26 April 2012

ANZAC Day 2012

Yesterday was ANZAC day. It was our first as Australian Citizens, and it felt a lot more real this year. Maybe it had something to do with pledging that I could be conscripted if the need arises, and with the way of the world at the moment, that is really quite scary.
 Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand, a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name. When war broke out in 1914, Australia and New Zealand had been dominions of the British Empire for thirteen and seven years respectively.
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, according to a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). What had been planned as a bold strike to knock the Ottomans out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied casualties included 21,255 from the United Kingdom, an estimated 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war. 
Though the Gallipoli campaign failed to achieve its military objectives of capturing Constantinople and knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war, the actions of the Australian and New Zealander troops during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "Anzac legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This has shaped the way their citizens have viewed both their past and their understanding of the present.
Despite federation being proclaimed in Australia in 1901, many argue the "national identity" of Australia was largely forged during the violent conflict of World War I, and the most iconic event in the war for most Australians was the landing at Gallipoli. 
Anzac Day is a national public holiday and is considered by many Australians to be one of the most solemn days of the year. After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. With symbolic links to the dawn landing at Gallipoli, a dawn stand-to or dawn ceremony became a common form of Anzac Day remembrance. Marches by veterans from all past wars, as well as current serving members of the Australian Defence Force and Reserves, with allied veterans as well as the Australian Defence Force Cadets and Australian Air League and supported by members of Scouts Australia, Guides Australia, and other uniformed service groups, are held in cities and towns nationwide. 
The Anzac Day Parade from each state capital is televised live with commentary. These events are generally followed by social gatherings of veterans, hosted either in apublic house or in an RSL club, often including a traditional Australian gambling game called two-up, which was an extremely popular pastime with ANZAC soldiers. The importance of this tradition is demonstrated by the fact that though most Australian states have laws forbidding gambling outside of designated licensed venues, on Anzac Day it is legal to play "two-up". 

I was up at 4:15, and  at the war memorial in Kings Park at about 5:15.
They show documentaries and footage on big screens before the service.
The dawn ceremony at Kings park is very traditional- the whole thing is mainly silent. 
Wreaths were laid, the last post was played, and for a long time people just stood in the cold silence of the early dawn light and remembered. After the formal proceedings, a short speech was made about while we were all gathered. After the ceremony, there was a flyover by some old bi-planes.

There were so many people there! I know its the capital city, and I've never been involved in a major town Remembrance parade in the UK, but I was astounded by how many people of all ages were there. One report I just read said that there were 40,000 people there!

After the dawn service, there was free gunfire breakfast (rum and coffee), and at 9:30 the main parade began. I marched with my new band. Its been a long time, but all went well.

This segment especially brought a tear to my eye. 
There were about 5 of them, probably at least in their 80s, walking behind the banner, and behind them the daughters and granddaughters of those who were no longer here.

After the parade, there is a religious service. While I am not religious, we stayed on because its still important to remember in our own way.

23 April 2012

Outdoor Weekend! - Camping and biking the trails

This weekend was the last one my husband is home for before I start my phd and start working real life hours not FIFO. So we made the most of it:

We drove down south:

Set up camp

And took some fun photos.
Stairway to heaven? 

We spent a good hour throwing different sized rocks in the river and recording the result!

On the sunday there was a free mountain biking taster session, including free bike hire and sausage sizzle after! How good a deal is that?! We did the 17km route; It was good fun, if a little scary at first- I'm not the most confident bike rider, despite riding semi regularly. My never-quite-healed-right broken arm means I find it hard to get a stable grip on the handle bars. 
I took one impressive tumble- we were on a slight downhill windy sandy section. I just avoided one tree, and over compensated to avoid another. My front tyre dug into the sand, the bike slipped down underneath me, and I somehow managed to leap clean off the bike. The Boy heard me screech, and turned round to see me running down the path, bike in a sandy heap. Yet I was totally fine :D

I already have a bike that would be suitable for this kind of riding, so he's thinking of getting a cheapo mountain bike and we'll finally get a rack for the car, so we can hit the trails more often. 
Perth has a trail which is in the process of winding all the way to Albany - 1000km! - with camp stops  and cabins a gentle days cycle apart. We think its something we could definitely get into!

Have you tried something new recently? How did it go?

20 April 2012

More sorbettos

I think I'm nearly done with this pattern for the moment, though I do have plans to make something with it and a few alterations for the field-trip during me-made-may.

I used these as my last two entries for the Spring Top Sewalong. I did consider entering the Herman sorbetto, but I think these are a little more grown up ;)

I love this whale print, but the fabric is a bit rubbish-very cheap poplin that the colour fades on easily when you iron it. I still love the top though.

For this one I added an extra inch or two to the length, extended the armistices (is that the word?!) and changed the neckline around a bit.

This second one is made from chiffony polyester, from spotlight on sale for only about $6 a meter. Its really wide too, so I only used about 60cm of it for this top. Score! 
Its really flowly and wears well. I just wish I'd made it a bit longer so it will tuck in to skirts etc.
Now I just need to decide what to do with the other 1.4m!

I love the pattern!
I think they look like kookaburras. What do you think?

19 April 2012

Itty Bitty baby dress III

Every tiny baby needs a pretty princess dress, right?! 
For this one I roughly followed the instructions for the Sweet Tartan Dress by Skirt as a Top.

The purple stars are some left over lining from a bag I made years ago, and the white is a section of bed sheet from the op-shop when they had a one dollar sale- 4m of soft white cotton with a subtle damask print (you can just see it in the photo) for $1!

Basically, I cut three pairs of the bodice- two white,and one set white and purple.
To create the wrap style bodice, I took the purple piece, and one of the whites, and cut down from the corner of the neckline to about 2cm plus seam allowance above the  far corner. 
Then sewed the front and lining pieces together, and arranges and pinned them how I wanted them to look.
From then on I treated them as a single bodice, and sewed the rest of the dress more or less according to instructions.

The back is just a single normal bodice piece:

I'm very happy with this dress, as the inside looks as neat as the outside, and that is rare for me!

Which is your favourite?
Let me know!

I've been told I'm not allowed to make any more baby clothes for now... but luckily another of our friends are expecting a little boy in a couple of months, and she was a little sad it wasn't a girl. My plan is to make some cute but masculine baby clothes for them so she can still play dress up!

15 April 2012

Itty Bitty Baby Dress II

This dress was made from the remnants left after I made a top. 
It was the first one I made, but I lost the photo for a while!

Its such a cute pattern, but again, totally impractical being mainly white.
I left the bottom of the skirt as the selvedge since it was part of the pattern and if it ever gets worn, it will probably only be once :)

14 April 2012

Herman Sorbetto

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and downloaded Colletes sorbetto top pattern.
I've been looking for a simple top that I can make into lots of different things, and this is just the thing.
Nice and simple, with the pleat down the front to add some interest, and a bust dart to add some shape.

Herman is our "pet" hippo.  
He sits on our sofa in the TV room and doubles as a cushion :)
The fabric is from IKEA- left over from cushions in my sewing room (which is green and white and awesome). This fabric is rubbish for this kind of top... though the more I think about, I'm not sure its ever been washed, so maybe it has a stiffening agent in it. We'll see what happens on wash day!

I do like the colours though. I think the white tones down the green. I'm glad I made the sleeves and binding from plain white- an all lime hippo top might have been too much!

To counter the stiffness of the material, I added 5 rows of shiring on the back, to pull it in a bit. 
I just eyeballed them in. I think next time I will add an extra inch or so to the length, as the shiring makes it feel like it is riding up. 

I added sleeves as an after thought, using the pattern at "Sew, incidentally..." I don't really do sleeves so far, so it was good practice. They went in really easily, thankfully. I didn't finish the edge on them before I fitted them, so decided to shir around hemline because it was easier that adding a cuff (should probably have done that before fitting them in!) and didn't leave the sleeve gaping.

I bought a gadget to fold bias tape yesterday, so decided to use that to make the bias binding for the neck line. It took a couple of attempts to get it right (I used the tube method, and initially drew my lines the wrong way across the grain, then sewed it up so it would have made hoops not a spiral. I knew I shouldn't have got out of bed this morning!) but I think it will be a good technique to have, and good for using up off cuts of fabric that are too small to be much use and too big to throw away. I suppose other people use them for quilts, but I don't have that kind of patience!

Have you made a sorbetto? 
Let me know. I have some ideas of what else I want to do with this pattern, but more inspiration is always welcome!

13 April 2012

Itty bitty baby dress

Some non selfish sewing for once!
Some friends of ours just had a little girl after a difficult pregnancy. It gave me the perfect excuse to make some tiny baby clothes to ooh and ahh over. There are so many baby projects out there, and with no babies on the cards for a few years yet, making gifts is a good way to quieten the biological clock for a while!

They're also goof for trying out techniques on small scales and using up ends of material, and they take no time to sew so they're a good quick fix!

These are probably totally impractical, but its always good to have some pretty dresses, right?
And at least they aren't pink and frilly! My aim was to make baby clothes without the baby feel, as I don't think the parents are into that kind of thing. They are all based on the FREE itty bitty baby dress pattern at made-by-rae.

The first dress is fully reversible...
White bodice with a box pleated blue and orange skirt on one side.

And this lovely brown and brights elephant print on the other.

The other baby dresses

Making the pattern reversible

To make it totally reversible, I followed the instructions given by Rae which makes a lined bodice.
I tried to chose fabrics that would work together as you will see some of both bodice fabrics on the ties.

When I was ready to sew the skirts on, I pinned one to the outside and one to the inside of the bodice, making sure that you have the fabric you want on the right side, and facing the right way.
 (I'll admit I got a phone call from the hubby while pinning this together and when I had sewn and turned it out, the orange was inside out... easy to do!)

Then sew through all four layers (skirt 1, two sides of bodice, skirt 2).
When you turn it out, the dresses fold down over the seam. 

Fold under a little of each skirt, and sew together to hem both sides at once and close up the skirt.
Try and use a thread colour which either contrasts or matches with both fabrics.

12 April 2012

Autumn Stripes and Spots

The Autumn is arriving in Perth, and having signed up for Me Made May, I decided to use some of my knit stash to make a tshirt for the cooler days.

This was self drafted and draped. - Dolman sleeves longer than usual for our incoming autumn weather, and tucks up the sides to break up the stripes and disguise the currently-slightly-softer-than-I'd-prefer stomach.

To draft this, I simply used a well fitting t-shirt, folded in half and laid out on the halved fabric. I marked lines up the sides, allowing extra for the seam. When I got to the armholes, I simply drew out more or less straight at 90 degrees to the fold, as long as you want the sleeve to be. 
At the shoulder point of my shirt, I drew another line straight across at 90 degrees to the fold, also marking the point where the neck opening was. Then cut.
Sew up each side, then across the top of each sleeve as far as the marked neckline. You could cut a curved neckline in, but I kept with the stripes, and simply rolled down the front a little more than the back before stitching down a hem at the neck. 
Then I hemmed the sleeves and bottom of the shirt. 

The fabric is something knit-ish, bought at the local fabric shops sale, mainly because I liked the colour and the mix of polkadots and stripes. 

 Finished with a double needle.- Finally attempted it! It didn't work out too well, but you can't see the trouble areas so much.

See my other entries for Raes Spring Top Sewalong.

Have you used a twin needle? What do you think? I like the professional look bit definitely need more practice!

11 April 2012

Me Made May!

I, Ellen, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear an item that I have had a hand in creating, each day for the duration of May 2012 
(even on fieldwork in Italy...)

Its that time again. I've seen this kind of challenge before but haven't been in a position to join in.
I didn't think I'd have enough again, but when you throw in all the bags/accessories I've made, the projects that are nearly done, the plans I have for the next few weeks and the op-shop refashions... I think I might be able to do it!

The problems I can see at the moment  are:

I fly to Italy on the 2nd, for a weeks field work
The weather should be OK, so I can stick with my sleeveless tops (sleeves have always been an issue of mine), and also wear some re-fashioned tshirts and vests. Not much of an opportunity for dressing up though!

Most of what I've actually finished are dresses or PJs.
Do PJs count?! 

I need to be brave and cut some of my fabric. 
Even though I'm no expert, and as much as I love my fabric... mostly it was bought on sale so it doesn't really represent a huge investment. And I'm never going to get any better without making a few mistakes on the way.

It'll be my first month at uni.
Do I really want to be the one in the shirt where the hemline don't match? Can I live with being that girl? Can I make up a few things that don't scream "a three year old made this"?

But I'm up for the challenge.

If you are too, learn more and sign up at So, Zo...What do you know!

08 April 2012

Bogan Partay

Once I get the photos off the camera, I'll post pictures of our citizenship ceremony...
But for now, here are some from the party we had to celebrate in worst case true blue style!


07 April 2012

Australiana Biscuits

Tonight we're having a party to celebrate our recently acquired Australian-ness.
I decided to put all my Australian shaped biscuit cutters to good use.
How cute did they turn out!

The echidna

  • 185g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour

The dough was really hard to work with, and really sweet, so next time i think I'll use less sugar.
To make it  a bit more manageable, I rolled it out between greaseproof paper, and threw it into the freezer to firm up for 5 minutes before cutting, so that the shapes cut out and held their shape.

Then into the oven until just brown, leave to cool, then I iced with plain icing mix.
The hubby iced with squeezy chocolate frosting. Spot his ;)



Frill neck lizard


A different platypus

The hubbys frosting :)