Tag Archives: superhero cape

Pottering along

I have been tagged in a blog-along thingy to write about why I write.  This is not the post that will address that.  However thinking about the blog, my business and how it all fits together has been bubbling away in my mind.  When I started the blog I worried that I posted too often and bombarded my followers.  Now I feel that I have abandoned my blog, and my readers.  I have been reflecting on why this has happened and realised that writing here at some point shifted from something that I loved to do, that was like therapy, to something that I had to do but couldn’t seem to find time for.

I have decided that I want to rediscover some of the joy I had from blogging, so will try to post little bits and pieces more regularly.  I think I have also been trying to balance not writing about all the hard stuff in my life, and when things are really hard it means that I don’t write at all.    This, then, is a quick snapshot of what is happening in my life at the moment, with little bits of the hard stuff included.

After years of juggling a high pressured career, and being an organised single parent, and having a neat and tidy home, cared for garden, and an organised house, now that I am home full time I seem to run late for everything, never catch up on folding and sorting the laundry, have truly dirty floors, and forget important dates on a regular basis.  I don’t seem to have time to blog, to sew, to bake, to hang out with my friends, and yet I am allegedly a ‘lady of leisure’!  Now part of it is getting sucked into the vortex of the internet and losing time that way.  But there is more to it than that.  I suspect it is going to take me a while to adjust to this whole concept of creating my own structure, rather than responding to the structure of an office job.

I am setting myself small targets this week.  First of all to clear the back order of custom orders that I have.  Then to spend a day working through the house from front to back and returning it to order and cleanliness.  (I almost added five more things to the list, but if I can do these two I will be very happy!)

A custom order that has been waiting for a while to be made!

A custom order that has been waiting for a while to be made!

I am also back to wondering about the ‘scope’ for my business.  After deciding that I would focus on bags and accessories I find myself making bibs, doing a custom order for bunting, making up heat packs stencilled for another custom order, cushion covers for yet another, whipping up a pillowcase for another, and generally drifting back to making anything that comes along.  This might be contributing to my feeling of being overwhelmed!  I can’t make everything that exists under the sun, no matter how much I want to!  What I can do is choose my scope, and stick to it, and make those things really well.  (Gee – did that sound like a pep talk to you? )

Custom ordered appliqued bunting.  (I love the colours she chose!)

Custom ordered appliqued bunting. (I love the colours she chose!)

Bags and accessories and bibs.  That is a broad category.  It is enough.  This might be my new mantra!

On the topic of bags I can share that I designed and made a laptop bag for my eldest chick earlier in the week.  She has her own laptop now, in preparation for starting high school next year, and in moving between her father’s house and mine it has looked a big too naked and vulnerable being carried in her arms!  I decided that she needed something that reflected a bit of her personality, but could also grow with her.  This is the end result!

The front of the laptop bag showing the detail on the flap, and the red leather base.

The front of the laptop bag showing the detail on the flap, and the red leather base.

Under the flap you see the lining, and another handy pocket!

Under the flap you see the lining, and another handy pocket!

The back of the bag has another pocket, plus a bit of personalisation.

The back of the bag has another pocket, plus a bit of personalisation.

I have had some great feedback on the bag and am thinking that adding this style to my bag range is worth a try.

I can also update you about further developments for the artist in residence.  After her successful appearance at the exhibition, and being approached to sell her painting, this week she had one of her drawings appear in our local newspaper to launch a survey of the Gang-Gang – a native bird that is the faunal emblem for Canberra.  Needless to say she is thrilled and I couldn’t be prouder.  I am going to have to start recording a portfolio for her!

Gang-gang

Gang-gang

My beautiful boy is still struggling with school, and with coping that anything that changes the direction that he thinks he is following, but we have managed to have one fantastic day this week, and a couple of good recoveries from incidents.  The good moments, or days, make the not-so-good ones easier to cope with.  He is now living with me 100%, after some changes in his father’s life meant that it was best to change our care arrangements.  I shared on Facebook that I was fortunate to have him living with me, then added that I am not trying to be a hero, or downplay how difficult it is to parent him, but if I don’t see myself as fortunate I will probably break.

So here we are.  Pottering along with life, trying to work out how to survive financially, caring for my children, and having a creative brain that is in constant overdrive with new ideas of things to make.  I am pretty lucky really!

I hope that you are having a good week.

Being productive and colourful

There is a lot of activity in the nest this week. Having my mum here means that we are tackling those jobs that I never seem to get around to. She has de-cluttered my shelves in the family room, I have sorted my fabric stash, I have had tradesmen in to quote on repairs, things that were put in the hall to be put away, and ended up becoming permanent fixtures, have been put away, and lists have been made. The house feels lighter already.

I started to write that I have little to report on the sewing front. But when I looked at my photos, and my sewing table I realised that I have actually produced quite a bit in the last week! I have felt that I haven’t been able to sit and do any major sewing, but have managed little projects along the way. I decided that instead of beating myself up about not making things, I needed to have small goals. So I have been making little zipped pouches. I can do one in the evening before I go to bed. They are quick, they are cute, and I can feel that I have achieved something. I haven’t been listing them to sell, thinking that I would use them at my craft stall. Then a friend dropped around, saw them and bought 4! I guess that validates that they are going to be attractive to buyers!

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I also wanted to make a farewell present for Miss N. She has left us much earlier than expected, but was of help when she was here. She loves tea, and was travelling with an overfull suitcase, so I decided to make her a cushion cover, that will pack flat, and applique it with a tea-cup. I am quite happy with the end result! I think she liked it too.

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A friend dropped by for a cup of tea (I am a bit partial to tea myself) and asked if I could make a superhero cape for her nephew. So that was ticked off the list next.

Teacup

Amongst the menagerie that lives at my house we have a budgie called Frill. Frill belongs to the artist-in-residence and has been living in her bedroom for the last year. He makes a dreadful mess – seeds being flicked all over the place, and she is not the best cleaner-upper you have met. With the arrival of Nana, we decided to move Frill out of the bedroom, to reduce the mess in there. A quick internet search found us a very reasonable price for a stand to hang his cage from, so we can now easily move it around the house. Which meant that the seed scattering had potential to spread all over the house. The solution? A fabric ‘skirt’ of sorts for his cage. While I will tweak the design before making another one, it is doing the job quite well!

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I also had a lovely experience in selling another piece to a buyer in the USA. One of my bicycle cushions is winging it’s way to Washington DC.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been joking that with two sales to the US I must be a household name by now! One of my friends saw my post on facebook about it, and promptly bought another one of the bike cushions for her husband’s bike shop! I might have to make some more!

With all the ups and downs in our household the chicks have been suffering a bit. The artist-in-residence needed a day at home with her mum to rest and collect herself. She sat and did some drawing and created such a lovely piece that she and I decided we needed to make some fabric from it. That inspired her further, so she did another drawing for fabric. We have ordered samples of each of the pieces to check for colours etc, and once they are proofed, she will be able to list them for sale on Spoonflower! She is very excited, and I am very proud!

Chloe

Chloe

Of course, through all of this, and various appointments that needed to be attended, I am trying to make my Christmas lists. Things to make for sale, things to make for gifts, things that I want to make. The lists are long! Until I have time to publish them with links, I highly recommend looking at the lists of Handmade Holiday ideas that Sew Mama Sew are publishing each day. My list of eco-friendly gift ideas will be featured on 10 November. There were a number of ideas that I had collected that didn’t make the post, and some ideas that I have found since then, so I will do a follow-up post here with some further ideas for eco-friendly gifts to make!

I hope that your week has been productive and colourful!

Getting down to it

Very exciting news in the nest with the announcement that the eldest chick and her classmates have made the finals in the Wakakirri competition! This little bird is (not-so) secretly pleased that all those costumes get another outing! We will be off to the theatre again on 26 August for the regional finals. I am so proud!!

I am also pleased to report that I am achieving my crafting goals for the week quite well! I have made a super-hero cape for a little girl called Emily,

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a bag with matching zip pouch to donate to the auction at the ball I am attending on the weekend,

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a pencil roll as a separate donation to the same auction,

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and have almost completed the sashing on the memory quilt top!

I also managed to get another three rows on the crocheted afghan while watching the martial arts class last night. Feeling quite satisfied with my efforts!

In the midst of all my planning and thinking I have missed doing what I love doing – making! I have a few other orders to fill now, and am looking forward to making them.

Having a good week has also given me time to reflect a bit. Over the years, through trials and tribulations, my girlfriends have supported me, picked me up, given me perspective, told me not to be melodramatic, and generally kept me going. I am so lucky! So many people ask me ‘how do you do it’ – work, parent three children, etc, without any family support in town. Apart from the answer that my parents give me a huge amount of support even though they aren’t local, I am always able to say that I have amazing friends. They keep me going. Celebrate the highs, and prop me up during the lows. This week a couple of those amazing women had to face their own challenges. I felt so helpless, being able to do little except try to make one laugh, and offer food for another. Then I remembered the times that my friends have done just that for me. Talked to me about inane things to keep my mind occupied. Did airport runs to pick up or drop off people. Dropped in with a bottle of wine. And I realised that to be a good friend you don’t always have to do BIG things. Just being there, in the quiet times when you need another voice on the end of a phone, or to email you a silly story, or to drop in and say hi. Those are the things that make us friends rather than acquaintances. The things that keep us going. So to my girlfriends – thank you. Please know that I will always be there to help prop you up, to drink wine when required, and to make you laugh (either at yourself, or at me) to keep you going. Because what goes around comes around.

I can also report that we have maintained our ‘cache a day’ target. Despite rain and late work days!  The kids are committed too, so we are having fun!

Enjoy the rest of your week and remember to celebrate the people in your life who are your true friends.

A change of pace

Tonight is certainly a night of changes in Australian politics with a change in the leadership of the Labour Party, and therefore in the role of Prime Minister. Not our finest moment as a country. The changes that follow will be interesting, especially as it is likely that the election will happen sooner. I am not particularly ‘political’ but being a public servant, and working in the nation’s capital, you end up being a bit of an interested bystander to it all! On a very superficial note, our just-ousted Prime Minister had just had a series of photos done where she was playing with her dog and knitting. They were the best ones yet as far as this little crafter was concerned! Oh well – wonder if the new Prime Minister will take up crochet to corner the same market? Probably not.

The other change of pace in the house is that I am putting down my personal projects for a short time while I concentrate on making costumes for the eldest chick’s class entry in the annual Wakakirri competition. This is a national competition which, for the primary schools, is a story dance competition. Our school enters with the Year 5 classes each year, and this year is our first as a family. Parents and teachers help out with costumes, props, sets, etc. Sort of unsurprisingly, but still a bit sad, only 5 parents (out of a possible 50+ households) indicated that they could sew…… so the five of us are responsible for making the 80 odd costumes (apparently they change during the performance.) So over the next two weeks I am making tunics, capes and other wonderous things. To keep costs down we are using polycotton – and after months of only sewing with 100% cotton it feels quite strange!

I am not the organiser of costumes (I am realistic enough about my restricted availability that I have finally learnt not to put my hand up for everything!) but did have one moment of success in contributing on the weekend. My friend who is organising the costumes said that she had been looking for a wedding dress in the charity shops, but they were still relatively expensive. She didn’t want to ask anyone at school to donate their dress as they are traditionally kept. I agreed, saying that while my marriage might not have lasted, I was still keeping the dress for my girls to have, if they want it. Then, while sitting through the hours of martial arts grading on the weekend I had a brainwave and put a call out on the freecycle network. I had two responses within half an hour! I picked up one dress that had been handed down as a ‘back-up’ through a family member and then stored for a few years, and another that had never been worn, and came with two bridesmaids dresses, also never worn. (I didn’t ask for the full story but was intrigued!!) So we now have plenty of fabric for the costume that is required, plus metres and metres of tulle and satin rosettes to be used for our craft stall later in the year! My girls were quite intrigued with the older dress and how ‘big and foofy it is’. I explained the concept of the ‘meringue dress’ (a la Four Weddings and a Funeral) to them and they were highly amused!

The good news is that the other change in this house is that I am finally healthy again! I had my first day back at work today and although I am exhausted, I made it through the day! The virus was nasty but I appear to have beaten it! I knew I was well again when I was able to sew. A personalised superhero cape for a little girl in Tasmania was finally made and sent yesterday. I think we should all have one tucked away in our wardrobes, no matter how old we are!
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Being sick did give me time to think about this blog more though and I finally worked out how to have a link at the top of the page straight to my Etsy shop, and one to my Pinterest boards! A little change, but one that took me ages to work out!

I have also found another way to combat the winter blues in a small way and have finally bought a heated clothes airer (a drying rack that heats up)! So that is one less basket of wet washing sitting around the kitchen (and a bit more dry washing for me to fold!)

Even with all these little changes, the week is going well (unless you are in the Australian Labour Party of course!) I hope that your week is going well too!