30 January 2010

Finki Challenge 'turning Japanese' - i really think so!!

Greetings all,
I decided to join in the fun of the Finki challenges with the friendly Jay, this month her suggested theme was ‘Turning Japanese’.  I have quite the stash of Oriental fabrics, so with my eldest staying with a Japanese family in the country, I thought I might whip up a little something to say thanks to her lovely friend. Introducing ‘Samurai’, loosely based on a pattern by Fliss Dodd, with a few variations as I was under time restraint.

Samurai is waiting to go home to his new Japanese family

When my daughter was returned, looking a foot taller, a year older & dragging a trail of wet towels from swimming all afternoon . . . she handed over those Japanese food gems (packets behind Samurai) plus tiny chocolates & other quirky gifts, from her lovely hosts.  And what did my daughter eat while she was away with said fabulous Japanese family?? I was hoping it wasn’t sausages, it wasn’t. They had (& not a word of a lie) an Indian curry for dinner, Dutch pancakes for breakfast & Mexican nachos for lunch. He he he he he . . . love Posie

29 January 2010

i'm a planner . . . check out this new product . . .

Greetings all,
Well after the really encouraging comments to the last post, i've been thinking, deeply, how to explain how i get everything done each day, without sounding up myself, spiritual or a bit wanky.  I won't bore you with a school morning & afternoon routines now, other than they are  planned, organised, we don't rush & we have a 25km country drive to & from school, topped with me refusing to be late!!  I'm no supermum, I'm just doing my job with a big smile on my face!!
When i met my husband, i was a teenager, i was working 2 part time jobs & doing a 32 hour a week science degree of lectures, tutorials & labs + about 15 hours travel time.  So his first Christmas gift to me was a Filofax, BRILLIANT!!  He thought i was disorganised (by military standards).  He knew i was a workaholic, determined & came from a high achieving family (my siblings include rocket scientist, surgeon, dentist, ballerina - everyone runs their own business!!)  Funny mix considering we were raised by a Naval officer & housewife who just encouraged us to be happy.
I'm a planner!!  I have been wanting to make my own books for ages, a mix of original vintage story pages with plain paper for children to read & draw!!  I have amassed a collection of such books, ready to be sliced up & bound.  Knowing how much my children love drawing & story writing, this seemed a fabulous mix.  So when i found this book binder (tipped off by Queen of Handmade, Julie) at Aldi for under $50, i had all my ideas in my head ready to put immediately into action.
While i work, i include my children, be it letting them play with scrap fabrics, buttons, ribbons or their own toys like puzzles.  They don't feel left out & unlike cooking, sewing doesn't spoil or burn between happy interuptions!!  They like feeling included & it's made for very creative children who aren't annoying, have great attention spans & focus. 

It never occured to me that this was what i am mean to do in life.  I always felt i had mothering down pat, in fact babies were a breeze.  I feel like no one wants to hear that, but even with twins, they were sleepers, feeders, happy & interesting.  I wasn't exhausted - i was bursting with energy.  I lost the weight, i did Yoga, i was on my own with my husband away at war, on course, an exercise, or interstate . . . we made the most of being a young growing family in our Army house.  I have never thought about going back to work outside the home, i've just kept building Posie up & even with all 4 children in school & my qualifications, i couldn't imagine not being a housewife!!  I enjoy housework, walking the dog, school holidays, making lunches - it's all part of the bigger plan, saving up for an early retirement.  
Kristen Doran said to me last year "Jennie you are a high energy person" & i guess i am.  I never stop moving or thinking or doing, i do not waste time, i plan out my day/ week/ month so every school/ sport/ market/ husband activity fits into my work.  Sure i find it hard to switch off at night, many people do.  I also get migraines which i am sure is my body saying 'stoooppp'.  But i do plan things out, i'm a strict mummy & i have high expectations, yet, i'm relaxed, quick to laugh, don't take myself too seriously & not pushy.  I think (drawing on my psych degree here) that children grow slowly for the following reason . . . so you have time to develope with them, hopefully one step ahead of them (can you tell i have 3 tweens??)  I pre-empt drama & i'm lucky they all LOVE school, so we have few issues, other than missing Daddy. 
In the end, i think my satisfaction in everything i do: school runs, business & housework, just makes my life easier - these things HAVE to be done, no one else is going to do them, i created this life, i have to live it either happily & accepting it, or in a constant state of chaos & being pissed off.  So just being happy reaps its own reward for me.  Our life is extremely simple, right down to meal planning, then it's dynamic as we constantly move from state to state & Daddy comes & goes for months at a time.  This coming month includes my 35th birthday, the children resuming school, collaborations, new ventures & my first market for the year - Mathilda's.  It's all planned & thought out, a little unexciting to some but it's how we roll, peacefully.  That makes us all happy.  Love Posie 

28 January 2010

The Big Day Out - now in my house!! Oh & My (first) Creative Space . . .

Greetings all,
Little update on our sleepover & The Big Day Out which has been going on for almost 24 hours in my twin's bedroom.  Wow, i thought the CD in the car was loud, it's nothing when at home you have iPods on speaker bases & 'oh, you don't know the lyrics, let's google them' on WiFi laptops.  This lead to acoustic versions of Pink, Beyonce & Katy Perry, then using the iPod to sing along, as loudly as possible.  I can assure you all this technology has been self taught, they are bright girls, but it's completely different to how we used to entertain ourselves at primary school sleepovers in the 80's - you know, with board games & a video 'if' you had a VCR.
It's no wonder i woke up with a headache, they did sleep.  But with all the milk in Canberra being drunk in my kitchen last night, i had to go out to get milk!!  So i piled 5 children into the car & headed out to our local shopping centre, which is actually 4 shopping centres all in a row.  Easy, park in one spot & go for a walk.  $180 in fuel, what a bummer, could have been a nice pair of shoes.  Then equal amount spent on Tony Ferguson shakes & fibre; a book binding machine; dog food; BBQ chicken & fresh bread rolls; oh & 12L of milk.  Least exciting shopping i've done in a long time.  I did let them loose in 2 small play areas to burn some energy off, while i gathered my thoughts, shopping bags & nursed my head.
I had it buzzing in my mind that our lovely guest had never had a handmade dress, even with big sisters & considering her Mum is doing her law masters, didn't think she'd be venturing into learning how to sew, anytime soon.  So i asked our guest which fabrics she liked (nice taste, i was impressed) & she definitely wanted all blue.  Da dah - Joel, Anna Maria & Amy mixed up into this dress, detailed with vintage spot bias on the capped sleeves & diagonal stripe bias across the bottom.  She is really happy, even posed for photos & i'm thrilled, she hasn't taken off the dress since!!   

A little bit of a Maria Von Trapp moment, but her fault for coming to a house with a sewing studio.  Maybe next time my girls sleep over there, they'll get some tax tips (Daddy is an accountant).  As we bid our guest farewell with laundered swim gear & jammies, we also farewell our eldest as she trips off to the countryside with her lovely Japanese friend from school.  Dying to know how they live, gosh i hope they don't have sausages for dinner, i want to hear tales of flavour & new recipe ideas.  We all love Japanese (actually any Asian food) in this house, i love other customs & cultures, i want details on cute & quirky things they have in their home too. 
So as The Big Day Out (in my car & home) fades away, i can get some serious sewing done & cruise into our last weekend before school resumes.  Love Posie

G I V E A W A Y reminder - follow this blog & leave a comment at the G I V E A W A Y post to enter!!  Last couple of days, don't miss out, it's super cute & 5 prizes to be won.  Good luck!!
My Creative Space - just joined in the fun, seems i was already doing it.  Check out the kootoyoo post with simple outline of what is involved to join in too.  You may have noticed a thousand, ok, 50 blogs mentioning it's welcome return today!!

27 January 2010

Keeping them full of energy for the last week of school holidays . . .

Greetings all,
Our school holidays usually start & finish with sleep overs, a relay of sleeping bag hopping around different friends' houses all over Canberra.  It's a nice way to wean them off seeing their friends every day, then reintroducing them again.  Good, free, fun & entertainment, happening now!!
Keeping them full of energy to ride out that last week of day long swimming & extended bed times, here are a couple of my secret weapons . . . really generous fruit smoothies (fruit de jour is more often than not, mangoes, my children were all born in Darwin after all, when had mangoes dropping into our garden!!)

A chicken roll (pan fried chicken in smidge of oil, cooled, tear apart, add mayonaisse & all the herbs you can gather from your garden) & a huge treat . . . sour dough dinner bread rolls at lunch time, yummo!!  It keeps their imagination flowing to make up costumes, like this pirate girl!!

Quick update on Miss 'Smashed my front tooth out on the footpath after coming off my scooter a month ago' . . . well the skin has grown back under her nose (which was like a red Hitler moustache) & her adult teeth are poking through.  Gosh, that dentist was right, "you were very lucky Mrs McClelland, so lucky" as indeed, if she came off her scooter in a couple of months from now, WHOLE different story with her knocking out adult teeth.  She will now wear a mouth guard, for the sake of the footpath & all those around her.  So not such a ghastly look for our middle girl to resume school with. 
Finally, i have to share what went on in the 3rd row of the car on the way home from swimming . . . one of the aunties gave us a "Hits for Kids" CD for Christmas, which my 1st grade boy put on in the car (have to confess, i didn't even know we still had a CD player in that car??) & well, it was pretty much like The Big Day Out only for 3rd graders & in my car!!  Boy, those 8 year old girls can sure belt out a tune (my 3rd grade twins have the sleep over guest tonight) much to the dismay of my year 6 daughter who is clearly above singing "baby get shakey after school" at the top of her voice, anymore.  Mind you, Miss Year 6 had the remote & kept putting up the volume.  Sorry, when did we get a remote for the car stereo??  Anyway, i wonder what kind of a night i'm in for.  Good healthy fun, love it!!  7 days until school goes back for us, i'll miss them.
Love Posie

25 January 2010

Amy Butler LOVE(s) Australia Day too . . .

Greetings all,
While i will not enter into the debate about our flag . . . which arcs up around every Australia Day . . . & no, this is not my proposed solution either.  Just saying that Amy Butler LOVE(s) Australia Day too, 'tis all.  For those of you who don't get the slight pun, Amy's latest gorgeous fabric collection is named 'love' with a heart for the letter 'o' in 'love' & all of the fabrics included here are from that pretty range.  Delightful don't you think?? 

Back off the union jack, my Mummy is British & you can't deny it's not a cool shape to play with.  Ever noticed how all the British blogs have fabulous & proudly displayed union jacks on them??  Not lost on me (right Mum??)

So this is going to be made into a large bed head style cushion for our eldest daughter, but i couldn't decide on the star combinations (cheating, they will be applique on in the morning after consultation) & it's late & we've been swimming all afternoon, after a morning meeting & never ending evening & not happy with my late night photography either . . . i'm leaving as is so as to not regret any late night sewing. 
Happy Australia Day everyone, we'll be eating lamingtons & having a BBQ.  Wishing everyone a safe public holiday with their loved ones.  Love Posie

24 January 2010

productive weekend so it's time for a G I V E A W A Y

Greetings all,
Well it's amazing what you can do under deadline pressure & leaving a 6y.o. boy in charge of your IT department.  Here are some images from the of my creative world this weekend.  Would you describe me as loving colour, detail, fun & children??

NOW for a G I V E A W A Y - you have 5 days to enter & there are 5 gift prizes!! 
While i'm developing my handmade stationery packs for 2010, i'm starting with printed folk & flora stickers & paper chains.  Each gift prize pack has 25 stickers & a paper chain kit (includes paper strips & extra mix match stickers, a little prettier than using a stapler or glue don't you think??)  If you don't want to make paper chains, they make sweet bracelets for a party!!  See, i'm FULL of ideas.  The stickers are different shapes & sizes, enjoy & good luck!!  After the response to the 'packaging' post earlier this month, I'm confident you'll like these prizes.

How to enter - please join the 'Fun Bloggers Who Like Posie' over on the right to follow this blog & leave a comment to this post.  It's so easy!!  I promise my blog posts will always be happy, upbeat, creative & all round nice.  I really enjoy blogging, checking out other people's blogs (I'll visit you too), it's a sweet community & ace social outlet, which you can join in when it suits you (notice how many mummies blog between 10p.m. & 6a.m. sleep ladies SLEEP!!)  Blogging is certainly filling a big hole in my heart this year.  Thanks everyone, good luck!!  International bloggers are welcome too, but this close to Australia Day, i kind of hope Australia rules the winner's circle.  Love Posie

22 January 2010

taking some time in the studio

Greetings all,
Well i have to get some submissions organised with deadlines, so i'm going to bury myself in the studio for a couple of days (with intermittent swimming & cooking).  I'll leave you in the capable hands of this young man.   

Ever wondered where bloggers are sending their snippets of life from??  Posie posts come from here.  We live in an Army house & share the main household laptop with the family, on an arm chair.  So this is a tiny peek at the corner of our large living area at the back of our Canberra home. 
I decorate like a serviced apartment, not too exciting but after 12 years in Army housing where you can't paint a wall & have to move into a completely different style home in a new state or territory (tropics, country, city) every 2-3 years, this style works for us.  Also easy on the cleaning & dusting, HATE DUSTING!!  Head down, bottom up, sewing & designing, have a lovely weekend!!  Love Posie

21 January 2010

sew much to read, do, see, learn, make, bake & create

Greetings all,
So this is the tip of my 'must read this Summer' pile of craft books & magazines.  As a special treat for Christmas i ordered Amy Butler's Little Stitches & conveniently forgot i had ordered it, so when it came with a fabric order i was pleasantly surprised!!  Really.  To Posie, Merry Christmas, love Posie, that kind of ah, how nice of Posie to think up the perfect gift for Posie!!

With a rather big year of product development planned for 2010, these should provide some nice direction.  I've committed to Chalet Girl's monthly challenge of trying one new recipe & one new project from existing (possibly untouched) cook & craft books in your book shelf.  I'll do the craft project this weekend, once i've decided what to make from all the choices. 

Then there are the magazines to get through, like Donna Hay recipes, Harper's fashion & what's new with Bambini these days.  I read every page, i don't flick, i like details!!  I also like a clean slate, clear surfaces & passing magazines onto friends - while they are still vaguely current.  I'm taking one magazine per trip to the pool, which i read inbetween splashing & serious laps.  With the current Canberra heat, i'll get through this pile before school resumes in February. 
Do you have a pile of 'must read' books & magazines too??  Enjoy, love Posie

19 January 2010

late nights & sewing up a storm . . .

Greetings all,
Nothing like a magazine photo shoot deadline with less than 36 hours to produce a variety of handmade goodies & post interstate, to keep you up at night.  Here is a little peek at what was in the 'sack' of products which i offerred up to meet different parts of the brief . . .

bohemian gypsy colourful children's clothing theme

red, white & pink nursery decor, i like a bit of detail on a cushion

& accessories like toys . . . here piggie piggie - remember the 1940's vintage softie from the National Museum a few posts back, this was perfect inspiration!!

bright rainbow baby clothes - this was one of 5 i offered

& this was me at the sewing machine well past midnight . . .

so i'd wake up to this in the morning.  It was so windy outside when i tried to shoot this quilt, i had to peg it to the fence.  Look at that gorgeous blue sky!!
Also tossed in some hair accessories, pencil rolls, bunting flags & tutus, wish me luck something gets in the magazine.

So now i can rest up & get some sleep, as i work on more readymade products for an amazing business venture & also build up my handmade section in my shop again. 
We spent our afternoon poolside & had the entire complex to ourselves for much of the gusty afternoon.  I got in 20 laps before the children were iceblocks & wanted to go home to warm showers.  For once they were asking me if we could leave the pool.  Then i came home to some super exciting emails & orders, some days are just extra tops!!  Love Posie

16 January 2010

possibly prettiest posie post ever

Greetings all,
So when you were little, did you play dress ups in your mother's precious wedding dress??  My sister & our friends certainly did & also wondered how our mother was ever that tiny!!
These school holidays my girls rediscovered the giant dry cleaning bag at the top of the wardrobe & FINALLY asked if they could play in my dress.  Why not!!  I hadn't opened the dry cleaning bag & peeked in for 12 years.  This bag of organza has moved house 6 times & still, i've never looked inside!!
I had one of those moments - this is what daughters are for, weddings!!  They spent hours playing in the dress, checking out the bone in the bodice, counting layers & adjusting the sleeve position, it was just gorgeous. 
Since they were born, considering the tradition that the brides' parents pay for weddings (gulp) my husband & i have suggested they have a simple dress which they can wear again, do a restaurant wedding on a Wednesday night & DON'T MENTION IT'S A WEDDING in a ploy to make it less expensive, TIMES 3!!  When they each asked if they could borrow my dress, well sure, another cost saver!!  No, we're not really that bad, but imagine the savings & a recycled frock (no doubt in their future it will be considered a vintage 1997 wedding dress).  Apart from a tiny hole & some tiny yellowing dots, i think it's held up well.

Have you gotten out some old formal attire for your children to play in lately??  I can assure you they will do less damange in bare feet than what you could have done wearing it to an actual formal event - the dance floor, alcohol & cigarette related incidents my gowns endured at University Ballls & Ok, i went to a couple of B&S Balls in the country not to mention Infantry Balls where soldiers outnumbered the 'dates' about 10 to 1 . . . but i don't drink or smoke, so it wasn't me mum.  My mother would make my dresses from pictures in Vogue magazine. 
Thank goodness my dresses were homemade $50 efforts as my first Regimental Army Ball with my handsome soldier was in the middle of a football field AFTER football season!!  I had beautiful cream strappy heels (um, it was 1995) with my pink shantung silk Calvin Klein rip off & finished up covered in mud!! 
Enjoy & give this a go, another school holiday free activity to make you smile & your children will ask questions about where & when & what happened so get your stories straight.  Love Posie

15 January 2010

blooming excellent - fun project for school holidays

Greetings all,
I'm a little overwhelmed that i struck a chord with my post about packaging!!  Sometimes when you work alone in a creative field, you wonder if you're completely odd or other people share your passion about the little things, like twisted coloured string & hand stamped stickers, ahhhh, nice to know you're out there!!  I'm sure if i posted about my genuine vintage button collection or patterned bias binding obsession, you'd be just as agreeable.  Thanks!!
Now for something completely different . . . a little handmade magic trick for your children to try!!  My eldest daughter must take the credit for finding this project on the internet.  She likes to google science experiments, as you do.  Well i would have if the internet was available when i was a child, i'm a bit of a science geek too. 
Basically, from a piece of regular A4 copy paper or similiar weight, cut out a flower, including petals around a large round (20c piece size) centre.  Feel free to decorate & colour it in. 
Fold in all the petals, make it flat. 
Place 5ml (teaspoon) of water in a bowl & pop the folded paper flower on the water & watch the petals magically unfold back to the original flower. 
So apart from using scissors, it's completely harmless. 
My children started making their flowers with messages, which was so sweet!!

the bowl has 5ml of water, the folded flowers are ready to drop in

here i can show off all the 'i love you mum' messages they made, ahhhhh

Thanks for bearing with all the images, my guys were really proud of their work & wanted to have one each on the blog.  Try it this weekend with your children or friends, maybe an 'i love you' for a special person in your life??  It's just such a fun, free, unmessy & creative project for children to try & show off to friends & family.  It will keep them occupied for hours!!  We took some to the Queen of Handmade's house & her daughter loved it.  Love Posie

exciting new packaging concepts

Greetings all,
I've spent the school holidays & Christmas break checking out some new handmade packaging ideas for my smaller market products, carry bags as well as shipping from Posie.  My fabulous friend Julie from Handmade Canberra's UpMarket put me onto Divine Twine from America.  At $us15 for 240 yards of each ball of twine which is indeed, divine . . . can't go wrong!!  I made tags & paper Christmas decorations for my brown paper gift wrapping, they looked great under the tree.  I bought every colour they had & noticed the twine wrappers were sealed with the cutest round hand stamped stickers - something i've been wanting to make since Reprodepot sent me some freebies years ago with the same concept, only in a larger brown round hand stamped sticker.  THEN the Divine Twine blog did a feature on where they got their packing stickers from - BrownKraftLabels.com so i ordered tonnes & have been making some handmade stickers with the children using my extensive range of Cavallini stamps (available at Posie).  Sometimes things just line up for you don't they??

blue, purple, orange, yellow & green

The stickers were difficult to photograph with the little digital camera (small & white, always a challenge to shoot quickly) so i popped them onto brown paper bags which will be used for lunch orders when school goes back.  My guys get one lunch order a term, so it's super exciting for them, why not make it pretty too!! 
I picked a range of sizes, colours, shapes & some little pop out small folding cards to make inexpensive hand stamped gift tags for my market stall, plus precut strings.  Stay tuned, the stickers & tags will be available for sale as well as in mixed up stationey packs, all in my head at the moment.  Shipping was expensive but it's something i've wanted to do forever & never knew where to start.  Thought there might be more of you out there dreaming up the same concept & not knowing where to start.
Coincidentally, had a swim with Julie yesterday & she had bought me the boxes of thicker rope style twine from the Donna Hay General Store in Sydney on a recent trip, now i have all 3 colours - red&white, brown&white, blue&brown 50m each.  They are so lovely, perfect to tie onto a spare key & tie up packages.  Thanks Julie!!  Now i'm off to bake some cup cakes & pop them into Donna Hay wrappers, Ok Ok, i'm addicted to nice packaging for everything!! 
Combined with green friendly, recycled & biodegradable packing solutions from Greenwares Australia (Jo, a mum from school's business) it's so much fun to dream up this year's Posie bags, wrapping, note book & packaging, thanks Jo!!
Love Posie

12 January 2010

getting my groove back

Greetings all,
After 10 exciting years of running a craft business (8 years full time) sometimes i need a little extra inspiration after a break like Christmas.  So while i have been tidying my studio, thinking up new designs, sourcing new fabrics, doing photoshoots & preparing for a massive year of stock production for new ventures . . . i just found it really difficult to get back behind my sewing machine.  What better than to make something for a friend, a gift, something not ordered, or expected but will be appreciated & well received. 

So knowing my gorgeous friend Rachel (Little Angel Little Devil) quite well & having a swimming date planned at her place today, i made this bag from two of her favourite fabrics which i stock . . . Australian screen printing designers PippiJoe & Kristen Doran - worthy of showing off the selvages don't you think??  I wanted a simple design, something Lotta Jansdotter would whip up between making a shopping list & heading out to do the shopping.  With quadruple stitched handles, an internal floating pocket edged with bias & gussetted base, this is what i ended up with.  Quite pleased. 

On the way to Rachel's i swung by the supermarket for a bread stick & some snacks for her children.   Such a bag MUST have a crusty French loaf poking out the top, i stopped short of celery!!  'twas a lovely day, lots of hugs, talking, laughing, munching on homemade Greek dips & vegetables.  Rachel is a fabulous host & her children, delightful. 
Rachel said it's going to be her year - less than 2 weeks into 2010, she already knows it's going to be an amazing year!!  Love her confidence & determination.  Well didn't she turn out to be the best muse of inspiration ever??
Hope you all love your work as much as i do!!  I feel very lucky to be able to run a business from home, be a housewife & raise 4 children, this lifestyle is not wasted on me.  I pinch myself every day that i could switch from a career in science (oil industry) to one of sewing.  I'm never going back to a lab coat, not even one made from Amy Butler florals!!  Well, no, i couldn't!!  Love Posie

11 January 2010

step back in time . . . vintage finds (at the supermarket)

Greetings all,

Thought i might share this little beauty with you . . . i often see all these amazing vintage finds on blogs & well, can't ever find anything like it around where i'm living at the time (Sydney, Darwin, Canberra . . .)  So this is something for everyone - it's new, it's from Aldi & it's under $50!!  So it's retro styling with a current warranty, perfect.  Setting one is gale force, perfect for these ridiculously hot evenings.

Does anyone else have a child who 'dresses' for dinner.  I mean, a fascinator with her jammies (after swimming, bleary eyes) then pearls??  I know she's been watching Mad Men over my shoulder but this particular daughter has been accessorising like this since she was 2.  Anyone else have a child who teams a wonder suit with a skinny belt, long socks over the top & an evening bag, to sleep in a cot??  All i can remember as a child choosing clothes - i wouldn't have worn ANYTHING that made me stand out.  Her twin sister is more conservative, however, she did ask last year how to make her public school uniform look more 'French' & started wearing a beret to school, much to the delight of the principal & hello, next school information booklet, there was a big photo of our 'French' exchange student in her beret, scarf & Mary Janes with tights.

This child frequently wears a change of clothes under her school uniform - yikes, like she's going to get changed & wag school.  She is definitely one to watch.  Wish me luck, only 10 years until she's 18 with a license, she's counting it down!!  Gulp, love Posie