Wednesday, 29 April 2009

a little bit of heaven...


I love it when you are doing a rather mundane task and life delights you. You know, when you least expect to find something wonderful, and you do just that. It doesn't often happen to me but a few weeks back it did.

I had just finished stocking up at the pet food suppliers that is located in a semi industrial area on the outskirts of my town. As I reversed out of my parking spot, I noticed a sign in the distance. And given I do wear glasses, I thought I was very much mistaken when I read the words 'patchwork.' Here? Down the road from the bags of feed and bales of hay? I don't think so! Of course I pulled in further down and went to investigate.


This is what I found.









I found Blueberries Patchwork and Quilting.

It was seriously a moment that made me smile, deep down and all over my face. When I opened the door of the store for the first time I was the proverbial 'child in the lolly shop.' I had not in a million years expected to find this oasis, this Aldan's cave of the most adorable fabric, patterns and trims. A class was being held at the back of the store and the laughter and chatter of the women was captivating. I guess some of you will think I am a little mad. But those of you that love fabric, you will understand. And to top it all off, Jackie and Rachael are the sweetest people you could meet. Minnie screamed the place down when we had to leave - she wanted to join the class... They too will remember our first visit.


So I have been back to Blueberries a couple of times to buy some of their delightful range (some of my new stash is shown in the photo at the top). And this week through to Saturday 2nd May 2009, they have 25% off all their fabrics (see the website for details). And no, I don't work at the store and this is not an advertisement - I am so just so pleased that Blueberries is a few minutes from home and it is not that other fabric super store that I have a difficult relationship with...


Let me just add that Steve is not quite as enthusiastic about me finding this store. Don't get me wrong, he loves seeing me happy but I think he may be a little scared given how close it is to home. But he smiles and nods when I show him each new piece of fabric and I explain what it may one day become. He smiles and nods. He is a good husband...

Do you have a favourite store? Some where least expected?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

when you have a puppy...

Don't expect to ever find matching shoes. Yes, I wore them like this today (only in the garden) much to the delight of Minnie.

Don't buy any new furniture for about 1o years. Oh she's good when we are in the lounge room, sitting sweetly on the rug but as soon as we are out of sight, Molly is up on the leather lounge wuffling for things.


You will never have a tidy mantle piece - ours is covered in the flotsam and jetsam that we remove from the slobbery jowls of the wuffler every day. This photo of our mantel - that was pre-puppy, well pre-real-life puppy at least...

You will have a very willing gardener - just point in the direction of the things that need to be pulled out and stand back and watch. Whatever you do, do NOT let the wuffler see you plant anything - it will be removed and absconded with quicker than you can say 'No, not the camellia!'

You will find the most amazing collections of things on the lawn. Socks, telephones (a little worse for wear), paperwork, chew toys, underpants, paintbrushes, a fork and cups. The list goes on...

You will yell and shout a million times a day 'No jumping/no biting/ no eating cat poo...'


But you will smile when your little girl stands firm and says 'Sit, Molly, Sit' and she does. Sits and stays and wags her tail at her most favourite person. You will also smile when you take your puppy to the beach and she see's the waves for the very first time. And you will smile when your puppy refuses to go to her bed at night, turns right up the hallway instead of left, flops on your bedroom floor and offers a warm tummy for a rub.
Smile. Shout. Smile. That's life I guess...

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

the weather for it...


Today feels like autumn. Unlike last week which felt like late spring. After finishing some orders today and a request from Minnie (a unicorn tee-shirt but with short sleeves, please), I stole a few minutes to sit and stitch. A warm quilt on my lap, puppy dog not too far away and a hot coffee to sip.

The stitching is from a picture by Minnie (you can see the original below). I am embroidering it onto a pillow slip and as I am so pleased with how it looks, every member of our families will be getting one for Christmas. They will forget about it by then so its OK to mention it here. I simply traced the design onto the pillow slip using a pencil. Then I just stitched along the lines. Its fairly plain to see that I am no stitcher. Just some messy little stitches. But I like them. If you are looking for more ideas, there are more in this book.

But of course the quiet wont last too long for I have to collect a very special little one from pre-school. To be honest, I collect her early as I don't really like it too quiet around here.
And yes, there will be a little handmade something for her in the car...

What are you working on this week?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Updates...

more on this lovely fabric later...

A quick blog post of updates so apologies at the outset for what is going to be a long (and perhaps very boring) list;

1. Gluten Free: The Lauke Gluten free bread mix is a winner. Just tastes like a bready damper type thing and is so much better than other gluten free breads I have tasted. I think the key is to not actually think is bread - just look at it as a 'baked product' and you wont be disappointed.
We have discovered that gluten is in everything. I would not be surprised if air contains gluten.


2. Handmade Help: What a great collection has arrived here! Thank you sweet people that made and sent items in for the collection. I am just waiting now for Handmade Help HQ to arrange a courier to come and collect it. You can see some of the collection in this photo (excuse the mess behind it). A little too much to stick in a post bag so I hope that we can find a very generous courier soon...

3. The Paining: The lovely portrait of our Minnie did not win the Moran Portrait Prize. Boo Hoo. Of course we still think it was the best painting. Sorry Ben Quilty, we think Robin-Mary should have won.


4. Molly the Wuffler: The puppy has had some intensive training of late and seems to be doing well. Molly thought she was the Alpha Female. Not good and not what we wanted. That has changed and now I am Alpha Mama around here. Its a long story but it involved a great big leather glove, some real guts on my part, a head on confrontation over a pigs ear, and some submission by the bossy puppy. Now we are happy. 'I am Alpha Mama, hear me roar...'



5. Minnie: all is well on the Minnie front. All except the fact that she will NOT try new foods or eat her vegetables. We have tried the rewards charts, the bribing, the saying nothing but putting new food on the plate, the crying (by me), the screaming (me not Minnie) and then being sent to the bedroom (me again). We eat a wide variety of food here and she was exposed to loads of lovely food as a baby. Now the only vegetables she will eat are corn and cherry grape tomatoes. That's it. She loves rice and noodles but with nothing on them, she will eat hummus but only one brand, will eat meat but not in a stew or stir fry...the list goes on. I have read a load of books and end up getting more and more depressed about it. Do we just quietly keep trying and leave it at that? I know there is a little power play going on over this so perhaps we need to make less of a fuss? Would love your ideas on this one...

Phew, all updated. I do love a good list.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

be gone gluten, be gone...


Now that Easter is behind us and Easter buns are not available at every turn, we are going gluten free here at the Blue House. I should qualify that - my husband is going gluten free completely and Minnie and I will be gluten free(ish) for the shared family meals.

For the main meals I think we have it covered. We eat lots of Chinese/Asian food (from this book and this one) and will continue to do so. We will try gluten free pasta and some nights, meat and veg will be fine. Its the breakfasts and lunches that are the hardest meals to cover. I know this from my sweet friends who are gluten free. One of the poor darlings is lucky if I have some tuna and a corn tortilla to throw her way when she visits. This will all change now!

For breakfast today my husband had an omelet with mushrooms, some yogurt and fruit (I secretly had the last Easter buns after he had left for work). Sounds great but not something for every morning. I got some gluten free cereals today but need to make sure there is some variety in this diet. If not, I am sure he will be less inclined to stick to it. The man does love a pie...

Sandwiches are just so easy for lunch and we wish that gluten free bread tasted just like bread with loads of gluten. Today, after bunging some rice on the hob at 6.00am, he took a rice and bean salad, some tuna, rice crackers and fruit. Sounds pretty good but I can't give him that everyday. And as good as left overs are, eating the some thing twice does get a little 'Ground Hog Day.'

So I would love some advice and links to good gluten free recipes. Today I bought the Lauke gluten free bread/baking mix and would love to know if anyone has tried it. Let me know your exciting ideas for breakfasts and lunches.

Oh and don't tell my husband but I just had lots of crusty bread, (with cheese) and some very gluten rich snacks...

Thursday, 9 April 2009

show your workings (two)...


Here are some more photos of the girls in progress. Daisy and Elsie are getting there, just some ends to tie off and sew in, a little button or two to finish stitching and some hair clips to add.
Sweet little girls make the world go round....





Monday, 6 April 2009

show your workings...

I love reading blog posts about the creative process; seeing the original designs or patterns, the works in progress and then finally the completed items. And I love seeing the wonderful spaces in which people create. I enjoy peeking into the shelves and cupboards and spying beautiful fabrics and notions in those stashes. After reaading and seeing these posts, I am inspired to try new things and reminded of all those lists and plans from long ago.


My sewing room has terrible lighting so is never going to look good in a photo. Take it from me - its a disaster. It looks more like a craft monster vomited all over a store room and left it. I am not an organised person, although I try really, really hard. And no, you can't see a cat sleeping in the fabric (sssshhhh, don't tell anyone).

Some of my designs, including the little girl, come from drawing time with Minnie. She asked me to draw a little girl, I did and quite liked the results. Of course my mind wanders to assessing the 'applique-ability' of any thing I draw or doodle. Other times I sit down purposely to draw a design I have been thinking about. And when I am feeling 'reckless', I skip the drawing stage and head straight for the fabric and scissors. To be honest, this happens a lot. Then I take my sketches from the cut and fused fabric and make the pattern to use again later.


And here is a peek at Daisy - all rugged up for a Midlands winter in her grey woollen scarf.


I hope that your creative spaces are calm and relaxing and that the craft monster stays well away...

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

time flies...

...when you have a puppy that is a handful, a pre-schooler that is very, very busy and a kitchen that is minus a dishwasher!

Firstly, thank you for all your sweet comments about Hazel. I have heard that she is really happy in her new home. I have been working on Daisy and Elsie today (on a-line denim dresses) and hope to show you later in the week.

Molly the wuffler is proving to be one very strong willed young puppy. She is not so little (weighs about 9kg) and thinks that she is the boss of the world. Lets just say she is not too happy about realising that in fact in this pack, she is at the bottom of the list.

Minnie has become an expect dog trainer (and the bossy Miss Molly actually listens to her). Minnie got to listen to Molly's chest at the vet's this week and spent much of the visit examining Molly just has our vet had been doing. Then Minnie gave a very informative presentation on bacteria, sewage treatment, and from her speciality (gastro-intestinal medicine) a short summary on the 'story of farts.' Miss Minnie is very well informed regarding all matters pertaining to the gut and its products...

So a couple of pictures of the wuffler for you today. Oh and my advice of the day is not to let your puppy eat the persimmons off the tree or those found rotting underneath...