27 August, 2007

oh my goodness I am excited excited excited!!!

Just a quick post.... YIPPEE!!!!

summer pickles got on the front page of etsy! (second row down, in the middle..."the flowers that bloom in the spring tra la! ring"... and that's my hand!
Thanks edee for including me in your showcase!!! Heavens above I am so excited! (Perhaps I will get my ever-elusive first sale?!?)

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week... Spring has arrived in Melbourne - yay for sunshine!

26 August, 2007

baby elephant love - the mobile

Just finished another mobile!
This one is called baby elephant love... and is made from polkadotted felt (of course from my existing fabric collection - I am still going with use what you have). This is now available at my etsy ...

Now that I have finished stitching felt hearts I can go to bed (whew!) ... it is 1.46 am here!


24 August, 2007

flashback friday! tshirt theme

Happy flashback Friday!

Okay, this week's theme is tshirts, so this is going to be quite a stretch for me. Fashion has never been my thing, so the closest I think I ever got to a popular tshirt as a child was a Cats tshirt (yes, musical theatre... no where near as cool as ET or Star Wars!)... and this was in I think about 1987.

So, with the limit set at 1985, this is the best I could do.

This is a photo of me with my brother in 1985, sitting in the open air chapel of a Brownies camp called Tintuppah Gunyah. Brownies were junior girl guides... guides got to wear blue, we had to wear yellow and brown... very attractive! I am in the skivvy on the left - I told you... not a fashion victim - whilst my brother is on the right.

Still with me? Okay, here comes the stretch.... My brother is wearing a Tshirt which has the wording "NYNGAN Beyond the Black Stump" on it. Nyngan is a tiny little town with a population of about 2,000 people, 575km inland from Sydney. My family lived there until about 1981ish, before moving to the bright lights of Tamworth (a big country town of 33,000 people).
Whilst this is not a popular Tshirt (like ET, Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake etc), it does make me laugh that we were living in Tamworth but still wearing Nyngan tshirts 4 years later! (It also makes me laugh that my brother is dressed in brownie colours).

While we are talking brownies, have a look at this hilarious shot of me in my brownies beret! I loved that beret! (actually I think I still have it...) How serious I look! Just hilarious!

Happy flashback friday, and a happy weekend everyone!

introducing brett the sausage dog

Before I madly hunt through what few childhood photos I have, to try to fit the theme for this week's flashback friday, thought I would give you a wee glimpse of one of my brand spanking new softies who is currently on his was to the US in a padded postbag, as part of a swap on flickr.

This is Brett the Sausage Dog. Dear little Brett... he is a bit of a nervous one, but loves a bit of adventure (dealt out in portions he can deal with).

The idea for Brett came only from the fact that my US swap partner loves dachshunds. But I think in the end, he turned out to be a lot of fun! I was also very excited that I made Brett from my existing stash of fabric and eyes to meet the conditions of the Use What You Have group, and that he also fitted in with the flickr Get Your Craft On theme for August (polkadots).

I am trying to decide now if I should focus on making more members of Brett's family, Frank's family, Penelope's family or Douglas' family first! (Ah, the decisions!!!)

Happy Friday!

23 August, 2007

creative gathering (aka craft circle) this weekend!

It's on again! Drop me a line if you want to dedicate some hours on Sunday afternoon to creating!

To have a sneaky peek at what these groups look like (and if the cake is any good!), go to craft circle on my flickr.

Happy Thursday (one day to the weekend... yippee!) xx

20 August, 2007

summer pickles softies getting out and about!

Okay, so I was just casually cruising various Melbs blogs this afternoon, and as I popped into Cinnamon Moon's blog, saw a familiar face looking back at me.... it was Frank the angel!

Frank was featured on Cinnamon Moon's blog in an entry titled things that make me laugh, which is perfect, as Frank's purpose is to make people smile (and perhaps giggle a little too!). Frank is now available through etsy... click here to get to know him a wee bit better.

Thanks Penny for featuring Frank, this was very exciting (and made me giggle a little too)! xx

19 August, 2007

no craft for me this weekend!

Well, another weekend gone, and no more craft projects any further along... this whole selling the house thing sure does get in the way!

But, here is a bit of a clue re what we have been doing this weekend at our place...

1. rebuilding the back step; 2. replanting the garden; 3. packing boxes; 4. admiring (and standing on) the new back step...

hoping many of you got more crafty goodness out of the weekend!


17 August, 2007

flashback friday! group photo 1985

Ah, you can't get a whole lot more Australian than this! A good old backyard barbie on the grass.... perfect!

This photo was taken on my 10th birthday. My brother and I used to alternate years for our birthday parties, and it was his turn in 1985. Somehow I still managed to have this great party with all of these grown up (and a few kid) friends! I remember this day, I had such a great time... and I remember the smell (again, I know I go on about smells but this one is really fresh in my memory!).

I am the one with the long blonde hair (centre part, no fringe), facing the camera, in a very gorgeous pale mint green dress, holding a spare rib through a paper serviette (I am still a bit funny about sauces and other sticky foods on my fingers). I used to LOVE this dress! It had mesh inserts (very cool) and these great short sleeves that you could loop up and shorten if you felt like it... it was a great dress! Oh and eyelets for detail everywhere too.

My dad has his back to us at the barbeque, and mum is, of course, taking the photo. (Hang on a second, I think my dad still has that shirt!?!)

What I really love about this photo is just how relaxed a bbq really was then, there's no special outdoor furniture, no special outdoor crockery, we are not in an "outdoor room" but in the backyard (some of us were even sitting directly on the grass!), no one is all dressed up, dad is cooking on the barbie he built himself, everyone is eating with their fingers.... oh! and the hills hoist in the centre of it all!

Ah, the simple pleasures of the 1980s!

Have a beautiful weekend!

16 August, 2007

Penelope the kangaroo arrives in Poland

Penelope the kangaroo by summer pickles

Not sure if I even mentioned it here that I organised a toy swap with lalootka through flickr, and was sending over Penelope the kangaroo for the swap. I sent Penelope some weeks ago now, but saw on flickr this week that she has arrived safely in Poland (a long way to travel for a little aussie kangaroo!).

Clearly I am excited about this!!! lalootka and I have promised to take photos of our toys received, in local places, doing local things.... should be loads of fun!

The little character that Penelope has her arm around in the photo below is Bo the lamb, who will be coming to Australia shortly to stay with us. I am already developing a list of places for photos.

Welcome Penelope, hallo flickr friends, Bo, goodbye Originally uploaded by lalootka

Please let me know if you might be interested in hosting Penelope for her next holiday (probably in October?) by leaving me a comment. Thanks Aloutka!

15 August, 2007

things I learnt from the cloth doll workshops - instalment no. 1

Hi there!
Okay, so I have kept you in suspense long enough... Here are a couple of the things that I learnt from the workshops mentioned in a previous post.

1. Cloth dolls made from simple patterns can be very beautiful, when the focus is on the embellishments. This was an important lesson for me - I had been getting myself into such tangles with developing up really tricky pattern pieces that were incredibly fiddly to work with, and at times, just frustrating! These dolls are made by Cindi Goodwin, who does amazing and beautiful embellishment work:

Dolls by Cindi Goodwin

2. Sometimes you need the right tools. I have included a photo of my new tools here, and will provide photos of me using them as we get through future posts. What I have is a poppa (fruit juice box) straw, a blunted wooden skewer, a pair of forceps and a tiny finger stuffing fork.

Here's me stuffing an elephant's trunk with the forceps. Now, I actually used the forceps to stuff all of the elephant, but did much of this at my lunch break at work, so no photos. One of the advantages promoted to us at the workshop of using forceps is that you can get right into corners with stuffing, as well as "the pain element", which is what happens when you try to overstuff a doll/toy (you end up with incredibly sore thumbs/fingers from the handles of the forceps if you are trying to overstuff and are exerting excess force!). As well, they have blunt ends, so won't go through your fabric!

You might notice in this pic that there is a big trail of wadding going off to the right. One o the things I learnt at the workshop was that to avoid dolls looking like "a bag of peas", you should stuff them as if you were spinning wool.... you stretch out the wadding into continuous, stretched stuff and then slowly feed it in. This has definitely impacted (positively) on the look of my toys and dolls.

I'll be back soon for some more instalments and the interesting stuff... demonstrating use of the tools and providing examples of my new work.

Oh! And here is a photo of the doll I created from a pattern by Bethan Short in my first workshop (sorry, not a great photo). This doll is just two pieces of fabric of same shape sewn together and wings added.

Have a gorgeous week everyone,

Oh! and can anyone help me by telling me why my line spacing changes mid-post when I include photos, and what to do about this??? drives me bonkers! Thanks! xx

10 August, 2007

Flashback friday! Fancy dress

Hi there - just arrived back from holidays a whole half an hour ago, realised it was flashback friday and jumped on to update my blog immediately! I have just checked with the new flashback friday flickr group , and this week's theme is fancy dress. What a terrific theme!!!
My mum was the queen of fancy dress... here you can see me in 1985 (whew! just made it) dressed up as Heidi for book week - think the skirt was made from just a rectangle of fabric with some elastic at the top, the vest is made from felt. My brother on the left is dressed as Hans Christian Anderson, wearing a homemade seersucker vest. Mum was amazing!!! On other book weeks I went as a witch (very cool - 1987), the queen of hearts, a princess (of course!), Pandora (1986).... loads of cool outfits and even better props (mum was also queen of props, and helped me top make a cauldron for my witch outfit, a box for Pandora etc...).
And, it wasn't all saved up for book week! We also had a fantastic dress up box, including some of the most incredible shoes!!!
Hats off to my mum who is imaginative, creative and fun and encouraged us to be the same. (Thanks mum xo)
Chat soon, and have a gorgeous weekend!
ps. Mum just taught me the very basics of crochet while on holidays at her place... I will add some funny photos of beginners crochet once my camera is charged up again!

01 August, 2007

inspiration plus plus plus! a cloth doll adventure....

Okay, so I love making cloth dolls, even though they take me extraordinarily long periods of time to make (Nell took me several months of picking her up, putting her down, picking her up... etc). So, when the Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair was in town, there was no way that I was going to miss the cloth doll classes! And, needless to say, they changed my life.

My first class was with Diana Chalk, who introduced me to a number of her favourite tools - the wooden skewer, the fruit juice straw and the forceps. She showed us amazing and sneaky ways to turn those fine parts of dolls that have in the past driven me bonkers. I will try to take a photo of me demonstrating the techniques and insert it here later....

Second class was completely fantastic, and this was with Bethan Short.

AMAZING woman... I am not exaggerating when I say that this class changed my life. She shared with us a number of her art dolls which were just divine, and all very simple patterns with beautiful embellishments. I am going to trial out the techniques I listed as favourites from this workshop and post them a bit at a time... it was an amazing learning experience for me, and I really hope to be able to share some of my new found skills in the next little while!

I tried to google Bethan but couldn't find much, and then remembered her telling us in the workshop that she is IT-phobic, so I should not have been surprised! I will try to find some real photos of her work (on paper) and then upload some pics here so you can see what I am making all this noise about... she is AMAZING.

About to head off for a wee break, so nothing from me now until mid-August (unless I get incredibly brave and decide to try mum and dad's dial up!).

Take care, and have a gorgeous beginning of August,


to my other half who puts up with the mess, makes me happy and keeps me sane.
to my beautiful boys who give me so much i want to remember and make the everyday something to treasure.
to my mum who alway let me play with fabric and the good scissors, and who knows a lot of songs.
to my dad who was always happy for us to make a mess and who laughs at us when we deserve it.
to both parents for making sure i still got the work done.
to my dear friends for listening and for sharing the laughs.
and, to you for visiting!