It’s resolution time and we all know the drill that if you write them down it increases that you’ll actually do it. So here is my attempt at 2016.

  1. I have really enjoyed my 52 books challenge so that will continue
  2. I will make an attempt every day to wear lipstick. I know, this sounds like quite a big task to complete but “my Texans” have made an impact and I don’t want to disappoint them.
  3. Quilting. With my increased free time in Vietnam I decided to do something with a little more purpose than hitting the gym every day. There is a great organization called Quilts of Valor. Their mission is to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor”. The patriotic quilts that are made are given to service members and veterans. Since it’s inception they have given 131,794 quilts. My goal is to make four quilts, one per quarter, and more if I can. After a bit of sewing and un-sewing and re-sewing I finished my first top. So here it is in all it’s glory. I can’t wait to get it quilted and give it away.

What are you goals this year?




The close-up


Let’s Talk About Swants Baby

One day on Facebook a friend posted something as a joke, but I wasn’t laughing. It had to do with sewing and it was marvelous. It was swants. Pants made from sweaters, I guess you could call them panters but I think swants has a nice ring to it. I was due to visit an ex-perth expat, a fellow Perth Alumn, who was is cut from the same crafting cloth as I and we were going to make them.

I arrived in town on a Friday afternoon after the long haul flight (this time it was a pleasant jaunt through Moscow). We fueled up on Chuey’s tex mex and then hit up the thrift store. We didn’t quite think this through very well given than we were looking for men’s sweaters in Houston however we found two that would do the trick. This was the perfect activity to do in the evening to fight through my atrocious jet lag. We followed the step by step tutorial provided and we eventually figured them out (I mean they are swants not gowns for the Met Gala, our best would have to do). I think Kim’s husband was horrified impressed by our new creation.

They next evening there was a swants debut to Kim’s children, and neighbors, as we decided they should be showed off in the front yard – with cartwheels. It turns out that not only can we sew a wicked stitch but we can also tumble like the best mid-30 year old women I know!

I think we’ll go on tour, be on the lookout for the Sisterhood of Traveling Swants.

We even have matching dickies1

We even have matching dickies!

Like riding a bicycle!

Like riding a bicycle!

(Tote) Bag Ladies

Vacation has been in full gear for the past 10 days so it was time to slow it down a bit (well that’s what a rainy day in Perth told us).  As I was scouring the web-o-sphere (read: blog stalking people that are more creative than me) I came across this wonderful Spring Tote – although since it is currently Winter in Perth I’m going to call it a winter tote – (found on “Arolyn’s” “ister-in-law’s” site).  Now I’m sure that I have not used the proper blog etiquette in correctly providing credit – however I can guarantee that I didn’t make the tote correctly either …

On to the bags.  Funny story.  I ordered a sewing machine approximately 8 weeks ago after attending this here craft expo and getting the crafting bug.  Good thing I wasn’t in a hurry since it still is not here yet – though after weekly phone calls to the store they’ve confirmed that they “think it may have arrived in Sydney finally”.  Thankfully I was able to borrow a machine for the project – which saved us from either a lot of hand stitching or just trying to wish the fabric would bind together.  Next “Ailey” and I picked out some on sale fantabulous fabrics to make these suckers.  And then started assembling.  After a lot of cutting, pinning, re-cutting, sewing, un-sewing, and sewing some more we have beautious Southern hemisphere winter totes.

Fabric for "Ailey's" Tote

Fabrics for my tote

Working away

"Ailey's" Fab Tote

My tote

Look! Pockets!

It’s What’s for Brinner!

Tru' dat!

Just like every other person out there who has a blog – I like to cook.  This, however, seems to never occur in the morning.  It also so happens that the morning is traditionally the time in which most people have breakfast.  It’s not that I’m opposed to making breakfast.  It’s not that I’m opposed to getting up early – in fact I get up at the same time as Rob every morning (albeit I usually just throw on my trainers and ipod and head out for a run).  It’s just that I’m opposed to arising BEFORE anyone else in the house with enough time to create a labor intensive meal.  After a bit of grumbling on my part Rob also claims to prefer breakfast cereal to start his day anyways … But never fear, this does not mean breakfast is not had in the Osborn abode – au contraire – we just have it for dinner … or the wonderous “brinner”.  Every Friday night we sit down to pancakes, eggs, stuffed french toast, and the occasional dry toast (rarely with vegemite) and feast but with leftovers that we can easily use the next morning.

Book Review: The Paris Wife had me enthralled with the love and betrayal of Ernest Hemingway told by the view of his first wife Hadley.

Never Felt Better!

Looks like my craftiness repertoire has increased once again.  I fell into this project by default – the right place at the right time (or as Rob would say “if she can find a new and unique way to spend money, she will”).  I was with some lady friends at a fabric shop (btw, I can’t escape the Midwest as the shop owner originally hails from good ol’ Tulsa OK) who were going to work on a felting project and I got distracted by bright pretty colored textiles and ended up walking out with (after paying for) a big bag of silk and wool (or what Rob would describe as “why do you have a big bag of hair”) … man, Rob sure is saying a lot in this post, huh? … Anyways, with my “bag of hair” I also had a follow up afternoon with the ladies to create …

Now, I have never felted before and I’m not going to go into all of the steps and things you do (but if you’re interested there is information here and pictures of finished felted projects here) but after 6 hours of playing with wool and silk and water and soap and throwing stuff around I ended up with this amazing wrap that I can wear out to fun things … or just around the house to fancy up my cleaning.  Oh yeah, and after Rob saw that to buy these suckers finished is anywhere from $300- $500 he very much appreciated the significantly smaller amount spent on supplies and a little bit of my rainy day elbow grease.

Book Review: Packing For Mars was quite insightful reading on the random minutia that goes into space exploration – including the tidbit that after 10 days of neither cleansing ones body nor changing clothes you pretty much smell the same thereon out.

Here's me demonstrating to the camera that I can hold a piece of wool

Before the watering and beat down

The finished wrap

Pavlova’s Hog

The Pavlova

Pavlova is a meringue dessert that is really really good.  It’s also Australian … or it’s from New Zealand … actually it is the subject of discourse between the two nations on who can claim it’s initial creation (which you can read about here).

Wait up – I have two thoughts on this

  1. It reminds me of a debate (which is here) in the U.S. regarding the most perfect sammie in the world (the Reuben) which is actually from Nebraska (call out to my home state – woot, woot!).
  2. Seriously? Out of all the items to countries could have strife about it’s a meringue and berry dessert? Really?
I decided that when in Rome, I should tackle the making of the pavlova for a dinner guest.  Oh yeah, and to make up for the fact that last week I tried to make home made bread to then use in blueberry stuffed french toast.  Let’s just say that the bread didn’t turn into anything that resembled bread or anything leaven for that matter.  Luckily the bakery is more competent in their break baking skills and was willing to sell me a loaf so I could complete dinner.
Shockingly I was able to make it with complete success and with the assistance of “our” appetite we finished the entire thing … I like to blame it that they recommend eating it immediately and at one sitting … really, they do … i swear …

How T-Shirt Becomes a Quilt

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Pre-move is a fantastic time to play “Hoarders” and donate a bunch of stuff to charity give ex-stuff to friends or throw it out.  One thing I’ve accumulated over the years (although it’s not many years given that I’m only 21)  are race tee-shirts.  A benefit of signing up for races is a committment to physical fitness that with the $30 – $110 fee they give you a FREE oversized heavy cotton tee shirt with a fantastic race logo and a barrage of sponsors plastered on the back.  Over time these have accumulated to a monumental stack of shirts that I never wear given the amount of money I’ve blown invested on technical running gear.  Since we are trying to reduce the amount of stuff we have I decided I (my mom and I) should make a quilt out of my old shirts.

She is a fantastic quilter.  Really, she is, it isn’t just something I tell myself to rationalize why my childhood bedroom no longer has a single memory of me living in it and instead resembles a fabric store.  And if you read this post <yup, this post here> you’ll remember that she was the driving force behind large quantities of jalepeno jelly.  She provided all of the direction and we started working.  (For the record, my sister’s account of this project may tend to minimize my role in the quilt creation and that the burden was shouldered by my mother.  This in fact is incorrect and she’s a giant liar-liar pants on fire).  We began cutting/ ironing shirts and watched Secretariat well into the night … (well, my mom kept working, I went to bed because I was sleepy)

The next day included selecting fabrics, organizing the squares into an agreeable pattern (think “color sodoku”), and pieced it all together.  I provided moral support and watched HGTV while my mom took the sewing lead … My mom continued to work on the quilt on Sunday after church while I assisted my sister with making dinner (once again she may have a different account of my actual level of assistance – but the important thing is that dinner was made).  After many, many hours I now have a fantastic new quilt to take on to Perth with us instead of a giant rubbermaid bin of old tee shirts sitting in storage.

Book Review: The Weird Sisters.  Delightfully wonderful, fantastically written.  Even better if you have a sister or are a fellow bibliophile.