Friday, March 30, 2012

Quiet Shopping

Recently I had to go to Melbourne for some study with my work, and;  as you do - when you have the opportunity -- do a little retail therapy after the Study Day. I needed some DMC threads for a current smocking project, and stumbled across this wonderland.
Gorgeous Shop in North Essendon Precint
 This treasure trove of threads, wools, cottons and tapestries was wonderful. A lovely bright airy shop.
Colours and threads galore
 Kaye was busily knitting behind the counter, quietly allowing me to browse, offering her help and support if needed. A customer came in, I listened to the exchange in conversation - excellent knowledge of the products were explained and shared with the customer, great customer service.
Cottage Garden threads in Perle 8 and perle 12
 Kaye  explained they offer many classes of knitting, crochet and a variety of embroidery techniques  for those interested.
A mixture of wool and linen threads on this stand.

An array of knitting wools
 I had a browse in the other shops in this little village atmosphere, shoe shops, children's clothing, specialty food and liquor shops, lovely cafes.  Each shop I went into was peaceful, staff engaged in conversation  - where is this leading to??  I could hear myself think!
Enticing sandwich board
Next, I went to the DFO further up the road.   I did venture into the above shop, did a little retail therapy, but the males in the household can try and buy their boots when we go to the footy in the next few weeks.  Staff were again wonderful, knowledgable and I could have a conversation without the need to talk loudly.

I quickly did the rounds of the shops at the DFO.  Unbelievable-- the music is SO LOUD in some of
of those shops.  I refuse to raise my voice to talk to staff over the background music -- so no retail purchases made in some of these businesses.  Again - that is if the staff have the manners to make eye contact with the customer and offer assistance to begin with.
I remember shopping years ago in Melbourne with a baby in the pram asleep  -- only to go into a shop--and have the baby woken by the loud background music!  Very frustrating indeed.

What a difference the experience is to shop locally in our rural town, or a village atmosphere and be able to engage in conversation with the staff,  or have the contrast with the large shopping centres with noise everywhere  -- not offering the oportunity for a conversation.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Straight Sewing and Cutting

Nearly done!!
The Little Bookworm   AS&E Issue 91

This has been a WIP over the summer. It really should have been completed by now, I have only striaght sewing to do.  Side seams, sashes to be sewn into the said side seams, an enclosed fold hem easily and quickly sewn to finish the dress.

Selvedge shows the choice of fabric used.
Genie in Pink colourway, of the House Collection by Annette Tatum
Buttons to be covered and sewn on, buttonholes to be also sewn.

I have been helping with some other cutting instead.

Straight cutting with this new implement.

Mr 5BN has just purchased this to replace the same model he has had and used extensively for the last 18 years.  He was surprised to see - little had been altered on the chainsaw in the 18 years!   Hmm the same can't be said for our sewing machines!

More cutting with the wood splitter.

A most wonderful invention, the men can use the chainsaws  ( yes plural!)
Us girls can operate the wood splitter, a fine amount of cutting and splitting can be achieved here -- but not much straight sewing in the house!

Keep cutting and splitting!! Will fill the back of the ute and bring this home ready to use this winter.

Hope you are all keeping warm in your part of the world!

Noise Reduction

Door Stops

The AFL Football Season has started, which means the television will be on frequently, not only watching the game, but all the commentaries that seem to be on T.V. every evening.- that Mr 5BN views fervently.  The first game was last night, Miss 5BN was calling from her room  "Too Loud!!!   Turn the T.V. down"
This morning while the 3 male 5BN's were packing up after yesterday's 120th annual Agricultural and Pastoral Show, Miss 5BN and I made some doorstops. She doesn't want her door fully closed, but one of these placed between the door and the door jamb will reduce the noise level  - for the duration of the Footy Season!

I used this clear and concise tutorial to quickly make these two. Of course the doorstop with some Amy Butler fabrics was deemed girly enough to use. I didn't back the Amy Butler with an iron on stabilizer  -- but would do so if gifting it.   The other was made of remnant upholstery fabrics - gorgeous weight.  I pushed some wool wadding into the top triangle, before filling with wheat, alternatively --  suggestions were to use a  crushed gravel to fill the doorstops -- should there be vermin in the vicinity who may find the doorstop a tasty treat.

The LOVE monogrammed ribbon, used on the Amy Butler doorstop  --  I purchased from a beautiful stall  at a Melbourne Market in recent years.  Very little of this precious ribbon left.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Farmers Market Again

The boys have been shovelling Sheep Poo -- or  Ewe Doo!
as one witty local calls it! ThanksAmber!  Those keen gardeners in the local community are happy to purchase -- saves their back from bending under the grating in the shearing shed shovelling poo, and our lot are happy with repeat customers!  Who knew! - but You Do!  ( apologies to Suess!)
All keen at their first market 2011  Child labour in force,
and for the keen eyed amongst you  --  colour coded!!

After extensive market research and a customer satisfaction survey occured around the dinner table, our lot decided to expand their operation.  They decided to bag up smaller quantities of wheat  - 6kg - to be precise, to suit those people who had only a few chooks in the back yard.  This has proven to be a winner  -- literally the bags of wheat are walking off their stall - or in fact - old fashioned customer service is still in existence - and it is carried to the car for the happy recipient.  Well done children! 
Wheat bagged and weighed - 6kg!

Yet again, more market research revealed a niche market for heat packs. Good thinking children - but who was to make these!!
Enlist the youngest 5BN learning to comandeer / sew on the trusty Janome. How better to learn, then by sewing metres or kilometres of straight stitching.!
Materials at the ready for the heat packs.
The lavender was purchased at the recent local Field Days.
We have been adding lemon myrtle recently to other heat packs for a fresh scent. Not all the customers like the sweetness of lavender to mask the smell of the wheat.

Miss 5BN and the heat packs ready to be filled.
The next Farmers Market will be on Easter Sunday, April 8th.

Whilst in town, make sure to visit the 97 yo renovated Catholic Church.
Grand Opening will be between 10am - 1.30 pm on Easter Sunday.

Sally has spent the past 12 months renovating it into self contained accomodation  -- using all our local tradies.  Well done Sally!!

I can't wait to see the changes, all our children have been baptised in this church, our older 5BN made his Communion/Confirmation here as well. I remember going to the Church extremely early the third Sunday in July 2003 to turn the heaters on-- trying to put some heat in the building before Miss 5BN was to be baptised later that morning.  Apologies for increasing the heating bill that quarter!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Farmers Market

We had a lovely long weekend weather wise,  many people were enticed to visit our little town for the local farmer's market. Lots of wonderful craft, local produce, yummy foods and space to wander for a chat and a catch up with locals and visitors.
Zippy Zippy with her eyecatching bunting, laundry bags, bookmarks and hair ties;
also new Zippy Zippy bunting table cover. Stall being manned at this moment with child labour.

Our children were also part of the local child labour movement - photos in another post to follow. They were pleased with their day's takings  :-selling sheep poo, rolled wheat for special chickens and chooks, also the lavender or lemon myrtle heat packs for those aching body parts!

Anne used this gorgeous sandwich board to draw the crowds into her aromatic stall - selling body scrubs, lotions and the soy candles with names such as Pink Champagne, Sea Moss, Ginger Lime and Hazlenut Marshmellow - to name a few.
Yummy body scrubs and lotions
Enticing relaxation
The younger two 5BN decided to pool resources, and go halves in the 10 min massage --
5 mins each for the neck and shoulders.  Now we know what a real massage is!!
Hmmm maybe a little softer!!
Is it 5 minutes already!!  Keep going!
Michael of Warracknabeal with his Two Up and old pennies.
Key Holders and Two Up games made with recycled redgum - all polished to perfection.

We have one of Michael's Two Up sets'  at home, the kids love it --as do their mates. The Woodwork Teacher at School is assisting the students to try their hand at replicating this in time for Anzac Day on April 25th.

The Market is held on the Sundays of long weekends and Easter, all very social, lovely stalls and stall holders.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pint Size Pinwheels

Yes there is a piece of tape on the cutting mat!

Always read the Instructions!!  Guaranteed there will be a sure fire tip right at the end, or on the last page! Yes the piece of tape is there to indicate the 1/2 inch line to cut the fabric on the angle.  2 1/2inch squares being cut on the angle.

Stack of Pinwheels

The smallest 5BN can fill these with stuffing on the weekend, they will be made into some pincushions - or lavender sachets and put into the present cupboard.

Fabrics above are a mixture of Liberty of London - Wiltshire - Berries
Also some Neptune and Santorini teamed with  navy pinwale cord and a little denim.
I have been hunting in the scraps/stash, any 2 1/2 inch strips - from jelly rolls are perfect to use for these little pinwheels.

Pattern is an adaptation of Pint Sized from the Thimbleblossoms range.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Colour Coding

Oh Fransson Zipper Bags

I have had the pattern for the Oh Fransson Zipper Bags for some time, and have completed one for the middle 5BN, the other two zipper bags are a work in progress.
The pattern is clear, precise and gives detailed instructions for adding detail as a feature in the design of the various sized bags.

This  bag, below - was made with a wide wale navy cordouroy, and red stars and spots fabric as the Wild Thing  feature.

Wild Thing  bag to carry all the " I" gadgets and their chargers. 
for the 2nd born son - red!!
Again, I love using Camille of Simplify and Thimbleblossom fame's patterns, always clear and easy to follow.

Work in progress, made using some American Jane  blue spots and stripes with the same wide wale navy cord and blue prints -- for the first born!

For over a decade, I have colour coded items belonging to the boys, blue or navy for the firstborn, always red for the second born. -- this has been used extensively for Kinder bags and smocks, hats, lunch boxes, drink bottles, pencil cases, clothing, toys, swim wear, thongs  --  this list could go on and on.
 Only recently talking about the purchase of new lunchboxes for the beginning of the school year with Mr 5BN ; I spoke about the need to purchase the appropriate colour for each boy.  With a stunned look to his face--  "Why on earth would you ever do that?"  he asked.
I was not sure I could adequately answer this through tears of

Using the same pattern again - Pint Sized - , I have made a little pincushion recently for Mrs ZippyZippy's birthday, using her favourite colours -- did not have to think hard to colour code you!!  Hope you enjoy it!

Have had a very dear friend call in this morning and help with some housework - twice as much achieved in half the time.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart-- she knew I had a little time off work this week to stay at home-- now I can do some sewing this afternoon.