Teapots and Haircuts

I have a small collection of teapots on my kitchen windowsill.  There are 3 (I said it was small).  I have been drawing them for my mug-bag design, and now I am drawing them up neatly in Illustrator, so much fun, (the pencil part more than the computer part).

The design is most likely to feature this bamboo handled one, as well as one of my butterflies and a cherry blossom.  I think I will start cutting out paper copies of these drawings at different scales to work out where I am going with this.  I just wish I had a super-teacher to teach me how to use the parts of Illustrator that I need to use.  I keep thinking in a tech drawing, auto cad kind of way when I am using it, and it is the wrong way to approach it.

Here are adorable photos of two of my kids.  It’s my blog, and I like to admire my handiwork – I just gave them both a haircut.


Michaela is going through a skirts and dresses phase, hense the skirt and pants look.  I cut her hair to angle in at the back.

I am no hairdresser, but I think I did OK.

Rory told me a minute before I took that shot that he would only pose if he didn’t have to smile.

I love my son so much that I took both he and Amelia to see Star Wars, The Clone Wars this afternoon.  I almost fell asleep.  Next week we are going to see Wall-E, which I am really looking forward to.  Tomorrow I am taking Amelia to have her ears pierced – so I will probably be posting her new look tomorrow.

First Stitcheries, Friday Archive.

Amelia\'s First Stitchery

When I wanted to teach the kids how to sew, I decided to start with back stitch. I figured that it was the easiest stitch to follow along a line. One of the main things I learnt was to give them shapes to stitch that didn’t require any backtracking, (ie. letters s or o or l are good but t or a or x are tricky, as you need to stop and start again in different places). The above Heart and Teddy shapes are both simple outlines made by single lines that begin and end in the same place. I borrowed them from the design of this quilt. The kids did all the hand stitching except for the faces, and I did the machine sewing.

Amelia stitched this in two days when she was five and a half. Rory wanted to join in too, but found it a little harder at three and a half (which was no surprise to me, but he loved to do whatever Amelia was doing).

Rory\'s First Stitchery

Rory picked it up again over a year later and finished it, and only now have I taken the time to put borders on it and bind it (the pins are still in binding at the back, which is why it looks a little wonky. I am going to hang it under Amelia’s one, but can no longer get the dear little hangers, (unless anyone out there can point me in the right direction) so I will have to think of something else.

I have been turning the kids’ drawings into stitcheries on things for years. Here are two of my favourites, taken from drawings that Amelia did when she was younger that I have stitched onto clothing. The first was done when she was about five, and is on a windcheater.

Amelia\'s Cat

This second one is a portrait of her father that she drew when she was four and a half. I put it on a top for Luke for that Christmas. I recreated Amelia’s lines exactly, but just changed the colour of her black lines to white. I love the big eyelashes.

Portrait of Amelia\'s Dad

Both of these required quite a complicated method to mark them out, as even a light box was not going to work. I used coloured pencils, unwaxed baking paper, ordinary sewing thread and finally the stranded embroidery thread that you see here now. One of these days I will have to make a tutorial, as it takes quite a few steps to mark out this way. How do you mark out designs on black or very thick fabric?

Another Treasure and some Matching Pins.

So I seem to have fallen in a blogging heap lately, not posting as often as I would like. In my defence, lots has been happening in the Matching Pegs household – not all of which would be very interesting to read about. One thing of note is that Luke has a new job starting in a couple of weeks which we are very excited about. This has meant he has been working very hard to finish up properly at his current job, and has not been getting home until very late for the last two weeks.

Luckily, this weekend the two of us are getting away to a swanky city hotel for a night to celebrate our 10th anniversary tomorrow, (thanks to Mum and Dad who are looking after the kids).

I am still not sewing much, to try and give my arm a rest – it is getting better though and I am itching to give it a real workout! As a result, I don’t have any interesting work to show for myself, so I thought I would show you another treasure that I have from my wonderful Grandma.

Cooking Man

This is my Cooking Man.

Although I believe he was intended to hold spaghetti, he is empty – his most important job is to smile encouragingly at my cooking efforts, from his post beside the stove, and to remind me of my Grandma, (in whose kitchen he used to live). I don’t know how old he is, or where he came from, (The name scratched into his underside is Macky) or whether he is worth anything. None of that matters, he is a Treasure because he came from Grandma (My Grandmother passed away 7 years ago on Sunday, so she is on my mind).

My Pins

Here is somthing else that my amuse. Not only do I match my pegs, but my pins as well. I use a complimentary colour to the fabric that I am pinning (but one with enough contrast to stand out) and when I run out of one colour, I switch to the next and keep pinning.

This trait seems to have been passed on – these are Amelia’s pins that she won as part of her prize haul. She doesn’t really use them yet, but don’t they look delecious!

Amelia\'s Pins

A Most Beautiful Book

Decorative Ornament by Owen Jones

This is a most beautiful book, that just drips with inspiration for any creative types out there.

In the absence of any of my own creative endeavours to post about, (I have been sewing on my sewing machine, but I have been making gifts, so no peeking.) I thought you might like a look at this.

It is a new edition of a book first published in 1856, when it was called “The Grammar of Ornament”. Architect Owen Jones first published it as a reference, in installments for subscribers. Owen Jones travelled widely recording patterns and ornamentation that he found decorating many buildings like palaces, churches, mosques, and temples.

The page below (144) “Consists of different mosaics taken from pavements and walls in private houses and mosques in Cairo.”

Page 144 Decorative Ornament

This edition is published by Tess Press, an in-print of Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc. and my lovely husband gave it to me for Christmas in 2006. He did well choosing this gift didn’t he!

Our precious crockery.

Family Plates

These are the beautiful plates that Amelia and Rory made at Preschool over several years. There is one for each member of the family.

Amelia’s first one was made when she was not quite 4. 2 years later she made a family one for me (the blue one) when we got a free plate, (I organised the fundraiser) but we only had one special marker left. I like the monochrome effect. I love the fact that each family member is on there (I am the enormous one) even though she made it a month or so before Michaela was born. Unfortunately Rory’s from that year broke.

The following year Rory made another one for himself and the red and orange one for his father, also with each family member. Amelia made one for Michaela who was too young to participate at the time.

We use them almost every day. I feel the need to record the plates for posterity in case one breaks again.

In case you are wondering about the artful smudges on them, they were not produced by the kids, but I smudged out our surname and location. No offence blogosphere, but I would like to preserve some privacy for the Matching pegs household.

Treasures of the Intestine

X-Ray

Michaela has officially swallowed a Treasure of the Earth. A small crystal that comes with a magazine, each issue with a different gemstone or mineral.

Another child at school must be receiving this exciting piece of publishing, and had given Amelia her crystal, which I believe must have been smokey quartz. I can’t say for sure, because I only had a glimpse of it while busy washing dishes. “You had better put it somewhere safe” was barely out of my mouth when Michaela starting making alarming noises in the next room. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, Michaela swallowed said item and we are now awaiting it’s emergence. The GP sent us off today for X-Rays to track it’s progress.

It looks to be moving along, and not causing any problems so we are serving lots of sultanas and keeping an eye on young Mickey-Moo. I keep looking at my kitchen wall at this…

Keep Calm and Carry On

which should become the family motto.

I first saw this WW2 poster over on Hop Skip Jump, and followed Fiona’s link to this shop, where I purchased it. I had it framed for Luke before I took off on my overseas holiday last year, leaving him with three kids for 2 weeks. I love everything about it; the sentiment and story behind it, the design, and the colour, especially in combination with the wall behind it.

On to other, more exciting news. Loobylu is back blogging again! Claire’s blog was the first that I discovered (about 4 years ago) after she was profiled in The Age‘s Green Guide, “Website of the Week”. She has taken just over a year off from blogging, and has just started again. If you have never had a look at her site, go on over, she is one talented and inspirational Melburnian Mum, and has a great name as well!

My Grandma and her sisters had great taste.

Handbag and Grandma’s jewels

Here is a look at my one of my very favourite posessions – This handbag used to belong to my Great Aunt Rita. This lovely older lady had quite a handbag collection, including lucky handbags that used to accompany her to the horseraces.

She never married and never had children. My grandmother died over 6 years ago, and left so many beautiful things, that not only she had collected, but that her sisters had left to her. The earings and watch came to me via her – My mother paid to have the watch fixed and I wore it on my wedding day. I am not sure if the earings were Grandma’s or one of her sisters, I never saw her wear them. They are clip ons and very heavy, but I think that they are just divine. I wore one of them as a brooch with a black “flapper” outfit for my Jazz themed 30th birthday (a few years ago), with feathers on a headband on my forehead.

Earrings

These things are very special to me even if I have very little occasion to wear them. They connect me to a generation that is no longer with us.

A prizewinner in the family.

What do you get when 2 designers have a child – a young designer of the year.

Amelia with her prizes

Our daughter Amelia has been announced as the winner in her catagory of 11 years and under for the Homespun Magazine’s Young Designer of the Year Competition, an Australia wide competition. She is pictured in the current issue (Vol 9 No. 1) and was also profiled as a runner up in the prior issue.

We were told of Amelia’s win way back in September, but due to publishing constraints, it has only just been printed. She won such a haul of stuff, (including a sewing machine, digital camera, printer, lightbox, crafting books and lots of fabric, buttons and sewing related notions) that we have only just managed to find places for all of the stuff in our little house.

The Ladybird Queen

And here is the work that won her the prizes – “The Ladybird Queen”. Amelia drew this back on the 18th of March 2007, when she was 6 and a half. I transfered it the same day, and she started stitching straight away. The hand stitching – which took 4 months – was all done by Amelia, and I stitched it into a wallhanging.

Amelia’s Drawing and Stitching away

Amelia’s drawing was done with no suggestions from an adult regarding subect matter – she has an amazing imagination. While there were other things on the page, you can see her backwards tick in blue (she is left handed and often draws them this way) indicating that this figure was the one she wanted to stitch.

Here is a quote from the Editor, Bianca Tzatzagos, regarding judging Amelia’s entry; “I thought this project was truly charming – the drawing was whimsical and sweet, and the stitching was simply outstanding.” Apparently the judges decision was unanimous.

Needless to say, we are extremely proud of her wonderful achievement. Since winning the prizes she has designed a doll that she would like to make (from drawing many possible faces, to the details on the clothing), chosen fabric from her brand new stash to make a lap quilt, and is currently stitching her name out for her reader bag. If only Mummy had more hours in the day to spare for making things together. Rory is determined to enter this year with a stitchery of a drawing he has done of an alien in a rocket ship. I think he is convinced that if her enters, he will win – after all Amelia did.

Many thanks to the lovely people at Homespun, particularily Catherine Sanchez (Managing Editor) and Bianca Tzatzagos (Editor) with whom we have spoken several times on the phone to organise photos etc. Also thank you to the many companies who supplied prizes for the competition – our little girl is well and truly inspired to keep creating – this will not be the last you hear of her talents!