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Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Apron For Me

I have found a wonderful apron pattern that is;
covers generously,
completely reversible,
Sizes S-XL
and easy to sew.

It's McCalls Retro Aprons pattern #M5643

You know I usually source thrifted fabric but the day before I spotted this rose pattern in the local haberdashery shop and had to have it.
It looks very similar to a Villeroy & Boch dinner set pattern
"Switch Summerhouse-A Rose"
of which I have some pieces and have never grown tired off.

I couldn't cope with a whole dinner set but it accents beautifully with the green version and plain white naturally.
So I have really spoiled myself and paid waaayyy more than I normally would for "apron fabric"

 for now it will hang in my kitchen for a couple of days till I get up the nerve to stop looking at it and actually get it dirty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finished Bunting/Entertaining With Elegance Cont'd

This has been such a satisfying project and a little addictive in a way.
I really want to make more but my next project is an apron for ME!
I have a couple already in the Resurekt shop if you are looking for a good generous covering, reversible apron.
So as we peruse the bunting of thrift I thought it would also be appropriate to share again a couple of gems from the "Entertaining With Elegance" book by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux.(published 1966)

"D" is for "Decoration" (how appropriate)
"Every woman wants her home to be more beautiful than ever when she entertains....
You do not want to leave the coffee table and side tables completely bare...but the only objects , magazines and books that remain should be those things you have left on purpose. Usually this means hiding the detective novels and girlie magazines and leaving Teilhard de Chardin and Country Life....
While it is not chic to decorate your home for normal entertaining, there are special occasions when you can release all your pent up decorative urges (heh heh, see Arabian Nights!)

Dinners For Two.
" seems to me very worthwhile going to a bit of trouble in order to give your husband the impression that every time he comes home in the evening he is going to a party....
Try to put aside until later your worries and problems. Don't overwhelm him the moment he arrives. He usually spares you the detailed account of whatever disagreeable moments he may have experienced during the day's work....Try also to vary the menus as much as possible....he will become as fine a gourmet as you wish if only you give him the opportunity to acquire a gastronomic education.
By putting into practice these simple ideas, both of you will enjoy one pleasant dinner after another, and towards the end of your life you will be amazed to discover what perfect serenity you have achieved together..."

Sound a little twee? Maybe but there is some sound sense in the bones of this piece of advice. If a couple are to achieve long lasting serenity then I think concerted effort (by both parties) in the small things, like dinner together, is as valuable today as then.

Drinks like Dinners is an exhaustive subject and Divorce was mentioned also.

Dutch Treats was interesting though
"....Nowadays, even adults, if they are close friends , may decide to share the expenses of a gourmet meal, theatre party....In the case of restaurants and night-clubs, it is more elegant (and easier for the waiter) to have one member of the group act as treasurer, and then to settle up afterwards with him, rather than ask for separate bills."

I have to say agree with this one. There is nothing more cringe-worthy than the meal paying melee at the end of a pleasant evening. It often inconveniences other patrons too when the staff are tied up sorting out spaghetti finances for groups. Before heading out, it is far easier to make sure you have cash in assorted notes in order to hand the right money into the kitty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vintage Bunting for 75cents!

Bunting is such a "buzz" item at the moment.
There are a lot of good things to be said for decorations that can be used again and again.
They can be made from scraps and cost next to nothing.
I have decided that my stall at the growers market needed some flagging and have been giving thought to bunting for some time now.
Last week while in St Marys on THE bus trip I found an op shop.
I found a whole shopping bag of scrap fabric and some braid and ric rac and it only cost me $1!
Literally some of the pieces are scraps but I sewed some together to get the pieces I needed for my little flags.
I am sooo not going to tell you how to make bunting...there are plenty of tutorials on the web and there are the lazy one sided cut with pinking shears versions or the make little triangles and turn them out versions.
Which ever suits your purpose....
What I wanted to share that the other tutorials don't cover in one place is some quick tricks to neater, faster job. Yes, making them is easy, but like anything handmade or worth doing it takes time. Think of it as an investment though as you will have them for ages and all occasions.
So make the template from some stiff sturdy card. There is no magic size, just the triangle shape and size of your choice, remembering the seam allowance.
Once you have cut all your triangles, sew them along one long side.
Sew them all without stopping and cutting, just keep feeding them in. When you finish the last one they can all be clipped apart. Now go down the other long side in the same way. So you are in production line mode.
This link has a tutorial with great photos and shows how to do this method.

Before turning them snip the excess fabric from the ends so you can get a nice neat point.
A few snips save you some time and struggle.

With the tips of your scissors or a chopstick (etc) tease the point out. Don't go shoving or you'll damage the seaming. Just feel it to the end till its extended out.

Some fine tuning at the end may be necessary to get a fine point. Gently pull out any further excess.

Before they are finally pressed they look a bit like coronets so grab your sturdy cardboard template again and push it firmly into your lovely pointy triangle and iron.
This will give you a good finished shape in really quick time.
This will give you a beautiful finish.

So that took me about three hours to make 27 pennants, remembering though that I was doing a bit of cutting and shutting with the smaller fabric pieces in order to get a decent run of triangles out of it.
I estimate that given the ammount of fabric I used from the bag, it has cost me 25cents. Also included in the bag was 6metres of brand new in the packet bias binding which I figure has to be half the bag value at least, so say another 50cents.
All up.....75 cents for a string of bunting!!!
I plan to finish it with the bias binding on Tuesday so perhaps photos on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Buying Meat

I'm not saying anything new when I say "buy in bulk" and it's nothing you don't know already.
What I would like to urge you to do is be prepared to be flexible.
When you go shopping for that once a month or fortnight meat buy (because you are buying in bulk right) have a rough idea in mind of the type of meals that you will be planning.
Steak cuts are great for flexibility because you can, obviously, eat as steak, or cut up for curry, stir-fry or slow cooking and when buying in bulk, often the steak cuts are cheaper per kilo than the so-called budget cuts.

For instance; today we bought a whole porterhouse for $7.99/kg. Much cheaper than than lamb shanks, gravy beef (probably shin) and neck chops which were all over $10/kg.

Mince is another typical buy for most at the butchers but when the ordinary grade mince is at $13/kg why not buy a whole rump at $7.99/kg and ask the butcher to run it through the mincer.
I have no problem with mince and think it is a great way for the butcher to sell scrap and rubbishy cuts but why should you pay that sort of price for it? So for my money it makes sense to mince a whole rump at nearly half the price and I get a premium grade product.
Freeze it in flat portions - I allow 125g per person. It thaws quickly and can be made into bolognaise, burgers or meat loaf.

Plan a roast for dinner on Sunday night and then put the rest aside for cold cuts for lunches the next couple of days. Roasting meat for sandwiches at home is a much cheaper option than buying it sliced from the delicatessen.
Plan ahead and be flexible and save.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not Naff Anymore

In the last post I introduced you to Rita Summers.
I also spotted this basket full of old patterns in her gallery/studio and I just had to take a photo for
There has been a lot of talk in blog circles I am in awe of the love and supportive friendships that have grown from blogging. People we have never met and may never meet have become near and dear.
We get to know them or at least the very style or essence of them.
I can't look at vintage patterns like this without thinking fondly of dear, gentle, Jenny.

How about that basket?
I can remember when I was little thinking how naff these sort of things were. Those baskets for keepsakes made from old birthday cards and crocheted together...urgh.
Now I see them as beautiful for I see the time and dedication that has gone into them. Creating something useful from scrap, or in the case of the birthday cards, a sentimental treasure. A time capsule of style in itself.
Stationview Cottage has a lovely post about this topic in regard to quilts and fabric.

My friends at Resurekt have recently bought a book from a thrift shop showing how to make these baskets. I like the idea of finding something sentimental to make them with, like photos or cards, and wouldn't they make lovely Easter baskets.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meet Rita Summers

I apologise in advance that my photography has not fully captured the pure emotive energy of these art pieces.
I also apologise that I failed to capture any of the quilts by the artist.
I was on a bus tour yesterday with MIL's PROBUS group and was on a tight schedule (given that most of our time schedule is taken up with getting on the bus and getting off the bus!)

St Marys township
I had the great fortune of entering the "gone rustic" gallery and finding artist Rita Summers in attendance.
Her work resonated within me straight away

Particularly her mixed media pieces.

"Rita Summers is an astonishing artist, situated in rural Tasmania, where she produces the most wonderful artworks....Rita's work is with fibre and textiles and often includes recycled materials....She likes to experiment with packaging, tea bags, found objects, and fibre and fabric off cuts."
direct quote from Down under Textiles Magazine Issue 3.

The pieces look completely random in shape and form but have beautiful balance and harmony.
(Note the repeated use of 3s, a harmony I have discussed in previous posts)

The textiles are uniquely dyed using plants and rusting techniques.
Fabric is stitched, torn and layered.

Buttons, words, crystals, fragments and discards are all employed so emotively yet for the interpretation of the viewer.

Rita is a very warm, generous person happy to engage with people and share knowledge of her techniques and encourages experimentation and exploration. She has a demeanor both humble yet confident and it makes her very easy to talk to.

These worked felt pieces are about 12cm x 12cm and are intricately dimensional with beads, embroidery and decals.

Gorgeous aren't they? I forgot to ask who these felted pieces were made by.

I purchased a copy of the Down Under Magazine in which Rita is featured and I'm very much enjoying reading about clever textile artists and designers in Australia.
Rita's article also has a whole page dedicated to an explanation of her dyeing techniques.
The front cover features her work "Cinderella's Wardrobe I & II"
The magazine is not sold in newsagents and only available for purchase for AU$9.95 through specialty stores. If you follow the link for the gallery you are also able to buy a copy via their site. 
Hopefully I will visit again very soon and will take some photos of her amazing quilts too for all the quilters out there. If you are a local I do urge you to visit "gone rustic" and meet Rita. The beautiful village of St Marys obviously agrees very well with her and is spawning some very exciting work.

The gone rustic Gallery and Studio is situated at 37 Main Street St Marys Tasmania
03 63722724 or 0417027424

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Phenomenon #1.
Poor Rhonda really took a hit last week on her blog Down To Earth 
We all love her blog, well nearly  all of us.
Some people (2 in this instance) feel a bit "Holier than thou" and think judgement and censorship is a valid form of comment on an other's blog.
I once saw a post about something on a blog I followed that really disappointed me and went against my ethics BUT it was that person's lifestyle and their choice. I didn't comment. I can't help feeling differently about them and I can't bring myself to read any of their posts at the moment, but I didn't comment. 
If a post asks the question at the end and invites you to sock it to them, good or bad, then fine, go for it.
But I digress...
Phenomenon #1 is....
Despite receiving 466, 279 awesome and supportive comments,
it's the 2 negative ones that will cut most humans to the bone!
It's the same in the workplace, you might get 8 positive statements from your boss about your work but it's the 1 criticism that you will remember that night when you are brushing your teeth.
I'm no psychology major but I do think this is interesting and think a lot about what this means about the human psyche and those who know how to manipulate this energy.
So lets all try to think before we speak and remember the power of words.

Phenomenon #2

Why do dogs always want to be with you when you go to the toilet?
I know it's not just mine.
Other people's dogs do it too!
Is it a "protect the pack leader while they are vulnerable" thing???
Can anyone explain this phenomenon?

I know there are plenty more out there,
so please feel free to share your phenomenon in the comments and you can even number them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Year of the Metal Rabbit

Something very funny has been going on round here for a couple of months now.....
Ordinary household objects keep disappearing.

My metal preserving thermometre, toenail clippers, crochet hooks...

Craig thinks I am just having early onset dementia but I have turned this house inside out.

I keep cutting myself with scissors (not intentionally obviously), pricking my fingers with pins and cutting my finger on tin lids.

The knives seem to be going blunt quickly and even the ordinary dinner knives seem very dull.

There is definitely a disruption to the energy in this house.
It had me wondering about the Feng Shui for this year and....

lo and behold
when I looked it up,
2011 is the year of the Metal Rabbit (Xin Mao)

The East and West contain most of the inauspicious energies this year.
It is definitely time for a tidy up and a good look at the kitchen and the front entry way.
The remedy for the East this year is the placement of metal to exhaust the earth energy. Luckily the kitchen is already full of lots of metal but it needs a re-jig of the placements. Perhaps some coffee pots and brass candlesticks at immediate eye height.

As I am an air horse, I am particularly effected apparently by this year.
I do so hope my metal objects come back once of have placed some fixes.

As for the "Rabbit" I think I have that covered.
The strange thing is that I don't actually collect rabbits,
but it occurs to me that if I can find this many around the home,
then I have a lot of "stuff" which could be a Feng Shui dilemma in itself!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Growers' Market

Again the Scarlett Runner Beans were a delight for many at the growers' market today.

We were lucky to have Dave Potts there today also with his huge selection of organic vegetables.
Dave has been growing organically for about eight years now and I converted my takings into carrots and potatoes from his stall.

For lunch I enjoyed perfectly scrumptious Duck and Wallaby Sausage Rolls made by Ut si cafe. I overheard some visitors from the mainland (Australia to the rest of you) remarking how delighted they were to be just stepping off the plane and being met by beautiful organic produce and seasonal gourmet fare.

And how about this gorgeous posy from my dear friend Lee (Killiecrankie Farm). We had a marvelous time chatting and sharing her Vegemite Scrolls and I always learn so much from this mine of information.
Today it suddenly dawned on me why I was not able to achieve these beautiful arrangements that she does; I'm too beguiled by big and flashy. I need to take a deep breath and look at the smaller blooms in a whole new light. Singly they are perhaps easily over looked but how beautifully they complement each other, working together like a good team.
I think there is something in that for all of us.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Surprise Package

What a delightful surprise to get this in the mail today from Sarah at If Only I Had Chocolate.
She has created this especially for me just this week, so I know where her spare time has been spent.
Isn't that a gratifying thought, that someone spent hours in making something for you....
It's a whole different level isn't it?
I love being in this "place" of my life where maturity allows me to really revel in the simplest things.
At 18 or even 28, I didn't have the same level of appreciation, not because I was a bad person, I just didn't have the life skills under my belt.
I love that my life is so much fuller and richer in the simplest of ways. When I was young, days must have passed in a haze. I remember being horrified to the same level today, frightened about the same things; the concerns are still the same. But it is the level of delight and appreciation that has heightened for me these past years and that is beautiful beyond words. Every day has the potential to reveal dozens of delights.
That's why every day I acknowledge to myself at least one "It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This..." moment.
Today I go off to work loving my new dish cloth, revelling in the love of another who took time in her day for me.
My new pressie goes beautifully with my new hand towel. Which by the way is where I have been head down this past week. I have been making hand towels and aprons (in very generous sizes) exclusively for Resurekt at 207 Invermay Rd Invermay

Sarah's gift got me thinking how lovely and personal this dish cloth is. "T" is easy enough to do but you might need to map out your knit/purl stitches on a bit of grid paper for more complicated rounded letters.
These would be great added to your Christmas present list.

This weekend is the growers market at Perth in the grounds of Ut si on the main Rd and I'm looking forward to the intelligent, witty company of Lee from Killiecrankie Farm on the stall. We will have Dave Potts there also this Saturday who is a real live organic vegetable farmer on a much larger scale than my small holding.
Suffice to say with the three of us and the very tempting selections of Ut si's on site wood fired oven, it looks like a quality day ahead.

Finally, a dear friend of mine on the other side of the world is in need of your prayers for her family.
Please take one minute today to send positive supportive thoughts. As you do, could you please visualise the sun and imagine it's warmth flooding through you. Feel the penetrating  rays on your shoulders. Gather it all into a ball and throw it to her in America.
Thank you in advance as I know you are already snowed under with your prayers for New Zealand, Australia and Japan and that you are also sending peace to the Middle East too. It's a very busy time in our world but never under estimate the power of prayer, what ever form you make it in.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Memory Montage

You may recall seeing this photo when I did a post after Christmas last year. No doubt I was waxing lyrical about seascapes and summer themes.
Central to this photograph is a memory montage glued into an inexpensive deep box frame (they probably have a proper name- please supply in the comments if you know) from a bargain store.
I wish I had bought a few more because they are lovely keepsakes and make lovely gifts.

You may also recall my previous posts about The Cottage Kitchen Sink that we have spent lovely holidays at the family cottage in White Beach on the Tasman Peninsula. It has been sold now and all we have are the memories.
This montage particularly reminds me of an early morning walk on the beach with my eldest daughter.
It was about 7am and autumn time. Our pants were rolled up and we carried our shoes. The breeze was only light and cotton jumpers were all that we needed.

It's not a particularly "shelly" beach but commonly found are the shells of sea urchins and oysters, testament to the abundant food in this area and the popularity with fisherman. This abundance also supports a healthy bird population of many species.
The aborigines must have loved this spot for food and shelter.
A piece of green sea glass, reminds me of the footprint of man.

Likewise the small tangled roll of fine wire.
The area is mere kilometres from Port Arthur, a convict colony of 1830-1877.
The Peninsula was a very important and strategic colony for settlement by foreigners and while it remains fertile and rich it is still it's historical beginnings that it is most known for.

This reminds me of family times.
It reminds me of an ordinary walk in an ordinary moment of time that might otherwise been lost.
It reminds me of my daughter in rare reflection.
It reminds me of the bounty of our earth at sea shore.
It reminds me of how precious and co-dependant that system is.
It reminds me of humanity's mark.
For others it is just a pretty decoration.
For others it will touch them in different ways.
So many meanings, so many uses, so simply made, so simply cost.
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