Archive | January 2014


same in all languages, it seems.

my first introduction to the concept of a talisman, was actually through a song, by air – the french band. one of my favourites by them. that album, moon safari was like a soundtrack to my late-teen daydreams of visiting France. all beside the point of this post, but a very luscious song in any case.

the subject of this post is actually tassels. as is sometimes the case, there is no difference between the word in english and its french translation. no fun.

so i plugged ‘tassel’ into wiki and i learnt some curious facts:
– once upon a time (and possibly still??), the crafting of tassels (amongst other things, like pompoms, fringes and cord) was (is?) a true artform in France. such people are called passementiers, and had to put in 7 years of apprenticeship before being able to call themselves a master!
– in the middle east, tassels were worn by children atop hoods and caps as talismans, to protect from evil.

and at the end of all that, i chose to title this post talisman. which, again, is the same in english as it is french. ha.

let me be clear in saying, there are no magical powers happening here. just plain old – but fun – tassels.

some time ago, i made some longer bugle-like beads of fimo but didn’t really know what to do with them. the other week i decided to make a few tassels out of embroidery thread i had lying around to hang off the ends of the beads. i was pretty happy, so i made a few more to gift to friends.


making them is SUPER easy.


(forgive the crappy photo quality – it isn’t easy making with one hand and photographing with the other!!)

and now finally, HAPPY WEEKEND!!!


sablés (de Noël) à la cannelle.

(christmas) spiced cookies.

yes, this is a late post for (christmas) cookies, but there are many reasons for this.
a) they are easily edible all year-round, as proven by our own consumption non-stop since we made our first batch back in september.
b) T & i prepped a big batch of dough (recipe found on Instructables) to bake for christmas giftage, but we didn’t get to see everyone to deliver until now (note: dough was cookie cut, frozen and then fresh baked on the day… don’t worry, we did not deliver month old cookies!)

while they are baking, the smell that wafts through our apartment is AMAZING… but unfortunately, there are always breakages or mistakes…. but they are dealt with in the most appropriate manner. mmm. delicious.

as for the rest which are worthy of gifting – due to the fragile, unintentionally jurassic park themed shapes (including a palm tree, a brontosaurus and a plane), the cookies couldn’t just go in any old box, jar or tin.

so i made boxes from sheets of kraft board to perfect size. i found a pretty simple construction, which i liked because it is a single piece of board – less fuss, less wastage – and it collapses completely flat. for fold lines i used an embossing tool which was sold to me when the art store didn’t have a bone folder. it works fine, but in fact just as well as the back of a butter knife or the head of a crochet hook.


on the leftover offcuts, i used strips of washi tape to make tags. fun.

cookie final

i recently bought a pair of pinking shears at the sales too. you can see that they also made their mark. ha.

sur l’herbe, sous un arbre.

on the grass, under a tree.

the other week, i hinted at another project on the go with this, a pile of pre-cut fabric awaiting the availability of a sewing machine (mine is currently on loan!). during a post-christmas visit to see my folks, i hid away for an hour or two to embrace the luxury of my ma’s ever-ready-and-set-up industrial sewing machine.

so the project: a new picnic mat!

our existing picnic mat was a cheapie, but served us well for a good 3 years. generically tartaned, i’m afraid that it suffered too many a spilled beer and stray ember to live on (this last camping trip contributed greatly to its demise). a launder would have guaranteed disintegration. so i shopped around, but didn’t find anything perfect enough to warrant the mysteriously high prices.

the solution is obviously triangles.

in my stash, i had saved a bundle of coated linen which was perfect for the underside (saving from a seat in damp grass!) and at the post-christmas sales, i managed to score bargains on basic cotton homespun in a good combo of colours for a patchwork top side.


it took a big hour of prep, spread out on the floor in anti-yogic postures – with calculations of measurements and a freestyle approach to cutting panels. the sewing took something like an hour and a half, contending with a bit of repetition with the triangles and the consequences of said “freestyle approach to cutting panels” >> mismatching measurements. all in all, it turned out ok and i’m actually pretty chuffed with it. i added some d rings and made a strap so it can be rolled and carried to an ideal picnic destination – somewhere on the grass, under a tree.



another venture into fimo.

some bits to send in a care package (along with quality aussie ‘delicacies’) to mates who relocated last year to the northern hemi.

the half-sphere version of the beloved fimo bead.
tip: if after you’ve spent what feels like an age softening and kneading the fimo to mould it, then need to cut it – wait until it cools and hardens again to maintain the shape. seems obvious, but not obvious enough for me…. ha. ended up with many a squashed ovoid half bead.


and a funny (and yes, pretty ugly) recreation of a typical (and unrenovated) sydney terrace. with such small detail, i got over trying to make it look better pretty fast. bang a magnet on the back >> fridge magnet!



an imprint, impression, mark, stamp.

(french translation of stamp (the rubber kind) is tampon. hmm. yes. i know.)

so anyway – with all the card-ing and gift-wrapping going on lately with the holiday season, i keep coming back to stamps. i have a couple of alphabet sets, but that’s about it. there are loads of stamps or stamp sets out there, but they’re all ug – or they have a super cute motif with text that says something dumb, or uses bad font to say it.

solution. make it yo’self.

in one of my many other ‘i-want-to-try-that’ moments, i stopped in the local art store to buy some bits to try lino printing (as a step forward from my leather carving). the shop assistant could smell the amateur-ness on me and suggested that as a beginner i take a rubber printing block. quite thick, its a completely smooth surface and mega easy to carve. needless to say, after i brought it home i forgot all about the printing and it sat on my desk uncarved for a year. so i found it again and used my carving tools to try cut some stamps. (of course, you can also use a hobby knife and cut into an eraser… it’ll do the same)


and they turned out pretty sweet!

stamp test note