27 January 2011

Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge

I'm going to participate in the Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge so I can finally get my Sencha pattern sewn (and make a few new things for the wardrobe with fabric mostly from my 'to do' stash).  It will be an Autumn palette for me in Australia with jewel-toned 1950's florals and a neutral Sencha top.  Week One is for putting together a palette and inspiration board.  Here's mine:

I'm going to attempt to make 2 skirts, the Collette Sencha top above with cording in a similar neutral shade, and a pair of fabric covered shoes.

Photo credits clockwise from top left:
Clothespin Gale Parker, Jigsaw Autumn 2010, Donna Flower (2 photos), My photo, BurdaStyle, Fabric Covered Shoes: Make Your Own, Colette Patterns blog: Vintage Details, Surface Cording Tutorial. Publicity still from the Jane Campion movie 'Bright Star'

26 January 2011

Flowers and Fruit

This week in the veggie garden...
 Artichoke flower


 Carrot in flower

 Asparagus in flower

Basil, Chives, Asparagus



Mai li's sniff inspection on the back steps

Carrots and apples

21 January 2011

Victorian and Queensland Flood Relief

After the devasting floods in Queensland and Victoria, many organisations, companies and crafters are helping out with the relief effort.  Many craft sites are auctioning goods and services with the proceeds going to the flood appeal. Here are some of the sites:

Aid Organisations - monetary donations and and information on volunteering:
 The Salvation Army
The Red Cross
Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal (Queensland)
givit  - a South Queensland organisation that links your donated goods with registered charity and relief organisations.
i can do that - information on how to volunteer in Victoria and oline registration to volunteer in future emergencies
RSPCA Queensland - The RSPCA does not get any government funding and their shelters in Queensland have been flood damaged. The Victorian RSPCA site states that they are managing with their current resources.

Craft and Arts sites with auctions:


Make if Perfect - a very large master list of sites with Queensland Flood Relief auctions. Payments are made directly to the Premier's Disaster Appeal, not to the crafters. Many of these will end 9pm Monday the 24th of January.
Flood Aid Art Auction - Saturday February 12th in Kyneton, Victoria
Cottage Industry - Queensland Tea Towel throw cushions. 100% of retail price to Queensland flood relief and free postage anywhere in the world! This finishes tomorrow, Saturday the 22nd.
  Cottage Industry tea towel cushion
Quilts for Queensland - make a quilt or part of one to send to flood survivors.
Spotlight - Flood Fightback Blue Ribbon available in store free of charge to show support for flood victims.

Please comment on this post with any more sites that you know about! Mel

06 January 2011

The Metropolitan Hat

My New Year's Hat! The pattern is a 1920's cloche called the Metropolitan Hat from Folkwear patterns. The fabric is an eggplant-purple (my favorite color!) medium weight cotton from Tessuti Melbourne. The little hummingbird is an antique ornament from l'ucello. She has so many beautiful things there in her little shop - it's like walking though the looking glass into a perfect vintage land! I feel like a 5-year old having to leave the playground when I leave her shop (can I stay longer, can I, can I....pleeeeze?). She now has incredible Sajou French sewing goodies and Sophie Digard pieces along with all her other beautiful ephemera.

Here are some side views of the hat:

BTW - my shirt is a Tarjay (plain old Target!) with lace from the Op Shop sewn onto the collar. Creative up-cycling! The sunnies were from Anthropologie on a trip to Los Angeles a few years ago.

I recently left a nasty comment on the BurdaStyle website for featuring fur and then realised that my little vintage hummingbird has real feathers. Oh well, I wear leather too.  I'm a hypocrite. We do what we can and feel guilty about the rest. Hopefully no little birdies suffered to make my hat beautiful. My lipstick and foundation is cruelty-free (Revlon and Australis)!

04 January 2011

M is for Mangelwurzel

Mangelwurzel! Sugar-beet to some, pig-fodder to many...common in the  Northern Hemisphere and unusual in Australia. Apparently an old staple-vegetable in early 20th century American and European gardens, but not mentioned in any of my old Aussie gardening books.

In 2009 Jeremy Colby did an 'ancient vegetables' segment on ABC TV's Gardening Australia.  I had to get Mangelwurzel for the strange name if nothing else.  Apparently, so did most other people watching the show because seed was sold out the next day at Cornucopia Seeds, the only place in Australia to stock it.  After a short wait while they re-stocked, I grew some seeds in the greenhouse at Burnley and transplanted the seedlings in November 2009.  I had no luck with them but a friend grew huge Mangels from the same seedlings (granted, he has a much sunnier veggie patch and lives on a chicken farm with plenty of manure in the soil!). I tried direct seeding in May last year, they germinated in a week and slowly grew over our cold winter.  They were finally popping out of the soil and ready to pick a couple of weeks ago -

I mashed one with potatoes on Christmas day and it was tasty. Last week I picked a few, peeled them and cooked them on their own and they were not very exciting! Kind of like a flavorless turnip.  The greens, however, are delicious.  They are closely related to Silverbeet/Swiss Chard and taste like a sweeter, more tender version of their sibling (they share the botanic name Beta vulgaris with Silverbeet and Beetroot).  This is what they looked like just picked and washed:

and after cleaning them up before peeling and cooking:
The verdict: I'll keep some in the ground to keep cutting and eating the yummy greens, and mash the mangels with potatoes and lots of butter next time!  Apparently, they can take over your garden in the tropics but that hasn't been a problem here.