and working in my Pyjamas.

So, I am going to flat out ask you guys to go and buy a copy from Kim and Ro's big cartel site.

Or locally from L'espresso, Upholstery gallery, Coco Pink, Art Gallery,Stride and more....)

Buy it because Kim and Ro work hard to keep this zine humming along (and sometimes giving up seems much easier)

Buy it to support handmade

Buy it to read about me if you want , or Beck, or Kate, or Steph or the Darling Howl boys.

Buy it because this support thing is actually one of the things we bloggers do really well
Buy it because it is priced ridiculously low. - $3 yep, only $3

Buy it because if you buy it and then email me and attach a receipt or some such proof along with your snail mail address, I'll be popping a free pattern in the post to the first twenty of you !

So, you are all fabulous and I know you want to support others , not just get free stuff so although all the patterns are now gone, if you buy or subscribe, send me a copy of the receipt you will go in the draw to win a softie....he is very soft and grey. His name is Rocket and he is just waiting for a new home. You have until I leave for craft tomorrow night to enter.

and my voice has taken on that slightly higher pitched - little bit hysterical tone
Buy it because this is my daughter ! yep. Everybody look !!! That's right .
If I could insert flashing lights and sirens here you can bet I would.

This is Miss Ric-Rac, my post VCE, 18, slightly sulky, singer, empty loo-paper roll ignorer, taunter of brother, eater of Milo, lover of HOWL, hopeless at craft, Bestie of Jazz, wearer of vintage, COVER GIRL ...daughter.

and yes I may have promised NOT to embarrass her about this .......but she's 18, how many more chances am I going to get?

This is where you need to go to get fresh with my daughter


Monday, November 30, 2009

Market mayhem

Daylesford turned on a spectacular day on Saturday for the market. I am sorry it has taken me this long to blog about it BUT someone who has finished VCE and been home sick seems to have eaten all my Internet (and trust me I have a lot of Internet) so I am back to caveman Internet until tomorrow.

(MR Burly - husband of Julie sporting a very flash three tiered pink ensemble)

Julies idea with the Suffolk Puffs or yo-yo's was great - I met so many bloggers on Saturday that my brain was a bit of a whirl. Please leave me a comment and tell me who you were again so I can come and visit you. (waving wildly at Ms Sprouts and the pirate) and she BAKED ! That's right she baked yo-yo's and let Annie and I give them away to bloggers....

Annie was in charge for the day and I could not ask for a better assistant (or friend). She is so willing to help and give up her weekend to stand behind my stall and flog my wares (and she does a far better job of it than I do I can tell you).

It is so hard to explain just how much fun Saturday was - I was on a crafty high all weekend. I met THE BEST people and caught up with awesome inspiring crafters and shared plans and exciting news and made commitments to friends and crafters to do less hibernating and more socialising.

(Kirst's music boxes - she is my biggest blogcrush ever )

I can't really do a major festival of links - mostly because I know I am going to forget someone - and really there were so many bloggy visitors it was almost hysterical at times. But also because it will take me about another ten hours on caveman Internet.

(One of these curlypops delights made its way home with me)

If you would like to see just some of the fantastic bloggy visitors that made their way to the market, head off to the delightful Superpops blog ....

and if you want to meet the other stallholders then here is a list for you. I did this from memory and I am sure I have forgotten some people, and a few stallholders are not on the net so I apologise in advance



Pink snowflakes


The clunes strangler

ceci bean


bob boutique



Pictures eat people


There was one other stallholder there who I would like to tell you about tomorrow.......and I am going to blatantly try and sell you all something as well. I might coerce, I may threaten or I may just beg......

(Consider yourself warned!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

The not-so-very-secret-at-all-bloggers-who-wear-yo-yo's- society.

Okay so maybe thats not a very catchy title, but Miss Julie had a great idea.

Julie is coming to the Daylesford Makers Market tomorrow and meeting up with some friends, so much like a blind date where people promise to wear a certain flower in their buttonhole, Julie will be wearing a pink yo-yo !

I think this is a great idea !
Just think of all the blogmeets, craft shows etc that we all go to and blog about, only to have people comment and say "oh no I was there at that time too, I wish we could have caught up".

So here is the plan , if you are coming to the Daylesford Makers Market tomorow why not wear a yo-yo and let people know you are a blogger. Of course if you want a more anonymous feel to the day thats cool too. Actually I will have a free selvedge key-ring for all the yo-yo wearing bloggers who come and say Hi ! (until I run out)

I am excited by this idea Miss Julie, why not adopt it as the Universal Crafty Blogger version of the secret handshake.... Go forth and yo-yo !

( and if anyone can think of a better name that the-not-so-very-secret-at-all-bloggers-who-wear-yo-yo's-society pop over and let Julie know)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bah Humbug !!!

Now that my smalls are actually quite big (like 18 and 14), I have to say a lot of the "magic" of Christmas is gone.
I find myself concentrating more and more on all the effort it requires and I must admit to being a bit Bah-Humbug about it all at the moment. (mind you that could be because every bloody shop in town has been spruiking Christmas since September).
But yesterday I found, bought and printed this from everybodies favourite Aunty and now I am determined to buy some presents just so I can wrap them.....
(once again its all about the packaging for me)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Never enough time.....

I seem to be in the enviable position of having some "spare" time on my hands......
All the things I wanted to prepare for the market on the weekend are done. Everything is priced, tagged and packed.

So for today at least it is back to the robot pattern......

Must be those 32 hour days I now have.....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Abject failure - or why I shall never be a motivational speaker.

Much like the law enforcement agencies like to have a focus , you know 'focus on speeding' or 'focus on seat belts'.......this month at Chez Ric-Rac has been 'Focus on Toilet Paper' month.....
and what a month it has been.
There has been huge cross media attention .... i.e I have been trying to spread my message across, in front of and in direct competition with Ipods, television , Internet and general ignorance!
There have been promotions - me printing stickers with little rolls of toilet paper on them and conveniently sticking them in amongst the children's clean washing, in their lunchboxes and anywhere else I could manage it. (Actually that bit was lots of fun)

Awareness raising - me (again) spending a lot of time enquiring after the toilet paper situation, checking how people are enjoying 'Focus on Toilet Paper' month and just how committed everyone is.

Why ?

because it is about bloody time someone in this house under the age of 40 learnt to change the toilet roll when it was empty ...and then...god forbid....put the empty roll in the bin.

(Maybe I should take to carrying my own personal supply on my person - that way no matter how teeny the sliver of paper left - I won't have to be the one to actually empty the roll - or maybe I'll just give up now and go completely bonkers.........either way ......)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

buttons and string

Okay, so making kits can be a pain in the bum. All that cutting and packing and checking and double-checking that you have included everything.

But then you get to use cupcake boxes and stickers and stripey string and shiny buttons.....

Friday, November 13, 2009

dating advice............from the dark ages

When you have been in the dating game for a while - you get to know the types of guys you might find.

Mr- Cheesy.................loves himself just as much as he claims to love you!
(often known to have a surfeit of chest hair )

Mr- I'm- dangerous................ and therefore intriguing!
(usually goes to great lengths to hide the fact that he still lives with his mum)

But this is the guy you need to find.

He'll be at Daylesford makers market with me in just 15 days time.......

(and I am in the running for cheesiest self promotion of the year with this blog post for sure! )

Monday, November 9, 2009


Mustard , Rocket and Dill

Can you guess which photo Rocket took?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Parsley and Beet (and Avocado too)

This is Avocado,

she is an all - cotton version of the Parsley and Beet pattern and she is looking very pleased with herself as she is the (back) cover girl for the Parsley and Beet pattern.

It dawned on me last week, that I had so many questions about Doctor's flannel when I made the Kinder girls and Boys pattern, that finding or dyeing some wool for your own Parsley and Beets might be a bit of a headache.

So I set about another whole batch of pattern testing to make sure that you could make a 100% cotton version of Parsley and Beet if you want to.

Not only that, I have dyed some flannel and put it in the shop as well.

Now that the photos are took, the patterns are printed, the fabric is dyed, the destructions make sense, the testers have tested, the patterns are folded, and the postage is checked, I might just get back to a bit of sewing........I have a market sneaking up very quickly !

If you are pleased that this pattern has finally seen the light of day, you need to thank Maree. Without her nagging, you might still be waiting.

I promise the Disco Bots will be a bit faster!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I can't help but wonder

What exactly is the collective noun for a group of robots?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bad undies

The last five months or so at chez Ric-Rac have been a pain. Mr Ric-Rac got retrenched and well, it sucked big time.
Its kind of like, when you wear really bad undies...you know that constant irritation, the needing to keep adjusting and smiling and pretending your undies aren't riding up your bum crack.... when in truth you want to rip them off and throw them on the ground and stomp them into oblivion while screaming your head off ? yep, that feeling !

Anyway ! Mr Ric-Rac started a shiny new job this week so things are looking up.

I have been busy working on some stuffs for the Daylesford Makers Market and possible Etsy shop update.

I've been dreaming of new softies and one of them makes me so excited! He is sure to be my favourite ever softie.

I, and my gorgeous helpers, have been ironing out the wrinkles in the Parsley and Beet elephant pattern and the Disco-Bot pattern.

I have been playing with Mr Gocco

and right now things feel like the oldest daggiest pair of comfy undies around.

I hope you guys are all "comfy undies" at your place too.