Friday, September 24, 2010

Note to self:


Never leave paper patterns i’ve drafted on the dining table. Even if i’m exhausted after a frenzy of creativity, it’s already tomorrow and all I can manage is to stumble to bed. Because Murphy’s Law states that the children will wake, see paper, tape and scissors on the table and decide they are there for cutting. And I will stagger, bleary-eyed, out to the kitchen in the morning to discover my precious pattern is now in 32 pieces and needs to be disassembled from craft projects and reassembled into the outlines of a pants leg, then completely redrawn and cut.

I have been warned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A romantic evening out………dumpster diving?

What, you mean you wouldn’t choose to spend your first evening in two years without children digging through bins? Madness! We had a ball-especially with the treasures we found.SDC13465

SDC13467 A huge Rhino toolbox-one side was caved in but after some quick work with the hammer it shuts properly. With a bit more work it’ll probably be barely noticeable.

SDC13469Glazed pot-it has a smallish crack down one corner, nothing that isn’t fixable with 15 spare minutes. It has been earmarked for a blood orange tree.

SDC13470 And a garden’s worth of plants-mostly African daisies but there’s quite a few rosemarys in there, plus two Callistemons, a couple of punnets of Italian parsley and some mini Syzigiums (probably not edible, but i’ll check anyway). They were all a bit unwell, but most have recovered spectacularly in the week we’ve had them, and half have been planted in the ground already.

All of this was in one bin, from one store infamous for crushing local businesses. Their bins are the only way any stock from their store enters my possession-hopefully with their attitude to waste they don’t realise the wannabe freegans are onto them anytime soon and lock them up. I’ll be checking more regularly!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rip-off Fred Bare caftan

When Eden posted a link to a FB caftan due to be released this month, at the price of $65 (!!!!!!) I knew I had to make one. I’ve never made a top like this before, but knew that they’re dead-easy, and based on easy rectangular shapes, because they were developed in the days before fancy sewing, scissors, sharp needles etc. Different cultures had slightly different versions, such as kimonos and dashiki. Plus they’re modest and sunsmart, which is increasingly hard to buy as my girls get older.

V1-total cost 50c, op-shop fabric. Time was about 3 hours, from beginning pattern drafting to finish. There’s two pieces-the top is cut in one piece, with a neckline facing.DSCF5818DSCF5815 

It fitted well and looked pretty good on, but still homemade-ish. So a week or so later I pulled the pattern out and redid it, but curved the sleeve openings and bottom, and instead of folding up the hem (virtually impossible on curves) I cut some strips of fabric, folded them in half and overlocked them to the edges so they show. I don’t know what this technique is called. Much, much better!

V2-$7.00 with new quilters cotton, about 1.5 hours, with redrafting pattern and making up.DSCF5855

Detail of edging on the hem.DSCF5857

Neckline-no buttons, no zips, just a simple V-neck. And yes I know I should have used black thread in the overlocker, but i’m lazy. When I get one with automatic threading then i’ll use something other than white.DSCF5858

Eat ya heart out Fred Bare! I’ll sell it to you for $55 Eden, bargain. :P

But realistically, this is a very easy item to draft and make. There’s very little cutting, very little actual sewing, virtually everything is rectangles based on measurements and nothing requires more than a basic level of skill. Plus it’s very forgiving-you could sew very badly and not really notice!

Anyway, now i’ve finally attempted a top it’s got me interested in making more. If only I could get up the mojo to make some proper shirts for the boys, i’d be set.

Gardening, rental style.

We have really moved in here. To the point where the first question neighbours have been asking is whether we’ve bought it. We’ve been so transient for so long, but my spirit of adventure has been thoroughly beaten from me. I don’t want to travel, or go on any holidays longer than three days that take more than four hours to get to. I’d rather lounge around at home-trust me, it’s a massive step for me.

Food gardens are a must-have now, they’ve gone beyond a hobby to something I need to have. They’re in the same league to me as televisions are to most people-I cannot imagine life without food growing around me. Plus pottering around checking out new growth and paying close attention to what’s happening is immensely relaxing and a great way to slow down and defrag my head when i’m feeling frantic.

Which is why within a week we had transformed this ratty front garden of weeds and ugly plants into something productive. We did cheat a bit-we pulled up a lot of seedlings from the property and transplanted them. Insta-garden!DSCF5780 There’s many mature edible trees here, a macadamia, lychee, guava, lemon and an overhanging mango tree, plus our rear neighbour keeps giving us bags of mandarines. I do love old suburbs for their productive trees, mock oranges and other crap featured in designer gardens that has been developed specifically NOT to feed us, as if fresh fruit is a problem, does my head in.

In the back corner of the yard was accumulated years of garden crap-as well as three trailerloads to the tip I also found a garden bed which i’ve green manured ready for a pumpkin patch, a rampant Monstera Deliciosa of which the base has been found and potted up (never eaten it but there’s one in town i’m planning to raid when it’s mature), piles of compost and leaf mould and some fantastic concrete garden edging. The latter three, along with newspaper to smother the grass, food scraps and straw have made this bed.DSCF5782

The leaf mould also held less wanted prizes, like four of these strange little burrowing snakes. Four! Anyone know more about them? They’re about 30cm long, with no discernable neck and a blunted tail, and were living under the dirt.

This one tied itself into a knot. DSCF5819

OK, since I started posting this i’ve quizzed the neighbour, who told us they’re legless lizards. They actually have tiny little useless legs a bit behind their head, but as these can’t be seen unless you’re really close, we didn’t see them. And their tails fall off.

But now we know, we can play with them. It’s still rather disconcerting to have your child run upstairs with what looks very much like a snake in her hands. DSCF5956 But still much preferred to the giant centipedes we got at the property-I found this pic of one that made it’s way into our tent when it was airing after camping. Seriously, these were about 30cm long. They freak me out.Image002

OK, I wandered off there for a little bit-but the gardens have begun!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What i’ve read-August

I thought it may be useful for me to keep track of what I read. I read a lot, and mostly non-fiction. Already, after only six weeks, I can track my interests waxing and waning through my list of books.

Here’s August-gardening seemed to be the dominant theme, appropriate for a month of setting up gardens in a new house.

Child of our Time-Dr Tessa Livingstone

A Year of Slow Food-David and Gerda Foster

Growing without Digging-Esther Deans

Earth Garden Backyard Farmer #4

Is it just me or is Everything Shit? V2-Lowe and McArthur

Absurdistan-Eric Campbell

Easy Aquaponics-Earth Garden

The Crafty Minx-Kelly Doust

Sewing Green-Betz White

If you want to ask me about any, feel free! I love a chat about a good (or not so good) book.