Earrings and castles.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like me some earrings. Big dangly earrings, cheap and cheerful or whatever you’d call them. So I’ve recently bought myself a few tools and supplies and I got a-making. I was pretty unsure of how they’d turn out so I didn’t get any progress photos, but here’s the finished product, what do you think?

photo 1


Well consider this just the first little bit of what may become an addiction, home-made earrings, uh-oh! More to come 🙂

But the other thing I wanted to share was from a couple of weeks ago when Dom and I went to Bavaria for the weekend. We went here:


Wait, here’s a version without those people getting in the way…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

Yes we went away for our anniversary, down to south Germany to the alps in Bavaria, and it was just spectacular. This is Castle Neuschwanstein (new swan stone, named after the swans that were a symbol of the ruling family at the time), which I always think of as the Disneyland castle. I can’t believe I took that photo! We had a long weekend of hiking and good food in a beautiful part of the world, which I highly recommend.

Summer is over now, there’s a real feel of autumn in the air. The leaves have even begun to fall. Does anyone have suggestions for good autumn-y things? Recipes, seasonal decorations, anything? I’d love to hear from you!





Refashioned for summer

Ever since I started sewing, I’ve been asking my everyone I know to pass on any clothes they might having lying around in their wardrobes that they don’t want, so I’ve got fabric to practice on without having having to pay for it. Sometimes, though, I try transforming things into something new. Sometimes, it even works!

This is what caught my eye recently:

before good

I love the colours and it’s a soft cotton blend which would make a great summer dress, but it had long baggy sleeves and weird rouching (or whatever it’s called) on the front. So, first to get rid of that weird front detail-y stuff.

removing weird stitches

After getting rid of that and giving it a good iron, I was left with this to work with:

big n shapeless

Hrm. Well, next to get it to fit a bit better. I put it on inside out and used safety pins to get it just right:

Inside out pinned

Looking a bit better, but a bit like i have sails! So off to the trusty sewing machine to sew up those sides, then trim off the excess (this is a non-fraying fabric, woo hoo!).


All that was left is the arms. First I chopped them off just above the elbow:

sleeves off good view


Then after a bit of trial and error adjusting the sleeve length, I got it looking pretty good. So sew and chop off the excess, and time for the try-on of truth:

finished good


That’ll do! I’m very happy with my new summer dress, and now that the rain has gone away I may get to take it for a test run. Morla isn’t so sure…

Morla under umbrella





Avocado Carbonara

So we’re big pasta fans in this house, although as it’s been so hot here recently we’ve been opting more for salads like this, or BBQ, or anything that doesn’t involve having the stove on for too long. However, on this weekend just past, Dom took part in a triathlon, which means we spent the few days leading up to it doing that wonderful thing runners use pre-event – we carb-loaded. (by the way, no – I didn’t do the triathlon, but I had to join in on the food festivities to be supportive, right?)

in bowls


So I decided a nice creamy linguine carbonara seemed in order. It’d been a while, and also carbonara is freaking delicious. So off to the supermarket and home again, laden with pasta and cream and bacon and eggs and cheese. Only to discover, in my fruit bowl, an I-must-be-eaten-today avocado. Well, I can’t resist a good avo’, so that went in the mix too.

Here’s how I put it all together:

Ingredients (serves 4, or two over two days!)

500g pasta of choice, I prefer linguine or spaghetti

200ml cream

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

300g  bacon (no rind), diced

1 large onion, diced

2-4 crushed garlic cloves, depending on how strong you like your garlic. Actually I think I used 6…

about 50g grated parmesan cheese

1 large, ripe avocado (optional (but not to me)), chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh chives or spring onion, chopped

chopped avocado with compost

egg mix


Put a pot of salted water on to boil, then put the pasta in to cook until al dente. Drain, set aside, keep warm.

fry bacon until it starts to brown, then add onion and garlic and let those fry up in the bacon fat (note – watch out here for curious/hungry fiancees here who smell what’s cooking and want to eat everything immediately. Chasing said persons off with a spatula may be effective, though only temporarily).

bacon frying

Add the cream once the onion is fried to translucency, and reduce the heat. Once cream begins to boil, add the drained pasta to the mix. Pour the eggs over the pasta, mixing through as you go so the egg sticks to the pasta. Then add in the avocado, sprinkle the cheese and chives and a good bit of salt and pepper, stir though, and you’re done!

ready to serve


Serve to aforementioned hungry person and a generous amount to yourself.

By the way, he did great in the triathlon!

Oh and I know I’ve been more food-focussed recently but there are other things I’ve been up to that aren’t edible, so I’ll share those with you before too long. In the meantime, do you have any comfort food you like finding an excuse to eat, like I do?



Refusing to say goodbye to favourite jeans.

I’ve started bike riding regularly this year, which I hadn’t done since I was a kid. It is so much fun: I love being out in the fresh air and getting some exercise; plus the bonus of not having to pay for tram tickets, or get coughed on by random strangers. Ah, the joys of public transport.


Anyway, one problem I learned about the hard way is that I can’t necessarily wear my street clothes on the bike. Most stuff is OK, but I’ve damaged a few things. Namely, my favourite pair of jeans that I brought with me from Australia, and would wear almost every day. Not anymore though. They got a upper-leg tear that wasn’t patchable (I tried but it came open. Three times.) so I cut the legs off to try for shorts. Unfortunately, I’m long past the days where I can confidently leave the house in fraying cutoffs, so they became housework shorts and I thought they’d stay that way.

The summer weather has hit us now and I noticed many people getting around in shorts, which made me remember mine. I realised something that may have been immediately obvious to anyone else – I could hem them!




 I got home, rolled the hems outwards so the inner material contrast would show, made sure all the frayed edges were tucked away, and sewed. Five minutes later I had an awesome pair of short-shorts, which are great for bike riding in this early summer heat! 

Have you ever had an obvious realisation of how to solve a problem, well after you gave up on the project? Or is it just me?



A Handbag.

I’m so glad I can finally post about this! I made a handbag a few weeks ago (well, I finished it a few weeks ago, anyway) but as it was a gift I couldn’t post about it before it was received.


Dom’s family, like mine, are really supportive of my new-found creative bent. Dom’s mum requested something hand-made as her birthday present, so I decided to make her a handbag. I took Dom along to the fabric shop (I think it was his first time ever in such a shop) and we chose some material. I took it home, arbitrarily decided on a shape and size for the bag, and got cutting.


The red lining contrast so nicely with the neutral outer material, don’t you think? I used interfacing on the outer material and not on the lining. In hindsight I should have just made boxed corners like I did for my laptop bag, but I for some reason wanted a proper side and bottom piece. That made for a lot more work! sewing the corners was the worst, as it was super-think and tricky to get them straight, but I think I managed okay in the end.

I searched a bunch of different sites and found what I decided was the best option for inserting the zipper. I didn’t save the link unfortunately, but thanks to the person who put up a beautiful zipper casing tutorial! I’ll update with the link if I can find it.

Basically, I got a zipper of the right length and cut two strips of cloth the same length of the zipper, in matching colour. I actually should have cut these a bit longer. Oh well, live and learn. I ironed them flat, then in half lengthwise, then I opened that up and folded the sides to the middle, then folded that shut again and ironed it flat.


So that goes around the zipper and is sewn in place.



As you can see, the strips really didn’t have any excess at the ends. That meant when I put in a cross-piece I had to cover a bit of the zipper as well, but I think it worked okay. Next time though I’ll leave a few centimetres excess at both ends.


Sorry about the blurriness!

So with great care not to mix up the right and wrong sides (and a bit of unpicking when I got it wrong…) I sewed the lining onto the zip, like so:


I then attached the outer material to the zipper casing, and I had to hand-sew the ends as it was WAY too thick and tricky for my poor old sewing machine to handle!


The last step was making a strap, which I made in much the same way as the zipper casing. I attached it with some D-rings that are in that old beaten brassy style, like the zipper.

I’m really happy with how this one ended up. What do you think?


Hope you’ve had a great weekend!



Smoke Pouch.

AKA my first commissioned work!

There are way more smokers here in Germany than in Australia. I am one of four staff members in my area at work, and I’m the only non-smoker. So while I’m not pro-smoking, I’m pretty tolerant (the smokers in my family just rolled their eyes. What can I say, moving across the world has changed me, I guess). Anyway, a new colleague of mine got excited when she found out about my DIY experiments, and asked if I could make her a pouch for roll-your-own tobacco. I have a bunch of old pairs of jeans in my fabric stash that my lovely man Dom was getting rid of, and I thought denim was a nice tough fabric to choose, so I got sewing.

I needed the dimensions of the tobacco packet from my colleague, as I am bad at guessing. It turns out if I had’ve estimated it would have been WAY too big, so good thing I didn’t hey? Anyway, I used my new favourite toys:


Yep, I’ve invested in a rotary cutter and mat. It makes cutting out fabric way easier, and more accurate. I know I’m a nerd but it’s exciting!

Anyway, I cut my fabric with plenty of hem allowance – denim gets really thick at folds and my sewing machine is older than me so I have to be respectful. Leaving a good wide hem makes less thickness to get through.




I wanted to include a little pocket for papers, so in keeping with the upcycling theme I took off one of the back pockets from the jeans, shortened it to fit inside the pouch, and attached it to the back inside of the pouch, like so:




Pinned pocket


Before I sewed all the seams down, I opened up the corners and cut off some of the excess, and from the corners of the pocket too. I decided on black stitching as I didn’t have the tan colour most often used with denim. I think it ended up looking alright, if you ignore my dodgy stitching.

Done closed


Then I added a couple of press studs to hold it closed (hand stitching and stabbing myself with the needle in the process), and that was that!

Open done


Then I wrapped it up, so I can deliver it on tomorrow. It was an interesting project, and while I think I could have researched the design a bit more I am happy with my off the cuff (haha, bad pun) style.

Wrapped done

I hope you’ve had a great Sunday,