Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tutorial: three-dimensional flower

I used these fabric flowers to embelish the bag I made to take on my recent holiday.
Me and my bag in Carcasonne, France (!)

The flowers are really simple and very quick to make. I think they would also look good made into a brooch or even on a wallhanging. Please let me know if you have any queries about the following instructions.

For each flower, trace 5 circles the same size onto your chosen fabric. For my pink flower the circles I used had a diameter of approx 2 - 2.5 inches. I think I traced around a small espresso cup!

Cut out the circles on the lines.

Fold each circle in half, wrong sides together. Press. Then fold in half again to form a triangular shape. Press. These are your petals.

Using matching thread, work a running stitch along the curved edge of the first petal. Without knotting or cutting the thread, work a running stitch through the next petal in the same manner.

Continue until all 5 petals are joined.

Pull the thread taught to gather all the petals together into the flower shape. Sew the first and last petal together.

Sew the joined petals to your bag/wallhanging/brooch backing.

I added a button to the centre of my flower, big enough to cover the raw edges, but I think it would also look great with an appliqued circle or a suffolk puff in a contrasting colour.

That's it. Easy huh? :)

This is my 99th post - stay tuned for my 100th post giveaway!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All together now: awwww!

Isn't it nice to see your handiwork being appreciated?

I swear, no-one covered Sampson with the quilt. My husband found him like this recently one chilly morning and took a photo to show me when I got home.
Isn't he cute?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stitches and Craft Show

I got to see The dress!

And I must say it is even better up close!

I really enjoyed the incubator section of this years show - I even got up the nerve to introduce myself to Kate of Two Little Banshees.

Her wombats were so sweet!

And I also met the gorgeous Fi of Dear Fii. Her dolls, while simple, have so much character. I love that!

Thanks ladies for letting me take photos of your beautiful creations!

However, I didn't enjoy the show as much this year as other years. While the incubator section was full of inspiration, the market area was rather small. When I did try to join in at one of the craft bars, the wait was super long and kind of awkward as people tried to push in and grab seats where they could. At another craft bar I was asked if I had ever threaded a needle and whether I needed help to do it... I hope this was just a general question they asked everyone - or do I look like I am unable to thread a needle? Hmmmm!

So, rather than hanging around too long, I decided to go home and sew! Here's my version of Fi's Pepper doll - made with a pattern from Homespun magazine. She will be a present for a friends baby daughter, although I think I may need to make another for myself!

And I just noticed I am getting close to my 100th post - I guess that means it's giveaway time! Stay tuned...!

PS - is anyone else going to Leanne and Rosie's Spring Stitch In? I am going to be there on the Saturday....

Monday, August 24, 2009


After days of sightseeing in Paris, some very late nights with my best friend in Strasbourg and running after two little kids in Switzerland, I was feeling a bit like this little guy when we arrived in Italy:

We started our Italian adventure in Manarola, one of the 5 villages that make up the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a world heritage listed site on the Italian riviera. The 5 villages perch on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. The villagers have spent years carving huge steps into the surrounding mountains to allow them to grow their grape vines and vegetables. My husband had found us a beautiful room to stay in, complete with a balcony on which we enjoyed many a glass of wine while watching the sun go down. There was a 12km hike which took you to all 5 villages which we also did on one day. Below is a picture of Manarola taken from the walking track.

After lazing in the Cinque Terre, we headed off to Florence. The picture below was taken from the Ponte Vecchio in between browsing the nearby jewellery stores(!).

One thing I loved about Italy was that it didn't get dark until quite late at night - it made the days go on forever!

We spent many a long balmy evening on the steps in front of the Uffizi, people watching and enjoying some gelato.

The local market in Florence - Mercato Centrale - was vibrant and lively. The local produce was glorious, I wish we had had access to a kitchen, I would have loved to cook up a storm here.

After Florence we headed off to Rome. Rome was the biggest surprise of the trip for me. Many people had told us that Rome was a big, brash city but I adored it. I loved wandering around and stumbling upon another monument, old building or ruins. Although we were there in summer, it didn't seem as busy as we had expected either. Or maybe we planned well? After hearing about horribly long queues at many of the attractions, we never waited any longer than 15 mins for anything.

The Colosseum was really interesting and it was fun to imagine what it would have been like in its heyday.

The Vatican museums and St Peter's Basilica were mind-blowing. The architecture and the art was simply beautiful.

And the food... oh the food... It should be a crime for food to taste as good as the food we ate in Rome.

And of course, after dinner, there was always a wonderful spot to sit and enjoy yet another gelato!

I promise my next post will have something sewing related!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Have you seen the Homemade cookbook?

It's a wonderful collection of recipes from people who wanted to help out after the Victorian bushfires earlier this year. The contributers include well known chefs such as Margaret Fulton and Greg Malouf along with families, homecooks and craft bloggers that you probably know including Kate, Lara and me! It's pretty damn cool to have my name listed alongside Ms Fulton's and Mr Malouf's!

Half the copies of Homemade will be given as gifts to those affected by the bushfires, while the other half will be sold and the money raised donated to the Salvation Army. Currently I have the apple and sultana cake by Leonie in the oven and it smells divine! It should be perfect for morning tea tomorrow.

You can order your copy of Homemade here

Edit: My contributions to the book included my quick mix chocolate and coconut cake and my beans and rice. Thanks for the reminder Ann!

And I haven't forgotten about my Italy photos - they are coming soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Morges, Switzerland

Whenever we told someone that we were going to Morges, Switzerland the response was either "why?" or "you must be visiting someone". Well, truth be told, we were visiting friends, but the town of Morges is beautiful and somewhere I would definitely consider visiting, even without the lure of friends.

Located on Lake Geneva near Lausanne, Morges is a small and quiet town with the most tremendous scenery. A walk shortly after arriving in Switzerland deposited us here - with the awesome sight of the alps rising from beyond the lake. It was simply breathtaking.

We spent our 3 days in Morges with old friends. Friends we had only seen for the sum total of 4 hours in the past 5 years, so it was wonderful to catch up with them again. Our short time was spent lazing by Lake Geneva with picnics, hiking in the nearby mountains, playing with the children and trying lots of Swiss food each evening (mmm... cheese fondue).

The nearby mountains were every bit as stunning as the sight of the Alps and Lake Geneva. There were tiny wildflowers everywhere you looked and cows with large rectangular bells hanging from their necks, the sound of which could be heard from miles away.

Morges is definitely somewhere I can imagine living.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


After looking through our holiday photos, I have decided that I am going to need to do this in 3 posts - we just have too many photos I want to share. I apologise now to anyone on a dial-up connection!

I thought I'd begin in Paris - where we started and ended our holiday. Full of excitement, nerves and adrenaline, we spent the first 4 days of our trip running madly about Paris trying to see as much as possible. Walking out of the train station that first morning was like a dream; the old buildings, window boxes full of red geraniums, the smell of fresh bread, the quiet of an early weekend morning, everything was so pretty.

We spent a long but wonderful day visiting the Musee du Louvre, where my Lonely Planet guide tells me there are more than 35,000 works of art on display. As you can imagine we only saw a small portion of these focussing on paintings and sculptures.

The room pictured above was my favourite. The sculptures were originally placed in a garden, so this room was designed to emulate that. It was quiet, filled with natural light and rather peaceful.
We also visited the Musee de l'Orangerie which houses a beautiful series of Monet's water lillies in two purpose built oval rooms.
Although Paris was filled to the brim with tourists, we discovered that there was always a quieter spot in which to enjoy the sights. Indeed, at the back of the Notre Dame Cathedral was a very pretty, quiet garden.

And just down the road from Notre Dame was Le Rouvray - a patchwork store! Unfortunately, we visited at the end of our trip and the store was already closed for the August summer holidays. I was so bummed!

There was a gorgeous tapestry store accross the street though which I did visit.

Of course, there was lots of eating to be done in Paris starting with delicate macarons from the famous Laduree.

and divine summer tarts from Pierre Herme

The last night of our 4 week jaunt was spent in Paris too - and we had a picnic under the Eiffel tower.

Another stop in France was Strasbourg in the Alsace region. Strasbourg has a most impressive cathedral - also called Notre Dame - which they light up during summer as part of a light show. It was a stunning sight.

The old town itself is surrounded by a canal and full of old half timber houses. These houses were originally built in this manner so that they could be transported - so you would literally 'move house' when you left one town for another.
It was easy to imagine I was in a fairytale, surrounded by gingerbread houses.

The wider Alsace region is also known for its wine and the surrounding hills are filled with vinyards.

This was a home in Obernai - a town near Strasbourg. Can you possibly imagine living in this? How fantastic!

Strasbourg was also home to the most glorious cheese store I have ever seen - La Cloche a Fromage. They boast the worlds largest cheese platter with 90 different cheeses! We bought just 4 to enjoy with our dinner.

Later in our trip we moved down south where we visited the medieval city of Carcassone. The old city of Carcassone is surrounded by two rampart walls interspersed with 52 stone towers, complete with witches hat roofs.

The city was full of kings and queens, knights and court jesters... ok, not really!

I am already compiling a list of places I would like to visit next time we are in France (fingers crossed - it might happen one day!).

Next stop - Switzerland!