Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter

I hope wherever you are the weather is as good as it is in Sydney (probably unlikely if you are reading this from Greenland).

I finally caught up with all the pre-Easter rush orders on Etsy and MadeIt and could turn my hand to making a couple of new items.  They will be photographed on models after Easter, ready to go up in my shops.

I do love this new range of lawn fabric.  It's so soft and has wonderful draping qualities.

This little skirt is hot off the machine and is fully lined.  It comes from  Kaffe Fassett's new range of shot cottons and it is super soft and lovely to work with.

It goes beautifully with the peasant top and I only wish I was young enough to get away with wearing this combo.  Not a good look at my age.

The machine has been put to bed and I am looking forward to spending Easter with the family - at least the Sydney branch.  I wish you all a very happy and safe Easter.  I hope you are able to spend it with the people you love and who mean the most to you.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Indian Summer

Indian Summers never cease to surprise and delight me, and goodness knows I've lived through enough of them to become a wee bit blasé. Take yesterday for example.  What a perfect day to visit the Royal Easter Show, even if it did become a little uncomfortable by early afternoon, but thankfully by then we were on our way home.

I guess you're either a Show person or not, and we we fall into the first category.  The only times we missed the Show was when we were out of the city.  In my case it goes back to my early childhood in the post-war years.  My parents had packed a picnic lunch and I can still recall that feeling of wonderment and anticipation the first time we walked through the showground entrance.  My brother and I were literally gobsmacked.  In the following years we were joined by our baby brother and by then the most important activity was to collect as many free blotters as possible from the various exhibitors to trade at school the following days.  Yes, I'm talking ink wells here.  Look it up in the dictionary. 

The flower and garden pavilion was first on our list and was the perfect haven from the morning heat.  

After all, they have to keep all those blooms looking perky and feeling cool.

Don't ask - I'm guessing it's community service for some misdemeanor.

This battered old shield is even older than I am and it is a hotly contested award fought out between the state districts.

The produce is always such a favourite among us city dwellers, 

and there are many features tucked away in the exhibits that are so endearing.

Monsters and children are a mutual attraction.

The same can be said for cakes and women of a Certain Age.

I couldn't bear to create cakes like these, only to have them devoured.

Of course, no show would be complete without quilts and I was delighted to see that several friends had taken out top honours.

So many tempting goodies were on offer in the food pavilion, but we resisted ... for the time being.  Instead we grabbed a couple of wraps full of healthy goodness and headed to the arena where we had organised to meet up with the Fudges Junior.

On the way out of the food pavilion we were passed by this little girl and her family.  What a clever little girl.  I can see me next year in an adult version, pulled along by Mr Fudge.  I haven't told him yet, but I am sure he would be happy to oblige.

The girl stunt riders were a big hit and entertained us while we ate our lunch.

The children were amazed by the antics of the stunt drivers, who did very foolish things at very high speed.  In fact, they were driving and skidding at such speed that it stirred up the dirt track and we decided to finish viewing at the back of the stand.

Wearing Hot Fudge shorts, of course.
Last on the agenda for the day was a trip to the show bag pavilion - it's all class and taste.

We were most impressed at the restraint shown by our three grandchildren.  They looked around carefully, weighed up their options and each chose just one bag.  We didn't dare confess to them that at the same age we staggered home under the weight of about 10 show bags each - I doubt their parents would have forgiven us.  Although we could tell them tales about their mother ...

Late yesterday we were sent this image of the children - the boys dressed up in the contents of their show bags.  I sent this image to back to them.

After all, where would Batman be without Robyn?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Change in the air

We have been blessed with glorious days over the past couple of weeks, but this morning I can feel early autumn settling in my bones.  It's also been one of the busiest couple of weeks, with orders being sent off to all corners of the world, including Italy and Brazil.

Available here and here
While it's becoming cooler here in Australia, the northern hemisphere is awakening to a new spring and children grow, meaning they need new summer wardrobes.  Thank goodness.

kees & me photography can be found here 

In the last couple of days I've received several orders, probably with the realisation that not only is there a change in seasons, but Easter is nearly upon us, which means special occasion dressing.

And Easter Bunny garlands.

Available here
I love the quiet of the early morning and that's the time I spend browsing the internet.  I came across this impossibly cute little critter on Etsy and it was love at first sight.  Its creator is a 23 year-old fibre artist from Chile.  How she accomplished such an adorable little face from so few features is beyond me.  

Little Traveler Mouse made me feel so happy and I hope he has the same effect on you.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

What price High Fashion?

Sometimes I am a little slow on the uptake.  I wear two hats - one I wear as a desktop publisher.  For this service I charge by the hour and I don't turn the computer on without charging clients at least one hour per job, and there are no outlays.

The other hat I wear making and selling children's clothing on line.  For this service I buy in fabric and other supplies and do not charge by the hour.  I was taught by my extremely clever mother, who was a professional dressmaker, until she discovered that art was more fun.

So there I was yesterday constructing this intricate party dress which will be flying off to Brazil, when the penny dropped.  If I charged by the hour as I do for desktop publishing, this little number would cost two to three hundred dollars.

Instead, I had it listed for $50.  That did not make good business sense, so I have made the executive decision to increase the selling price to $68 - still a bargain for the amount of work involved.

But here comes the good news.  There is one last opportunity to buy this particular dress at the old price of $50.

If you go here all will be revealed.  Kid Independent is doing a wonderful community service in showcasing a month of beautiful children's clothing with a different designer each day.  The proceeds of the first of each item sold goes directly to benefit the little village in Ethiopia to keep their children in school.  Brilliant.
My dress will be featured this coming Thursday, 14 March.  It will be made to order in sizes 2, 3, 4 or 5.  If you live in Australia I can guarantee that it will be ready in plenty of time for Easter.

Do take a look at the gorgeous dresses featured each day over at Kid Independent - they are simply beautiful.

Of course, if you would be happy to purchase my dress at the new price of $68, you are most welcome!  You can find it here and here.

Friday, 8 March 2013

What news of Lapérouse?

More than 200 years ago two ships commanded by the explorer Lapérouse foundered on the reef off Vanikoro, a tiny island in the southern Solomon Islands. Amateur divers started exploring the site in 1981 and made several impressive finds. Then in 2003 the discovery of a skull gave impetus to the search for a solution to the mystery of the explorer's disappearance. Shortly before going to the scaffold in 1793 Louis XVI, who instigated the original expedition, reputedly asked: "What news of Lapérouse?"
Claudine Wéry
Guardian Weekly, Friday 8 April 2005

It's a good story, but if I was about to lose my head, I doubt I would be asking such a question. Methinks I would be too busy screaming for mercy. However, yesterday I recalled this question as The Spouse, my brother and I sat looking out over the waters of La Perouse on one of those perfect days you can only dream about.  We three get together on a fairly regular basis, meeting up for lunch at various locations around the city.

It was time for fish 'n chips and if it's fish 'n chips, it has to be at historic La Perouse.  

Where else could you sit on the balcony of a seafood café and take in beautiful harbour views?  I can only hope that Monsieur Lapérouse had such glorious days when his little fleet anchored here over two hundred years ago.

As we live on the other side of the Harbour, we drove across the Anzac Bridge, through the city and out to the Bay.  Did I mention that it was a perfect day?

Perhaps the sun distracted this sky writer or maybe he's dyslectic. Upside down AND back to front, all while piloting an aircraft.  That surely takes a special talent.  (Memo to self: clean the windscreen.)

I like to think that this seagull was pondering the question, "What news of Lapérouse?"  But in reality he was probably after our chips.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Children and education

We take it for granted in Australia or indeed in any developed Western country that education is part of our children's lives.  It isn't until we are reminded by some remarkable people that we realise in many parts of the world it's simply not the case.  Take Ethiopia for example.

Image courtesy of Kid Independent
The plight of some Ethiopian children is so desperate and without education the poverty chain will not be broken.  When I was approached by Indi of Kid Independent to take part in Best Dressed 2013 to help keep children in school in the small community of Liwan, Ethiopia, I jumped at the chance.

Image courtesy of Kid Independent
Here is a quote from Kid Independent's promotion:  
The funds raised through “Best Dressed 2013″ will be used by World Families Australia to educate a group of children from a small community in Liwan, Ethiopia. These children come from illiterate families and are among the FIRST to be educated. They are the future doctors, nurses, teachers, etc in their village and their education will not only change their own lives but the lives of their families, their local community and future generations.
I urge you to take a look at the  gorgeous dresses listed each day on Kid Independent's website.  The promotion runs throughout the month of March and remember, Easter is just around the corner.   My dress will be shown on 14 March, but take a look at the new dresses put up each day. What a great opportunity to buy a beautiful dress and help these little children at the same time.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Hug your children

It was 18 February.  It was my birthday and I had received a dress order, so I was feeling happy.  

The dress was custom made and within a few days it was on its way to the purchaser.  

Late last night I checked my emails before retiring for the evening and discovered a message from the customer who had purchased the dress.  I am sure she won't mind me sharing it with you here.
Hello Robyn,  
I just want to let you know that the little girl I gave your gorgeous creation to was absolutely thrilled with it and if you would like to see how happy she is please have a look at the following blog (removed by me for privacy). You just have to click on the photo or text and it will open up, scroll down to see further piccys. Miette is a little girl with terminal cancer.  
Thank you again.  
As you can imagine, I was devastated.  I followed the link to the blog which is a diary of this beautiful little child's last 19 months as seen through the eyes of her parents - mainly her mother.  As I scrolled down the posts my eye caught a heading which revealed that this family lives in the same semi-rural suburb in Queensland as my own son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.  Here I am in Sydney, Jocelyn also lives in New South Wales and yet we are connected through this regional Queensland suburb.  This was my response to Jocelyn.
Dear Jocelyn

I have been sitting in front of my computer for the last half hour trying to say something remotely adequate, but the words would not come. As you can imagine, I have never had a message such as yours in all the time I have been selling my clothing and it completely took my breath away. Thank you so much for giving me the privilege of touching Miette's life, albeit in such a minuscule way. I am heart-broken of course, but honoured that you chose my dress out of so many you could have chosen. What a beautiful child she is. Now here comes the spooky part. I was scrolling down the blog posts and stopped at the 20 November entry, Thank You xxxxxxxx State School. Our son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren live in xxxxxxx. What an amazing coincidence.

Please give those courageous parents my love and I wish them every strength and blessing for the terrible times ahead. And please let Miette know that I am sitting here giving her hugs.

Thank you so much.


Miette is now in palliative care.  Please hold your children close to you and take nothing for granted.