Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Weather - Again ...

Did I say it was going to be a White Christmas here in Melbourne? I did, but I didn't really believe it. Until I woke at 4.oo am to the sound of hail. And when we awoke just a little after five, as you do with small children on Christmas Day, to check to see if the reindeer's had eaten their carrots on our front porch, the front yard was white! Did I take a photo? No. Why? Because I went to bed at 2.oo am and my thoughts were not very coherent.
I had made a bunny for my daughter's teacher as a "baby shower" gift. I had never knitted a toy before and I was not very confident with how things were going to turn out. But it was soooo easy. And I was really happy with the end result. So happy that I decided that my sister, whose first baby is due in March, needed to have one. They live interstate and were down for Christmas and every unborn niece (yes, "it" is a "she") needs a hand knitted bunny from Santa. Thing is I only started to knit it three days prior to Christmas.
Now I know there are some of you knitters out there who would think three days for this rabbit would be a piece of cake, and I'm not disputing that. Give me a good run on it, and I would be able to do it in a day and a bit perhaps. But the key here is the word "Christmas". I had left all my baking until the weather cooled, all my wrapping until the weather had cooled, cleaning my house until the weather had cooled. Not sure what the weather had to do with it all really, other than it sounding like a really good idea at the time.
Anyway, the rabbit. So, there it was, Christmas Eve, and we had the body and two legs. I was on to my second Bailey's on ice, my little Christmas Eve tradition (hey, I'd been to Mass first!) and my husband suggested I should let it go. What! Let it go? No! He didn't understand. I had set myself a goal and I was going to do it.
So I kept knitting, and knitting. Through Carols by Candlelight on TV, then on to even worse late night television programming. Santa came and put all the presents out. By then I was on to the stitching and stuffing. Have you ever got to the stage of being so tired you feel really ill? The Bailey's and eating Santa's supper probably didn't help, but it wasn't finished and I just had to put it down and go to bed. That is how bad I felt. I put it down and went to bed.
But never fear, after all the festivities of the morning, I picked it up and kept going. Yes, my husband thinks I am mad and yes, we were late for Christmas lunch. And when my sister opened the present my husband proceeded to tell everyone, "And that is why we were late!". So now my entire family thinks I am mad.
The really special thing about this rabbit for me, is that as children, my sister's and I all had hand knitted rabbits. My grandmother worked in a nursing home and one of the ladies there knitted a rabbit for my Grandma when each of her grandchildren were born. And we all loved our rabbits. We all took our rabbits to bed with us each night. We all still have our rabbits. A bit the worse for wear, but still there. So to continue the tradition and give my niece a bunny to love was really important for me.
Just as long as she doesn't love it too much. That left ear was sewn on pretty late at night ...

Friday, December 22, 2006

White Christmas ...

City of Melbourne Christmas Tree. Corner of Swanston & Collins Streets, Melbourne. Taken on a good day.
Things are a little crazy here in Melbourne at the moment, or should that be hazy. We have had a week filled with thick smoke from the bushfire's in Victoria, 35 degree heat and apparently, on Christmas Day, we can expect some snow falls in the alpine regions. The world's gone mad.

Christmas shopping done. Still knitting rabbits - yes, you read right. Knitting rabbits. Something that I have been hesitant to embrace, but am now loving. Particularly because they worked. I had visions of poor sad old wonky rabbits, but they look half OK. Will post a photo or two in the next few weeks.

Have made skirts for the girls to wear Christmas Day. Because girl's "frock up" on Christmas Day. Or they do in my family anyway. We will be sipping champagne cocktails (the big girls that is, the little one's will be sucking pop tops) and be looking gorgeous in our "frocks". Freezing, but gorgeous.
Baking shortbread tomorrow. Have had to wait for the weather to cool down. Note I said cool down, not plummet to the depths of winter. If anyone has ever tried to make shortbread in an un-airconditioned house, they will know what I mean.
Have yourselves a Merry little Christmas. Relax, do some sewing (or even knitting) and Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lots of Things ...

Lots of things going on around here lately.
Lots of Christmas get together's ...Lots of Christmas reading ...
Lots of writing Christmas cards ...These beauties are from Tiel's Etsy shop.
Lots of hairclips from 
Tamara. Well, just because ...Lots of sewing ...I was loving this little combination of Denyse Schmidt and (will you still talk to me?) Spotlight fabric.So was the dog ....
Also, if you happen to be anywhere in Melbourne (or anywhere else for that matter) where there may be some quilts for sale. Like in a dark alley way from a man off the back of a truck. Please take note. Read the following and keep your eyes peeled.
So much for the old Christmas spirit being alive and well. The mind boggles! How would you get this many quilts out of a shop? I guess I just don't have a criminal mind. Just as well really.
To the people at Amitie, I hope your theif is caught and more importantly, your beautiful quilts returned.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Violet & Rose is Open for business!

Finally, the day has come! "Violet & Rose" is open for business. Just in time for your Christmas shopping. What a co-incidence! Looking for presents for Teachers? Friends? Family? Come on over.

The market last Friday went really well. Much better than the first one. Next year I am going to be a bit more selective with my markets. This one I would have done anyway because it was at my daughter's school, but I need to do my homework a little more because the first really wasn't for me. But that is OK. It's all good experience.

I may look a bit more at wholesale. Maybe some other Internet shop sites. I want to develop some new products. Buy some more fabric now I have some money in the kitty. Yippee!

But for now, let's see how the online thing goes.

Friday, December 1, 2006


I was hoping to post a bit more this week but it became a little hectic. I have another market tonight. Weather is beautiful, mid 20's, and talk around the school is positive, so fingers crossed. And if all else fails, I'll put my goodies on my "Violet & Rose" shop site for sale next week.

I've sewn a few notebook holders over a few late nights this week. Last market I wasn't quite happy with how they were displayed and have been wracking my brain thinking for a better, quirkier way to display. Then I came up with the idea of the bookends. So headed off to Spotlight, bought a V and an R, sprayed them red, and pleaded with my husband to make me the bookends. He came good. Apologies for the picture. It was a bit dull this morning and it was one of those "now or never" shots.
As you can see, they are not very uniform in size. Because the covers are made from sample pieces, they are not cut precisely and I often need to straighten them up, hence the different sizes. But I'm really happy with how they turned out. I love them all stacked up together. All the colours and the patterns. Do you ever make something and then lay it out and just admire it? I had these sitting on our dining room table all morning, just so I could walk past them and pretend to be surprised by them each time I saw them. So surprised I would just stop and admire for a couple of seconds, choose which one I would buy, and then keep going to put the washing out!

I'm not loopy. Really! I'm not. Please tell me that someone else does this too?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oh Red, White & Blue. I do love you!

I have made a few of these tops now for a few people, but never for my girl's. So I thought it was time. I have so much fabric waiting to be made into their Summer clothes. Yesterday I started. The top fabric I have had for a while. It is from the "Pique Nique" range by RJR. The bottom is a Moda fabric from a range called "Fruit Cocktail". The trims are a combination of new and vintage. Bought and swapped. I really like how it all came together. And I love how this one looks over 3/4 jeans. And now I need to go and cut out another. Because what you sew for one, you must also sew for the other!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gorgeous Things made by a very clever person ...

In my last post, I mentioned Tamara and her beautiful ribbon hair accessories for girls. I thought I would do a feature post on her products because if you have little girls, you must have some of these. Especially with Christmas coming up. Great to put in those stockings. Tamara makes them herself, which is even more reason to mention them.Tamara's business is called "Ella and Kate". She creates beautiful bows on hair ties and hair clips. A set such as those featured in these photos cost $8. Very reasonable. For smaller children, she also makes a very, very sweet baby bow, which is just a single bow on a clip, for $2.50 a clip. And the clip is very secure. I can vouch for it.The most wonderful thing is that she will make them to match your child's outfit. Very important to have completely co-ordinated accessorised children! I have given her swatches of fabric that I want bows matched to. The double bonus with this is that now I have to get cracking and sew these outfits for my girls. We can't have hair accessories with no matching clothing, can we?

If you would like to purchase some of these little treasures, please e-mail Tamara or phone her on 03 8812 2824. Tell her Jo sent you!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Note to self: 10 things to remember about doing a market ...

Dear Self,
Next time you have the "inspired" idea to have a market stall, please remember the following:

  1. You will work and work and work to get things just right. Day and night. Night and day ( I feel a song coming on ...). You will exhaust yourself so as any "bug" doing the rounds will find you as a lovely and willing host. Gastro the day before is not a good thing. And dragging yourself there and trying to smile through the stomach cramps is damn hard work.
  2. No matter what month of the year, it will snow. Yes, in Australia, November is late spring. In fact, November 15 is only 15 days away from Summer. But due to the fact that there was a market on that I was participating in, we had weather from the Antarctic.
  3. Weather from the Antarctic means people stay at home.
  4. When you participate in a market that is held at a primary school, it doesn't matter how much bunting you use, your table will still look like the classroom science display table. See Exhibit A.
  5. Even though you have a very presentable sign saying "Button Bracelets", four people will still pick up said bracelets and gush over the "bookmarks".
  6. Somebody is always bound to come in and ask to buy the worst made thing that is not for sale - the bunting.
  7. People love to pick things up and have a look and say how lovely they are. And then put them down and walk away ...
  8. You won't sell half as much as what you thought (daydreamed) that you would. But that is what the Internet is for!
  9. Lovely friends (thanks Jenny !!) will come and mind your stall for you so as you can walk around and have a look and pick up some things for Santa to bring. And you will realise that your stall looks pretty darned good.
  10. And you will meet wonderful people like Tamara who makes the most beautiful ribbon hair accessories for little girls, who gives you loads of inspiration to keep giving it a go.
Now, when is that next market?

Monday, November 13, 2006

A little bit of bunting ...

I think I'm ready? For my first market, that is.

A friend yesterday asked me if I felt like I was studying for an exam. Yes! A perfect description. You study, write, re-write, have a day off here and there, cram and then you close your books and think to yourself, "Well, I've done all I can do and now I'm in the lap of the gods".

Sure, I planned to have everything for both markets made by the first market. I have a bit over two weeks between the two, but a lot on in those two weeks. So the organisational freak in me had everything made and just had me kicking back, on a deck chair, wine in hand ....

Alas, that is not to be. And I am now at the stage where all I really want to do is sew some clothes for my children. But that will have to wait.

I am very happy with how things have turned out. That comes in no small part to the kindness and generosity of this soul. My computer and design skills are a little on the shabby side. And I'm not talking shabby chic here. I knew the look and feel that I wanted for my logo, but just didn't have the expertise to go about creating it. Marianne stepped in and offered to help and hey presto! After a few trials, namely due to me changing my mind on colours, my logo was born. Nothing made this venture feel more real for me than opening an envelope and finding pages of postcards and labels that Marianne had printed out for me. Her help has been invaluable. A thousand thank you's Marianne.

With that, everything just seems to have come together (touch wood). I even found a basket to display my pencil rolls in, in the local hard rubbish collection! Hey, it was clean! It was sitting there! Re-use, recycle, I say!

I've made little price signs, ironed my calico for the table (I know, I'm sounding pathetic now), pinned on all my swing tags until my fingers were sore from those little brass safety pins, my neck hurts from sewing, sewing, sewing ....

But still something was missing. I laid everything out (as you do) and looked and then, it came to me!

A little bit of bunting.

For the front of the table.

Very quick bunting, mind you. Single sided, just cut. Not even edged with the pinking shears. Just cut and sewn on the gingham ribbon. The perfectionist in me says "shame on you". The stylist says "hey, looking good!".

I'm hoping that people will be gathered en mass around my table and the bunting will never see the light of day. However, if they are not, and I am sitting there, all on my own, while shoppers flock to the stall selling cheap imported Indonesian jewellery, at least my table will be looking pretty.

A little bit of bunting.

Sometimes that's all it takes to make a girl happy.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Welcome ...

Welcome to "The Complete Adventures of Violet & Rose". A new blog about the trials and tribulations of having your own little sewing adventure. It's bound to be a bumpy ride, so hold on. 

I will be sharing many a tale with you all. Some of which will be along the lines of:

  • The Tale of the Magical Bobbin.
    This is the bobbin that always knows to run out when you are on your last line of sewing.
  • The Story of the Cunning Cotton.
    The Cunning Cotton is a friend of the Magical Bobbin. He too runs out when you only have a line to go on something that has to be finished by tomorrow. And you will never have any of that colour left.
  • The Scary Scissors.
    The Scary Scissors have a mind of their own, and even though you have cut to measurements, these scissors always seem to cut just that little bit smaller, rendering your fabric useless.
  • The Fabulous Fabric.
    It's not all doom and gloom over here. There will be lots of happy tales of fabric that is bright and fun and fabulous.

I'm not sure what else I can promise. As we wander along there might be posts a plenty, or posts that are few and far between. We'll see ...