Friday, July 31, 2009


A few days ago Lynda commenting on my 'Halle für Alle' post asked if I'd bought back any "lovely European buttons". Sure did! Actually, I didn't really buy any buttons, even though I did look for them. In Vienna, a family friend (she has been friends with my mother since they were just girls) asked if I was interested in her old buttons. My heart jumped: YES YES YES!!! It was so exciting sorting thru all those old buttons from who knows when and learning a little of the buttons' history from her.

So Lynda, and anyone else who suffers from button obssession, I've put together an alternate antique-style double-take on my Coloured Buttons header:

The painted wooden buttons actually come from my grandmother (who also lived in Vienna). The silver button under the paper daisy is a native American Indian moccasin button. The little group of brass buttons near the paper daisy are from my mother's friend in Vienna, and some of the old carved-looking plastic buttons were bought in London by my daughter. I've trained my daughters to always be on the lookout for vintage buttons for me. The boys aren't much use in this respect.

All these button photos have little hints of things I love doing and little reminders of people or places that I have loved and have kept over the years. And making it's second appearance is my Bondi Beach Public School Merit badge...I waited sooooo long to get a merit badge in primary school...that was such an exciting day!

Edited to add: Since I wrote this post I've changed the header... it's summer in Australia now and I thought it would be nice to have a bit of that summery beachy's a photo of the original header so my "Doubletake" post still makes sense...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Trixi's Quilts Part 2: The Paul Klee Quilt

In my earlier post 'Trixi's quilts Part 1' I mentioned the Grand Plan: 4 kids, 4 quilts. The second quilt in this plan was for my son Hezki. The idea for this quilt began when I found some hand-dyed cotton at a fair and loved the colours. At first, I wasn't quite sure what I would do with them but the colours of the hand-dyed cotton reminded me of Paul Klee. He did some amazing paintings with coloured squares where the squares seem to be alive and moving, and your eyes wander around the painting in all sorts of interesting ways. I decided to make what I at first called a 'Klee Quilt', and to make this quilt for my second oldest son Hezki who, at the time, was very into art.

Antique Harmonies by Paul Klee:

And so began the journey of Quilt Number 2...each square carefully placed next to it's companion square...squares continually changing places...being rearranged until the colours worked together in just the right way. ( And here I'd like to thank my new editorial assistant, who at that time was given the position of 'Coloured Square Mover', for his patience with my continual refrain of... " don't think that colour works there...").

And so, finally, I began to hand-sew the squares until the quilt top was finished...or so I thought. Since this whole process took a few years my son had (of course) continued to grow, and in fact, had grown quite a bit longer than I had anticipated...and so, the "Coloured Square Mover' and I were back adding squares just to make sure that Hezki's size 14 feet didn't stick out and get cold.

Anyway, after 5 years, I finished the quilt...and I love the story it tells.

Trixi's Klee Quilt (155cm x 245cm): I love this quilt!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

When O's & X's isn't only O's & X's

I think I'm addicted to posting. When I'm not posting I'm thinking about my next post. My conversations with my husband often revolve around which craft project I'm thinking of posting next. He's being doing such a good job I've decided to appoint him my editorial assistant. I'm not quite sure if he sees this as such a great promotion though.

I like making games with kids and I'm always trying to find new ways to make them. It's good for kids to play with games they've made themselves. They learn that the simplest materials can be turned into something really great, that it doesn't have to cost a lot to be just needs a lot of love and care in the way it's put together.

One of the first games I designed was a O's & X's pouch. I make it with 7-8 year olds who have come to a few of my classes so they have some sewing experience. I'm posting 3 different versions of the pouch. The first version is made with cotton, the second with felt and the third is a glued version i.e with no sewing at all (this is for anyone who doesn't trust their sewing skills).

The game pouch is made from two circles each 23 cm in diameter. The cotton version has a middle layer of wadding to give thickness. The grid of the game is made up of four rectangular strips 15cm long x 1.5cm wide. I've used Vlisofix to stick the grid on in the cotton and unsewn felt versions, but in the sewn felt version, I pin the the grid strips in place while I'm sewing because I find Vlisofix a bit hard to sew through. The holes for the carry cord have been made with a hole puncher designed to make holes in leather.

In the cotton version I contrast different materials for inside and outside to give visual interest. A satin cord with a few beads threaded on helps to hold the pouch closed. Also, you need to sew the game grid onto the inside circle before you sew the inside and outside circles together (and remember to put a circle of wading in-between them).

If you look you'll see that I've also sewn tiny beads around my game grid to give it a delicate decorative effect.

And I also like the effect of a scalloped edge (I've got wavy scissors that do this) with this sort of material.

Here is the sewn felt version of the game pouch. Whatever you sew onto the outside circle should be sewn on before you sew the two circles together. And be careful not to place the pieces of your design too close to the edge of the circle - you will need to leave a border of 1cm to punch your cord holes into. Also remember: only punch your cord holes through after both the inside and outside circles have been sewn together.

When I design the outside I tend to leave the centre of the circle more or less empty because this is the base on which the pouch rests. Here I've made the flower centres fairly big in order to show the girls in my classes different ways of sewing their flowers on.

Finally a glued felt version that doesn't require any sewing at all..

Have fun making the game pieces from anything you want. In the past I've used clay, stones & shells, buttons, etc. Here I've taken some glass beads, cut off some flowers from an old piece of trim, glued them onto one group and left the other group plain in order to distinguish the "O's" from the "X's".

Phew! Hope it's all clear. But if you have any questions, you know where to send them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tiny Travelling Transformations

Polka Dot Daze has just posted her version of the Tiny Travelling Doll's House which she has morphed into a Tiny Travelling Fairy House! A really cute little house with a really cute garden. I love the way she has made her flowers. So much fun to see other people's interpretations of an idea.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Great Viennese "Halle für Alle"

For those of you who love op shopping: Vienna has some of the biggest op shops I have ever seen. Actually the biggest I could ever imagine. They are the second-hand op shops run by Caritas called "Halle für Alle" which means "Hall for All". I found 2 in Vienna. Each is an enormous complex of warehouse-sized halls filled with absolutely anything and everything, even second hand cars! Definitely op shoppers' heaven.

I went straight to the clothing/jewelry/embroidered tablecloth section. That was about a five minute walk! I refrained from stopping on my way at the books, crockery, furniture (they had amazing chairs and tables), nic-nacs or anything else that caught my attention. I was on a mission. I wanted to see the embroidered doilies as soon as I could. Someone else might be buying my things! Strangely enough there was another girl buying a whole stack of tablecloths, napkins, and doilies. So I began my search in earnest. I ended up buying only 2 doilies but the other things I bought made up for that. My favourite finds: an old beaded purse that looks as if it was probably made in the 30's or earlier, a string of glass beads with beautifully muted colours that looks very 60's to me, and a lovely aged doily. It was a good day for me and for Caritas.

This old beaded purse is my most-unusual-bag find. I love the simplicity of the pattern and most of all, the surprising way in which both sides have been beaded with different color combinations.

This aged doily caught my attention straightaway. Everything about it shows really beautiful workmanship and design.

And these glass beads have to be from the 60's. I love the colours. They also have a really nice weight and feel when you hold them in your hand, but you probably have to be a real 'bead person' to understand this.

So much for my finds. While I was away my blog was getting on quite well without me (no thanks to my cat). I had lots of visitors thanks to Karen who posted her version of the Travelling Doll's House here, to Chrissy at one crafty place who links to kids craft projects and recipes, and to Linda at pane amore & creativita who was blogging about different dolls' houses that people can make and included mine. Linda's blog is in Italian but I can work out, more or less, what she is saying from my Spanish and from reading the pictures. She also links to an amazing range of crafts mostly, but not always, kids crafts.