Friday, November 18, 2011


Just letting y'all know that out computer is busted, so we'll be offline for a few weeks while my baby bro does his best to get it back up and running. Apparently he got a lot of computer genius genes, which is lucky for me because I got none... Hopefully I'll be better at building a house than I am at operating electronic gadgetry...

Monday, November 14, 2011

There's nothing I love more than a Very Productive Weekend. People say to me "Dude, you should relax! Just sit down and chill out for a bit!" and I say to them "No way! Impossible! My genetic makeup dictates that I must be busy at all times!". And so I pretty much am, and that's fine, because I love getting shit done.
This weekend was fab because I hung the hammock between the fig and the mulberry, bottled my ginger beer, spent a morning chopping out thistles on the land, mowed the lawn at our house, made 2 tops, a bolero, and a skirt, went on a bike ride to the river with the kids and picked up an awesome 20 litre drum which will be perfect for watering the windbreak we're about to plant, and went for a swim at Nelson's Lagoon. Now it's sunday night, and I'm buggered, but man, am I feelin' gooood!
The tops are for Sally, as a thank you for all her help with my skirt sale.

The bolero is for Lilli of Frocks n Frou Frou, who requested a wattle/native flower-flavoured bolero for the springtime.
Any time someone requests a native flower theme, I call upon a souvenir from WA, as this is the wildflower state (and also the black swan state - awesome!) and the souvenirs are gorgeously reflective of this. I LOVE the linen tablecloth I used for this, and had actually cut out a skirt for myself from it, but never got around to swing it together. So I chopped it up for a bolero for Lilli. And super-excitingly, and totally by fluke (or course, because I am disorganised and planning is not a strong suit of mine) the fringed Lily is on the front! Lilli, I hope you dig fringes...
The skirt is a repeat for Kelsey, in Seattle, who was comin' back for second helpings of Australiana. That's what I like to see.
The beer is my inaugural Bega batch! I got my home brew kit for christmas a few years ago and it was seriously one of the best presents ever, because I LOVE beer and I LOVE making stuff. If you've ever thought of making your own beer, just do it. It's not at all difficult, it's super-fun, makes a nice gift for your man friends if you're a bit man-craft challenged like me and it's awesome for ye olde planet because you get to reuse your beer bottles over and over and it's not transported from lands far far away. Also looks very nice sitting on the kitchen bench with afternoon sun filtering through it.
Also good if you're a beer snob like me, but the We're Actually Building A House budget is prohibiting the purchase of gourmet microbrewed 6packs valued at $20 each, then home brew is the way to go. Once you get good at it, you can even experiment with fancy schmancy ingredients like chocolate malted barley. Woooooooo. But for summer, I'm giving ginger beer a burl, with the intention of having a bit of a dark and stormy summer.
But the thistles... That was hard one. I think that thistles are beautiful. I love having them around. So much so that I actually have quite a large tattoo of one.
But they are a weed! And they are not child friendly! So they must go. Chop chop. Gave me an excuse to traverse the land, looking at plants, so not really a dreadful experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When we bought our land - hey, well before we bought our land - we knew that we would build our house from straw. Building my own house has been a steadfast bee in my bonnet since the age of about 15 when I visited the mud brick home of a friend of my dad's. She'd built it herself, and it was small, imperfect and, in my mind, absolutely beautiful. Mud brick, however, with all its attendant labour, waiting, labour and more waiting, was most definitely not the medium for me. Strawbale, on the other hand, is for me, and for many many other people, the most perfect building material imaginable. Strawbale building is quick, easy for the novice owner-builder, super Earth friendly (local, waste material with fab, off-the-scale insulation qualities) and kinda cheap, amongst many many other outrageously endearing qualities. In other words, I'm in love.
While working at the Watershed, I was lucky enough to meet Tracy, a building designer with the awesome double-whammy skills of strawbale and working-with-council experience. Tracy, you see, designed the award-winning Nalawala hall for Fairfield council. Yep - awesome.
We knew that it would be incredibly beneficial for us to have some input and feedback on our humble house plans, so approached Tracy to be our plan-drawer-upperer and general sounding board, though the scale of our project was positively minute in comparison to the Nalawala phenomenon. Over the last 5 or so months, though, our relationship has evolved into something more. Tracy has absolutely gone above and beyond our expectations, and she has done a brilliant job, not just of drawing up our plans, but also talking us down from crazy, rash decisions, helping us through the not-super-fun DA process (actually, she pretty much did it) and, most specially, totally accepting our budgetary limitations and general low-fi approach to home planning and building. Early on we negotiated a bit of a half-barter for the work. Tracy needed some sewing and gardening done, and we needed some house designing. Cool. What ended up happening though, was that Tracy got so into our project we ended up doing the whole thing as a labour exchange - LETS style, and crikeys were we grateful! Being as we were in the midst of relocating our entire life to a little town over 300km away, our families pitched in too, my Nana and mum taking their share of the sewing and mending work, and Pearlie's little sister Meg helping me with garden makeovers and chook-shed building. And you know what? I think we all got something out of it, though I have to admit that the stunning drawings Tracy did for us are, ultimately, the awesomest.
So, after all that rambling back-story-creating, I finally get to the crux of this post, which is the felt leaf collar that, in addition to the mending and sewing and planting and weeding and building, formed part of Tracy's trade.

The collar is going to a wedding this weekend, teamed with a black dress and some flash shoes, I believe. And suitably so, too, because it was, let me tell you, a labour of love. So many felt leaves!!! But I actually kind of liked the process. It was like building. You layer, and stitch and layer and stitch, and all the while the collar gets bigger and stronger and more able to hold itself together and then finally, one night, it's done. It's strong and, I reckon most excitingly, it's totally dimensional! I utilised Florence's neck, and actually kind of moulded the leaves into the shape of a neck as I stitched them together. Not as easy as it sounds! But all OK, because the end result is pretty great, I think, not least of all because it looks like something out of Wildwood, Olive's and my current fave to end all faves. If you haven't seen and/or read it, do yourself a flavour. It's simply stunning.
So, here's to trading skills, keeping it real, getting the Fams involved in your bartering shenanigans, felt and the mighty strawbale.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We have a bit of a plan... by Pearl

You may recall our recent discussion around what we are actually going to do with our 7 acres. So this morn we 4 rolled out of our beds, a little bit excited, and breakfasted on pikelets and buttery pears sitting in the grass on our land in the sun while awaiting our site analysis and mini-consult with local permaculture trainer John Champagne.

We know that we want to grow enough food for ourselves and our visiting friends and family and that maybe we want to extend into some kind of semi-commercial venture in the future - olives? pomegranates? goats cheese? heirloom pumpkins? But right now we have a slopey block with no water and a bit of a weed problem. We also have two young children and not much money. Our experience of gardening to date has involved urban and suburban food growing and while we know you can do some truly amazing things with a suburban block, 7 acres provides a whole new array of possibilities.

Some books that have influenced our thinking and opened our minds to what's possible are The Earth User's Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow and Smart Permaculture Design by Jenny Allen. While an array of possibilities should equate to pure excitement I'd be lying if I didn't admit to some anxiety. It's odd how anxiety-inducing an array of possibilities can be (especially in a world that tells us that Choice is King), but maybe it's just a sign of my privilege, given how truly horrible a lack of possibility really is.

We talked with John about our ideas and about what we want to achieve, we wandered around the block and mentioned what we had observed so far. And within 2 hours he had drawn up the beginnings of a plan. It's a broad plan but it's a plan and frankly, it feels good.

For now we will be focussing on excavation. Far out. Big machine cutting into the earth and moving it around in order that we can build a house and garden that allows us to live more gently on the earth. Not entirely sure what I think of this, but maybe it's one of those things that requires more pragmatism, less thinking especially given our ex-dairy farm is far from being an unadulterated landscape. John must have noticed our soft city sensibilities warning us that the excavation would be somewhat traumatic and that the earth would indeed shake. Goodness. So we'll be sketching a little plan of what we want - driveway, studio site, house site, pond and a bit of extra flat-ness to aid in our Zone 1 veg patch and orchard and hoping against hope that the excavators can do it within our meagre budget. There'll be quite a bit of bush regeneration occurring, in part, to aid as a windbreak against hot westerly and northerly winds and to work as a shelter belt against bushfire but also to provide balance to the overall landscape. We'll be planting a woodlot in order that we can harvest our own wood to burn in winter. We'll be fencing an area for our immediate food production - fruit trees, nuts, berries, veg, herbs, chickens and ducks for eggs and meat with an eye and an ear to what else we may want to grow in the future.

Oh but we can't excavate until our D.A is approved. It's been lodged and the hefty fee has been paid. We're still reeling from the crazily mammoth heft of the fee. In the meantime we continue to research off grid solar systems, follow every lead towards free recycled hardwoods, search for cheap, local native plant tube stock, work out what where we can get a large number of excellent fruit and nut trees for the littlest amount of money and pontificate on exactly what the kids' cubby should be made of.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Last time we went up to the land (for a gorgeous picnic of local lamb and vegetables, delectably roasted by the roasting queen, Pearl) we were a little concerned by the extreme growth of the floating plant on our dam. It had basically doubled its empire in the space of 2 days, which was a little scary given that we didn't know what it was.

In the back of my mind were several thoughts concerning the identity of the plant, most of which involved fears of noxious plant status and/or toxic algal blooms. I took a little sample home, and got to studying my trusty Robbo, who revealed the plant to be Azolla filliculoides, an apparently cosmopolitan floating fern.

Cool! But is it a pest? Its quick growth on our dam indicated that it could well be, so I consulted the interweb and found an awesome gardening site, extolling the virtues of Azolla spp. as a "super plant". Could it be? A super plant already growing on our land? It fixes nitrogen! It takes up nutrient from the water to actually prevent algal bloom! It provides habitat and food for tons of little water-dwelling creatures! You can use it as a green manure (as people in China have been doing for eons between their rice crops)! It inhibits the capacity for mosquito breeding in your water! And its frenetic growth is seasonal, so it dies back in the cooler months.
Still, it was a U.S. website, so I was still wary of little Azolla's status in the Bega Valley. Enter the friendly weeds lady from council, who I emailed this morning (yes, working at council certainly has its perks in the know-how department). She sent me an awesome fact sheet, confirming all of Azolla's super-plant credentials and confirmed that she's A-OK to grow to her heart's content. Woo hoo!!!
Boy, did my mind start to race, concocting many ideas of what to do with our little water-borne gold mine. The most exciting, in my mind, is to use it in the pond at the end of our phytoremediation wetland, which is going to treat all our kitchen, laundry and bathroom water instead of having to get a stinky (and quite frankly kinda weird) septic system.... Ah but that for another post. For now I'm pretty much just thrilled to bits by the auspicious surprises that life chucks up at ya when you're just sitting around eating yer lamb.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some garden ramblings from Pearl

Before this life-crafting blog goes any further it is most definitely time for us to acknowledge that the traditional owners of our land are the Djiringanj people of the Yuin-Monaro nation.

So we planted a little vegetable garden in the backyard of our new temporary house. It's teeny tiny and oh so burgeoning but we hope will soon provide some summer abundance - heirloom tomatoes, basil, chard, beans, zucchini and squash, cucumbers, parsley, mizuna, watermelon, pumpkin and some other tastes of summer. Wowsers! How good is summer eating from the garden! And so daggily exciting for us, the mulch for this little garden came from grasses on our land. Fear of impending snake activity was giving us the willies so we cut a path from the top of the land down to the dam for easy walking and snake spotting throughout the warmer months. It's early days.. baby steps etc but we did get a little thrill about not having to buy mulch from north Queensland in plastic bags from the nursery.
It's a funny thing to plant a temporary garden in a temporary house when we have 7 very permanent and lovely north facing acres just 8 minutes up the road. However those 7 acres are also populated from time to time with wombats, kangaroo, wallabies and god knows what other forms of garden eating wildlife. And while I am really very happy that 150 years of dairy farming hasn't totally desecrated our native friends, the wildlife factor leads us to move slowly lest our efforts be in vain. Jackie French is very adamant about the need to share share share with the native fauna. I love sharing, totally into sharing, total sharing addict. However it seems that initially it will be less a case of sharing, and more a case of wombat takes all. If you have any thoughts or special little tricks for how we can get things started without losing all to our furry friends please, you know, share. My gut tells me there must be some kind of tricksy companion planting that may help ward off the worst of the predation, so any pointers? Oh but another reason for the delay is that we're fundamentally grappling with what to do with our 7 slopey acres... fruit trees, olive trees, nut trees, chickens, berries, herbs and vegetables with a side of bush regeneration yes yes yes, ah but how?

We know that part of the process is to observe and feel - the land, the sun, the wind, the rain to start to get a feel of how things might work together in this place. And it is an interesting thing to stop and observe and to feel ok in this seeming lack of doing. We're going to have a bit of a chat with local permaculture trainer John Champagne this Saturday to get the garden conversation started....Exciting and a little bit heart in mouth scary. Scary because it's so big, so much land. Ah but who said this life crafting bizzo would be quick and easy?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You may have noticed that things have kind of dropped off on the P&E production line front. That's because my family and I have relocated to a new town, where we are about to embark on the big, giant-sized, family craft event that is going to (hopefully) set us up to be as self-sufficient as possible. We like to call it 'life craft'. That is, the craft that is involved in building a house - strawbale, passive solar, off-grid power, water, and waste-treatment - and setting up orchards of fruit and nut trees, berry groves and vegetable beds. I'm still going to be sewing and crafting, of course - how could I not? I'm compulsive! - and P&E custom items will still be available if you want to tell me what you want, but my energies from now on are going to be focused on another kind of crafting that primarily involves strawbales, mud, a bit of timber and a shitload of plants. Some of which will be grown from the seeds sent to me by poster-girl Amber Rules, as a thank you for her skirts. Lovely!

Hopefully this crafting will also involve adventures on the farm (which we've already been enjoying!), feasting with friends and learning a lot. And it's the 'learning' bit we mostly want to share because we've found it, at times, overwhelming. To want to do the right thing by the Earth, to build a house that is as gentle, simple and beautiful as it can be, and to try to do all of this with your own hands takes a lot of help and a lot of know-how.
Now, I want to introduce to you the 'Pearl' from Pearl and Elspeth. My muse, my love, my co-collaborator on exciting projects of many kinds but none as momentous as this life-craft shindig we have planned. She's going to be co-writing from now on, too, which is, I assure you, going to be a treat.
So now you can be prepared for the change in direction we're about to take. Not that it's a change, particularly, just a different kind of craft.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If there's no rest for the wicked, then I reckon there's also no rest for the compulsively-concerned-by-the Earth's-wellbeing, either.
Within 24 hours of landing in Bega, Olive and I were down at the farm, organising the capture of our very own hive full of bees.

The hive was delivered some weeks ago when my Parps and I traipsed down the hill to the dam, carrying the delightfully sturdy (read: heavy) Kenyan top bar hive through the rain. (The hive was built for me by Mr. Richard Happy Earth, as a trade for Mrs Ally Happy Earth's wedding dress, which I made.) We deposited the hive on the dam wall, providing, as recommended, a clear flight path for the bees. That's what they like, you see.
I learned this, and many other useful, weird, wonderful and quite frankly, frikking amazing facts about bees when I attended Milkwood's natural Beekeeping course, taught by Tim Malfroy of Malfroy's Gold honey (who is, I should say, awesomely inspirational and downright cool). Amongst other things, Tim recommended trying to catch a swarm and then house it, rather than buying bees in from somewhere else.
So I diligently purchased a swarm lure (I know - cool!!) which is basically a pheromone for attracting the scout bees who go out looking for a new home. This lure was supposed to be put in the hive when Parps and I delivered it, but I diligently left it (and the delicious Feather and Bone salami sandwiches that were keeping it company in the esky) on mum's kitchen bench.
So, first farming project was to attach the lure to the top of the hive. Now, we wait.
But while we're waiting, we have plenty of other things to occupy us, like swimming in the dam,

watching the ducks,

hanging out with the resident frogs (who seemed to think the hive was quite fetching), watching the bees bumbling around en masse in the mud next to the dam

("Hey! Did you guys see that awesome Kenyan top bar hive over there?") and planting up a bit of a kitchen garden at our rental house in town.
Like I say, no rest. But I'm pretty sure that if you look up "chicks and a little dude who fully dig being busy" in the dictionary, there's a picture of us, so it's OK.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pretty much the best thing about this crazy moving sale I just got through is the number of cool people I've 'met' because they've ordered P&E. The next coolest thing about the sale has been the feedback - so many happy campers! It fills my heart with joy and satisfaction to be able to make people so happy just by making them a skirt. Yay!
Just today, after a pretty insane day moving all my worldly goods out of our treehouse (my stuff's now in its way to Bega!) I dragged myself back to Pearl's parents' place, where we're staying, checked my email, and got a few excited little emails. They go somethin' like this:

"Dear Annie
just a quick note to say thankyou so much for the skirt you made me. (Greetings West Australia) I absolutely love it and in fact haven't wanted to take it off since I ripped open the package! It's perfect!
Kind regards

And this lady posted me on her blog! And what a super-cute blog it is, I have to say...
Ah. How lovely. Happy, lovely, skirt-wearing ladies all over the countryside. And now, I will sleep.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

OK so we're moving TOMORROW and as such, I have nothing to report. I did finish a skirt yesterday, but the camera and out laptop are both packed, awaiting pickup by the removalists, so there is no hope for a post about them.
In P&E news though, is a mention in the Sydney Morning Herald, which I cxan't upload or link to because I have the computer skills of my cat, Bunn,
and a post by the lovely Kelsey, who is very fond of the Australian bird skirt I made for her.
These are exciting items that both lift my spirits in what could possibly be a somewhat stressful time (ie. relocation of the entire family and home contents to a faraway land).
So next time I attend to my blog, I'll be sitting in our luxuriant, 5 bedroom mansion in sunny Bega. Fun times.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So it's now less than ONE week til we move. I have ONE more skirt to sew, several more boxes to pack, and a few more friends to see before we embark upon our southern adventure. Sewing, you will be pleased to know, will still be on the agenda, though I must admit I am looking forward to - shock horror - sewing a few things for MYSELF!
But for now I'm still sewing for a few more lucky people, including Sharon, of Gordon, ACT, who ordered 2 'surprise' skirts. How fun! As you know, I love a bit of creative licence, especially when the (very broad) brief includes the word "cutesy". Cutesy, like kitsch, is one of those things that I LOVE, while also recognising that it is definitely Not For Everyone, so I do not use it with gay abandon. But I always collect it, for skirt requests like this one, then I go to town.

My mum bought this fabric for me a few months ago and I've been absolutely itching to use it. I think it's so cute! Check out those birds at the bird bath! I know, it's like put a bird on it, by accident! But I digress...
I made up the skirt in the normal A-line style, but then I knew something was missing... And that something was a pair of green and brown scoopy (that's the technical term. Sometimes it's hard to avoid jargon) pockets made out of barkcloth, which were completely and utterly inspired by those classic pockets you get on 70s flares like the ones the dude is wearing on the fabric. Is that meta??
Meta or no, I'm pretty sure the pockets work.
The 2nd skirt for Sharon has less of a story, mostly because I can't really remember where the fabrics came from... But actually there is an interesting fact about the main fabric of the skirt, which is that after I acquired it I soaked it because I think it had some stains on it. The stains came out (yay!), but some of the blue dye ran. At first I was sad about this, but then I realised that it gave the fabric quite an unusual tone, because the blue is barely perceptible, almost like a bower bird - you know how they're only blue when the light hits them just so, and the rest of the time they're black? That's what happens with this skirt. Depending on the light it can look white or very very pale blue. I think it's cool, and quirky and colourful, which is always nice. I'm also digging the giant roses that don't fit on the joey pouch, so they're kinda decontextualised, which makes them seem.... quite awesome.

Also on the almost-last-but-definitely-not-least sewing agenda was a skirt for Louise, of Woodside SA, who likes old pillowcases and teatowels, but not clashy colours or 70s. At first I was a bit thrown by this. No clash!? But I LOVE red and pink! Not to mention green and blue!! I figured the mention of teatowels was a green light for some Australiana, so settled on a beautiful Perth tablecloth with native flowers, black swans et al, which I teamed with a very complementary (and therefore not clashy) green drill.
Now, I would like to draw your attention to my favourite favourite feature of this tablecoth, which I didn't actually notice until after the skirt was cut out. The little message on the front, around the swans, says "Greetings West Australia". As far as I can tell, this is not a shout out from WA, but a big Hey Ya to WA. Now, if you asked me to explain why I actually think this is so funny, I probably couldn't articulate it. I'm just hoping you get my drift.

And then a chicken walked past and she looked purdy so I took her picture (yes Jay that's your chicken!).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good morning, Denise

Dear Denise,
I felt so happy when you ordered a couple more wrap skirts after receiving the last one I made for you. For a humble maker like me, it is a huge compliment when people come back for seconds. I especially liked that you made some more specific requests regarding the kinds of details you wanted on your skirts, not least of all because I LOVE tea, and I LOVE cats.
I have to say, I've never had a request for either of these things before, so I was thrilled to finally be able to use a few pieces I've had hanging around.
The teatowel I made your cat pocket from was actually very stained, so I was only able to salvage one of the cats from it.
But what beauty! I am particularly fond of very frowny cats (my beloved cat, Bunn, was chosen from the cat protection society on account of the fact that she was absolutely the frowniest cat in the joint), so the cat on your pocket is particularly appealing to me because of her cute, furrowed brow (I've decided she's ever-so-slightly torty-tabby). I hope you feel the same.
And the teacup - well! There was a bit of teacup/teapot action to choose from, but in the end I found the opportunity to work with this somewhat bedraggled-looking placemat too fantastic to pass up.
Yes, it was stained, and had a couple of huge holes in it, so there was no way I could use it whole. But crikeys - did it have some potential! And that potential, my friends, was realised with the aid of - yep, you guessed it - vliesofix. Just iron on, cut out, and apply. She's friendly, she is.
I know that when you requested pockets you probably wanted more functional ones than a little embroidered and crocheted teacup-sized one, but seriously - isn't that the cutest thing? I reckon you could probably fit a few $2 coins in it, at the very least. And the "Good Morning" coming out of the cup?? I dare anyone to not feel at least a little bit cheery when they see this skirt.
Posting monday, so you should have them sooooooon! Thank you ever so much - I had a ball. And yes, I will absolutely most definitely be making more skirts after we move to Bega, so if you, or anyone else for that matter wants another one, please do let me know.
x annie

Monday, October 3, 2011

I've felt kind of self-conscious about "putting a bird on it" since I saw the Portlandia sketch, 'Put a Bird on it'. So true! Not that I've felt self-conscious enough to stop putting birds on things, especially when an overwhelming number of people actually make special requests for bird features. And why not, right? Birds are freaking awesome! They can fly (you tried it lately?)! They build nests (tried that? It's like ultra-craft)! There are so many different kinds! With so many awesome features and characters! And there are so many teatowels with birds on them!
So I still do a lot of bird-related craft, and I still have a whole wall in my house (though it's currently packed up) full of bird paintings and embroideries and wall-vases and ceramics and tiles and nests, though all the while, in the back of my head, is Carrie Brownstein's face with a weird plastered smile saying "put a bird on it!". That's cool man. I'm into self-reflexive irony and laughing at oneself (hard not to when you're a wholefood-eating, organically sustainable lesbian who does craft). No probs. I fully dig it.
Now that I've said all that, however, I need to clarify that it was a total coincidence that the following skirts, all but one of them featuring birds, were all completed and photographed today. Just goes to show that a. birds are cool and b. people still want them even when bird craft is having the piss taken out of it on a pretty mega scale.
So, without further ado and/or complicated rambling, here are said bird skirts.

These Australian birds are heading off to Seattle! A lovely lady called Kelsey ordered them after harbouring a longstanding desire for a P&E of her own ever since she saw the galah on Frocks and Frou Frou.

And these little babies are going to sunny Earlwood. I have an inexpressible feeling of love for the little parrot on the bottom of this skirt who's cleaning his tail.
The totally spectacular and freakishly detailed Indian scene on the blue wrap skirt has several birds in it.

I don't even think I've seen them all. It's one of those designs that's so intricate that you see something new every time you look at it. There's even a peacock!

There aren't many things in life more awesome or cheerful than a colourful seersucker tablecloth, except perhaps a colourful seersucker tablecloth that's been made into a skirt featuring a patch-pocket made out of a teatowel with birds on it.

The teatowel used for this pocket was a little worse for wear, but, like the horsey teatowel, it was deserving of a second life on account of it's beautiful-ness. So, once again, I called on my friend vliesofix, and revived and strengthened ye olde teatowel by ironing it onto some sturdy and fetching 70s curtain fabric.

I then used my pinking shears around the edges, and sewed it on. Lia, of Bayswater WA, this one's for you. Please wash it gently on account of the ancientness of your pocket.

This skirt, featuring some kind of Asian, bamboo-dwelling little chirper, is actually made of wool. Yes, I know that October is a weird time of year to be making a wool skirt, but this lady does live in Tasmania, so I'm guessing she's a got a little time before things really hot up. Also, she requested grey and this was all I had left in my stash.

Besides which, it goes excellently with the bamboo/bird situation, and is lifted and brightened (and therefore cool-spring-ified) by the red vintage buttons and red stitching. Sold yet?

This one is the only non-bird skirt in today's lot but by jingo by crikey (what does that mean?) it is not by any means less exciting for that reason. For one, I'm sending it to Melanie, of Jabiru in t he Northern Territory. NT is somewhere I've never been and is, in my mind, by far the most exotic place in Australia. To me, it seems like it should almost be another planet with all that crazy shit they've got going on up there. So I get excited when I think of this skirt, on Melanie, wandering the streets of Jabiru. Second reason I'm excited about this skirt is that I have had the fabric for forever (2.5 years, to be precise), but have never understood how it would 'work' as a piece of clothing. Enter my friend Nicole, who is beautiful, clever, and very very flash in the creating department. After dinner and a few wines, while rummaging through my fabric, Nicole held up this fabric, wrapped it around herself, and showed me just how awesome it was. The colours! The intricate pattern! The bold black lines!
Melanie, I hope you're feelin' it.