Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Indi sings.

Last Sunday afternoon Indi's singing teacher Geoffrey, held a singing soiree in his studio for all the choirs and students he teaches, as well as a couple of groups he performs with. Each singer was allowed two guests and after much discussion, Jazzy and I were invited to attend.

I was so nervous in the lead up to the event. Sure she's had lots of experience performing for huge audiences with her choirs, but this was her first solo gig. Apart from one other child, this was an all adult gig too.

I tried to leave her alone all morning to decide on her outfit and to warm up. I didn't want to pass on my nerves to her but it seems I needn't have worried.

She was a star.

She sat next to me and listened to the singers before her and then when it was her turn she took to the stage and sang.

I was so proud.

I was proud of her song choices that were well thought out and a bit left of centre. She was confident and sang so beautifully and she laughed in good humour, when she stumbled over the words at one stage and kept on going. She looked like she was having fun, like she wanted to be there and to keep singing.

One time a whole lot of years ago, way before I had kids of my own, I was sitting in a bar with my Mum listening to my sister playing a gig. At one stage I asked my Mum if she could believe that she made Emily. That she grew her in her tummy and looked after her and here she was larger than life on the stage performing. My Mum said that she couldn't imagine it. That the two were separate and too huge too put together. I now understand what she meant.

I am a bit obsessed with my children finding their passions. I want them to know what it is that will make them excited, that will make them happy and proud, that will help them get through the difficult times.

I want them to have that feeling in their stomachs that I have when I am inspired. That feeling that when they are doing what they love, it doesn't matter what's going on in the rest of their world.

When my world is too much for me I know I have to sew. I might make a mess of what I'm sewing but its ok because most of the time when I'm sewing the world makes a bit more sense.

I feel like Indi has this with her singing. Lately she's been writing songs too. And she's started learning to play the guitar.

She's also started locking herself in the bathroom to sing and play when she is fighting with one of us or upset. I love this. I am hopeful that if she has her music to turn to then it'll help her get through some of the harder, hormonal, teenage, rebellious times to come.

Did you notice Cumkwat in her pocket for luck?

At the end of her set she came off stage and my Jazzy, overwhelmed with emotion, ran to meet her to cuddle and congratulate her. Phew, it was quite an emotional moment for this Mama.

On the way home we stopped at the florist to buy her some flowers. She chose the biggest, brightest, most wonderful bunch there and walked out carrying them like a ballerina carries hers off the stage.

"I have never been this happy", she told us. "I feel like I could be the new Prime Minister of Australia!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Flutterby Skipping Dress.

This is dress number two in my Everything But The Thread range.

I started this dress a few days ago. It started out as an a-line dress made from the tablecloth fabric at the bottom.

As is usually the case with me, I made some of it, got interrupted and then hung it on a hanger on a hook in the kitchen so I could look at it as I went about the rest of my day.

The more I looked at it the more I didn't think it worked.

So the next chance I got, I cut it up and made it into a completely different dress. A three tiered Skipping Dress.

One of the first skirts I ever made for Indi when she was about four, was a three tiered skirt and she called it her Skipping Skirt. From then on, all tiered skirts/dresses have been called Skipping Skirts/Dresses in our house.

This dress has op shopped denim, sheet, table cloth, lace, bias binding and a zipper. The corduroy is from my scraps drawer. I think it is a size 5/6.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday. Its the first one we've had off in six months (apart from the farm chores that still need doing). I'm about to make some toasted sandwiches for lunch and then head into town for Indi's singing concert.

Have fun out there. X

Friday, June 25, 2010

Everything but the thread.

This is the first photo of the first piece in my new range called everything but the thread.

Everything but the thread will be a small range of clothing that will be hung and hopefully sold in a new shop opening in Piper Street Kyneton in the next week or so.

Like the name says, everything it takes to make this new range is repurposed, op shopped, gifted, or from my stash. I will buy nothing new to make the clothes except for the cotton to sew them together and some of the cotton for the crocheted motifs and trims.

This dress was made using a tea towel for the front, some thrifted denim and a part of an old sheet for the back, some op shopped binding and lace and zipper, some crocheted ric rac and a motif. The red love heart was bought in Thailand years and years ago to embellish costumes we were making and wearing to dance parties at the time.

Originally I had many more trims and motifs pinned onto this dress but I started to think about pricing and took them off. I want the dresses to be almost like treasure hunts with bits and pieces all over the place.

But the price thing does concern me.

So all you Mama's, Grandmother's, Aunties, friends, shoppers, makers and sellers, do you have any thought about pricing a dress like this? What would you pay? Think is reasonable? Think is too much? Any help would be gratefully accepted.

Before I go I'd like to say a HUGE thank you for all your emails and comments on my last post. Things have calmed down here and we've had a great few days but its still wonderful to know that I am not alone. That we all struggle at times and change the rules as we go along.

I'm really happy to be into my second year of blogging now, blogging without guilt and just for fun.

I hope you all have a wonderful and fun weekend out there. XX

...oops the lovely farm boy has just pointed out that I have written nothing but the thread. Looks like its back to the sewing room for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One year minus one day.

Tomorrow is my blog's first birthday and yesterday I made the decision to shut it down.

Yesterday as I sat in my car with my nine year old screaming and yelling and shouting at me, I decided that maybe I am doing something wrong. Maybe it is time to simplify my life further, cut out all distractions and focus completely on my family.

Yesterday when my nine year old was shouting at me, a mother, father and a one and a half year old boy walked past my car. The father was pushing the pram and laughing, and the mother and son were pretending to be trains chugging down the hill. I sat in the car crying for my fighting nine year old and that time when she was chugging down the hill with me. It seems like forever ago and at the same time like five minutes ago.

Yesterday when my six year old was being the loveliest, happiest most divine thing ever. Does the fact that she thrives on being the good girl when her sister is being awful mean that she isn't getting enough from me the rest of the time?

And my two and a half year old. A few days ago she told me to get off my blog and come and play blocks with her. Really!

But then.

Yesterday I got a few amazing, amazing comments on my blog. I got an email thanking me for my blog and listing all the reasons why she loves it. I got a parcel in the mail from Anna with the ball of wool that I needed to complete my wrap. And then I realised that I have worn that wrap for days and days now and I never would have made it if I hadn't been part of the blogging community in the first place. And it made me think of the friendships, some of them online and some of them now in real life, I am thrilled with these new and very special connections. And the suggestions, recipes, inspiration, swaps, ideas, tutorials, discussions, encouragement...where would I be without them?

Content is never a problem. My blog is like a journal of the things I am making and there is never a shortage of projects around here. The post itself is quick and often writes itself once I have uploaded the photos. I have just been finding that I often don't have the time to respond to all the comments or to visit all the spaces of those that visit me. I read and love getting every single comment but I feel guilty.

Does this happen to you? Do you respond/visit everyone who visits you? Do you comment on every blog you read? Do you feel rude if you don't? Some days do you feel like you don't feel like switching the computer on at all?

Today I have decided that I am a much better person for keeping my blog. I am going to keep writing my blog.

Without the guilt, I love it. And I have to believe that I will be a better Mother/Wife/Person if I have a place to express myself and interact with others with similar interests. I think I just have to balance my time and to not feel guilty when I can't always reply/comment back.

I LOVE birthdays and parties and if my blog is going to continue, then it is going to have one but it has to be the right time, which means not right now.

So if its OK with you, I am going to celebrate my one year, one month and one day of blogging next month instead. Stay tuned for some giveaways, some more questions, some cupcakes and some fun and games. In the meantime I'm off to punch down my bread, play dolls houses with Pepper and make a start on a range of dresses for a new shop opening soon in Kynton. Oh and then I will make some muffins to take to the skate park this afternoon for scooternoon.

Have fun out there and thanks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My creative space.

Soon after we moved here nine years ago, we bought a couple of rolls of woollen blanket from Creswick Woollen Mills and Bren's Nana and Mum came up and we had a curtain-a-thon. Woollen blanket is non flammable and we live in a high risk bush fire area.

Last week I was complaining about how non creative my wardrobe is, so this week I made a skirt out of some leftovers of that woollen blanket.

No pattern. I cut around another skirt, put a zip in the side and when it was a bit falley downy, I added two darts in the back.

And then I stitched on the lace trim I crocheted.

I am loving the wool and crocheted cotton combination at the moment and have a gazillion ideas running through my mind about where to take it next.

I am wearing and loving my Leonie/Michelle wrap even though it is still about four rows too short and I haven't darned the ends in. Who knows when I'll ever get to the wool shop in Ballarat again.

Bren likes the lining side of the skirt. Its a vintage sheet. I'll have to do something about the zip this way though. There must be such thing as a reversible zip out there somewhere.

Its been a crazy, intense week of looking after a sick two year old who wouldn't let me out of her sight. But its been cold and wintery outside and its been kind of nice to be stuck inside cuddling and crocheting on the couch.

Happy Thursday y'all.
Check out the rest at Kirsty's.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Its Tuesday morning.

So far today I have somehow gotten the girls to school in clean uniforms and nit free hair. I have baked apple and rhubarb muffins and have bread dough proving, I have washed and hung two loads of washing and done a bit of a house tidy up after the long weekend.

Bren is on the phone to a woman who wants to do an internship with us. I am obsessed at the moment with people realising their passions, how wonderful to be able to help someone discover and live theirs.

Miss Pepper is hot and sick. I can't please her. I couldn't get the temperature of the bath just right, she wants her apple cut up, not cut up, peeled, with the skin on, she wants clothes but not those clothes, a drink that is not water or juice or milk, a grandmother who is in Melbourne, to go to the skate park, naughty Mama.

Playschool is making her happy for a bit though so I can sit with her and do a few rows of my lace trim, plan the blanket/sheet project in my head and feel sad that I've run out of wool about four rows from the end of Michelle/Leonie's wrap vest. The knit version must be tighter because Leonie used 300grams of wool where so far I have used 420grams and am not finished.

I can't wait to finish it and wear it. It is cold here.

This wonderful package came from the lovely Sara this morning. The bizzy buzzy bee even made Pepper smile for a bit when Bren was buzzing it at her pretending to try to sting her. Thank you Sara so much, you have no idea how wonderful it was to receive your gorgeous pin cushion surprise today.

So what are you up to today?
I hope somebody does something for you that makes you smile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Sun Quilt dress.

In the early 90's, some of my sisters and I used to occasionally work for our grandfather's shirt company making the swatch booklets of all the fabrics.

Every day on our way to lunch, we would pass this gorgeous children's wear shop. The owners of the shop sat at the back and made the clothes that were sold in the front. They were the coolest, most fun and unique children's clothes I have ever seen. They looked like they used lots of vintage fabrics and they looked like they would be such fun to wear.

At the time I dreamed more about how much fun it would be to work in that shop and sew those great clothes than I did about dressing a kid in them. I didn't think to buy any of those gorgeous clothes because having kids felt like a long way off for me then and I probably assumed they would still be there, sewing and selling those great clothes when I needed them.

But they aren't.

I have googled them over the years but haven't been able to find anything.

This quilted, reversible dress is my ode to Sun Clothing.

I think it is the type of dress those girls would have made.

When I showed it to my Mum, she told me it was the type of dress we wore when we were little.

The other day I went to the fabric shop intending to buy some wadding stuff to quilt a dress with, but when I saw this parka/sleeping bag looking fabric, I couldn't resist.

It was a shortcut but it also made me feel strangely happy and reminiscent of childhood days.

I sewed it to this fabric which I found at the Daylesford Sunday market a few months back.

I cheat quilted it by sewing along the white pre-quilted lines on the blue side.

Then I bound it all in brown.

I love the fact that she is dressed for this freezing cold day but isn't weighed down with a hundred layers.

I think the Sun girls would have liked it too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My creative space.

Yesterday morning I was digging around in the back of what feels like my very uncreative space, my wardrobe, in the hopes of discovering something new and exciting to wear. While I didn't exactly find what I was hoping for, I did come across a very soft, wine coloured wrap around top.

I was hopeful. I tried it on. And then I remembered why I had chucked it to the back of the wardrobe in the first place. It just didn't work on me. The wrap around bit was too low and the shoulders were too saggy and I probably should have tried it on in the oppy I bought it from all those years ago.

But it was so soft.

So yesterday morning instead of chucking it back, I cut it up, stitched it back together again and made a dress for Miss Pepper.

There weren't any big enough bits to get whole pattern pieces out of, so I just stitched some smaller bits together to make two pieces for the front and two for the back.

I didn't even care that I sewed the back wrong side out.

And then I pinned a doily to the front. I'll sew it on later.

I can't stop crocheting these doilies at the moment. They are strangely addictive.

Oh and the beanie.

I can't stop crocheting them either.

Since I discovered how easy they are to make when you forget about a pattern and increase until you get to the size you want and then make the sides, they are actually fitting heads around here too. Which is a good thing because it is positively arctic outside.

I hope your Thursday is a creative one.
Check out the rest at Kirsty's.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A photo shoot.

The other day Bren was doing an interview for The Weekly Times about our farm when for some reason he mentioned this blog. Before you knew it, the journalist had set up a time to interview me for a Foxs Lane article to run next to the Daylesford Organics one.

Because she isn't a blog reader or writer I found myself trying to explain the sense of community, the sharing of inspiration and the friendships. I tried hard to make blogland sound like the wonderful place it is for me and tried not to make it sound like Internet dating.

While she found it difficult to understand that I often repurpose bed linen and tea towels to make clothes for my kids, she loved the idea of crafters making a difference with charity work and aid relief. She also loved the concept of 120 women from all over the world making and swapping pin cushions and teaching each other new skills and sharing patterns.

So as you can see from the photos, this morning was the photo shoot for the article.

Bren had his photos taken out in the paddock with a couple of chooks and these are the pics he took of the photographer doing mine.

After the girls were in bed last night I had the brilliant idea to crochet up one of Kirsty's granny shrugs to wear in the photo, but didn't quite get it finished in time. Instead it is sitting on my lap being worked on.

I am always nervous before I read articles about us and what we do here and this time is no exception but it feels more personal. Daylesford Organics is our business and we are used to talking about it in a public forum but Foxs Lane is my baby. It is filled with my thoughts, my projects and...well me.

Wish me luck.

And while I'm on the personal, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to answer the eight questions on their blogs. Its been great learning more about you guys, and so interesting to see how different our answers are to the same questions.

If you'd like to answer the eight on your blog, pop your link in here and off you go.

I hope your Monday is a funday.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Eight answers.

So this is me on the other side of the camera.

Let me tell you out of the thousands of photos on my computer, there were only about six of me to choose from. This was taken on a Thursday a couple of weeks back when we were picking for the Melbourne restaurant deliveries.

So here are my first eight answers to your questions;
  1. Favourite meal to eat? I definitely fall into the eat to live rather than live to eat category. I prefer savoury to sweet. I have been a vegetarian for a LONG time. My favourite meal is one where most of the ingredients were grown on our farm. Either roast vegies or haloumi, feta and rocket salad. I could eat either of these meals for every meal and not get sick of it.
  2. Do you have a quirky eccentricity? I'm sure I have many but the one that springs to mind is my dislike of the colour orange. I do not eat orange foods, wear orange clothing or have anything orange in my home. The weird exception to this rule is some vintage sheets I have recently brought home. I have no idea why they are ok.
  3. My middle name is Simone. My Dad's Dad was named Simon and he died before I was born, and I was named after him. My kids have my surname as their middle names and also something we grow on our farm; Apple, Olive and Berry.
  4. I am passionate about food. Good, clean, in season food. Food that was grown and cooked with integrity. Food that isn't full of numbers and zillions of unidentifiable ingredients. Food that is in season here and preferably doesn't come from too far away. Food that comes from animals that were treated well. Trying to get my kids to eat something that is not pasta. Trying to buy from the producers directly when possible. trying to cook from scratch as much as possible. Old seeds and rare breeds.
  5. Thongs or Birkenstocks? Both. But its cold and muddy here right now so its my Camper boots and my Converse runners.
  6. Who was I before I had kids? I can't remember. I studied Fine Art with a Bachelor of Education at uni for four years and worked in an ice cream shop, a fashion buying department, a visual merchandising department, as a wwoofer, in a super market deli and a fashion accessory company. I travelled overseas and up and down the East coast of Australia, I fell in like lots and in love once.
  7. Have I ever been arrested? Yes. A few times as part of the Save Albert Park from the Grand Prix protest and then Bren and I lived and blockaded at the Jabiluka blockade in Kakadu where we protested against uranium mining for three months.
  8. This weekend I will sell our gorgeous eggs and vegies to people who visit the Daylesford Farmers' Market and our farm gate stall. I will lice comb my girls' hair, I will crochet some beanies, work on my jumper dress, start sewing a bag, watch a family dvd, do some housework and some farm chores, and hopefully spend some happy time and play with my girls.
I just found the above photo on my phone. It is of me on the side of the camera where I feel most comfortable. In it I am taking a photo of the vegies we sent to Sydney a few months back for our entry in the 2010 Delicious Produce Awards.

There are lots more, interesting and thought provoking questions on that post that I plan to answer over the next week or so, including the how I met my farmer boy question. Right now I've got to rush to the Daylesford Farmers' Market to help Bren.

You know what?

I would LOVE to read your answers to today's questions too. This was meant to be a pass it on to seven bloggers after all.

Why don't you play along on your blog, just put your details in the thingy below and off you go. You know you want to. Consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My creative space.

For this week's creative space I considered giving you a tour through the jumble of half made projects that are currently sitting on and around my sewing table, but I think that will only make me feel bad. It seems these days if I don't start and finish a project in the same sitting, then it gets left behind in the rush to start the new thing.

So I have decided to show you the rubbish bin that sits next to my sewing table instead.

I know, exciting huh!

The truth is though that I give this bin and its contents a lot of creative thought.

What goes in the bin?
How small does a scrap have to be to be unusable? To me? To a smaller creative person?
Broken needles and over locker threads are rubbish for sure, but what about empty cotton spools, selvages and bits of sewing that didn't turn out right?

The other thing is that often I judge what sort of week I've had by how full my rubbish bin is.

I try to empty my bin once a week on a Thursday. If I get to emptying day and there isn't much rubbish in the bin, it probably means I haven't sewn much that week. But if by Thursday the bin is full, then the world must have been kind to me and given me a few sewing opportunities.

And finally, when I'm walking with my bin to the outside bin to empty it of its contents, I like to reminisce over all the different bits of fabric and the projects they became or will hopefully become.

To check out some actual creating head on over to Kirsty's.
And big thanks to Gypsy for the gorgeous background fabric.

Visit my other blog.