Monday, 25 June 2012

When life gives you lemons

You make a lot of lemon desserts, which is what I did when our daughter gave us a bucket full from their over-laden lemon tree last week.  First up was the lemon delicious, then my friend Rowena's Greek Lemon and Coconut Cake.  Still the fruit bowl groaned with lemons.  It was time to bring out the big guns - my legendary (in my mind) ...

Lemon Meringue Pie.  Oh yes. 

Feeling a little virtuous for using what was at hand, I cast my eye around my sewing studio to see what improvements I could make.

I didn't have to look far - the book shelves were groaning with magazines, most with post-it stickers for future reference (my food magazines have more stickers than pages). I had been meaning for some time to create mini fabric bolts using archive card, but who needs cardboard when you are the Magazine Queen?  If you have the same fetish and feel guilty about the ever-growing stack, then here's a good way to ease your conscience.

Take your fabric which is already folded selvage to selvage and fold it in half lengthwise, making four thicknesses.

Place the magazine on top of the folded fabric.

Make the first fold, being careful to align the edges.  See how perfectly the magazine fits?  Feeling very smug.

Keep folding, smoothing as you go along.

Voila!  I find that you can wind up to 3 metres before it starts to become a little bulky.

Now I feel like singing like Mrs Bucket every time I look at my bookshelf.

We Fudges tend to buy rather large jars of coffee when they are on special at the supermarket and siphon the contents into a smaller jar, thus keeping the larger volume protected from becoming stale.  When the larger jars are finally empty, they are put to good use.

I love looking at the vintage buttons which until now have been stored away in a box.  They belonged to my late mother who could never resist a bargain, particularly if it involved fabric, buttons, art books, good crockery, or magazines (of course).  Our children used to play with the buttons when they were little and now they are ready for our grandchildren.  

Just as well it's cold - it's perfect weather for plenty of coffee drinking.  I need more jars because I have so many more of my mother's buttons to display.  Must remember to buy some eucalyptus oil to remove those pesky gold labels.

Friday, 22 June 2012


Possibly it's the end of the financial year lurking on the horizon, bringing dreaded thoughts of tax returns to be completed. Whatever it is, this month has been full of deadlines.

As a consequence my poor Etsy and MadeIt shops have been woefully neglected and the fabric I had purchased at the beginning of the month lay there staring at me mournfully.

Finally I was able to make this reversible swing dress, with promises of more completed items next week.  With that behind me, I couldn't put off any longer the next most pressing deadline ... machine quilting a challenge quilt, due in Brisbane in a couple of weeks.

Wish I could show you more, but shhh ... it's a secret.  However, you can go here to take a look at an earlier challenge. 

I guess I should be grateful for deadlines, otherwise I would possibly just sit here in front of my computer screen and vegetate.  Sigh. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Butterflies and Flowers

The sewing machine is still, the iron switched off.  The last dress in this version is ready to be mailed first thing in the morning to a little one year-old in Arkansas.

I have loved making this dress and it has proved to be quite popular, but there is now only enough fabric left to make, maybe, a skirt, so I have to let go.

My little American model turned three this week.  In years to come, remember you saw her here first!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Show time

Way back in the Thirties and Forties (as in Nineteen Hundred and), Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were teenagers in the Andy Hardy movie series.  No matter what the situation, Mickey would always say to Judy, "Let's hire a hall and put on a show."  Today it was the crafting community's turn and what a show it was.

The Craft & Quilt Fair came to town at the Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre and today my daughter and I left the menfolk at home (one grandfather, one father, and one three year-old) and had a girls' day out.   

As we entered the quilt exhibition hall we heard applause, so we followed the sound and discovered that the quilt awards were being handed out.  We watched for a time and then decided it would be prudent to inspect the quilts while the crowds were otherwise occupied.

My daughter is not a quilter, but is a new convert to knitting, so we were delighted to come across Loani Prior, famous for her wonderfully quirky tea cosies, in attendance at her booth.

Among the many quilt booths I found my favourite Sydney store, Material Obsession.  I am on the same wavelength with this store in its fabric, colour and design choices, and there was a little elephant bag on display that I know sooner or later I will have to make.

In our family, a girl can never have too many magazines and I could not resist these at only $2 each.  My daughter managed to do a little more damage.  I am so proud of her.

While The Knitter was in a buying frenzy, I was caught up in her enthusiasm and found myself buying these two balls of beautifully soft wool.

Of course, the wool is useless without knitting needles.  Aren't they adorable?  They come from Russia with love and are made of birch and maple.  Just perfect for a warm scarf to help me through my first Sydney winter in 21 years.

Kim McLean's Pandemonium (detail)

What a fun day we had.  I will be back on Friday to take a proper look at the quilts with some quilting friends.  Can't wait!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

What else could you expect on the last day of a long weekend?  Rain and a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.  What to do?  Go on a steam train, of course.

Tickets had been purchased many weeks back, which was just as well, because it seemed as though half Sydney's population had the same idea.

Granddad Fudge was in his element, being a steam fanatic from childhood.  He had a very attentive audience hanging off his every word.

The enthusiasm was contagious and there was a rush to get on board.

For one mad moment I was tempted to throw myself onto the coal ...

... so that I could end up here.  At least I would be warm.

We quickly found our seats and we were away.

It was then that I discovered that I had a stow-away hidden in my rain jacket pocket.  

We Fudge Seniors have a running gag going back many years.  This wind-up nun is secreted in the other's possessions and discovered at the most unusual times and locations.  My last memory of her was enjoying an espresso in Rome back in 2009.  Hisself had better be watchful, because I have a feeling that nun is about to show up when he least expects it.

The children enjoyed their half-time snacks while we waited for the train to begin its return journey.

But I was holding out for something a little warmer back in the city.  A vat of cafe latte, French style.

It was well worth the wait, and much more satisfying than leaping into the steam locomotive fire box.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Game

Mr Fudge and I had a deja vu moment this morning when we set out to watch our five year-old grandson play soccer.  It all came back in a rush, those early morning soccer games watching our own son play.

Apparently this is the smallest size made for our future stars and the seamstress in me had to be restrained from whipping it off him and taking around half a metre from the bottom and machine in the sides several hundred centimetres.  At least there's plenty of room to grow.

To keep the little ones from freezing to death pre-game, kicking practice was encouraged.

You had to admire our boy's style.

Ah youth - look at that energy.

Half time meant lashings of water melon and oranges.

Photo: Mr Fudge
The enthusiasm waned a little during the second half and there was time to dream of being a Roman Emperor.

Or make the Letter T.

Eventually it ended and the team got together to discuss the most important part of the game ...


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Baby it's cold outside

The whole eastern coast of Australia is in the clutches of a cold snap, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to divulge the Hot Fudge Sure Fire Method of Keeping Warm.  It's really very simple.  Keep moving.

My local quilt shop is having a sale this month so I practised what I preached and moved rather rapidly down the highway to the store.

That sure got the heart racing, and we even managed to reach home before the violent storm hit our part of the city.

Now that the blood was pumping, I felt the need to cut out and pin the final feather of the first block in my appliqué quilt.

This is a long-term project, but one I am thoroughly enjoying.  And so long as I don't look out the window, the colours fool me into thinking that it is really warm outside.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Etsy Success Sydney

Etsy came to town yesterday and what a show it was.   It was one of those you-should-have-been-here-last-weekend sort of days, as the heavens opened up and the cold set in to chill the bones.

Still, with views like this from the roof deck of the Museum of Contemporary Art, no one was really complaining.

Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy, came all the way from Brooklyn with his entourage for the occasion.

Etsy Success Sydney was part of the Vivid Sydney Festival, which itself is attracting huge crowds to  numerous events and displays.  Several weeks ago my lovely young friend Belinda Harris of BrisStyle advised that she was to be a key speaker at the event and asked me to hold her hand while she presented her workshop, Effective Etsy Team Management.  Bel and I were part of the original BrisStyle committee and we had seen it grow from 12 people meeting in a coffee shop in 2008 to its present membership of over 270.  It has been quite a journey.

We were fortunate to have a little calm time before the hoards arrived, so we grabbed a cup of coffee and took in the view from the museum's deck, along with a couple of early arrivals. 

The serenity was short-lived as the sell-out crowds started to arrive.

Before we could take time out for a quiet scream, they day had begun.  The first workshop was conducted by Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson.

Next up was Danielle Maveal, head of Etsy's Seller Education.  Bel and I had exchanged many emails with Danielle over the years, so it was good to finally put a face to the name.

Morning tea came with a rush - and a crush.  No matter where you turned, there was no avoiding that iconic bridge.

Our workshop was fast approaching.  The photographer took our pictures (mercifully my photo will not be shown in this blog).

We were fitted with microphones and launched onto the stage.

And there I sat, perched on a stool like a shag on a rock, while Bel worked her magic.  I did manage a few sentences as way of introduction, but it's all a blur.  By the time Bel had finished her wonderful presentation, it was time for questions and answers.  Of course, my mike died and I was left like a puffer fish gasping for air.  I secretly sent up a prayer of thanks that no one outside this venue would see me.  I did notice the cameramen at the back of the two function rooms, but their true purpose had not really occurred to me.

Imagine my horror when it was announced that all the sessions would be podcast.  To the World.  Noooooo!!  I have visions of someone posting me up on YouTube, where it will mercilessly go viral.  Mummy.  My only hope is that the kind cameraman concentrated solely on Bel.

The session following us was a lively panel discussion with top-selling Australians Lloyd (Tummy Mountain), Sam (Matou En Peluche) and BrisStyle member Jess (Epheriell).  

It was time for me to leave, as I had a very important event to attend - our youngest grandson's third birthday, with extra grandparents winging in from Melbourne.  What a day.