Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Long Time Love

Ten years ago I came across this book in the Adelaide Art Gallery Bookshop.  It was love at first sight. But alas, the book was priced way beyond my budget. I frequented the bookshop, just to gaze upon it's beautiful images.  It was then that I fell in love with that shade of sapphire blue so typically associated with the Greek Isles.  Perhaps too it was the first time that a dominance of white for walls, floors and furnishings caught my eye.  I loved the simplicity of whole hand hewn homes.  A copy of that book remained in the bookshop for years, perhaps it is there still. It is now three years since I visited.  You can imagine how pleased I was to find a copy in my local library this week.   I have also been reading Patrick White's 'The Aunt's Story' (and loving it!).  In the story there is a part where the main character, Theodora meets a great pianist from Greece. He complains to her that he cannot practice here (in Sydney) as the rooms are all full of furniture, that he requires 'naked rooms'...that "Greece is a bare country. It is all bones".   Reading that switched on a little light in my head  that helped me understand further why I like the rooms in this book so much.  It's the stoney, boney bareness, filled with light and softened with handmade textiles and images that appeals.  I see that the price of the book (it was over $80 when it first came out) is now within my budget and I could buy it.  I wonder it it would still hold it's magic for me if it was mine to look at when ever I wanted?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Photos from a special week

Joining in with Tinniegirl to play  {sunday snippets}:

Friday, March 23, 2012

BRRR... it's snowing on Mt Baw Baw

What roller coaster weather we have had this week.  Tuesday was hot and windy. I snapped the cheery sunflowers in a shop on Brunswick Street. Wednesday was wet and cold. But I was glad of the rain: saved watering my veggies. Yesterday I ate lunch in the garden. In the sun. it was lovely. I read from my new poetry book, wishing I had hand work I could do outside so that I didnt have to go back inside to work.  Today I'm rugged up in a wooly jacket and have the heater on.  First time this year. And socks.  But I am working with a lovely sunny 1950's vintage fabric (which I bought here). Making a top.  Enjoying the heady scent of jasmine I picked from an overhanging bush on my morning walk. It smells like summer.  And i am getting very excited thinking  about the little four paws who will be coming to live here tomorrow.  The photo was taken when she was two weeks old.  She is now nine weeks.  Cant wait to meet her again and get to know her.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I spent an afternoon on the weekend planting veggies: onions, garlic, leeks, spinach, pak choy, Asian greens.  I made an error with the leeks, bought three punnets thinking that would be 24 plants. I discovered that what I thought was one plant turned out to be three or four, so ended up planting 60-70 leeks. It took ages to carefully plant and mulch each one.  Usually when i'm planting I find myself thinking about all the things I'll be able to make when the plant is ready to eat.  There are not that many things I know to do with leeks so it is little wonder that I found myself thinking about fabric instead.  About dresses I had seen with vegetable prints on them.  Sounds quirky but the garments I had seen were part of the Dolce and Gabana Spring/Summer 2012 collection and are, I think, quite beautiful.  Do you like them?
Later I searched on line for fabrics with vegetable prints. Robert Kaufman has a variety of cottons, meant for patchwork, I guess.  And there are a whole heap on this site The bottom picture would give a whole new meaning to "this dress makes me look like a sack of potatoes" (LOL)  Bet there will be a lot more veggie print fabric next year!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Tonight I went to an Eco-Feminist gathering at Ceres.  It was well done and was lots of fun.  The opening acknowledgement of the traditional owners was lovely and the last line got me thinking.
We spoke these words together:
"We acknowledge that we gather in Wurundjeri country and thank and honour the traditional caretakers of this place.
The Spirit of the indigenous women throughout this land, the first people,  never dies. it lies in the rocks and the forest, the rivers and the mountains. It murmurs in the creeks and whispers in the trees. The hearts of these women were formed of the earth that we now walk, and their voice can never be silenced. We are all from a first people."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beautiful Flora and Fauna

Today I've been sewing a skirt out of three beautiful fabrics: a lovely high quality stretch denim that is an unusual shade of blue which I bought from The Fabric Store,  a print from Alexander Henry and a magnificent blue wren hand screen print from Ink and Spindle.  As I've been stitching I've been thinking about the last time I saw Blue Wrens.  That was in January, in Tasmania. In several places.  Near Wineglass Bay was one place.  The males of the species are such a lovely blue.  And I really like Tegan Rose's classy rendition of this sprightly little bird.  In fact Ink & Spindle have many beautiful screen printed fabrics.  Someday soon I am going to order some of the Kangaroo Paw print.  I've never taken much notice of this flower, until I noticed pink ones in the nursery before Christmas which now grow in the garden here.  Their hardiness through the extremes of heat and wind, when no other flowers much seem to hang on, have endeared them to me. As has their velvety texture.  Typical of many Australian native flowers, they are understated, easily overlooked but once attended it is hard not to be drawn to their charms, made more so because the looking was deliberate.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to make pockets with rounded corners

Sometime ago I learned a very handy little hint for making pockets with curved corners.   It makes the process of turning the seam allowance in so much easier, and generally improves the finished result as well.

First trace the pocket without the seam allowance.  I usually use template plastic for this because I can put the plastic over the top of the paper pattern.  Then cut out the plastic template. Now use this to very carefully trace around on a piece of cardboard.

Next cut out the cardboard template.  (oh, and cut out the pocket in fabric using the original paper pattern that has the seam allowance, if you havent already)

Fold back the top facing on the pocket and stitch - as directed in the instructions that come with the pattern. Clip corners and turn the facing so that the new seam is on the inside.

Now, on the ironing board, slip the cardboard template onto the pocket.

Using the heated iron push the seam allowance over the cardboard.  Make sure it is on the dry setting or you may burn your fingies (ouch!).

Once all the edges are turned over and you are satisfied with how the curve has formed, turn on the steam and press.

Then remove the cardboard and your pocket with curved corners is ready to stitch on to the garment.


PS. Please excuse my very grotty, many times scorched ironing board cover - time to make a new one, I think

Monday, March 5, 2012


Do you like word puzzles?  I do.  I get that from my Dad and from my Gran.  In our house being allowed to join in with the Saturday's paper general knowledge crossquiz was a rite of passage.  These days I spend most lunch times pondering over the word puzzles in The Age.  Sadly, in an effort to minimize distractions now that I work at home alone, and am not very self disciplined, I removed my game playing app from Facebook.  I do miss playing scrabble. :(
Last year on holidays I got to play 'in the real' with some friends who take it very seriously and play every Saturday night.  I was no match for them and predictably came last but it was such great fun.  So when I saw the Scrabble board tea towel in Mag Nation I had to buy one.  I would have bought a couple if I knew how the tea towel was going to wash and if it was going to be suitable for skirt making. Not a lot of modern ones are, you know.  Mostly, they are not colourfast and fade with each wash. Or the fabric is too loosely woven to last.  This one washed up beautifully, with no loss of colour and I wasted no time in turning it in to a wrap skirt.  It is teamed with denim and a fine blue check fabric.
The Scrabble tea towel is designed in England by Wild and Wolf.  It came with an official little card containing some interesting facts.  This is the one I liked most: 'Scrabble is currently produced in 29 languages'.  And I guess for people who take the game seriously, it would interest them to know that the highest known score for one game is 1049 by Philip Appleby from Lymington in 1989.

While on the topic of words, i am still listening to sessions from Adelaide Writers Week.  Love, love, love digital radio for times such as this! My next must read is Ron Rash's 'The Cove' - but by the end of the week I will probably have a list as long as my arm!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rainy Day


 Was it only last weekend that we sweltered in 37 degree heat?  Hard to believe that sitting here rugged up in wooly cardigan and chunky socks. Its rained all day.  My heart goes out to those battling flood waters in the north of the state.  Hope the rain lets up soon for them.
Its been a good day to be inside.  I spent this morning tracing some patterns from a lovely Japanese pattern book, Sewing Naturira Vol 5.  I'm impressed with the way these slit pockets are made - just by clever folding of the side panel.  This afternoon I sewed while listening to the live broadcast from Adelaide Writers Week on ABC Digital radio extra - bliss!

I hope you got to do something you enjoy today, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The first day of autumn and already the leaves are falling.  The garden is loving the rain, though.  Especially the zucchinis.  Which is good because  the more zucchinis the more I can make Zucchini and Haloumi fritters.  They're equally great for an evening meal, served with salad, or for a party served as tapas  - it's the same recipe though.  They are really delicious hot or cold.  The recipe is based on one from this book.

Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters
300g zucchini (i used 3 mid sized ones)
200g haloumi cheese
2 T chopped chives
1/4 cup flour (i used buckwheat coz it is gluten free)
2 eggs

coarsely grate the zucchini and the cheese (food processor makes this very quick)
combine all the above ingredients
heat a small amount of oil in heavy based frying pan
form fritters using heaped spoonfuls of the mixture and cook in batches - about 2 minutes each side or until golden and firm.  Drain on crumpled paper towel.

Delicious served with tomato relish and/or Greek style yoghurt.

For tapas make the fritters smaller.  decorate each with a wee dob or relish and a wee dob of yoghurt and a few sprinkles of chives.  Could also be made a bit more rectangular for dipping into an accompanying sauce

Can be served hot or cold.