Saturday, October 25, 2014

A new bag and a tarted up jacket

Oh I do love to stitch a bag or two! It's another favourite pastime of mine. So much so that I can't remember the last time I purchased a bag. When my favourite bag of the moment is looking a li'l worse for wear, I just design and stitch another. I'm a bit of a boho gal.....did you guess?? When the occasion calls for a new bag in which to carry everything but the kitchen sink, I love to design and stitch another, often embellishing with lace, beads, ribbon, different trims, pretty tassels and all manner of doodads. I don't think I have ever fashioned a bag without the odd adornment!

These are a few bags that I have stitched in the past. A few of these carriers of curiosities have found their way into the custody of my friends. Though I have made 'hand' bags and clutches, I prefer to design and stitch shoulder bags that are slung across my shoulder and body. And....they have to be able to curtail all manner of things. It's amazing what curiosities find their way into my bag! My bag is a magnet for some very strange trifles. When out and about I love to keep my hands free and accessible....especially when shopping in op shops, where it is mandatory to have all hands on deck to dive in and rummage around the barrels and boxes, and crawl under oodles of clothes racks!

With my bag of the moment looking a li'l "how's your mother", I stitched a new one. I found this gorgeous soft as soft leatherette a while ago. It is cream with pretty white flowers and plain cream patchwork squares. Of course, I decided that the odd doily or two and a little ruched flower with some unique leaf buttons, would be required to add a li'l pizzaz to my bag.

Do you remember Glomesh purses of old? They just keep on keeping on. I have a few that I love to use from time to time. They are very old, but still beautiful. My mum always seemed to have had a lovely Glomesh purse in her bag.

Here 'tis, perfectly accessorising my tarted up jacket.

This jacket is an old Kerry McGee design that I bought quite a few years ago. Long, long ago in my youth I loved Kerry McGee's designs. Unfortunately it seems she has disappeared from my horizon. This rather worn jacket is a favourite of mine and was in need of some tarting up which I did a li'l while ago.

Upcycling garments is really the best fun. I am always on the lookout for some lovely jacket or cardie, or some other garment in an op shop or at a market to upcycle. With the addition of doilies for pockets, trailing ribbon, upholstery fringing and tassels, a pretty crocheted lace remnant and a hint of decorative suede leather, my jacket will be seen out and about for many more outings. That's the thing, if a piece of lace or ribbon becomes worn I just replace it with another pretty.

Me thinks I will be wearing my favourite jacket for a very long time yet. It does seem to initiate a lot of conversation when I am out and about. I always get asked "did you make that?".....(can't imagine why). I often think that I must look like a home made Annie. People never enquire as to whether or not  I bought whatever garment I am wearing from some high end store. I suppose my jacket is  a li'l different, a li'l distinctive......but then I suppose I am a quirky kinda gal.

No I didn't buy the chair, though it would look rather spiffy upholstered in a pretty fabric and painted a bright colour....I am kicking myself now.....and yes......the cute as cute picnic basket came home with me! 'Tis a gorgeous shape and though it is small, it is the perfect size to hold a thermos of tea and a home baked treat when me and my good husband go gallivanting around the countryside in our tin lizzie!

I am off to the market again this weekend.....perhaps there will be a "must have" jacket, waiting for me, clamoring to be tarted up!

Toodles for now.....have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's been kinda busy around here

Yes indeedy, the past couple of weeks have been busy.....assiduously busy! They have vanished into a smaze of frenetic activity which all that remains is a memory of a swirling, obscure cloud of creative activity.

There have been the daily kiddo lessons.

Here at the 'Kim Sharman School of Stitching Excellence' my 'little' girls have been playing with the big girl's toys. A couple of my clever girls have quilted the baby quilts they have stitched, on my quilting frame.

The girls had the best time swirling and twirling the sewing machine round and round, up and down in a meandering fashion all over their quilts. They took to it like the proverbial wee li'l ducks to water, in what seemed like no time at all. Amazing really....there is no limit to their talents. It was a wonderful exercise in free hand machine quilting, without the safety net of lines to guide them. The absence of lines is such a freeing activity. It releases them from the 'ho hum-ness' of following the lines and worrying about making li'l boo boos. So much more fun to divert from that predetermined, drawn line. They enjoyed it so much that they are now keen to make a patchwork quilt for themselves and quilt those on the frame.

After finishing the quilting the girls then stitched the binding to their quilts. From start to finish they chose the fabrics, placed the squares in an arrangement that was pleasing to them, to the sewing of  the last stitch on the binding.

One of my girls stitched new patchwork curtains for her newly painted bedroom. Yes indeedy, they are all learning life long skills.

There was a little stitching for the school fair. I tarted up a few op shop finds for li'l earthlings. I dived deep, deep down into my hamper filled with fabric scraps and embroidered pretties and gave these denim garments a li'l bit of new life. I happened upon an op shop here in Tassie, where one can fill a shopping bag for $5! I always seem to squeeze oodles of 'finds' into them. I think the last visit I managed to squeeze about 15 articles of clothing into one bag. A bargain in anybody's language. These were popular amongst the school community.

Though I set up a small stall to prettify my li'l corner of the school hall, my prime focus was a to set up a craft table where the madding crowd came and created funky pencils. My husband and I stood for hours helping the kiddos create their pencils, adding beads, chenille sticks, googly eyes, feathers, cutting out foam......whatever else they dreamt up to make their one of a kind funky pencils. Alas, no photos.......there wasn't a second to take any happy snaps. Before I could pop out the camera the school bell rang and then the bedlam fun begun. Though of course I would have been a very strange sight. Throughout the evening I rather resembled the abominable crafty monster with all manner of strange things attached to my personage. We were deluged with a whirlwind of  non-stop juvenile creativity. Each year I have a table where I conjure up some kinda craft activity for the kiddos to do and all funds raised go back to the school. 'Tis always exhausting but sooooo much fun!

Alas there are limited aesthetic parameters and restraints within a school hall to make a stall look spiffy....but I did try. I fear that I don't do the ubiquitous table where everything is plonked on it.... a DNA deficiency deep within me, I'm afraid. No siree, in the pursuit of all things inventive, I cart my props that furnish my home and use them to mix it up a bit.

I had a very busy night chatting to the community who happened upon my stall. Some mums were interested in having their children come to the 'Kim Sharman of Stitching Excellence'. Oh and I might add that my hexi quilts initiated oodles of conversation. It seems the madding crowd were unaware of my hexies (strange I I am thinking you are all a li'l bit over them) but they have come home with me.....again. Jack and his li'l family and the cute as cute house that he built has come home to hang out with me in my humble abode, for a li'l while longer, as well. It seems that the throngs weren't as enamoured of my li'l family as some of my bloggy friends; or if they were their purses remained tightly clasped shut! If nothing else my stall  put a smile on the odd dial.

Speaking of hexies......remember the hexie that I fashioned for a wedding gift for the bride and groom. Well....'tis finished. Hallelujah!! Please forgive my unbridled joy but as it was all stitched by hand it seemed at times a gargantuan job, and I am a li'l relieved that I don't have to try and cajole the slippery, satin varmint to behave anymore! Alas, I finished it rather hurriedly and had to catch the post en route for a quick dash to ole Sydney town, so I only took one or two quickie happy snaps.

Apparently the groom proposed to the bride in a hot air balloon, so I stitched a free hand machine sketch and placed it on the block in celebration of their momentous occasion. I quilted wide teal ribbon over every seam on the back, so in essence it is two quilts in one.

Even though I haven't come up for air very often these past weeks, to catch my breath, I have strolled around the garden to have a bo peep which floral pretties are popping up their pretty li'l heads....and....of course I have been filling baskets with floralicious Spring delights that are beginning to bloom, to prettify my humble abode.

To retain some semblance of sanity, I intermittently found my way to our sunny front room to while away a few snippets of time, enjoying a cuppa, a mag or two and of course marvelled at the pretty outlook of the windows. This room is one of our guest rooms and as it has a north-east aspect, it is bathed in sunshine and light for most of the day. There are big picture windows on three sides and there are so many oh so pretty vignettes, all jostling for the prize of floral prettiness. Mmm...think I might go in there and sit awhile right now!

 I was in need of a 'side table' for my li'l nook so I placed a pretty Wedgewood dinner plate atop an old lamp shade frame....and.....VOILA!! I must say I love it!!

Over the next couple of days I am going to make a concerted effort to sit and drink in the floral filled Spring vignettes and have those knitting needles clickety clacking away and finish my brightly coloured jumper. Believe it or not, although Spring has tentatively begun to spread it's warming, colourful hands here and there, down here in Tassie, it is still a wee bit chilly and there will be a few more opportunities to gad about in my hand knit. I can but live in hope. The mornings are still a wee bit frosty.

So with the knitting of my woolly in mind, it's toodles from me. Hope you all have the most wonderful week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The house that Jack built

Meet Jackson. Everbody calls him Jack. By day Jack is an architect extraordinaire, but by night he is a ‘do-it-yourself’ kinda guy.

Meet Jack’s wife, Jill. Jill is a designer extraordinaire. Jack and Jill are the perfect match.

Meet Jake and Olive. They are Jack and Jill’s kids. They are not your average, run-of-the-mill kinda kids……they are extraordinary, too.

Meet Felicia and Scamp. Felicia is a rather glamorous feline. She purrs her way through the day trying to  hide from the canine pest, Scamp. As for Scamp……Scamp by name and Scamp by nature. He is a mischievous doggity dawg. His favourite pastime is to sniff out Felicia and cause her great vexation.

One day Jack and Jill happened upon a plot of land down Forget-me-not Lane. Now some would think that Jack and Jill would prefer a plot on a hill…….but no, that would be just a li'l too predictable! Although the view on the hill was a glorious sight, they much preferred the little plot where Forget-me-nots flowered in floralicious profusion. Besides, they didn't want to risk falling down the hill with a pail of water and hurting poor ole Jack's head! After all, hospital costs these days are a tad exorbitant!

So Jack put his DIY skills to the test. With every spare moment, he slowly began to build his house. Nail by nail, plank by plank, Jack's house began to rise above the Forget-me-nots until one day the cute li'l house was a sight to behold.

When Jack had built his house, his creative wife, Jill, decorated the interiors, adding a woman's touch. Oh my…..Jill did the most amazing job. She hunted down one-of-a-kind treasures to fill her cute li'l house, she sewed pretty curtains, planted oodles of rose bushes....... and began to put her magic touch to the house that Jack built.

Oh.....Jake and Olive helped as well……..but they much preferred to run off and play with Felicia and Scamp. Oh my goodness that Scamp and Jake get into all manner of scrapes. Olive thought of a lovely name for her family's new home....."Storybook Cottage".

With the last nail hammered in and the last chandelier fitted to the decorative ceilings, Jack, Jill, Jake and Olive moved into their cute as cute house making it a home. After all a house is not home unless there is a family to fill it with love.

Family portrait time! Doesn't Jack look as proud as punch! Yes indeedy, if Jack's chest gets any bigger, he might just topple over!

Deary, deary  me……..Felicia has catapulted herself onto the roof!! Fleeing from that pesky Scamp.....again!

....This cute li'l house is a back pack. I bought this pattern for some of my girls who wanted to make an owl backpack. Normally me and the girls whip up our creations from our imaginations, but in this instance I wanted to introduce the girls to a commercial pattern; initiating them to the process of reading a pattern and teaching concepts associated with a pattern. They even surprised themselves at their stellar job with the backpacks. I wasn't at all surprised at their creations, as they are terribly clever girls. Don't the backpacks look wonderful??

Of course I put my own slant on the house. I wanted all the stitching to be free hand machine stitched, giving my cute li'l house a primitive and childlike appeal.

As I stitched the house backpack, my imagination begun to run away; down that yellow brick road of creativity. I thought I might make a family of dolls for a child to play with and when they have finished playing, gather up the dolls and place them in the li'l house to hang out.

As for the dolls, I wanted to create something simple......(yes simple). Now, I have just discovered the wonderful, enticing and entrapping world of Pinterest!  Oh my goodness, how on earth did I ever exist before happening upon this wonderful phenomena!! "Oh come on", I can read your exasperated thoughts....."for crying out loud, Pinterest  was discovered aeons ago!" Perhaps for y'all, but here in this far rural outpost, it seems the electric voice-transmission device called the telephone was discovered not so long ago!!! Yes indeedy, here in this rather idyllic backwater, it only seems like yesterday that we stopped booting our carrier pigeons out into the cold to convey our written messages to our neighbours!!!

So, with each clickety click after clickety click, I took a sightseeing tour of Pinterest,  to gain some inspiration for my dolls; and inspiration I gained.....bucket loads actually. Oh my goodness, the world is filled with sooooo many clever people with sooooo many  brilliant ideas. It is so easy to disappear into the land of Pinterest  and follow each winding path leading to more glorious sights than before. But does have to return to the land of living and live daily life. 'Tis a pity really as Pinterest is a land of glorious inspiration.

After sketching a few pictures  and gathering some fabrics my stitching began. This doll caught my eye on Pinterest.  I was charmed by it's simplicity. Viv dreamt up this sweet doll and sells other sweet pretties on Etsy.

                                             BROOCH Prim Pin. etsy

So that is how "The House that Jack built" came about. I am going to gather Jack and his li'l family and place them in their pretty li'l house backpack and introduce them to the school community. Yes indeedy, it is that time of the year when The Northern Rivers Festival comes to town and li'l ole me is going to try and flog my wares yet again, just like this time last year. But just between you and me....I secretly want Jack and his li'l family  to live with me forevermore!

So for now Jack and his family are safely ensconced in their cute li'l "Storybook Cottage" backpack, just hanging around in the esteemed company of some other purty bags,  until it is time for the school fair. I really, really lurve the Southern gal bag.....a present from my husband many a moon ago.

So for now, it's toodles from me (and Jack and his family).....have a lovely weekend everyone!!