March 23, 2009

Vive la france

So later yesterday I thought I'd just cut out my pieces for the Frenchy bag so I could fiddle with it a bit during the week.

Only then I started it and not much longer after that, I had this.

Very cute and the Tula Pink Flutterby fabrics work really well. This is the handbag size and I'm definitely going to make the shoulder bag size as well (one more for the project list) because it's probably more 'going out in the evening' size for me than handbag size given I tend to carry a fair bit in my day bags. So I'll probably make myself a little matching coin/card purse and I'll be set.

I made the handles longer so it does go over my shoulder and I divided the pockets but otherwise, it's pretty much as per the pattern (well, except for the inevitable using fusible interfacing - light on the bag and lining and medium on the straps and top - instead of sewn in). Though I did leave the opening for turning in the bottom of the lining which worked well. Oh and I didn't topstitch at step 7, only at the end. All stuff I found in other reviews. Putting in the magnetic clasp was easier than I expected, so very happy overall.

Next on that list, the quilt back.

March 22, 2009


So last weekend I was feeling a bit buggy and all week I was EXHAUSTED and pushed it a bit by going out two nights so Friday afternoon I started feeling pretty terrible and yesterday was spent mostly asleep. Today I'm feeling a bit better but hardly full of pep. So it's been a sleeping and reading and lying on the couch watching dvds type of weekend. Which is annoying because I wanted to start my Frenchy bag and get stuck into the wip and get back into the exercise routine which had slightly gone out the window due to feeling not well. Guess that will have to wait a bit.

Friday, before I started feeling bad, I made these:

They're the Perfect Pouches pattern by Lazy Girl Designs, which I have to say is a very easy and quick to do pattern. I didn't have any batting, so just interfaced the back and it seems to work fine. I made the blue one first then was experimenting with the red one to see if I could find a way of doing it so you don't end up with raw seams inside that you zig zag. Short answer, yes, you can, long answer, yes you can with a french seam but it comes out a bit wonky looking cos the seams get very bulky around the zip and corners and it's hard to keep it squared. I think an easier option might be cutting slightly bigger so you've got a big enough seam allowance to turn the edges over twice. Or you know, living with zig zag or another finishing stitch. The way you do the zips in these is really nifty and clever and they're very quick to do. I'm going to make some bigger ones for packing and travelling etc.

This afternoon I made this (probably not the smartest idea. Sewing while slightly brain befuddled = unpicking).

This is the large boxed version of the Nicole Mallalieu coin purse design. I didn't get one side seam quite right, there too big a gap between the zip and the edge but I am considering these my learning versions. I didn't interface this one because I wanted to see what it was like without it. Answer, probably fine in a slightly heavier fabric but I'll do a light interfacing on the outer material in future versions to give it a bit more structure.

And now I'm going to lie on the couch some more and maybe wriggle my fingers over the alphie after I've recovered from a whole hour or so of sewing. I hate viruses!

March 18, 2009

Midweek fly-by post

It's been a busy week so far, lots on at work and then I went to see David Hobson and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in recital last night. Beautiful tenor and baritone. I'm not a huge opera fan, mainly because I find sopranos a bit hard on the ears sometimes but I do like the male voices, so this was great. Plus neither of them is hard on the eyes. I believe Teddy sometimes get called a "Barihunk" lol

Tomorrow night I'm off to see Wicked, so YAY. I've had the soundtrack for ages, so am very much looking forward to it.

In between all of this I've been getting little bits and pieces of writing down and also trying out my Nicole Mallalieu coin purse pattern. I've made the small one:

Which is cute and definitely coin purse size. I'm not a big coin purse size, so this has found a home with the VT.

I made the bigger size to match my Fleamarket bag.

It's much bigger, more like a small makeup purse. I think I'll try making one the same size but not as deep which would be a great size for throwing some cash, cards and coins in your bag for a night out when you don't what to cart your purse around.
The pattern is pretty straightforward, just remember to read her tutorial on zips on the website (er, if it's a LONG time since you'd put it a zip like it was for me lol).

March 15, 2009

Weekend wrap up

My weekend has zoomed by again. Friday I went to the Stitches and Craft show and bought a couple of Nicole Mallalieu patterns to try then came home and wrote.

Saturday was the ballet with Mum and Gwen and Betsy (I am the token young whippersnapper). It was a triple bill and all were good (though I still find Les Sylphide far too dreamy and soothing, or maybe I was just sleepy : ) ). Saturday night was Supernatural and I made some red velvet cake for the first time (YUM!).

Today I've been doing laundry and sewing and writing. Bad sewing mojo today, lots of unpicking due to making silly errors which probably means I'm more tired than I think.

Still I managed to make the first of my girly versions of the library bag (and do most of the prep work for the second, it just needs the final putting together which should only take me thirty minutes or so when I'm not quite this tired).

Next on the of these Amy Butler Frenchy Bags, in some cute Tula Pink Flutterby fabrics I bought at AQC. And finishing the quilt back for my blue and cream quilt (yes, I'm aware I finished the top 2 years can't rush these things!). Which given I only have to cut three pieces and sew two seams should be do-able. It would be good to have that done before Easter so I can take it home to get the laying out and basting down (drawback to little house is nowhere big enough to lay out big quilts!)

And now it's time for dinner and a bit more writing and then more Supernatural. I'm almost done with Season 3 and then will be cursing the Aussie TV programmers like everyone else and saying WHERE IS THE NEW SERIES?

March 12, 2009


Sorry for blog silence, busy weekend then got sick. So to kick things back, a book meme via Alyson

How "well-read" are you?

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) put a # by those you've started but not finished.
5) Tally your total at the bottom.
6) Add five books you think should be on the list

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x++
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling x+
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee x+
6 The Bible x+ (I love parts of it)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman x
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott x++
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller x
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare #*
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier x
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger x
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger *
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell x++
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald x
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams x+
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh x
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll x
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame x+
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy # (me and the russians don't get along when it comes to literature)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens *
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis x+
34 Emma - Jane Austen x++
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen x
36 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
37 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres *
38 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden x
39 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne x+
40 Animal Farm - George Orwell x
41 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
42 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving x
44 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery x++
46 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
47 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood x
48 Lord of the Flies - William Golding x
49 Atonement - Ian McEwan (would not read after seeing that movie)
50 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51 Dune - Frank Herbert x+
52 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons X
53 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x+
54 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens #
57 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley x
58 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon #
59 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
60 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck x
61 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62 The Secret History - Donna Tartt x
63 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold x
64 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas #? (I may have read it all, would've been when I was young though)
65 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
66 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding x
68 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
69 Moby Dick - Herman Melville x
70 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens x
71 Dracula - Bram Stoker x
72 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
73 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson x++
74 Ulysses - James Joyce #
75 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
76 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome x
77 Germinal - Emile Zola
78 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray *
79 Possession - AS Byatt *
80 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens x
81 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell # (still in the TBR pile somewhere)
82 The Color Purple - Alice Walker x
83 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro x
84 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
85 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86 Charlotte’s Web - EB White x+
87 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom x
88 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle x
89 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton x+
90 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery x
92 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93 Watership Down - Richard Adams x+
94 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute x
96 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas x
97 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl x
98 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo # (or if I did finish it was skimmed)
99 A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
100 Twilight series - Stephenie Meyer # (have read the first two, liked the first one, got bored in number two, not sure if I'll read the others).

X (read) = 60-ish (counted twice and got two different numbers) Yay for parents and grandparents who gave me classic kids books lol
# (not finished) = 7-ish
* (plan to read) = 8-ish (but anything's possible. apart from no-Atonement)

Five books I'd add to the list: Well that's just mean but Sunshine by Robin McKinley, Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie, the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold and in the realm of beloved kids books either the Billabong books (Mary Grant Bruce) or the Silver Brumby series (Elaine Mitchell).

March 07, 2009

Library bags

So last week I said I was going to make some library bags for Beyond Pink and Blue's Rainbow Comfort Pack drive for kids who are victims of the bushfires.

So last weekend I bought fabric and today I made my first bag:

I followed Nicole's pattern idea. This is teen sized...I cut out rectangles 52 by 40 (yay for patterns with straight lines that you can cut with a rotary cutter - speedy). It took me about half an hour to measure up and cut pieces for two bags and probably an hour to sew (maybe a bit longer as I figured out the compartment pocket at the front and the mobile phone/cash and card/key sized patch pocket inside) and the second one will be faster as I've already done some of the prework on the pockets and know what I'm doing now.

I'm going to make another one in this fabric (I liked the grey and blue camo, I figured it would appeal to boys or girls who don't like pink or girly stuff), same size and I've bought another fabric to make two more girly ones. I think I'll make those slightly shorter and thinner so they come out a little smaller for girls, so I'll probably cut them 48 by 38. I'll post a pic of those when we're done.

It was dead easy, all you need to know how to do is sew straight stitch and zig zag.

I bought a metre of each fabric and there'll be a bit left over...I'm rapidly developing a fabric stash. Yikes. I see more plastic storage tubs in my future.

Accidental sewing discovery

This kind of clothes brush (with the fabric-y velvety type brush bit) brushes tailor's chalk marks off fabric quite nicely.

Just in case anyone was wondering.


Happy birthday to my brilliant crit partner, Keri!

Nothing but good times ahead, babe. Eat cake and drink some pink bubbles for me : )

Random shower snippets

I don't know about other writers but the girls like to send up odd story snippets and lines of dialogue and bits and pieces at weird moments. The shower apparently works for them, probably because there is no way of writing down what they're saying. This morning was apparently time for a random waltz through a number of wips. Here's a selection.

WIP 1: I think Lizzie should press her to take on an apprentice for the tech stuff. A younger guy. A gamer. Brings back all the bad stuff but she needs him while she's stuck.

WIP 2: Perhaps the auction house would be a good short story on its own. Also you've gotta mention she's using the Earth Tree at the castle. Me: What's an Earth Tree. Oh. Right.

WIP 3: The princess goes a bit mad. Maybe a lot mad. Bad princess.

WIP 4: Son of a god.

WIP 5: Orange VW. At the garage. "My mom bought a pumpkin for a car."

Back to WIP 1: Also, they suggest therapy. And tell her you can do it virtually now. "That's just weird enough to be true."

WIP 6: She's in the car with the killer. Put her in hotpants. She'd hate hotpants.

At least it's rarely boring in my head.

March 05, 2009

Top 20 Albums

Because Barbara asked...

Not in order, but here goes.

1. The Joshua Tree - U2, I was late to the U2 party but adore this album for the emotion and uplifting-ness.

2. Melissa Etheridge - Melissa Etheridge - High school angry chick music

3. Gordon - Bare Naked Ladies, Long drives and giggly nights with a good friend who lives far away.

4. Waterloo - ABBA, singing in the car with my parents from a very young age and probably responsible for my enduring love of ABBA. I have heard this album approximately 3 zillion times.

5. Whispering Jack - John Farnham, John Farnham is a large part of the soundtrack of my last few years of high school. Happy music.

6. Stones in the Road - Mary Chapin Carpenter, wonderful storytelling and probably started my dabbling in country.

7. Sunday Morning to Saturday Night - Matraca Berg, soundtrack of one of my books and I still love it.

8. Achtung Baby - U2, my other favourite U2 album, tied up with memories of queuing to midnight to buy it with a particular boy.

9. These Here Are Crazy Times - Boom Crash Opera, BCO were a big part of the early uni year soundtrack.

10. The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack - Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman. One of the first movie soundtracks I fell in love with. Great sweeping romantic music.

11. The Getaway - Chris de Burgh, blame this one on my mum but he's a great storyteller even if he's not cool.

12. Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we - The Cranberries, more uni music and one of my enduring heartbreak songs

13. The Long Way Home - The Dixie Chicks, another book soundtrack and all round cool kick butt gals album.

14. Listen Without Prejudice - George Michael, has some songs I adore and others I don't but the adored ones win

15. 1200 Curfews - Indigo Girls, beautiful voices

16. Pirates of the Carribean - At World's End, probably current favourite movie soundtrack, and more book music that's sheerly beautiful.

17. Play - Moby, memories of my former housemates and early twenties

18. Rent - The Soundtrack, quite possibly my favourite musical. Not the first one I fell in love with but one that stays near the top of the list.

19. The Ego Has Landed - Robbie Williams, because Robbie Williams live is sex on legs, the IT factor personified and on CD he ain't half bad either. Plus Let Me Entertain you is another hero theme song.

20. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - The original movie soundtrack. One of my other favourite musicals. Tim Curry. Schlocky rock sci fi music. What more do you need?

Man, it's hard to pick just 20, other candidates would be Dido, Chris Isaak, Lisa Gerrard, Adam Hurst and well, I could go on and on but it would probably get embarrassing : )

Haven't seen one of these for a while

Some rain at last! Yay!

March 01, 2009


Another music meme spotted on Libba Bray's blog.


1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


4. Tag 15 friends (but I say tag or not, up to you)

5. Everyone tagged has to do the same thing. (Except only if you want to)

6. Have Fun!

Let's see what iTunes wants to say about my life today....


Candy - Iggy Pop

I guess if I was hungry....


Can't Stop This Thing We Started - Bryan Adams

True enough. Except when I want to stop.


Silver and Gold - U2

lol...well I have always said a rich husband would be nice!


Lucky - Melissa Etheridge

Today was a pretty good day, so yeah.


Too Much - Spice Girls

So…I'm going to do things to excess?


Do right woman, do right man - The Commitments

Well that's not such a bad relationship motto at least. Or life if you read it as 'do unto others'...


Imaginary Girl - Hunters and Collectors

Apparently I am the imaginary friend of my friends? Hopefully we can take this as 'imagination girl' : )


Cannonball - Damien Rice

Not going to try and explain that one.


After The Thrill is Gone - The Eagles

Er, maybe in terms of working out romance plots?


How Peculiar - Robbie Williams

Okay, that's funny. And I ain't saying WHICH best friend.


Let Me Go - Melissa Etheridge



What Are You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani

Er, to be grown up? Though I'd take the million dollar contract bit.


Give Me Tonight - Matraca Berg

I'm having a country funeral apparently. And hmmm, surely it will be too late to give me anything?


Loaded - Ricky Martin

I hope that's referring to me having to count my money often after my million dollar contracts lol


They Won't Go When I Go - George Michael

So either I don't like war or guests who overstay their welcome or being stood up.


Crazy - Icehouse

LOL. Send for the men in white coats. I'm sure some people think this is true.


Home - Michael Buble

Well, I did tweet about wanting a bigger house.


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - Jimmy Barnes

True enough. Need my posse.


Lullaby - Dixie Chicks

Well, all in all, not too weird. Shuffle it up and see what you get. I'm for bed.


Or maybe not so yikes. I just did the whole damn thing. 46 minutes on the elliptical, 10.6kms. And maybe that's not a lot for some people but that's my personal best. So woohoo! Go Coach Sean. Go me!

I've never been a big high intensity cardio fan (other than dance when I was younger). I like to walk and swim but never been a jogger or a runner (combine asthma and bad knees and jogging never was pleasant). And yes, I go for hour long walks or bike rides and yes, when I was going to the gym, I did step and Body Attack etc and the odd hour long session on the treadmill but I could never run on a treadmill (and step crucified my knees). So for me, running more than 10kms on the ET (let alone ENJOYING it) is a big deal. And hey, as I keep adding Cardio Coach levels, I'll probably crack that hour on the ET anyway. Not every workout but one long ET session a week plus two thirty minutes+ sessions and an hour of Nia and a pilates class is not a bad exercise level for someone who was doing not much consistent exercise at all last year and who, when I first climbed back on the ET late last year was finding ten minutes tough.

Apparently I have an inner athlete after all!


It's Autumn already. Wow. I guess this is going to be another year of zoom zoom zoom.

And I have to start doing Cardio Coach Volume 4 this month. I've done the short version of it without the last challenge a couple of times already but now I have to do the whole thing. Yikes.

Busy busy

So Friday was the Australian Quilt Convention, so Chris and I toddled along and were semi-restrained. I bought a few bag patterns and some fabric, so there will be more bags along the line somewhere. Came home from AQC mid afternoon then critted and did a bit of writing.

Yesterday there was Lulus where there was much critiquing and eating of violet crumbles (and other yummy healthier things).

Last night I started making this:

And finished it this morning obviously. It's Grand Revival Design's Practical Bag and the fabric is just a quilting cotton from Spotlight that I thought was cute lined with a heavier black cotton (though the actual quilting cotton is heavier than normal and the design is printed on which makes it stiffer too). It was pretty easy to make (though I remembered how much I hate sewing black things though maybe I was just a bit tired. Or maybe I should've gone with green thread), took maybe three hours including cutting time. I found it a bit tricky to insert the straps perfectly neatly which doesn't really matter on this one as it's just a take shopping bag but if I were making one in prettier (and perhaps lighter) fabrics as a gift or to carry more as a big bag, then you need to be careful with your seam allowances. If I was making another tote one then I might make the straps a smidgeon longer (maybe an inch or two) just because I'm tall.

My other speedy project today was a new 'hanging thing for over the arm of the recliner to put stuff in' for Mum as the folks got their couch and chairs recovered. I made out of a thick slubby decorator fabric and am once again impressed with the Janome's ability to chug through balked only at the very last corners which were getting close to 75mm thick I'd say, so I just caught those by hand. This is probably the first thing I've ever made without a pattern, I just looked at the old one and made something similar dimensions. It's just a rectangle with a compartment pocket which you could make deeper for a remote or something I guess. Would've been easier with an overlocker perhaps to finish the edges quickly without having to turn them under but it should work regardless. At least it was fast.

Next on the project list is a couple of library bags for this:


I'm going to do some teen size ones of the backpack style. So will cut fabric during the week and that can be my sewing time next weekend. If you sew (or even if you don't but can donate some stuff) maybe give it a go.

For the rest of the day I need to write, clean, grocery shop, exercise and then possible collapse.