Monday, November 15


We're back from a week at Binalong Bay. So beautiful and relaxing - just what we needed. Arj even slept well most nights and miraculously had two sleeps a day. Now we're back and slipping straight back into our pattern of illnesses - snotty noses and coughs agaaaaain. Arrrgh.

It's a great season for wildflowers. The Tassie coastal bush was looking spectacular and reminded me of WA. The kids had a great time on the beach and I (cos I'm tough!) had a couple of swims.

I'm gearing up for a last push at making for Niche market which starts on Friday (4-8pm on Friday (with a bar!) and 10 -4 on Saturday). It's going to be fun and I have a big bunch of clothes, hair thingies, t-shirts, headbands, sewing kits, brooches and even some Christmas decorations. Come and have a chat if you can - I'll be sneaking a glass of wine behind my stall!

Thursday, October 28


While I'm on the subject of my relatives, this was my Gran. Such a beautiful little girl. Her creativity came out in the kitchen. I have her handwritten recipes which get more and more difficult to read but are a lovely reminder for me and my kids.

Great Granny's biscuits - Coconut Crisps

1/4 lb butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
2 cups cornflakes
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 egg
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Then dry ingredients. Add a little milk. Bake 12-15 mins.

Monday, October 25

Jeweller to the Lost

I got a nice surprise the other day when I succumbed to my current magazine addiction (it's to do with the mistaken belief that I'll get to sit quietly with a coffee!) and found my Mum's cousin in a two page feature. She's Barbara Heath an amazingly talented jeweller based in Brisbane and isn't she gorgeous? Such a stunning photo. My close family are not crafty, creative types (no offence family!) but I love to see it is in the genes somewhere. Another of Mum's cousins is a well known cartoonist.
My folks owe me a present and I'm angling at something from Barbara. It would be perfect I think and lovely to have something made by her. Are you reading this Mum?

Friday, October 22

Show and Tell

Here are a few recent secondhand store/market scores. It's no wonder I feel surrounded by clutter - I have this need to collect.

1970s huon pine armchairs. They have leather backs and bases. I will eventually cover the cushions with charcoal or maybe a more modern chocolate brown fabric. Eventually. The old fabric goes well with yoghurt spills! From the Launceston Salvage Centre.

Original and pristine (we'll change that) 1960s saucer chair swapped for 5 ugly wall lights and our two old wall heaters! Brilliant. Launceston Salvage Centre again. The cushion was a Niche market purchase from Red Wren Designs.

We really didn't need any more canisters but how could I not buy these. They were only $15 for the lot. I can't go past a bargain like that!

Sunday, October 17


15% OFF everything


I can't justify buying any more fabric for new items until I get rid of some of the stock I made for the market I didn't make it too! So, everything is on sale for a while. I really want to make some new stuff!

Also, Black Eyed Susie is finally on Facebook. I think I may be addicted after resisting it for so long. If you want to stay updated please come and 'like' the Black Eyed Susie page.

Wednesday, October 13


A couple of belts and tees. Lest you think I've been getting stuff done this week, these have been waiting to be listed for a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 12

Calico and Co

A nice little surprise for a quiet, tired sort of day. The Springtime brooch is featured on the Calico and Co blog. It's alongside a great bunch of other beautiful brooches including two other Tassie makers. That Vintage and Shade of a Bonsai Tree. Aren't we Tasmanians a clever bunch? Don't listen to what they say about us!

Check it out here:
Calico and Co. [by amanda fuller]: Handmade Love: Contemporary Brooches

Friday, October 8


South East
And North East from our balcony.

I was up for about 10 minutes before the kids woke up this morning. This was the view. Just stunning. I totally, totally love living up high on the hill. Just gotta remember to stop and look at the view! It's an antedote to all the lurgies around here this week.
Sometimes it feels like a retreat up here, you can hardly even see the city with all the trees in front and you can't hear it.
One of my favourite things is when it's sunny but the air still has a tiny bit of a chill and the bell from the Carmelite monastery nearby is tolling. It feels like the Dordogne in France did. It does make me desperate to go there again though!

Wednesday, October 6

So, as some of you would know. We didn't make it to The Market. Bummed. Sometimes the kiddies just have to come first though. Poor Arj has had yet another ear infection. Being in Hobart at 11pm with him screaming in pain and no idea even if a pharmacy was open we had to take him to emergency. The staff were wonderful (especially on Grand Final Night - poor things) and I'm sure they got him in extra quickly. They put local anesthetic drops in his ear - the BEST thing ever. Wish we had some of them every time. Now he's OK thank goodness.

We did a long slow drive home as Sam and I were feeling pretty naff from being up all night then thankfully got a good nights sleep Sunday. Lucky because Monday night Sam, Chloe and I all got some sort of gastro. I jinxed myself because I'd just told someone that day that we'd been lucky so far and not had that happen. How is it possible to look after your kids in this situation? I was so glad Mum and Dad are back from Argentina and came bearing Lucozade. Changed Chloe's bed and provided some decent food for Arj as well as numerous other jobs. Thanks Mum and Dad!

I'm planning a sale in the online shops cos I've got an awful lot of stock and no markets currently booked. Will let you know when I get it together. Oh, and, I've finally jumped on the Facebook bandwagon and have a business page. I'll give "likers" 10% off online prices (excluding postage and cannot be used with other discounts) until the end of November. Go here to have a sticky beak.

Friday, September 24

The Market

OK, so, proper market post this time (although it's 3.40am so there'll probably be spelling and grammar mistakes - blame the babes, it's not my fault!).
Black Eyed Susie is off to The Market in Sandy Bay Rd, Hobart, opposite St David's Park on the 3rd of October. I've visited The Market before but not had a stall so I'm excited. The organisers make sure there is an ever changing array of sellers to keep it fresh. I'm sure I'll discover something new that I just have to have - the great downfall to my bank balance of doing markets.
Other Black Eyed Susie news is that the make up bag sewing kits are now available at The Mill Providore in Launceston - go visit if you can, Becky has a beautiful range of locally made produce and gifts. I have my eye on quite a few things in there. Also, there is a French hard goats cheese that is to die for. Can't remember the name but it's the only full goats milk hard cheese in stock.

Wednesday, September 22

To market, to market

Bit quiet on the blog front recently. I did actually write a post but felt it wasn't right and took it down - I'm a crazy worrier you know. We've had a sick, teething boy and various tradesmen in the house. Lots of tradesmen's bills to pay now. I've had a few of those "why do I actually persist with trying to have a business moments." It's pretty hard (as most of you will know) trying to juggle things around the kids. Generally it means, if I'm working, everything else slides - including housework, cooking and socialising. I've just cut Chloe back to one day a week in childcare and Arj had his first day (same day as Chloe) last week. The whole using childcare to work on a business that isn't really giving returns at the moment is very, very guilt inducing so if anything too negative happens on the work front it can make me feel like giving up pretty easily. Did that sentence make any sense?

I won't talk about the specific incident that triggered all this as it's over now and apologies have been made. The thing is I do love having my business (most of the time). It's been an amazing way for me to meet great friends (Mrs Burns and Mrs Smith, Kristen, Annie, Sophie, Selina and Jasperboy just for a start), it's given me so much more confidence in many areas - there was a time when I was embarassed about my making and challenged me to learn a huge amount. I get pretty toey if I don't get to sew or make for a while and, hey, I have to do something with the vast amounts of fabric that seems to make me buy it! So, I think the childcare is worth it. I think Arj will like playing with other littlies and I think it's been good for Chloe overall. I guess I'll always be in two minds about it.

Well, that was a bit of a stream of conciousness thing. It all just popped out. This was supposed to be about going to The Market in Hobart on October 3rd. Exciting. I'll come back later and do that post properly cos it deserves it.

Thursday, September 16

Yergh and Eeww.

Poor Arj has been terribly sick this week. He's on the mend now but has teeth coming through too. Poor bloke.

Avert your eyes now if you don't want to know about baby poo.

He managed to splurt right out of his nappy and all over himself and his Dad, not to mention the floor. Ewwww. The good part - I was asleep and totally missed the whole occurence including the cleaning up!

Suprisingly I have actually managed a touch of sewing this week. The first since Niche and it felt good. More to come.

Friday, September 10


It would be nice to stop singing the Bob the Builder theme song in my head. Even just for an hour. Aaarrrgh.

We're going through a Bob watching stage here and we've discovered our builder friend has an apprentice called Chloe. My Chloe is totally thrilled by this and has been building with Duplo all morning. We scored a whole Duplo farm set at the Op Shop yesterday. Bargain! I love a good Op shop trawl.

Tuesday, September 7

Breaking free

I've barely worn a skirt or a dress since I got pregnant with Arj. I've broken the dress drought now and it feels good. I always feel a bit free when I wear a dress and the beautiful Spring weather is helping too.
I dress quite differently since I had kids. Lots of loose floppy tops - for fairly obvious tummy disguising reasons. It's not that I necessarily want to hide it from others - it's just that I feel better if I hide it from me! And I love wearing long tunics or short dresses over jeans. My Asics tiger sneakers (red suede with silver trim - second pair) are almost worn through from practically living in them but I did that before I had kids too. I'm starting to wonder if I can get a third pair exactly the same - boring maybe but they are so great.
Did you change your dress style? I know some people who dressed more formally before for work. That wasn't me. I worked in a stinky microbiology lab. What with the smell and the attractive (not) blue surgical gowns there was really no point. I think I have nicer clothes now I don't work!

I'm quietly lusting after a few dresses or tunics on Etsy too. Check out Emily Ryan and Pamela Tang. I like Emily's gathered front tunics and dresses (and wow, I've just seen this, it got sold right when I was about to show you!) and Pamela's centre pleat dress.
Have you noticed I seem to have a bit of a shopping addiction going at the moment?

Sunday, September 5

Happy Father's Day

This is the man. He never reads my blog so it's tempting to tell all sorts of funny stories about him. I won't though. I'll be nice. It is Father's Day after all.

He's had a hard week and is totally exhausted looking. So am I. I'm afraid I have to admit that he made the pancakes this morning as I couldn't shift myself out of bed. Oops. I did make him scrambled eggs for brekkie on Saturday and we did go out for dinner last night. Does that count?
I just read Gemma's post on Loz and Dinny. This one doesn't quite come up to the same standard! Sorry Sam.

Wednesday, September 1

Fashion Queen

Hmmm. Not doing a whole lot for my standing as a kid's clothing maker! This is how Chloe would get about every day if I let her.

Tuesday, August 31


Black Eyed Susie sewing kits can now be found at Nest in beautiful Penguin. The perfect place for a day trip on a sunny Spring day. I love visiting Penguin. There are always great, smooth, multi-coloured pebbles to collect on the beach. Nice coffee and food to be had at Wild and The Groovy Penguin, markets to visit and now gift shopping to be done.

If you get a chance drive to Penguin along the old coastal road from Ulverstone. The scenery is stunning and you'll know you're almost there when the road verge becomes a riotously coloured flower garden. We once rode along the NW coast from Boat harbour to Devonport stopping in Penguin for the night and now I'm wondering if we could do it again this Spring. Would the kids handle being in the bike trailer thingie for long enough? Maybe if we make lots of beach stops.

Sunday, August 29

A few not very good photos of our Niche Market stall. Ignore the disembodied legs in the corner - she's hiding - but not particularly well! We did a better set up on the Sunday and had a less cluttered look with more height on the table but, of course, I forgot to take any photos. I'm hoping someone will have some. Also forgot to take any of all the other lovely stalls.**
Gemma and I had a great time chatting - with each other, with customers, with other stall holders and the lovely Selina (Multi tasking organiser extraordinaire) and with our lovely Mums who were around a lot!
It's been a huge weekend with lots on for the Junction Regional Arts Festival too. We've been out to the Festival both nights and this arvo. So tired. More info soon.
** Also forgot Mum and Dad were going to babysit so we could go out for dinner tonight. Went to sleep and woke up when Sam had already cooked. Damn. Damn. We needed a 'date night' badly.

Wednesday, August 25

Nearly time

Busy, busy, busy. I wanted to show off a few new things I've been making in preparation for Niche but they haven't made it in front of the camera yet. It's going to be a great market I think. Loads of makers that are new to Niche and a lot of more familiar faces too.

I've got some new tops and dresses, some cool tees for boys, belts for boys and girls, cute bibs and lots of hair thingies. I'll also have some pretty brooches for the more grown up girls amongst us and a bunch of the new cosmetic bag sewing kits. I hope to have some bunting sewing kits too - pre-cut triangles, binding and instructions. A great, simple project with very impressive results and ideal for beginner sewers including kids. Perfect to make for a nursery (maybe when the nesting instinct hits!), child's room or for reusable party decorations.
I just haven't had the time to make as much stock as I wanted (particularly for boys) but I'll be taking some fabric samples so if you're interested in ordering something just ask for a look.
I'm looking forward to hanging out with Gemma and choosing one of her lovely dresses for my dress loving princess/mermaid. I've come to the realisation that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em and that we just need a vast collection of dresses and skirts.

Saturday, August 21


Some things that have changed for me since I became a mother. Apart from the obvious - having two little cuties with me most of the time!

* I loooove my vacuum cleaner. Seriously. It's one of my most favourite possessions.

* My mountain bike gains more dust than mileage. Let's not even mention my road bike. Or all my other outdoor gear eg my lovely, only used once Macpac ladies backpack (yes, it is lovely and yes, it is just a pack). At least I do carry a small spare tyre with me everywhere at the moment.

* Trips to Kmart can increase my feeling of sanity as opposed to the complete opposite. Scarey.

* I barely ever listen to my own choice of music and am not allowed to sing along in the car. "I'm helping the lady sing Mum."

* I drive a family wagon that cost more than three times the price of my previous most expensive car. Also scarey.

* I cannot hold a thought from one room to another and have the memory of a goldfish. Not much help when you're trying to multitask!

* I cook meat and three veg almost every night and a clear, freshly vacuumed floor is the ultimate luxury.

So what's changed for you?? I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, August 17

Pressies for bike loving Dads

I've always got my eye open for things Sam might like. He's not the sort of person to covet things or buy much for himself so I do like to try to surprise him every now and then.

These are a few things I've noticed recently.

This jersey from BA Gear is almost perfect for him. It even says I am Sam on the side! We read this book a lot at our house given that we have one very fussy eater.

Cute tee set from here

More bike related tees. Found here.

Groovy bike tool roll. This might be the Father's Day pressie. More here.

Thursday, August 12


Cute shoes from Walnut. They've got a few on sale just now (cute hot pink with chocolate binding and very, very cheap) and I'm tempted. If you are too, just be careful about the sizing - I has to get size 41 when I'm usually 39 or at the most 40. There are also some very cute patent leather ones. I'm trying to keep myself to "need" only buying for a few weeks - it's amazing what I can convince myself we need though!

Tuesday, August 10

Psycho Baby

Awww, just look at that little face. You could be forgiven for thinking he's a little angel.
Uh, uh. This child seems to have been (temporarily we hope) possessed by an evil, psycho baby.
Yep, Mum and Dad would really love to listen to you cry half the night and, hey, why eat a sandwich when you can sit on it. Don't let Mum wipe your bum, why not rub poo into the carpet instead. It needs a good clean anyway. Now, just pretend your going to give your Mum a cuddle and then headbutt her in the teeth instead. Ha, ha, ha, how funny. And you know, Mum does love the Tamar Valley, how about a night time tour - make sure you stay awake and yell at regular intervals the whole way. Hell, some places are probably better in the dark. Mum and Dad haven't been drinking much lately, they really could do with upping their alcohol tolerance levels and lets see if we can make Mum break her all time chocolate gobbling record.
Teething??? We hope so. We also hope it's over soon!
PS Don't worry I haven't hit the grog yet! The chocolate - yes.

Monday, August 9

Lentils - yum, yum.

Don't believe me? Try these.

Here you go Mrs Smith.

Lentils in Red Wine

2 tbsp olive oil
1 stick celery finely diced
1 lrg carrot finely diced
1 lrg onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups lentils de puy or any small green/brown lentils
1 cup red wine
1 cup stock (veggie or beef is you prefer)
1 fresh bay leaf crushed
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp chopped parsley

Fry the celery, onion and carrot in the olive oil in a large saucepan until onion is cooked.

Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.

Stir in lentils and wine and reduce for a few minutes.

Add the stock, 1 1/2 cups of water and the herbs.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are nicely cooked.

These are good with some creamy mashed potatoes and a glass of red.

Sunday, August 8


My good friend the other day commented that she tries to concentrate on the positives in her day. I am the kind of person who needs to be reminded to do this so it was great that she said it. I seem to get tangled up in the nitty gritty and forget about the big picture too.

It was a well timed comment. It's been one hell of a narky weekend here at grumblebum central. I'm wondering if the kids are getting sick again (or maybe are sick already). Arj is almost walking so perhaps he's just frustrated. He's raring to go but can only make it about 5 steps.

Some good things:

Enjoying sewing, sewing, sewing. I miss it when I'm not busy.

Listening to Sia - great sewing music and good for drowning out grumpers.

The almond tree next door has started to blossom (negative point: it's the only tree they didn't knock down with a backhoe a while back in their quest to have the largest, flattest, greenest lawn in our suburb - see I struggle to hang on to the good points).
Arj looks so, so cute toddling around.

Chloe has been singing lengthy songs about singing songs and having a lot of dvds.

Hot cheese scones.

Not having to cook the dinner (negative point: because the sink is leaking into my sewing room in a huge and scarey way and we don't want to wash up in the bathroom).
Red polka dot racing swimsuit I saw at the pool today. I may have to get me one.

This handbag

From Anthropologie. If I do OK at the market I may have to think seriously about this. The buttons are embroidered. Cute.

Wednesday, August 4

News just in

Black Eyed Susie, in conjunction with Loz and Dinny will be at Niche. Yay. Hmmm, better go tie myself to the sewing machine.

Niche had two venues this time, the Art school at Inveresk and the Boathouse. We'll be hanging out in the Boathouse. For details go to the Niche blog. Hope to see you there! I'm looking forward to all the chatting and catching up. And drinking coffees and doing a spot of shopping and hopefully, eating some Hungry Kitty cakes again.


Thanks so much for all your lovely and helpful comments in the giveaway. I decided to draw two winners.

True Random Number Generator
Result: 14
Powered by RANDOM.ORG


True Random Number Generator
Result: 5
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Kelly and Kate. I'll try to contact you today - or if you see this first you could shoot me an email with you address -

Now, some exciting news. The kits will soon be available at Thread Den in North Melbourne and their new shop and sewing lounge in Fitzroy. How great that you can treat yourself to a little pressie or buy some materials and then pop into the sewing lounge for a spot of making! What a great place. I'm looking forward to a visit as soon as I can get myself on a plane.

Friday, July 30

Moving on...

from the last post as it makes me feel a bit negative. I've nicked this photo from Loz and Dinny of these quilts I made and forgot to photograph. They're pretty wonky (but don't tell Tavish and Arlo) and I discovered that even with a walking foot you have to be really careful when quilting flannel. There's a lot of puckering on the back. I've got some of the fabric left so Arj will be getting one too one of these days. The fabric is All Star by Riley Blake which you can get here. It's perfect for boys.

Today I lost my temper.

Properly I mean. Not just a little bit. I didn't yell or shout or kick anything but I did feel shakey for about half an hour afterwards. Not nice. This has maybe happened about 6 times in my life.

I wasn't going to blog this as I sometimes think bitchy blog posts can come across pretty badly, but well, this week has been a bit of a shocker and I maybe just reached the end of my tether but I also think I stuck up for my kids and myself in a way that was completely reasonable. I'm pretty tough on my kids in shops, I don't like them touching and playing with things, in fact I sometimes think I'm too tough on Chloe. So, shop owner, if you don't want young kids in your shop don't have a crate full of toddler toys for them to play with. My kids were happily playing and Chloe just brushed her hand along some merchandise that was right next to the toys. The shop owner (who has been rude to me a number of times in the past) told her off, I said "I am watching them," then she backchatted me to another customer. Needless to say we won't be going back there ever again.

So, it sounds like a tiny thing now it's written down. It didn't feel like it at the time.

Poor little Arj has been sick for what seems like weeks now. He's been going up and down with an ear infection that is proving difficult to shake and probably a virus on top of it. He's on his third lot of antibiotics for this infection. The last one took three lots too. Have any of you had experiences like this? I think he's teething too and the doctor said that some kids have this trouble until they stop teething. I really hope he doesn't. He's so, so miserable.

Poor little Chloe got her thumb stuck in a door this week too. She's OK but it was horrible anyway.

Now, that's the bad things out of the way. Time for the good things. We had a lovely Brown Owls meet up last night in the Wood Design Centre. It's the most beautiful building with the most beautiful collection of furniture. I met one of my old flatmates from Uni there for the first time since Uni - a long time ago now - and it was so nice to see her.

On the work front, I've got an exciting stockist lined up for the sewing kits. Considering how little time I've had to do anything this week that's amazing!! The GIVEAWAY is still open. Make sure you enter. Go on, you know you want to.

Tuesday, July 27

Uptown Girl

First off, don't forget! There's a giveaway down below. Go enter!

A while ago I made Chloe a version of Make It Perfect's Uptown Girl jacket. Here she is modelling it and her new fringe which she's terribly keen on. She spends a lot of time checking herself out in the mirror these days. Putting lip balm and jewellery on and flouncing about in her Cinderella dress. Unfortunately she doesn't want to wear the jacket, in fact she doesn't want to wear anything I've made her except said Cinderella dress. I made the jacket a little large anyway and I know she'll come round. It just takes a couple of months and all of a sudden it'll be the best thing since sliced bread so any day now I suppose.
So, anyway, if you're wanting to make any lovely little jackets I highly recommend this pattern. It was well written, constructed and fun to make and I've just noticed it comes in larger sizes now too. I'm really happy with how it turned out and the fabric choices. Being reversible makes it more exciting for Chloe too.

Oh, and you can sorta see behind Chloe the toy kitchen Sam and I made in a combined effort. He did most of the work, I did the sewing, purchasing of fittings and "creative direction." It's very strongly based on this pattern but we scaled it up and used MDF instead of cardboard.

Sunday, July 25


I'd really like your opinion! I have a new product that I've been slowly working on for a while. It's a sewing kit for a waterproof cosmetic bag. The thing is, what with the kids, other work projects, housework, trying to have a bit of a social life, the endless washing, washing, washing, etc, it's taken a while and I've lost any sense of objectivity. I'd love if you could take a look at them here or here and tell me what you think. Even if you just tell me which is your favourite fabric. Everyone who comments will go into a draw for the kit containing their favourite fabric.

The kits contain fabric, vinyl, zipper, pattern and detailed instructions. I've had fun choosing a bunch of cute fabrics designed by Aussies (Danielle Stewart, Aunty Cookie and Melbomba so far) and hand screen printed in Australia. If these work out I'll be looking at increasing the range of fabrics.

I'll draw the winner on Monday the 2nd of August.

PS You can choose the tree print in blue, or the protea print in aubergine if you prefer.

Friday, July 23

Stuff I love

Rainbow stripes and a combi. Really, what more could you ask for. I have bought this tapestry kit and am happily stitching away through the Tour de France. It's by Granny Knits.

Maybe this one will be next! From Clothkits.

This jacket reproduced from the original 70s Clothkits designs. I'm sure I remember this from my Mum's catalogues when I was little. This is underway for Arj. I'm hoping I'll get it done before the end of winter! Available here. So cute, it even has a tractor and three farm animal prints to make into softies that fit in the pockets.

Checking out fabric both vintage and new on True Up.

The new fabric line from American Jane. Love it. I always love American Jane fabrics. I really seem to be drawn to the clear bright mainly primary colours. Available here.

These Auntie Cookie papercut fabrics. A bargain!

Lino Forest and Find, Make, Do blogs.