Friday, December 21, 2007

Another 6.5 stitches cardigan

Another 6.5 stitches cardi
Originally uploaded by redmag

I finally finished my second one of these. While the first one I knitted stills fits in the arms, it is starting to look more like a crop top than a cardigan in the body region and needed to be retired.

This time I've used a bright red cotton so that it wont be too 'heavy' over the coming summer months. I had originally planned to use wooden toggles for buttons again but I found these big white plastic buttons at Lincraft and thought they'd look cute.

Again impatience and poor planning means that I haven’t added the fabric panel - but given its going to worn over the summer months the fabric really isn’t needed.

I can't explain how much I love this pattern - its easy and a great shape. The simpleness of the design means that the choice of wool and button can influence the final look quite significantly.

Our first harvest

Our first harvest
Originally uploaded by redmag

Zucchini's from our garden - with 100s more on their way!
I have no idea what to do with them?

These ones were used in a creamy summer veggie pasta (cream, zucchini, peas, parms), and a feta mint yellow zest and zucchini pizza.

I'm hoping to pickle some over christmas break - if anyone knows of any good quick recipes/tricks I'd be very happy to hear them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ollie - the elephant

Ollie - the elephant
Originally uploaded by redmag

This sleepy little fellow is made from recycled curtains. I'm not sure if I'll sell elepahants in my shop because there are already loads of cool ones out there on etsy....but this guy just sort of happen organically. The fabric seemed to want to be an elephant, and while very basic I really like his shape, particularly his trunk - pointing to the heavens for luck.

Keeping with the physicist thing - this little fellow is named after Mark Oliphant an Australian physicist.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

WIP - Linen clock cushion

WIP - Linen clock cushion
Originally uploaded by redmag

This was intended to be a proto-type new product for my shop (see profile for link) but its turning out to be a little too time-comsuming - maybe thats the half way through blues talking.

It is starting to look like its all coming together so I'll keep going. It's (hopefully) going to be a clock cushion, I'm going to set the hands to the time of birth of someone's baby, and ebroider the date and the baby's name on the clock face ( or maybe in the side panel of the cushion - not sure yet)

Anyway - I'm loving working with linen - will need to think of more projects!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A jumper made with love

A jumper made with love
Originally uploaded by redmag

I went to a book sale at the local church over the weekend and picked up a few bargains, one of which was a 1974 Goldern Hands Crafts book called "Gifts to Make". Strangley a large number of the crafts were quite tasteful and could actually be described as "Back in vogue."

This is my favourite a colourful stripey jumper for your sausage dog.

Our dog is German Shorthaired pointer and quite a bit larger than a sausage dog. Sadly he also has an aversion to wearing doggy coats and perfers to lounge in side on the couch when the weather is too hot or too cold so trying to knit a larger version might be a complete waste of time, which is a shame.

I do however have a calico sausage dog from MUJI that I was given a few years ago. Given its very plain looking I thought I might give the jumper a go for the toy dog.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

6.5 stitches cardigan - all done!

6.5 stitches cardigan - all done!
Originally uploaded by redmag

I finally finished it . It's meant to have a fabric piece that sits behind the front knitted flap, however I hadn't managed to find the right piece of fabric by the time I finished knitting. Being extremely impatient, I decided that warmer weather we'd been experiencing justified omitting that panel, and sewed it up sans beautiful fabric.

The vital stats - This is the 3 month size. I used 3.75mm needles and two balls (100g) of TLC CaraMia, which is a medium worsted wool. It's an Acrylic (50%), Nylon (19%), Rayon (18%) Angora (13%) blended wool, which makes it feel soft but not delicate. It's recommended that you use 5mm needles with this wool, but I was worried the jumper would end up being too big and opted for a smalled set.

The pattern itself was wonderful - simple and clear. The cardigan looks fantastic on and is easy to put on and take off - which I love. We've already had many compliments on our walks over the past couple of days, including inquiries as to whether it was a pumpkin patch purchase. It's always so nice to be able to reply..."Well actually I made it myself. "

I'm going to try and get some more wool and start making a second one in the larger 6 month size straight away! Partly because he is growing like a weed and will need a bigger one very soon, but mainly because it was so enjoyable to make - and I really should do one with the beautiful fabric panel.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eadie, Ethel and Elenore - Schrodinger's kitties and shop talk.

Eadie, Ethel and Elenore
Originally uploaded by redmag

It's been a productive day of sewing - three new floral SChodinger's Cats for my shop - Eadie, Ethel and Elenore.

Eadie - the kitten made from the floral fabric I bought over the weekend - is actually much prettier in real life than she seems in this photo. The colours havent come out right in this photo so I'm going to try and take some more photos tomorrow in daylight and see if I can do her some justice before adding her to my store. Her face has the sweetest as a small pink triangle turned up in the middle of her face in the right place to form a nose - completely unplanned which was a happy conincidence. I'll be adding those three tomorrow.

I also posted a message on my shop announcing the arrival of a new range of toys I'm planning to release on Monday 17 September. I'm very excited about having new designs to show everyone, but I did forget that I had people coming to stay with us over the weekend so tomorrow and Thursday are going to be a busy sewing days. Nothing like a deadline to make me get myself into gear...I find i just drift along without pressure, self imposed or otherwise.

Anyway, time to cook dinner - it's brocolli, chilli anchovy pasta tonight.
Hope you had/have a great productive day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fifties florals

Fifties florals
Originally uploaded by redmag

This is part of my stash from the YMCA garage sale over the weekend.

The one on the top of the pile is some vintage fabric which I'm currently turning into another Schrodinger's cat - I only have to add a face and its ready to meet the world.

The middle two are table clothes which have been laundered in anticipation of summer and the joyous prospect of outdoor dining.

The bottom one is actually a pillow made from an old tea towel covered in The Cooktown Orchid, which is apparently Queensland floral emblem. All information from the tea towel - who would have thought a teatowel could be such an informative source!. I've given it a much needed bath and will restuff it for adding to the couch for more years of lounging. It does look like its seen many years of traffic already and suffered a bit of damage in the machine but the battered look makes it all the more endearing.

How tall are you?

How tall are you?
Originally uploaded by redmag

This wonderful thing was probably the find of the day. It's a growth chart covered in cute little people and signs in german.

I think some cute pins are needed to mark off heights. Something like these or these only with little people, cars or bicycles on them - if anyone knows of something that will fit the bill please let me know!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thank God its Friday

Some Op Shop finds
Originally uploaded by redmag

I'm not sure why I look forward to Friday so much when I'm not working - but I do. I guess its because everyone else in the world suddenly becomes available for fun activities on Friday.

Its a rainy grey spring day today -which is rare on all fronts its very rarely grey in Canberra, and its even more rare to see it rain. While its great to get some rain - the dams and the gardens need it - it is difficult to do much on a day like this.

We're having some friends round for a BBQ on the weekend and I had big plans for tidying the house but most of the mess is stockpiled dirty clothing and washing it when there's no where to hang it to dry seems silly. So the cleaning can wait til tomorrow!

I just designed a new toy which I'm dying to show everyone. It's a surprise gift for my sister so I need to wait until she receives it in the mail before I can share it with the rest of the world. However in the meantime I'm making variants of it for my shop, which means I will have a number of things to add next week, or early the following week depending on the speediness of the postal service.

On another good note - The local thrift shop was having a sale on Children's books today - 20 cents each!! So I bought 11 - I'll test them out in the coming weeks and let you know if there are any gems...there's one about a bunny rabbit with long floppy ears which I'm looking forward to trying out on Baby N.

The other exciting thing coming up is the much anticipated YMCA garage sale which is happening tomorrow. They occur every three months so Baby N was only a few weeks old last time and slept through the whole thing. We did manage to find the cute penguin toy and the chalkboard for him (both pictured above). Hopefully we'll find more treasures this time. They tend to have a section where you can fill a bag full of clothes for only a couple of dollars. I'm looking for some green items to use to make leaves to add to the tree in the nursery when summer comes round - the more outragiously 70s the better!

For any Canberra based people who are interested - here's a link to their website for all the details.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Spring has sprung in the nursey

Spring has sprung in the nursey
Originally uploaded by redmag

We welcomed spring over the weekend. There was some barbecuing, a little gardening (more talking about what we could do rather than actual doing but that's all progress really when you're coming from a low baseline) and we added the spring blossoms to Baby N's mural.

I could only get two bunches of the flowers I liked, so the flowers are more sparse than originally planned. It looks more like a Magnolia than the fruit tree I had in mind. Either way it sings spring - which is what I had hoped for.

Plus I was thinking that the extra space on the branches means we can now also turn it into a "family tree" for N. All of our extended family live interstate or overseas, so we were planning on sticking up photos of the family around his room to help him remember them between visits. Now with the extra space on the branches I thought I might make it a family tree.

Anyway its a lovely sunny day, again! I'm baking brownies for an afternoon tea, but once they're done its off somewhere outside to read a book in the sunshine.

Hope your day is good - where ever you are!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Moo!!!!!!!!!! Originally uploaded by redmag

My dual purpose business card/tags arrived from Moo today!! They look fantastic and will be put to work straight away as I sold another cat today (Schrodinger's black cat is just about to jet off to the other side of the world - hopefully he'll bring joy to his new family)

The whole process was very quick and easy - so now I'm addicted. I'm going to have to invent reasons for ordering more cards - Gift tags for Xmas is the only thing I can think of so far - although 100 gift tags is far more than I'll need. If you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them.

I'm finding it hard to get motivated to craft today. The weather is lovely and warm (albeit alarmingly so for a winter's day in Canberra). I'm meant to be making some dinosaurs for my etsy shop. My son vomited on his proto-type so I now have the chance to experiment with washing the finished product and will hopefully be able to include care instructions on this new batch. Maybe the care instructions could go on a Moo minicard? That's got to be another great reason to order more if ever I heard one!

I was also going to continue working on the cardigan/jacket I'm knitting for my son. I'm using the new 6.5 stitches pattern. It's a really pretty design - I especially love the fabric panel which allows for a flashy show of colour to offset the dark grey colour wool I'm using. I'm still on the hunt for the fabric I'm going to use. I think a trip out to "Addicted to Fabric" in Phillip is in order for this project. I had been avoiding going in case I went nuts and spent too much money, but for a special project like this one I'm sure I can go in with a definite idea of what i need and show restraint. I'll post a picture when its done.

It's time to think about dinner. We've been away for the last few days and both the cupboard and fridge are bear so I'm off to the shops. I have a hankering for something summery because of the weather but don't want to be trapped into buying out of season produce. I was thinking of some kind of pasta with ricotta, peas and basil. Might stop now and ask Google what to have for dinner.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dirac the dinosaur

Dirac the dino
Originally uploaded by redmag

The green fabric was Friday's op shopping find. Initially I suffered from my usual paralysis - not knowing what to do with the fabric. Having a limited amount amount of it didn't help as I felt an overwhelming pressure to make something really wonderful which just compounded the problem. Anyway, on the walk home from the shops it whispered, "I'd like to be a dinosaur" and voila!

Despite not having a face yet, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I had to do a couple of road tests with my son (I really should get a wider test group) - the first one was a complete failure. He wailed the moment he laid eyes on it. The second attempt went much better. He hugged it close so as to suck on its head, which is a big compliment from him. I think I might make a few more for my shop. So all-in-all a very productive day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thrifty finds

One of the bonuses of being on maternity leave is being able to do a bit of op shopping (thrift shopping for North Americans).

I do it at least a few times a week and have my favourite shops. Here are my picks for anyone in Canberra who also shares my bower-bird-like passion for collecting other people's discarded treasures:

  • The Dickson St Vinnies in Cape Street Dickson - it's clean and well organised. It doesn't really stock furniture but it does have clothing, books, manchester and homewares. There seems to be a reasonable turn over of stock and the staff are friendly. For those of you who work during the week its also open til 3pm on Saturday.
  • The Brotherhood in Quenbeyan. It's huge and again doesn't stock furniture but I always find a bag full of great clothes/fabric or manchester here. They also have a decent range of books most weeks.

Now that I have a car with back doors I can get my son in and out of the car without us both having to perform gymnastics. My plan is to go further afield and hopefully discover a few more good ones - I'll keep you posted. I think I might try the shops in Mitchell next.

The photo is of a few of today's purchases. My favourite is the pull along duck. It opens up - presumably so that you can hide things in it, and while my son is a long way off being able to pull it along behind him I just had to buy it.

I'm currently obsessed with designing a couple of toys on wheels. At this stage they will both be softies on wheels. One will be bird of some kind, most likely a chicken, and a yatch. I ordered some wooden wheels on-line over the weekend and now just need to duck out and get some staples for my staple gun, a block of wood for the base and some big nails to act as axles and I should be able to knock up a proto-type in the next couple of days.

I can't wait - I'm not sure why I have such a burning desire to put a soft toy on wheels but I do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A How To - Murals for those of us who don't like prep work

A few weeks ago Apartment Therapy featured a wonderful "how to" on painting a tree mural.
However it required you hand draw the outline and then do LOADS of taping before you started painting.

If you're anything like me - you hate painting prep work. I also lack confidence when it comes to drawing, particularly when drawing big things on very exposed areas like your walls. Like me you probably bookmarked the thread planning to paint the mural once you finally got round to attending those drawing classes you've been planning to attend for 10 years. Fortunately for me I had already painted my mural weeks earlier and it didn't require drawing talent or lots of taping (pictured above).

So here's a quick tour of my no-tape version of painting tree murals for those of us who lack confidence and or patience.

  1. Find an image you like. Either draw it yourself on a piece of paper or find one from another source.
  2. Project it onto the wall. There are a range of options for doing this - if you image is digital and you have access to a data projector connect it straight to your computer and project the image onto the wall. If not, that's OK as there are plenty of low-tech options. I'd recommend transferring your image onto acetate or a transparent film - I did this using a photocopier - and projecting it onto to the wall with an overhead projector.
  3. Trace you image in pencil. Use pencil so that you can rub it out at the end. However to speed things up and avoid having to erase lots of lines at the end I tended to trace a little smaller than the image so that the lines would be completed covered when i painted.
  4. Colour in within the lines. My only tip here is that I used a paint brush that was roughly the same width as most of the branches on my tree so that I could colour most of them in with one fluid brush stroke which is a lot quicker than doing the edges and then colouring them in.

All in all the whole thing was completed over about 4 hours spread over two days - I was 9 and a half months pregnant at the time and so it might take others even less time (I was a bit slow at getting up and down the step ladder for the high bits)

I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. The birds are made from fabric and paper and are blue tacked to the wall so they can be moved and removed. The tree is on a wall in a nursery so my plan is to have it reflect the seasons to add a bit of colour and excitement to the room. It's winter in Australia at the moment so the tree is bear for the time being, however come:

  • September 1 - I plan to cover it with pink blossoms in a celebration of spring,
  • December 1 - I'll be madly adding big green leaves to mark Summer, and
  • March 1 - I'll be blanketing it in red, yellow and brown leaves to welcome autumn.

I'll keep you posted - spring is just around the corner.

(Edited - Two years have passed since I first painted the tree and we've seen the seasons come and check out the transformations for inspiration for your tree - Summer, Spring and Autumn)