Tuesday, 16 September 2014


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Guess what! We signed a contract with the builder last week for renovation work on the back of our house. We are going to extend our tiny kitchen and dining room and add a big deck off the back where we now have a tiny one. Underneath will be a big extra space.

It was going to start yesterday, but luckily we have had a reprieve and get to keep the back of the house for another week! I'm dying for it all to start but also dying for the extra time to get organised. We're living on site during the work and will lose our kitchen for most of the time and though I'm not sure how that's going to go it sounds like a challenge!

We have been working on the plans and council approval for a couple of years now, doing it with a friend of ours who is an architect. He's been busy, we've been busy, and we've dragged it out a bit - putting off the disruption and expense. But now its finally happening!

Last week the plumber moved the sewer pipes to make way for the excavation. To save money and time we dug a lot of the holes ourselves, all five of us had a go. One minute we had lawn and garden and the next minute there were holes and pipes. My lovely planter boxes  were dismantled and three self sown trees which had put themselves in the wrong spot had to go. Luckily all the trees we've planted are okay, so the bones of the garden will still be there. But the beautiful side garden has been cut back hard in preparation for access so diggers and building materials can come along there.

I've been feeling a bit sentimental for our garden as it was. It's going to change a lot, levels will change and the low wall and stairs and pond we built will most probably go. Plants have been pulled out, pavers stacked and gravel dug up and put in bags in preparation. So here are some before shots, some garden pics I came across while looking through my photos for something else. I love this garden, and I will miss its present incarnation, but I'm looking forward to the next.

My gardens have always been works in progress, I think all good gardens are. They grow and change like children and we can't hang on, but just enjoy the ride. When one plant dies I look at it as a chance to plant something new and different, when a tree plants itself in the middle of a sunny bed we've changed to shade loving plants, and when a plant doesn't look right or doesn't thrive it is unceremoniously uprooted and moved or composted. I learnt to do that from my mother in law :-)

We will always have trees and paths and water. There will always be vegetable beds. I'm looking forward to rearranging things when the dust settles.  My only frustration is this beautiful spring weather, it seems criminal to be moving plants and not sowing seed at this time of year!!!

I hope to show some before, during and (especially) after photos. I always love to watch those sort of transformations and have long been a fan of Grand Designs. Ours won't be so grand and we're hoping to bypass some of the drama and delays of some of their shows but it will be a big change in the spaces we have.

Friday, 29 August 2014

stamp class

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I taught a Stamping on Fabric workshop on Saturday. I love teaching workshops. It really is the best job. Helping people get their making on never gets old! I love watching people's quiet concentration as they are carving a block or printing a stamp. It proves to me what I already know, that making is good for the soul, and that we all need a bit of it in our lives.

I'm always surprised that some workshop attendees haven't done any making or art since high school. I really believe everyone has a creative streak, that everyone can be taught to draw, and that everyone benefits from getting the chance to be creative. And so I love enabling that process.

Its not even the finished product that is the prize, its also the process of making which is a mindful meditation in itself (even that endless unpicking can be a time for daydreaming!)

It is lovely watching people relax into creative work. And it is wonderful to see their happy faces when they hold up their finished tote or tea towel at the end with pride and accomplishment, and a big smile on their face. Thanks to the lovely bunch of girls who were such a nice gang to hang out with on a rainy Saturday.

Thanks to Melissa and Pepper (pictured) for another great day at SewMakeCreate. We haven't scheduled a new date yet (!) but email Melissa (hello@sewmakecreate.com.au) to be notified about my next class which will probably be in October.

I sewed this piece of stamped fabric I shared on instagram a while ago into a zip purse to show people what you can make with a small piece of hand stamping. Its such a quick, cheap and easy craft this one, and so adaptable.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


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This week is brought to you by chartreuse and her sister saffron. These favourite colours are obviously dear to my heart because when I chose yarn colours for my granny hottie along with Kate they were the first ones in the pile.

It might have something to do with this Posie embroidery sampler which is my official car craft. I think you've seen it before, it comes out for road trips but is neglected a bit in between. I'm quite proud of that 'O' which I finished last. I think my embroidery skills have definitely improved as I've been sewing it.

My crochet skills and confidence have grown with the hottie too and I was brave enough to chance a scalloped edge to the top opening (quite easy actually with the help of Ms Google). It is my first finished crochet project (that bullseye blanket is a longterm wip I might just pick up again after my enjoyment of the hottie, a bit shamemaking when I look at the date on that post!).

The other green in my life this week is this stash of bottle green Chrysanthemum tea towels in cotton I found while cleaning my work space. I spent some time the other day packaging them up and they are in the newly refreshed shop with all the other stuff I found in the clean up. Good for the present cupboard these ones and only $10 this week.

The other yellow is this little pot which is the only one of my ceramics makes I'm using. The others are still too precious to actually handle! Is that a bit dumb do you think? It makes me very happy anyway this little yellow bowl. I feel pretty clever and crafty everytime it holds actual stuff. I think that pretty much sums up my love of crafting - I get such a kick out of making practical objects that become part of my day, or someone else's.

That other yellow is the radar map which shows our weather week, mad rain for days, which we need, but thank god for those spots of sun that come in between that make it bearable.

My other wip this week is a new baby quilt. New baby (so cute!) came early though so must get back to that very soon! Would help if I didn't cut all the blocks in half on a whim and start making the pattern up as I went along!

Happy week everyone. I am teaching a stamp carving and printing class on Saturday at SewMakeCreate. I think its too late to get into this one but I'll be doing more this year. Just ring Melissa if you want to come play. Its lots of fun!

p.s. I love this blog I came across this week, lovely photos which will make you smile.