Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My very first hand-made swap!

I just participated in my very first hand-made swap.  

(Just so you know, I'm almost turning inside out from excitement about this, kind of like an overcooked cocktail frankfurt.)

I just participated in my very first hand-made swap.

(Yes, I know I just repeated myself, but I really need you to appreciate the gravity of this situation.)

I just participated in my very first hand-made swap. 

(Ok, so this is probably starting to get a little boring now, so I promise this will be the last time I say this, buuuuut, now let me get it all out there: as a stay at home mum with two kids, possibly more coming, a house full of cleaning and washing and wiping pooey bums, and then more cleaning and washing, and yes, more pooey bums, accented by sleepless nights, sick children, teething (do you need more??????  Yes? ok then... you asked for it...) cranky children who refuse to play on their own, the constant "Mum? Mum? Mum? Mum? Mum? Mum? Mum?" (to my own dear mother: please forgive me), puzzle pieces everywhere within seconds of me putting them away (I know, right now you're thinking, c'mon, toddler puzzles?  How long would they take to put away, I mean, what 15 pieces, max??  And I would totally have agreed with you prior to having kids but YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO DO FIVE KIDS PUZZLES AT ONE TIME WHEN ALL THE PIECES ARE MIXED UP WITH EACH OTHER!!!!) (And one other thing, I can't be certain, but I think my kids eat puzzles.).  

Ok, breathe in dear.

I just participated in my very first hand-made swap. 

Now, breathe out.  *sigh*

I nearly didn't get to join in the fun, becasue, as usual I came to the party late, but the lovely Kristy of Monkey Mai very graciously let me join in.  Better late than never, I say!  In my head I can hear my husband saying "Better to be never late!"  
Hashtag: whatevs! ;)

But I was very excited to have a go at sewing a fabric basket, as well as try the Noodle-head Divided Basket pattern I've been admiring from afar off for a while now (awesome work Anna!).

Anywho, here it is, in all it's Anna Graham / Heather Ross glory.  I'm really happy with how it turned out, and without giving too much away, I thought my secret partner's favourite colours, fabric designers and designs were a nice fit with Heather Ross's Briar Rose range.  Bright and colourful, with a bit of vintage whimsy thrown in for good measure.

All the divided baskets I've seen had the same fabric on both outside pieces so I was a little bit worried about using different fabric on each side of the basket - I didn't want it to look all over the place, but I think it helped to use fabric from the same range.  

The pattern calls for 1.5" webbing for the handles but unfortunately my local Spotlight only had ugly colours or cream webbing in that size, so I had to go with the 1" size.  And then I just danced to my own tune for a bit, and added a contrasting strip of fabric down the centre of the webbing.

And for a bit more whimsical fun and to personalise the gift a bit, I free-hand embroidered a hexie and hand-stitched it to the outside.  Cute, hey!

When I was at Spotlight picking up supplies for the basket swap I found these lovelies to make another basket.  

 The gold webbing and the aqua linen practically begged me to take it home.  So I did.  And I think they'll go perfectly with some Verna Mosquera fabric I've been hoarding.  It also spoke to me.  Is this becoming something I should be concerned about?  Sewing supplies speaking to me?

Not so long as I don't speak back............

Monday, 18 August 2014

{Wife-made} The "Heidi" Apron Skirt

Sometimes, when I see a beautiful vintage linen in an op shop, just sitting in a pile of other run-of-the-mill, ordinary linens I just can't help myself.

Ok.  I'll stop myself right there.  Let's be honest.  I mean, you guys are starting to get to know me better now, so even you can probably say, "Now, hang on a minute there Xanthe, are you being completely honest about this, or are you, perhaps, telling a little ol' fibberola there??  Huh? Huh? Whaddya reckon?".

Alright.  Let's start again.

Sometimes When I see a beautiful vintage linen in an op shop, just sitting in a pile of other run-of-the-mill, ordinary linens I just can't help myself.

Better?  Yeah, ok.

So, as I was saying, I love old linens.  They're just too lovely to waste.  And they're just too lovely to leave sitting in a pile in my linen closet.  And because I keep buying said vintage linens I really need to find a way to use them so that I don't become that weird lady down the road who collects vintage linens.  You know, kind of like the weird cat lady..?

So I came up with this.

 I really love it!!!!  And in case you couldn't already tell by the excessive use of exclamation marks, I really, really, really love it.  This one is my absolute favourite.  Those strawberries.  I'm sure they were made for this skirt!  And that Riley Blake fabric... a perfect match with the vintage linen apron.

And then there's this one... oh the cross-stitch.  How I love cross-stitch.  If only it wasn't sooooooo utterly time consuming I'd really do it more often.  But I'm very happy to make use of someone else's labours.

And then there's this one... a lovely crinoline lady taking her puppy for a walk... *sigh*

And this one... a hand-embroidered garden design, with the lovely Jennifer Paganelli Circa fabric.

Oh, and THIS one makes my heart skip a beat.  I'm so torn on this one - it may not stay in my Etsy shop for long... I may need to keep it... yes, I said need.

So I'm seeing them teamed with tights and boots for cooler weather, and perhaps even a little faux fur vest...  and for Spring and Summer?  Just a cute little singlet or T-shirt, and some little leather sandals No!  Wait!  Teeny tiny Birkenstocks.  Oh yes!  (Oh no! says my bank balance.)

If you want one, head over to my Etsy shop - they're available now.  The one above may not be though, still undecided.........

P.S.  How good is it to be back blogging regularly again!?!?!

Friday, 15 August 2014

If furniture could talk

Parker era buffet (refurbished by Wife-made, available for purchase on ebay)

I'm pretty sure, if furniture could talk, it would have a lot to say.  After all, being a piece of furniture would be just like being a fly on a wall.  Oh the stories they would tell!  I can just imagine it...

Parker table to the Kinross chairs one day: Psssssst!  Did you hear what they said happened at the thing last week??  I mean, really!

Kinross chair No. 1:  Huh?  I had this big backside on me, and it was all a bit muffled from where I was sitting, if you know what I mean.  *and the chair would, of course, raise one eyebrow if it had eyebrows to raise, insinuating the clear need for that big bum to get up and do some exercise*

Parker table: Ho ho ho ho.  Well yes, you certainly do get an eyeful, my dear chair.  But never mind, that's what you've been made for, and how beautifully you fulfil your purpose.  *because Parker tables really do appreciate well made chairs of a similar vintage*

Kinross chair No. 5: *stretching out its lovely cigar-shaped legs* Yes, I must say we do.  But if only they would redo my vinyl!  It's been well over forty years since I've had some work done in that area, and well, things are just starting to get a bit saggy, if you know what I mean.

Parker table:  *at this point the Parker table is getting a little titchy because these Kinross chairs really do like to go on about what they look like, and because, in his opinion, furniture of good breeding doesn't need to bang on about how it looks, because it always looks good*  Yes, yes, but getting back to what happened at the "thing" last week - good gracious, it was enough to make my timber veneer warp!

And so on and so forth.

This is part of what I love about old stuff.  To think that you can look at a piece of vintage furniture or home decor, and know that it has already lived an amazing life.  It's been in someone else's house, and held their belongings.  It's the place where someone sat and ate who knows how many meals and talked through the day's events.  It's the lounge where they sat riveted, watching man take his first steps on the moon through a black and white television.

Don't you think that's amazing?  I do.  I really love old stuff.

The other day a friend said to me that just because something's old, doesn't mean it's good.  I can appreciate that, because it is about design and functionality too, but there's something in me that really appreciates an item's age.  Even if it is ugly (or what we consider ugly now - cue 1980's shoulder pads, and teased hair), it still has a lot to say about its era.

I think that's why my house isn't full of one period of furniture.  I love elements of many periods of furniture because they all have something to say, something unique and distinctly their own.  That's my style too though - quite eclectic.  It's not for everyone, but it's me.