a little bit of a rearrange

A little bit of a rearrange is always a good thing.  At least I think so :-)  Julian sometimes disagrees.  He says it’s a girl thing.  But with cold, wintery temperatures here to stay for the next few months at least and us soldiering on with our no-heating winter, a few small changes were in order.

And just like that the french doors between the front room and living room were closed.  Personally, they’ve always annoyed me slightly.  They are picturesque and all but do take up a lot of space.  Space that we can readily use given all our indoor pursuits  … and my delight in bringing home hard rubbish.  From a warmth perspective – it means both rooms warm up much more easily – all that body warmth making a smaller enclosed space positively cosy.

So, in the living room, the sofa was pushed back against the closed doors, instantly making the living room so roomy and light, and adding plenty of floor space for Abby to stretch out.  And in the front room, the record player occupies the other side of the glass, low enough not to be overwhelming or block the light that pours in from our front windows.

record plater gentleman's wardrobe

The craft and games cupboard has come in from the hallway and now sits cosy in the corner, her beautiful wood glowing richly.  The bookshelf has changed walls, giving us a fresh chance to peruse its shelves and rediscover old favourites – amazing how a simple move does that.  The singer sewing cabinet has moved into the hallway where it is so much lighter and prettier by the front door.  I even found a lamp to sit atop it – now I just need a nice long extension cord.  Our old home is very short on powerpoints.

bookshelf by the window

The white armchairs have moved into the centre – sitting squarely opposite the sofa.  I like the geometric look – and the move away from the window stops Fu from leaping onto one where she stands up on her back legs and spies on the neighbours and passerbys.

littl folk sofa

And in between emptying and moving and refilling – moving the games and craft cupboard and bookshelf is certainly a time consuming task – there was a little time for this …

bit of this

… as well as time for giving everything a much needed dust with a beautiful juniper scented furniture polish, the baking of shortbread (to match the new novel Abby and I are reading together each evening), the slow cooking of goulash for a post babysitting supper, and the sharing of piping hot cups of tea with my girl who was home early from school today.

Such contentment.

 

the drawing satchel – a sale!

material

Thankfully, my people sleep in.  No matter what exciting things are planned for the day ahead – even CHRISTMAS DAY – my people sleep in.  This used to annoy me.  Then I realised just how very useful it is to have a good 2, if not 3 hours up my sleeve in the morning before they stagger out to the kitchen, ESPECIALLY when there is something special about to happen (ahhhh last minute present making!)

Cue last Saturday – the day of our birdwatching adventure to Phillip Island.  Now, we’d only decided to do this the previous Monday breakfast after Abby had described the amazingly gregarious bird with a face like a parrot, the neck of a goose, the long legs of an emu and a fat, fat body that followed them around everywhere on school camp.  Thankfully, you can type this exact description into Google and it takes less than 2 seconds to tell you “that’s a Cape Barren Goose!”  They sounded so marvellous and their history since white settlement so incredible, I just had to see them for myself.

That gave me five days prep.  Five days to do a bit more research – during which I discovered Phillip Island is brilliant for all kinds of bird watching.  Five days to find some thrifted binoculars, plan and prepare a picnic, gathering drawing supplies, and make each of us a drawing satchel.  Now at this point, a non-sewist might say “Make drawing satchels!  Silly Lily, just chuck the stuff in the picnic basket”.  But a fellow sewist will say “Ah!  Of course!  Why not make a drawing satchel” :-)

However, I didn’t buy the fabric until Friday evening.  Which meant my drawing satchel production looked a wee bit doomed.  Until you factor in the sleeping-in habits of my people.  I’m up between 6.30 and 7.00 most mornings, so that gave me three hours to sip my tea, plan my bags, make Julian’s as the test run (he’s a boy, he doesn’t notice these things) and then whip up Abby’s and mine.

Which I did.  The design worked a treat (with minimal unpicking on Julian’s) and the satchels proved both useful and beautiful – the required test for anything made in Bootville :-)  In mine, I carried my drawing pad, a very dense little book of Australian birds, pencils, rubber and phone.  Abby managed to fit in half her desk … her laptop, 3 novels, drawing pad, pencil case, pencils, pens, phone, doll …

will it work done lift the flap

[ Julian's - the prototype - has a three slot pencil holder.
The revised design includes a five slot pencil holder
]

closeup abby's three bags amazing what she fitted in

So because it was so much fun making them, and they were even nicer to use, and could be used for all kinds of things (as Abby proved), and only used half the fabric I purchased, I made three more.  Which I am offering for sale through my shoplocket app in the right hand tool bar of block-a-day.

All three have a sturdy 100% cotton duck outer and are fully lined (body, flap and front pocket) with a contrasting 100% cotton poplin.  The strap is constructed with 4 layers with a reinforcing top stitch and 3 rows of stitching sandwiching it between the outer,  lining and flap layers – making it very durable. It is long enough to be worn over the shoulder for adults and across the chest for children.   The front pocket is designed to hold standard sized pencils and pens and the large pocket on the right is useful for rubbers, sharpeners and phones.  The flap is designed to cover the front of the bag completely, keeping the front pocket safe.

The price is US$14.  I will post worldwide.  Shipping is extra (currently calculated at regular post – registered, i.e. signed for on delivery will be extra) and will be added during the checkout process.

I have tried and tried to find a feature on shoplocket that allows the customer to add a note.  But have failed.  So please – in order to select which colourway you would like, please send me an email on the top of your order through shoplocket.  There are currently three satchels available -one in each colourway – but if the sale is successful I will cheerfully make more so please do enquire.

Let me see, what shall we call the colourways – the Olive Waves (lined with vanilla pigs on a chocolate background), the Navy Kanji (lined with winter white with a teeny black dot), and the Blue/Grey Birds (lined with blue and little bit multicoloured repeating scale pattern).

a glimpse of the liningSo there you have it!  The drawing satchel – handmade by Lily Boot – for all kinds of folk who like to be prepared!  Buy yours today!

~ loveliness found ~ 21/52

I’ve missed a few weeks … not that there wasn’t loveliness … I just didn’t seem to have the camera by my side.

today … moments of loveliness from an ordinary week.  If you would like to join in, leave your lovely moments in the comments or a link to your space.

putting it to use pie~ making the most of my mother’s day gift
& the pumpkin season ~

newly arranged

~ gathering fabrics for a new quilt ~

another dolly and his jumpsuit

~ marvelling at her creativity & every increasing skill ~

sun on the desklucy in the sun fu in the sun

~ joining the doggles in their wisdom
on a frost morning, you stick to the sunny spots~

hattefattners

~ tea, tea and more tea
my favourite – Yorkshire Gold ~

crazy cosy

~ some cheery soliders and cosy flannel
for a crazy skirt ~

tree tops

leaf hunting our efforts

~ leaf hunting & naming with a little one
they don’t make waxed paper like they used to
but it was still a marvellous afternoon ~

sun

moon and cloud

~ remembering to look up
- there’s always so much beauty to be spied ~

shetland yarn

~ it arrived!
more beautiful yarn from the Shetland Isles
as requested by the husband, I’m turning my needles to Argyle ~

pecks paste and wool tea and toast~ a strangely delicious lunch & one of my favourites
Peck’s paste on hot, buttery toast
I blame all those Malory Towers books as a child ~

looking into basket what shall I take this time oh fine I'll leave it alone

~ an incredibly friendly and mischievous Raven
who made ourfirst bird watching adventure such a delight
you should have seen him tilting his head sideways to survey the basket contents
cracked us up every time~

vintage binoculars

~ thrifted, vintage, Japanese binoculars
two pairs, not perfect but
allowed us to see like we’ve never seen before ~

pin grass~ tempting country roads & pink grass ~

weekending with the birds

Phillip Island … bird watching … picnicking … drawing …
comic writing … strolling … exploring …
delighting in the notion that when we stop and really look,
there’s so much more there then we’ve ever before realised.

everywhere in twos

cape barren geese – these are the sweeties that drew us here
Abby met them on school camp

cows on hillcows

fisherfolk

Kitty Miller Bay
wild surf, jagged rocks, a gentle lagoon, the perfect picnic spot
and cows – don’t forget the cows

bags picnicking soudough and pate

plenty of supplies
drawing books, bird book, binoculars, camera
salami, pate, sourdough and chocolate

our friend the raven

we made a new friend - Raven
he was very fond of us … stayed the whole afternoon
insisted on trying to knit, enjoyed a cup of tea, and was very excited by the tissue box

drawing her story abby's raven storyAbby was smitten
filling page after page,
insisting on calling him crow
because the Japanese word for crow is so cool

checking out the herons

though she was happy to down pencil for binoculars
so as to help her mama work out what the birds on the far rocks were …
“yep … they’re birds”

hooded ploversthere were wee hooded plovers boinging up and down the shoreline,
sooty oyster catchers dipping their toes in the little waves,
& white faced herons strutting across the far out rocks

spur winged lapwing cape barren goose dusky moorhen

spur winged lapwings hanging out with cows,
more pairs of Cape Barren geese everywhere we looked
- have they not the sweetest faces you’ve every seen on a goose,
& gorgeous jewelled chested dusky moorhens.

walking rising up out of the grass

we took a walk through the mangroves of Rhylls Inlet
where wallabies thickened fields
that were used a decade ago to breed the CPGs
who were almost extinct – very successful breeding program

acrobat in the mangroves

we could hear the birds here
but could nary see but one tiny, shimmering Superb Fairy Wren

sun across the inlet

golden water so peacefulAnd then the light grew so rich and beautiful …
before vanishing and leaving us in the dark

Time to go home.

 

winter warmth

:: A simple recipe for a warm winter’s eve ::

stained glass lamp

light the lamps

slippers and flannel skirt

pull on your fleecy slippers and a cosy flannel skirt

shawl

snuggle a soft knitted shawl round your shoulders

tea

share steaming cups of tea

hot water bottles

& whilst brewing tea, make hot water bottles

muscat

add a wee glass of muscat – warms the throat so sweetly

lucy

then make like the doggles … 

quilt

… & burrow into a quilt

doggles

if hot water bottles aren’t your thing, make the most of smoochy doggles

knitting& settle down for a very warming, very peaceful start to the weekend
with a basket of knitting

This family recipe has been well tested & guarantees success everytime!

squishy baby bottoms – a quilt!

 

on the fence post

I am pleased to report that the May Gibbs/Blue Cross Quilt – known in Bootville as the Squishy Baby Bums Quilt – is finished and there was no further loss of fabric.  In fact, the final stage went smoothly and quickly and all were satisfied with the outcome :-)  Very satisfied.  Thank goodness the lovely Miss Amy posted her Crosses quilt on Instagram – I would never have thought of putting blocks together in this way.  Huzzah for Miss Amy!

It has such an old world look about it, this quilt.  I love it!  I love the striking big blue crosses. I love the higgledy-piggledy Blossom babies with their squishy pink bottoms and rolls of delicious baby fat nestled in amongst the Australian bush.  And oh the red border – how it sets it off.  Yum!

all at once

from the right from the left

Apart from all those squishy babies, the other feature I especially love about this quilt is one particular fabric … the yellow background with gumnut babies lazily resting in the trees watching the sunrise.  These particular illustrations have a beautiful slow buzz about them – a real Australian, summer bush buzz.  That still, almost hot beauty of an Australian summer morn when you stand in front of the open window and sigh with deep satisfaction as a soft breeze caresses your body, knowing that in a few hours, it will be too hot to move, but right now, it’s perfect.

facing the road on the bench

The image of the rising sun is one I’m soooo fond of.  You see it everywhere from the turn of the last century through to the 1930s.  Check out this lovely example – we see heaps of these gates around our neighbourhood and you can be assured, if I ever see one in hard rubbish …  Ooooh and this is such a lovely one too.  Here’s a rising sun in a lead light window – gorgeous! The rising sun is all through Art Deco sculpture and architecture … the Empire State Building is crowned with a beautiful rising sun, as are many of the lovely old buildings surrounding my university.

I first became aware of this image when watching the wonderful English film “Hope & Glory” – the Boorman family had a rising sun in their wooden front gate – as did everyone in the street – and Mac (cynical family friend) mocked the sun along with the street name (I think it was Rose Avenue and as Mac pointed out there were no roses and a treeless street does not an avenue make) and the whole intention of the new purpose built family friendly suburbs declaring it all to be part of a government conspiracy to delude ordinary British folk into thinking life was good and the times ahead would be prosperous and glorious.

rising sun aqua stripe blossoms red blossoms baby birds

Whilst I know there are some things in life that are safest viewed through my rose coloured glasses, I cannot agree with Mac’s sentiment.  Whenever I see the rising sun, be it illuminating Gumnut babies in May Gibb’s illustrations, welded into humble 1930s garden gates, or delicately painted onto Clarice Cliff’s gorgeous pottery, I am filled with an optimistic warmth.  It symbolises that a new day lays in the palm of my hand, promising opportunities filled with light, life, strength and indeed hope.  Even on the dreary days, the stretched out fingers of the rising sun remind me that no matter what, she will return tomorrow, just as beautiful.

I’m sure that that is what people, who for thousands of years and in every culture around our globe, have thought/felt as they’ve included the rising sun in their art, mythology and literature. Such good and powerful stuff.  You’ve only got to look at those little squishy bummed babies perched high in the gumtrees – unlike their friends in the other pattern ways who are all busy and bothered, hurried and excited, the babes facing the rising sun are completely satiated and calm.  There’s nothing else they need but that lovely warmth :-)

folded with the dandelions

Now, where are those quilting pins …

 

the second last block … a very silly tale

block pieces

Remember the May Gibbs fabric?  I made pillowcases and laundry bags, fat quarters and goodies were posted to a lovely reader, and I even tried putting together a block that by the end of the evening I hated.

Then the moomin quilt didn’t fit the blue and cream checked vintage blanket – entirely my fault – I’d cut a strip off it to make the Christmas Gingerbread Bunting.  So then, in spite, I made it even smaller by cutting more off to make the Lighthouse Hottie Warmer.

And then Abby scolded me, telling me that the blue and cream checked blanket was in fact the cosiest of our blankets and she thought I needed to make it a quilt, measured to fit exactly what was left and stop chopping it up.

So I did.  I pulled the May Gibbs fabric back out.  Added a delicious blue floral that I’d bought to bind the Moomin quilt.  Became smitten with a glorious quilt the wonderful Mrs. Schmenkman treated us to a glimpse of on her Instagram account.  And with Julian away and university almost finished for the term, set to making blocks.

I thought alternating the blue crosses with red ones would be lovely.  Abby disagreed.  It’s her quilt.  We stuck to blue.

Then, with three strips of 6 completely sewn up and the last strip only missing its last two blocks – all because I cut the final piece of sashing at 10 1/2 inches instead of 13 1/2 inches and it was too tricksy to get the scraps back out of the cupboard and cut another piece – well of course it wasn’t, but you know how you get into a mindset – I neatly folded the May Gibbs / Blue Cross quilt and have admired it ever since as it has hung over the arm of the barley twist armchair.

laid out

Then, on Saturday past, I thought it was high time the last two blocks were added.  So stitched a piece of correctly sized sashing to the second last block.  And then neatly folded the quilt and put it back on the armchair.  I can’t remember why.  I can’t even remember what I did on Saturday night.  Did I knit?  I might have knitted.

So today!  I unfolded the quilt, laid it across the sofa and pulled the two remaining blocks out of the huge pile of fabric that has mysteriously gathered on the living room craft table.  Except that there weren’t two blocks, there was one.  And I knew there were supposed to be two.  And look!  You can see in the photo above, there are TWO blocks missing.  I knew I had sewn the sashing onto one of them on Saturday and now it wasn’t there.  It was 2.37.  I had to pick up a little one from school at 3.30pm.  I wanted to finish this here quilt and photograph it before the thin, cold sunlight disappeared and share it with you tonight.

I scoured the house – frantically.  Muttering Hugh Grant’s wonderful poetry from Four Weddings and a Funeral – you know the part when he’s in the teeny weeny car with Scarlet and they’ve missed the turnoff.  Could I find that block!?  I could not. At this point, if he’d been home (thank goodness he wasn’t) Julian would have hooted with laughter and exclaimed – “Of course one little quilt block is not jumping out at you!  The whole house is camouflaged with quilts you silly woman!  I’m amazed we can find anything!”

So with four minutes to spare, I ripped the May Gibbs scraps back out of the cupboard, hunted down the leftover blue floral – of which there was only one strip, the rest having been used to bind the Lighthouse Hottie Warmer – good job Lily! – and cut out another block – having to remeasure one of the original blocks because I could no longer remember the dimensions of each piece.  As for the combination of fabrics – the other twenty three blocks were carefully constructed with the hope of achieving the right balance of fabrics.  I couldn’t have cared less about this block and guess what!?  It doesn’t look any different to the others – there’s a lesson there.

only one block

a skerrick of bluethe scraps

Then it was off to school to pick up the wee one.  Home again for afternoon tea and homework.  And somehow, I managed to find an opportunity to finally stitch those two blocks onto the last strip.  Actually, it was simple – I offered the little one a chance to watch a little bit of The Borrowers with Abby.  Hey!  It’s classic literature – in film form.  Yes, that’s how determined I was to finish this quilt.  I bribed a small child.

popcorn

I laid the quilt back out – evenly this time – and guess what.  THE MISSING SECOND LAST BLOCK WAS THERE ALL ALONG – ATTACHED TO THE BLOODY FOURTH STRIP!  As my Nanny would say – Jesus, Mary and Joseph!  What an idiot!  I must have added it on Saturday when I stitched on the sashing.  See – have a look!  When you line it up properly there is only one block missing – not two :: huge forehead smack ::

wait a minute frantic sewing

The light outside was disappearing fast.  The sewing was speedy.  The ironing was patchy. The fourth strip was pinned and added.  Three borders were hurled on.  The light vanished.  The child needed a bath.  :: deep sigh ::  I had to declare defeat.

fu thinks its done grand unveiling

I laid the quilt out in the dim, golden light of the bedroom.  Fu liked it – she promptly climbed on and settled down to sleep.

Now – it’s neatly folded awaiting its final border.  I think I know where that is.  Maybe I should pin it to the fridge.

As for you, dear folks – at least you’ve had a glimpse :-)  There is a May Gibbs / Blue Cross quilt here in Bootville.  It’s just about finished.  It’s lovely.  The girlie loves it.  There’s a blue and cream checked blanket waiting for it.

As for me?  I shall go to bed :-)

 

the dreams held in a fireside quilt

chaotic sewing table

Life in Bootville is by no means perfect.  Like most folk, and as I’ve sometimes shared, we struggle in many ways.  Some days – some circumstances – are certainly harder than others.  There are many things we have not yet achieved – home ownership being a glaring one of these.  Some long held hopes will not come to fruition – I’ve made my peace with these.  Others are dreams we hold close, accepting that at this moment we are only in a position to take them carefully from their box, lay them out to admire for a few moments, then gently tuck them back in * whilst we busy ourselves with the more everyday aspects of life.

This is not to say that such “everyday aspects” do not possess their own loveliness.  Oh they do.  Sometimes, when I’m scanning through the archives of block-a-day looking for a particular post or photo, I am struck by just how much loveliness we have created and shared over the last five years.

And I am very mindful, that whilst we Boots might feel that we are not yet living our perfect life, my goodness, we are living an incredibly privileged one.  One that is full of love and happiness, good health and security, opportunity and adventure.   One that should thus be savoured and gratefully experienced one moment at a time – even when it feels a bit awkward or worrying.  You would be amazed of what I’m capable of worrying about – truly, you would!

For me, right now, these feelings of have and have not, of what is here right now and what is missing, of what I dream of and what I must make the most of, are summed up in this quilt top.  It’s been at least four years in the making.  Possibly five.  I started it when I was working at the patchwork store in Brisbane, living with mum.  Standing in the store one quiet afternoon, I realised there was only half a bolt left of this sweet Heather Ross fabric so snatched it all up.  Along with the last of one of my favourite Kaffe Fassett’s – the richest of the millefiores.  After supper that night, I quickly cleared the dining room table so that I could began slicing and stitching.  Imagining a quilt that would rest draped over a rocking chair by the fireside in our soon to come Melbourne life.  I dreamed about it. Pieced a little of it. Photographed it.  Wrote about it.  Then it was tidied away and forgotten.

As you can see, I recently found it.  Tucked away in a box.  As I pulled it out, I ooohed at all that lovely fabric still pristine and uncut.  Then, as I opened the lengths of fabric out, small pieced squares and countless strips of varying widths and lengths drifted to the floor and I remembered what it was – what I had dreamt it would be.

heather ross fabric

stitching it up

I laid the pieces out on the bed and shook my head.  Well here we are in Melbourne.  There’s no fireside and no rocking chair.  Some of what we hoped for when we moved to Melbourne has come to fruition in wonderful ways – especially Abby’s school.  It is more than we could ever have hoped for and so very perfect for her.   Other things haven’t panned out as we thought they would, but there’s time.  Some things have been truly heartbreaking.  But what we’ve had instead has given us opportunities to grow – in wisdom, resilience and love.

Now, there is a finished fireside quilt.  In this our winter without heating (remember we are in Melbourne, not Moscow!) it will be promptly finished and put to very good use in our living room – Abby is so very stingy with the Moomin quilt and Julian declares that the 4 inch floral is his and his alone.

in the basket finished on the sofa squashed centre close up of centre beautiful sun looking down

This rich and glowing quilt, along with so many other treasures we’ve collected, restored and created with an eye to what we dream will come next, will be part of the here and now.  And it will serve to remind me that our dreams will not come bursting out of their box like a Jack-in-the-box on Christmas morning, with a marvellous “ta-da!”.  No.  They will be achieved slowly.  Some pieces will be hard won.  Some carefully chosen.  Some will fall blissfully into place.  Some will keep us awake at night.  Some might be elusive.

And in the meantime, with our dreams there to guide us, we shall make the most of every precious moment we share.

looking towards the door folded on stone ledge hanging on the doorknob

* this is not an original analogy, but an imperfect and much loved remembering of what Mrs. Darling told Wendy when describing Mr. Darling as a hero in the wonderful 2003 version of Peter Pan.

a very finished chess board

Yeah, yeah.  You’re sick of hearing about the chessboard.  And I didn’t live up to my promises last week.  I know.  The week kind of wobbled off course.  These things happen.

But today!  New week.  New to do list.  Board FINISHED.  Family playing. Good stuff!

raw edges

It only took an hour to move the board on from here …

looking at blue

to here …

corner with pieces orange

and then as soon as the girlie was home and tea was brewed …

abbys lineup abby little blue pawn knight king my hostages

Personally, I think chess is made so much more fun by having such darling little pieces :-) I bought them from a lovely local woman on ebay.  What a find!

Playing, I always imagine I’m Empress Matilda – wife to the German Emperor, heir to the English throne, and dogged combatant of her usurper cousin King Stephen.  Not that this brings me any luck or skill – bit useless at chess I am.

I first met Matilda in Ellis Peter’s marvellous Brother Cadfael books – have you read them? They are so enjoyable.  Fortunately, I was studying history at the time and was able to enrol in subjects that allowed me to dip further into this awesome woman’s life and struggles.  I wanted to name Abigail after her.  My family pooh-poohed the idea – a girl born in Australia and named Matilda will always be asked if she’s named after that blasted song with the thieving swagman!

her next move

After whipping me soundly, Abby prepared the board and waited for a more serious opponent …

julian and abby cosy evening… and from the sounds drifting down the hallway, I’m guessing the moves that swiftly defeated her mother just don’t stack up against her father :-)

fu

lucy

Meanwhile, the rain pours, the temperature drops further still, soup bubbles gently on the stove, lazy doggles snore …

Such is the perfect winter’s eve.

the consequences of finding oneself stapleless

ready to go

I know.  I promised there would be a quilted/upholstered chess board to share this evening.  And truly – it was going to happen.  Except that when I settled all my tools and fabrics on the kitchen table, I discovered there was nary a staple to be had for my staple gun – it being the essential upholstering tool and all.

Thus, a trip to the hardware store was in order.  And you know, with just a few gentle detours, I was able to include the Sacred Heart, Brotherhood of St. Laurence and Salvation Army Oppies on the staple gathering journey.  And that took a little longer than anticipated.  Who would know gentle detours could do that?

placemats

Oh but such treats were found!  Placemats with matching coasters.  Never used and such gorgeous colours and patterns!  They’d only just been popped on the shelf – I arrived at the perfect time.  It was kismet.

wool box wool

Two sweet boxes of L’Amour by Patons.  The box lids have a floppy sheet of clear plastic in them.  The yarn is so soft – a mix of lambswool and angora with a tiny fleck of nylon for strength.  They look so very pretty, part of me wants to leave them in their boxes for ever and simply admire them.  Only a small part :-)

DSC_8825

A belated wedding anniversary gift for my Jules.  A vintage leather briefcase.  The clasps and handle are in perfect nick.  The leather needs some conditioning and polishing.  It will still look well loved.  Good.  I can just picture my fellow strolling up to the train in his argyle vest (just waiting for the yarn to arrive from Shetland for that – small detail), thrifted tweed jacket, felt hat from a quirky hat maker in Ireland, swinging his briefcase.  Extra good stuff!

scarves

Two dear squares of printed fabric – I immediately thought bandana/head kerchief thing. The previous owner thought cushion and stitched them together and added a zipper.  I still think they will be much more useful as scarves so will be unpicking them asap.  Such pretty colours and the lovely pattern reminds me of glorious French tablecloths.

grey sweater cream cardie

Woollen jumpers – a shop bought one from Germany – a beautiful dark grey and white fair isle.  It’s currently a jumper but I’m dreaming of steeking the front, adding almost black bands with red icord trim and frogging, and unpicking the ribbed hems – more red icord.  Hmmmmm …. still pondering.  The creamy-grey cardie is certainly hand knitted.  And beautifully too!  The only thing that needs a bit of a lift – the buttons.  They are terribly cheap and dull for such a lovely cardie.  I’m thinking a trip to the Glenferrie Button Shop is in order – and maybe those lovely woven leather buttons – yes?

baby patterns

Vintage knitting patterns – who can say no!  Not I, that’s for sure.  I tell myself that even if I never knit the precise items in them, they are still a wonderful resource for stitch patterns and ideas :-)  Mind you – there’s that baby wool that needs knitting up and there are some dear little bonnets and cardies in the Baby Encore booklet.  Oh yes!

staples

Oh! Finally!  Staples.  Extra short ones.  The wooden chess board is a fairly flimsy affair.

first step done

And voila!  We are one step closer to a quilted/upholstered finish.  The quilted top has now been stretched and stapled into place.  This afternoon, after that slow trip to the hardware store, the rain poured down, the wind whipped round, and darkness fell extra early. Meanwhile, the little girl sat at the kitchen table writing spelling sentences and completing word building exercises whilst telling me endless Star Wars stories and crawling around under the table with the over-excited puppers.  And I listened and helped, coaxed and suggested, laughed and scolded (the puppers that is), whilst pulling and straightening and stapling and ripping out said staples and doing it all again until it looked good.

So, because there were no staples, there are now yet more thrifted treats tucked into the corners of Bootville.  Each with its own story forever unknown to us.  But that’s okay – I’m good at creating their histories, imagining who bought them – the placemats, a 21st present don’t you think, kept for good but then never used – the balls of L’Amour, a treat to herself with a special pattern picked out and yet, knitting for the children and grandchildren filled her knitting time until it was too late – the briefcase, it’s already been to the train station thousands of times maybe with the daily newspaper, a sandwich, perhaps essays to mark, or a colleague’s proposal to peruse.

Now we shall add to their stories whilst they make ours a little more beautiful.  And tomorrow – I know there will be very good progress on the chess board.  Truly I do!

 

pottering

goodness me!  Sometimes these days just hurry by, don’t they.  Here we are and it’s Tuesday night already.

Mum has been and gone – she’s in Brisbane now, visiting with old Nanny and Grandad who are relishing every moment of having their eldest child at their beck and call :-)

Lucy is having her holiday here with us … well, a combination of holiday and convalescing – she had a paralysis tick a couple of weeks ago and being an old lady, she really suffered and is still getting her strength back – it was very touch and go for a while there, nerve wracking stuff.

Abby is off to Year 10 camp tomorrow – with a streaming cold.  After a day of resting under the quilts on the sofa with plenty of vitamin c, hot lemon and honey tea, hot water bottles, chicken soup, and paracetamol she’s still sounding/looking/feeling awful.  Oh dear.

Mother’s Day came and went – lovely stuff.  Croissants with jam (so decadent!) and cheese for breakfast.  Woodwork in the shed with Abby and Jules.  Shoppings with Mum.  Cosy hours of knitting with the Nan, the Mum and the girlie, whilst Julian prepared a marvellous Mother’s Day Feast.   Oh yes :-)

And me … well pottering around as usual.

knitting

We visited Wondoflex on Friday – ostensibly to choose wool for baby knitting – my cousin Clara is expecting her first babe in August.  Oh!  So many lovely things to knit for little ones born into cold climates – wee dresses, cardies, snuggly stockings, tiny booties.  And yet somehow, along with the baby wool, 20 balls of heavily discounted 12 ply tumbled into my basket and somehow they wound up on my needles where they are miraculously turning into this.  Such a sweet and easy pattern – knits up wonderfully quick and has nifty little inset pockets for keeping hands cosy.  I have one and a half sleeves left to go – and a bit of finishing on the pockets.  Yum!  But where’s the baby knitting?  you ask.  Oh she’s not coming ’til August … heaps of time ;-)

knitting booi

Found this treasure trove of a book at our local post office.  Yep, the post office.  You know the deal … standing in a long queue waiting to collect a parcel, surrounded by shelves spruiking all manner of goods that a post office has no right to sell :-) But dang!  I’m glad they had this one … it is sooooooooo good!  A real how-to bible of knitting, full of so many wonderful techniques I don’t know where to start.  Makes my heart beat faster just looking at it.

scraps quilted chess board

Dusted the old chess board that came with these dear little hand painted sweeties and had a flash of brilliance.  It would look so much better quilted!  And I’ve always wanted to make a quilted chess board.  So I made the wee quilt this morning, and after being interrupted by the girl child and her sneezing, came to the perfect realisation of how to finish it off.  There’s nothing quite as good as a forced break.  I do find it allows me to ponder where I’m heading and how best to get there.  Wait til you see.  Oh yes!  It’s going to be so cool.  Hopefully tomorrow.

little sickie lucy

I know she’s sick and all and feeling crummy, but oh, how I love it when my girlie is home with me and I can fuss over her.  The house is so much lovelier when she is in the next room.  And sweet little Lucy – she loves it too.  A snoozing teenager provides the perfect cosy spot to warm her old bones, specially since the vet had to shave all her fur (her winter coat!) so as to find that wretched tick.

ultimate toy lottie man trees wooden toys

The current favourite toy in Bootville – the scroll saw.  It is the BEST fun.  It’s almost like free motion quilting – but easier!  On Saturday, Abby and I made some trees and birds (still to be painted).   And on Sunday, I made a funny little replica of Green Cape Lighthouse (bit obsessed really) for old Grandad to remind him of his wonderful adventure last summer, and Lottie and her Gentleman for old Nanny.  Every time I see these two quirky folk, I expect to be able to pick them up and shake out the salt and pepper!  Such fun.

Days filled with family and love and handmade.  My favourite things.  And yours too, I bet :-) 

we took a leaf walk

branchbranches leaning out

red against blue around the corner the first shot

We are so very fortunate to live in a neighbourhood that is filled to bursting with beautiful trees.  In spring, streets of frothy blossoms fill me with speechless pleasure.  In summer, thick, vivid green canopies cast a beautiful, peaceful light upon us.  In winter, gnarled trunks and branches stand to stiff, cold attention.  A year round of loveliness.  But it is autumn that truly captures our hearts.  We turn down one street and breath out long, wonder-filled oooohs.  Around the very next corner,  we give sharp, delighted intakes of ahhhh.

I don’t think it will matter how many times I journey round this sun of ours, such autumn trees will continue to enchant.  Today, I brought the camera with me to collect the little girls from school and asked them if they’d like to take a leaf walk.  With the camera – in turns, strap around their necks, taking as many photos as they wanted of whatever took their fancy.

Well.  What a treat.  A beautiful, slow, stopping every few feet to admire, inspect and wonder, afternoon.  They declared it the best afternoon we’ve had all year.  I’ve never enjoyed a leaf walk more … watching them choose what they wanted to capture.  How best to capture it.  Working out how the light worked.  Learning to adjust the focus.  Choosing how they wanted to compose their pictures.  Taking turns.  Being gracious and patient.  It was so lovely.

So here is a small selection of their photos – interspersed with a few photos I snapped of them.  As much as I was enjoying the autumn foliage, it was their enchantment with what they saw in front of them and how being a “photographer” provided them with such a good opportunity to slow down and really notice, that filled my heart today.

looking up up the street getting the shotamazing leaf with seed pod the honey above us arranging the leaves leaves in grass holding the leaf hedge two of them green veins milky light infront of yellow sun silhouetteFinally, the camera battery expired, the sun dipped even lower, and there were empty tummies to fill.  So, with hot chips and a picnic quilt, we found the prettiest tree in the park to settle under.   After hunger was satiated, there were swings to raucously sing upon, newly working fountains to race around, bumbling friendly puppies to play with …. and a wee pocket of time for stitching.

hot chips

my basket

under the treeIt was a very fine afternoon.