Monday, May 27, 2013

The Museum of Economic Botany

At our Botanic Gardens - clearly my favourite place for taking photos if you've been reading here for a while! - there is a fascinating building called the Museum of Economic Botany. It's been there as long as I can remember but it's had a makeover in recent years. I remember it from childhood as rather dark, cold and mysterious. One singularly fascinating object contained therein is etched in my memory from earliest years. It's still there. Can you guess from the pictures? My boys find it just as fascinating today. It's quite fun to think of names for it.

Pretty much equally fascinating today though are the amazing papier mache and plaster models of apples, pears and fungi, as well as case upon case of dried grains, fruit, pods, timbers and so forth: all the plants that humans have put to use for food, clothing and shelter.

There is also the exquisite 'Cabinet of Curiosities' installation by the amazing local artist Fiona Hall, commissioned for the MEB's restoration in 2009. It has various peepholes and views including this little tunnel containing tiny models of animals, plants and birds which lights up in sequence from end to end and in different colours, quite mesmerising.

And at this time of year, on the Plane Tree Lawn not far away, is the excellent sport of catching autumn leaves, discovered by Charlie, Clem and I last year. We were up and out early (for us - 10am) on a Sunday morning and it was so beautiful, we vowed to get out early on Sundays as often as possible. This time of year, anyway.

- Jane x

Sunday, May 26, 2013

stuff we've been up to

Busy, busy. Getting the hang of running a shop. Usual family wrangling. Still holding down a part time office job. Husband bouncing from one time-consuming work project to the next. Something might have to give soon but we're all holding up for now!
It's important to me to keep adding to this space as a personal archive of our family's day-to-day and my sewing, and to keep in touch with lovely bloggy friends :) I do so love reading the same kinds of things on the blogs of others so it's up to me to contribute too! And so, on with a bunch of photos - 'random' as Jasper is so fond of calling everything.

That Charlie - not only does he cut his own fingernails, he can now make my lemon poppyseed cake recipe better than I can, and put together Ikea furniture all by himself. Practically a fully-formed human being! 
What else do we have up there... Clem has some new lights on his bedhead thanks to the theatre show Andy has just finished working on. 
Clem built his first real improvised Lego thing, which I was excited about because none of my kids have ever been huge Lego fans, which I admit I find a little disappointing. 
I made a small whole cloth quilt/throw from some gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze, pure wool batting, linen/cotton on the back and perle cotton hand quilting, as a sample for the shop. The cat, and Clem, really rather wanted it to stay at home.
The dress above was made as a sort of shop sample, and also to wear to the opening of Andy's show. I was really pleased with it. My first fully lined dress! Pattern from Ottobre 5/2012, and if you look carefully at the muslin version you can see how I made sure I avoided awkward placement of the dots on the 'proper' fabric (Anna Maria Horner Field Study velveteen). Texta drawn on 'danger spots' while wearing muslin! The only fitting adjustment I made to the pattern was to make the back darts a little deeper and longer. Oh and I omitted the back zip since the muslin went on and off just fine while all sewn up. Win! 
No photo of me wearing the dress... but this post may never happen if I wait for that. Maybe later. I wore it with a skinny black belt on which I attached an old sparkly buckle of my Granny's. Very swish.

Alright, nuff for now. (Crap, with this sort of photos and shorthand commentary seems like I should take up Instagram instead doesn't it! Fortunately I do not possess the technology. I really don't need another internet time vortex in my life. Do you Instagram? Do you like it?)

- Jane x

Thursday, May 23, 2013


12 year old is cutting his own fingernails without even being asked.
Major Parenting Breakthrough. Hello, light at end of tunnel!

- Jane x

Monday, May 6, 2013

a 12 year old! (and a very insistent 5 year old)

Well this dear glowing face turned 12 last week. Charlie is much loved by his youngest brother, who insisted on taking his own pocket money to Haighs to buy Charlie some chocolate as a gift.

Charlie loves to draw and I bought him 'Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals' by Carla Sonheim which is a simply delightful and inspiring book. The bedroom he shares with Jasper features some fabulous wall cracks that, as the book demonstrates, can be wonderful starting points for all kinds of illustrations!

He also asked for, and received, more Tintin books. I think I have talked him into letting me cut and style his hair like Tintin for Book Week at school this year :)

Charlie is a happy soul, enjoys his own company and doesn't ask for much. Which is fortunate really because he has two very squeaky wheels for younger brothers. Clem has been pestering me incessantly for new pyjamas ever since he laid eyes on the fabric he is wearing above, in our shop. And so, during quiet moments at the shop, on Charlie's birthday, I found myself sewing pyjamas for Clem (sorry Charlie). He put them on as soon as he saw them (after school on Friday, in the shop) and wore them non-stop until mid Saturday afternoon. Pestering + appreciation = happy Clem + happy Mama. And a happy 5 year old means a happier whole family, really.

The printed knit is organic cotton/spandex by Lillestoff and the stripe is some Farbenmix from my stash. Top pattern - Ottobre Best T-shirts, legs from Growing Up Sew Liberated, a rough combination of size 2 width and size 4 length with added seam allowance and cuffs. I just love soft, stretchy, forgiving knits! And I do wish I could rock a pair of stripey leggings like he does.

- Jane x

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