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attaché.

attached. tied. bound.

all such words appropriate for a post on valentines gifting! ha!

to sit alongside a new wrist wrap which i macrame’d out of coated cotton cord and the large dark chocolate Haigh’s frog (yum), i thought to replace T’s grossly deteriorating rubber grips on his bike, with new leather ones.

valentines_wristwrap_leather_bike_grips

these would be the 3rd set i have made. the lessons i learnt from the previous sets were:

measure the width of leather needed to wrap around the handlebar, then less 0.5cm to accommodate for the thickness of the leather (especially if you’re measuring with a tape rather than the leather itself) and the stretch. a snug fit is better than a loose fit, or even just a fit (i’ve learnt this by losing grips by having them fly off mid-pedal. no grip happening there).

– leather to metal does not grip as well as one would think. this also contributed to the flying lost grip incident above. a fellow cyclist commented on how cool those previous grips looked when i was stopped at the traffic lights (obviously before i lost them). i mentioned how they weren’t as grippy as they should be and he suggested i use cut up inner-tube as an underlay. genius!

you need a sturdy lacing. even doubled leather sewing waxed cotton is not enough. i’ve gone for coated cotton cord, strong and actually looks good too.

so after working out the exact size of rectangle i needed for each grip, i ruled lines to ensure that my punched holes would line up. (tip: one of those plastic chopping boards is good to have under your leather when using a punch, resistant enough to make a clean hole while safe for the tool) make sure that your holes are a generous size for whichever lacing you are using, particularly if some fraying might occur on the ends (otherwise you can tape up the ends and trim after). after a good half hour of malleting (sorry downstairs neighbour!), i was ready to pre-lace. of course, you can lace them directly onto the handle bars, but for gifting, it needed to look a bit pretty so i threaded through the lace leaving a substantial amount of length at the ends to allow for loosening when the time came to put them on.

now i need to make a set for me!

diy_leather_bike_grips

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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.

picnic_mat

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.

20140101_165942

pique-nique.

picnic.

we do love a good picnic. any excuse to indulge in some good snacky food and sit outside! (we even picnic inside on the loungeroom floor sometimes)

for T’s birthday i launched myself into another big (and highly foreign) project. a picnic bag. i lost sleep over it – working out how to construct it, and then waking up early to duck off to the office to get some sewing done before work. baaaaah!! crazy one, but got it done just in time!

the main body of the bag is a combo of khaki cotton canvas, which i’ve had in my stash for ages, with a base and straps of a sturdy textured outdoor furniture fabric i picked up from reverse garbage at marrickville. the trims on the front flap are black veg-tan leather that i saddle stitched on. inside the main bag is another smaller bag of all the same fabric, but includes a layer of crafters insulating fabric from insul-bright to keep the fromage and saucisson fresh and cool!

Picnic_bag_complete_detail

to complete the ‘set’, i really wanted to avoid buying plastic plates and cups. after a bit of research i found a completely biodegradable picnic set from Australian based, Ecosoulife. made from bamboo and corn starch, they are re-usable, dishwashable, made to last and all that – but if they are buried, will biodegrade within 2-3 years! a better alternative to plastics!

T_Picnic_bag

to be put to the test on our annual camping trip this coming week! fingers crossed for good weather!

happy end of year people!! xx

cuir nu.

naked leather.

so since my last little pochette that i made for myself, i decided to sew up a few more. this time in naked, natural vegtan leather so that over time and after wear, the man-pouches (ha!) develop their own personality or ‘patina’.

for T, who recently had to renew his passport and obviously needed a new home for it. trimmed with contrast black vegtan.

passportWallet

and for my cousin, who departed back to the land of frenchies before he heads off on a longer journey through Sth America. really curious to see how it changes. also if he discovers the chunk of my finger which i lost while cutting the leather for this!

ky_manpouch

comps.

i had wanted to call this post ‘totes’ but i felt a bit like i was cheating not having a french title. i was totes certain that i wouldn’t be able to discover any french translation.. but it turns out, i did. comps. ha!

observe.
F] Je suis comps sérieux.
E] I am totes serious.

so apparently, comps is to complètement, what totes is to totally. there you go. (well, ok – that’s according to urban dictionary.. hardly a solid source, i know… but its all in good fun).

anyway. i’ve been making tote bags lately… one for a friends birthday, another for myself… and probably more on the production line soon. they’re so damn easy to make i don’t even know why i’m writing about it.

when i was last down at my local-outrageously-priced-design-store i saw this reeeeally sweet hankerchief under the glass counter with different sized polka dots in a cubic sort of arrangement. the thing wouldn’t fit around my head so i had to leave it behind. fast forward a few months, i’m online, researching for work and lusting over the cubic prints on pierre hardy, which i will NEVER in my lifetime agree to dish out $$$ for. some googling and i rediscovered the designer of the polka dot cubes. Nathalie du Pasquier of the 80’s art and architecture movement, Memphis Group. i discovered that Third Drawer Down in Melbs also made my dream print in tea towels (!)… (have a weird thing for tea towels at the mo) and even better than that, it came in a pair with a vivid yellow cubic print – parfait!

totescomps

on the opposite end of the scale, away from the geo forms – the other bag i made was for a friend whose personal style is so very bohème chic. mini floral and leather trim all the way on that one. plus a lace-inspired cut card to go with.

freeperson

un bonnet de douche…. pour mon vélo.

a shower cap…. for my bike.

nothing to do with any unsavoury personality you would otherwise call a douche/bag…. well… maybe…

riding in the rain isn’t always bad. a dry saddle def makes it more tolerable. i used to keep a (fairly unattractive) plastic shopping bag over my saddle until i managed to pick up a cute printed Bike Cap on our last visit to Deutschland (though Bike Caps are actually dutch). it dutifully protected my saddle (and ass) from wet weather until last week when some unfriendly douche/bag took it from my bike while it was parked out the front of work.

thankfully, i was somewhat prepared for such an event. a few months ago i dropped into Me Too Please – and picked up a bag of mixed cuttings of mexican oil cloth. shamefully, i was too lazy to ever take the pattern from the Bike Cap i had, so i had to wing it and ended up with a perhaps too snugly fitting new one… but hopefully the next person who tries to nick it will get annoyed and give up.

bonnetdedouche

note: i took this pic yesterday while it was pretty sunny – and of course, today – while the weather was indeed wet and crap, i had the bike parked out on the balcony under rain withOUT the cap on. phf.

truc du troquer.

probably highly grammatically incorrect. just something i threw in the translator.

update: yes indeed, i was grammatically incorrect!

troquer des trucs.

i quite like the word truc. it’s like dinge in german (i think)… and saying thingy in english. that’s what i imagine anyway. ha.

troquer is barter. something i only ever thought happened in the “olden days” officially. when i have mentioned to friends that i very recently (as in a few months ago in the year 2013) engaged in a barter, they have either looked confused or laughed thinking that i’ve made a joke.

a few years ago when i should have been working at the front desk of that trade show dinge in Berlin, i was hooked up to a tree, playing with a mini loom and weaving (very simple) cloth. Actionweaver, or Travis – as he is also known, is on a mission to spread interest in hand weaving and “slow” production. he has “performed” weaving in public and now is also encouraging barter and time-based non-monetary systems of exchange… so, even after a few years, i was still thinking about that mini loom and contacted him about buying one off him, before i knew about this barter thing.

he simply told me he doesn’t “do money” anymore, so i was stuck for ideas. i was not so much someone who produces stuff and i felt that going out to buy something was cheating, so i set out to make some things for his adorable son, Lou. i’m a bit embarrassed to say, but despite having worked in a chapeau company for 2.5 years, i still had not fully made a hat with my own two hands… until now. i made a little bucket hat in sky blue denim, lined in a cute print and finished with bright blue grosgrain. i also made a little softie koala from the same denim, all dapper with a bow tie. i also put in the package a book of australian animals and some unspun alpaca wool picked up from our weekend away.

bucketkoala

in return, i got this little truc.

laserloom
stayed tuned for my first cloth. (but be nice, it’s my first try!)
meanwhile, read Travis’ writings… really interesting insights.