Monday, December 20, 2010

So much baking….

So little time.  Working full time is really putting a dent into my baking time. 

To Do:

  • 3 pavlovas  for Christmas lunch at work on Thursday.

  • Gingerbread trees and men.  Dough made, just need to roll out, bake and decorate.  Think I will bake them tonight, and decorate tomorrow night.
  • Bake Cranberry & White Chocolate cookies.  I’ve made the dough for these, and might need to make another double batch, since I have the ingredients for them.

    • Recipe (so I can find it easily next year) is:
      • 500 grams of butter
      • 1 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
      • 1 packet craisins (dried cranberries)
      • 200 grams chopped white chocolate
      • 4 cups plain flour

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla essence.  Mix in flour until dough is formed, then stir in craisins and white chocolate.  Roll into small (biggish teaspoon full) size balls, and bake for 12-15 mins at 170c.

This is a double batch recipe, which is easier to do as it uses the whole packet of craisins and the whole block of white chocolate.  I usually freeze the cookies after I have rolled them into balls, so you can just bake a couple at a time.  They also benefit from a rest in the fridge before baking, if you are going to cook them straight away, as there is a lot of butter in them.

Potato salad for Christmas day.  I do not eat potato salad, so this one is new for me.  Also, can’t use mayonnaise (I don’t like it anyway, so no problem for me).  I found a recipe with prosciutto, capers and spring onions, with olive oil and vinegar dressing, so I think I’ll give this one a go.  Except for the capers.  Maybe. Haven’t decided yet.

In other Christmas happenings, I am participating in the Toy Society Christmas drop for 2010.  I am “paying forward” a random act of kindness from this lovely blogger, and have set myself a target of one toy drop every day this week.  I did my first one this morning on my way to work.  I might arrange for a bit of help from friends at work, just to spread the love a bit further.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas crazy

Christmas stresses me out every year, despite my best efforts to stay clear of it.  This year it’s worse than normal, with house and car dramas being thrown into the mix.  Hopefully things will be resolved soon, and I am sure I will be much happier when they are. 


I like to give tea towels and baked goods as gifts for co-workers, and friends at my sewing group.  This year I was lucky enough to find plain white tea towels as Spotlight, so I have just added a band of printed fabric to each one.  I have 21 finished and ready to go! 


I’ve also made a couple of these:

It’s a hexagon sewing caddy (can’t find the link to the pattern).  I’ve made 3 as presents, and this one for myself.  I love those cherries.

And this:

My first gingerbread house!  I’ve wanted to make one of these for a couple of years now, and finally did it.  I saw the kits at K-Mart for $15, which would have been a much cheaper alternative.  I decided to make mine from scratch (plus another one for my friend) so it was a bit of a business to get the house baked and constructed.  Plus, I have so many lollies left over (and they’re mostly yucky tasting sour stuff).  I had to buy a whole box of ice cream cones so I could use 2, so I’ll have to give those away because I won’t use them.  The marshmallows didn’t go to waste, because I really like those.  The snowman is my favourite, even though he wouldn’t stay standing up, so I’ve decided that the snow is melting (it is in Qld after all) and he is slowly subsiding.  I’ll take it to work tomorrow so they can enjoy it. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010



I always check out the sewing machines in 2nd hand shops.  Mostly they are pretty ordinary, and I leave them where I found them. 

I had a look at this one because it has the same case as the Singer that my grandmother gave us many years ago.  A good solid machine from the 1960’s.  So despite the football stickers that have been applied to the case, I was expecting the same machine that I learnt to sew on. 

(Obligatory cat photo – all new items are thoroughly investigated and inspected for lounging possibilities).

I lifted the cover off to find this – a hand crank Singer in beautiful condition.  Obviously not in it’s original case.  It sews perfectly, and will give me a well toned right arm as well. 

Now when I see sewing cabinets that have had the machine removed, I will pay a bit more attention because I think I can lift this machine out of this case and put it in a cabinet.  Now that I want one, I’ll probably never find one again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cake = Fail

I’m going to be making a giant cupcake wedding cake in a few weeks.  I’m a big believer in making practice cakes, just to make sure that the recipe works and there are no problems.

I’m not off to a good start. 

The Giant Cupcake tin has it’s own issues – the top pointy bit of the cupcake tin is a lot smaller than the base part, which means they take different amounts of time to cook.  The base takes about an hour, the top only needs 45 minutes so if you cook them at the same time either the top is overcooked and dry or the base is not cooked properly.  I’ve dealt with this by cooking the 2 bits separately, which takes longer but is safer in the long run.

I made the base section on Sunday – not great, a bit dark looking, but looked OK and most likely edible.  So tonight I thought I would make the top section so I could take it to work tomorrow for afternoon tea.  It looked good until I tried to turn it out of the tin, and it didn’t fall out of the tin straight away like it is supposed to:

The uncooked bit is from the bottom of the tin.  The top was cooked properly, and the edges were pulling in from the sides of the tin.  It must be the white chocolate chips I added.  They seem to have fallen to the bottom of the mixture and then not cooked properly while the outside went very brown.  Argh!


This is why I make practice cakes.  Although I am annoyed now, imagine how stressed I would be if this happened the day before the wedding and I had to start again from scratch.  Luckily I still have a few more weeks to go.

Monday, October 4, 2010


More work on the cats and ponies quilt:

32 blocks, all different but from cream/brown/aqua/red combination.  These are foundation pieced on Ricky Tims Stable Stuff, which can be left in and kind of dissolves when it gets wet. (apparently, haven’t tested it out yet)

I’ve had a migraine/nausea most of the weekend for some reason, so I thought these blocks would take ages to do.  But once I set up a production line and precut all the pieces, it went surprisingly fast.  I did have to sew and iron in fits and starts

Still deciding how to applique the little cats on these – I hate doing hand blanket stitch applique, so I am leaning towards invisible machine applique and then add hand embroidered details like the tails and whiskers.  Same for all the ponies. 

Still need to do more little squares for the outside of these blocks, which I can manage too do in little bits of time before and after work.  I’ve been getting up earlier (on work days, not on the weekends) and spending 20-30 minutes sewing before I leave in the morning.  These little bits of sewing really add up and by the end of the week I have heaps finished.  Feels like I am achieving  something instead of just plodding along with this one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

all sorted

After a quilting marathon that lasted a week, it's done.   Binding on, cat hair (mostly) removed and handed over to it's new owner.   It's a group project made to celebrate a "zero" birthday. 

Next on the craft agenda is one of these:

A wedding bouquet made out of buttons for my friend Shanon.  This one is listed on Etsy, but there is a 36 week waiting period for orders.  As she is getting hitched in 6 weeks, we decided to have a go and make one ourselves.

We have been acquiring buttons, searching for shiny things and trying to work out to assemble it.  We've managed to locate the silk flowers and ribbon flowers and found some old jewellery at the op shop that can be included.

We had a craft day yesterday to shop for the last bits and pieces needed, and came home to assemble button flowers until our fingers start bleeding.  6 hours later we had this:

I just need to finish the ribbon handle and add a diamante buckle and it’s done.

Apparently sitting in my lounge room is like being in the middle of Wild Kingdom, with wild beasts just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on unsuspecting visitors.  I have 2 cats and a lorikeet.   One cat is friendly and likes to be petted by visitors.  The other will remain hidden behind the lounge chair for hours at a time.  The lorikeet is in a cage (I’ll admit he’s a bit noisy).  Hardly Wild Kingdom.

Shanon doesn’t care for cats, so every time Fifi glanced at her or walked past her she would jump up in a panic.  Eventually things settled down and Fifi  decided to roost in the shoebox that Shanon had been collecting her buttons in.  It was a tight squeeze, but she managed to get in there.  Shanon doesn’t want her box back anymore.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Clearing the decks

A little while ago I saw the Fabric of Society exhibit.  Some amazing quilts with their history documented by Annette Gero.  I bought the book, too.  The most expensive book (that is not a textbook) that I’ve ever bought.  I’ve implemented a no eating rule for looking at this book, and considered a white glove rule as well but I didn’t have a pair so that fell by the wayside.  But definitely no food near the book.  

Victorian Quilters are having a contest for quilts made based on quilts in the book – there are 30 or so patterns included.  I like a contest – apparently I have a competitive streak – so thought I might have a go at making a different (for me) sort of quilt.  The one that intrigued me most is this one – Mrs Keens’s Quilt.  The quilt wasn’t travelling with the exhibit, it’s kept at the Queenscliffe Historical Society.  It has cats and ponies on it – it’s completely bizarre.


This one didn’t have a pattern in the book, so I am trying to recreate it from the pictures and draft it myself in EQ5.  The original is hand pieced over papers, but I am going to use modern methods.  I think I’ll use foundation piecing for most of it, plus the little bits of applique.  After a couple of false starts I’ve managed to do these:


The block is supposed to be 10 inches, but it’s a fraction under that, probably because of the number of seams involved (14 X 14 squares that should be 3/4 inch each).  Just as well I measured the finished blocks, because I can adjust the  rest of the quilt easier that I can fix the sizing on these ones.

I just need to get a few other projects out of the way so I can get stuck into this.  I want to start embroidering the ponies.  And cats! lots  and lots of cats!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Almost a winner

3rd prize at the Ekka!  Free tickets!  And a big fancy rosette!

I was a bit annoyed with the quilt show when I went to see it – they weren’t selling catalogues, so I couldn’t identify quiltmakers  names or who else had won in the category I had entered. 

My favourite part is always visiting the fine arts section, even though the standard of entries isn’t as high in some categories as it used to be.  But the cakes never disappoint.  They had a handbag category this year.

But I think this one was my favourite – Raggedy Anne:

I really want to learn these sort of things – they used to have cake decorating classes at TAFE, but I haven’t seen one listed for a while. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

almost Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday is celebrated each week by a workmate of mine.  It is much anticipated every Tuesday, and there is great disappointment if the Tacos are not made on Tuesday.  We have great discussions of all things Mexican – margaritas, flamenco, castanets and sombreros.   I saw this sombrero dip platter at Vinnies last week, had a giggle to myself about it (it looks a bit like an egg cup in the picture, but it’s really the size of a dinner plate) and thought no more about it.  I mentioned it to my friend, who was immediately smitten with the idea and I offered to go back and see if it was still on the shelf. 

1 week later, I returned to Vinnies to see if the sombrero was still there.  It was.  (Obviously not a big market for Sombrero novelty serving ware).  The lady at the counter looked at it, and said I “must like quirky things”.  I do, but this is a a stretch even for me.  Off to its new home later in the week.


Quilt in progress – cat magnet du jour.  I didn’t make the quilt top, I’m just doing the quilting for a friend.  Madam Crankypants has an uncanny ability to settle herself on whatever I am in the middle of working on, and make me feel guilty for shoo-ing her off things. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My “natural” environment

To say I am not the athletic type is an understatement.  I walk (sometimes) for exercise, but that’s about the limit of my interest in sports.

Part of the leisure and recreation unit that I had to complete this week (my last subject! an elective!) were two activities I was dreading:  Lawn Bowls and Bush “Walking”.  The lawn bowls was not too bad, but really, it just seems so pointless to me.  Trying to hit a little white ball at the other end.  With a big wobbly ball that doesn’t roll straight.  I know lots of people enjoy it, but it’s not for me.  I think the real attraction is the cheap alcohol that is served in the bowls clubs myself.  There are always people in there.

When I read the unit outline, there was mention of a “wilderness experience”.  Which made me a little anxious about how much “wilderness” I would have to experience.  Could it be a trip to the botanical gardens?  The local wetlands that are not far from the campus? No.  It was announced that we would be going to Mt Mitchell.  Never heard of it.

We were going on a bus trip to walk on a mountain.  Doesn’t sound too bad.  The lecturer looked around the (all much younger and fitter than me) students and claimed that it was an easy walk of about 3.5 km, so we would walk up, eat our lunch and enjoy the view, then walk back down.  Alarm bells started ringing.

3.5 km – is that the distance one way, or both?  A friend told me that there would be leeches.  I am not very fit, my exercise walking consists of 30 minute sessions on a lovely, flat, concreted walking track in the park at the end of my street.  (and I haven’t done that for a while, either).  Plus I get motion sickness on busses and trains.  Not good.  Despite my misgivings, off I went to try and enjoy the “wilderness” experience.

The weather didn’t look too promising in the morning – thick fog everywhere.  This was the view at the campus (on a clear day you can see the Brisbane airport and Moreton Bay from here, it’s on a big hill. That I drive up).  At least it wasn’t raining, I consoled myself.  I took a travel sickness tablet, got on the bus and hoped for the best.  2 hours bus riding later, I was still feeling OK.  Time to start walking.

The thing about walking on mountains is, it’s all uphill.  I knew I was in trouble when everyone went past me – which was fine, because I would rather they went in front of me anyway.  The plan was to walk until a certain time, and then turn around and walk back down, so everyone would be back at the bus at the same time.  I kept walking. Slowly.  After about 15 minutes, I’d had enough.  No view could be worth this amount of pain.  The assistant lecturer was walking at the end of the group, and I told her to go on ahead of me.  She advised me to take it slow and have breaks when I needed them.  Not what I wanted to hear, but I continued on, against my better judgement.  Another hour of agonising walking later, and it was time to turn around.  Hooray!  I had to sit down because I was light headed and hadn’t eaten all morning.  I gulped down a quick snack, sat for a minute and started back down the track.


It was much easier going down hill – gravity is my friend!  I started to enjoy the scenery and the bits of view that I could see through the trees:



Fungus on a fallen log – they look like shells, so pretty.

The bus trip back was not so pleasant – bus sick despite medication.  Migraine despite medication. It was a long trip.

By the time I got home I was ill – migraine, dehydrated, nauseated, sore feet.  Blech.  Took more medication and lay down with my eyes covered, which usually helps.  Not this time.  The nausea led to vomiting of the projectile kind.  After which I immediately felt much better, so I guess it was all for the best.   According to my pedometer, I walked 8 kms.  After reading the Mt Mitchell link today I am cranky – it’s a 10 K  return walk that should take about 4 hours.  

Back in my “natural” environment (my lounge room, with full amenities included) I am working on this:

about to add rows 3 and 4, trying to work out if I have enough white background fabric left (I don’t think so, unless there is a big piece of it hiding somewhere) and wondering why that is when I bought what the directions said I would need.  Hmmmm.  I suppose white quilters muslin will be the same if I go back and buy some more.  I think I want to add a border to this anyway.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bargains galore

Second hand shopping is always a bit of a hit and miss affair.  There is no guarantee that you will find what you are looking for, you just have to be lucky on the day.  I looked for a couple of years for a heavy duty stand mixer.  I priced the new ones, and decided I didn’t need one that badly.  Fast forward to the day I found a Sunbeam MixMaster at the Salvo’s.  Two bowls, and three beaters plus the instruction booklet.  For $20.00.  I couldn’t get my hands on it quick enough!  According to the instruction book, mine was made in 1968, so we are both the same age.  I’ve managed to buy extra bowls, and I would like to have some extra beaters and the dough hooks so I’m keeping my eyes open for them. 

On Saturday, I saw a juicer attachment at Lifeline.  I didn’t buy it because I wasn’t sure if my mixer had the fitting for it.  I checked it when I got home and I can attach the juicer, so I am kicking myself for not buying it.  I am going to go back tomorrow and see if it is still there (how many people would want to buy it?)  I think it will only fit the older Sunbeams, so maybe luck will be on my side.  My son wanted to know exactly how much juice I was planning on drinking.  My answer was none – but I still want the juicer.  It goes with the MixMaster. 


My other score for the day was this:

A cantilevered sewing box.  It is not very big – 15 inches long and 7 inches wide – but I spotted it the second I walked into the shop.  Some of it is a bit wobbly, but nothing that a bit of TLC won’t fix.  The price they were asking put me off though - $55.00.  I decided to look around the rest of the shop and see what else was there and decide at the end whether or not to buy it.  I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time, and this is the only one I’ve ever found.  My Grandma had a bigger version that sat next to her armchair and it was packed with heaps of interesting bits and pieces.  I decided to bite the bullet and just buy it.  While I was standing in line to pay, a lady came up to me to say how lucky I was to have found it.  Other people jealous = decision confirmed.  What I didn’t realise was that this particular Salvo’s was having a sale, and everything was half price.  Double score. 

Off work for the week, but I have to go to uni everyday.  I am doing my last subject (!!) in intensive mode.  There is an exam (open book, but still) first thing on the first day.  I guess it’s a good way to make students do the reading before they show up.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flat out…..

There has been a renewed interest in quilting amongst the craft group that I meet with every week, so we have been having lots of fun swapping fabric and making our own version of my Confetti quilt.  I’ve finished mine and entered it into the RNA Quilts Across Queensland, and there are 3 other versions in various stages of completion that I have also assisted with.

I made a stack of these little pinwheel blocks at the same time, with no real plan in mind.  I pulled them out to see what I could do with them, and started grouping colours into sets of 9 and put them together.  Pressing seams open is the secret with these fiddly blocks, which goes against all the quilt “rules” that I learnt.  The result is a lovely flat top and really accurate points.

And more of these – my third batch, and I think I’ve got it down to a fine art now.  Reactions from people are really interesting – lots of them try to peel the bottom bit off, not realising that they are all chocolate.  They’ve been a bit hit.  Tried some different cake flavours this time – red velvet cake and lime and pistachio. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010



I wasn’t planning to finish this quilt off this weekend, especially with the thread “issues”.  But I really wanted to get this one out of the way, so I can start something new.  Or finish some other stuff. 

I’ve been thinking that red binding would be a good contrast for this one, and the I found this piece of  red polka dot when I was fishing through the red box.  I really like how it looks next to the white quilting.

Labels, loose thread removal and a light steam press, and it will be ready to go to the show.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Still quilting this – I’m on a deadline.  I’m entering it into the RNA Quilts Across Queensland show.  The entry forms are due next week, but I still have a bit of time after that before I have to drop the actual quilts off.

I will be very glad when this is finished – the quilting has not been an enjoyable experience for me.  It’s usually the part of making a quilt that I like the most, but not this time.  The thread keeps breaking and it’s making me crazy.  I think it’s a combination of the thread type (white polycotton) and the quilt itself.  The joins between the hourglass blocks are quite bulky, with maybe 8 layers in a tiny corner of the blocks.  The thread doesn’t seem to be able to cope with any kind of stress and shreds.  I’ve changed needles, cleaned and re-threaded everything but nothing helps.  Next time (ha! not likely) I make these, I think I’ll press the seams open which will reduce the bulk.  And go back to my normal shiny rayon thread that I never have a problem with.

There are 200 hourglass blocks, which means 400 white triangles that I am stippling over.  With an average of 1 thread break per triangle, I am completely over it.  I just want to do sewing without rethreading every 5 seconds.

See that lump under the quilt at the bottom of the photo?  My quilting assistant, Coco, decided that it was the perfect place for a mid morning nap.  I kept forgetting she was under there, and every now and then I would hear a little chirrup to remind me.  Especially then I put the Foxtel remote of top of her.

I saw this great building facade in the Valley today – plants growing out of huge spheres and loopy metal bits.  Loved it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Knit fail

We were off to such a good start……


Until someone started drinking Tequila while knitting. 

More than 30 stitches?  No problem, just keep knitting.  Holes?  Bumpy bits?  Just keep knitting.

Shanon tells me she had 90 “loops” (not stitches) by the last row, before she decided to call it quits and “cast off”.  By pulling the needle out and not knitting anymore. 

Not a complete loss – I’m going to felt this bit of knitting and I’ll make something out of it.  Not sure exactly what as yet, but something. 

Remedial knitting plan:

  • Use wool that doesn’t split easily until the knitter gets the hang of how a stitch should look
  • Try stocking stitch so the stitches can be seen more easily
  • Ban use of Tequila while knitting

Considering the “lessons” we’ve had consist of two 15 minute afternoon tea breaks and not much more, I think she’s doing pretty well. 

Fifi likes it.  She’s very discerning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

cupcake bites

I’ve been a fan of Bakerella for a while. So cute and clever.

American recipes always make me a bit wary – sometimes the ingredients aren’t available here so substitutions are necessary, plus the measurements are not metric which can make things a bit more difficult. 

The cake pops are made with cake mix and pre made frosting.  Cake mix is no problem – now I want red velvet cake mix , but a can of cream cheese frosting?  No can get.  I can make it, but how much do you need?  How much is 16oz in (proper, metric) grams?  These are the questions that take a while to work around.


The solution – I used a chocolate cake mix and made cream cheese icing, and decided to guesstimate the amounts.  I put the cake through the food processor to make the crumbs and started adding the icing to it.

The first go was too wet and goopy.  More cake required, so I was lucky that I had another chocolate cake mix in the pantry.  Baked, cooled and crumbed, I was ready to try again.  This time I just added the too goopy mix to the dry crumbs until it could be rolled into a ball.  Kind of like making rum balls (not that I’ve ever made them, but I imagine it’s the same sort of thing).  Once the balls are done, I left them in the fridge overnight – I’d had enough of cake for one day.  It made Heaps.

Next step – chocolate moulds.  Half filled with melted chocolate, then pop the cake ball in so it looks like a cup cake.  Into the freezer to set a bit, then in the fridge while I do the next set.  I think if I do these again, I’ll buy more moulds so I can make more than 8 at a time. 



Then the fun part – decorating!  For some reason I have very little in the way of sprinkles – I kept looking at them in the supermarket, but didn’t buy any because I always have heaps on hand.  Usually.  Well, I’m not going to the shops so what I have will have to do. 


I was very excited to find Wiltons Candy Melts were available here – they’re expensive, but I thought it would be worth it to save me trying to mix colours.  But they’re not that great – they stayed fairly solid even when they were melted, so you can’t dip things easily.  I ended up using a palette knife to ice the pink ones – fiddly and not great looking.  I made the blue and yellow from white chocolate with powdered colours.  I could dip these ones, so it was a bit quicker and easier to finish them.  I tried to make lilac, but ended up with grey-ish purple-ish instead.  They’ll still taste OK (and probably no one else will notice anyway). 


Some are a bit wonky, but that’s why I like to make a practice batch before I am committed to an actual event.  (lesson learnt the hard way).  Plus I need more types of sprinkles. I ended up with about 6 dozen – I will take some to a dinner/quilting sweatshop on Thursday night, but some are going to be taken to work as well.  And my sons work.  They like cake.  And I have Heaps of it that I’m not going to eat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Knit two

I taught someone to knit!

I am a mostly self-taught knitter – I had a go at it when I was little, but it was all a bit too hard and I didn’t get very far.  I have vague memories of neon tangerine Disco wool and sitting in a car trying to get the hang of it.  I came back to it as a teenager, and managed to teach myself from books.  As a result of this self-teaching, apparently I knit “stupid” (according to proper knitters).  I’ve refined a few things I was doing wrong different – like finding out that where the front and back of a stitch really was (not where I thought)  and now my stitches aren’t twisted. 

So when Shanon suggested that we go to K-Mart at lunch time to buy some “knitting sticks” and wool so she could make a scarf, I was a little concerned. 

Knit One:  I cast on 30 stitches and showed her how to knit garter stitch.  We did a couple of rows together, she assured me she had the hang of it and would go home and practice.  Later that night I received a text informing me she now had 34 stitches and a buttonhole.  Not so good……

She was keen to have another go, so the knitting came back to work and I cast on 30 stitches:

and did a couple of rows to get her started.


I handed it over and she added a couple more rows:

Apparently, this is the perfect length for a moustache scarf.  

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Just on dusk I could hear some raucousness out in the back yard. I can see out the back door from the lounge room and I spied a cockatoo sitting on a branch.  Unusual, but I have seen cockatoos around here before.  But the one bird that I could spy didn’t explain the amount of noise that was being made.  I got up to have a look and there was a whole flock of them.  Is flock the correct collective noun for cockatoos?  I can’t find one that seems right, although a crackle of cockatoos seems appropriate.  (Also listed: a migraine of lorikeets which is also very appropriate).

Anyway, there were about 10 of them altogether. I couldn’t get them all in a pic, but here’s a trio:

(not seen:  two fat house cats sitting under the washing line plotting how to get the birdies to come to them)

I watched them for a while and one flew down to the tangle of trees near our paw paw trees.  There is a passion fruit vine running rampant through there.  He searched through a tangly bit and popped out with a green passion fruit in his beak.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.  He sat there and opened it, and then took it up to a higher branch to eat.  The neighbors will soon have their own vine courtesy of the cockatoo – he dropped the remains in their yard.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage inspiration

My Grandmother (the one who smoked in bed) was also a great sewer, knitter, crocheter, and generally and all round DIY-er.  She worked as a professional dressmaker for many years, and made many dresses (matching, of course) for me and my sister when we were little. 


She had a shelf full of the Golden Hands books in the 1970’s.  I don’t remember looking through them at the time, but I love looking through them now.  I have a lot of the booklet versions, but I like the hardcovers better.  I found these 4 at Vinnies this morning, plus another Book of Handicrafts full of macrame, weaving and candlemaking. 


Flicking through I found this picture of a dolls quilt – which is immediately familiar as I have one almost identical that my Grandma made for me (my sister has a matching blue version).  We also had a matching sheet and pillow with lace trimmed pillow case to go with the quilt. (my quilt is on the right)


I also picked up a bag of yarn, and saw some granny squares mixed in with it.  Acrylic yarn, not finished, wasn’t sure how many were there.  When I got home and opened it up properly, I found the hand typed pattern for a granny square inside.  Typed, old school, with little pin holes where the full stops are.  I haven’t seen a typed page like that for years. 


I think this is my favourite – a pattern for a three legged giraffe.  When I first saw the picture I thought it was the photo that made it look like it only had three legs, but no.  It actually only has three legs.  I guess it solves the stability problem – three legs always balances.  Here’s the pattern – no spoon feeding in these old books – you have to draft/enlarge patterns if you want to use them.  Thank goodness for photocopiers.