Easy peasy lunch business

I have noticed that unless I don’t eat TRULY well, neither body nor mind get through the day. I found this idea on Pinterest and have to say it saves my sanity.image

These are fairly easy to throw these together. Any veg or pasta leftovers, tinned legumes, cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, grated carrot, sliced onion, frozen Edamame beans, egg, poached chicken, tomato, cucumber, olives, tofu, feta… At lunch time, just drizzle some squeezed lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. YUM.

Store in fridge. Grab one at 7am on your way to work as well as a cup of tea and super grain muffin and enjoy breakfast in the car!

Mixed Bag of Feelings

The last week at work has been weird and wonderful. I finally cut and made that coat and the process was an extraordinary emotional journey in more than one way.

So here are a few snapshots of the work in progress and the final product.image image

Finishing a work like this fills me with relief as well as a sense of loss. Relief, because I stare at areas of imperfection and time does not permit to alter or re-work those areas. Sense of loss, because over the course of making an item I become so familiar with it’s core and insides- it’s like developing a very intimate relationship with an item that ceases to be a mere ‘object’. So it’s like Impatiently waiting to see the back of it and not wanting to let it go…

Another weird sensation during the process of making the coat was that so very many things I just did without knowing why or questioning whether this was the best method. This sense of ‘autopilot’ after a 18 year hiatus surprised me. Yet other aspects of making this coat had vanished from my memory and I had to consult various books or other resources (many of them giving contradicting advice) or simply use common sense.

What stressed me out considerably was the fact that I had no idea  which stage of the work process would induce the above mentioned States of  autopilot or lack of memory!

And finally, I was surprised that doing something I did in a different time and place with an entirely different group of people took me back… I thought of so many people I had worked with, it took some time to remember so many of the names, and I wonder what they are all doing now… I also remembered why I was pleased to get out of this line of work – despite all the glamour and glory, it is a stressful job which is not really that well paid. One is either drowning in work or there is none… And there is just no job security, one is as good as one’s last job and reputation. So in many ways, one’s personality and relationships are just as important as one’s skill set…image

Another Levenwick

I have finished a cardigan for my niece. We celebrated her third boy’s first birthday and Christening today. Since I didn’t manage to finish Harriet’s cardigan for her birthday in June, I was pleased to present her with it today! It’s Levenwick by the formidable Gudrun Johnston. I made mine in red and have had so much wear out of it. And am always getting very flattering comments :).

I finished this one last night, so didn’t have time to block it. A jolly good steam had to do the trick. And I also didn’t have the time to make the little pocket, will knit it up and sew it on next time I see her!Harriet

I hope that the sleeves will ‘grow’ when Harriet blocks it, or I will have to extend them.

It really is her color, I love this pattern!

Settling into the Future

So far have enjoyed every minute in my new job and I envisage this to stay like this most days. There will be stressful days when I will have to perform miracles and boring days filled with monotonous activity. But the people I work with are creative, kind, genuine and generous in every way, so it’s a joy to step into “the office” in the morning, even after an hour commute in the rain.image

The workshop is in St Peters, it’s a very groovy and funky part of town, unlike tidy suburbia, where we live. Well, tidy suburbia is not bad, it’s very comfortable, despite missing the edge…image image image image

I have had the luxury of time on my side with this particular job. The fabric has been sent from England and has not arrived yet. So we had to fit a toile (mock up made from calico). Making a toile is a bit of a detour, since it takes extra time to cut and make the entire outfit from calico, but the great thing about a toile is that you can mark any changes with a big fat black pen directly on the fabric and even the most radical changes can be accommodated in the actual garment.image image

Apart for spending a good deal of time revising the pattern after the fitting and getting heaps of amazing advice from the amazing Leonie Grace, I have also had time to make samples for the details featuring in the outfit, eg fall fronts on the trousers and a very neat way of sewing the facing of a waistcoat shawl collar.image

imageNext week I have to bite the bullet and cut the cloth and canvas and just get on with it, YIKES!

Jean Valjean’s new coat

I didn’t realise that it’s been that long since I posted something…

Let’s get the big news out: I have got a 6 months contract to work on the costumes for Disney’s Aladdin, which opens in Sydney next August. I have known for a bit, but it has not sunk in yet. And what’s more – as of Monday I will be making a new outfit for the male lead in Les Miserables. I am really besides myself.

Whilst my family went bush for a few days, I recovered from the Christmas/ birthday marathon. I never seem to manage to pace myself over the festive season – there is so much on, so many friends and family to catch up with, I enjoy all aspects of it entirely… But then I flake out.

So, I had real fun making the patterns for the outfit.image

imageimageAnd I made a fancy folder for the patterns.image

And this was my lunch when I paused from my very hard work.image

Getting my work stuff ready felt almost like a ceremony. I would have never thought I’d work again in this mad profession, I certainly wasn’t going to look for work, because usually it’s all word by mouth (you can look as hard as you like and just never come across the right people) you have to work your way up for years before getting on a decent show, etc. I wasn’t prepared to do that again here in Sydney after taking years establishing myself in London.image

So since I had a bit of peace and quiet on my hands, I decided to cover my pressing horse. This is mainly used to shape the chest canvas in jackets. You have to apply a fair amount of steam to work the canvas, a lot gets absorbed into the untreated wood, but more gets absorbed (and there is less a chance you burn yourself on the hot steam), if the horse is covered with wool.

I made the wool cover from 4 layers of an old woolen blanket. Three layers are cut to size for the top. They are densely stitched together on the industrial sewing machine to form a very firm layer. Doesn’t it look like a beetle upside down???image

The 4th layer is wider and hemmed, so a cord is threaded through the hem. When pulled tight, The cover fits snugly and the surface is smooth.image

I also made a cover from linen – it’s easier to wash.imageimage

Before Christmas, we had a wonderful week on the South Coast. We packed up kids & dogs on the last day of term. There was lots of sunshine, walks, surf to play in and beach babes to admire.image

There was also some successful hunting and gathering.imageimage

And I turned 50! Yay. image

Best wishes for the New Year to you all! May it be filled with much love, good health, fun and sense of purpose.


This is an eclectic collection of information of weird and wonderful things that have happened over the last few weeks. No no particular order:

Seven Bridges Walk: One sunny Sunday I completed a 27km charity walk with 3 friends. It was such fun to do the Seven Bridges Walk through the city, the bush, and crossing 7 iconic bridges in Sydney. Afterwards we had a cool beer and jumped in the pool…Screen shot 2015-11-06 at 6.48.30 AM

Curtains!: Patrick has had a moment to hang the first set of curtains I have made for the house. They have been sitting there, un-hemmed, for some time. They get moved from the cutting table when I needed to work (to the pool table), they got moved from the pool table (on the sofa) when people wanted to play pool, they got moved to the cutting table (when people wanted to sit on the sofa to watch TV)… you get the idea. So now they are hanging up, but we need to get stronger steel rods that don’t bend with the weight of the curtain.

Also – these two curtains have 3 panels of fabric. I have decided to take one panel out on each of them. There will be several advantages in this, though it’s a real pain to undertake this type of ‘curtain surgery’… (1) the weight will be significantly reduced, so damage to the rod etc is less likely (2) you see the lovely pattern much better (3) it will be a fair bit cheaper, using less materials… BUT a pain to do. Next week this is my project!image

A new toy – eh tool: Since I intend to make curtains for my entire house, I have not spared the expense to order a tool to put the huge eyelets into the top. Nothing like this can be purchased here in Australia, and the curtain tape that I tried (the tape has the eyelets already in, you sew it on and cut the hole out) was simply too bad quality and the weight of the curtain would have ripped the eyelets out fairly soon. I also like to plain look of the curtain that has just the big eyelet – no gathering up, no small folds for the dust to settle in… much more sleek look and easier to look after! Isn’t this just beautiful? It came lovingly wrapped in waxed paper to prevent rusting.imageimage

Big machinery: A tree was taken out of our neighbor’s garden this week. Wow, I could not believe the size of machinery that rocked up for the job. Mind you, the tree was 35m high, so something substantial was needed to do take the 35m tree down! I don’t understand how they got the crane into our driveway!image image image

Wildlife in my kitchen: I got a real fright when I emptied the dishwasher yesterday morning: a gecko was sitting there. Poor thing. No idea how it got in there. Obviously it had not survived the big adventure.image

Presents: Sue came for a knitfix and I don’t know how long it’s been since we saw one another. An unusual 2 months or so! Anyway, she has been on travels to wonderful places and as per usual, she made me feel like it is Christmas with all her small gifts… Tea, honey mustard, exotic relish, pom pom makers in 3 sizes and plenty of chocolate. Thank you so much, Sue!image

Knitting: Whilst I really ought to finish the cardigan I started for my niece just before her birthday in July (!), I had the real need to cast something on for myself. I had made a lovely top down cardigan some time ago, it has stretched a bit and though it’s still lovely, it is a bit loose and not as fitting as I designed it. So, I cast on this week, and did not get up until the tricky bit was over, which is the bit where all the shoulders are cast on separately, joined, sleeveheads cast on and knitted with short rows etc… Sorry, no photo.

Exclusive Two Skeins Club: Just as I toyed with the idea of joining Kate Davies’ Seven Skeins Club I received a parcel from Ireland! My dear friend Eva (and bridesmaid 20 y ears ago!) send me hands pun wool (SHE did it!) from her OWN Alpaca! How exclusive and wonderful! And she still has got the waistcoat I knitted her 25 years ago!imageimage

11209372_1627925310826150_9032442332158189916_nScreen shot 2015-11-06 at 9.00.48 AM




Good dogs: Our dogs had some serious dog training to get them to bark less. They have very much improved, but it is easy for us to slip back into old habits and they bark again straight away. Here is a picture of the model canine citizens in they new bedroom.image


The Awesome

A midweek post – because I am busting to share the Awesome with you!

Canal Rd Film Centre, well, here is the canal


Here is shed 1, where I spent the days having fun!image

Here is all the stuff that is everywhere, so fun to look at.image

Here are some red frills, I am making meters and meters and MILES of the stuff.image

Here is me pretending to be house model. I do love any opportunity to dress up! We are making 7 of these dancer outfits, the sequinned frills are for the sleeves.image

It seems that I have met just about anybody who is anybody in the Australian costume making industry over the last few days. Everybody is super friendly, helpful, fun. I have even met the resident dogs… It’s great to be surrounded by eccentric people. I feel very much at home and in my element.