21 May 2010

Shiitake mushrooms on logs

Last October I did a workshop on growing Shiitake mushrooms run by the Otways Agroforestry Network. In Japan, Shiitakes are traditionally grown on oak logs, but most commercial growers use blocks of sawdust mixed with chemical fertilisers.  One of my former University of Melbourne colleagues, Rowan Reid, and researcher Parsuram Sharm-Luital have published a book on how to grow Shiitake mushrooms on Eucalyptus logs.  This is an ideal extra source of revenue for landholders with forested bush blocks (which I hope to live on in the near future).  I inoculated two logs with pellets containing Shiitake spores at the workshop.  Since then, they have been under shade at the Burnley campus nursery in a damp environment.  I brought them home about a month ago and when the weather got cool and damp a few weeks ago, look what appeared:

15 May 2010

Vintage inspired fabrics

I went to the Stitches and Craft show a week ago and have been sewing every evening since then.  I'm finally sitting down to write something about it.  The show was much smaller than last year, but I picked up some cool Japanese and English fabrics and made free stuff at three of the four Craft Bars. Overall, I didn't see as much that interested me this year.  I'm not really into the Norwegian-themed stuff that's popular (looks like IKEA to me, sorry) and when hand-stencilled looking fabrics are sold as tea towels at Spotlight, it's time to move on people!  That said, there were a few cool stands and interesting crafters in the Incubator section.

I picked up some great tablecloth-checked bias tape and the Sublime Stitching embroidery transfer craft pad at the Amitie stand.  I've embroidered a bib for my niece with a Chinese good-luck cat.  Kelani Fabric Obsession had great fabrics and patterns.  Here's what I got:

Japanese Disney-esque fabric remnant from Kelani and checked bias tape from Amitie.  I'll make this into a bib for my 2 month old niece.

English strawberry fabric from Kelani.  I've already cut this out to make an Oliver and S  Popover Sundress for my 2 1/2 year old niece.

Japanese retro-style fabric panel from Kelani.  Another popover dress! How cute! The Japanese fabrics have amazing colour combinations.

Something for me from Kelani.  Maybe placemats or dinner napkins. Japanese purple linen with a grey cute animal Wedgewood-style print.

Bits and pieces. Clockwise  starting at right: Sublime Stitching Craft Pad, discs to make fabric-covered buttons, button-hole cutter, mini-album I made at the Paper-craft Bar, Pin Cushion I made at the Sewing Craft Bar, metallic thread in various colours, yellow and white checked bias tape from Amitie, (centre)  Sublime Stitching sampler take-home from the Embroidery Craft Bar.

Next post: my Shiitake mushrooms.  Will they grow? Stay tuned...

05 May 2010

Mai-li's Post

Since my mother has been very lazy about posting this week, I've decided to do one myself. Just don't tell her I've been through her patterns again. The hardest part was setting the auto-timer on the camera.

I would like her to make one of these next. In scratch-and-sniff chicken scented warm fuzzy fabric.

Woof.  xxoo Mai-li