Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pendrell blouse - the next blouse pattern.

I just finished a(nother) top for work, using the freakishly easy Simplcity 2594. Seriously, only four pattern pieces. Everything went to together well. The nicest neck facing I've ever done. Absolutely my best yoke/ lining ever. I made the v-neck version, but I redrafted the neck to be a nice, quite deep, round neck. It's lucky it worked out well, because I bought the fabric to make four versions of the same pattern in one go.*

Anyway, stumbling about the internet, I came across the Pendrell blouse. That's it in the picture above (being modelled by the designer). Pattern due out soon. I love it. Super flattering princess lines (pain to sew, but they look so purty), and drapey sleeves. And no fastenings. Made up in something soft and drapey it's exactly the kind of thing I wear to work.

* I got a bit overexcited. A cotton print for the wearable-muslin (done); silk satin on clearance at $8/m; red viscose jersey; and a natural linen/ rayon blend. The first two for work, the second two for play.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

State cushions

I have long loved these embroidered state icon cushions from Uncommon Goods. Always lamented the fact that they only come in US states (and only ship to US states too). Just occurred to me this morning - why not try my hand at designing a nice, cheesy WA version? My must-includes are the yacht that won the America's Cup, the Bell Tower, Tim Winton, whale sharks, a kangaroo paw and the Argyle diamond mine (with a pink diamond, of course). What would you include?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pandan cupcakes with palm sugar icing

totoro cupcake 2

(That isn't actually a pandan cupcake at all. It's a freakin' awesome looking green tea cupcake with pistachio icing. But it's about the right colour, and I forgot to take photos of mine).

I (uh, I mean 'we') got a KitchenAid for the nuptials. I've not been much one for baking figuring I wasn't too good at it. Really, it was a case of lacking the right tools. I've only turned out two batched of cupcakes so far, but they've both been shop-worthy. The first batch was plain old vanilla with chocolate icing.

For the second batch I got creative. We honeymooned in Penang, pretty much so we could spend a week eating. I adore Pulut Tai Tai, and was pleased to discover the palm-sugary-pandanish deliciousness of cendol. I figured those flavours might work in a cupcake, but couldn't find a recipe.

I fudged a few things together, using the Hummingbid Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe as a base (minus the vanilla). I blitzed a cup of milk with seven pandan leaves, strained the milk, and used half a cup in the recipe (the rest is frozen for another day). It wasn't enough to colour the cupcakes green, but they definitely had that beautiful pandan scent. For the palm sugar icing, I added a quarter of a cup of grated palm sugar to the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla frosting recipe, and went easy on the milk (the dampness of the palm sugar means the milk isn't so necessary). Had an excellent rich toffee/ wine scent. All together it was very, very moreish. Definitely better than standard vanilla.

Because I hate the hassle of icing individual cupcakes, I'll probably just make a big pandan buttercake next time, but I can see pandan-palm-sugar baked goods becoming my sigature.

Friday, October 22, 2010

To do list.

Get married. Check.

So now that my weekends aren't taken up with seating charts and spraypainting cake stands, I can work on other things.

i) This self-closing bag (I'd make it as a Christmas gift for someone, but I can't think who);
ii) More cushion covers for the pups' oversized floor cushions. Need to order/ buy some grunge-coloured fabric, perhaps something tweedy, as no matter how often we wash their cushions, they end up with a built-in layer of dirt;
iii) Sencha blouse, to be made as part of a sew-along with a girl I work with and a girl I used to work with. We all think it's the perfect work blouse;
iv) Olive, with a yoke of pigeonroof studios handspun, and a body out of the new Beaverslide sportsweight 2-ply;
v) Riding to Avalon, without a hood, from some Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed I acquired second-hand;
vi) Conquer my fear of jersey fabric, and run up some shapeless slouchy singlets for summer.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


So my last post was all about a printer's type case I found on Gumtree. I thought it was something maybe someone young and hip had imported, then no longer wanted. But then when I e-mailed asking if it was still available, the reply was a bit odd.
"Oh yes, it's available. And I have over a hundred of these anyway."

What? Someone imported all these type cases?

No. It turned out, when we went to buy one, that they are owned by an old compositor. He used to set type for posters and newspapers and whatnot back in the UK. And when the process started to be computerised, and typesetting businesses were burning their tools, or sending them to the tip, he started buying this stuff up. For the love of it. When he moved to Australia he brought it with him. I have no idea how much there was, but at one point he sold 10 tonnes (yes) of type to someone in the USA, and he still has two garages full of Stuff. It's the biggest collection of type in Australia, and possibly in the Southern hemisphere. Right here in Perth. It's amazing. He occasionally sells off entire fonts (he is careful not to break up entire fonts by selling single letters or characters) to letterpress owners all over the world.

But really, the quantity of stuff he has belongs in a TAFE or university.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DIY out of one's depth

So, I've recently become completely addicted to Gumtree. It's like Craigslist for Australians. BCB gets, like, three e-mails a day from me that go something like this "Look! Used shipping pallets to trade for a carton of beer! We could totally do something with shipping pallets, right?" or maybe "A hot pink chaise lounge. Can I have it? Pleeeeease?"

Anyway, a little while back I saw an ad for a printer's type case. And I thought to myself "Damn, that would make a cool coffee table top." BCB agreed I could have this particular piece of ephemera. So off we went, picked up said type case.

I totally have plans about how it will work. Glass top (I've even sourced the glass), screwed into nice hefty wooden sides, so the type case can continue to function as a drawer, then some nice solid legs. I'm pondering some modifications to give Buddy, the dog that likes to nest, a little cave underneath.

Problem? I've got no woodworking skills. Zip. I don't even own a saw! I don't even really want to learn them... but I want my coffee table! What's a girl to do? (no, seriously, got ideas?)
Unexpected kindness.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

hi. hi there.

So... this place has been quite for nearly a year now. And a lot has changed in that year, too. I've moved house, twice, acquired two dogs, had to find a new car when the old one got written off... anyway, the car's not so very exciting, but by reason of the two pups and the house the focus of this blog might change a little.

I'm still knitting, of course, and spinning. But now I'm also the owner of a beautiful, beautiful little terrace house built in 1898 (that's before Australia was even a country, people). It's in pretty good condition, but needs plenty of cosmetic work. So some of that stuff might feature here.

Also, our little family has doubled in size with the acquisition of Lola, then Buddy. Both are pug x cavalier king charles spaniels. Lola, being little, pretty, neurotic, friendly and gentle, was bought from a nice lady as a puppy. Buddy, who is big, fat, lazy, cranky and loves a belly-rub, is a rescue dog. Understandably, these new family members might get the odd mention also. In an unflattering light, if Buddy gets into my spinning fibres again (that god he didn't get through the plastic bags!)