Saturday, December 31, 2011

In between times

The in between times after Christmas and before everything is back to normal are a bit weird aren't they? With Mr Ric rac home I can't quite settle in to my sewing room hibernation routine (He would beg to differ) and even though there are new things brewing and patterns to write, I'm kind of ....meh...

but I also have this pressing need to do I do comfort sewing, For me it is elephants so I spent yesterday sewing all those dark grey piles of fabric into elephants.Nothing ground breaking but satisfying in its own way.

In breaking news we actually have New Years Eve plans .....I still hope to be long asleep by midnight but just the fact that I won't be in my dressing gown by 6pm is cause for at least a minor street parade around these parts. Between that, and yesterday's "reclaim the washing basket" march.....I might very well need a Bex and good lie down by tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


All of a sudden it was the last weeks of school and then a day or two of preparation and Christmas - like some crazy downhill race that cannot be stopped.
The day itself was very relaxed, there was lunch under the cherry tree, a walk with Finn and some fabric cutting in the evening.

I made these teatowels for Jemma and her boyfriend Gav, and just quietly I think they are a genius idea. I would have loved to have a drawer full of these when the kids were at the rotating dishes age and every night was a litany of "I did it last night" - "but we swapped" etc etc.

For the record, I did the dishes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

For the bursar

The school bursar (the chick with all the money and the magical order book) is an obsessive penguin lover, and I, being the librarian in need of monies to buy books, am an obsessive bursar lover.
So I printed her a teatowel (it would have been a set of tea-towels but my screen printing is still quite hit and miss and the others didn't work out)

yes I do realise they look a little short sighted but you can't look a gift penguin in the mouth can you?

If you have an inkling for the printing, get on over to the new blog of Leslie, where she shows you step-by-step how to build your own silk screen. And whilst your there, take the time to add her to your reader, blogrolls, sticky-note systems. You won't be disappointed - she rocks the craft.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

fus ro dah

Apparently there is a computer game
and apparently in this computer game there is an awesome spell of infinite power or somesuch.

Apparently it allows you to push horses off cliffs ('cause thats a skill we all need)
So apparently these screen printed cushions for Jem's computer- game- loving boyfriend are going to be awesome - the best present ever

or the jokes on me and I have just printed some hidden geek language that reads "I'm a dick"
(I'll let you know)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


A couple of T-shirts for the vegetarian

because no matter what he says - I totally crack myself up.

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 kgs

Of lick
and fur

and bounce

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I make toys 2.

Another day, another disembodied animal.

This is head four, five and six. I got sick of making a whole new head after number four, so I just un-stuffed it and tweaked it and re-stuffed it. The good thing about working that way is that it is faster, but the bad thing is that it is harder to exactly replicate those changes on paper...I inevitably make the next head from the paper pattern and it doesn't look the same - so this head, if it is OK will be destined to be unpicked so I can re-draw the paper piece from it.

Much narrower neck and higher under the chin. I do think I like it, but I am a little scared to call it done for fear the next toy will take 300 attempts. Six heads is a dream run !
Part of me wants to make this into a doll-styled toy complete with an olive green winter coat, with a fur trimmed collar.....but another part of me wants to make a more realistic looking animal- kind- of- animal.
I have tossed up the gusseted underbelly kind of look , but I find it hard to let go of my button joints . If I go with an animal- type- animal it might have to be a head and body with buttoned on legs - hmmmm. Join in guys - share your thoughts.
I went to sleep last night imagining how the back of the head can extend down into the body, without getting all weird . I also find myself thinking of the shaggy fur that these guys have on their chest. I'm wondering about colours and fabric , and tails and teensy spots on bottoms kind of Bambi style. I'm thinking the ears might need some tweaking. I also fruck myself out a bit with thoughts of vinyl.......
And as I get ready to bake birthday cakes for my (work) birthday partner that I blithely forgot about today , and prepare Finn for puppy school I can't help but wish, as always that the time between work and bed could be elasticised or gusseted or have its seams let out just a little.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I make toys

Hi guys, I started a new make today and got to thinking about the whole process and thought maybe you would like to follow along. I'm not promising a series or anything (I'm sure to get bored and wander off into something else) but thought it might be fun to document some of the stages.....

I always start with the head, I guess it is the bit that holds the personality and it is the bit that (hopefully) makes a toy recognisable. This is Head 1, a compilation of heads past, a very basic 3 piece, as you can see the nose area was a disaster.

Front on, I quite like the curve in the lower part of the antler, but that's about it so its time to move on to another head - and yes that's an ugly ear, there's no denying it. I usually don't expect to be even close until about head 5 or 6 so don't stress-
I made a new head with two antlers and ears, pin eyes and some drawn on features....hmmm, its a little chunky isn't it? I usually do all my toy making with sheets. Locally I can buy them quite cheap so I never feel bad about how many botched attempts I make- oh and they must be white - colours confuse me at this point, I really just want to look at shapes and if I use coloured fabric I get a bit stuck on the colour . (anal or what?) Does it look like a toddler to you? The pins are like instant plastic surgery, a little nip here , a little tuck there.
Oh dear - this toy has mumps....
That under chin area is waaay too chunky. I also changed the back by adding a centre back seam so I could get a bit more roundness but then had to pull in the base of the neck so it looked less stump like. I have also decided the antlers can't be sewn into the seam- way too difficult and weird and floppy......felt ???? Maybe not, these were hard enough to turn as it was.
Head 3
What ??? Is anyone else seeing a unicorn here? Lets hope its a combination of bad angle and pins in the forehead... That weird under chin wrinkle is caused by a pin I promise.
OK - I am much happier with the line on the nose area (although I have pinned away a bit more on the chin as you can see) Also my tweaks previously led to some weird blobby forehead thing so I have pinned that as well. Not sure about the line of that side seam.... maybe I need to add a bit to the back and take some from the front to even it up. That will become important once I decide what kind of body I'm making.
Hopefully there will be some after-work-time for another head tomorrow. Look at the back of the head - too round ? Maybe I need it flatter after all - and then maybe to flare out a little at the base...
(its a long and winding road folks)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

and they came

All the relatives and friends gathered and said goodbye, and then we shared our stories and we laughed- a lot. Granny wanted very little in the way of a service - she said to "just get that bit out of the way" She wanted a party with all her family , just like her 100th birthday, so that is what we did.
Like all gatherings of the clan, given half a chance the music will follow. Great grandkids sprang forth with guitars and bongo's and a little bit of didge. Aunts and Uncles and nephews and nieces sang quietly and then sang loudly. People fortified themselves with drinks and food and sang some more , and told funny stories, and those kind of weird happy/sad stories and even a few ribald stories. There were moments of quiet and moments of thigh clenching laughter. We all learnt new things about Granny and her amazing travelling life. and in the mix, somewhere in the laughter and the grief I think we all realised that we do quite like each other as well. We have years of shared history, the inlaws and the outlaws, we have rubbed up against each other for a pretty long time now. Those that we rarely see were greeted and hugged and welcomed and those familiar took up their roles and helped and served and moved things along and kept things flowing.

In her physical absence Granny orchestrated something wonderful

In the early evening as Jemma and Connor sang and played their own (crazy) rendition of Joelene I did think, that when the time comes, that this day in my house with its mess and crumbly bits and embarrassing carpets, would be as good a farewell as one could wish for.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Some real life

Yesterday morning Granny Boo passed away very peacefully. She simply drifted off , which I think is a damn fine exit after 103 years .

So for the next little bit its all about the family and arrivals and the guests and the catering and the details. Next Tuesday we will all be here, gathered to say Goodbye and to share her stories, and our stories.

I did wonder about telling you, but you know what, you're my friend and I wanted you to know.

I'll see you soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I heard a strange noise,
and had to battle with the scary black thing. The scary black thing was very tough, but I wrestled it and I chased it and I dragged it through all the flowers...until I won.

I didn't even know I was so brave.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Merry Christmas (No, really)

I thought it might be nice to share this tutorial, so you have time to whip up a few for Christmas.

See, I'm always thinking about you guys- always. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that I am doing boring not blogworthy craft at the moment and having nothing to show. Nothing at all.

To begin you will need to pop over grab the pattern pieces document . Cut everything out and iron some medium weight interfacing to the pocket bot body piece and the head side piece.
hmmm, this photo seems to be mising the felt pocket and the felt cover for the base... Brilliant start Jodie !
Sew a line of stitching ¼ inch from bottom of pocket-bots body. (This is a guide for later) and yes you are welcome to sew it as crappily as I have done.
Fold the little felt pocket toward body on fold line and pin in place, no idea why we need the fold really, the felt isn't going to fray, its just that anal thing kicking in again. Sew pocket in place close to the edge of the felt - do not sew across top of pocket ‘cause then it wouldn’t be a pocket !
Fold body piece right sides together and sew centre back seam.
Stand it up and admire it Place your plastic circle(this can be templastic or a bit of old ice-ceam container, whatever you have on hand) in the middle of your felt base. Run a gathering stitch around the edge of the felt circle by hand
Pull your gather stitch to ease the fabric closed around the plastic circle. You may like to run your thread across the back a few times to secure it and keep it all nice and tight.
Fold up the bottom of your bot, using the stitched line as a fold guide and hand sew the covered base to the bottom
Pop a few tablespoons of stuffing pellets into your bot. You may find it easier to make a little cardboard funnel for this. (They go everywhere!) Fill the remainder of the bot with stuffing, until the body is quite firm (I am serious , I mean firm)
·Pin the back of the bots head to the head strip ( right sides together) and sew around, matching the dots on the pattern. Repeat for head front.
Don’t panic if your strip is too long - Just trim it off leaving enough to be able to sew the gap closed.

Turn right sides out through gap in bottom. Mark with pins where you would like the eyes (fiddle around with this, see what you like best)
I used little scrapbooking brads, opening out the little pins at the back to secure in place, but you could easily embroider some eyes.

Add your antennae (a handbag foot) in the same way as the brads, opening out the pins inside the head

Pop it on your finger and using a funny voice, go and talk to your family. Ask for a cup of tea-they won't be able to resist!

Stuff firmly and sew the gap closed.

Now you just have to hand sew the head to the body.
Tuck a small ¼ inch of the body in at the top and sew the head on.

The hardest bit of this will be deciding what to put in the pocket- Personally I think a little message, sharing the joy of the season, is required.

"Dearest Sister in law, if you find an excuse to get out of cleaning up again this year, those crunchy bits in your pudding will not be coins"

If you want to print out the instructions-albeit in a slightly different format, I have made it available to download as well .

Go on share the love !

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Little Red

I don't mind, you know, going to grandma's.

but the basket of treats just hasn't been the same since Grandma joined weight watchers.