Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sprout your own sweet potato tuber

 I wanted to show (with actual pictures) the ease of sprouting a sweet potato tuber at home.  Simply take one the tubers from your local fruit and veg shop.  Pop it in a bottle or clear(ish) container in the sink with water in the bottle.  Suspend your tuber in the bottle with some toothpicks.  The crazy eyes are optional but make you smile while washing the dishes!

Tubers take about 4 weeks to grow to a planting size of shoots of around 20-30cm long and create little roots in the water.  Plant out into the garden when they are large enough leaving the shoots above ground.

I have heard of people who actually leave the tubers in the kitchen and harvest the shoots repeatedly to add to stir fires and salads.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Desk Drone Robots made the cover of this month's Handmade Magazine

I was delighted to see my pattern for desk drone robots featured on the cover of this month's Handmade magazine (Volume 31 No 1).  This was a project inspired one day on the train to work when I rather subversively felt we commuters are really just workplace drones - robots performing for our bosses. 

This led me to think of making a desk based robot softie.  I decided to make the softie small and kind of cute. I used recycled business shirts as the fabric to make the drones since it seemed right after my original inspiration.

I think these little pals would be a wonderful addition to any workstation.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Candy Hearts Softies in Australian Patchwork and Stitching magazine

If you are over the hot dry drab colours of this Australian summer, I recommend you give a try out my pattern Candy Heart in this months Australian Patchwork and Stitching magazine (volume 13 no 11).  These are a couple of easy softies I whipped up in the most sugar loaded colours I could find and they will definitely bring a mile to your lips.


I have also been lucky enough to have my Butterfly Journal covered featured.  I love art journals to record ideas and inspirations, and giving them a pretty cover seems a necessity rather than a luxury (after all aren't your ideas worth a wonderful home).  The covers are decorated with butterflies to show your ideas taking flight.

Enjoy these summer projects!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why are women carrying the bag, and why I won't

I have been spending a lot of time recently making wallets. The wallets are all covered in funky, quirky fabrics with insides made from recycled business shirts and I have been marketing the wallets to men mainly.  I really like them.  They are fun and I keep thinking if only I could use one. But then I realise no, wait, I am a woman and even more a mother, and I am saddled with a bulging purse and handbag. 

This realisation needed some analysation.  Why am I always carrying a giant handbag? What inhabits the insides of it?  Did I actually need it? 

I thought about a short, regular trip to the local market with my husband and what each of us took.  My husband takes his wallet, his phone, his car and house keys(all in his pockets), his watch (on his wrist), his hat (on his head), and his sunglasses (on his face).  On this same trip I picked up my handbag. Okay, so only one thing, but inside this items I have: my house and car keys, my watch, my phone, my purse, and my sunglasses.  All the same items....  as well as my nighttime driving glasses, my umbrella, my hat, two reuseable shopping bags, three mini packs of tissues, my comb, a collection of panadol cards with one left on each, a collection of old used tissues, a pile of gift cards for shops, a bigger pile of loyalty cards for more shops, a giant box of tic tacs, and lip gloss. The total weight of my handbag is 1.64kg!  My husband's keys, wallet, phone and watch weigh only 400g.  What do I have to show for the extra 1.2 kg all the time? Do I really need to carry around the weight equivalent of a family soft drink bottle everywhere?  And even more importantly, do these contents add to this particular (or any other for that matter) shopping experience?

Lets look at some of the contents in more detail.  The two recyclable shopping bags.  They seem a worthwhile thing to have.  I could carry our market purchases in these bags.  Except that I think the reason why I have two in there is that I forgot I had one and bought another (hmmm) and even worse for my baggage inspection, we got a recycled cardboard box from the fruit store to carry everything.  Its still okay for the environment but not for my back.

The umbrella.  I have carried this umbrella everyday to and from work complete with the 40 minute walk and standing around time this entails for YEARS.  For much of this time there has been NO rain for months.  I know this because I religiously check the weather forecast every night to see if I need to take an umbrella, and then I STILL take it.  It's so bag raggled (is this even a word?) now that it provides less rain protection than sticking a plastic bag over your head.  But I still have it.

Lets think about my collection of medicine.  This could be a valid thing to carry if I was asthmatic or allergic and needed an epi-pen.  But I have extended the concept of useful medicine here to cover 3 card of Panadol each with one tablet and two lone asprins floating and a bit bent in their aluminium covers.  The Panadol and asprin could be any age and they are all different brands.  Presumably I know something about mixing medicines that improves their benefit that doctors have not figured out otherwise why am I carrying this group?

If we are only going out for a couple of hours, and in Brisbane normally within 10 minutes walk of a shop, and have a phone to call for help, and no water to take the drugs, and have a brolly in the boot of the car (with the slowly compressing layer of recyclable shopping bags), I reckon my husband is scoring brain points with his free hands and non-droopy shoulders and lesser image of family porter.  The bag is evil.

I think I started carrying a handbag back in my teens.  I have been carrying handbags for at least 25 years. I can remember back to when I first started carrying a handbag and the aspirations I had in starting to carry one.  I was young and idealistic. My bag would be a bit like a survival kit to take everywhere. I would have a sewing kit, a basic first aid kit, a notepad and pen to write useful notes and quick sketches of ideas,  a snack and drink bottle for emergency sustenance, and helpful items like a train timetable.

I did start out with a sewing kit . It fell apart and I never used if for anything except breaking the scissors trying to cut open a package.  The closest I ever got to a first aid kit was a couple of band-aids to add to the panadol layer.  I never have a pen more than a week and when I find one (not in my bag) I write on shop receipts and bits of an old train timetable (which I fell apart from old age).  The food is a good idea but really wouldn't you get it just before you leave home and then if its not used, take it back to the kitchen.  I have a feeling bits of broken muesli bar in the bottom of a handbag would not make its better in the long run (ewww).

I am going out this afternoon and I given my favourite wear is jeans with many pockets I am going to try out not carrying a handbag.  I'm sure that there will be no major catastrophe that befalls me.  Its just the psychology of the thing.  I'm also going to try out a wallet.  They are made for pockets unlike purses.  I am going to make myself a very girly one with flowers and pink. I have finished the design and sent to Spoonflower for some fabric. I am going to empower myself by shedding 1.2 ugly kilos instantly and stop myself carrying the bag.