Saturday, July 31, 2010


Phew, one week down in my new job. It has been so good but so challenging! Basically the role is one involving community outreach to people living with a mental illness, so visiting these peoples homes and working 1-on-1 with them has been very eye opening and a fantastic learning curve.

* * * * * * *

I have made some progress this week towards my no-clothes pledge.

At the beginning of the week my dressmakers mannequin arrived in the mail. I bought this one on eBay for a really good price, and it arrived at my house in just over 24 hours! I have it all set up and adjusted to my measurements, and have a very large piece of calico fabric to play with on it! I want to try and draft my own pattern for a top using pencils, scissors, pins and the mannequin. I have the idea in my mind, I just hope I can transfer it to reality.

My next step forward involved my very generous sister-in-law Ally (I will be introducing you to her very soon) sending me a book she couldn't give higher praise for, Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch. You see, Ally is a fantastic sewer and makes THE most adorable clothes for her 18 month old daughter, buying simple patterns and adding different touches to make her daughters clothes have a vintage/feminine look. So this book? Well Ally was right - it hits the mark in terms of actually explaining in simple language how to draft your own patterns. The instructions are so clear and all the clothes featured I would actually wear, unlike those featured in "Sew U".

As if giving me this book wasn't enough, Ally pointed me in the direction of a dressmaking magazine website called Burda Style. They have a website full of information, patterns and inspiration, which you can browse for yourself at:

This website is fantastic! There are hundreds of patterns to choose from, and when your heart falls for one, you simply add it to your cart, pay your money (not very much) and then it is yours to download and save. You simply print the pattern off using your printer, sticky tape the pages together, and cut out to your size. There are lots of reasons why I like this method:
1) You can print out as many as you need, so all the fiddling with tracing the different sizes with your shop bought patterns is no more. Simply cut it to size, and if you are making different sizes, you can print it out again and cut it to the new size!
2) The patterns take up no space! Just store them on your computer and print them out as you need them.
3) You have instant access to a multitude of patterns, saving you much more time.
4) The patterns are all about 60% cheaper than in stores in Australia!

While waiting for a friend to finish work earlier this week, I browsed a newsagency looking for dressmaking patterns.

So excited to find the latest issue of Burda Style sitting there in the magazine racks that I took it home with me.

Sam xox

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our 4th of July party.

Last weekend we celebrated Mill's return with a 4th of July party! I blogged about this a while ago, and was so thankful that I have so many blogger friends who were happy to help me with the food planning, as I am afraid to say I do not know much about how a 4th of July party goes off. So I must say a huge thank you to you dear blogger friends as I made many of the dishes you suggested (see the final photo).

Needless to say there were a lot of left overs!

Sam xox

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Twigg & Blossom.

It was three days after Mill's return and the jet lag was finally wearing off. She needed to get out of the house, and what better way to spend a day out with a girlfriend than in Berrima?

After a morning tasting jams, smelling tea leafs and scouring antiques, we had worked up quite an appetite. The usual cafe I eat at had closed down so, disappoint, we walked along the main road trying to figure out where we should go... that was until we smelt the warmest yummiest smell! We (literally) followed our noses down a stone path, and came across a shop front that in no way looked like a cafe. The smell was so persuasive we decided to poke out heads inside to see where it was coming from.

A sight of eclectic country treasures greeted us, and the smell was almost overwhelming by this point, but inside this tiny shop we spied not a single cafe table and chair set.

From the corner of the store a lady appeared and asked if we were there for lunch. Confused, we asked her if it was a cafe. She replied "Cafe, shop, florist, wedding flowers, photography styling props." Wow, what a combination! Turns out all the shop settings were for sale but also offered as dinning furniture for visitors to sit at and share a meal.

Mill and I decided on a beautiful old set of couches in front of a roaring fire, and ate our lunch off an old wooden chest (which had a price tag of $450!) and talked away the winter afternoon.

Sam xox

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We meet again.

On the 20th of July 2009 my dear friend left our shores to live abroad.

Her year long absence left a gap in my life, which was superficially filled with telephone calls, emails and the odd postcard or parcel.

Today, the 20th of July 2010, the very first plane of the day brought with it my dear friend.

Tears, smiles, laughter, kisses, and hugs. A reunion.

What a way to start the day.

Sam xox

Monday, July 19, 2010


Jars. They are sold in our supermarkets containing all sorts of things. They can be re-purposed for a multitude of uses. My mother-in-law fills her antique jars with sand and places tea light candles in them. A simple combination with such a warm and romantic feel...

In the spirit of living simply, I think the re-purposing of jars is such a neat idea.

Sam xox

Friday, July 16, 2010

Window shopping.

I spent tonight window shopping on the Shaukat website. My sister-in-law shops online here to buy the Liberty of London fabrics she works with (more about her very soon!).

The first two pieces I want to make (when I get my dressmakers mannequin) is a skirt and a blouse. For the skirt I figured I could use a small print fabric, but for the blouse I think I will need a fabric with a larger print. The website is time-consuming to navigate, so I figured I would jot down in this blog entry what fabrics I have my eye one...

For the skirt:

Eyvonne - £11 per mtr

Betsy - £13 per mtr

All three are Claire-Aude - Betsy - £12 per mtr

Wiltshire - £11 per mtr

For the blouse:

Endfield - £13 per mtr

Ebb and Flow - £13 per mtr

Richard Cooper - £13 per mtr

Ceaser - £12 per mtr

Mauverina - £13 per mtr

Sam xox

A walk in the park.

Jamie and I have had my little brother staying with us this past week. He is a boisterous 10 year old who has kept us on our toes!

Today was his last day with us, so I took him for a walk in the huge park near our house. We are incredibly lucky to have this leafy sanctuary tucked away in our inner-city suburb. We took a bag of stale bread, a picnic rug and a camera; and spent two lovely hours in the winter sunshine.

Sam xox

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Granny squares.

Thank you so much for your kind wishes about my job. As some of you know I have had a lot going on in my personal life these past 12 months, which I will leave private. This job really does mark a new and positive chapter of my life beginning, and I am over the moon!

On the weekend I visited my crafty friend Mel. She is the kind of friend I believe every girl should have. Mel always has time to listen to my worries, takes time to consider them and gently gives me advice. I always leave her place feeling like a better person than what I had arrived as.

The bonus? She is a total crafty inspiration! Her taste is seriously cool, and she always has a quirky idea to try. We never 'plan' to craft, but needless to say, within 15 minutes of my arrival we are plotting our next creative adventure.

Last weekend was no different. On Sunday morning I arrived at her place, and she explained that the night before she had taught herself to crochet via YouTube! Oh boy was I excited! One of my pledges was to crochet a dishcloth and this would be my first step towards this goal. Little did I know however, what Mel had in mind. She whipped out her crocheting project, which was a granny square.

It took precisely 2.3 seconds for me to decide that I wanted to make Granny Squares and for her to teach me (I admit I am a tad impulsive) and another 4.6 seconds for us to realise we HAD to make a trip Spotlight to buy some wool.

Here is what I have achieved thus far:

Sam xox