Friday, March 30, 2007

Amitie ...

In French, it means friendship. And what signifies friendship more than a bunch of paper dolls, all holding hands. Not fighting or kicking or pulling hair. Little girls. All in a row. Swinging hands. Being friends. Not sure how often you would see this in real life, in my home anyway, but wait, hang on just a minute ...

Sometimes you find inspiration in a pair of pyjamas. Who ever would have thought? Bought these PJ's for the girls last week and we have all fallen in love with them. And they chose them over Bratz and Dora the Explorer! So they must be good. While hanging them out on the washing line the other day, the idea hit.
As part of Amitie's VIP blogging club, I was sent seven pieces of Heather Bailey's "Fresh cut" range of fabric. The challenge was to create something with them. My initial thoughts went to sewing something, but I was struggling. Then I had the paper doll idea.
I made a template based loosely on the doll on the pyjamas. I then ironed the squares of fabric onto some heavy weight fusible interfacing. Traced the template on, cut them out and voila! Well, not quite. All paper dolls need bows in their hair, right Tamara? And needless to say, dresses MUST be trimmed with ric-rac, as is my want. Then I threaded them all onto a length of 5 mm ribbon.
And now the problem is that as gorgeous and all that this fabric is, it doesn't co-ordinate into either girls bedrooms. But it goes nicely in mine. Do you think my husband will mind a few fabric paper dolls hanging above the bed? Surely not.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Autumn Tones

Autumn is finally starting to show itself here in Melbourne. Slowly, but surely. And that means my sewing thoughts turn to those glorious Autumnal colours.

I have a great friend (hello Jenni) who is a fantastic sewer. As in a person who sews and not a drainage system for waste water. She is very talented and sews the most amazing and gorgeous clothes. 

After two boys, she has recently had a baby girl. And this little girl is the most stylish baby I have seen in a long time. Jenni made her some fantastic leggings with ruffles across the bottom. Ruffles in a good ruffley kind of way, not a fluffy, frilly way. And in good colours. Like a burnt orange. Anyway, with a new niece who I am sure desperately needs such a pair of leggings (she is just too young to know it yet), a swap was soon in order. A pair of leggings for a little pinafore top. Done. How great to have a real life swap partner and not just a blogging one. Jenni is also great for coming over and getting excited over fabric with me. Now, that is a true friend!

The pinafore top is the first of many more I hope to make this Autumn in lots of different sizes. I love sewing with corduroy. This one in particular is so soft and perfect for babies. I just find it really hard to source. This piece is an e-bay find.

It's the same kind of design as the dresses I made for my girl's. Just a band, with straps and a gathered skirt joined to the band. I just didn't gather the skirt too much because I'm not a fan of having babies lost under volumes of fabric. I leave it open at the back, because you would wear them with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. And an open back is perfect for showing off your frilly derriere.
I thought that the trim teamed perfectly with the cord, bringing out the browns and oranges. And when I found the little orange flower buttons, I was very happy. Perhaps I may be able to see about doing a little photo shoot soon with top and matching pants on a cute-as-a-button model?

And it has come to my attention that some of my overseas readers have no idea what "daggy" means. Never crossed my mind that the cross cultural divide had been widened with the use of this endearing term. So lets see? Daggy - think very, very uncool or really old fashioned. But not "vintage" just old and you wouldn't be seen dead with it. Does that help? Here, read some articles to put it into context. This one and another one here.
Time to go and walk in this Autumn sunshine. Oh, Autumn means Fall. Just in case. I'm a little conscious of this now.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Daggy Things - Part III

Oh yes, just when you thought that the list of daggy things couldn't get any longer, I'm back with more!

Drink coasters. Sorry, but I just think daggy. Perhaps this stems from my misspent youth. Too many nights over Summer holidays spent in the Merimbula RSL. Sitting at tables covered with those cardboard beer coasters. Boy did they get soggy. And why was it so funny when you stuck them to your forehead? Enough said, I'm telling too many stories for a responsible thirty something mother of two and a dog.

I could well be the last person in the blogging universe to have found thistutorial. Jenny's Allsorts blog is beautiful and I love visiting. Always inspiring. Her coaster tutorial is very easy to follow and has gone a long way in helping me to forget the Merimbula RSL.

These are so quick and fun to make. I made this set for my sister. I can see that everyone I know will soon have a set of coasters. I feel a coaster frenzy coming on.

Paint-by-numbers! I'm loving it! And as my Mum so cleverly pointed out, you could even use them in reverse.
And then, at the end of the night when all your drinking friends have gone home, you can pack them away in this neat little bag.
That concludes my series on Daggy Things. Hope you've enjoyed it. I'll be moving back to normal programming soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daggy Things - Part II

As mentioned in my previous post, daggy things part I, people are very good at coming up to you at market stalls and telling you what you should be making. I have a thick skin. One such conversation went something like this.

"Do you make peg aprons?"

"Peg aprons?"

"Yeah, you know, aprons you keep your pegs in when you hang your washing on the line"

"Ah, no."

"Well, you should be. They'd sell like hot cakes!"

Yeah, right, I thought, peg aprons. Who would use a peg apron - Daaagggy!

Then a girlfriend told me about her camping trip where all the "ladies" in the caravan park wore peg aprons. While hanging out their washing and bringing it in. Not as a fashion item around the park for 5.00pm drinks and nibblies. Although, I was lead to believe that they were "de rigeur" in the laundry. She asked if I could make her one. But, she stipulated, it must not be daggy. She wanted to be the envy of the caravan park.

So, out came the "flea market fancy", teamed up with some red gingham and thetable cloth I bought from the op-shop. I made it pretty heavy duty, with the pocket and the back lined with the gingham to make it extra sturdy. I didn't gather the apron front onto the band at all, as I had visions of it being like a man's tool belt. After all, pegs are kind of like women's tools. I know, I am being very politically incorrect and stereotyping male and female rolls. Nobody ever said this blog was politically correct. Pretty, yes. Politically correct, sometimes.

The one stipulation was that the pockets needed to be gathered so as to fit all the pegs in. Hey, good thinking! If that hadn't have been mentioned, I'm sure I would have made a lovely flat pocket that would have fitted all of about five pegs in.
Now, there have been a lot of questions regarding my labels. Can I just say that again? My labels. There. Anyway, I really cannot take the credit for them. They were Marianne's idea, and I am sure she wouldn't mind me sharing the contact details for those of you who are interested. Whole heartedly recommend using these suppliers. Efficient, helpful, great products.
The tape is just your good old standard twill tape, bought by the metre fromSpotlight. About $1.00 something a metre. The stamp was custom made by Sydney Stamp Stall . Send Felicity a jpeg file of your artwork and she does the rest. Mine was a rubber stamp on a wooden block. Now, the ink was from Scrapbook Junction and is called "Palette" Hybrid Ink. It does need to be heat set, but then should be fine for washing. Perhaps Marianne, you could further add any comments regarding this? Hope that helps those who have been asking.
And coming soon, yes, just when you thought I was all daggied out - Daggy Things - Part III.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Daggy Things - Part I

When people discover that you can "make stuff", sometimes they put in a special request or two. When I had my little market stalls last December, I received a few requests, or rather, people asking me if I made something in particular. Two items I was asked for then, I have been asked for since, and it started me thinking.

When I was initially asked for these items, to be honest, I cringed. They were not things that entered into my creative realm. For me, they were kind of up there with crocheted toilet roll covers or nylon lace coat hangers. Hey, call me a craft snob if you must.

Then I thought that these were functional items that people were asking for. Does that mean that they can't find them, or can't find them made in a style that appeals?
Therefore, I present to you item number one. The essential item that everybody's Mum had in the seventies, the jewellery roll.

When I thought jewellery roll, I thought daggy present that your auntie gives you for Christmas. Yes, functional, but daggy. I am really loving the Moda Uptown fabric (thanks again Kristin). I wanted it to say here is somewhere I can put all my funky beads and chunky pendants next time my husband takes me to stay at some cool and hip holiday destination. If he is reading this ...

Pretty simple construction really. Two pockets at the bottom and some ribbon loops at the top to thread and fasten those funky pieces onto.
So, I'm feeling OK about daggy stuff now. I've learnt that I just need to think about it a bit and make it in a style that I am comfortable with.
And what is that I see? My very own "Violet & Rose" label! Marianne was once again kind enough to help me out here and point me in the right direction. Must say, I'm pretty chuffed with the end result. A bit like seeing your name up in lights. Well, it's as close as I think I will ever get to that.

Coming soon, daggy things Part II ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pedal to the Metal

Sometimes I start things. They are very simple projects. I think, however, the fact that I don't have a sewing room and that my machine is not permanently set up is a hindrance to finishing simple projects. I may have a spare half hour which would be ample time to zip around something and finish it. By the time I get out the machine, set it up (inevitably I have the wrong colour cotton in or the bobbin is near empty), sew for all of, ooooh, ten minutes, then it is time to pack it up. I don't like leaving the machine out. Little fingers, electricity and well, you know the rest.

So this bunting took me a lot longer than I would have liked it to. Last night I was determined to finish it, so I put my foot down and off I went. Couldn't be bothered taking the extra minutes to pin the binding to the trim, to the flags. Just put my foot down heavier. It is a well known fact that the harder you put your foot down, the quicker you go, the less time you get to ponder your mistakes. Just keep going.

Afterwards, I regret my lead foot, but hey, it's done. And it will be hanging on a wall, high, so no one can inspect the bit I missed.

It will be hanging on a very special wall. In Queensland. A long way from here. My new niece's wall. Maeve Elizabeth was born last week and I just want to blow raspberries on her chubby little tummy and kiss her precious little forehead while she is sleeping. One day, in a few months ...

In the meantime, Miss Maeve, here, have some bunting from your crazy Auntie Jo.

By the way, the bunting is made up of all Laura Ashley children's fabric. Went into their clearance store the other week and they were selling packs of pieces made up from old sample books. Wish I had bought more. There was only one pack ofchildren's fabric, so glad I snaffled that one up. Soaked off the edging card, cut around the holes at the top, and hey presto, bunting! Don't you just love a bargain?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Obsessive Compulsive ...

Who says obsessive compulsive is a disorder?

I say it's a passion!

I have an obsessive compulsive passion for trim! Braid, ribbon, call it what you like.

Beautiful, pretty, colourful. I love the way that you put it with your favourite fabric and it screams "Yes! We were meant to be together. Where have you been all my life? Don't we look great together?" I think having a love for fabric goes hand in hand with a love for trims. 

Don't be thinking that all my trim is neatly categorized on a fancy shelf. Hell no! It lives under my bed in shoe boxes. And it is never wound back properly because I am so busy searching for that piece I bought three months ago that I have now found a fabric soul mate for.

So please, sit back and enjoy this piece, entitled "A rummage through the shoe box". Otherwise known as newly acquired eye-candy I tell my husband I've had for years.

A linen trim, with a beautiful soft grey edge. Yes, I really did need 30 metres.

OK, so the cute factor won over here. Not usually one to be swayed by cute, but that horse and cart... And the tulips. Was I surprised to find it was Japanese? No, not really.
And give me ric-rac. 60 metres. Bring it on. Small ...
and large. You can never have too much.
There are friends who understand the "passion" and who send marvellous boxes with beautiful apple green pom pom trim.

And other friends who aid and abet by sharing not only where to find wonderful ribbon, but ribbon with polka dots.
Perhaps I should stop fondling and start making?