Archive for the 'Things we like' Category
Just a quick one today to share some Etsy love.
I bought these goodies recently from Moose Art, an awesome little Etsy store. 4 different rolls of fabric tape, sweet little designs. This stuff is really good value, as you really only use a little bit at a time, so it goes a long way.
I loved the packaging that my goodies arrived in – not too fancy, but a sweet, personal touch. It’s the little things that make certain sellers stand out, that little extra bit of effort that makes you remember them.
FYI: we weren’t paid to promote this Etsy seller, I just randomly found them and decided to purchase their products.
Daniel’s aunt passed away early last year. Margaret was a lovely, kind, gentle, generous woman, who was beloved by all who knew her. She had the single most positive, sunny disposition I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
After Margaret’s passing, her family graciously and generously gave me her sewing machine. It is a beautiful old machine: solid, sturdy, dependable. I believe she bought it when she was first married 50 years ago.
Margaret was of that generation of women who were the daughters of WW2: practical, down to earth, creative, and with so generous a spirit that no one in their circle of acquaintance went without in times of need.
These women were taught home-keeping skills by their own mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters; skills which usually included some form of craft – sewing, needlework, knitting, crochet. Except that, to these women, it wasn’t a “craft” as we think of it today. It was a necessity. You learned to sew because sometimes you had to make or mend your own clothes or home furnishings. You learned to knit or crochet a blanket because you needed to keep your children warm. Their first thought wasn’t always to run down to the store to buy the new thing you needed; their first thought was often to try to make it themselves.
In my generation of women, it’s less common that we were taught these skills by our elders. Over time, it has become less of a necessity to be able to make or mend our own things, and more of a fad or a hobby – for enjoyment rather than for need. We have the luxury of sewing, knitting or stitching for fun, and even (thanks to Etsy and a growing trend in community markets) for profit.
I did learn some basic sewing skills as a younger girl from my own mother. And she did try to teach me how to knit (the fault was with the student, not the teacher). But as an adult, I taught myself to knit by watching youtube clips. I’ve taught myself to sew by reading various blogs and following their online tutorials.
It might seem a little distant, a little sad, that it wasn’t my mother or grandmother who taught me. But it doesn’t mean that we’ve missed out on that heritage. It was the women of Margaret’s generation that taught those next in line how to craft. And it was those women who passed it on to the next. And so on. Until someone filmed themselves teaching a hypothetical someone else, and posted it on youtube. There are countless women bloggers out there who put tutorials online, for free, for the sole purpose of teaching others. We have an almost infinite ability to learn new skills and techniques from complete strangers, from all over the world.
It’s this spirit of sharing and generosity that we continue to inherit – offering our skills and expertise to other women, openly, and with a genuine passion to see others learn new ways to be creative and to love it.
Margaret’s generation, and the generations before them, have given us a legacy. They have passed down to us a wealth of knowledge, a passion for crafting, and a wonderful way to express ourselves creatively.
So when I sit at my sewing table, and I pass fabric through the feed dogs of Margaret’s old sewing machine, and I hear the gentle whir of the needle, I think of her. And I hope she sees the love I stitch into every seam. I hope she likes that I try to sew more often for others than for myself. And I hope she smiles at the increasing confidence and joy I feel as I teach myself these womanly skills, and become a part of the legacy of her generation.2 comments
Apartment Therapy is always my first blog stop for looking at interiors, design, furniture and the like.
It’s written by a whole bunch of bloggers across the US and the world, so there are several new posts everyday.
I think their “mission” states it quite well: “Helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy by connecting them to a wealth of resources, ideas and community online.” Their stated goal is “to connect people to the resources they need to improve their homes, while reducing their reliance on stuff.” I think that is a worthwhile goal.
You can browse house tours and ideas for kids parties, or get tips on living in small spaces, using colour, de-cluttering, thrifting, gardening, the latest updates in home and personal technology, eco-living and cooking. And readers regularly chime in with their own ideas too (in the comments sections at the bottom of each post).
For me, mostly, it’s just about looking at pretty pictures. But then I often find some great ideas, like:
- getting the pilling off clothing by using a disposable razor
- using vinegar to prevent waterspots on glassware
- using up leftover stale cereal
- a great idea for a family tree display on a wall
- a look back at the evolution of the internet
- 10 projects to do with an electric carving knife
- 5 egg nest recipes
- turning an old cot into a desk for the kids
I would like to introduce you to a blog that I love – Made.
Dana is a mother of 2, a blogger and a pretty awesome seamstress (especially in the eyes of a novice like myself).
Her blog is easy to navigate, her writing style is easy-going and natural, and her photo’s are fantastic.
She writes very easy-to-follow tutorials that have inspired many a sewing project for me. In fact, it was her several variations of kids pants that have taught me how to put together pants for the Widg (although I still have a way to go before I even get close to her standard). Her blog is my go-to source for ideas and for learning about sewing techniques.
She posts almost every day, so there is always something new to read. She also throws in the occasional recipe, thrift store find or family adventure.
I hope you find her blog as enjoyable as I do.
I’ve written previously about the amazing gingerbread cookies that we had at the Widg’s birthday party. And I promised to give more details about them, so here it is.
PassionCookie is the wonderful creation of my good friend Bryer. She has always been an absolute genius baker, so when she started up her own business, it was a no-brainer that she could do great things.
PassionCookie creates delicious handmade gingerbread cookies for special occasions and events, as well as selling direct to the public through the Eltham Valley Pantry, Macadamia Castle and local markets. They can also create special occasion and novelty cakes, as well as the great photo cookies, by special order, through their website. And they can deliver Australia wide.
And because their cakes and cookies are made to order, they can cater to just about anything you could possibly want. They are especially good at catering to particular dietary needs (Bryer and her clan are the actual stereotype of an allergy-blessed family, so they know all about that).
Basically, they’re really yummy cakes and cookies, and you should check them out.
Note: We’re not being paid to write nice things about PassionCookie. Although Bryer is our dear friend, we genuinely love her stuff, and we wouldn’t say nice things about her if we didn’t truly believe them. Just ask her, she’ll tell you.
I am notorious for having stacks of magazines piled around the house.
I love to pull out a stack every now and then, and flip through them to get a regular dose of inspiration. It’s really just an excuse to look at pretty things.
So far the Widg has been pretty good with “no touching” the ones within his reach. Considering he quite enjoys tearing paper.
However, a lot of my inspiration these days is online. I follow a lot of blogs – everything from interiors and decorating, photography and typography, to sewing and crafts. But how do you “store” the images you find online, so that you can peruse them again and again when the mood strikes? I have gone through various phases of bookmarking, even saving the links onto a google doc. Now, finally, some interwebby genius has come up with the answer. Pinterest. And it’s not just for fancy-pants home decorating ideas. You can pin anything to your boards, whatever you are interested in. For example, if you were interested in collecting rare and unique spoons, well, you could pin pictures of them to your boards. You could have different boards for different types of spoons. A board for wooden spoons, one for ladles, one for teaspoons.
I’m finding it very useful. There’s more information about it here (and they explain it better than me).
There are so many things I love about this image.
The casualness of hanging a picture on your wall with tape – so what if the tape leaves marks? They’re YOUR walls. Paint them.
Using gumboots as a vase for flowers. Why not?
That knitted blanket, so neatly folded, so cozy looking, such a pretty blue-grey. And the fabric on that pillow, lovely. I think my friend Jen has a dress in a very similar print.
And then finally, that bright, sunny, yellow chair. Makes me want to paint everything around me in bright, happy colours. So cheerful.
I would like to introduce to you, dear readers, our newest addition to the Box – Olga the Overlocker.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, an overlocker is a sewing machine that produces a special type of stitching to prevent fabric from fraying over time. If I’ve already lost you, don’t worry, that’s where I stop explaining.
I have a little bit of a crush on Olga (hence why I named her). She has literally already changed my sewing life – and I barely know how to use her properly yet. She just makes things so much easier, and she actually makes me look like a better sewer than I really am. She was purchased from Aldi, for the bargain price of $199. No, that’s not a typo.
This (below) is the trusty Brother machine that I am currently using. She doesn’t have a name because technically she isn’t mine. She is on loan from my mum, but I hope to save up and get my own one day. Maybe Santa will bring me one. But until then, the loaner is performing just fine.
Before I got the overlocker, I had never used one before, so I decided to practice on a few projects that were really simple (basically just straight lines). This first one is just a runner or cover for the coffee table. The fabric is from Ikea by the way. And yes, that is my morning coffee on the table.
Then I made some runners for our dressing tables in the bedroom (below). There is more to this story, but that’s another blog post. For now, just say “ah yes, I see.” Excellent. Moving on.
So here are my 2 workers (below), side by side on my sewing table. Oh, and the absolutely best thing about Olga so far? Not only did she arrive fully threaded, but to rethread her all I have to do is tie the end of the new spool to the end of the old one, and keep sewing – she rethreads herself! (For anyone out there that knows how difficult and annoying it is to rethread an overlocker, with 4 spools, you will understand my excitement. Everyone else is just thinking “so?”. Trust me, it’s a big deal). Not sure if you can do this special threading trick with all overlockers. I do feel blessed though.
I hope to log many more sewing miles with Olga.
We think this little guy is so sweet.
He has the most bite-able cheeks, and chubby little thighs, and tiny little toes. He gives really good cuddles – really leans into you and holds on tight. We’re teaching him to give eskimo kisses.
He thinks it’s hilarious when I bite his chin. And when his dadda walks in the room.
He snorts when he laughs. And talks in his sleep. He’s ticklish under the arms. He loves to bite balloons. And he gets sooooo excited over yoghurt.
He appears to be endlessly fascinated with everything, and can be very serious as he contemplates the world around him, taking it all in. And then he’ll go for days on end where life is just so good that he can’t stop smiling.
I know every parent is biased, but I seriously think he is the cutest baby ever. He is the Widg.3 comments
I received these lovely mugs for Christmas (thanks Harris’s) and I absolutely love them.
Essentially, they are just mugs, like any other. Granted, they are pretty, and when stacked they make a geisha doll. Adorable, no?
But there is something so satisfying about drinking my morning and evening cups of tea from them. They are so cheerful, I actually think they make the tea taste better. Well, they must be good- the husband has even taken to using them!
On another note, I am going to Ikea tomorrow, where I will scope out the fabrics – they are ridiculously cheap and very cool. Exhibit A:
And these ones:
I am very excited (so is the Widg) – I will be dreaming about new sewing projects all night!4 comments