Friday, September 14, 2012

Need help finding Balloons over Paris fabric...

You can't keep a good woman down!  A bout of gastro (sorry to even mention that!) has laid me low for a couple of days but I'm letting my fingers do the talking.  I need to canvas the huge network of sewers, fabricaholics, e-bayers and buyers with my current problem.

I made a gorgeous bag in Balloons over Paris fabric, made by a Japanese firm Kokka.  Everyone loves it but the fabric isn't available in the red colourway any more.  I can't figure out if it's discontinued or just sold out due to popular demand. And yes, I've emailed Kokka and asked them why is this so, but can't seem to get an answer out of them and I have scoured e-Bay to no avail.  I've left no stone unturned so am getting a bit desperate.   Why, oh why didn't I buy more than a metre of it from Ballarat Patchwork when I had the chance (she moans) .  Since I have the only bag made from the rare red colourway from the Flash Harry workshop (aka my spare room) I am hoping that someone out there has a metre or two (or three or four) tucked away in their fabric stash, shop etc. that I could get my hands on.                                       

  Please contact me if you have this fabric by making a comment to this post in the space below - thanks.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Online sewing tutorial, Miranda Hart & a new bag

Hi all, Yes I'm back blogging.  Unfortunately copious amounts of sewing and computer mouse-ing have taken their toll and given me tendonitis in both arms (quel drag!) but I'm slowly easing back into it.
I'm also quite over-excited about my new laptop and faster broadband which as we all know makes for a happier web experience!

Anyway, I came across this website today and thought it was such a good idea I couldn't help sharing it.  I promise that I don't have any affiliation with these people and am only sharing it in the spirit of good-natured promotion of an innovative service.

An online sewing course is such a great idea for those who would prefer to learn to sew in the comfort of their own home and more importantly, at the time of their choosing. (Also you can make mistakes and no-one will laugh at you)  Here is the link for all you potential sewers out there who have always wanted to learn to sew but didn't have the courage.

Okay, back to my own little part of the sewing world.  I am currently sewing another travel bag for a friend who has chosen a sexy red fabric for her bag.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  Remember this prototype?

Yes, this travel bag is patiently waiting for October so it can  board the plane for Spain (do I hear a song coming on?)  Okay, yes, I tend to channel my inner Miranda  and for most occasions I do tend to have a song at the ready. 
If you haven't already please check out this "best of" Miranda, one of the funnest TV shows out there.

Are you with me?, here we go, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the Plain" cha cha cha cha cha!  I'm saving that one up for some unsuspecting Spaniard!  For the uninitiated, think Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. 

I love it when Wikipedia correct us all with such sober statements as:

"Spanish rain does not actually stay mainly in the plain. It falls mainly in the northern mountains"

Go Wiki !  It feels a bit like being corrected by your maiden Aunt or your granny.

On a completely different tack (get it!)  I picked up these gorgeous drawing pins for my notice board from a shop I discovered in Melbourne, called Typo, which sells all kinds of interesting things.

And.....I recently took delivery from my lovely man in Hong Kong of these beautiful sliders - you need these to make adjustable straps and they match my silver rectangle rings.  I also adore the fabric they are displayed on - perfect for a travel bag don't you think?

Well, it's back to the drawing board for me
signing off
the Flash

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Ultimate travel bag?

Everyone thinks they have invented the ultimate travel bag, one that has everything that opens and shuts - and this is mine.  I plan to take it to Spain with me this October and give it a test run.
I designed it specifically with these features:
My new woven label

  1. a long adjustable strap for wearing on the shoulder or across the body.
  2. strap is reinforced with mesh for strength and to deter thieves who may cut straps (yes, it happens)
  3. strong top zip closure (will hopefully foil the gypsy on the Paris Metro who managed to get her hand in my bag last time!)
  4. pocket under flap is passport size
  5. pocket at back is phone size
  6. 2 interior pockets and 2 pen pockets
  7. interior clip to attach latch key (saves fidgeting around inside the bag)
  8. bag is treated with Scotchguard to protect the fabric
  9. Black/Grey colour goes with absolutely everything (most important) It looks good!

View 1

View 2
View 3

View 4

View 5 - the back

View 6 - a bit fuzzy but you get the idea. Crocodile clip for keys

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Sewing room - a very personal space

Well, this is it, I've tried to make it as inspiring as possible, given it's a spare bedroom make-over, and not the arty design studio I imagine in my wildest dreams.
I decided a while back to surround myself with the things that I love when I'm in my work room  - books, patterns, fabric, buttons and bows, tiny drawers filled with delight and a cork board to pin things up on.
My work room experience wouldn't be complete without my iPod music and podcasts, a cup of tea or coffee & requisite biscuit or morsel of cake.  And now that Winter has struck with a vengeance (June in Australia) my electric fan heater.

Once all those elements are in place I can enter into my own world and the hours just fly by.....

My wall inspiration

Let the sewing begin!

Do you have a work room for sewing, painting, art or craft?  I'd love to hear about it.

the Flash...

Friday, May 4, 2012

the Flash is back

Eeeeek!  I can't believe it's been a whole month since I've posted.  Time flies. Be assured, I have not stopped sewing, designing or buying fabric - I just haven't had the time to blog about it all.
Anyway, I have some feasts for the eye today.

I've been working on several bags at once, to fulfil orders (which must be obeyed at all times!)
DL - your bag is almost finished, here it is sans handles. I love the contrasting stitching on the navy faux leather.

And my dear cousin (you know who you are) your Navy Rose bag is well under way and looking good if I do say so myself.

And now for the French bit

I've constructed a little tableaux of gorgeous French & French-inspired objects.  My husband bought the scarf for me in France recently when visiting Chateau Chenonceau and it just happens to be red and black, perfect for wearing to the football (go Bombers!)

I couldn't resist including one of my favourite books about (what else?) but handbags - vintage this time

Some of these buttons I did indeed buy in Montmartre on my last trip, aren't they divine? I'm dying to use them on a bag. The cheesy little glass La Tour Eiffel was bought at the base of the iron lady from some cheerful Jamaican gentlemen. And the little purse on the left I bought in Paris in 2008 which holds my make-up, and it always reminds of the nice man who sold it to me along with several others for presents.  He was so endearing and such a good salesman because he was passionate about his shop and the things in it.  Oh to be that enthusiastic about life when I'm pushing 70!  Vive la France I say!

au revoir

Monday, April 2, 2012

New bag - with a French flavour

I bought some gorgeous fabric on the web and wanted to do it justice.  Since it's unanimous that everyone loves this design (not mine) I have made the fabric up to that pattern. However, the handles are 100 percent my own design, so I can take credit for them.  The handles are faux leather and are hand stitched onto the bag using a contrasting red cotton against the black and I'm really pleased how it turned out. 
What do you think?

Handmade handles - close-up
and continuing on with the French theme...

These are my stripey socks I bought in a French supermarket in November 2008 - and they are still going strong!  They are unbelievably hardy, haven't shrunk in the wash and I wear them to death in the colder months. Can anyone else lay claim to such socky longevity?  I'd like to hear from you if you have.

a bientot!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What-cheeses-me-off Wednesday

Yes it's hump day again, and appropriately, I'm getting the 'ump:

1. Apparently our office is the last in line to be visited by the lunch van.  I didn't know this and have been resigned to having only 4 things to choose from every day, all crappy. That's because every office on the old lunch van trail before us gets the good stuff.  Not happy, Jan!

2. Socks that after one wash shrink and go all tight around the lower extremeties threatening to cut off your blood circulation.

3. My hairdresser of 23 years who has decided to abandon my hair and seek greener pastures in Queensland, where she intends to grow garlic.  What am I going to do?

4. People who sniff and don't have the wits to use a hanky.

5. People who speak loudly and have loooooong conversations on their mobile phones on trams/trains, making it impossible to read a book and keep your train of thought. We are not fascinated by your banal conversations - get over yourself.

6. People who have had a humour bypass and look at you blankly when you throw them your wittiest joke of the day.

7.  Spiders.  Small, large, black and/or hairy.  Get out of my house!

8. Shops that announce their opening hours and then don't open on time.  A fact you only discover AFTER you have filled the parking meter with coins.

9. People who send you terribly nice emails pointing out that word capitalisation is apparently email-speak for YELLING and even BULLYING.  Apparently no-one has told them that once-upon-a-time capitalisation was used for, um, capitalisation. This meant that you were em-pha-siz-ing something.  Who decided it meant yelling, I'd like to meet them really I would.  Was there a vote? If so, I missed it. 

10. I didn't think I'd get to 10, but hey, piece of cake!

And speaking of cake, my daughter in France sent me a lovely pic of what those lucky Frenchies get to eat.

That's all folks!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Inspirational Wednesday opposed to what-cheese-me-off-Wednesday.  Let's alternate, shall we?  One week to let off steam, one week to get over yourself and think of lovely and inspirational things.

I've just joined Pininterest and hey, I'm still learning how to 'Pin' things I like.  Apparently it's easy, but we'll see.

Anyway, here is one thing I found when I had a present for my friend who has just had a baby and decided to get it gift-wrapped from Wen & Ware in Ballarat (they have a store in Malvern, Vic too).  I must confess I sometimes just buy something from their store because their wrapping skills are to die for.  Nothing fancy, just simple elements put together with great style, whether the gift is small or large.


Monday, March 19, 2012

I see red, I see red, I see re-ed!

I'm not angry, it is not Wednesday - yet!

I'm literally seeing red as I have just completed a red bag trimmed with faux black leather, here. I'm very excited about it - it's a great size, not too big, and comfortable to wear on the shoulder.

Sadly I have used the last remnant of men's black shirt ruffle - none left boo hoo

Inside has a ring for keys, a phone pocket & a zip pocket (not shown)


I'm delighted that my other half has brought me back some beautiful red fabric from Paris (name-dropper, I hear you say).  He touched down at Tullamarine last Friday.   I just can't wait to make it up into a bag for some lucky person (me?). It is from Tissus Reine, 3-5, Place St Pierre, Métro Anvers / Abbesses.
I have been to this store on a previous visit in 2010 and it is right below the Sacre Coeur, in the main fabric area in Paris.  The link above or here will hopefully take you to their page which at the moment is featuring some mouth-watering Liberty print fabrics. Check them out at

But here is the divinely red fabric.  I think you'll agree my other half has excelled himself.

Ever so slightly naughty - and very French
and here it is echoing the shape of my jewellery stand
  Hmmmmmnnn, I wonder if fabric buying trips to Paris are tax-deductable??

  I love Paris in the la la la la la la

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What-cheeses-me-off Wednesday

Okay, in the absence of any pics of any (finished) bags to show you, I’ve decided to have a what-cheeses-me-off Wednesday.

These are 10 of my current very un-favourite things:

1.       Channel-surfing with my remote night after night on free-to-air TV only to find the same things are on again and they weren’t even that good the first time around.

2.       My daughter and my husband having a really fabulous time in France while I am stuck at my desk, AND reminding me with photos. Thanks

3.       Food writers and food presenters referring to the good old Aussie biscuit as a “cookie” TIME AND TIME AGAIN!  Repeat after me, we are not Americans, we are not Americans!  Once upon a time not so long ago, saying cookie was the preserve of the cookie monster on Sesame Street. Wake up to yourselves please and be proud to keep our Aussie vernacular alive.

4.       The person who ran into my new car and then mentioned he didn’t have comprehensive insurance.  Thanks, I can sure pick ‘em.

5.       Strange people who sit next to me on Melbourne trams. They seem drawn to me somehow. Again, I can sure pick ‘em.

6.       The person who invented the self-clean oven.  I bought one. They don’t self-clean, in fact the self-cleaning bits of the oven need to be cleaned periodically in order to practise their self-cleaning technique.  Irony, anyone? When I find the aforementioned person, I’d like to hit them over the head with their own oven.

7.       The oven griller – even more difficult to clean than the oven.  See suggested solution in 6 above.

8.       Trying to work out ADSL-1 and ADSL-2 broadband  provider for regional areas.  Harder to come to grips with than trying to juggle knives whilst riding a unicycle. Wireless modem, anyone?

9.       Medical and dental receptionists calling you sweetie, darling, dear, pet and being thoroughly condescending when you reach a certain age, as though your brain has suddenly gone into meltdown the moment you turned 49. Remind yourselves to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  You will be 49 one day and then look out - karma will bite you in the bum!

10.   Offshore call centres.  Enough said, you’ve all been bitten!

I'd love to hear your own very un-favourite things.  Have a whinge on what-cheeses-me-off Wednesday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And so we mourn Davy Jones (1945-2012)

I want to dedicate my page today to Davy Jones, who died yesterday (29 Feb 2012) of a heart attack at age 66. What a shock!
My sister and I used to rush home from school to watch the Monkees and never missed an episode.  We joined the Monkees fan club and listened to their records over and over until the grooves nearly wore out!  We collected Monkees buble gum cards and swapped them with other devotees until we had a full set, then carefully pasted them altogether until we had a giant-size poster of them.
Monkee swaps

When the Monkees toured Australia I saw them on 19 September 1968 at Festival Hall in Melbourne, 2 days before my 14th birthday.
There were 2 concerts in Melbourne, I went to the 2nd one on 19 Sept.

It was overwhelming to be in that hall of teenagers and we stood on our seats and cried and screamed for 2 hours.  When it finished I was deaf from the noise for hours afterwards, and I suspect that probably affected my hearing to this day.

Mike, Davy, Mickey

An early pic from their TV series
Ah.. if only we could stay young and beautiful for ever !

So - thank you for the music Davy, the fun, the thrills and your contribution to the mad and wonderful Sixties for those of us who were lucky enough to be there and enjoy it.

Davy Jones - gone but definitely not forgotten

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Highbrow Hobo Bag - new

I have just completed a new bag - the Highbrow Hobo - not my design but made from a u-handbag site pattern (thank you Lisa Lam).  It is large and roomy with very sturdy straps with lovely o-ring details.  I have modified the pattern somewhat (can't help myself) as the pattern only had one pocket at the front.  I think you can't have too many pocketses, so I added another at the back, plus an interior pocket.  I think the fabric looks very French and the lining inside is a reproduction fabric from the American Civil war, no less, which I think teams perfectly with the outer fabric. 

See what you think....

and the inside...

The reason I can blog today and am not sewing - it's waaaaay too hot to sew this weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Bag Making Bible

I have just taken delivery of the Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam and I am not disappointed.  It covers bag making very simply and gives mountains of tips and tricks.  Even though I have been a sewer all my life and sometimes think I know all there is to know about it, you can always learn something thank you Lisa Lam for imparting your bag making knowledge, I am re-inspired to make my bags even more perfect. Thank you.
And for those who haven't visited the u-handbag blog yet - it's a UK site, scroll down to the link in my faves at the bottom of the page.  Or here,

Lots of goodies inside

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New bags...

Hi all, I haven't blogged for awhile because I've been chained to my sewing machine churning out two fairly large bags which involved a lot of work, here they are:

Rue Lalande - Navy (Large)

and  Canvas Spots - Navy

I have also revamped my Flickr page - access it through the tab at the top of the blog and have added bunting and also a cap.

Oh, and here is a matching plastic purse I made (for a friend) to go with this bag.  It is a little wider than my usual plastic purse size, as I aim to please.

...the Flash