Monthly Archives: September 2012

Holly’s Chair


About 10 years ago I was offered some rolls of upholstery fabric that were being thrown away by a furniture manufacturer. Of course I couldn’t let this perfectly good fabric go to the dump so I gave it a good home! Unfortunately, it pretty much sat there in my roof space ever since. Apart from some shopping bags I made, I still had several rolls left. Then one day a couple of months ago I was talking to a friend who told me about her daughter upholstering an old chair, I immediately saw an opportunity for the remaining rolls of fabric to go to a good home. So without further ado I whistled them round to her house that evening. The one proviso was: that I could see some photos of the finished chair.

Well, I got an email a couple of days ago with some before and after shots and I think you’ll agree its a pretty impressive job.

Holly is in year 12 and this project is for her Visual Communications VCE where she had to create a design brief by a client then develop and produce the design. The chair took her about 6 weeks in all.

One sad looking chair …before

Another ‘before’ shot

Stripped right back, resprung and stuffed


Holly’s Chair in all its glory!

Well done Holly, you’re obviously very talented and creative. I hope you get a really good mark for all your hard work. Thanks for sharing.

Back from the quilter’s


Last week our little friendship group (The Mad COWS) sent off 7 quilts with our wonderful quilter Natalie from: thequiltingbug. A very speedy 7 days later she drove accross Melbourne to deliver them to my door!! (what amazing service). We had our own mini quilt show as we oohd and ahhhd over each other’s quilts and with service like this and our backlog of quilts shrinking, its hard to find a good reason not to do all our quilts this way! Anyway here’s our mini quilt show for your enjoyment.

Flo’s double-sided quilt- side 1 (Christmas)

Flo’s quilt (side 2)

Carrie’s split nine patch quilt (Christmas)

Carol’s country scrap quilt

Carol’s ‘Under the Australian Sun’ quilt

My Drunkards Path quilt

Detail of Drunkards Path showing ‘simple swirls’ quilt pattern

My Moda fabric jelly roll quilt

Detail of my jelly roll quilt

Mainly ‘Moda French General’ fabric – stack and slash quilt

Stack and slash using (mainly) French General fabric

A thrifty find


I had another trip to the op shop this week (couldn’t resist) and my trusty spotter Sharyn picked out some more great woollen bargains. Two of these bargains have now become part of my wardrobe as they refused to shrink sufficiently. They are mens sweaters but that’s ok – they are big and warm and snuggly and obviously not a high enough wool content as they didn’t shrink a great deal even after a really hot wash and being put in the dryer for half an hour.

The other find of the day were the table-cloth and napkins below which I just had to have. The napkins (at a mere 50c each) – I will use the next time we have people over for dinner – nicer than paper ones I think and quite pretty with their little embroidered flowers in each corner.

I really like the table-cloth with its embroidered flowers and can’t quite decide whether to keep it as is or make something out of it… and herein lies a dilemma. Whilst browsing through various images of recycled table cloths for ideas, I came across this website that raised passionate arguments for and against the recycling of others’ handiwork. I had no idea what a contentious issue I was walking into!! and you can see it here:

My own personal view is: it has to be better to rescue an item that has been discarded and re-imagine it so that it can once again be admired by others. The alternative being to bury it in the back of a cupboard somewhere, never to see the light of day again. I could understand a bit of moral outrage if it were the Bayeux tapestry being cut into little squares but honestly I think most creators of handmade items would be flattered at the thought that their embroidered tablecloth was being treasured in a new guise 30 or 40 years later… I know I would. Anyway, I will let you make your own mind up and would love to hear your opinion and any suggestions for the tablecloth.

6 embroidered napkins….50c each!

Detail from the table-cloth

Feeling owlie


It all started with this little guy after I ordered some fabric from the US:

Prototype owl

He is soon to fly off to his new home – not too far away, so I’ll be able to visit.
I had a few other retro-type fabrics so I decided to make a few more owl friends and here they are:

More of a ‘girlie’ owl I think

and last but not least….

I have a feeling it may not be the end of it….

Aussie Cushion Covers


I have had this lovely fabric for some time now from the Under The Australian Sun range and couldn’t decide what I should do with it. Then I remembered the cushion covers I had promised to make mum several months ago!! Oh well, better late than never I suppose. I was a bit concerned that they were a wee bit on the busy side but I ran them past a couple of buddies and they both gave them the thumbs up so I will be able to give them to her in person when I go to the UK in 10 days time (Yikes better get myself organised)!!

Well you can see them here on my sofa and hopefully they will look good on mum’s too. At least they have a truly Australian feel to them with their gum leaf centres.

Aussie Cushions

Recycle Update


As I posted a few days ago – I had a successful visit to the local op shop last week and bought some end of season woollens for half price in the hope of making a few ‘conversions’.

Op shop bargains

Well I did the really hot wash and everything shrank a bit – not having a tumble dryer I couldn’t do that step which I think would give everything a more felted appearance. I carried on regardless and this is what I came up with:

The pinky-brown one was from a child’s sweater so the hat is a little on the small side. This means I need to either find a little girl to give it to or a small-headed adult! It really was just a case of cutting the sweater straight accross under the sleeves, turning inside out, joining up as it was a cardigan and then a gathering stitch around the top, pull tight, tie it off then turn it out the right way again. I decided to put a little crochet flower on the side (which I had to look up on youtube). You can find it here:

The gold-coloured hat was even easier as I simply cut the ribbing off the tank-top (are they still called that?!), turned inside out, gathered the top and turned right side out again. It fits really well too!

Next I thought I would use the bigger charcoal sweater to see if I could make a reasonable cushion cover and I’m actually quite happy with it. Here it is:

recycled cushion cover

Again I just cut straight accross under the arms, turned inside out so I could sew accross the cut seam, turned back the right way and used some bright coloured wool to do the lazy daisy stitches and back stitch for the flowers. I used the little plastic snaps for closure at the bottom (have had them for donkey’s years and always knew I would need them one day – so good when you prove yourself right)!

I am now itching to go back to the op shops in the area and hunt out some more woollen sweaters – I think I’ve got the recycling bug!

Mitzi’s Morrocan Lamb


I visited a friend in Perth recently and she took me to her friend Mitzi’s house where she had made the most amazing Morrocan Lamb curry with a lovely mixture of sweetness, heat and tender meat. Of course we both wanted the recipe afterwards and here it is. I cooked mine with rice (to suit my family) but Mitzi had done hers with couscous with fresh tomato and coriander and it was delish.

Mitzi’s Morrocan Lamb

I cooked mine on top of the stove (low heat about one and half hours) but it could also be done in the slow cooker or in the oven.

Flour the diced lamb (I used 1kg leg of lamb) – brown in the pan
One large onion diced
Tablespoon garlic
Sliced mushrooms
Chunks of sweet potato
Tablespoon of paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon sticks(2)
Two beef stock cubes
Tablespoon of honey
Half chilli
500ml water

after cooked add :
Chopped dried apricots
sliced tomatoes and leave slow cooker on warm setting.

Suubi paper bead bracelets


These are some of the bracelets made by the Suubi ladies in Uganda. The beads are made from rolled up strips from magazines and glue then threaded onto wire – so bright and colourful, they make great gifts. We had these on sale at the HUG (Help Us Grow) party we held a couple of years ago at my friend Carrie’s house.

In the meantime the ladies have been very busy making all kinds of other craft items and I hope we will be able to have a stall at the November Pioneer Craft Market and sell lots of their craft items for them. Hopefully we can raise some funds to send back to the village.

Suubi paper bead bracelets

SUUBI (n.): hope


I love the idea that making things by hand can bring about connections and understanding globally.


Right now, there are hundreds of organizations in the states that sell products made by villagers from third world countries. Buying their products, they say, will provide a family the means to send their kids to school, to put food on their table or to put hope in their hearts.

Right now, I have plenty of products from these types of organizations in my closet at home. And to be honest, I probably couldn’t tell you much about where the proceeds from my purchases went. And until today, I didn’t really care. A good cause is a good cause.

Right now, there are tons of villagers making these products that, half a world away, Americans are purchasing. From half a world away, it’s easy to equate all these villagers in our minds as equally deserving of our money.

And right now, I’d like to question that mind set.

Today, I…

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