Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A little bit of family history

While staying with family over the holidays Mum pulled out a few little sewing gems from the back of her cupboard to show me. Mum's sewing cupboard used to overflow, but she has cut it back a bit these days - but in a box, in the cupboard, are these:

Three manuals for Singer sewing machines from 1912, 1928 and 1932. These are directly from members of my family, my grandmother and great-grandmother. They obviously seriously followed the text at the top of the booklet "This book should be carefully preserved for reference". The little paper books are still with us but the sewing machines are not! The oscillating hook (the silver arm that goes up and down in front of you on your machine) of model 66 was apparently the newest feature at that time in the early 1900s, and in 1932 someone has purchased model 15 with central bobbin. Good stuff.

The books tell you all about the usual threading and tension.

And how to do the fancy stitches. Whoa, looks tricky.

And then there is another box, with all the attachments!

There were so many different pieces they were impossible to photograph. If changing a needle or adjusting your tension makes you sweaty on a modern machine, imagine having to grapple with the contents of this box to make your tucks and ruffles!

Not sure what happened with the family sewing machines after the 1930s but I know Mum shared the purchase of a new Elna with her mum in the early 1970s and its still going strong today, it literally purrs. And yes, she still has the instruction booklet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An easy day

I really didn't think I would get this doll made in one day, or during the day for that matter. It was hot and sticky weather, and the little boy and I stayed in for most of it with the cooler on. He amused himself beautifully for long stretches of time and I sat close by, stitching and cutting, cutting and stitching, and then I ended up with this little one. She's a "new big sister" present.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monkey business

I stayed up late last night, I suddenly realised that 0:55 is not five minutes to midnight, but 55 minutes past it. What was I doing? Pottering around and making a monkey. Sew a bit here, iron a bit there, stuff a bit in front of the telly, just sew it together before going to bed, actually, why not stuff it before bed...you get the idea.

This is Mabel Monkey from the Softies book (obviously he's the boy version, Marvin perhaps?). I made a few small changes from the original.

The banana posing was his idea, and yes, a ripe avocado does make a good seat, apparently.

(I won't have to put up with his antics for much longer as he is bound for Melbourne with the baby bibs very shortly.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Get out your hammer

The arrival of a new baby of course requires suitable baby gifts, there really is no better excuse for a bit of making, is there?

Today I thought I was going to get nowhere, I kept starting things and then walking away to do other meaningless, fiddly tasks. So, two bibs took me basically all day to make.

I up-cycled (trying that word for the first time...) a blue hand towel purchased from the charity shop for $2 as the backing fabric and made two spaceship themed bibs. I just modelled the shape on a store bought bib I had.

Then the fastener - velcro? ties? snaps? I have had a packet of snaps in the cupboard for some months, bought them for a project I never finished (I think I was afraid of the snaps), so I took the bibs, the trusty hammer and the snaps packet out to the back deck. After working out which bit went with what, how to use the little snappy tool thingy and aiming true with the hammer the bibs were done!

I should craft with a hammer more often!

There will be a monkey toy to go with this gift, sadly no hammer required.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cleaning up, taking stock

Gee, I have spent a lot of this morning catching up on blog reading, a lot of lovely things are happening already. Jodie at Ric Rac is making some awsome softies, Cam at Curlypops is hoping we all turn into superheros and Nic at Yardage Design is baking and crocheting, just like that! My mum tried to show me how to crochet once, a long, long time ago. I kind of remember it ending in tears and vowing never to touch it again....

Well anyway, I have cleaning rather than craft on my plate right now. When we left Brisbane a week before Christmas the lawn and garden were dried out to a crisp, the lemongrass plant was nearly dead, I had started to throw around some grey water to try and liven things up a bit in the garden department. Three weeks away and it seems to have rained the whole time - the grass on the back lawn was half-way up to my knees, the lemongrass has a second life, the weeds were sprouting everywhere, and a rather enthusiastic creeper has grown though a gap in a window of my son's bedroom and is flailing about mid-air looking for something to grow on - ick! There are plagues of ants and mosquitos to be squashed, smacked, sprayed and swatted. Piles of holiday washing have been done and dried, a huge pile of ironing consequently awaits my attention (I'm ignoring it).

Some sewing does await my attention very soon (at the expense of the ironing no doubt). A friend of mine had a baby yesterday so some presents need to be constructed and posted as a matter of priority, I am going to try my hand at screen printing with Thea from Thea & Sami in late January. I have also been working on my Dick Bruna project - I am up to E, but my eskimo has had pants but no shoes for a week or so. I also popped into Amitie while I was in Melbourne, it was beautiful. I bought a patchwork cushion kit, with binding around the edge, the instructions say "bind as you would a quilt." Thats extremely informative if you have never bound a quilt before, so I suppose that is on my "self-teach" list pretty soon.

Time for coffee, and considering the cleaning of the car...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hello, remember me?

Hello there! I have been away for three weeks, we did a big trip in the car - Brisbane to Melbourne, and return - 4739kms all up. Spent two weeks in Melbourne with family and friends. The man and I took advantage of unlimted babysitting and did all our socialising for the year squashed into a very short time frame. I caught up with my special best friend. On the way home we visited the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra, gee that was good.

Here are some action shots of our fun:


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