where i bring home a new sewing machine and make pillowcases


finished cases


Ahhhh the weekend!  Oh boy does it take on a whole new dimension when I’ve just spent the week either starting work in the wee dark hours of the morning or lurching home much closer to midnight than I’m used to.

How did we spend those precious weekend hours?  Those that weren’t consumed by sausage making that is.  Well … Saturday morning Julian and I indulged in a new shared passion.  Op-shopping.  Oh I know.  I’ve been an adoring (compulsive) fan of the op shop for years.  But Julian – not so much until this past month or so.  Now he not only agrees to drop into one we happen to be passing, but SUGGESTS WE GO!  Which is just what we did on Saturday morning.

Our current favourites – down the Mornington Peninsula.  Some real treasures down that way … crystal glasses for my Fronti and Julian’s Canadian Dry, amazing Pioneer headphones from the 1970s, sweet thick flannelettes, thick and colourful pure wool blankets made in all those Australian woollen mills that no longer exist, marvellous leather coats also from the 70s, those very useful pyrex and firestone baking dishes, a wonderful recording of Martin Shaw reading The Hobbit – a lovely companion for my long and late drive home from the hospital after the late shift.  Something new and wonderful every week.   At one store we haunt they even have a genuine Made in England Goblin Teasmade.  Be still my racing heart.  We’ve not bought it.  It’s $90.  I secretly think it would be perfect for my bedside table.  Julian thinks it’s a little bit appalling.

But my absolute favourite thing to look out for is … sewing machines.  I confess.  I adore old sewing machines.  There are a few living at Bootville now.  Nowhere near as many sewing machines as bicycle frames I might add.  But a few.  And the weekend just past … we found another one.  Julian called me over to shelves full of mismatched bits and pieces and asked what immediately jumped out at me.  I scanned the shelves back and forth and honestly couldn’t pick out anything of great interest.  “What!” he hooted.  “Look at your feet!”

Oh there!  An almost immaculate 1956 Lemair Helvetia.  Gorgeous shiny curvy body.  Intact cords and foot.  Tested.  With it’s box of attachments – lots of intricate feet, nine spare bobbins, and two screwdrivers.  An equally appealing price tag.  Even guaranteed by Good Housekeeping :-)  We quickly sealed everything back in its carry case and lugged it up to the counter just in case anybody else was thinking of breathing on it.

As soon as we got it home, we shoved aside the currently in use vintage sewing machine (a dear little mint green Husqvarna I literally pulled out of a huge rubbish skip) and set up the Lemair.  It even had a reel of Coat’s thread on top – didn’t they make thread so thick back then – fabulous stuff.  Plugged it in and sewed.  Immaculately.  Motor purring away.  Stitches being elegantly placed like fat grains of arborio rice in the straightest possible rows.  Magic.

So Sunday, when I wasn’t helping with sausages, I sewed and sewed and sewed.  Pillowcases, hair ties, a wee flannel quilt … hours of blissful sitting at the craft table in the living room with my new old sewing machine purring away.  Hot milk and cups of tea at my side.  My family bustling about.

cuting the border

cutting the background guarantee panel had hot milk foxes liberty on the bed

What more could a tired, home-starved girl want.  Nothing, I tell you.  Absolutely nothing.  And I even have lovely new pillowcases on my bed – leaping foxes and radiant Liberty blooms.  Yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for indeed.

wintery scenes

beach flying birds

Oh it has been so cold here in Melbourne.  The mornings have been exceedingly frosty.  The grass is dusted with white.  My breath fogs my glasses – whilst inside.  The windscreen is hard with ice, demanding that we dawdle in the driveway for a good five minutes, waiting for the heater to turn it to slush.

too cold for the shed

Such has been the cold that one of us insists on tinkering with his outdoor toys at the kitchen table!


The young one is making the most of her lovely squishy, warm, snuggly honey-bunny – newly arrived companion for Miss Hinchcliffe who has been a bit lonesome since the deaths of our sweet little guinea pigs.

scrubbing the dresser

dresser doors

Whilst the crazy one has been more intrepid, determined to get that dresser scrubbed down, sanded till it gleams, oiled and inside before the next spell of rain.  Complete with newly built and collaged doors.  Who’d have thought a mitre box and tenon saw could be such fun.

the sun

chopping wood solstice bonfire

And then the Solstice came.  On a day glowing with sun (albeit, super cold) with a rich blue sky that sang of the summer to come.  Julian chopped wood.  The Solstice bonfire was lit.  We sat as close as we could, plates of slow roasted pork and pumpkin upon our laps, marshmallows waiting to be toasted, strawberries (from Queensland) waiting to be dunked into the chocolate fondue.  As the flames danced and crackled, we looked up into the frosty, moonlit sky and cheered that our earth was tilting back towards the sun.

Who cares that we are only 22 days into the first month of winter.  From this point on, each day reclaims just a minute more light, pushing us gently on to spring.

tea little squares pieced border blanket label

Whilst we wait, we remind each other how much we LOVE the cold!  Make more tea.  Fight over who gets to wash up in that lovely hot water.  Linger by the stove.  Fill and refill the hot water bottles.  Beg Fu to stay still on our laps and just cuddle!

And I dig around in boxes and cupboards, pulling out half finished blocks, long forgotten fabrics, and almost done quilts.  Piling them onto the table, the must-finish-this-winter list growing longer and longer.  And promise Julian that tonight! tonight!  I’ll start the argyle pattern on the front of his vest.  And sneakily knit another two repeats on the much less daunting baby cardigan.

And look out at that dresser …

the drawing satchel – a sale!


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~


~ 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 ~


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 ~