bicycles and raindrops

My lovely friend HELEN bought me back some delicious small pieces of fabric from her trip to Melbourne last year – raindrops, dandelions, bicycles BICYCLES?!! ahhh….yum yum yum…


On the weekend I sewed them into a simple patchwork scarf, using some vintage floral (this was a dress which I thrifted for the fabric) for the back. I love KANTHA style stiching, so I stitched three rows at the bottom of the scarf. scarf_2

It only took about an hour to make, so was quick and satisfying – the way I like my craft!


I am looking forward to wearing it a lot this autumn, sometimes with the bicycles outwards, and sometimes with the floral outwards – depending on what else I am wearing.



a spot o’ sewing

In the interests of clearing out a bit of ‘chi’ in THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN CRAFT, I finished off two skirts I had half-made ages ago (like, years…)

One was a simple wrap skirt, but I used three different fabrics for the three panels (why stick to one??)…two thrifted bits and one piece of new fabric with darling little head-kerchiefed girls on it.

The other one was a simple A-line skirt made from cotton drill, and a beautiful Tui tea-towel my friend HELEN gave me. I thought it was far too nice to dry dishes with.

I embroidered the title of my favourite Dinah Hawken BOOK on it – ‘Oh there you are, tui!’. I can’t see a tui now without saying that line…and she’s so right, you usually hear a tui before you spot it.

But wait, there’s more! Last week I thrifted some wonderful 70s t-shirting for two sweet dollars. It was a real memory trigger – & 70s t-shirting is so very SOFT. There was no mucking around with this one – I wanted that fabric on me! I could see a summer top for wearing under cardigans. I sewed a singlet out of it, just by drawing around a singlet I wear a lot – super easy peasy!

It was good to finish off some abandoned projects and get back into the crafting groove, but mostly I remembered how I don’t much like sewing for myself. The finished items are never as good as I envisioned them and so I think these will be the last things I sew for myself for a while.

two books with vintage in the titles

A friend lent me these two delicious books lately and I’ve just finished reading them:

‘Minxy Vintage: How to customise and wear vintage clothing’ by Kelly Doust (RRP $55) and ‘The A Vintage Tea Party Book: a complete guide to hosting your perfect tea party’ by Angel Adoree. (RRP $40).

Here’s what I thought:


Australian Kelly Doust has written craft books before this one. You can read more about her HERE.

Like her craft books, this book is squarely aimed at beginners. She writes a bit at the start of the book persuading the reader that vintage is worth shopping for and wearing, so if you are already a second-hand shopper…this stuff won’t be of much relevance. Seasoned ‘vintage’ shoppers will not learn much from this book, but it is worth a read for the ‘eye candy’ of the beautiful vintage dresses she has in her collection. Rather than being a ‘how to’ book, it’s more like a very detailed tour of Kelly Doust’s own vintage collection, with some commentary on how she mended or altered the items so that they met their potential. This part of the book was great for reminding me that it is worth buying things that need mending or altering, as sometimes I get into a phase of not wanting to buy things which need work.

There are a lot of photographs of Kelly in the book – Kelly shopping, Kelly dancing, Kelly drinking tea, Kelly riding a scooter…. so the book ¬†about Kelly as much as about vintage clothing. Personally, I found this a little excessive. Kelly’s taste in vintage is all about elegance, glamour and there is a lot of formal/evening wear. My tastes in vintage are more earthy, punky/hippy and about comfortable day-wear, so while I really enjoyed reading this book and soaking in the beautiful photographs, it isn’t one I’ve added to my wish-list. If you love collecting and wearing glamourous 40s/50s/60s vintage, you will get more out of the book than I did, but it is a good ‘eye-candy’ read.


Angel Adoree runs a Vintage Tea Party catering company in London. You can read more about her HERE.

This is a beautifully designed and very fun book, featuring delightful photography, wonderful elaborate illustrations (like foxes in evening gowns!) and interactive things like a Queen Elizabeth stencil, and templates of invitations and thank-you notes for colour photocopying and many other craft projects, of varying degrees of silliness!

She covers all elements of the perfect Vintage Tea Party from the china and table settings, to personal vintage style (how to do victory rolls in your hair, vintage clothing and make-up, men’s grooming, and there are patterns for vintagey aprons!). The photographs of vintage china and ephemera are simply stunning.

A ‘Tea Party’ suggests afternoon tea, but Angel is firm that a tea party can be at any time of day and so there are recipes for Brunch, Afternoon Tea and Evening Tea Parties. There is also a section on drinks, hot and cold. I admit I found many of the recipes sort of fussy and some more than a little silly….(bunting butties? lollipop jam sandwiches? mushroom aspic loaves??) but this book is really about fantasy rather than practicality so I’m not sure it matters (which might be a strange thing to say about a recipe book, but really this is so much more than a recipe book.)

This book is so much fun! I would probably not cook from it, but I really enjoyed reading it and it is very inspiring. As you read, you get deeply immersed in Angel’s world of high-camp fantasy…and it is a colourful and happy place to be!

throw colour

I knitted another neck thing – this one is super-bulky handspun wool that smells just ilke a sheep…that lovely lanolin whiff:

When winter draws in ….throw colour at it! (and woolen socks. Nothing like them for keeping your feet warm.)

There are so many people head to toe in black on the streets right now. Dreary.

Saw this at the supermarket.

Me too.

Edible AND human…*

* Oh dear. Have I just posted the blog equivalent of the office-notice ‘You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps.’ ?

made in april

I made a big mess on the living room floor for a week or so, putting together vintage paper packs out of my big stash for the Craft Country Shop in Featherston:

We have a crabapple tree so I made a pile of unappetizing-looking crabapple mush into this glowing jelly – how that dull mush can turn into that jewel-coloured jelly is a wonderful act of kitchen-alchemy…


…turns yummy:

And finally, I made this dining-chair cushion (shown here at half-way of being sewn up), which I would pronounce a fail, except my kids have declared they love it and I can’t throw it out. The unfortunate colour-choice, plus the bulbous nature of the stuffing means that the kids alternate between calling it ‘the salami’ and ‘the bowel’ – either way, they insist it stays, meaning I get to ‘enjoy’ my latest crafting fail.

When I saw this idea on flickr (of knitting a big long tube, stuffing it and stitching it into a spiral to make a dining chair cushion) my witty friend Emma McCleary said ‘just don’t knit it in brown’ (it took me a second to get what she meant) – looks like not knitting it in mottled bluey red meat tones would have also been a good idea.