little window

If you are anything like the ladies of HML your homes are full of piles of stuff, papers, books, material, junk. In our case add to that toys, technology and no storage. Beck and I often find ourselves comparing notes on our parallel battles with 'the stuff'. My new technique is to pick one teeny corner (a shelf, a drawer, a box) and deal with it every couple of days.

I'm adding to this by also trying to complete odd jobs that have been abandoned because I got distracted, or overwhelmed. This little window in the nursery nook is a good case in point. A bunny rug clipped to the venetians was really no longer doing it for me. I had meant to make trousers for Thom Womble out of this fabric but got freaked out by the level of difficulty and the cutting of such beautiful linen. I needed a metre of polar fleece for the trousers and the linen could be used for the curtain.

I know i need to tuck in that French seam with a couple of stitches but I was pleased with the result and pleased to have something finished! RAMONA



I've been using lots of odd materials in my work lately. Carrying buttons and spoons, scraps and beads in a box and beavering away at tiny things. That's when I'm not drooling over other peoples work spotted online.

Through one of HML's favourite blogs Design for Mankind  we have discovered the work of UK artist Ann Carrington. As if stamp portraits made from mother of pearly buttons weren't enough

Carrington has also made a set of horns out out old forks and giant ladies out of seashells by the seashore

there are also larger than life size horses from coconut husks. amazing yes?

Interesting to take one material and see what it suggests and then move on to the next. I'm amazed by the level of focus required to create such work. Pretty sure she's not making this stuff while watching Masterchef! RAMONA



happy 40th

I'm certainly not the most proficient knitter but I do have the desire to pull out the needles when the cooler weather comes around. My beloved doesn't expect much come birthday time, but he does eagerly await the chocolate pavlova and the new scarf. I'm knitting 4 scarves at once at the moment with wildly different wool and I feel like I'm going a bit cross-eyed but I am surprised at how much faster I get over time.

Only one mistake in the whole thing (can you spot the dodgy row?) They say god is in the details or perfection offends the gods or something so we'll go with that and be grateful for no dropped stitches or wonky cast offs. I'm also turning this drawing into an embroidery. I found the sketch in a notebook that was on its way to the recycling bin. I wonder what else I've thrown out in my mad autumn cleaning? RAMONA



mad skills to pay the bills

Oh my we don't quite know how this one slipped passed us. The Victorian Tapestry Workshop have a craft program running from May through to August. It's mainly knitting based (weirdly enough) but there is one tapestry development class the ladies of HML are keen on with the wonderful Joy Smith - whose work is totally amazing, we'd love to pick up some pointers from her.

But the highlight for us will be the all day event on Monday June 26 'Stuff It: do not fear the seventies' with the indomitable  Jenny Bartholomew. We are quite the groupies when it comes to Jenny's work and are united in our love for 70's textile zaniness. We thought you better all know about it quick sticks before remaining spots fill up. You can download the program here .RAMONA



little things

This has been a week of chipping away at the little things that need doing rather than grand plans coming good. And i'm ok with that. Time is coming in short bursts at the moment, an hour here, fifteen minutes there, so the craft projects are having to fit around things - perfect for knitting (which i'm yet to start) and embroidery (which I can't seem to stop). If nothing else it's a sure way for a terminal 'flitter' not to get bored doing the same thing night after night after night. So...

The first one involves the upcycling of one of the architects old linen shirts (he fancied himself as quite the open shirted beachcomber in the early nineties - go figure) on which i'm trialing the embroidery of an illustration. I am loving it - and think there may be more on the way...

The other has been the printing (by swede - of the vegetable not backpacker variety) and stitching (by hand) of this piece of fabric that will eventually become part of a drawsting denim 'toilet bag'  for my Dad's birthday who also sees himself as quite the open shirt beachcomber...( uh oh i'm seeing a theme here)

It looks great, although I must say it has taken an age to go around every circle three times, and so hasn't provided quite the same level of instant craft gratification as the shirt embroidery.

Max too has been busy, and I'm now the proud owner of my first piece of cardboard roll art. I love it, part Gay Pride Parade, part Nu-School geometric reconstructionism... leaves my work in the dust.



just my size

Today when I got home from work I was VERY excited to be greeted by my package from Belsize Square. Thank you postie for having the clues to hide it inside the porch bound pram and not leave me an annoying card saying I could pick it up from the post office at my convenience... which of course is NEVER convenient!

Theres not many more exciting postal options than a fabric filled bubble bag - it's always intriguing to see how the actual fabrics match up to the online images. In this case they were even better than I'd hoped, and i'm itching to get started on the machine tomorrow. BECK



Hot Pots.
Apparently it was The Duchess of Bedford who first established the activity of afternoon tea in 1840 – a time for networking and keeping up to date with aristocracy gossip and topical news. With all the chatter, the teapot would often get cold and so the tea cosy came about. Sounds just like us here at HML, talking till our hot drinks turn cold.

We are big fans of the tea cosy, and regular readers will no doubt remember Ramona's insane Killer Tea Cosies pattern book that started a stampede for pattern requests, as well as the super owl tea cosy (above) I picked up at my Nanna's retirement home in QLD for next to nix. I had grand plans of posting a users guide to Next Wave, but on my way out from work i found this postcard promoting The Tea Cosy Garden at Bundoora Homestead, and I was sold. So here's your show of the week people! The Tea Cosy Garden features highly decorative, intricately crocheted, knitted and embroidered tea cosies, all created by local folk. They look AMAZING. We'll be planning a trip out with the boys next week before it closes on May 30. All the works are for sale with proceeds being donated to The Cancer Council Victoria’s Biggest Morning Tea fund raiser. People tell me lots have already been snapped up. So fingers crossed theres still some left for us by next week.

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre
27 Snake Gully Drive, Bundoora

tel (03) 9496 1060
tram route 86 stop 62
melways 19 G2



We were saddened to hear that Mari Funaki had lost her long battle with cancer after defying the odds for many years. Jeweller, gallery owner, visionary and advocate, this incredible woman enriched the cultural life of our city and went so far in promoting the artistry and poetry that could be found in the object. She will be greatly missed. You can read more about Funaki here and look at her gallery website here



It's really cold here in Melbourne this week. The sludgy rain has set in and people are rugging up in boots and coats. Perfect weather to see a pop up book show by Paul Compton at Handheld Gallery. He has reconstructed some murderous and haunted sights, accompanying the whole thing is a perfectly miserable artists book that we cant wait to get our mitts on
Studio Ingot in Brunswick Street is showcasing the work of jeweller Michelle Kelly. Inspired by the cup fungi this is a perfect wet weather show! As the wind picks up and we draw our scarves around our necks we are going to check out the beautiful mobiles by  Jade Oakley now on at Australian Galleries. Aren't they intriguing? So weird, I've been thinking about mobiles for a couple of weeks now-
we may need a stiff drink to keep us going to the launch tonight at the meat market of the Next Wave festival main visual event 'Structural Integrity' (which quite frankly the ladies of HML can identify with). A group of artist run spaces from Australia and Asia have been invited to take part in a world-fair style extravaganza. Each group will be constructing 'pavilions' over the course of the event - so repeat visits are in order! This is so supercool!
We nicked the above and below images from the blog of Melbourne artist Lauren Brown who is also got something fab going on tonight at Horse Bazaar.  Her video installation is there as part of the plug 'n'play night that happens each month - You can catch her work at 9pm before getting the tram home in the rain.
Nice one Melbourne!



I wanted to make my friend Sunday (who has just turned 3) something soft and pretty. I picked out this lovely Maisie doll from the More Softies book. She was designed by Kate Henderson and looked nice and simple and very safe for an investigative toddler. I bought a metre each of these two beautiful Moda fabrics that are on sale now at the soon to be closed online store Belsize Square.
I spent a very happy hour or so making up what I think is a very sweet present for a little person. It makes a big difference when you splash out on nice fabric for even the smallest projects. These two metres will go far (I'll show you the other projects later in the week)
I might add most of the hour was spent embroidering the face so that it didn't look evil - surprisingly difficult. Now she just looks cross-eyed as do I after all that stitching!


stitch and bitch
Well HML readers if you tune in tothe Grapevine on RRR this morning (102.7 fm) you'll hear the ladies of HML giving the lowdown on the Stitches and Craft Fair, the shows that are currently on at Craft Victoria and a little natter about iphone apps that can help your crafting. We thought we'd compile a little list of links here if you'd like more information about what we were talking about

The Stitches and Craft Show roundup:

Ink and Spindle
Craft Schmaft
Kristen Doran
Pear Tree Yarn

Exhibitions at Craft Victoria

Craft Victoria

Iphone Apps for crafters:

about easystitch
about  fabricstash
about knitbuddy

for those of you that missed out:
Beck and I have been talking about going to the stitches and craft show for years -it's terrible that we haven't been until now. We were mighty impressed with their re-branding and after people kept asking of we were going and/or participating we thought we'd take the time out to cross the river and head to Caulfield racecourse on Saturday to check it all out.
The theme this year was 'Make do and Mend' and we were pretty impressed with how they 'threaded' (pardon the pun) the theme throughout the show with different work stations where we could all try our hand at a bit of stitch and fix.As with any craft fair it was a strange mix of terribly good and wonderfully terrible (anyone that's told you bedazzling is dead is a liar!) We'll focus on the good things of which there were quite a few - we'll let you decide where this fab black panther tapestry sits on that spectrum!
We were thrilled to get a gander at the Ink and Spindle stand. I'm intending to make a quilt for my mums birthday in November out of their tamarillo range and sure enough they had one made up and on display. I've only attempted baby quilts up until now but it looked really simple and very chic (may need help mitre-ing the corners - I'm hopeless at that!). I bought a panel of the top fabric to stretch and embroider as the follow on Christmas gift.

Also there was the very very talent Kristen Doran - I love her stuff and it was terrific to meet her in person and to pick up a kit that is perfect for Beck's birthday (don't worry she already knows) We both love samplers and this preprinted one is ready for some stitching. A perfect birthday project!
I adored the colour palette at Pear Tree Yarn, their 8ply hanks were so soft against the skin. If I hadn't run out of money and have three knitting projects on the go already I would have indulged myself in some lovely pale green wool (obsessed with green at the moment).
We were both taken with the Craft Schmaft owly mobiles. Claire was just lovely and her kits are brilliant - beautifully packaged and very charming. You can get them at her Big Cartel shop here.
 What we learnt is that there are some fabulous local, ecologically sound, tasteful and talented suppliers out there. We are the first to swoon over Japanese craft books, American Amy Butler fabric and British Rowan yarn but increasingly we are discovering that its good to extend the eat local idea to craft local too. Better get busy as Beck's birthday is just around the corner...



cut with the same cloth

This week seems to have been all about adding to the fabric hoard, virtually and in the real world. Now that I have a load of handprint and stitch projects on the go I could put off no longer my long overdue foray into the den of temptation - Tessuti Fabrics to pick up some linen - and hopefully not spend my weeks wages into the bargain.

When I saw this reversible check/spot printed Japanese cotton concoction I almost had coniptions! But I was on a mission, so I got back to the search for the perfect linen. That said I already have imagned a hundred different uses for the grey and mustard yellow ... but the buying of this will have to wait, at least until Monday next week.

Even confronted by the rolls and rolls and rolls of tempting textiles as you can see I did manage to find what I was looking for... and even managed to get out with only one random purchase. Ok make that two.

That's it in the middle of the pack below...a beautiful japanese geometric print on a self stripe cotton, and the pale lilac cotton was a remnant at 50% off that I couldn't say no to either. Only problem is the three of them look so great alongside each other I'm already thinking of new things I could make out of them together. Which probably means another trip back next week to pick up more of what I originally went in for.
Shame that.

Of course this came on the back of already lightening my bank account considerably (please don't be reading this Michael) at the last days sale at online fabric store Belsize Square. Everything on the books is around 30% off - so how could I resist these Lizzy House fabrics.

or these, I mean really, I'm only human.

Oh and I just found out Duck Cloth are have a 20% off sale at the moment for suscribers (lucky me) for the month of May AND Ramona and I are off to the Stitches and Craft Show tomorrow. So you can pretty much bet we'll be living on pasta and rice here at HML HQ for the next few weeks, or months depending on who else decides to have a fabric sale next!