the crib

Well … this might just be the daftest thing I’ve ever brought home .. but gee, it’s so sweet I just couldn’t resist it.  Besides – it had been sitting forlornly on the side of the road for a few days – no one else was taking it, so without me, its next trip would have been to the tip.  So we (well, me at least) are now the pleased as punch owners of this very old, very sweet cane crib of course!  In really lovely condition – apart from the layer upon layer upon of paint.

It was a very funny hard rubbish moment.  There we were, the day before New Years Eve, driving back from the shops, when I spied it yet again.  Now, I’d made sure *I* was driving so that I could stop with impunity – first rule of hard rubbishing with family – NEVER let the husband drive because he will NEVER stop when you spy something marvellous, no matter how passionate your request!

I pulled over with glee.  Abby hopped out, flipped down the back seats and cleared the space – god, she’s good.  Then the two of us carried it over and slid it in.   There was only one problem.  This lovely big crib left no room for the car’s third occupant.  I suggested leaving Julian behind and coming back to get him after we’d dropped the crib home.  He was’t keen.  It was 32 degrees, middle of the day, no shade.  Abby said she’d stay behind – she had her drawing pad and pens.  Yes, I confess, for a split second I thought “Cool!  That will work!” and then I remembered I was her mother and she was my innocent child, so politely declined her generous offer.

It was at that moment Julian thought it only right toremind me that it was MY desire to cart the crib home, therefore, I should be the one who stayed behind.  I was baffled “How?” I quizzed, “When I’m the driver?”  Abby smacked her forehead.  Julian rolled his eyes.  Ahem.

So they tootled on home with the crib and I … well I decided that it was too hot to stand in the glaring sun, so sunnily said – “Never mind me!  I’ll walk – it will be good exercise!”  Truly I did :-)

I made it about a third of the way – making sure to choose the shady sides of the streets – dreaming of ducking into one of the little neighbourhood stores on the way for a bottle of cold water.  And then – not even knowing quite where I’d be,  Jules came back.  I’m smiling now as I type.  Oh the silly things I get up to.  Our whole home is a treasure trove of rolled eyes and funny tales :-)

Now, we Boots have no real purpose for even the loveliest of cribs at this time in our lives.  Nor any real room for it in our home.  But one day … when we have our lovely home in the country, I will have it all stripped back (boy, won’t that require a mammoth effort – I’ll save it up for a winter’s day when I’m so cold I’ll do anything to warm up!) and rubbed with beeswax.  It will sit in a softly lit, breeze scented, sweetly decorated bedroom waiting for lovely long visits from tiny folk.  Perhaps (hopefully!) Abby’s. There’ll be a firmly fitted mattress (ah, all those child safety precautions studied in paediatrics will be put to good use), a fitted quilted top (no ties!) a hand knitted sleeping sack just waiting to be snuggled into.  Mayhaps a friendly crocheted doll in the corner.

Until then, I’ve pulled the saggy mesh bottom out – held in place with a million nails hammered half way in and then bashed over – that was fun!  Given it a good clean.  And put it in the Tardis – I mean, sewing shed.  Ingeniously, I was able to put it where two tall stacks of clear plastic crates filled with fabric stood.  They are now neatly standing inside it.  No weight on the actual crib because it has no bottom.  Cool huh!

And if I’m desperate for fun (i.e. haul all the boxes out again) I can bring it out into the garden and drape it with quilts and fabric for photos.  Works very well as a prop :-) and aren’t these fabrics utterly gorgeous?!  I bought a metre of each – $5 a metre.  It would have been positively foolhardy NOT to buy them.

Oh it is sooooo pretty, isn’t it!  : sigh :

loveliness found

~ the little girls discovered the thrill of making their own music ~

~ Jules celebrated his birthday … with cherry cocktails and a kitchen supper ~

~ a quilt design was tinkered with, fabrics were foraged from the stash (there’s a newly thrifted lampshade needing dressing), and an ever-so-sweet layer cake arrived ~

~ the ancient hills hoist clothesline fell down – completely rusted – one of us cheered, the other (being she who hangs out the bedding) pursed her lips ~

~ the big girlie devoted her afternoon to helping the little girlies with their maths’ project – the kitchen was buzzing with excitement and creativity ~

~ in return, the big girlie and her grateful mama spent the following hot and steamy afternoon savouring gelati and soaking up the air conditioning of our local Readings ~

~ Heidi grew and grew and grew  …  a wee felted heart was stitched for her and slipped inside for extra love ~

~ summer’s last Sunday barbeque was relished …

~ as was the return of tablecloth week! (one week off, as per Julian’s preference;
one week on, as per Lily’s preference ;-) ~

~ a favourite magazine was enjoyed after dinner
– two pages per watering can refill ~

~ & I felt so lucky to be watering the herbs and spinach by moonlight,
or I’d have completely missed this beautiful sight ~

What loveliness did you find this week?  Share your delights in the comments or leave us a link so that we may follow the path to your place :-)

comforts for Frida

Confession:  today is the first time, in more than 30 years of machine sewing, that I worked out how to use the seam guide.  Cool!  This is without doubt, the most liberating gadget I have ever fastened to a sewing machine.  I think my life is about to get even better.

First up – Frida’s mattress (btw, every time I type Frida, I type Friday and have to go back and fix it – ugh!).  A lovely piece of heavy duck from Spotty (one of my favourite fabrics they’ve ever sold), filled with two thick layers of wool from a futon factory, and then tied to give it the appearance of a vintage mattress.  That red and white design could SO be Mexican and not Swedish couldn’t it?!  Yes, of course it could :-)

Then her pillow.  Same wool from the futon factory – 6 layers instead of 2.  A favourite piece of reproduction shirting – oh dear, I do declare it’s almost run out – trimmed with some sweet vintage lace from the Button Shop in Malvern.    Oh yes, they sell vintage – but as new.  You should see the Jaeger knitting patterns!  It’s an absolute treasure trove.

A thorough washing of the carriage in the shower – the only time I felt cool all day.

And then the clothes …. making my own patterns – a puffed sleeve blouse – getting the shape of the sleeve top just right seems to keep coming at the expense of the sleeve hem.  Tweaking, tweaking.

Then it’s done!  Well – almost.  No buttons or hems yet :-)  but enough for a quick show and tell before supper.  And look how pleased Frida is – that’s definitely a smile of delight today – rather than yesterday’s pursed lips.  Come on dear, outside for some photos, your carriage awaits.

Tomorrow will be a big day.  All the little details to finish off – wee button holes, hems and collars.  Julian’s offered his services in hood repair.  And Abby and I are performing complex surgery – there’ll be hair removal, a cranioectomy, a complete re-stuff, finished off with a hair replant.  We just can’t bear the pinto bean stuffing – so sluggish – and they keep popping out.  And this Frida’s just too lovely to live with such indignity!

Right now – I’m knitting a wee shawl for her.  Just in case it ever again gets cold here in Melbourne.  At the moment, I can’t even imagine it.

a wee quilt for frida (and a wee vintage dolly pram!)

I had triangles laying about.  You do to, don’t you.  It’s one of those patchworky things.  We buy lovely long lengths of fabric.  Chop them up into wee little pieces.  Sew these little pieces together at all manner of odd angles.  End up with more wee little pieces.  Before you know it, there are triangles lying around.

So I sewed them up.  There’s a whirlygig in the centre.  See it?  And then the triangles move away into each corner.  Just simple.  And the cream fabric is so sweet.  A recently found retro print – reminds me of all the picture books and birthday cards I had as a small child.  Look at these dear little smiley faces … a writer, an astronaut, a vet, a sewist …

Let’s pretend we didn’t notice the blatant stereotyping and declare them all girls ;-)  How could we not, with those rosy cheeks and cherry bow lips.  I do love the colours.  My favourites.

I began adding borders – but I think I was getting carried away.  Off with the brown and dark blue!  With just the pink and orange, it was the perfect size for a dolly quilt …

… and I knew just the dolly.  She was sitting in the hall, atop the Lotte dresser, still very immodestly attired in her underclothes (good thing it’s been so hot!).  But I think she was getting peeved with her position in life.  So, I popped her into this gorgeous little dolly pram I found in hard rubbish, snuggled her in with an orange towel just right for reclining and a piece of folded linen to sit on.  And a quilt to keep her cosy.  Oh my, she looks such a picture!

And Fu just loves her!  As I pushed the pram around the back garden – to find just the right spot for a photo, NOT because I was PLAYING with her – Fu followed.  Each time we stopped, she’d give Frida a little sniff and plop down at her side.  Funny little dog!

A quick bit of handquilting and binding is all the quilt needs.  And I WILL make Frida her first outfit tomorrow – I’m definitely in the mood now.  We bonded so well over her new pram and quilt :-)

As for the pram – it needs a little work – I will scrub down the chrome with steel wool to remove the tiny bit of surface rust that is there.  Make a mattress and pillow for it.  There’s a few missing screws.  And the vinyl hood needs replacing – easy-peasy – I’ve seen the fabric at Spotty.  Yes, it shall be transformed into the loveliest little carriage for Frida.

Reminds me a bit of Clara’s wheelchair from “Heidi” – do you remember that?  The moment I thought of that, I remembered one of my all time favouritest booky scenes – when Heidi was climbing the mountain to stay with Grandpa and she had all her clothes on – remember!  Aunt Ditte made her put everything on she was taking, in layers.  And poor old Heidi was so clumsy and hot – she just ripped the things off as she bounded through the meadows, leaving a trail of clothes behind her.   This is the version I had with illustrations by Erika Weihs (an Jewish/Austrian artist who fled Vienna upon the outbreak of war, first moving to London, then New York) …

Goodness!  it was published in 1946 – I bet my Great Auntie Jean gave it to me – she only ever gifted us with beautiful second hand books that were precious to her.  And here’s Heidi all layered up, leaving with Aunt Ditte …

The pages of this book were really thick and porous and a special kind of smooth – that kind that is so full of acid, it disintegrates with time – and the shading in the illustrations was exquisite.  That’s what I remember the most – the soft, pretty colours that looked as if they had been smooshed into the paper with the artist’s fingers.  Oh how I loved it …

Look!  Here’s funny little Heidi – she’s arrived at Grandpa’s in her underwear!  Ahem – how did I get here from Frida in her carriage with a new quilt – oh that’s right!  Clara.  Oh and that’s what I was thinking!  A Heidi doll!!!!!!  With layers of clothing!  Such fun!  That is definitely on the “lovely-things-to-do-list” for the coming weekend.  Then Heidi and Frida can pop into the carriage together – head to toe – and both enjoy wee outings.

And when she’s not socialising with Frida, I can dress Heidi all up, one layer after the next – and then rip them all off again!  Good grief!  Wasn’t Aunt Ditte a dope.

And isn’t the quilt cute – and the pram.  Oh I do so love dollies.