Saturday, July 30, 2011

brain soup

bamboo framed crepe paper elephants, moving wings made from bamboo and animal X-rays, striped strong men unitards, purple pants to be hemmed, tie dying, stencilling, tomorrows screen printing class, giant cartoon styled weights, flamenco skirts, Mondrian dresses need facings by Friday for painting, bollywood costumes, painted muscle suits, more fabric needed for flouncy shorts, pink panther tails need to be stuffed, need to find wire to go inside tails.

Is it any wonder that sleep is an elusive beast these days? In amongst all that, one little voice has been quietly and persistently asking to be heard.

and for days I have felt like a harassed mother saying not now, not now, there is absolutely no time....but I guess it is now after all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sally by Master 16

Some not-overly consistent top stitching with crazy back tacking +

a little bit of who can be bothered joining up , I'll just sew right off the edge +

a uniquely placed tail with an extra bit of kink=

Sally, as made completely by Connor (master 16).For a boy who still struggles with the concept of dirty clothes going INSIDE the dirty clothes basket he pretty much nailed the softie making.

If you would like to get your mitts on a copy of the Sally and Smith pattern, just leave a comment telling me about the first thing you made that actually really truly worked!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


You guys know that I work in a Primary school don't you? I'm the library-chick. Naturally those kids with a love of fabric or sewing or general craftiness gravitate my way at my school and I often have little friends eagerly waiting to show me their sewing or glueing or crochet on Monday mornings. I share my supplies with them and lend them my own craft books. Its a great gig. Then these crafty little kids head off to High school and to the wonderful world of the textiles classroom.....or not.
Now, I know this can't be true of every textiles classroom in the entire world, but man, I have so many kids tell me how much they hate textiles at school - how boring the projects are, how they have to all do the exact same thing with the fabric that the teacher chooses. Yes I know that the logistics of teaching means it can't all be a free-wheeling roller coaster of fun...but I just hate it when these kids seem so 'flattened out" by something they were so looking forward to.

(A Christmas present for me from one of my Grade 6 friends-made from a jumper Thanks Martin)

So I was discussing this kind of thing with a parent one day and she said - "You should make a pattern that Jess could sew-something fun that would help her learn some basics.". That planted the seed which I then ignored for at least 6 months.I kept coming back to this idea of a really super easy pattern, I thought about the size and the things that made sewing patterns daunting but for a long time it just felt a bit too hard. Then there erupted a small "discussion" in blogland, in the quilting circles mostly. This discussion raged over a lot of topics but one of the them really stuck with me. Some people seemed to be upset by people who write and sell easy patterns (they were talking quilting), they seemed equally upset by people who made ten or twenty of the same quilts and didn't try and grow or expand their skills.
So, you know I stopped and had a think about this for a while and I got a bit disgruntled about it all. You know I don't want to belong to a craft group (online or in real life) that is going to dictate what I must make, or what is too easy or what my next step must be. I was particularly perturbed by the idea that people should not be allowed to sell simple patterns of their own design. Seriously , no-one forces people to buy things. Yes, I have seen patterns and thought to myself "You hardly need a pattern to make that - its so easy" but that's me, bringing my crafty logic and experience and knowledge to that pattern; ten or fifteen years ago I would have needed that pattern to get me started. So, I then applied that logic to the idea of toy-making and my thoughts returned again to the idea of patterns for absolute beginners. (of course being told not to do something is a great motivator ) If no-one writes simple patterns ..... what happens to the people who want to start to make /sew/quilt create. Where will they start?
At that point I rounded up some new pattern testers, Evie (9), Sarah and Lucy (13) Indi (10) and Connor (16) Kate (32) and together we fudged and bumbled and created three new patterns. To say that working with these guys was fun is a total understatement. Apart from the incident with the hair all the kids were absolute stars. The finished products and the sense of achievement these guys had (yes even Mr too-cool proudly showed off his two dogs to the boys in the band) made me think that I was on the right track. And of course we are talking months and months and months here. Pickle, Sally and Smith and Gulliver from the previous post are the three new beginner-friendly patterns. Pickle is the easiest and I am talking seriously basic info. We cover right and wrong side of fabric, back tacking, seam clipping - all the things you need to know, then they get a little bit harder as we go on and add button joints to Smith and then some super stuffing and a teeny hat accessory for Gulliver. So there is a bit of a rant or a reason , or an idea about what I was thinking and where these new friends came from. I am pleased, really pleased to have made these and of course I hope other people like them too. I'll be banging on about them for a few more posts, with some giveaways and stuff and I'll show you the ones that the kids made as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A picture tells a thousand words ...or not


Sally and Smith



Today is lunching, art shopping, visiting,

Tomorrow is teaching

So come back on Sunday for the rant. (I'll try to keep it to 1,000 words)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My heart

It's hard enough to lock them away in a box,

but it's when they try and escape

that it really breaks my heart.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's contagious

Dear Boss,
Please excuse Jodie from day-job attendance for at least the next school term. She is suffering a bubonic type illness, generally known as "cannotus-be-stuffedus", coupled with a distinct inability to arise from slumber at a time conducive to attendance. She is exhibiting a not uncommon but somewhat unhealthy attachment to flannel pyjamas and chenille dressing gowns that will in time, require a full intervention before she can resume her regular work schedule.
She also appears to be experiencing increasing dread at the ten concert preparation weeks ahead and I am led to believe may have, already, thrown one winged-costume induced tantrum. This, along with the patients slight obsession to move no further than 10 metres from her sewing room, leads me to believe that forced attendance would be detrimental to her fragile state.
Jodie has recently exhibited subtle signs of dissatisfaction with certain elements of her day job, most obviously the issue of actually having to go there and I feel she may need to be given some time to work through these issues.
I recommend Jodie be allowed to work completely from home, puddling and noodling at whatever takes her fancy with absolutely no restrictions, deadlines or meetings. I strongly believe this to be the only treatment conducive to a cure.

Sincerely Check Spelling
Important medical type professional a white coat.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Odds on

It's the Head of Senior Management's birthday today . Happy birthday Annie !

(and the son ? The one who texted his mother and woke her to that brain addled slightly panicked state that only an early morning phone call can conjure up, at 3.34 AM to tell her he was still awake and would therefore be requiring a sleep-in and to please pass that info onto the father , so that said father didn't accidentally wake him ? ...That son ? Chances of him making it to his next birthday are getting slimmer by the day)

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Dallied, fiddled, faffed,

Noodled, pootled, lollygagged,

tinkered, puttered and shilly-shallied my way through a weeks worth of holidays already.

Is someone stealing my days ?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Craft Clock...or exactly how long did that take?

Tired ? Feeling rushed? Is the hectic pace of modern life getting you down? What you need is a craft clock. When everyone around is flagging at 11pm - you can keep on rockin' through until 13 or 14 O’clock and get all those projects finished. With a Craft Clock you need never rush again! Make one today and stretch those crafting hours into crafting bliss.
So, the craft Clock in its first guise first appeared on the blog in about May 2009 and people asked me then if it would become a pattern...Oh sure I answered blithely. Of course, telling people to go and butcher a clock for parts was never going to work so it eventually moved so far past the back burner that I forgot all about it. Then along came the Daylesford Craft Experience and the need for a project with embroidery and Bob's your uncle ! Two and a bit years later - we have a pattern. Check out the stockists page to see if there is someone local to you, grab it online, or ask your local craft dealer to get it in for you - Just email me and I'll set you up !

(Now you will have to excuse me, its school concert preparation time again, and my brain is filled with jazz-hands, sequins and bed sheets masquerading as Mondrian influenced baby doll dresses......)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaching and learning........

The rumours of my stupidity may be greatly exaggerated...but then again maybe not.
Yes, it was raining, but I was under a bridge, yes I had a very wet bottom from sitting on the ledge before I could jump down into the canal thing. Yes I took 50 bajillion photos of a new toy without looking at my camera settings and yes they were all a disaster. Yes after coming home and uploading them all, I went back to the canal for a second visit (I was already wet). Yes I was being careful and double-checked everything. Yes one of my new toys did in fact roll ever so slowly sideways down the incline and into the rushing water.

So I'm obviously no life-coach, but if you'd like to learn how to make a small bilingual donkey -I'm your girl. I'll be teaching Reuben on July 23 at Amitie in Melbourne. Give them a call if you would like to join in.
I can almost promise that no-one will fall into a canal.