Overall, I love the dress- now all we need is a special occasion so that it can have an outing!
And so I continue in my obsession with Project Run and Play. I love the way that it makes me sew outside my comfort zone and make things that I'd never usually get around to.
This week the brief was special occasion. I wanted to achieve a look that was sweet and girly, but not too sickly.
I found some amazing fabric on a remnant table at a l local fabric shop - it was marked as having 6% metal in its content. I have NO idea what that means, but it's gorgeous! It's kind of shimmery, but not shiny and crushes beautifully.
I went for lots of unfinished seams and raw edges to make the look a little more edgy and a little bit less saccharine sweet (my apologies for the pun... I have no idea where the vocabulary part of my brain has gone!)
Lizzy did her own styling this week (I can't believe that she didn't choose a tiara and a feather boa to accessorise, but there you go...) I think her fresh hibiscus works well - especial for a hot, steamy summery day like today!
Overall, I love the dress- now all we need is a special occasion so that it can have an outing!
Or as Will would say "Dum, dum, dum!!!!"
Mum's 70 Squares is off at the framers and I can pick it up next week.
- Firstly my Mum - every square will mean something to her. Spending all the time I have on this project has been a lovely way for me to focus on her, think about her life, her childhood, my childhood, her friends and family.
- My family and Mum's friends - it was great to ring up my Aunt, my Mum's cousin and her friends. I don't do that very often and I heard family history and stories about my Mum that I have not heard before.
- My tin of embroidery thread dictated the colour range! My theme was bright, clear colours with lots of blue.
- I drew most of the designs myself. If I got stuck, looking at clipart images helped me break down the idea into its simplest form (like the VW beetle - I found that really tricky)
- This was the very sweet tutorial I used for a Christmas tree.
- These great books:
- And finally the original 39 squares project When I first discovered this stitch along I was a bit disappointed I missed it. I am glad I could sew along in my own way and in my own time.
I thought I would end my 70 squares project with one last story. Anyone who knows my Mum would be surprised to see a tennis racquet among her 70 squares. She is the least sporty person I know. (She would be OK with me saying that because I am the least sporty person she knows!) But Mum's life really began with a tennis racquet. My grandfather was a very good tennis player. His family was poor and so one day he asked if he might practice his tennis on the court owned by the slightly wealthy family who lived in the neighbourhood. That family was my grandmother's. A dashing young man in tennis whites and an elegant young lady meet on the tennis court...The rest is history.
PS Mum's a real softy. We gave her a silver bracelet with all her grandchildren's names on it for Christmas and she cried. Dad thinks she might need intravenous rehydration when we give this to her next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes!
Wow I'm early this week!
This is the third jacket I have made in the last three weeks which is somewhat ironic seeing that we're in the middle of steamy Sydney summer.
My aim this week was to make something that Lizzy would love. Actually, I'd happy if she just liked it (even a little bit...) In order to ensure this, my jacket had to have three defining characteristics. It needed to be -
It's definitely pink and there are lots of ruffles...
and if you take a little peek inside....
You'll find a whole lot of flowers!
All requirements met equals one happy girl!
and that makes me happy, too!
PS - I also made a matching beret which was firmly rejected. To tell you the truth... I don't blame her!
This week I learned all about Helen Lee who was, amongst other things, a McCalls Pattern designer. Not only did I learn about her, I also fell in love with her aesthetic. I just love the way that her designs are sophisticated and chic, but still absolutely appropriate for children.
Her designs were characterised by their simplicity and detail - peter pan collars, lace and ribbon trim.
Look at how gorgeous these are...
This week I have been inspired the patterns of Helen Lee...
Piped peter pan collar and matching cuffs, button detail with hand stitched loops, super short and paired with knee socks...
As an aside, how did little girls play in these outfits without showing the entire world their underwear?
Poor old Lizzy - she looks so sad in these photos - we did have some fun, I promise!
PS - I couldn't resist 'vintaging up' these photos with Pixlr. Of course, I was inspired to create an authentic sixties feel, not to fix up some of the most truly awful photos I've ever taken. Ahem...
How long do you think it'll be till we look back on faux vintage and laugh???
So I am a little over half way with Mum's 70 squares. Here's what it looked like this morning:
I figure that I have got about 10 days to get it finished. That will leave a week to have it framed and ready for the 4th of February. Every day I think that there is no way I will get it done, it is definitely going to be done and I have no idea whether it will be done or not. Time will tell...
At times all I want to do is put it aside and play with my rather forlorn and lonely looking sewing machine. But then I do a square I really like or make a fantastic discovery.
This is not a square that I am particularly proud of:
It's Mum's High School crest. There is some pretty wonky stitching and the whole thing is very offset in the 2 inch block. But... while looking for an image of the crest on the web I found this:
I have never seen any of Mum's school photos before so I was so excited to find this. She is in the back row, 3rd from the right and if I am not mistake, Mum's very good friend who I call Aunty Liz is in the middle of the front row. Wonky embroidery but fantastic find!!
I rather like this little row of three - a wizard's hat for Henry, a blundstone boot for Rob and a tulip for the time we all spent in Holland in 1977 (with Aunty Liz!).
There is a teacup for Mum's Mum (Mardi) who was a very elegant lady and capable of making the most elegant of afternoon teas.
The quilting bee is for all the friends Mum has made though her passion for patchwork and quilting.
And the tomato is for my Dad's Dad (Pa) who was a big man who did big things including growing the biggest tomatoes I have ever seen.
The last one I will show you is this one:
The music is to represent Mum's great enjoyment of classical music. The notes are the tune for Happy Birthday!
Wish me luck... I am going to need it to get it all done...
This week's theme at Project Run and Play is boys so I'm going to hand the blog over to Martin to tell you all about it.
I loved tailored clothes for children but my kids love dress ups. The solution? A reversible jacket! On one side, a lined, woollen hooded coat with leather buttons - perfect for any occasion and on the other, a spotty, spikey dinosaur. The spikes are woollen felt - enough body to stand up, but not scratchy on skin. The pants are also designed to keep us both happy... dark denim with structured pockets for me and spotty green trim for him.
The dressed up - dress up outfit. A perfect compromise, I think!
A big thanks to Martin for being happy to pose in a woollen coat and jeans on a hot Sydney morning...
2011 was a quilty Christmas for us and a quilty Christmas has got to be a good Christmas.
I made my brother Tim (who occasionally makes cheeky comments on this blog) and his wife, Holly a quillow. I haven't made them anything before and so was keen to make them something special. I started with this collection of fabric I bought at Purl Soho (Sorry I couldn't resist that name drop! I just had to remind myself that Caroline and I spent 10 days together in New York with out kids and it was fantastic AND we went to Purl Soho TWICE!!):
I added a few blues so the fabrics reminded me of the sea - perfect for Tim, Holly and the boys, who spend all their spare time on or in the water - swimming, sailing and surfing.
A quillow is a nifty thing - half quilt, half pillow. It is perfect for snuggling under on a night spent on their boat and equally good folded up ready to go for a picnic. And if a quillow is nifty, so too are these instructions for how to make one. Nova (from A cuppa and a catch up) obviously has a verycleverbrain and made the construction very easy.
You can see the pocket in both pictures. The quilt all folds into here to create a useful little pillow with a take anywhere handle:
So I hope it wont be long before I find this quillow a little bedraggled, crusty from salt spray, pocket filled with some sand and maybe even a few red wine stains from the last picnic. I know it will have served its purpose.
Pippa was very excited to receive a quilt from Granny (my Mum). The main panel is a piece of fabric from Kaffe Fassett, beautifully hand quilted. It's hard to say which is the front and which is the back. Mum has appliqued some very sweet Matryoshka dolls on the other side.
Mum is not precious about the things she makes, she just wants them to be loved. This quilt obviously is.
Madeleine was feeling a little left out when I was taking these pictures. She thought that I should show you some pictures of the quilt that Granny made her a while back.
Her justification went something like this:
"Well, Pippi and I share a room. So I think you should show people my quilt so they know how well they all match"
I have decided to oblige her:
The 6 blocks are beautifully hand appliqued and embroidered.
Here are two up close:
I think both quilts are well loved!
I was also so excited to receive a gorgeous quilt for Christmas. Caroline has made me a fabulous quilt. The fabrics in it make me want to sing - scraps from the clothes she has made and the classes we have taught together. I would love to show you pictures but it's not quite finished yet. I was a little mournful when I had to return it. (Cara, I hope you are finding this motivational!!) I can't wait to snuggle under it and show it to you.
Last year, we started a new family tradition - Christmas Eve Pajamas.
This year, the girls requested nighties and I was happy to oblige. A peasant dress is comfortable to sleep in and very quick to whip up. I found a fantastic vintage sheet at the recent Fabricabrac. I am not usually a vintage sheet kind of girl, but this one just spoke to me - gorgeous pinks and purples in sweet patchwork and there was plenty of fabric to make 3 nighties.
"3?" I hear our regular readers say "But she has only got two daughters"
There's no mistake. All members of our family participate in this tradition!! You'll note - there are no photos of me in my nightie. I was going to say it is best to leave some things (like the image of a 41 year old woman in a peasant dress nightie made from a vintage sheet) to the imagination, but I really think it is best not to even imagine it!!!!
The boys had pajama shorts made from Sherbet Pips Puppy Dog Tails in Cotton Candy Blue and matching t shirts.
And here is the full team:
For our Northern Hemisphere readers, I thought I would point out that these photos were taken outside our home at about 7pm on Christmas Eve. Long days and gorgeous evenings are a part of what makes this holiday time so special for us.
I would like to say that shortly after this photo was taken, all children were fast asleep in bed, but Madeleine spent until 11pm telling me that Christmas Eve was the most difficult night of the year to fall asleep. Thankfully, she did eventually!!!!
They're back! The return of Project Run and Play and my obsession with it. Honestly, I'm not sure why I love it so much, but I do know that I love the way that it makes me think laterally and makes me sew outside of my comfort zone.
This week's challenge was a remix of Craftiness is not Optional's Junebug dress. I love this dress - it's my aesthetic and something I would definitely make forLizzy.
The button up front of the dress is gorgeous and it inspired me to make a military style jacket for Lizzy. She calls it her rockstar jacket and I think she's right! When I told her that I wanted to take some photos she was very keen to get out her keyboard and sunglasses!
Jeans and jackets aren't usually Lizzy's thing, but today, she was happy to embrace them!
I love the lines on the original dress and I tried to reproduce them in this jacket. The ruffled sleeves make it a little more girly.
I asked Lizzy what she liked most about the outfit. Her answer? The sunglasses! I guess you can't take pink out of the girly-girl...
Six years ago when Madeleine was a baby, I had a chance meeting in a shopping centre with a couple who I still think about often. I was taking a break from my Christmas shopping. Madeleine was sleeping in the pram and I was drinking coffee. They asked if I would mind them sharing my table. I am so glad that I asked them to join me.
We talked about their grown up children and their daughter's recent wedding. I saw the photos. They talked about Christmas in their family when their children were young. They lived outside Sydney and each year they walked into the forest and chose the biggest tree that they could find. The children and parents would battle together to fit it in the house, laughing with the fun of it all.
Most importantly, they talked about the of making memories. I still remember them saying that as their children grew older, life inevitably brought them difficult times, but it was the collection of memories created in their family that helped each of their children always remember they were loved and that life can be good.
I think about the making of memories often. At those moments of shared joy in our family, I hope that we are wrapping each other in a protective blanket of love and beauty that will last us a life time.
So this week we are making memories...
There is no better place for us to holiday than my parent's holiday house. Even Will has wonderful memories of our time here and is so excited when we get on the ferry. He can't say Mackerel Beach, but we know he would if he could! We are in the middle of a week of swimming, sand castle building, visits from lovely friends and family, reading, drawing, (sewing!) and enjoying time with each other. On our last visit, as Pippa stepped off the ferry to go home she said "Take me back to Mackerel Beach!" I am sure this time will be no different.
I am also making memories for my Mum. She has her 70th birthday in February and I wanted to make her something special. I was inspired by the 39 squares Project. Amy from Inspireco embroidered 39 one inch squares in the lead up to her 40th Birthday. She hosted an amazing Sew Along and the Flickr Pool is gorgeous. So for Mum I am doing a "70 squares Project" A 2 inch square of embroidery for every year of her life. Each square will represent something important to her - my Dad, her children, grandchildren, sons and daughter in law, special dates, places she has traveled, places she has lived, her passions and interests.
And so it begins...
That funny blue squiggly thing in the top corner is a letter A, that will be the first square when the project is completed and that odd green doodle with a yellow border is now a celtic knot. (I had an opportunity to photograph this during Will's nap and didn't want to take the risk of finishing the knot and not taking the photos.)
A few close ups:
99 is the street number of the first home that Mum and Dad bought, and it was the house that Caroline, Tim and I were all brought home to when we were first born.
The shell is for Mackerel Beach. You already know how special this place is to our family!
The suit case is a reminder of Mum's passion for travel.
Those three little circles? Well they represent her love of hanging plates on the wall. Collections of her own, her mother and her aunt have always been a feature in her home.
The little dog belongs to Will. Dog was one of his first words and he loves every dog he meets.
And the apple? Well that is a reminder of a great trip Mum and Dad had to New York.
Mum is passionate about her sewing.
She has enjoyed holidays in Italy (gelato), Eastern Europe (Matryoshka Doll) and the United Kingdom (Union Jack).
She used to embroider little flower pots just like these onto gaberdine pinafores for Caroline and I to wear to preschool.
And the bottom row...
An Ohio star, a quilting block Mum has often used, a blossom branch for my Grandfather Pardi (Mum's Dad) who had a truly magnificent garden and 24/5/63 is my parent's wedding anniversary.
I have sewn 2 more blocks today so I will keep you posted when I get a few more done.
I hope that 2012 is a fantastic year for you and your family - a great time to remember and make memories.
Happy New Year.
PS In order to blog about this , I had to ask our most devoted reader, Mum, to stay away for a while. I wonder if it will be reflected in our google analytics data?!!!