Often when I come home from craft camp I waste a lot of time trying to explain to people what it's all about. This time we had a couple of craft camp virgins and listening to just a few of their words is perhaps the best explanation.
I am always surprised. Surprised by how much I enjoy myself, by how much I get done, but how time out refreshes and renews, by the things I will turn my hand to when inspired by the skills and work of others. Thrilled by the collaboration, of watching and hearing about and learning from others, honoured to be able to share what I know and help others a step further on the crafting journey.
For me the time out of everyday life is super fertile, and with an extra day this weekend and a commensurate lessening of the manic drive to get stuff done fast I found myself making fewer mistakes and working at a more relaxed and more productive pace.
I ticked all the boxes on my to do list and stash busted projects that have been lying around for months and months. A few right nows and a bunch for hotter days, some kids stuff, some fun. A stack of old favourites and reliables as well as some more experimental and adventurous projects.
To say I am inordinately pleased with myself would be a massive understatement. I feel very very happy. Thrilled and bursting with pride.
Would you like me to show you?*
Up top is my new lap top bag. The exterior is super lush wool in the most brilliant shade of red from Tessuti's (wouldn't I love a coat out of this? If I wasn't going to Darwin...), the interior a lovely cotton Ellen sent me from Japan nearly three years ago (just proving that every fine fabric has its day...). The black handles and closure tab is felted black wool from a jumper I knitted for myself about 20 years ago that was a dismal failure. It it awaiting a lovely big button. Underneath is Amy's new travelling art pack made with gorgeous Kristen Doran dandelions and ladybugs and two pieces of Japanese linen from Ellen and Corrie.
Clothes for kids - up top are new elastic waist jeans/shorts in super cute Japanese linen for Wil and a pair of lovely croc PJ shorties for sweaty nights. The spotty linen made great knee length shorts for Amy and I added the pocket detail to girly them up for her.
Accessories. The top two are pics of Amy's first pincushion. I was a test sewer for Nicole's new pattern and kit for the Apple pincushion. I am afraid to say I certainly didn't earn my keep on that assignment - I couldn't find a single useful thing to say to her because the pattern is freakin PERFECT! I did what she said, which was all really easy and astonishingly quick, and the finished product looked exactly the same as hers right down to the last detail. I thoroughly recommend it, it would especially make a great gift for a beginner crafter since all the steps were so straightforward and because the finished apple is really superb. Middle row are the hair ties I made for Amy's fundraising stall (and there is another one already absorbed by the house somewhere) and a second cashmere sock monkey so the kids can play with twins. The bottom row is a super fast and easy red jersey scarf inspired by Nikki's one and a lovely new wheat pack using scraps of the organic denim and Croc fabric.
And last but most certainly not least is the clothes I made for me.
The top row are front and rear views of my new jeans, made with organic denim from Tessuti's. I am exceptionally pleased with these. Aside from some minor slackness in the back of the waistband, the fit is great and they weren't even mind bending to make. I took the pattern from Ottobre (link is to the aussie site crafty mamas where I subscribe but they have their own website here), and once again felt really glad I subscribe to that mag. Having a store of patterns at your finger tips during a sewing frenzy is invaluable. It is a testament to the reliability of their patterns that I cut up my organic denim and did all that work without testing the pattern first - something I would never do with any other brand of commercial pattern. Over the jeans I am wearing a grey T-shirt (bought) and a cream and grey striped wool/viscose/cotton jersey knit in a 3/4 length sleeve also made on the weekend.
The pants in the second row are the same pattern, and while you can't see because the mosaic maker cut off the legs, they are capri length. The first are made from black woven cotton with a two way stretch - a really lovely and hitherto unseen by me fabric - and the second are a grey marle linen/cotton/spandex. These are from an Ottobre pattern called jazz pants, and in the mag they are made up as sweat pants, in heavy knitted jersey. Although they are pull on pants, they rely on a jeans like cut and the stretch of the fabric to keep them up rather than having an elasticated waist. The pattern had a wide straight fold over waist band, which I modified to be curved and shaped to sit flatter on me. They are insanely comfortable and look much better than you would expect. I love love love them. On the left I am wearing a tunic vest made from the scraps of the black cotton pants, and although you can't see the detail too well, the front has a pin tuck detail instead of front darts that works really well, perhaps if you head over to Flickr you'll be bale to see better. I made this pattern up and I am very very pleased with it. It is fitted and flattering and still extremely comfortable - I'd love a few more so I could wear one every day. On the right is a short sleeve T-shirt made from a really funky little pebble print I bought last summer.
The third row has me in the same tunic with a really light summer skirt made from lovely Tessuti's embroidered cotton. This worked out much better than I expected - I was concerned the pattern would be too directional to sit well in the a-line, but it is fine. It has an almost shimmer which is quite magnetic in real life. On the right I am wearing a very light sundress (not designed to be worn with the pants but it was just too bloody cold for that level of nakedness today), also made from a geometric embroidered cotton. This will be my Darwin house dress for slobbing around, of which I expect there will be much.
The fourth row is the third pair of pants made with the jazz pants pattern, this time full length and in a wonderful bengaline. The colour defies description - not quite grey or brown or taupe or olive, but something of them all. On the left is an olive/grey mesh top for jazzing up plain long sleeve Ts, or singlets in hot weather and on the right is a short sleeve shirt made from the chocolate version of the linen/cotton/spandex I used for the grey capris. It's a bit cheeky including this int he tally for the weekend, since the shirt was almost finished before I came, but I did get the last bit done, so I'm including it!
The bottom row is just a few more combinations of the above.
So just in case you missed it the final clothing tally was 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of capri pants, 1 pair full length pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 1 long sleeve T-shirt, 1 short sleeve T-shirt, 1 overtop, 1 tunic, 1 shirt, 1 wheat pack, 1 scarf, 1 monkey, 3 hair ties, 1 pincushion, 3 pairs kids pants, 1 art folder, 1 laptop bag. I also made a hat for Ellen, but I didn't get a photo of it.
And I still managed to get good sleep (a big thing for me), eat plenty and talk way more than my share.
Now I have spend all my unpacking time on photos and blog posts I had better run. there are children to be collected and dinner to be made and a newly weaned toddler to be cuddled. Speaking of which anyone got tips for preventing mastitis after weaning?
Added - On the weaning thing. Amy self weaned very gradually. I've had mastitis twice with Wil, both times treated with anti-biotics, both times as a result of reduced sucking when he's had a cold. We dropped the night feed a week or so ago and replaced it with a special new bed time routine. All good and not too much protest. Since I was away for three mornings at craft camp I figured I'd roll with it and stop the feeding. He's been OK about that so far, but I am not a good expresser (from the boob that is - mouth I do fine), compounded by it seems having lent my pump to someone ages ago. No idea who. And while I don't yet have mastitis I am sure I will given the paltry amount I can hand express. So prevention of the inevitable would be very cool.
* the mosaic maker has cropped these photos and some good details have been lost. For a better view of anything, head over to my photos on Flickr and check out the full sizes of all the pics.