Journals Sketches & Plans

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Sept 4 prompt

[click if you want to read it]

The journal prompt was “Who in your life talks too much?”

My answer – me.  ARRRGH!

Do you think my journal pages are improving?

My tonsils are spotty and I am having a bad fibro flare up – I think I’ll be having another bed day today.

nike 800

[bigger image if you click]

I had just cut the word  “clone” out of an old (2003 – can I hoard or WHAT?!) magazine, and as a result of my (ahem!) Studio Practice, A Serendipitous Event Occurred. (Or in non art-wank terms – I work messy, and stuff falls on other stuff.) When it landed on the stamped image it just had to stay – I mean, a stamp is a CLONE, yes? Even when it’s a very cool stamp.

And then while I was thinking about stamps, I noticed that a damaged old stamp would fit really well on this page. (A stamp for a stamp, geddit? Oh, the subtlety!!)

Did I mention that I wandered into a local scrapbooking shop yesterday? Well, not quite wandered, since I had to stop the car and park, but it was a spontaneous decision. The first 10 minutes or so were overwhelming  – so many shiny pretty things! But then once I’d got over my initial shock, it made me very sad.

Because there was all this “pre-made” stuff.  This “copy this exactly and you’ll have ART” stuff.  Now, before any keen scrappers jump down my throat, I’m sure there are LOTS of people who buy “scrapbooking” marketed stuff and make original art with it.  I’ve bought scrapbooking papers to use too (mostly plain ones, I have to admit – the colour ranges are so HUGE!) BUT – that’s not what I’m talking ranting about here.

It’s like the quilters who want to make a quilt out of a magazine or pattern using EXACTLY THE SAME FABRICS in exactly the same positions as the picture.

I JUST DON’T GET IT! I mean, yes, I know all about lack of confidence in one’s own artistic judgement.  I know all about feeling like I shouldn’t be using The Good Stuff when it’s “just” something I’m making. I have art heroes, people I am HUGELY inspired by, whose style I might even try to imitate…


why use someone else’s art?  I just don’t get that.

It may be weird but at least it’s mine….

Do you have ANY IDEA how frustrating it is to constantly read the word “Slip waxed paper in between the pages”… or variants thereof WHEN THERE IS NO WAXED PAPER TO BE HAD ANYWHERE?!!?

Seriously, every bookbinding/journaling technique I am reading now recommends this, and assumes it’s easy to get.


Not a single supermarket in town even STOCKS waxed paper anymore.  You used to be able to buy rolls of it, or packets of precut sheets, but NOOOOOO, not now!  Mr Beloved and I think it’s because those little zip-lock sandwich bags have become ubiquitous.

And no, silicone coated baking paper/”parchment” does NOT work as well.  *sigh*

Can anyone help me in locating and buying some? PLEASE?

lemon butter


Yes, I know too much is BAD FOR YOU (heck, isn’t that what “too MUCH” means?!?!) but there is  NOTHING to compare to home made lemon butter on toast.  Mmmmmmmm.  I used Nigella’s Lemon Curd recipe from How to Eat.  (I don’t know why the names – butter or curd – are interchangeable, but apparently they are.)

This was a recipe that would be utterly UTTERLY perfect if I already had two of my dream things for the house: chooks (for the 4 whole eggs plus 4 yolks) and a lemon tree (for the 4 lemons).  Slowly, slowly, we’ll work towards getting things set up the way we would like.

I have very fond memories of my Mum making lemon butter – I think we must have had a lot of lemons available!   I also remember that Lemon Butter was a good thing to buy at church fetes and street stalls… possibly because it came from people who had chooks +lemon trees.

Oh, and after the first spoonful of the luscious home made version, the remainder of the FOUL store bought version (all citric acid and cornflour, possibly with artifical lemon essence… ewww!) was binned.  We kept the jar (of course!) to use for the next batch…

At least I’ll have an adequate vitamin C intake this week, eh?  The flu symptoms are FINALLY abating (fingers crossed!) – as in, I only wake up coughing a couple of times a night now, and the aches are approaching normal range (underlying fibromyalgia has NOT helped with recovery!).  I was somewhat heartened when watching the V8 supercars racing yesterday to hear a comment that one of the drivers – and bear in mind that these guys are endurance athletes, wrestling their cars around for hours at a time in temperatures often over 40 degrees – anyhow, one of these super-fit guys was still recovering from the flu that had laid him low at the last race meeting a month ago.  And I am NOT an athlete!  Another week off from the gym, though, then I get to start back gently gently…

Oh – and it amused me that the stove was so far out of scale with the lemon person.  Tee hee! I am being Very Good and actually USING my “good” art supplies – there are still a lot of colours in my tin of 30 Caran D’ache Neocolor II watercolour crayons that are untouched, but at least I have used SOME now!

flu man

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I’ve been dragging our old art supplies and starting to play with them again.  I’m fighting against my inner critic to actually post anything here – be gentle and remember that it’s nicer to ask “Tell me about your art” than to say “Ummm – what is it?”

(Sometimes I have to “wreck” a page before I can get going.  The background of this was one of those trainwrecks – luckily, a thin coat of gesso can make messes look better, or at least ot quite so hideously unworkable. This page was completely without a plan or goal, obviously.)

I have no idea why there is a clunky spaceman/repair-tech here or what he’s here to fix.  Although if he could get rid of the bright yellow polka dots on my tonsils, I would be very grateful.  Yep, Day 11 of the flu and I had the worst night yet last night – at one point I was coughing so hard that I thought I would break my back.

I have cabin fever.  I haven’t left the house since last Tuesday when I went to the doctors.  Mr Beloved is almost as sick as I am, but has managed to at least struggle out for milk and bread. And cuppa soups – normally I don’t like them but there’s only so much hot lemon/ginger/honey/hot water mix I can keep down…

Tomorrow (provided the weather stays fine) we’re getting the solar hot water system installed.  Yay! It’s going to cost more to install than the actual gizmo (that would be the “evacuated tube collector“, Caity dear) and tank cost.  Weird, huh?

I am sooooo looking forward to being able to have a hothothot bath all the way full – and with more hot water to top up! Of course it’s a super-rare luxury, and I will have to bucket all the water out to the garden once I’m done, but ooooh – sheer bloooody looxury!

Right – back to back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors and my hot water bottle…

Sue and I just had a lovely day of girly shopping – looking at makeup, dresses, tops, and shoes.  Of course we ended up at Gardams, where I bought a dress pattern for the Frock Up.  Just got home and read reviews that said it was ridiculously large around the hem… almost 2 metres! (78inches).  Well, we shall see.  At least no one will see my swelly belly in this one! (I will be making it a couple of inches longer than its shown here.  Sleeveless.)

McCalls 5583
McCalls 5583

And the fabric I bought is LOUD – pink and orange and brown and green and – well, I’ll show you as soon as it’s out of the washer!

This pattern included a slip which was perfect for the dress Sue’s making  – so we borrowed scissors and cut the slip pieces from the tissue pattern before we left the store, LOL!  (Wait til you see her fabric – swooooon!)

Off to cut the tissue and iron it…

Ok, well not HERE… but they’re online. (They won’t be in Australia for about 3 months – see why I buy online?)  Now, which do I want the very next time they go on sale?  Hmmmmm….  Here’s my faves from my first glance – doubtless more to follow!

New Donna Karan patternsVogue 1057 : Donna Karan Dress and jacket.  LOVE the look of this dress, like wearing a top and skirt but without the hassle… and the length of this jacket is just right.  The bodice is knit, so I’m not sure why you’d need the “invisible zipper closure” – hmmm. (And is it just me or is the model cross-eyed??)

Best of all – goes up to a 22!  Not that *ahem* I plan on being that size, after all, I’m aiming at 70 kg (which is about a 14…)

I even like the jacket collar – I’m not a fan of fussy princess collars, but this one looks just pointy and spread enough.

Vogue 1056 - Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 1056: Tom and Linda Platt knit dress.  Loving the twist at the neckline- HATING the granny sleeves!  I didn’t show a photo of my version of Simplicity 3678 that had these sleeves – because it was so awful it would have frightened the horses.

And small children.

And anyone with taste.

It was STUMPIFYING!  *shudder* Moving on.

Ann Klein Suit

Vogue 1064.  What a PERFECT little jacket!  Lovelovelove the shaping.  Princess seams AND multiple darts: even with weight loss still “in progress”, this is going to be a breeze to FIT!

The pants are good too, contoured waistband and otherwise very unfussy.  I don’t do fussy, especially not around the waist.  These pants have just the one little fob pocket – aaaaaah, lovely!

Although now I go back, these trousers by alice + olivia look very wearable too…

Asymmetrical Shirt

One I’m less sure of: Vogue 8515

In Theory, asymmetrical clothes are interesting and flattering.  In Real Life, I always worry that it looks like I don’t know how to dress myself properly.

Also, the sleeves seem awful wide at the cuff… (easily remedied, but… hmmm.)  Maybe as a pattern to make up the “Buy x number get y free”,  but otherwise?  Probably not.

Sandra Betzina designA swing… and a miss?  I can’t quite decide yet about this new Sandra Betzina design, Vogue 1061.  The pants are slim and look quite versatile… the top appears to have ruched sleeves similar to the Christine Johnson pattern I just received.  (Although CJ’s is a gathered overlay rather than SB’s “elasticised gathers”… and CJ’s pattern is AWESOME for the amount of extra info you get. More on that in another post.)

But that back detailing, and the optional hood – do I love it?

It’s growing on me by the second.  I could actually see this as a fabulous jacket sort of top to throw on after the gym…

… Because YES, Gentle Reader, today I actually phoned up and organised a trial pass at the local girly gym.  I think I’m ready – my weight loss has slowed, so I need to kick it up a notch; and my back and knee pain have been stable for a while (touch wood!).  I just need to negotiate how to fund it (eek!) and get over this cough a bit more.

Had all good plans of walking today – but woke up to a temperature of 2 degrees (Which with wind-chill was MINUS TWO, arrgh!) and a 10 minute long coughing spasm that eventually calmed after a large dose of The Nasty Medicine™.  My lungs have been a bit squeezed all day, even after two puffs of ventolin – that next doctors appointment can’t come soon enough.

So – that’s it from the cold cold keyboard of Caity.  Have you got faves in the new Vogue patterns?

I have plans to get out to either Spodshite™ or Lincrap ™ tomorrow to take advantage of their pattern sales – there’s one skirt pattern I have my eye on (Butterick 4859 – reviewed in the latest Threads but sadly with no photo of a finished garment) and for just one pattern, it’s not worth paying the postage to order from overseas.

Brr! I’m headed back to hunch over the heater.

Well, Sue is was being very good today and sewing up a skirt. She had to stop to go get lining, so we popped over to Lincraft – only to find them shut. BUGGER!! One of the few stores in Toowoomba actually open on a Sunday , but we missed it! Never mind, we went and had a coffee, then I loaded her up with even MORE books and magazines once we got back to my place. (Yes, Canberra folks, Caity’s Library is still going strong!)

I have been looking through the stash, finding a lot of bigger dressmaking pieces of fabric from way back when there was a big fabric shop in Canberra down around where the Casino is now – the name has gone from my head. (“Fabric something-or-other” – anyone remember?) ETA: Annie reminded me: Home Yardage!  Thanks, Annie!

Discovered I have SCARLET wool/poly crepe – 8 yards of 60″ – perfect for one day making this suit. Not now while I’m still shrinking, though. Damn – just realised I have this pattern in sizes 18-20-22 – now I’ll have to go looking for it in the smaller range… arrgh! Of course it’s OOP…(Out Of Print)

Isn’t it DIVINE? Of course, I need the mink wrap too, dontcher know – and the hat, and gloves, of course. Just the thing for popping up to Woollies for the bread, yes?

(I know one thing about glove making – the fourchette is a BUGGER! “What’s a fourchette, Caity?” A fourchette is the gusset in between the fingers. Not found on el cheapo gloves. And I am NOT talking about the female genital piercing of the same name, owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Although I bet that makes your eyes water, too.)

Do I even remotely DRESS like this? No. But I’d like to. And pattern buying is nothing if not aspirational! I mean, I can’t be the only one who lies in bed and reads pattern instructions, can I? (Ok, I also read dictionaries, I may be just weird.)

Also excavated enough fabric to really have a good fang at some shirts for me AND for Mr Beloved: two shades of blue tshirt material, one of bottle green (it looks browner in the pic) – and quite a lot of a scarlet stretch velvety thing (think I’ll keep that one for mine, not sure it’s Mr B’s colour!)

Now that my overlocker (serger) and I have declared a truce (and may even become friends) I can consider sewing this sort of thing.

Don’t worry, the sewing obsession will lessen and I WILL get back to quilting eventually. The prospect of actually fitting (with alterations) into even the largest size of patterns is just so thrilling!

And as the lovely Rooruu commented on my coat patterns post:

I notice, however, that many of them are what you could call afashional, not specific to a year or season, based on interesting shapes, so they don’t date.

Yep, that’s me – although I adore reading the fashmags, (“Aby-bloody-synnian Vogue!” chimes in Mr Beloved, channelling the AbFab fashmagslags themselves) drooling over the impossibly expensive designer gear at Net-A-Porter, and checking into every day, I’m not a slave to fashion. For one thing, I’m not rich. (ha! We actually live so far below the poverty line that we ASPIRE to being poor!) For another, I am not 6ft 2 tall and I weigh a LOT more than 40 kgs.

But I know what I like, even if I don’t wear it a lot of the time.

I have no memory of buying this either, but isn’t it yummy?

Well we did go down the hill to the Stitches and Craft Show, and I must say Sue and I were both quite restrained in our spending! It was wonderful to go with another sewing type, really changed the focus. We watched most of the fashion parades and found them really worthwhile – proving again that the illustrations on some patterns do NOT do them justice.

For example this jacket – a bit *meh* on the pattern, but STUNNING made up – a really versatile little jacket. Stephanie (Perpetual Patterns & Can Do Books) had sold out at the show, so I might have to mail order it.

There was one model in the show that was a size 14, D cup – and admittedly she was nearly 6 foot tall, but she was NOT a lightweight skinny minny – so wonderful to see a REAL size model looking great in the clothes on parade.

There were no photos allowed in the show (pity, since some of the clothes made up from commercial patterns really were scrummy) and the art garments by Ruth Osborne, Kirry Toose and Trudy Billingsley were full of interesting ideas for lesser mortals to borrow. Sue Neall (of Stitches, the Australian Sewing Guild and now Sew Inspirational) did a great job hosting and explaining the parades, and also managed a quick change for each parade – the woman never stops!

Another pattern that was definitely a “flick past” in the pattern book but absolutely stunning made up – this little crossover top , Vogue 8120. We saw this made up in knits and in several colours – it looked smashing.

Vogue 8335As did the tunic and flat front (but elastic waisted – very nice, not your granny’s elastic waist!)pants in  Vogue 8335. Again – not a stunning illustration, but wow, terrific sewn up.

I mentioned that I was reading Pattern Review before heading down – I only ended up buying one pattern – the Sewing Workshop Mimosa Top and Pant.

(I know, a bit summery – but I’m planning on wearing long sleeves under it. And the pant looks very flattering.)

Kerryn (of the astonishing makeovers in Stitches magazine) was at the Australian Sewing Guild stand at the show, and I showed her the pattern for the top – she suggested that on my figure, extending the bottom edge to a diagonal would be more flattering that having a strong horizontal line just above my hips. I’m definitely making a muslin first one this one.

Japanese Fabric

And this is the fabric I bought (from here – they don’t have fabrics on their website, but will very soon) to make the top. Now that I look at it draped on me I’m wondering if the print is a bit blocky… what do you think? It’s more rust/brown/tan than the orange-y flash photo shows, really – but I think it’s ok with my colouring?

Wait ’til you see the fabulously wearable fabric Sue bought – oh my, just swoooony!

I would have loved to go to some of the workshops that the Australian Sewing Guild was running – but there just wasn’t time.  Maybe next year…

Thanks to everyone who cheered me on in my weight loss. IT REALLY HELPS! And we are soooo enjoying life without the neighbour Weasel. Oooh, he was a horrid little man. We have 10 neighbours (we own a long narrow block that runs along a lot of backyards) and only ever have real problems with 2 of the houses. Here’s hoping the next lot of renters are quiet people.

Power SewingEver been in the situation where you KNOW you’ve got a book, but just can’t find it? I’m not even sure if I’ve seen it since the move to Toowoomba, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have (deliberately!) got rid of it – arrgggh! I’ve been looking for this book for DAYS now. I don’t think I’ve lent it to anyone… if I did, please let me know, eh? It’s one of those really handy reference books, and I’m missing it!

I’m definitely headed down the hill tomorrow for the Stitches and Craft Show. I’m really looking forward to going with Sue – at last, another sewing chick! Tonight I’m digging through patterns and reading reviews ( – awesome value!) to see what I should spend my limited $$ on.

In all the digging around, I did re-find (is that even a word? UNEARTHED, perhaps – I swear, the Time Team would have their work cut out for them amongst all my stuff!)

[click to see bigger images]

Vogue 1407

This is Vogue 1407, and has someones name and 4/4/66 written on the front. New in Factory Folds! Of course, nowhere near my size – but it’s very close to the size I will be at my goal weight, I hope.  “Narrow, sleeveless dress with a two-piece look at front has a deep V Surplice neckline. Wrapped coat swings wide, three quarter length set in sleeves.” It’s so NOW I’m almost tempted to grade it up and make it… almost! The front wrap over is actually an overlay on an otherwise plain sheath dress, but doesn’t it look good? (and why are the instructions on a 1966 pattern SO MUCH BETTER than instructions on current patterns, hmm?) Although this is one of those vintage patterns where the only markings you get are perforated dots. And this is the little blurb about the designer:”JO MATTLI (Mattly) – Swiss charm and Parisian taste combine in the designs of this member of London’s couture group. Mr Mattli has designed the clothes for many English films.”

I think I paid 20cents for this pattern at an op shop. Whereas tomorrow I’ll probably be paying $30 for this pattern – if I can get it! Or this one….or maybe this one?

And now I’d better go turn up the hem on my other pair of jeans – don’t think it would be cool to wander around a Stitches and Craft Show and watch the fashion parades with my jeans rolled – ugh!

[later ETA: But first, I have to go sort through all the art materials that were previously stashed under the kitchen table, as Mr Beloved just had to pull them all out to retrieve a mrrrrrrrooooooouuuuuuusssse! that Miss Kitty Bing brought in as part of her “catch and release” program – she’s still looking for it, but it’s dead and gone into the bin – ewwwwwwwww!]

It suddenly got cold!  Brrr!  And here am I still looking at things I was “gunnasew” for Summer…

Not much happening here – trying to work out if I can re-schedule a medical scan so I can go to the Stitches and Craft Show in Brisbane instead (scan not urgent, so no panic there.  Just trying to sort out the PCOS stuff *sigh*  I’ve had the pain for months now, another week won’t make any difference!).

And I’d really like to go to the fashion parades at the show – especially with the independent pattern companies, their illustrations don’t really tell you how the garment will look made up.  (Mind you, neither do the big 4 – how many times have I seen a terrific garment sewn up, and been amazed that the drawing was so blah?)

Today’s post brought the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin and Quilt Japan magazines I ordered from New Zealand Quilter.  Lovelovelove those mags!  (Wish I remembered more of my Japanese studies, and that I hadn’t lost all my textbooks to one of the exes or moves, but never mind.)

Shrug from Quilts Japan #121

Look at this beautiful shrug!  I reckon with some trial and error with the diagram I can make something similar.  Hmmmm!

Ok, I’m too bloody cold to stay here and type – I’m off to bed with a hot water bottle, my new magazines, and a notebook…

Well, now that my host server has decided to WORK again (grrrr!) I can post!

I’ve been crook, obviously. Booked in for another scan next week, and seeing my helpful GP again soon. Got to get this sorted out, arrggggh!

HOWEVER, on Saturday I had the BEST day – went to Brissy with Sue. GIRLY SHOPPING!! Oh man, I’d forgotten how much fun it is to just wander around the shops. I didn’t try on any clothes (there were no fat chick shops) but Sue did, and managed to score some good buys. I had fun just seeing what was “in” in ready-to-wear, and we both grabbed piles of ideas for our sewing – especially from the David Lawrence outlet store – over-runs, samples, and seconds, but still worth checking out.

For example – knit dresses with double faced satin ribbon on the inside of cascading edges and hems – not only helps stabilise the edge, but also means the dress looks really finished inside and out.

There were some really – interesting! samples at the Cue store – things that I’m glad someone said “Ummm, NOT for production!” – and that was also the only store with no mirrors in the dressing rooms, just one big one on the back wall of the store – which I agree with Sue was icky – you kinda wanna know if something looks REALLY dreadful before you have to come out into the glare of the whole store, you know?

We looked at shoes, yum – agreed that the slightly furry leopard print shoes would either

a) have to be petted all. the. time. or

b) be guarded carefully from our dogs….


The find of the day, however, and one we both REALLY regretted not buying (we didn’t even check the price!) was this handbag. Forgive the bad pics – I took them with my phone and I was so busy laughing that the phone shook! Is this not the absolute muppet-est handbag you’ve ever seen?

Sue and I looked at this and immediately thought of the Yip Yip aliens meeting the telephone on Sesame Street….

Isn’t it FABULOUS!! I would be unable to use it, it would become a puppet that I would have to keep playing with. But I am seriously considering driving back down to Jindalee just to get it…

I tried on lots of hats (Have I mentioned I LOVE hats?) which reinforced my determination to get sewing on some – hats hats hats!

Eventually we were shopped out and headed over to the 2QAQ meeting. LOTS of inspiration from the Reddy Art Quilters, who had brought along their journal quilts and Artist Trading Cards (ATCs); and an ATC swap which got out of hand (some people are GRABBY!) and ended up being inequitable. Grrrrr. Simple rules, you get ONE BACK for each one you put in – Linda should N OT have ended up short!

Thankfully, the wonderful organisers of 2QAQ have said the swap will NOT be a free-for-all next time, to prevent that happening again.

I was really thrilled that Sue’s ATCs were all snatched up, too. Next month I’ll have some done… my small contribution to the economy of Jindalee DFO was to buy two small rubber stamps from Smiggle – an elephant, and a skull and crossbones for Mr Beloved. So my ATCs will certainly feature those!

But right now, I’m off to watch the F1 grand prix. If the weather is warmish this week we’re planning some fabric dyeing; and on Tuesday I’m hoping to be well enough to get to quilters and am taking my Shiva sticks and supplies so we can have a bit of a play.

My very dear friend in Canberra, Mr. R, recently went to Japan for the sakura (cherry blossoms). I had asked him to keep an eye out for Patchwork Quilts Tsushin or Quilts Japan – but he said when he got to the newsagents it was just about impossible to tell at a quick glance what the magazines on sale were about (“Coulda been patchwork, coulda been p0rn – who knows?”)

I’ve just ordered an issue of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin for myself. $32, from New Zealand, which worked out the cheapest way to do it. “Couldn’t charge your mates to look, couldja?” says the (comedic Scotch) voice from the corner. “It worked when I was young!”

4 little books packed full of Japanese designs

ANYWAY, Mr R. found these treasures for me “In a tiny little arcade full of shrines” . He said they worked out to about $12 Australian each (!!) and they are AWESOME! (oops, two are upside down here. Never mind!)

They are full of line drawings of traditional Japanese designs. Like this:

Japanese design line drawingsTraditional butterfly line drawingsembroidery designs for inner kimono collars

Combine that with Laura Wasilowki’s reminder of how easy it is to carve your own stamps for printing onto fabric in this months Quilting Arts Magazine? I could be kept out of mischief for a very long time.

*sigh* back to these Minutes…. committees, arrrgggggh!

I was laughing myself silly the other day when Terry mentioned her excitement when she finally got her hands on the latest issue of Quilting Arts magazine – (“The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!”) and I have to agree – this must be the best issue yet! (Terry’s article on finishing small quilts will be put to use TONIGHT – how good is that!)

I dreamt I was...

Also laughing because one of the ladies at Quilters today said “Where are all these fabulous new garments, Caity? I think you’re making them in fantasy land!” (I dreamed I was….)

Well – yeah, and no – I’ve been asleep most of the last week. Not very productive! But after one of those horrible sleepless nights last night (and a good sleep in this morning, making me late for Quilters) I think I’m just about back to the right cycle. Maybe I’ll get more stuff done this week.

(and BTW – WHY can’t I buy bras like this with good “forward projection”, huh huh huh? It’s EXACTLY what I want. Hrrrmph. Bring back Maidenform’s stitched cups, say I!)

Notan: The Dark Light Principle of DesignTalked with the dietician today about goal setting. One of my big problems has been that I get overwhelmed by the big end goal – I need to break it up into manageable DOABLE chunks of specific tasks.

I have too many ideas floating about, I need to pin them to the pages of my journal. For example: the new Ricky Tims Rhapsody Quilts book arrived yesterday, along with a book I’ve looked at for ages (thanks to recommendations from Jane Dunnewold, Sarah Ann, and Brenda) – it was cheap on Amazon, so I grabbed it:Notan: the Dark-Light Principle of Design. So I’m doodling ideas, already starting to design the applique for a Rhapsody style quilt – based on our cockatiels. (it makes sense in MY head, trust me!)

And there are so many other things I need/want to do:

  • Finish typing the minutes from the Exhibition Committee meeting on the 5th (time flies!) [ETA: DONE, bloody DONE DONE DONE!!}
  • Find a copyright free image of Toowoomba Violets as background for a flyer (might have to go find some to photograph!)
  • Go to Officeworks to buy printer cartridges to print flyers
  • Actually finish fitting at least one of the sewing projects in muslin so I can cut it out in the real fabric
  • Finish the brown skirt (Just a couple of buttonholes, buttons, facings and hems to go)
  • Find brown shoes to wear with new skirt!
  • Return library books
  • Finish Mum’s quilt for Mother’s Day (I hope!)
  • Work on Dad’s quilt (for Christmas 2007 – oops!)
  • start walking again for 5 minutes per day initially, building up to 40 minutes
  • Clean the house before the dust buffaloes develop sentience and stage a coup
  • think about the quilt I want to enter in the 2QAQ juried show
  • Think about which quilts to enter in the Toowoomba Quilters show
  • Think about quilt to enter into Queensland Quilters Show (uh – maybe not this year…)
  • Read the latest Quilting Arts, Threads, etc
  • Chase up where the Studios magazine has got to – I’m sure I pre-ordered it – hmmmm
  • organise (slightly late!) birthday card for friend J (we’ve been friends 36 years!)
  • yada yada yada a gazillion other things!

But right now I’m off to watch Time Team.

(Which reminds me of another thing that makes me laugh – pay tv. Who has TIME?! I barely get a chance to watch the free-to-air!)

So, I went to Gardam’s in between doctors appointments today. You know that skirt from the January Burda? I got the DREAMIEST already patch-worked linen on a cotton voile baking (so no lining needed, yay!) – it has wool inserts and various textures – I love it! I’ll show you a pic of the finished skirt as soon as, ok? (Unless you’d like to see the material uncut?)

It’s dry-clean only – I can’t even REMEMBER the last time I bought fabric that needed dry cleaning – come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I took anything to a dry cleaners.

I can’t believe this though – it’s BROWN!

Do I own a single pair of brown shoes? Umm, nope! Well, I guess that’s what I save up for next. And I bough a beautifully subtle poly herringbone (that looks like fine wool, but at about a third of the cost) to make that Butterick vest pattern…. I figured if I was going to go with the brown skirt, there was no point in going halfway!

This is especially amusing to me after buying fabric to make Mum and brown bag, and now Maria’s chocolate/green/teal bag… brown is CATCHING!
And Mr Beloved was only saying this morning that “Those ratty old t-shirts have GOT TO GO, Caity, they are NOT flattering.” So yay for the sewing bug making a welcome re-appearance in my life, eh? It’s partly inspired by Sue, who is doing WONDERFUL things; partly by re-reading back issues of Threads, and also looking atErins’ A Dress A Day blog, and swooooning over her use of Liberty fabric – which I can now save up for and lay-by at Gardam’s – yay!!

I’ll be off to curse at the overlocker (serger) later tonight. I know I can get it sewing a nice three thread edge once I have it set up….

BUT – look what else Gardams just got in today! Sue and Di and Faye and Jan – and any other Toowoomba Quilters – you have GOT to get down there and grab some of this, it’s too too wonderful…. from the Loralie Designs “Sew Fancy” range:

[click on the thumbnails to see much bigger images]

Sewing MachinesSewing Machines by Loralie

ScissorsScissors by Loralie

mannequins by Loralieand Mannequins, Oh MY!

And what am I doing with this – Yep, you know it – another Miranda bag! (possibly the most useful bag pattern ever – and the easiest to make, because of the care Joan Hawley has taken with her instructions. I know I rant about it but truly – it’s that good!)

This time I’m going to make the longer handles and only use it to cart stuff back and forth to quilters. Makes sense to have a dedicated bag that I can just grab and go, I reckon.

Also, Toowoomba girls – call up Gardam’s and tell them you want to come to this: Gardams’ VIP night

I’ll be there, it should be a fun night!

[Mum, anything I should be looking out for, since now we’re BOTH sewing in brown?!]

later edit: Mr Beloved commented:

It should be noted that Caity is not paid or otherwise induced to rave about Gardams.

It should also be noted that “Ewan Gardam” anagrams to “A mad, new rag”.

Pretty impressive shop, though.

I shall forgo my customary Easterpest rant (formerly called the Australian Gospel Music Festival) – suffice it to say that it’s very difficult to have a quiet and contemplative Easter when there are THUD DOOF DOOF DOOF SCREAM YELL noises coming at you from all directions.

Now that we have a new council (Queensland just did the mega-merger thing that NSW did 20 odd years ago) I will be petitioning for the damn “festival” to be moved OUT of our central city park, and far, far away.


All in one quilters reference toolAfter much consideration I ordered three things from Hancocks of Paducah last night:

The All in One Quilter’s Reference Tool (C&T Publishing) – my friend Sue showed me this at Quilters a few weeks back and since then I’ve been thinking “Dang, if only I had that I wouldn’t have to be sitting here puzzling out how wide to cut this @*#$&)* strip/triangle/block…” It was only $13.95 US – and the cheapest I could buy it online even in Australian was $33. Worth the share of the postage, yes?

Second thing: I’ve been a fan of Suzanne Marshall’s beautiful applique for as long as I’ve been quilting. I deeply regret selling her “Take Away Applique” book – not because I wanted to make her patterns, but because the gallery of her quilts was so gorgeous – and she included both the positive and negative judging comments for each quilt. Ah well, I needed the money at the time…

Suzanne Marshall’s new bookAnyway, I ordered her new book Adventure and Applique. $20.98 from Hancocks – $21.56 is what I would have paid as a member on the AQS site – except they won’t accept orders that go to post office boxes (so you can imagine what THEIR shipping costs!) To buy the book in Australia (even if I could get it) the cheapest price is $33 + postage ( – but it would be AT LEAST twice that if I bought it from a quilt shop.

And they wonder why I shop online?!

Last,but possibly most deliciously – some Hoffmann fabric. 4 yards (fingers crossed, it’s not confirmed yet!) of this lusciousness from the 2008 Hoffmann challenge. I’m thinking it needs a Bamboo mini stripe teal goldtruly groovy shirt pattern – just got to find one that I love. Maybe one of the Sewing Workshop oriental-inspired shirts? (I would have to grade up the pattern to get it to fit me currently, I hate doing that…)

Any pattern recommendations,please? I’m also considering using it to make this top (size 2x only needs 2 yards…) – it’s not like this is an actual stripe that needs to be matched, after all, it’s more of an overall texture.

Right – off to watch the prancing; then later on the Malaysian Grand Prix – even though my beloved McLarens have been penalised AGAIN (we suspect it’s mostly for Not Being Ferraris…) – I know Lewis will still drive his cute little butt off!

later edit: Bloody prancing had this SUCKY “look how far they’ve come” show on – I have NO interest in seeing that, I want to see DANCING, dammit!

At least I got to talk to my parents tonight (Mum loves her new bag, hooray!) and had a surprise phone call from Robert who was sitting at the Qantas lounge waiting to fly to Tokyo, lucky thing! 

… I managed to get to Gardams to put some money on my fabric… but then I saw that they had Vogue patterns at “Buy one, get 2 free.”

Well, what’s a gal to do?

I had to have this one – I hated it at first glance, but was compelled to keep going back to it every time I flicked through the pattern book. It’s grown on me…

Vogue 2971

I’m not grading it up – it’s one that will be made when I lose enough inches to get into the size available. Koos van den Akker has some far-out designs. [please click to see the bigger image – as intriguing as those harlequin diamonds look on the top , in reality they’re only stripes. Still fabulous – but is ANYTHING as fabulous as harlequin diamonds?]

As Mark Lipinski once pointed out – when you buy [quiltingfabric] you’re not just buying the tangible material – you’re buying the DREAM of that quilt, your hopes and desires. So these patterns are me in my new shape -being artily outrageous in my clothes instead of hiding in fat-chick dowdiness.

Vogue 8434

Check this one out – I dare you to mess with THIS chick! I was going to make the shorter version of the top with the sedate bias skirt, but then I thought – well, honey, if you’re gonna do it, go BIG!

(In this I am much inspired by an incredibly fabulous woman at Toowoomba Quilters, who wears the most intriguing clothes – while juggling a husband, two small kids, a business, and being the club’s librarian! I have to go lie down just THINKING about her busy life.)

But it’s not all pie-in-the-sky: This pattern I will be making NOW. (Well, soonish.) In fact, once I lose weight I will have to buy the pattern in a smaller size. (Yeah, baby, that’s right – a SMALLER SIZE!!)Vogue 8434

Just ignore that dowdy picture – that woman was NOT fitted for those jeans – ugh! I’ve had a read through this pattern and it includes instructions on altering the jeans for those with a sway back (and I can’t tell you how WONDERFUL it will be not to have that gap where the wind whistles down me troosers!).

I plan to make these in fabulous outrageous fabrics… stuff the boring denim, I’ll be in “Glorious Technicolour, Breathtaking Cinemascope and Stereophonic Soooooooooooooound!”*

Yep, if it wasn’t for fear of getting sued, I reckon that could be my new motto. “Glorious Technicolour, Breathtaking Cinemascope and Stereophonic Soooooooooooooound!”

* from “Silk Stockings” ( a musical remake of “Ninotchka”) – with Fred Astaire and Janie Paige hamming it up with that song – you’ve got to see it! Oh, and see Ninotchka, too, if you ever get a chance – Garbo is, as always, DIVINE.)

BUGGER ! How did it get so late? I’m off to BED!

YES! We’re having some lovely rain again today. There is NOTHING as good as hearing rain on a tin roof.

Well, it’s Tuesday, so it must be quilters day, yes?


I had a lovely time at what Mr Beloved cheekily refers to as “playgroup” – that’s more accurate than he knows! Honestly, I go to quilters for the company and the opinions and the chatter. Any actual hand sewing I get done is a bonus. Today I only managed to applique down one 5 inch circle, but ooooh, I had fun!

(I decided to take a different project today, even though I’d packed “Tuesdays and TV” ready to go. Having just finished Mum’s late Christmas/early Birthday pressie, I thought I’d better get a wriggle on with Dad’s.)Perfect for my almost pre-war Dad, yes?

I don’t think Dad reads the blog (I know Mum does, HI MUM!) so I can show you the fabric I was appliquéing. I could only buy 1.5 metres when I first found this print; foolishly, I thought it might be enough. Then my quilt plans changed and I decided to get all complicated and I desperately need more. (Which I HOPE, fingers crossed, I might have found on eBay… Emerald City Fabric and Crafts have been very good to me so far…)

SWOON I adore this paisley!

AND – happiness! I’ve been looking for green paisley fabric to make best friend M a Miranda bag – isn’t this just PERFECT?

The black background will really work well with free motion quilted plain black fabric – I can see more King Tut thread in my future – maybe #936 “Pharaoh’s Treasure ( “Red, med green, dark green, gold”) or my favourite (three 500 metre reels used so far this year) #910 “Bulrushes” (“brown, light sage, tan, dark sage” – this is the one I initially bought because I though the green and ochres were perfect colours for quilting Australian bush scenes.)

Dang! Somehow it has gone after midnight. I’m for bed and more of that lovely rain on the roof.

OH!  Meant to say I got Baby Pfaff (the 2034) back from the repairer today.  Dale at Downs Sewing Machine Repairs -he’s worth every cent –  that baby is purrrrrrrrrrrrrring! Makes the Goddess Pfaffalina’s trip to see him just that more urgent… I’d forgotten how smooth those machines SHOULD sound!

When did you last have your machine serviced, hmmm? 

I truly do (heart) my readers – HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, you sweeties! Especially to my lovelies who have saved content from my old blog for me. *sniff* a gal couldn’t have nicer friends.

IN CASE YOU’RE WORRIED about nuking your own blog – let me just re-state that it is actually much more difficult to do than you’d think! My problems happened when I was working too tired, doing behind the scenes stuff on my domain – and on most blogs you just don’t have access to the code to do it.

And if you’re smart (ha!) you’ll BACK UP your blog (and indeed, your whole computer) regularly, using one of the many handy dandy back up programs around. A quick search of will give you a few options to choose from in free and shareware. (Just scroll down past the paid ads first, ok? The free stuff is down below.)

And in the worst case, you’ll often find that your blog posts have been cached on google – that is, they are stored from being looked up, and you might be able to grab some back. Tanya the Art Butcher and Susan in Stitches even went so far as to retrieve some for me – awww!Front cover of my visual diary

And now for the something new – I have finished one of the things on my to-do list! Heeeeeeeeere’s my brand spanking new journal cover. It’s made from mostly the Chez Moi for Moda “Fresh Air” fabric that I wish I’d bought more of – but at least now I get to look at it every day, rather than leave it in my stash.

I started by piecing nine of the 5″ charm squares into a nine patch., which I then cut into quarters and stitched back together. (When inspiration is TOTALLY lacking, start simple!)

Then I realised that wasn’t quite big enough so I added some strips left over from another project I’m in the middle of. (I sure hope they’re left over and I haven’t mis-cut anything for that project, or I am going to have to get VERY creative!)

Next, I quilted it with lots of pebblycircles. I used dense free motion quilting because a journal cover has to stand up to a lot of abuse – and also because I really love the thread and wanted to see it.Inside of journal

Once that was done I trimmed the edges, then cut a heap of 2″ squares. Inspired by a long ago article in Threads magazine by Bird Ross, (The Incredible, Reversible, One-Technique Jacket” by Bird Ross (No. 40, pp. 30-35 – oh my gosh, that was published in April/May 1992!*) I finger pressed the squares (with the right sides out) on the diagonal to make triangles. These make the binding – start stitching with free motion stitch, stop and add a triangle wrapped over the edge (the diagonal is on the raw edge of the quilt) and stitch over it. Then you go back and stitch over it another few times if you want to.

Oh, somewhere in all this I decided that some torn strips should be zig-zagged on top of the quilting, too. And I really wasn’t kidding about “ruining” a new journal by scribbling on the first page – now I’m free to mess up the rest of the book with ANYTHING. How liberating!Outside of my new journal cover

Then I grabbed the journal and folded in the short edges of the now edge-finished “quilt”, and sewed along the top and bottom edges. Not only does that hold the book in the cover, it’s a really useful place to put loose bits and pieces of things… so long as you don’t forget you stashed them there….

Once the cover was on the journal, I decided it needed something more on the spine – so I free motion zig-zag quilted some more of the binding squares over the top.

I’m pretty happy with it!

I did use up most of a reel of King Tut thread, though. But using pretty (and easy to quilt with) thread makes me happy, so that’s ok.

I also got the free motion quilting done on the other project -so I can now start cutting *that* up – pics soon!

* If anyone still has issue #40 of Threads and is willing to send it to me, I will MAKE YOU A JOURNAL COVER in whatever colours you want.

I now don’t lend my Threads magazines out, ever…

And guess what? One of my FAVOURITE tv shows in back on tonight – Grand Designs! WOOOOOOOT!

Later edited to add – the buggers showed us a 1998 episode. WTF? 

Today Yesterday I took along one of my old visual journals to quilting in the hope that looking back through it would spark some ideas. It did! But more than that, it made me realise just how much work I put into things; and just how valuable a resource a visual journal can be.

So – I dragged out a fresh spiral bound A4 book, and will be making it a new cover tomorrow. Then I’ll scribble on the front page – because then it’s RUINED, and I have no fear of putting anything at all in it! I know there are still another 119 pages – but the grotty first page takes all the fear out of those blank pages.

After looking at the older journal today, some friends asked me “Are you going to finish your Visual Arts Diploma?”

No, I don’t think I am. Not while a certain teacher still dominates the campus. Looking back, I was mostly self-directed anyway – and I’d rather spend the money for the course fees on various materials, and work to deadlines on my own.

So – here’s what I’m currently working on, and when it’s due:

Dancing Beijing Challenge quilt – due this Saturday – just needs the label stitched down, since I didn’t even make a single stitch today at quilters! (Had some great discussions, though, and quite a bit of brainstorming.)

Cover for new visual diary – due ASAP – probably second cab off the rank tomorrow.

Super Sekrit ProjectSuper Sekrit project using these fabrics (I’m still not sure which quilting thread) – I have all the ingredients assembled now, I just need to focus and get them stitched.

Quilt for the Down Under Quilts 2009 Calendar competition: entries close 26 April. EVERY BLOODY YEAR I *mean* to enter this. 2008 WILL be the year!

Well, I think that’s enough to be going on with.

Tomorrow Today is a special day for Australia – our new Prime Minister will be saying Sorry. There will be a lot of tears, but I am so thankful that it’s happening.

Maybe a fresh start all round?