Sunday, 17 January 2016

Sew Your Stash

Happy New Year, albeit a little late.

One of the websites I follow is Pattern Revolution which is devoted to all things sewing.  They commenced 2016 with a challenge to Sew Your Stash which involved sewing a garment using fabric from your stash and a pattern you had purchased but never used.  It was as if Lord Kitchener was pointing his finger right at me and I had to enlist.




I rummaged through my fabric stash and came across these two fabrics which I had been keeping aside for goodness knows what.  I bought them from a lovely fabric store owner who visited our quilting group some time last year.  There were two half metre pieces of the floral fabric and one half metre of the spots.  They were all she had brought with her in these designs, so I grabbed them quickly.  The overalls jumper pattern had been on my list of must-make items for a little while and somehow the two seemed to be made for each other.  It's fairly sturdy fabric, despite the delicateness of the design, so it was ideal for the project in hand.


This is my version of the overalls - I must admit I was pretty happy with the result. The pattern is packed full of detailed sewing, so it was not something that I could whip up in half an hour. Let's begin with the pockets.


It's hard to miss the one at the front.


There are also two handy ones at the back.


Not to mention the side pockets.


I love the back view.


All the seams are top stitched.


And it looks great with a blouse, tee or knit.

All in all I feel happy with the result and it was the perfect start to the new sewing year.  I made a size 4 and sadly my youngest grandchild is 6, but even if he was 4, I doubt he would be too keen to wear it.  So I'll put it up for sale and if it generates enough interest, I can source some more of the two fabrics and will make it to order.

Next on the list is a sweet dress for Valentine's Day, or any day really.  It's good to be sewing again.




Thursday, 17 December 2015

Closed for Christmas and the New Year

Images: Boutique Baby Photography
Oh no - you're a little late.


Hot Fudge has closed for the Christmas/New Year break.


Oh my, I can see something I REALLY want!


I could just cry.


But all is not lost.


Hot Fudge will re-open mid-January 2016 and you can buy my dress for your own little princess.


So have a very happy Christmas and I'll see you in the New Year.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Ah, Christmas

Maybe I've spoken too soon, but I think we can safely say that summer has finally arrived.


Which means it was time for our annual pilgrimage to the city to do a little shopping.  First stop was the Queen Victoria Building, full of such tempting goodies.



The Christmas tree never fails to amaze us,  Take a look here  to watch the tree come to life.


So much bling - so many Swarovski crystals - surely they wouldn't miss a strand or two ...




Why didn't they have toy shops like this when I was a wee tot?  Oh yes, there was a war on.


Oh to be four again!


No trip to the city at this time of the year is complete without a visit to the food hall of our favourite department store.


You can keep the Amaretti (not really) - I'll settle for the tin.


Guess who thought he could smuggle these home without me seeing them?  Wrong.


What a fun time we had.  I think we'll have to do it again.


The last of the custom orders were mailed out on Friday and now I can finally breathe again.  However, there's still a little time to order some ready-to-ship items if you hurry.






These are just a few of my ready-to-ship items.  If you take a look through my Etsy or MadeIt stores, I am sure you will find something you will fall in love with.  They are in specific sizes, but I will have most of them available made-to-order in the New Year.

Happy shopping and I do hope you all have the most wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Testing times

We're rapidly racing towards the end of another year.  I know it's a cliché, but what happened?  Surely last week it was Christmas Day; then wasn't it just a few days ago that we farewelled our daughter and son-in-law on their great overseas adventure?  Throw into the mix various meet-ups with dear friends, a meeting or two with my quilting group, a few lunches with my brother, and now you're telling me that we're less than a month away from Christmas.

I know it's close to Christmas because I'm busy, and that's usually the sign.  When I was the age of my grandchildren the space between one Christmas and the next was a whole lifetime, and now in my dotage it's like stepping onto a roller coaster.


Pattern: Tie Dye Diva

And there have been testing times, but good testing times.  Tie Dye Diva has to be my favourite PDF pattern platform, because I know how thoroughly all Jen's patterns are tested before they are released to the public for sale. For this reason I was delighted to be included in the testing team for the latest patterns, the Ringmaster Top (above) and pants (below).  




Both garments were thoroughly tested by the team for sizes ranging from 1 to 10 and after many adjustments, they were released to One Thimble, an e-Zine which is packed with wonderful articles and many PFF patterns.  



The theme for One Thimble's current issue is the circus and my house model (who happens to call me Grandma) enthusiastically entered into the spirit.


Pattern: Tie Dye Diva

Not to rest on her laurels, Jen then asked her team to test her latest pattern, Garnet, again in sizes 1 to 10.  The pattern can be made as a dress with knit top and woven fabric skirt and collar, an all-knit dress, long or short sleeves, knit top and separate skirt.  Oh, and the full circle skirt can be made with one fabric or with panels.  Quite a lot packed into the one PDF pattern.

   

With the warmer weather approaching, I chose the dress option with short sleeves to test.  Although the skirt fabric is geometric, it worked well cut as a full circle.


I rarely sew with knit fabric, but this pattern takes all the worry away and with such clear and helpful instructions, it was an easy sew.


It even passed the tree climbing test.  The pattern is now available at Tie Dye Diva's website and you can find it here

And now I am super busy getting out orders before Christmas.  All made-to-order items will close next Friday 4 December, as I cannot guarantee that they will reach their destination in time after that date.


There is a two week turnaround on this adorable Christmas dress, sizes 1 to 8, but I do have it currently in stock in size 3.  It is available on my Etsy and MadeIt shops. 


Christmas skirts have been popular this year and I do have a limited number in stock ready to ship, but they are selling fast.


My Christmas Tree garlands are flying out the door and they make the perfect gift for those who you may find difficult to buy for.  They are particularly popular as teacher gifts.

What am I doing here?  It's back to the machine before I find myself heading at a dazzling pace towards Christmas 2016.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Saint May



This is a story about a boat.

Penny and I have known each other since we were around six or seven, and that’s a long time.  When we were eight, we each had a new baby brother join our families, one month apart.  Penny’s baby brother Peter is now a retired grandfather.  He has been an avid sailor since he was a little boy; a chip off the old block.

In his retirement he has revived his interest in painting, enrolling in art school classes.  To everyone’s delight, he has quite a talent which is not really surprising, as he comes from a strong line of artists, performers and singers. 

Let’s go back to the late 1950s.  We were teenagers growing up in the beachside suburb of Bronte which in those days was a middle-class family suburb with the beach as our playground.  Today you have to pay to even look at the place.  


It was around 1957 when Penny’s father announced to his family that he was going to build a sailing boat.  Where, asked his alarmed wife.  In the back yard was the response.  Now this was a tiny pocket-sized yard with room for a small flower garden and a clothes line. 

And build it he did, all on his own.  It took five long years of meticulous building in his spare time, but slowly out of that back yard rose the hull of the boat.  I can’t remember where the clothes line ended up, but Penny’s mother somehow fed and clothed the family of five without a word of complaint. There were times you could barely scrape down the hallway past the timber stored along one wall. 

Pencil sketches of the plan appeared on spare walls – beautifully drawn, as he was an artist.  Many a time we brushed off wood shavings as we left the house.

In 1962 Penny and I were living in London when the boat was launched.  How we would have loved to have been there to watch as a crane slowly drove down the street, much to the amazement of the neighbours, lift the boat over the roof of the house and transport it to Watsons Bay which was to be its home for many years to come.



Penny’s father christened the boat Saint May, in a loving tribute to his wife May who he acknowledged was indeed a saint for allowing him to fulfil his dream.  Inevitably the time came when he became too old to sail his beloved Saint May and he sold it to a member of a local sailing family.

Now we are back in 2015 and Peter recently had some of his works in an art exhibition at Balmain.  He was assisting with the setting up of the exhibition and wandered out into the courtyard where he struck up a conversation with a woman who was also exhibiting.  She lived locally and Peter mentioned that he had been sailing along the Balmain foreshore looking for suitable subjects to paint, when he was stunned to come across his late father’s boat.  Gone was the original timber mast, replaced with an aluminium one and of course it was painted a different colour and had a different name, but he recognised it instantly, as his father had deviated from the original plan in certain areas and designed them to his own specifications.

As he described the boat, the woman’s eyes widened and she quietly said, “That’s our boat.” 

She immediately rang her husband and when he arrived, Peter told them the story of Saint May.  They worked out that boat had changed hands about four times since Penny’s father sold her and the name had been changed at least twice.  But Peter was overwhelmed when the current owners revealed that the life savers and other equipment stored below still bore the name Saint May

I was told this story only yesterday when Tony and I met up with Penny and her husband Keith for a long-awaited coffee and cake.  As Penny came to the end of the story, we were both crying.  We two were transported back to those teen years, with memories of a remarkable man with a magnificent obsession and his understanding and supportive wife.

And the perfect ending?  The current owners are seriously considering re-naming the boat Saint May.  It has come the full circle.

Friday, 9 October 2015

From my machine

Seasons change and with the change comes the realization that children have grown and are in need of new clothing.  What's not to love about that?


Among the recent orders I have received was one from a lovely returning customer who purchased these two special occasion dresses, as well as a pair of bubble shorts.  They are now on their way to their new home.


It is inevitable that with the warmer weather arriving, the Christmas shopping season as has commenced, if the department stores and supermarkets are to be our guides.  What a surprise.


Along with clothing orders, I have been preparing for the Christmas rush by making Christmas tree garlands which are always popular in the two months leading up to Christmas.


The traditional red and green ties have always been available, but in the last couple of seasons I have added aqua ties for those who like something a little different.  They are particularly popular among those who are fortunate enough to spend Christmas in the midst of summer.

I don't know if it's a sign of entering the let's say more mature phase of life, but I take particular delight in witnessing the pure joy and excitement of young children when they spy Santa for the first time, or stare in wonderment at department store Christmas window displays.  Pure gold.

Available here.
Speaking of such events, what is more adorable than little toddler sisters all dressed up for a special occasion, be it a wedding (perhaps as flower girls), Christmas family parties or birthday celebrations?  And who doesn't love bows, lace and the odd pin-tuck?  These two special occasion dresses are the last I have in stock, the smaller one in size 12 months and the larger one in size 2.


The backs are just as pretty.  They are made of a lovely soft grey fabric which falls so beautifully, and the skirts are extra full.  If you know of two little sisters who you are dying to outfit in co-ordinating special occasion dresses, look no further.

And now back to those trees.