Monday, September 1, 2014


Lovely Josha, a friend of the twins, is having a birthday. He is a truly remarkable kid with strong ethics and sense of justice. He is in nature club at school and loves crafting as well. A boy after my own heart - in fact he won my heart ages ago! He's a gem.

He hates things made cheaply in Asia and loves hand made so this is what the girls and I made him for his birthday.

This is a heat bag with removable cow cover. The cow is based on a combination of drawings the twins did - it was quite hard with all the wonkiness! The heat bag I made from some lovely liberty print cotton and filled it with pearl barley. The cover from scraps of corduroy and recycled jumper felt.

Because Josha loves nature we also made him a terrarium.

It has a little trophy in it because we all think Josha is the best!

Here is Josha earlier in the year getting crafty at the fete.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


It's been a week of endings. I've finished knitting this child's vest - my first attempt at circular needles.

I finished the book I was reading....

I finished two stories I was writing for a competition deadline (which seemed like a herculean effort in a week with book week dress up, kids playing tag team with gastro and other such committments)...

The footy rounds finish - with the Mighty Richmond Tigers winning a place in the finals!!! - (I listened on the radio with my head in my hands I was so nervous)....

And finally, finally...Winter finishes. 

 I'm not really a knitter. The frippery of crochet suits my flibberty-gibberty ways more. But circular needle knitting is ace! No seams! I got the free pattern here from "Pickles"  (Terrific site for free patterns.)

It's for size 5-6 and I used patons wool jet 12 ply. It was super easy for a novice like me.

It's for a friends little girl who spied the wool the other day and loved the colours. (I also tell myself that if I use up all my wool stash I can justify buying more!)

Now. What to make next?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Learning to stitch

I have been remiss - all this encouraging other children to get crafty with my re-sew-cool sewing kits and I hadn't even bothered to teach my own kids to sew. I know! Bad mother! On the weekend they were imploring me to help them make softies and Sunday turned out to be the perfect rainy afternoon to get crafty in the back room.

Pepper and Wanda drew a picture of the critter they planned to sew. (Yes, for identical twins they have very different drawing styles.)


I helped Joe with his shape. Then we selected felt and got cutting and stitching. Pepper didn't have the patience to wait her turn and so just got started with glue - which is perfectly cool I think. She stitched the outer seams.

Joe showed surprisingly good concentration and managed to sew on a button.

Wanda was very patient and tenacious. She even put a pocket on her softie.

  Wanda has called her creature "Pom Pom", Joe has called his owl "Parsley" and Pepper has called her bunny "Hermione".

Best of all - all of the softies are made entirely from recycled materials. 
* and just a postscript: after we finished I gave Joe a hair cut! He doesn't look like a wannabe Paul Weller mod now!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Obsession with Looking Like a Retro Sit-Com Character....

I think I watched too much tv as a kid. I realise it has infiltrated how I look.

First, there was the Mildred..yep. Uncanny!

Next there was the Mrs Slocombe...yep. Long lost cousins.

And now...introducing...THE ENDORA!!!!
Now excuse me while I go and buy some blue eye shadow immediately!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

vintage crochet cape

Finally finished this cape - it's from a vintage pattern which you can get HERE and I made it in vintage 10 ply purple peruvian wool(try saying that ten times quickly!)
As I suspected, it was a bit much with my purple hair.... so I dyed my hair orange.

 Yes - it goes MUCH better with orange...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farewell for now, Gleaners Inc

Long live the Queen - Our Queen Liz, Queen of Glean.
Alas, Gleaners Inc has closed the shop doors. Sparta Place sure is a lot more Spartan without it too! As the main brain behind the gorgeous ethical gift shop, Liz has been gone above and beyond the role of a stockist. She has been the champion of all things hand crafted, recycled and ecologically sound AND she's super cool.

With the shop she has supported makers around the country by promoting, selling and just sharing the love.  She has even packed our stuff up in vintage suitcases and taken them to the BIG markets like Finders Keepers to further our exposure and to represent us there.

 As a curator, initiating various group shows in the Stairway to Nowhere Gallery, she  has been inspiring. The Gleaners Inc art challenges have been open and inspirational. I really feel Liz has given me opportunity to extend my creativity and skills - to be brave and experiment. The exhibitions have allowed me to participate in larger festivals like Craft Victoria's Craft Cubed and Melbourne Fashion Week - something I could never have achieved as an individual.
And that's where the "Inc." part of Gleaners Inc is so important.  Liz has welcomed us all as part of the whole group hug that is Gleaners Incorporated. I feel lost without it already!

The good news is that Liz will still be the chief designer cutter gluer at Betty Jo Designs and that she has a new light filled studio in the hood to continue her work.  And I also have the feeling that Gleaners Inc may pop up again - I know I still feel incorporated.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

tiddely pom pom poncho

 A snuggly poncho from a recycled jumper/sweater.

You will need: 

1 large jumper/sweater
coloured wool
sewing machine

Here is the jumper I started with. First up I cut off the sleeves - they became matching leg warmers. Next I cut the neck because my little girls didn't like the rolled neck ( I did!). I zig-zagged the edge, folded it, pressed it, pinned it and sewed it on the sewing machine with a straight stitch.

Measure the jumper on the person you are making the poncho for. Let it fall and drape how you want it to sit. Mark where the elbows are with a pin. Mark the length you want in the centre of the jumper.

Now lay the jumper flat and carefully cut from the just outside the neck in a straight line to the elbow mark.

REMEMBER TO PRESS WITH AN IRON before you cut or sew it! 

Make a curved (or straight for a triangle poncho!) line to the centre measurement and cut. Repeat on the other side - fold in half to match.

With right sides together, straight stitch the side seam to the elbow mark. 

Press the curved hem with a steam setting on the iron. Pin the hem. 
Sew with a straight stitch then a flat zig-zag to prevent it un-ravelling.

Now the fun part! Raising the cute factor to the power of POM POMS! These little pom poms are made with a fork. That's right. A fork. Yeah! It's revolutionary! We've all done that, right? Just in case, here is a link.
Place the pom poms where you want them and hand stitch them in place using a wool needle. 
Now rug your little one up all snug!