Wednesday, August 31, 2011

making ... jam

Jam making is so relaxing and homey ~ with an abundance of fresh fruit here at the moment, I had the urge to make plum jam ...

Here's my very basic jam recipe that works for most fruit ...

1kg fruit (in this case plums - seeds removed and chopped)
2 cups of water

Simmer water and fruit for an hour in a large saucepan (uncovered).

2-3 cups of sugar (depends how sweet your fruit is - in this case I only used 2 cups)
juice of 1 lemon

Add lemon juice and sugar to the fruit and stir (over a simmer) to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil. Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until it passes the plate test (put a dollop on a plate, let it cool a bit, then run your finger through it - the jam should stay separated if it's ready).

Ladle the jam into sterilised jars. Fill fill to the top of the jar, put the lid on and then invert the jar for a few minutes. Turn jars upright and cool. Jam will keep unopened in a dark place for up to 12 months. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful Wednesday. I'll see you here tomorrow with my new fabric designs!

Monday, August 29, 2011

what a week ...

This time last week I was in Melbourne, in my house, working in my studio ... and now I'm in Spain. What a contrast! We've recovered (mostly) from the flight, and we're settling back into Spanish life. I thought you might like to see some photographs I took over the weekend in Valladolid, which has a very beautiful and colourful centro ...

Wishing you a wonderful Monday. See you soon for some craftiness and some new fabric designs!

Friday, August 26, 2011

bunting swap!!

As you know, I LOVE BUNTING, so when I saw this swap popping up around the place yesterday, I signed up immediately.

The details and how to sign up are all over at the Squiggly Rainbow blog, but the basic idea is that you make (and then receive) as many individual bunting triangles (or other shapes) as you like. You don't have to make a whole string of them, you could just make one if you like. I've signed up for 5 ~ I'm looking forward to experimenting with some different ideas and seeing what happens!

Happy bunting making!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

almost ready

My new fabric designs are almost ready for release next week (just in time for Spring), but I thought you might like a teaser pic to tide you over ...

I really enjoyed photographing my new fabrics over the weekend. I can't wait to share more photo's with you over the coming days.

In other news, we're back in Spain (as of yesterday)! For a few months this time. Luckily, my lovely friend Pam is holding down the fort at Yardage Design HQ by looking after my shop and posting out orders for me. So it's business as usual - thank goodness for the internet! You'll also find me lingering around at strange times of the day and night (we're eight hours behind Australia) over on facebook and twitter.

Many more creative (and less jet-lagged) spaces over here!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Enjoying sunny afternoons in the garden with my camera ...

I hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

E dresses

Last week I picked up a copy of the Stylish Dress Book from my local bookshop. I love so many of the dresses in this book, but Dress E won out as the one I wanted to try first. So, I packed the book in my bag and headed to my childhood home for a few days where I had time (and Mum's sewing room) to give this pattern a whirl. This is my first try at it - made from an inexpensive (but pretty - I like it) fabric from Spotty ...

The thing I love about this dress is the subtle box pleating in the front. It gives the dress a nice amount of shape and detail. However, it was also my downfall ...

The pattern says the pleats should be 3cm, so that's what I did, but that made the front too narrow and just a bit too tight for me. You can see the slight strain on the fabric in this area even on the dress form. The second photo shows that the back sits up to compensate for the tightness. Bummer. Rather than undo it (which I will at a later stage ... probably!), I made another one. This time, I did 2.5cm pleats and it fits perfectly ...

Aside from changing the width of the pleats slightly, I also added about 15cm to the length of it so that I could wear it properly as a dress. The original length is more like a tunic, where you would wear jeans or leggings underneath. I'm really happy with this dress. I now feel confident to make it in Liberty, which was always the goal!

I thought I might include this last pic as it shows how tricky it was to get a decent shot of these dresses on a dreary, drizzly and windy morning in Melbourne yesterday!

Check out what everyone else has been making over at our creative spaces.

NEWSFLASH - new fabric designs will be released in the next two weeks (I'm photographing them this weekend). Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to hear about it first! Go to the top right hand corner of this blog to sign up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the bush

I spent a long weekend with my family in central western NSW. It was great to get some fresh air and wander through the bush, even at this time of year when things are mostly dormant and frost bitten. The skies were a brilliant blue and the sun hinted that spring wasn't far away. It was just what I needed. Here are some of my favourite pics ...

My dad, my little boy and the dogs out for a wander
Pods shedding seeds before spring 
The little daisies I used to pick as a girl
Gum trees along the Macquarie River
I'll be back later in the week with the sewing I managed to get done while I was there too - two dresses, no less!

Friday, August 12, 2011

almost ...

My garden is telling me that Spring is just around the corner - hooray! Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

me + my screens

I've been printing a lot lately, so I thought I would share a bit about what I do through these pictures I took yesterday ...

This is my beloved apron. I've had it since day one of Yardage Design (almost 2 years now - that's gone quickly!), and each print run means more wipes and smears of ink - making it even more precious to me.

This is one of the spots in the garden where I wash my screens. I tend to rotate the washing areas so different parts get watered (and spattered with a bit of ink - luckily it's water soluble)! Cleaning your screens well is one of the most important jobs for a screenprinter.

I can't tell you how tricky it was to hold the camera and the hose AND take a decent photo!

I love the residue you get from many, many print runs - it stains the screen, resulting in a beautiful effect.

This screen, used to print Vintage Tram Roll Menu Tea Towels, is by far the most used screen. I have printed hundreds of tea towels using this screen. That's why it looks a little worse for wear (this is actually clean) - lots of staining from numerous colours.

You always know a screen is still good if you hold it up to the sun - the image to be printed should still be crisp, regardless of how stained the actual screen looks, as long as the areas that you print aren't clogged with dried ink, you're good to go.

Above are some of the lovely ink stains that have made their way into the fabric of the screen.

I know I've said it before, I really never tire of lifting the screen to see a perfect print. I hope I'll always print ~ I love it.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

monday discount day ...

A crafty way to start your week ~ $10 Make-your-own-bunting panels in my shop today only (these are normally $15). Enjoy ....

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

gayware ... addicted!

I really think I need all of these lovely gayware "kitchen aids" ...

... but especially these "glamour" salt and pepper shakers!

I got the original gayware magazine ad here. WARNING - there are lots and lots of tempting retro canisters and other vintage treasures to buy on this website. Approach with caution!

Bonus - vintage recipes on the back of the ad - the Mimosa Salad sounds nice! More vintage finds here!