Monday, November 29, 2010

Retro quilt top.

Have you been wondering why you haven't seen much action from the retro square quilt top I was planning to make? I spent hours musing over which combination of fabrics to use for the quilt top. I arranged them in different ways. I tried different colour combinations, but nothing felt right (all you quilters out there know how this feels right?!). I have since worked out why. All the fabrics I bought were mostly orange, yellow, green or purple and all were medium to large print florals. The result being that the squares all seemed to blur into each other. See what I mean?

Anyone who has made a quilt will (hopefully) know the rule of having 10% pizazz! Thats right, 10% of your quilt top should be made up of a fabric that does not match the rest of your quilt. It creates a pleasing contrast without taking away from the overall look of the quilt. I hit etsy in search of pizazz and these four fabrics are now on their way to me, ready to make my quilt top complete!

Not all florals, not all orange. Perfect. Fabrics from PoppysRoom (sister shop to Zwizzle).

Sam xox

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I purchased this crocheted cropped jacket today. I have been making an effor these past six months to only buy clothes if I need them for work. This is not work wear, but there is no possible way I could crochet a vest like this! I love it so much I just had to show you all...

It reminds me of a vintage crochet doily... which Jamie thinks might not necessarily be a good thing. Regardless, I fell in love with it!

It is a rainy Sunday evening here in Sydney. Jamie is spinning his legs on his indoor trainer and I am relaxing listening to the radio.

Maybe we will start thinking about dinner soon.

Sam xox

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bike and pledge review.

It has been a good couple of months now since I made my New (financial) Year pledge and boy has my life changed! The most obvious change is that I am no longer working as a casual primary school teacher, but now full time as an outreach worker in the mental health field. I began this job at the end of July and have loved every day so far. But this post is not about how much I enjoy my job, it is about checking in to see how well I am sticking to my pledge:

Reading back over my pledge post, I can remember how depressed I was feeling about not having permanent, full time work. I am one of those people who thrive off working and contributing financially to the household. I mean, I worked 5 days a week while I studied full-time at university for four years! I love work. When I made my pledge I was trying to create a bit more of a routine and structure to my life, attempting to patch up the bad feels I had about not having a 'proper' job. Here goes:

--> I said "I will not buy a single piece of clothing for the next six months - I will have to make any clothes I want instead!" and, well, I have pretty much stuck to this, even with working full time! I do admit to buying two dresses for summer though (that was a weak moment)! I did have to buy some new clothes, but they were shorts and t-shirts for work only. That gear I do not wear on the weekends! :-) So far I have made 2 dresses, 1 scarf, 2 skirts, and one pair of pajama shorts.

--> I said "I will make more homemade foods." I tried. I did make a bit of bread. But this has definitely fallen off my radar since beginning this job... does cooking dinner count? Probably not.

--> I said "I will grow seasonal vegetables and maintain a herb garden." Well, winter was rubbish. The spot I dug my vegetable garden just didn't get enough sunlight, so I had severely stunted crops. I have re-planted for spring and it is looking much more promising. The days are getting longer and the crops seem to be growing much faster.

--> I said "I want to establish more environmentally friendly cleaning methods.". This definitely has not happened I am afraid! Sorry guys (and Earth)!

---> I said "I want to start an exercise routine." I have done this! A week after I began my job a gym opened up downstairs from my office (what are the chances). So there really was no excuse. I am currently doing 2 spin classes per week and it is actually making me feel good! (I know, exercise really does work, strange huh)!

--> I said "In an effort to live greener I am considering riding a bike to work" I found out this week that there is a spot in the office where I can leave my bike if I ride to work! So what's a girl to do when she uncovers such information? Buy a bike of course! Look at my new baby...

Jamie picks it up for me on Tuesday, so come Wednesday I will be riding to work! I am planning to add a basket to the front and a bag on the back, plus some fenders and lights.

* * * * * * *

So overall I think my New (financial) Year pledge is going pretty well. I have definitely stuck to most of it, and it is becoming a nice part of the routine of my life.

I am now beginning to plan my goals for the coming New Year... just over a month to go.

Sam xox

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Knitted bell.

This bell was last years Christmas decoration. Mill was living in the US and we were trying to maintain our crafty Christmas lead up tradition. Mill sent me through a pattern that she pomised would be easy, even for a knitting illiterate like me!

This bell took no time to make, and requires only the basic knitting stitches. I knitted this in one evening, and with the help of Ally (who did the casting off for me) was able to hang it on the tree in time for Christmas.

I would recommend this pattern, as anyone who has knitted a couple of stitches would be able to do it! You can find the pattern here.

Let me know if you make one too, I would love to see photos.

Sam xox

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To market.

Image borrowed from here.

A colleague of mine invited me along to a trip to the Eveleigh Farmers Market that is held near her home every Saturday. I had not heard of this market before, but Marjolein promised it was great.

I met Marjolein at her home, and after a 10 minute walk through some beautiful back streets lined with terrace houses and home to a number of cute cats, we arrived at the markets. What I noticed straight away were the number of bikes lined up along the footpath with baskets on them, the owners being somewhere amongst the crowds of people and fresh produce. We walked the aisles, tasting a variety of dips, cheeses, and meats, while mentally I was preparing a shopping list to take with me next Saturday. The variety was really impressive, with my favourites being the meat stalls (if you are considerate of 'food miles' these meats had only traveled a couple of hours) and the stall selling only zucchini related produce.

As I had a fridge at home half full of groceries still, I did not buy a lot. But next week I will definitely be doing most of my grocery shopping here, and might even ride my own bike there and park it amongst the others...


Sam xox

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Too much of a good thing.

When you log into your etsy account, and it reminds you to leave feedback for 20 items, you know you are in for a treat. I have been falling in love with the fabrics featured in Frankie magazine, and have been thinking (hard) about making a simple tied quilt made from 8" squares of vintage florals. I turned to etsy to satisfy this urge and discovered Zwizzle, a store that sells the most amazing retro fabrics that are cut to a really useful size (fat quarters or larger).

Zwizzle were having a sale, so I purchased 20 fabrics, and because they are based in Australia I only had to wait 2 days for the parcel to arrive!

My photographs did not do their packaging justice! The photo above was taken before my parcel was sent (it is now featured in each listing) and shows the beautiful packing details so much better than my photos did. Brown paper tied with fabric strips. Perfect.

Unwrapping my parcels I found that I had been sent 5 extra fat quarters plus the two doilies! Such an awesome surprises. You can see that I have already put one doily to use under my vase.

Some of the beautiful fabrics.

Watch this space. This quilt is going to be super quick to make and I want it finished this month. I think I will either use a light weight batting or no batting at all, as it is intended as a summer quilt. I need to find a nice sheet from a thrift store to back it with, and some thick white thread to tie the quilt together. I also need to decide how big I want to make it. I am planning on doing the cutting tonight, and if time allows, I might even get the quilt top sewn.

Thanks again Zwizzle, you made my week!

Sam xox

Friday, November 19, 2010

Partnership marriage.

This is just too sweet I just had to share it! Over at Millie Motts Visual Serendipity blog, you will find a feast of vintage images. The most recent are images from a 1940's American magazine called "Young Wife" with a feature article on Betty and Bob, praised by the magazine as an exceptional husband-wife team, who not only share a home but work together also. They call this a 'partnership-marriage'. I love a good party with my friends at my house, but never have we had a party quite like the ones Betty and Bob had.

Maybe next time my girlfriends come over I should bring out the trumpet! To see more images click here.

Sam xox

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas tree.

It's that time of year again. Well, for me anyway. Yes, it is a little early but I just couldn't wait. Last night Jamie and I put up our Christmas tree.

When we first moved into our apartment years ago, we had a modest sized tree with a few decorations. Over the years we collected bits and pieces here and there, and developed quite a nice display on our tree. Last year, Jamie insisted we wait until the first week of December to put up our tree, because (apparently) the rule is that the tree cannot go up any earlier. Bah! Well, I played by the 'rules' and waited, and when the first weekend of December 2009 came around I raced to our garage to retrieve our Christmas goodies.

To my dismay I could only find half our Christmas tree. Yep, half, the useless bottom half that is cube in shape with a gapping hole in the centre where the top half of the tree is supposed to join it. We searched and searched but it appeared that the top half of the tree had vanished! We hit the local shopping centre in search of a replacement tree, but every shop had sold out! In a state of panic we went into Target, and saw a lady dismantling a display tree. We did the same to the only green bushy fake tree left. Fortunately the store gave us a 50% discount because it was the display tree. Unfortunately it was 6 foot 5 inches tall! A tad too big for our cosy apartment.

Jamie pulling the tree apart in the store!

Going from a tiny tree to a huge tree called for more tinsel and decorations. This led to a half hour 'debate' in Target around weather we have silver tinsel or gold tinsel for the tree. Jamie was adamant he wanted silver, and as I wouldn't budge on gold we agreed to get one of each, and had an interesting time that Christmas compromising on whose tinsel went on the top half.

Last night I dragged out the Christmas boxes from underneath the spare bed, and untied their ribbons with all the excitement of a child opening an early Christmas present.

My heart always skips a beat when I get the first glimpse of our decorations...

Every year I make a Christmas decoration. For 2007 I made a felt star. For 2008 I made a paper bell. For 2009 I knitted a bell. This year, inspired by a decoration on a tree in the October issue of (British) Country Living Magazine, I made a felt heart.

If anyone ever does come across the top half of my old Christmas tree, can you let me know?

Sam xox

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sculpture by the sea.

Today Jamie and I headed down to the beach to check out the annual Sculpture by the Sea. It began in 1997 and has become an iconic Sydney event. The weather this weekend has been super hot so Jamie and I put off going to the beach until late afternoon (gotta love daylight savings!). The sculptures were scattered along the coast line creating an ant-like trail of people as far as the eye could see.

You can click here to visit the Sculpture by the Sea website to see more images and learn more about the event.

Sam xox

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Craft day.

This year I decided not to celebrate my birthday with dinner or drinks. Instead, today I celebrated by having a craft day with my crafty girlfriends at my home. We ate, we stitched, and we enjoyed each others company.

I already count myself lucky to have these girls in my life, but the cherry on the top really is that they are just as crafty as me!

Mill worked on her trademark Christmas stars. This year she is planning on making many to give as gifts, and has given herself the deadline of November 25 to have 20 complete. Every star she makes is a different combination of colours for the felt, thread and beads. They look really beautiful hanging on the Christmas tree as the lights reflect on the tiny beads.

Renae has been working on this cross stitch for a while now, remember I blogged about it here? Well, today we got to watch her complete the final stitches! I am really looking forward to what it will look like framed and hanging on her wall. Her next project is a similar theme but with an adult and baby giraffe.

Mel's blanket continues to grow and grow. I absolutely love the colour combination she has chosen!

I wanted some light craft today. I had seen a red and white Christmas decoration on a tree in the October issue of Country Living Magazine (British) and had a try at copying it. My heart turned out quite a different shape but I am happy with the end result. This will be my handmade Christmas decoration for 2010!

Beautiful books given to me by Mel - thank you!!!

Sam xox

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Here is the first Christmas-themed post for the season. Yeah, I know I am a little early, but who isn't already thinking about Christmas right? The shopping centre under my office already has Santa's sleigh set up, and Chritmas decorations lining to walkways. I even saw fake Christmas trees for sale in the larger shops way back in September! I am not even kidding!

I have seen a number of beautiful nativity scenes for sale in the stores, and have been considering getting one this Christmas. However, as I am trying to buy as many of my Christmas purchases this year on Etsy, I had a little browse and look at the gems I found...

Sam xox

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Liberty quilt along.

I know I promised a Christmas post, but I just had to share this first! You all remember Helene from my Parcels. blog entry? Well, she is organising a Liberty of London quilt along on her blog 25reasons! You can read about it here.

The basics:
Diamond start quilt
8 x 8 blocks
74" x 74"
Tana Lawn (or similar) fabrics
Hand or machine piecing

Here are some of the blocks Helene has made so far...

block no.2 block no.1
block no.3 block no.4

I absolutely love the contrast of light and dark fabric that Helene is using. If you want to buy a bulk order of a variety of Liberty fabrics, you can always browse Shaukat, as I think their prices are very competitive when it comes to Liberty prints, and their service is first class.

Have fun and let me know how you all go! Thanks Helene for organising such a fun quilt-along.

Sam xox