30 July 2012


Spur of the moment weekend trip to Busselton!
They have the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere- almost 2km long!
At the end is an underwater observatory, with windows out to see the exceptional sea life that lives in the warm currents of Geographe bay.
There was lots of good food, a new brewery to visit, and a spa bath :D

Best fish!

Fish, as seen from the surface at the end of the jetty.

Simmos Icecream

We went for a walk around Cape Naturaliste on the sunday morning

Built up an appetite for more good food and beer!

Crazy windswept hair, and a good chocolate stout :D

15 July 2012

Meeting your Heros, and falling to pieces!

I've mentioned briefly before that I play in a Brass Band. I play Euphonium, and have done since I was about 9 years old, though for the last 5 years I've not had chance to play often.

I used to be pretty good, but that was 10 years ago. Since then life got in the way. But when I was a teenager my hero was David Childs, a 3rd generation euph player from close to where I grew up, and about my age. He won the British Young Musician of the Year award in 2000, and anything he played I wanted to be able to play. Some I could, some I could only try. But I did try, Constantly!

And on Friday night he and his father Robert Childs, another world class Euphonium soloist, came to play in Perth. OMG. I was so excited! It was a small concert, and then they mingled with the audience afterwards. The Boy said he had never seen me so nervous about talking to anyone, ever. 

Meetings, interviews, presentations... Meh. 
Meeting my teenage hero... and I'm in pieces. 
Very excited, very happy, but unable to construct a simple sentence. 

The concert was awesome. I kept forgetting to breath!

Then the morning after they held a masterclass, full of hints and tips of how to play better, aimed at all levels. I had some great teachers growing up (helps that I grew up in the heart of brass banding!) but I still found out that I've been triple tonguing wrong for the past 20 years :) Not wrong exactly, but there is a better way. So thats something I'll be working on!

It also was the inspiration I needed to get me excited again. The band scene here in Perth is pretty sparse and there isn't much external to get you motivated. Until a few months ago I hadn't played properly for 5 years, yet I picked it up and the muscle memory meant I was still competent. People don't believe me that I was out of practice, and with nothing to really aim for there didn't seem to be much point in really trying. I could play what I needed to play...
 But hearing David playing a solo that I used be able to play was a bit of a kick up the bum to get practising again!

10 July 2012

Cycling gloves prototype

Last night I worked on a prototype for some cycling gloves.
It worked quite well, but there are a few things I want to change for the real pair.

Theyre really fiddly, and they aren't big enough to go around the arm of my machine, so everything has to be sewn flat, which makes it interesting!

The fabric is hot pink ripstop nylon, with fluro yellow stitching and flannel lining to stop the elastic from scratching. The arrow is made from reflective high vis tape harvested from some work clothes. The idea of the arrow is to make it extra clear which way I'm turning when I'm using hand signals, and because its cut from reflective tape they will show up at night. I need to move the arrow around though, as it doesn't sit on the back of my hand at the moment.

For these I used shiring instead of encased elastic. I think this added to the fiddlyness, so maybe I'll use elastic next time.

I'll put up a pattern once I'm happy with them!

09 July 2012

Its the small things

We've been in our house for over  a year, and there are lots of small things we've been meaning to do for all that time that we've never quite got around to. This weekend I got onto them! The house was an ex-rental house, and while its big, it was a well used (despite only being 4 years old) by a family with kids and very plain. The whole house was painted "sand", and while we've made some changes it still has that rental-house vibe.
I think the recent nesting has got something to do with being home more, and sleeping there every night as opposed to half the time. I want it to be a home more than just a house!

First up, there is a big open wall space over the bath that needed filling. I love my baths, though try and limit them since water is a precious commodity here in Perth. Our bath is small and shallow, but that doesn't mean I can't dream that I'm somewhere more luxurious!

I've been meaning to fill the gap with a triptych ever since we moved in, and last month I finally bit the bullet and ordered some canvas prints. When I went on the epic cycle ride a few weeks ago I ramped up the camera resolution as far as it would go and took some shots of the ocean, cropped them down into a series of squares once home, then uploaded them to the canvas printing site (I used BigW Photo service)
What do you think?

Now I can dream I'm looking out over the ocean to Rottnest, rather than being in my
back unit in the inner suburbs :)

I also did some other things I've been meaning to get around to for a while.

I put up the pretty house number from Moro up on our fence.
Hopefully now people will be able to find us!

And I took the door off the built in robe in the guest room.
Its a "kids" room, so it doesn't really fit the double bed in, but we needed it to! So while the bed fits, not much else does! And the door to the robe didn't open all the way and generally made it look small. The hinges are built into the frame, so I couldn't easily take the hinges out, so I simply slid the bolt out that was holding the hinge together. Easy to reverse and didn't look as obvious as I had been imagining it might!
Can you tell its currently a junk room? And yes, thats my wedding dress, still un-boxed from the wedding 10 months ago... 
It hangs in the door frame usually, but then you couldn't see the curtain!

In the gap I put an extendible shower curtain rail, and used rings and clips to hand an old sarong as a makeshift curtain for now. Full access to the robe, plus a bigger feeling room. Perfect.

I also hung a curtain rail up in our bedroom, and it was so much easier than I remember the one in the sewing room being! Maybe I'm just getting better...
Pictures to follow, once the curtains are done!

Oh, and the garden is coming on really well. I love sitting in the sewing room or the main living room and looking out and seeing the honey eating birds getting a good feed from our grevilleas or kangaroo paws. Hopefully the big yellow paws should be bursting into life soon, which should look pretty spectacular. And the little ground covering grevillea looked like it had buds, so they should show their faces soon too!

05 July 2012


The PJs of awesomeness!

Whoop the cycle challenge finishes today! Since June 1st I have ridden just over 700km! And beat the boy by a country mile... or around 150km! He was ill this week, which probably helped a lot, but it would still have been tough for him to have over taken me.

But on to the sewing!

I finally remembered to take my memory card home from the office, so I finally got pictures of my favourite pair of PJs so far. In terms of fabric anyway. The fit is pretty rubbish- too tight over the top of the thighs (because like a dummy I shaved off a couple of centimetres from the inner thigh/croch to make the legs fit- D'Oh! I have no pattern, I just trace off pants that fit us.

My favourite pair for fit are the "Space Raider" (I know, I know... but thats what I call them) I made for the Boy earlier in the year. They fit perfectly on both of us (his cyclist thighs and my womanly hips kind of even us out...)

But... how cute are the cycle version?!
(I really need to clean out under the sofa!)

The waist and thigh section has vertical bikes, the legs horizontal, as I was trying to conserve fabric. Hence cutting off some of the width on the thighs as the leg portion was slightly narrower. I should have just gathered them very slightly, so there would still have been that extra give in the top. Its pulling apart at the seams, which is a combination of weak fabric and bad fit. Spotlight has their flannel on sale, so I might go get some more despite its lack of quality (see all the pilling on the photos below too? from less than a weeks wear). Its just too cute.
The top is from K-mart. It was cheap, warm and fits perfectly with the colours. How could I say no.

The bottom of the legs are cuffed tight to the ankle to stop drafts, but I wasn't about to expose my feet to the cold to show you! And there is a pocket on the back for my iPhone, so I can walk around the house/garden, get stuff done in comfort and still listen to podcasts.

These ones even have different rises front and back, and nicely finished and reinforced seams.
Which is a lot to do with why I'm sad that they are dying already.
They still do the job of keeping me warm, and the next version will be even better!

Obligatory bum shots :)
I love  the pocket and the fit at the back. 

02 July 2012

House-warming present for the person who hates their house?

So really, what do you get as a house warming present for someone who hates their house?! The back story is long and complex, but has ended up with an 18 month long renovation project with the hope of being able to off load it for as much as she paid for it. But the rapidly dropping house prices means that even after spending all that time on it, its still not really paying off. So while it now looks good, she still hates it for what it represents. But at least its finished, and that is a cause to celebrate!

The Boy suggested making a really horrible tea cozy, which slowly grew into this idea:

We composed a limerick to sum up the story, and I attempted to embroider it onto a tea towel.
Now, embroidery isn't my strong point, so there was no way that anyone was going to see the back! So I embroidered it onto some cotton... 
I transferred the words by typing it into word, putting the fabric over the screen and tracing with a chalk pencil. Easy way of getting neat, even words. Or fancy fonts if I were more skilled...
 This is comic sans, if you can tell ;) And do you know what- I ran out of thread for the last two words. 
Gutting! So a quick trip to the shop was needed!

The patch held in place by fusible webbing, then secured using bias tape.
I went around the edge of the store bought tea towel with a fancy stitch to tie it all together.
(Anyone know what the Y shaped stitch is for?!) 
And added a little bias tape hanging hook on the top corner

Wrapped up all fancy :)

She loved it. 
Brought a tear to her eyes... hopefully for all the right reasons.
I was a little worried she wouldn't "get" it, but I think she will treasure it.

I think I was more excited about gifting this than I have every been to give a present!
Which is what presents should be all about, right?