Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Lisette Continental Dress Sew-Along

I've been searching around for a super simple summer dress pattern for quite a while now, and I think (and hope) that I may have fnally found one.
It's a bit hard to see the dress detail on the pattern envelope, but it has a nice neckline and it should be perfect for my constant weight fluctuations with the tied waist.

For a bit of added motivation, I thought I'd make it a Sew-Along.

In perfect timing, the Lisette Patterns are 50% off for VIP card holders at Spotlight this week (which brings them down to $9), and the fabrics are 20% off.

I'm using fabric from the stash (because seriously, I don't need any more fabric).... but I did pop in to Spotty to buy the pattern, only to find that they didn't have my size.

So while I'm waiting for them to order it in, it gives anyone who would like to play along, the opportunity to find the pattern too.

Just add your name to the list below any time before the end of March.

Feel free to blog your fabric selection and your progress along the way, and we'll all aim to do the big reveal on March 31st.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sewjo...where for art thou?

I conducted a little totally non-scientific experiment on the weekend to try to pinpoint when my sewjo disappeared.

The carbon dating of my iPhone photos seems to indicate that it was somewhere around  February 3, although I'm quite sure that it was on a go slow for a couple of weeks prior.

With the forced hibernation due to the crazy hot weekend, I decided to set myself a challenge...

.... and thanks to my infatuation with Instagram, this is the finished result.

It took me all weekend in between faffing, drinking cups of tea, catching up on all of my Foxtel IQ'd shows, washing etc...

 Jeez.. there's that moon tan again!

...and thanks to the power of Instagram, when I had a little whine about how frustrating it is to 'turn out' softies,  Berene from Happy Sew Lucky pointed me in the direction of one of her tutorials.


Now she just needs some clothes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Snippets / Donate Life Week / The Last Race

Fabric designed by Me

And so we've come to the end of another busy week...

Some extra contract admin work came my way, which meant that there was no time for crafting.

Speech Bubble Blackboard by the Blackboard Boy

Even though this blog is a politics free zone, I have to say that I'm really disappointed about the ridiculous political circus that has dominated the media for the last few days, when the focus should have been on Donate Life Week.

Pretty Wall hanging gift from Vic - Gorgeous Crochet Bunting made by Trudi

I want to say a huge thankyou to everyone who emailed, left me a comment, or helped to spread the Donate Life message this week.

As a finale to Donate Life Week, there's a documentary called The Last Race on ABC1 at 6.30 PM tonight.

  • About The Program

  • Coinciding with DonateLife Week, a national week of raising awareness and promotion of organ and tissue donation, this dramatic film tracks a family's heart-wrenching dilemma when their beloved son is declared brain dead after a cycling accident.

    At the hospital, they wrestle with the decision to donate his organs, having never asked him his wishes and never having had the conversation among themselves.

    Meanwhile, in intensive care, a father is watching his teenage daughter with cystic fibrosis struggle to breathe and deteriorate to critical condition. She needs a new set of lungs to survive. Elsewhere in the hospital, a 45-year-old woman also is on the recipient list, where she has waited for two years.

    The cyclist's organs become available, but the doctor must decide whose need is greatest.

    Then the race is on.

    Fewer than one in five Australians has had memorable discussions with their loved ones about their donation wishes.

Sunday Snippets via Tinniegirl

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Shopping...

It's waaaaay too hot to be doing much at all in Melbourne today, so why not do a little online shopping?

There's still a selection of super gorgeous collaborative iPad Sleeves and Handbags in the Shiny Happy Art Shop.

Have a happy (and hopefully cool) day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Toytown Tales

I finally made it into the city yesterday to see the Toytown Tales Exhibition at Outre with Jess and Cathie.

There are lots of gorgeous close-up photos over at Teddy Bears Wednesday, but it's not until you see them in real life, that you have the chance to check out the amazing attention to detail in each creation.

Crappy iPhone photo - sorry!

I have the attention span and patience of a gnat when it comes to most types of crafting, so I really appreciate the hours Jess has taken to achieve this level of detail. Especially with the hair of each of the jointed bears.

Unfortunately the parking restrictions in the city made it impossible for me to hang around for too long. When I arrived back at my car, the car in front and the car behind me both had parking tickets.... but I didn't - hallelujah... and thankyou good karma fairies!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tutorial - Craft Space Tips and Tricks

It's been a little while since I've written a crafty tutorial, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite Craft Space Tips and Tricks.

After a long career in the manufacturing industry where the focus is always on safety, ergonomics, and productivity, my craft space has naturally evolved to include these same elements.

It's taken a few years to get the space to work perfectly for me, but it's worth taking a step backwards, and thinking about what will work for you.

Tip 1 - Desk or Table

This is piece of furniture where I would begin a scheme.

Think about the not only the height and width of your table or desk, but also the depth (how far it will protrude from the wall).

I have overhead cupboards, so I've chosen to have a slimline depth desk so that I can reach above. It also works for the small projects that I make such as pouches and bags and clothes.If you're a quilter, then a slimline depth desk probably isn't going to work for you.

For sewing purposes, I wanted a desk with a shiny laminated top. Not only is it really easy to clean, but fabrics glide across with ease as they move through the sewing machine.
On the negative side, this surface scratches really easily so it's not suitable for pinning.

Tip 2 - The Chair

If you're going to spend a lot of time sewing or crafting, then this is probably going to be the most important piece of furniture in the space. Try to think about if from the perspective of a worker who may spend all day at a desk, or at a table in a factory. They use an adjustable ergonomic desk chair for a good reason.

You need to be able to adjust your seat height to suit your table, and you also need to be able to adjust your back rest so that you sit up straight (and try not to hunch over).

I know a vintage wooden chair with a floral cushion looks much more pretty, but I'd rather be comfortable when sewing.

An adjustable desk chair is also very useful when it comes to the ironing board tip.

Tip 3 - Lighting

It's very important to be able to see what you're doing, especially if you like to craft or sew at night.

I don't have very good natural light in my craft space, so I went to the extreme and had a skylight installed, but you can pick up a great adjustable lamp (like the one pictured above) for around $20 from Officeworks.

Tip 4 - The Ironing Board

Most ironing boards are height adjustable.

Adjust the height of your board so that it's the same height as your table, and set it up right next to your sewing table.

As you're sewing, if you need to stop and iron, you don't need to stand up and walk to the ironing board, you simply swivel on your desk chair, iron your fabric, and then swivel back.

Tip 5 - Easy Access

To save time and frustration, keep everything you need easily accessible.

You may not have desk drawers, but think of other ways to keep necessary items close to your workspace so that you don't need to get up and search.

I have all of my threads, bobbins, tools, sewing machine feet, scissors etc. exactly where I need them.

Tip 6 - The Power

One of the things that drives me completely bonkers is that powerpoints are only ever installed right down low along the bottoms of walls, behind the furniture, making them completely inaccessible.

These powerboards with switches are a godsend. I have one sitting on top of the desk so that I can easily plug and unplug all of my appliances such as the iron, laminator, cordless vacuum charger etc.

So much easier than getting on the floor under the desk to access the powerpoint! 

Tip 7 - The Cutting Table 

I'm not sure  whether you can tell from this photo, but there's quite a big difference in height between my sewing desk and my cutting table.

I rotary cut everything standing up, so I've had my cutting table raised (by adding lockable castors) so that it is approximately the standard kitchen bench height of 900mm (of course, this height won't work for everyone as it depends on your own height).

Think about whether you're bending a lot when cutting. Is there a way that you could raise or lower your table so that it's more appropriate for your own height? A good test is to put your cutting mat on your dining table, and then then on your kitchen bench to see what difference it makes for you.

I hope there's a little helpful hint in there somewhere.
If you try something out and like it please let me know!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday Snippets... Saturday Road Trippin'

Saturday Morning - Middle of nowhere traffic jam for a CFA controlled burn off.

Saturday Middling - A visit to Red Brick for Blossom and Bloom

Saturday Lunchtime - Baconpalooza at Cafe Muzyka

Saturday Early Arvo - The Crafty Squirrel

Saturday Late Arvo -A detour to visit my sister

Saturday Evening - Back home.... just me and my moon tan.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Donate Life Week 2012

Today is the start of Donate Life Week 2012.

This year it's a lot more up close and personal.

Since I've been blogging, each year, at this time, I've written a little bit about organ donation, and how at some time, in the future, I would need a double lung transplant.

Well, that time came, and today marks my 172nd day on the waiting list.

I think about it every day.

I know that I'm preaching to the converted here on the blog, as I've had so many messages and comments from everyone who has signed up to the national register, and has discussed it with their family.

So this year, just for something a little bit different, I'm going to issue a challenge....

The challenge is:

At some time during Donate Life Week (Sunday 19th - Sunday 26th February), have a discussion about organ donation with someone whom you've never discussed the issue with before.

It could be a co-worker, the checkout operator, the lady at the post office, your neighbour, one of your kiddies schoolteachers, the lollipop lady, or the person in the queue next to you at the shops.

Feel free to use me, or this blog to bring it up in the conversation. Maybe you could start with... Do you know its Donate Life Week? I have a friend/read a blog by someone who is waiting for a lung transplant....

If you do take on the challenge, I'd love it if you could come back and leave a comment to let me know!

Also feel free to pop this pic in your sidebar for the week and link it to the Donate Life website.

If you'd like to learn more about organ donation, or you would like some resources for your family, so that you can discuss the issue, the Donate Life website is a fantastic resource, jam packed full of everything you could ever need to know.

No matter what happens, your family will always need to give the final consent, so it's vitally important that they know your wishes, and that you sign up to the national register.

Thankyou... from the bottom of my poor overworked, enlarged, moderately pulmonary hypertensive heart and bronchiectasised lungs!

My Posts:
Donate Life Week 2011
Donate Life Week 2010
Donate Life Week 2009
Donate Life Week 2008

Lastnight in Sydney, the premiere screening was held for all of the short films that were created as part of The FilmLife Project.

I wanted to share a couple of the films.....

The first one was made by Jess Sparks. I would love it if you could spare 5 minutes to hear Jess's story.

The second one is by Josephine Lei, and it's actually really quite amusing... and less than 2 minutes!

All the short films are also available online here

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Weekend of Exhibitions

Blossom and Bloom Invite

So many exciting things are planned for this weekend!

Tonight is the grand opening of the first ever solo gallery exhibition by Cathy Kirwan (Tinniegirl) at Red Brick Gallery in Ballarat.

Unfortunately, I'm totally bummed that I can't make it to opening night, but I'm heading down on Saturday to meet up with my sister, and Cathy, to see it.

I haven't even had the chance to take a sneak peek in Cathy's studio (like I would normally do), so I really really can't wait to see it!

There's an excellent little cafe just around the corner from Red Brick, so it's the perfect spot to meet up with friends for a visit!

If you're in the city, then make sure to get along to Outre Gallery and check out the very talented Jess McCaughey (Teddy Bears Wednesday).

Opening night is also tonight, but luckily both exhibitions run for two weeks until March 1st.

If you've never been along to check out an exhibition, then I can highly recommend it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Blog Chicks Feature

I'm totally chuffed to have a little feature over on Blog Chicks at the moment.

The directory is a celebration of the diverse range of Aussie Female Bloggers and covers categories from craft, to fashion, to lifestyle, to travel.... and soooo much more.

I've answered lots of questions about blogging and a few personal ones as well, so I hope you'll pop on over for a read, and while you're there, add your blog (if you haven't already).

The interview has ended up being perfectly timed as we're heading into the start of Donate Life Week beginning this Sunday, February 19th, and running until February 26th.

Thankyou so much Leigh!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Framing Part One

I seem to have had piles upon piles of pretty things stacking up around the house that just need framing and hanging.

I kept using the excuse that I was waiting for someone to take a trip to Ikea to buy me some frames.... then luckily one day a few weeks ago, B-Fab tweeted from that very place.... and so I bombarded her with my very own personal shopping order!

First on the list was these very beautiful vintage playing cards that Madeleine from Little Circus Design sent to me, along with some fantastic postcards featuring her original artworks.

Funnily enough, this frame has been collecting dust in the garage for years....

It seems it was just waiting for that right moment.

Now... where is that perfect spot?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Snippets... via Instagram

Another week seems to have flown by, so here's a little snapshot of the week that was!

Monday - Moo Moo's first day of school

Monday night - my SIL made me Donna Hay Chocolate Fondant Pudding

Tuesday - Part 1 of my Doily Exhibition piece

Wednesday - Day out in Ballarat

Thursday - Transplant Clinic

Friday - Part 2 of my Doily Exhibition piece

Friday - Mr Limpy Houdini Dog watching the after school chaos (Yes - my Christmas Wreath is still up)!

Saturday - Part 3 of my Doily Exhibition piece

Sunday???? Who knows what I'll get up to!

Playing Sunday Snippets with Tinniegirl

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mini Fabric Swatches

Do you ever wish you had a cute little fabric swatch to make a zip pouch?

Or maybe a flex frame pouch?

Maybe you'd even like to applique a t-shirt for a little one...

Well it's your lucky day as I've just added a range of mini fabric swatches to the shop and at only $3 each, they're a bargain too!

The Red Brick Gallery Group Show - A Mini Virtual Tour

I couldn't make it to the Friday Night opening of the Red Brick Group Show, so I was looking forward to travelling down during the week to see my Flight of The Ducks artwork on display.

It looks lovely hanging at the top of the stairs (if I do say so myself ha)!

The two beautiful paintings on the far wall next to the window are Cathy's

More lovely paintings and ceramics

I'm pretty sure this one was Sel's favourite - aptly titled 'Dogs In Space I' by Tam Jones. The piece next to it is 'Sun Flower' by Rosie Skilbeck, created using recycled junk mail - brilliant.

But this one was my absolute favourite. My iPhone photo does not do it justice at all.
The title is 'Hand Tree Three' by Megan Fromholtz.

You really can't tell from the photo, but all of those pieces of wire have been shaped into hands with five fingers and twisted together to form a tree. I think it's completely brilliant, and after working with wire to create my scultpured flowers, I'm fascinated with how Megan has achieved this. Wire is a really difficult medium to work with.

This is just a tiny bit of the entire show....

If you've never ventured out to see a group show, then I can highly recommend it. The range of artists and mediums is amazing.

It runs for another week, so make sure you pop in for a visit if you're in Ballarat!