Friday, March 30, 2007

Amitie ...

In French, it means friendship. And what signifies friendship more than a bunch of paper dolls, all holding hands. Not fighting or kicking or pulling hair. Little girls. All in a row. Swinging hands. Being friends. Not sure how often you would see this in real life, in my home anyway, but wait, hang on just a minute ...

Sometimes you find inspiration in a pair of pyjamas. Who ever would have thought? Bought these PJ's for the girls last week and we have all fallen in love with them. And they chose them over Bratz and Dora the Explorer! So they must be good. While hanging them out on the washing line the other day, the idea hit.
As part of Amitie's VIP blogging club, I was sent seven pieces of Heather Bailey's "Fresh cut" range of fabric. The challenge was to create something with them. My initial thoughts went to sewing something, but I was struggling. Then I had the paper doll idea.
I made a template based loosely on the doll on the pyjamas. I then ironed the squares of fabric onto some heavy weight fusible interfacing. Traced the template on, cut them out and voila! Well, not quite. All paper dolls need bows in their hair, right Tamara? And needless to say, dresses MUST be trimmed with ric-rac, as is my want. Then I threaded them all onto a length of 5 mm ribbon.
And now the problem is that as gorgeous and all that this fabric is, it doesn't co-ordinate into either girls bedrooms. But it goes nicely in mine. Do you think my husband will mind a few fabric paper dolls hanging above the bed? Surely not.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Autumn Tones

Autumn is finally starting to show itself here in Melbourne. Slowly, but surely. And that means my sewing thoughts turn to those glorious Autumnal colours.

I have a great friend (hello Jenni) who is a fantastic sewer. As in a person who sews and not a drainage system for waste water. She is very talented and sews the most amazing and gorgeous clothes. 

After two boys, she has recently had a baby girl. And this little girl is the most stylish baby I have seen in a long time. Jenni made her some fantastic leggings with ruffles across the bottom. Ruffles in a good ruffley kind of way, not a fluffy, frilly way. And in good colours. Like a burnt orange. Anyway, with a new niece who I am sure desperately needs such a pair of leggings (she is just too young to know it yet), a swap was soon in order. A pair of leggings for a little pinafore top. Done. How great to have a real life swap partner and not just a blogging one. Jenni is also great for coming over and getting excited over fabric with me. Now, that is a true friend!

The pinafore top is the first of many more I hope to make this Autumn in lots of different sizes. I love sewing with corduroy. This one in particular is so soft and perfect for babies. I just find it really hard to source. This piece is an e-bay find.

It's the same kind of design as the dresses I made for my girl's. Just a band, with straps and a gathered skirt joined to the band. I just didn't gather the skirt too much because I'm not a fan of having babies lost under volumes of fabric. I leave it open at the back, because you would wear them with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. And an open back is perfect for showing off your frilly derriere.
I thought that the trim teamed perfectly with the cord, bringing out the browns and oranges. And when I found the little orange flower buttons, I was very happy. Perhaps I may be able to see about doing a little photo shoot soon with top and matching pants on a cute-as-a-button model?

And it has come to my attention that some of my overseas readers have no idea what "daggy" means. Never crossed my mind that the cross cultural divide had been widened with the use of this endearing term. So lets see? Daggy - think very, very uncool or really old fashioned. But not "vintage" just old and you wouldn't be seen dead with it. Does that help? Here, read some articles to put it into context. This one and another one here.
Time to go and walk in this Autumn sunshine. Oh, Autumn means Fall. Just in case. I'm a little conscious of this now.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Daggy Things - Part III

Oh yes, just when you thought that the list of daggy things couldn't get any longer, I'm back with more!

Drink coasters. Sorry, but I just think daggy. Perhaps this stems from my misspent youth. Too many nights over Summer holidays spent in the Merimbula RSL. Sitting at tables covered with those cardboard beer coasters. Boy did they get soggy. And why was it so funny when you stuck them to your forehead? Enough said, I'm telling too many stories for a responsible thirty something mother of two and a dog.

I could well be the last person in the blogging universe to have found thistutorial. Jenny's Allsorts blog is beautiful and I love visiting. Always inspiring. Her coaster tutorial is very easy to follow and has gone a long way in helping me to forget the Merimbula RSL.

These are so quick and fun to make. I made this set for my sister. I can see that everyone I know will soon have a set of coasters. I feel a coaster frenzy coming on.

Paint-by-numbers! I'm loving it! And as my Mum so cleverly pointed out, you could even use them in reverse.
And then, at the end of the night when all your drinking friends have gone home, you can pack them away in this neat little bag.
That concludes my series on Daggy Things. Hope you've enjoyed it. I'll be moving back to normal programming soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daggy Things - Part II

As mentioned in my previous post, daggy things part I, people are very good at coming up to you at market stalls and telling you what you should be making. I have a thick skin. One such conversation went something like this.

"Do you make peg aprons?"

"Peg aprons?"

"Yeah, you know, aprons you keep your pegs in when you hang your washing on the line"

"Ah, no."

"Well, you should be. They'd sell like hot cakes!"

Yeah, right, I thought, peg aprons. Who would use a peg apron - Daaagggy!

Then a girlfriend told me about her camping trip where all the "ladies" in the caravan park wore peg aprons. While hanging out their washing and bringing it in. Not as a fashion item around the park for 5.00pm drinks and nibblies. Although, I was lead to believe that they were "de rigeur" in the laundry. She asked if I could make her one. But, she stipulated, it must not be daggy. She wanted to be the envy of the caravan park.

So, out came the "flea market fancy", teamed up with some red gingham and thetable cloth I bought from the op-shop. I made it pretty heavy duty, with the pocket and the back lined with the gingham to make it extra sturdy. I didn't gather the apron front onto the band at all, as I had visions of it being like a man's tool belt. After all, pegs are kind of like women's tools. I know, I am being very politically incorrect and stereotyping male and female rolls. Nobody ever said this blog was politically correct. Pretty, yes. Politically correct, sometimes.

The one stipulation was that the pockets needed to be gathered so as to fit all the pegs in. Hey, good thinking! If that hadn't have been mentioned, I'm sure I would have made a lovely flat pocket that would have fitted all of about five pegs in.
Now, there have been a lot of questions regarding my labels. Can I just say that again? My labels. There. Anyway, I really cannot take the credit for them. They were Marianne's idea, and I am sure she wouldn't mind me sharing the contact details for those of you who are interested. Whole heartedly recommend using these suppliers. Efficient, helpful, great products.
The tape is just your good old standard twill tape, bought by the metre fromSpotlight. About $1.00 something a metre. The stamp was custom made by Sydney Stamp Stall . Send Felicity a jpeg file of your artwork and she does the rest. Mine was a rubber stamp on a wooden block. Now, the ink was from Scrapbook Junction and is called "Palette" Hybrid Ink. It does need to be heat set, but then should be fine for washing. Perhaps Marianne, you could further add any comments regarding this? Hope that helps those who have been asking.
And coming soon, yes, just when you thought I was all daggied out - Daggy Things - Part III.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Daggy Things - Part I

When people discover that you can "make stuff", sometimes they put in a special request or two. When I had my little market stalls last December, I received a few requests, or rather, people asking me if I made something in particular. Two items I was asked for then, I have been asked for since, and it started me thinking.

When I was initially asked for these items, to be honest, I cringed. They were not things that entered into my creative realm. For me, they were kind of up there with crocheted toilet roll covers or nylon lace coat hangers. Hey, call me a craft snob if you must.

Then I thought that these were functional items that people were asking for. Does that mean that they can't find them, or can't find them made in a style that appeals?
Therefore, I present to you item number one. The essential item that everybody's Mum had in the seventies, the jewellery roll.

When I thought jewellery roll, I thought daggy present that your auntie gives you for Christmas. Yes, functional, but daggy. I am really loving the Moda Uptown fabric (thanks again Kristin). I wanted it to say here is somewhere I can put all my funky beads and chunky pendants next time my husband takes me to stay at some cool and hip holiday destination. If he is reading this ...

Pretty simple construction really. Two pockets at the bottom and some ribbon loops at the top to thread and fasten those funky pieces onto.
So, I'm feeling OK about daggy stuff now. I've learnt that I just need to think about it a bit and make it in a style that I am comfortable with.
And what is that I see? My very own "Violet & Rose" label! Marianne was once again kind enough to help me out here and point me in the right direction. Must say, I'm pretty chuffed with the end result. A bit like seeing your name up in lights. Well, it's as close as I think I will ever get to that.

Coming soon, daggy things Part II ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pedal to the Metal

Sometimes I start things. They are very simple projects. I think, however, the fact that I don't have a sewing room and that my machine is not permanently set up is a hindrance to finishing simple projects. I may have a spare half hour which would be ample time to zip around something and finish it. By the time I get out the machine, set it up (inevitably I have the wrong colour cotton in or the bobbin is near empty), sew for all of, ooooh, ten minutes, then it is time to pack it up. I don't like leaving the machine out. Little fingers, electricity and well, you know the rest.

So this bunting took me a lot longer than I would have liked it to. Last night I was determined to finish it, so I put my foot down and off I went. Couldn't be bothered taking the extra minutes to pin the binding to the trim, to the flags. Just put my foot down heavier. It is a well known fact that the harder you put your foot down, the quicker you go, the less time you get to ponder your mistakes. Just keep going.

Afterwards, I regret my lead foot, but hey, it's done. And it will be hanging on a wall, high, so no one can inspect the bit I missed.

It will be hanging on a very special wall. In Queensland. A long way from here. My new niece's wall. Maeve Elizabeth was born last week and I just want to blow raspberries on her chubby little tummy and kiss her precious little forehead while she is sleeping. One day, in a few months ...

In the meantime, Miss Maeve, here, have some bunting from your crazy Auntie Jo.

By the way, the bunting is made up of all Laura Ashley children's fabric. Went into their clearance store the other week and they were selling packs of pieces made up from old sample books. Wish I had bought more. There was only one pack ofchildren's fabric, so glad I snaffled that one up. Soaked off the edging card, cut around the holes at the top, and hey presto, bunting! Don't you just love a bargain?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Obsessive Compulsive ...

Who says obsessive compulsive is a disorder?

I say it's a passion!

I have an obsessive compulsive passion for trim! Braid, ribbon, call it what you like.

Beautiful, pretty, colourful. I love the way that you put it with your favourite fabric and it screams "Yes! We were meant to be together. Where have you been all my life? Don't we look great together?" I think having a love for fabric goes hand in hand with a love for trims. 

Don't be thinking that all my trim is neatly categorized on a fancy shelf. Hell no! It lives under my bed in shoe boxes. And it is never wound back properly because I am so busy searching for that piece I bought three months ago that I have now found a fabric soul mate for.

So please, sit back and enjoy this piece, entitled "A rummage through the shoe box". Otherwise known as newly acquired eye-candy I tell my husband I've had for years.

A linen trim, with a beautiful soft grey edge. Yes, I really did need 30 metres.

OK, so the cute factor won over here. Not usually one to be swayed by cute, but that horse and cart... And the tulips. Was I surprised to find it was Japanese? No, not really.
And give me ric-rac. 60 metres. Bring it on. Small ...
and large. You can never have too much.
There are friends who understand the "passion" and who send marvellous boxes with beautiful apple green pom pom trim.

And other friends who aid and abet by sharing not only where to find wonderful ribbon, but ribbon with polka dots.
Perhaps I should stop fondling and start making?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sewing lessons I have learnt ...

Thought I would share with you some of the things that I have learnt while sewing dresses over the past week. And yes, that is "the dress", version 2. I cannot make for one and not for the other, just ask Kate about that!
That light in the sewing machine that has been flickering since, oooh, about November. If you take the time to pick up a screw driver, take the cover off the light and twist the bulb in tightly, well, low and behold, it stops flickering. Do you know how annoying it is to sew with a light that flickers? Do you know how easy it is to fix?
When you are sewing with lots and lots of fabric, as I was by the time I got down to the fourth tier of the dress, make sure you don't sew with it scrunched up in a big ball on the side. Because, believe it or not, you sew parts together that are not meant to be together. And that can be really annoying too.

Give your children sedatives before you attempt to fit a dress on them. You can fit a dress three times and still get it wrong - all because they won't STAND STILL. And yes, if you don't stand still, the pins will stick into you.
When you are sewing and your children are in bed and you really need to try the dress on them, you can actually put it on them while they are asleep. Oh, come on! It was only the top part. I just needed to see if it went around her chest. Did you think I meant the whole dress? Oh no, I would never have done that. And when your husband walks up the hallway and asks what the @#$% are you doing, just casually say "oh, nothing ....".
You can never have or use too many pretty buttons or trim. By the way, if you have a really keen eye, you will notice some staining on the button above. Unfortunately, these photos were taken post-birthday party. It's cordial, or cake or jelly or ice-cream or something.
Always let your six year old choose her own fabric because she did a darn good job.
And I have it on good advice that these dresses are perfect for twirling around in, until you make yourself so giddy, you collapse in a heap, giggling wildly.
Must go and make myself one.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

It's the little things that make me happy ...

A project that I have been wanting to work on for some time now has been to make a dress for my girls. I can make a skirt and I can make a top, so if you can combine the two, surely you would get a dress?

And the answer is yes, I can make a dress!
Sure, there was a bit of unpicking involved and I am sure if a dressmaker saw it, they would pass out from the shock of the unorthodox construction. But hey, it looks OK? Don't go looking too closely though.

I really love adding little details to individualise what I make. I have a real "thing" for old buttons. The two on the back remind me of boiled lollies. And the one on the front is so pretty, just like a rosette. And the ric-rac trim went so perfectly with the blues and the greens. And I'm loving those umbrellas and those colours. I bought the umbrella fabric (Felicity Miller for Westminster Fibres "Kate's Umbrella's") specifically to make a dress. The stripes I had, and they just seemed to go. (Fleurish by Valori Wells for Free Spirit)
Yes, quite happy with that little effort.
Something else that makes me very happy is free fabric!
I am a big fan of Kristin's Sew Mama Sew on-line store. She stocks great fabric, is very helpful and the postage from Oregon to Melbourne takes seven days, so far, without fail. I was reading her blogthe other day, when I came across "Free Fabric Friday". Three of my favourite things - Fridays, Fabric and Free. I grovelled enough to be the lucky recipient of this fat quarter pack.
It is the pink and brown colourway of Moda's Uptown by Erin Michael. And I love it! It is different and gorgeous. Geometricfloral, fantastic combinations. And, while we are talking different and gorgeous, have a look at this!

Yes, it is fabric. And yes, it is colour-by-numbers. Remember those? And it has birds. You have to love fabric with birds. Sure, it takes some getting used to. But I can't wait to use it. I bought two yards and I feel some pencil rolls coming on. Pencil rolls and colour-by-numbers - a perfect combination.
Ah yes, it doesn't take much to make me happy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lovin' that Lotus ...

First things first. The blogetogether was great. Met some lovely crafty blogging ladies (and some babies) who I have been wanting to meet for such a long time and believe it or not, they scrub up OK in real life! And they are every bit as witty, charming, clever and did I mention stylish, as their blogs.

It did come to my attention, however, that some people (who shall remain nameless) thought that "tcaovar" was perhaps something in Russian. Firstly, I don't speak Russian. Secondly, they are the initials for the name of my blog. T for The, C for Complete, A for Adventure and so on. And who are Violet & Rose? Who knows. Are they people? Are they flowers? Are they scents or colours? They are all of the above, and they are the name of my little brand/shop. Hope that clears things up for those who thought tcaovar was a type of caviar.
To see more, visit Justine's flick-r shots here.

The venue for our get together was Amitie. Last week I saw that the new Amy Butler Lotus range had arrived in their store. Couldn't wait to get my grubbymitts on it. I had spied this gorgeous pale, almost duck egg blue and slate grey combination and I knew it had to be mine.A very good friend who loves stationery, gave me these two blue notebooks around Christmas and asked me to make her some notebook covers to fit them. They were such a lovely blue and Amy (not Butler, my friend, but hey, what a coincidence!) is a wonderful friend, so I really wanted to search until I found something that did them both justice. I think I hit jackpot. That fabric is so good to sew with and when you combine the prints and get such a great result, well, it's like you've reached fabric nirvana. Am I going overboard? If you sew and you love fabric, you will feel the love going on here.One is A4 size, the other, pictured above, is A5. I put the pen inserts in the A4 but not in the A5. The pocket was too deep for pens, so I just left it as one large pocket, maybe to put loose papers in.
I feel some more of these coming on ...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Block under scrutiny ...

You may have noticed over in my side bar that there is a button for "A block for MS". One of those great ideas that are really easy to get involved with. And it gives you the sense that your sewing is for a purpose and not more useless faffing around. Did I just say that? Sewing? Useless faffing? Well, you know what I mean.

The quilt is being organised by Amitie, and as I am going in there on Saturday, I thought I really should get to and make my block. I've been a little naughty and my central block has a few extra colours, but it is predominantly red, black and white, which was the criteria. I have really wanted to use that little scrap for so long and it just seemed to be right as a central piece. It has interest and character and I liked it.

Normally, if I was making a quilt, the back would be, well, to quote my father, as rough as guts. But when you are making a block that is going to be part of something bigger and going to a shop where the work that comes out of there is, well, stunning and precise (have a look here, in particular, the Faux Fassett), I took a little more care.

In fact, so proud am I of the care I took, I present to you, the back of my block.
Please note the carefully pressed seams! The other reason I took so much care with it is that I am not just sending it off in the mail. Mail gives you a sense of anonymity. No, I will hand it over myself, in person. Scary stuff that!
If you too would like to put your work up for scrutiny, and endure the torment that is self inflicted upon you, then I am sure the ladies at Amitie would love some more blocks!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blogalicious ...

A pile of blogalicious goodies for some blogalicious ladies for theblogetogether. And they smell really good ....

Organised by Justine, it's going to be at Amitie on Saturday the 17th, and we are all going to swap little gifts. And eat. And chat.

Have I mentioned I love gifts?
Making and giving. Receiving.
Oh, OK, perhaps receiving just a little more.
Now all I need to do is wrap them.
Wrapping courtesy of the very lovely applehead, over here.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Shake your groove thang ...

Yes, my groove thang needs some shakin'. It's taking a while to get back into the swing of things. School is back, kinder has started. Any parent doing the school and kinder pick-up/drop-off thing will know what I'm talking about. I am currently watching an old supermarket turnstile on e-bay. Hope I win it, because I seriously need one at our back door.
I'm joking. But I do need one.

I really do subscribe to the theory behind "The Over Scheduled Child". Big fan of kids being kids. Hanging out. Chasing the dog with buckets of water. It's the bath water, for all you Melbourne people who are sitting aghast at your computers, thinking that I would give my children our precious drinking water to throw on the dog. We do a couple of "extra-curricular" activities that my children really enjoy. But I'm taking a while to get it all together.

Which means that blog posts are less frequent, as the crafting is too.
But I did make a rabbit! 
All recent baby arrivals have been girls. Which means that bunny's in skirts have been a plenty. Not sure what to do with a boy bunny? A scarf perhaps? 
few people have been posting about polka dots lately. I am a recent convert and I must say I can't get enough of them. I always thought of myself as a stripes girl, but something swayed me to the spots and now I am hooked. I bought this fabric, Maywood Studio, for a quilt. But it will be lucky to make the quilt. If you go to the Maywood link, scroll down to the Vintage Flower Garden range. I was a little shocked when I double checked my link to find the "Beary Merry Christmas" range appear. I may be into hand knitted bunny's, but I draw the line at bear Christmas fabric.

I'm hoping that the week ahead proves a little more fruitful for me.
And if you are easily shocked at the risque, please look away from the next photo.
Perhaps if I spent less time on bunny photo shoots and more time on some more constructive endeavours, my groove thang may come back.