Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Caffeine withrawal sucks

I really didn't mean to neglect the blog.  Life has just been super busy, and not because of Christmas.  I don't celebrate Christmas in a religious way.  I grew up in a Jewish household, so I'm more familiar with Chanukah.  

First up the building activity was full on leading up to Christmas. There was the huge hole cut in the middle of the house.  We didn't have a bath or shower for a week.  I was starting to get scared that we wouldn't have one at all before Christmas, but we have a bath, so no need to avoid us. We don't stink.

Mollie's social life was crazy.  Two birthday parties, a couple of playdates and a trip to the Colo River.  The kids had a blast at the river.   It was good to escape the chaos at the house, but it was tiring.

I've slept in every day since Christmas day.  I've been enjoying cooking in my crazy insane kitchen.

I have my prep area in one corner of the big room

And the stove on the other side of the room

I missed making something special for Col's birthday, so I made him profiteroles/cream puffs. As per usual I was enjoying the finished product too much to take a photo. The recipe is out of The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

I was most impressed with the choux pastry. I've made it before years ago before I had a decent oven. I read the directions except for the part about how many puffs I should be making, so mine have turned out a little large.
on the tray before baking

in the oven all puffed up!

yummy pastry cream

I picked my sewing machine up on Christmas Eve. I'd sent her for a service to get her out of the dusty house. Now that I have some time I'm itching to sew.

I've cut some boxer briefs for the guys in the house.

I've traced out and modified Antonella. I've pulled out another tracing of an Otto top that I've made before. I want to trace some leggings.

My biggest problem? Lack of concentration due to NO coffee machine. I hope it arrives soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blissfully ignorant no more

I always knew this home renovation gig was going to be hard, but I've been able to live in ignorant bliss for a couple of months as the work all went on without really getting in my way. But now I have holes in the ceiling where cornice has been ripped off. I have exposed walls. I have walls with no gyprock. I have kitchen cupboards in one room, my stove in another and the sink in yet another room! Tomorrow the slab that was our old laundry room floor is going to be cut out. I've heard it makes a HUGE mess. Without that my house is full of dust, never-ending dust. And today or tomorrow I lose the bath/shower for 10 days or so. You might want to avoid me in the lead up to Christmas. Everything everyone says about renos being hard is true. At least I sort of knew what I was in for when we started this.

Now here's some inspiration to get me through the hard parts. 3d renderings of my kitchen. The colours aren't right, but you can get a good idea of the layout and style.

Sara.jpg Main




I am going to have a Corian type counter top. I did look at Ceasarstone (composite stone), but I decided that a Corian counter is better for me. It's more chemical resistant, so if I am naughty and weigh dyes in the kitchen, it shouldn't be a problem. Plus the plastics used for a solid surface counter don't echo like the composite stone benchtops.
This is the one that I'm getting
crysta lvanilla

The cabinets are going to be Dulux Fair Bianca half strength which Colin describes as eggshell. Love it when the colour-blind boy can call the colours. He does surprisingly well. He's only red/green colour-blind. And yes, I am going for a neutral toned kitchen. I would have thought about another red kitchen, but it could potentially clash with my lounge and by having the kitchen neutral I can add in colour and change it more easily (or so my colour advisor tells me!).
Oh and my super sweet Jura coffee machine in white is going to look fabulous in the new Kitchen. Col and I made the decision on Sunday to just get it. Now I can't wait for it to arrive.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's being naughty again!

It's that darn coffee machine again misbehaving!  Now it won't complete the warming up cycle, and it won't steam milk.  We can get hot water out of the wand, but no steam.  We've been able to trick it into working, so we can make shots of coffee.  Col says the need to repair the machine is becoming exponential, so perhaps it is time to replace it.  I hate to just toss such a large kitchen appliance aside, but I think it may time to let go.  I guess it's no different than a car.  You wouldn't keep a car that costs you lots to keep running.

So I ask you my friends, if anyone has a Jura machine.  I am specifically looking at the Jura J5 because we have lots of points with our credit card rewards, and can use them to pay for most of the machine.   I know true coffee afficianados would say a super auto machine isn't that great, but for us we truly love the push button convenience, and in our opinion the coffee we get from the super auto is much better than so many cafes.  I can buy nice beans and use organic milk, so I'm happy.

For reference we have a 6 year old Saeco Magic Comfort Plus, so we thought we'd try a different brand of machine.

And now for some pictures which are already out of date because the house is speeding along..we have even more, bigger holes now.

Hallway hole in the current living room
101209 hole in living room wall

Looking at the front door from the back room. The opening will go to the ceiling. Originally we were going to have doors there, but have decided not to have them.
101209 view from back of the house to the front door

First coat of paint inside
101209 first coat of paint is up

Painting outside
101209 the back has been partially painted


Friday, December 11, 2009

Bird Girl

Well, I'm not really a girl, but I think it sounds better than bird woman.  Just doesn't have the same flow.  Since the announcement of Jolijou's Valeska pattern via Farbenmix, I've been waiting to get my hands on it.  Valeska arrived at my house a couple of weeks ago, but I was in the midst of finishing off some custom orders which I've realised that I haven't shared!

First the custom orders...nothing new as the customers' requests were based on some of Will's creations.

Imke tops for two of Tracy's boys. My hand-dyed fabric. Jolijou's fabulous Little Devils embroidery design.
james shirt

liam shirt

For Suzanne's boy I made a monkey top. It's from Stella cotton/spandex knits and these fabulous monkey buttons from Paulapue. I used the Farbenmix Quiara pattern, but I straightened the sides of the top to give it a more boyish, boxy look.
kai shirt front

kai shirt back

Thanks Suzanne and Tracy!

The Valeska...
is made from Joel Dewberry fabrics from the Aviary line. I'm sure you all recognise that well known bird print. I have a messenger bag out of this fabric in the green colourway. As I'm sure you know by now, I am a big girl, so had to cut the XXL 50/52 size of the pattern. If you are this size, you will not be able to cut the skirt on the fold when using quilting fabrics. The 44" width is not wide enough. This is why I have a ribbon detail running down the front and back of the skirt as there is a centre front and a centre back seam. The ribbon on the brown contrast band is a Farbenmix ribbon called Asia. It is a perfect match for this fabric!

I was really excited about this skirt as I made it with no alterations other than adding CF and CB seams. The fit is good, but I wouldn't say this style is the most flattering for me. But at the same time, I love the skirt. It's pretty and fun and makes me feel happy. I was so excited to make something for myself before I took my machine in for a service. Don't worry the machine is fine, but I've owned her for almost three years, and she's never had a service. So it's really just like a checkup (and a great way to get her out of the dust-filled house)!

Excuse the less than spectacular photograph. I had to ask Miss Moo to take a photo, and her camera isn't as good as the DSLR.

A close up of the trim

I've also made the kids pjs. I just haven't managed to photograph them! And of course, two of the 3 pairs have been worn and are in the laundry!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

House update

It's been a while since I've done an update on the house. So here are few photos...

We have floorboards.


We have walls.


Here's a picture from the back. The back doors and windows are in.


The weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be crazy, and my kitchen won't be done until January sometime. But it's all good.

Open Day, happy day

Yesterday was Open Day at Moo's school.

Even though I know what goes on at school, I always enjoy looking through the classrooms to see the work that the children do throughout the year. These photos are just from Mollie's class, Big Kindy.















Friday, December 4, 2009

Embroidery thread - all the colours of the rainbow and more

My friend, Tas, is getting a new sewing/embroidery machine for Christmas.  I told her that I'd make a list of my threads for her.  I thought if I was doing that for her, I might as well share with everyone.


When I first bought my embroidery module, I was overwhelmed with the choice of thread colours.  I think it can be hard to figure out what you will use if you haven't already been doing it.  My friend, Lis, suggested for each colour to have a light, dark and medium.  I used this principle plus a few other ideas when originally selecting my colours.  Some other things to think about about are if you are embroidering people, you need skin tones and hair colours.  If you are doing animals (deer and hedgies!), you need browns.  This would be why I seem to have a large number of browns, and we all know by now that I am not a big brown girl.

The threads listed below are Isacord.  I decided to buy Isacord because I know it's considered a good thread, and I had a good source from where to buy them. The descriptions are mine, and are not the actual thread colour name. 

Colour number
my description
Most used
silvery grey

light grey

medium grey – pewter
light grey

Flax – good for blonde hair
light tan

golden yellow
light brown

medium reddish brown
medium brown

light orange


medium/dark brown

medium brown

light peach

dark brown


Red – blue red

light pink
pale pink

bright pink

dark pink
light pink

fuschia pink
medium pink
medium pink


dark purple

medium purple
light purple


royal blue

light blue

medium blue

Turquoise – deep

Turquoise – medium
light turquoise
deep turquoise



dark green

light green
medium bright green

lime green
olive green

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm not a quilter

but a lovely friend on Crafty Mamas is having a baby.  She asked if we would like to make quilt squares that she would make into a quilt.  Here is my contribution.

I actually made six squares. That is what I ended up with after I sliced up the rainbow strip that I pieced together.

I hope to resize and upload some house pictures to share soon. We've had issues with roof tilers not showing up. It makes me want to use very foul language. This isn't the builders fault. Anyway, happy snaps soon...after I finish these last couple of custom orders.


Monday, November 23, 2009

A good friend

You know how it is so nice and comforting to have a good friend.  I am so thankful that I have a few of them.  I have one that I see every day that I take Moo to school.  This friend sometimes helps me out when I run late to school by picking up Moo or will pick Moo up to give me a few extra hours to work.

Last Thursday she rang me at home to check on Will whose face had met a brick wall.  She knew that I was busy looking after Will and rather than run over to make a big fuss, she called to check when we got home.  She knows what I'm like.

Will's good side

Will's bad side
His face is healing nicely, so don't worry.  Will is ok.

She brings me coffee because I just happen to ask if her other half would mind picking me up some since he goes to Single Origin Roasters every week.

She has a great sense of humour.


By the way this is a recipe for a yummy sounding pumpkin feta pie that I asked for after hearing what she was making for dinner the other night.

And best of all she can follow what I am saying which is no easy feat. I have this brain that is always popping with thoughts and ideas. I have this bad habit of going from one thing to the next without any apparent connection.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I'm sure I've mentioned this but I have an almost obsessive nature at times.  I had set up the embroidery module to embroider a journal cover.  So while it was set up, I decided to embroidery some more things for other journal covers, some cheeky little devils for a custom order, some monkeys for a custom order and finally some Tulipinas which I had been dying to stitch out for Mollie.  Truthfully I am still hanging out to find the time to stitch out a few more Florierende Frolleins.
My efforts...

 Here are the fronts of the journal covers

The journal backs

The Love Bus journal is a custom order, and I sold the other two at the markets yesterday. Funny thing is that I wasn't sure that I would sell them and had thought it would be ok to bring them home to stash away for birthday pressies for when I don't have enough time to make something. So now I think I might whip up a few more in the future to have on hand for just that reason. One of the journal buyers is Mollie's teacher for next year. I don't think I mentioned this, but Moo's class teacher was announced a couple of weeks ago. It is the exact person who I hoped it would be. Joanne was Moo's teacher in little Kindy last year and Mollie loves her. In a Steiner school the class teacher is a HUGE deal as this is the child's teacher for the next seven years. I've also already been hit up for my first sewing job for the class. I have 30 bean bags to make!

And Moo's SommerLiebe skirt embellished with Jolijou's Florierende Frolleins. I think I need Shiva on a shirt for me.
tulipina skirt

Mollie loves her new skirt, and she better since her insane mama stayed up until 2am working on it. Silly me used too much knit for the waistband and decided it was too big after the waistband had been stitched, overlocked (serged) and topstitched on!!! It was a pain to rip out, but of course, worth it in the end.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

What's the deal with you and rainbows?

Now, no one has ever asked me this question, but I'm sure someone is thinking it every time I post another rainbow creation.  The thing is that there is no simple answer to this question.

I love colour.  I like rainbows. I get all the colours all in one place for my visual delight.

I was a child in the seventies.  One of my all time favourite shirts had an iron-on with a unicorn and a rainbow.  I remember going in the shop and picking it out.  It was the kind of place that you picked your shirt and then you got to pick the iron-on.  Would I wear that shirt now?  Uhm, probably not, but if it was lurking around my mom's house, I'd give it to Mollie to wear.

Rainbows are big in Steiner (Waldorf) schools.  My daughter goes to a Steiner school, and my son will be starting there next year.  Mollie doesn't have a school uniform, but is not allowed to wear black to school.  Clothing that is made of beautiful colours is encouraged.  You will notice that I don't tend to sew for my children in dark, drab colours.  This is one reason for that.  

So why am I waffling about rainbows?  I've made a few rainbow redondos...
It's a rainbow redondo
If you don't know by now, I am huge fan of the Redondo skirt designed by Fledge/Studio Tantrum.  This skirt is so much fun! 

If you're lucky, you might be able to snag one if you come visit me at the Lorien Markets.  I am not listed as a stall holder because I am part of the playgroup parents stall.  So that little blurb about meeting playgroup parents, well, I'd be one of them.  If you happen to be out in the Hills area on Saturday drop by and say hello.  Maybe even do a bit of holiday shopping.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sensational Silk

I love to dye silk.  There is something about how silk takes up the dye that makes it truly enjoyable to work with.  Then there is the beautiful lustre of the fabric when you are done.  There is nothing else like it.

A friend of mine recently had a baby girl, and I just had to make her a silk/flannel blanket.  In my haste to give it to her I forgot to take a photo. Baby Zara's blanket has a 16 point flower mandala with a purple flannel backing.  While I was making Zara's blanket, I also made one for a request on Etsy.  An 8 point star mandala is dyed onto silk.  The backing is a mottled orange flannel.


I thought I'd write a bit more about some of my favourite notions.  Working with silk made me buy some nice glass head pins.  I have these super sharp and thin pins from Clover.  I love them.  Although I don't love them when I stab myself with them.  I even stepped on one the other night. OUCH!

A walking foot is useful too when sewing silk.  It helps to keep the fabrics from slipping.

And using the right needle is important too.
This is my collection of needles. I use microtex needles for sewing silk. I also like microtex for sewing wovens. I use them when top stitching redondo skirts. In my collection I have sharps, denim, stretch, ball point, top stitching, metafil, heavy duty 100/16's.  I think I have some universal in there, but don't use them very often.  Maybe something else is hiding in there too.  My special needles for the cover stitch machine live with the cover stitch accessories, and my needles for machine embroidery are with my embroidery supplies.