winter cosies for my girl


Each new season doesn’t really become a proper season until there’s the new season’s pyjamas.  This winter’s were a little late.  But – better late than never.  This winter soft, new, flannel pyjama pants seemed even more needed than before – this girl of ours, she just keeps on growing and growing.  The old pyjama pants were all ankles and cold bits so, with Abby finishing her week at work, I dug around in the sewing shed to find some lovely flannel for a cosy new pair for the weekend – and hopefully a matching pillowcase.  I wasn’t disappointed – there is soooooo much fabric in the sewing shed.

fnished pillowcase such cute fabric the cosy pile

I even found a new pattern – well, new in that it was a previously uncut pants pattern from a well used nightie pattern that I was able to cut a few sizes bigger than the old pants pattern. Thinking of those long legs, I even cut the x-x-large in the length and THEN added 2 more inches.

Within moments of Abby’s arrival home I talked her into a nice hot shower and into her new pants …. and they were too short.  TOO SHORT!  How could this be!  I added so much fabric!  And yet there was that hem – well and truly above the ankle, all drafty and cold.  Aargh!  (Both she and Julian wondered out loud why I didn’t measure her first – they’re so boring ;-)

too short

She just laughed, pulled them off, chucked them back on the sewing table and went to find something else.  Noooooooooooooooo!

However – there was some of the pretty candy cane stripe left over from the pillowcase – just enough for a nice deep, 4 inch finished false hem.  Surely that would almost touch the floor.

pillowcase down to her ankles

It does.  Phew!  And the poor dear, she’s been so unwell with a sinus infection that soft, cosy flannel pyjama pants are just what’s needed when the days are spent snuggled up on the sofa whilst mama bustles around you, so pleased to have you home and wanting lots of attention :-)

In fact, I think another couple of pairs are in order … good thing there’s plenty more flannel in the shed ….

starting small

Ah!  One of the many joys of having my Mum come to stay (I write as I savour the last of tonight’s apple crumble) is having a terribly keen co-conspirator when it comes to hard rubbish.  So, Sunday, we set off to the wilds (read: never before travelled to parts of Melbourne), and perused the footpaths.  There was some very fine rubbish to be spied.  And shoved into the car.  And all pulled out again.  And repacked with great finesse by Mum.  Her skills in this department are legendary.

hard rubbishing

Our favourite, most exciting, most discussed find … 6 beautiful antique oregon interior doors with original door fittings – lovely copper knobs and plates.  There they were, at the end of a hard rubbishing afternoon – stacked neatly on the very edge of the footpath.  Almost tottering into the gutter.  The car was already full.  So we raced (metaphorically of course) home.  Quickly emptied the rest of the goodies.  Then raced back … in the dark (thank goodness for the GPS – can’t even imagine life without it) … and the freezing cold … and loaded those six doors carefully … with literally 1/4 inch to spare … into the boot.

lined up doors knobs

temptation too great

First chore today … get the six doors out of the boot and remove their fittings so as to stand them neatly in the shed, each awaiting a good stripping, sanding and polishing.  The fittings … they are safely stored in plastic box waiting to be polished.

packed away

Just what,  you might ask, are we going to do with six oregon doors.  Well – you may have heard mention here in Bootville that we don’t plan to stay in Melbourne long term.  No, not at all.  Our dream / hope / scheme is to move to the beautiful Bega Valley (near Mum) in the near future – when Abby has finished school.  I will hopefully find work as a registered nurse (the NSW government is currently building a stonking new hospital in Bega – yes!), Abby will probably study and potter and explore … all those things young adults do.  Julian – he hasn’t quite decided yet – I daresay there shall be some telecommuting and occasional working away from home on specific projects, but lots and lots of home stuff too.  Most excitingly, we hope to create our own little homestead.  Small and modest at first.  Some animals.  Gardens.  The ability to generate our own energy.  That kind of thing.

And at the heart of this new and much dreamed of Bootville, will be our very own strawbale house. We hope to build it using as many local materials as possible, designed just right for us and the way we love to spend our time, with as many reused treasures as we can find.  This weekend’s six doors – our first tangible step – will be our internal doors.

glimpse of wood

There’s a long way to go – lots and lots of funds to be saved, plans to be pondered, rejigged and honed, and you know, this is life, so there’s sure to be plenty of drama and wistfulness with the occasional disappointment thrown in.  But I do know that towards the end of this decade, we will be sitting in a cosy room in our gently built, full of stories and memories home, with this here door glowing warmly behind us.  Its rich timber with its lovely imperfections of age will have been smoothed by my hands.  The knobs and plates will be shiny and merry.

And we’ll always have a giggle and shake our heads in wonder about the night Mum and I discovered them.  Now that’s my kind of home.

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 …