Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crafticus Campicus

Hello, I'm back! I've just had the most lovely few days away. A long weekend at Sewjourn with a really ace bunch of chicks. Oh my goodness it was good.

It started (for me anyway, lots of the others started on Friday) with Nell and me being chauffeured up by the Fixit males after Saturday morning tap classes. When we arrived at Lancefield, we showed the boys around. Climber said Mummy, I'm going to send you a letter, what's the address here? and Cherub said wistfully as he inspected the rooms I really want to stay here too. But we heartlessly banished them all back to Melbourne and settled in for a weekend of girly, crafty fun.

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I hooked straight into sewing, finishing off some bunting that I'd half prepared months ago. That way I had a finished project very early on in the weekend and could feel efficient and like a competent crafter.

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That night was Earth Hour so despite the fact that we were running slightly behind the Earth Hour schedule, we decided to eat Ali's delicious curry by candlelight. No-one could taste the burnt bits that Ali was so worried about. It was a bit of a common theme to be needlessly paranoid about catering for the masses but actually all the meals were delicious, and I know I've said it before but it was complete and utter luxury for me to only have to think about and prepare one out of the 8 cooked meals I had there, because, let me tell you, at home I am in charge of every meal even if it is just deciding to have takeaway and phoning through the order.

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Jen, Astrid, Suse, Justine and Lana by candlelight.

All in all we had 12 people come stay the weekend, but the shifts were staggered. Only Jenny, our fabulous organiser, stayed through the entire long weekend from Friday to Tuesday. And only on Sunday lunch were there all 12 of us eating together, including Kaye-the-masseuse who arrived Saturday evening and spent all of Sunday massaging us into floaty loveliness. Here we all are, enjoying Suse's lentil and barley soup.

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Suse, Nell, Ali, Astrid, Justine, Lana, Jenny, Robyn, Julie, Gina, Kaye

That afternoon we farewelled Justine, Lana, Robyn and Astrid who, it must be said, dragged their feet out the door and were heard to sigh they wished they could stay. Later that evening Jenny and I decided Climber had put us to shame by promising to write a letter so we ventured to the local shops and gained Good Mother Points by sending off cards to our children. Then after the day's sewing came to an end, and after the excellent dinner provided by Gina and Julie, plus the apple, pear and rhubarb crumble baked by moi, Kaye also reluctantly bid us farewell and Nell and I rounded up the willing for a game of Pictionary; here's how it looked from Jenny's birds-eye view. My team didn't win but it's only a game.

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On Monday, I checked the letterbox and there was my letter from Climber. So I rang the family and heard about their doings, including Cherub's trailblazing 7km bike-ride there-and-back-again. We enjoyed Nell's lovely pumpkin soup (she was another needlessly nervous caterer) and sadly said good-bye to Gina, Julie and Suse as they reluctantly turned tail for home.

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On the last evening it was only Ali, Jen, Nell and me, rattling round that big house. We ate Jen's fabulous spanakopita and Ali and I argued the various ways that Nell should give up smoking. (I said gentle walking should be involved, Ali was agin linking giving up something with exercise in case that invoked unnecessary anger.)

On Monday morning Ali drove home at the crack of dawn, having kindly left me her whizzy sewing machine after mine carked it late Sunday. So then there was last minute finishing of projects and the packing and tidying and then Jen drove us home.

And in the midst of all that was sewing, knitting, painting, designing, egg-blowing, unpicking, ironing, cutting, consulting, advising, measuring, basting, pinning, way too much chocolate, sugar hits, cuppas, wine time, and most importantly, talking and laughing. People made coats and skirts, pants and tops, bags, fete goodies, scarves and washi paper eggs.

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Nell's Eggs, the blowing was the hardest part. (Ain't it always?) The purple peacocky one was for me, natch.

Ali designed what she referred to as a High Fashion Garment for a Burda Style competition (vote for Ali! somewhere over here I think...) and I modelled it for the photos. Jenny gave me the pattern for her 15-minute pants and due to a mix-up (not my fault, some lycra pattern got mixed in with the original we think) and the subsequent necessary addition of side-panels and a waistband, plus the not-as-necessary but jauntily decorative addition of stripey pockets, I finished them in a mere 3 hours. I made a skirt with a zip from Suse's never-fail pattern and it was a success, although I did need to unpick my first attempt at the zip. I made the acquaintance of the over-locker and although I gradually got better at it (except for cornering, cornering on an over-locker is a bitch, in my opinion) I did not progress to intimate friendship with it. I also worked out how to put together my first ever cushion cover with buttons, which meant I learned how to do buttonholes on a machine. Well, when I say learned, I really mean Jen set up Ali's whizzy machine with the one-step-buttonhole paraphernalia and I put the button in the doodad and put my foot down on the pedal and voila, buttonhole!

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the crafty doings, and there are more of the weekend over here.

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My first try at a zip, seconds before it was unpicked and done properly.

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Skirt with a zip
Ali's Lolly Wrapper Dress aka the High Fashion Garment
Version 2 of the 15 minute pants which probably only took me an hour and a half and are actually for Climber but looked so oversized that I decided to shimmy into them. They actually do fit him apart from needing the elastic tightened a smidge.
And the group shot of nearly all my projects: purple bunting, Ink and Spindle cushion cover - reverse side showing the buttonholes, the skirt with a zip, Cherub's 15-minute shorts with extra waistband, side panels and pockets, Climbers pants, just with pockets, the strapless dress that I added straps to because I just can't hold a strapless dress up on my own and the Green puffle.

And finally, presents for the boys: some soft toys I whipped up, she said airily, knowing that you can't really see the quality of the sewing from this photo. Pikachu needs a mouth and something happened to the eyeliner of the green puffle but the boys liked them when we were rapturously re-united on Tuesday afternoon.
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A really, really great weekend. I came back completely rejuvenated. Can't wait for the next one! (Only 4 weeks to go....)


  1. Living it vicariously through you! How fantastic!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. I am oh so jealous of all you crafty girls that head off to Sewjourn, but maybe one day my turn will come?

  3. Can't wait for my weekend. (Only 3 weeks or so to go!!!)

  4. Excellent synopsis. Excellent.

    And you picked my favourite photo of the dress I made which I wanted to add to the burda site, but am a bit afraid now, because of the amount of trouble I had getting the project uploaded in the first place.

    See you next week, when we will be around the corner....yay!

  5. Oh no to the sewing machine carking it! Can you get it fixed in time for next month?

    I love that sparkly, glowing candlelight shot.

  6. Sounds fantastic!! Juts what you needed.

  7. NIce work...I'm hoping we can have a similar weekend here soon.

    Two thumbs WAAAY up for girlie weekends

  8. That looks like the best weekend ever!!! And well done on the sewing of the zips and buttonholes. See you soon ;)

  9. It sounds like a fabulous weekend, with so much achieved. It is a pleasure to read all about it, and about all the work and learning, and with such enjoyment. It makes me smile.

  10. If I come, can I just crochet all weekend in between quoffs of red wine? Cos I can do that...quoff, I mean, crochet. I can do that.

  11. I'm so jealous of the craft weekend getaway! It sounds DIVINE.

  12. You were incredibly productive! What a haul of crafty goodness you brought home with you.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful mix of relaxation and productivity. And I love that the boys wrote to you!

    Also appalling jealous that you can fit into this pants...

  14. Yeah well they are mega-baggy on him, don't forget. And incredibly snug on me, wouldn't have sat down in them that's for sure!

    And Aunty, quaffing and crocheting means you are over-qualified for attendance.

  15. really - only another 4weeks? These craft camps are getting to be a rolling proposition :)

    Looks like fun as usual .. I am afraid I would not relax ( and the cooking thing - that would also freak me out )


  16. Sigh. How about having the next one at mine? Could you manage that? Scotland's only... I've just looked it up on the internet and Glasgow to Sydney is 10,524 miles. Not that I'm in Glasgow and I'm not sure exactly where you are. But who's counting?

  17. Ohhh! This is getting me all excited for a quilt camp that's coming up in june! Sounds like you are off and running as an officially Crafty Person!


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