Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cool Things’ Category

Furoshiki!

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths, used to store clothing, transport goods and wrap gifts. They’re seriously cool, and they may just save the world.

My darling sister bought me this book earlier in the year…

Inspired, I hemmed a basketful of square cloths, declared them to be furoshiki, then proceeded to use them to wrap everything from coats to groceries to iPads to fossils…

A furoshiki has two advantages over a bag…firstly, it can be untied and thrown into the washing machine, and secondly, it can be folded to specifically suit the item in question. I’ve been making them out of my stunning fabric finds from Cash Palace Emporium.

I love that I can go out in a scarf made from vintage kimono silk (please excuse the bed hair)…

…then whip it off dramatically and fold it into a purse…

…or a grocery bag…

…or a flower pot carrier…

This is how I BYO wine bottles to restaurants these days…

I cut the back out of my torn dressing gown and used it to wrap up all my surplus knitting yarn…

My matching scarf and furoshiki wrapped veg gave the neighbours a good giggle…

…and when we were caught short on shopping bags at Costco recently, my furoshiki came to the rescue…

We’ve been making handbags…

…and wrapping gifts…

. . . . .

My sister reckons she’s created a monster, but it’s great fun and good for the environment. In 2006, the Japanese government created a furoshiki in an attempt to reduce household waste from plastic bags. They provided this instruction sheet with it (here’s the higher resolution pdf)…

If you’re interested, the two books by Yamada Etsuko are fabulous and both are available in Kindle format through Amazon…

The only important thing you need to know is how to tie a square knot – if tied properly, it shouldn’t pull out. It’s worth practising a few times to get it right. Here are the instructions from Etsuko’s book…

If you’re a sewer, this is the perfect excuse to use up some of those beautiful pieces of fabric you’ve been hoarding. Originally, furoshiki sizing was based on kimono silk, which was traditionally 14″ (35.5cm) wide. The fabrics were sewn into pieces two or three widths across.

If you’re making them at home, I recommend 70cm and 100cm squares – the 70cm ones are a good size for wine bottles and iPads and books, whereas the larger ones are great for groceries and shoulder bags.

Let me end by sharing this hilariously wonderful video clip with you – the Furoshiki Samurai is a young man determined to spread the environmental message throughout Japan. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Light Show

When the sun is shining and our timing is right, Big Boy and I get to experience this magnificent light show on our morning walks. It’s created by the sunlight on the wind-driven waves bouncing off the concrete pillars on the underside of the pedestrian footbridge. If it was a contemporary art installation at the MCA, I’d happily pay to view it, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be standing in the middle of it!

It  was particularly glorious earlier this week, so I took a video to share with you. This is exactly as my iPhone captured it – I haven’t added any filters or special effects…

. . . . .

. . . . .

In case you’re having trouble figuring out all the angles, here’s a photo taken this morning from the outside…

…and a middle of the day pic from a couple of months’ ago…

dw6

. . . . .

Pete suggested I upload the wider video as well, so you can see a bit more of the bridge (click on the fullscreen tab on the bottom right of the video for a better look)…

. . . . .

If you’re walking the Greenway or the Leichhardt side of the Bay Run in the mornings, the best time to catch the light show is around 8.30am, on sunny, windy days when the tide is high (I’m adding that info for you, Greg!).

Wishing you all light and happiness every day!

Read Full Post »

A few random (happy!) snippets from the past couple of weeks…

. . . . .

The closing down sale at Cash Palace Emporium continues, and Elaine seems to magically produce new stock each time I pop in. She’s still taking delivery of goods that were ordered months ago, then immediately reducing them by 50% to try and sell them in the remaining four weeks that they’re going to be open. I have absolutely no affiliation with the business, but we share a passion for ethnic and vintage textiles. Like so many others in Sydney, I’ve come to quite adore her.

She has a new shipment of vintage kantha silk shawls on offer…

…and gorgeous Uzbek suzani pieces…

I couldn’t resist this hooded kantha coat – the Ajrahk cotton is hand block printed (stamped) and hand quilted. Maybe it’s because I’m now in my 50s, but I think it’s cool.

Pete, however, was less convinced but greatly amused. My friend Bethany thought that I looked like Friar Tuck. I’ve ignored them both and worn it constantly since I bought it…

The garment is so beautifully finished on the inside that it just needed a few buttons to make it fully reversible. I asked Elaine if she could spare me any and bless her, she gave me these vintage hand-carved camel bone ones…

Cash Palace Emporium
139 Catherine St
Leichhardt NSW
(02) 9569 5977

. . . . .

My daily walks on the Inner West Greenway and the Iron Cove Bay Run have been enlivened by Art on the Greenway – “An Outdoor Art Exhibition with a Green Focus” – which will be on display until Monday 22nd May 2017. The artworks are located on the Canal Road Hub (near Blackmore Oval).

I met local artist Allyson Adeney as she was setting up Memory Wave IV

Allyson uses upcycled crystal and glass stemware to create her gorgeous pieces…

…which she then carefully positions in situ…

We Stand Together by Janny Grant was created from rescued local gum branches which were destined to be chipped…

Nomadic Winds: a journey’s rest II by Sally Kidall is a collection of small “houses” positioned at various angles over the pedestrian footbridge…

The Battlers by Ro Murray and Mandy Burgess was inspired by a group of Hunters Hill women who banded together in the 1970s to save the bushland near their homes. I have to say though, that every time I walk past the figure in the photo below, I find myself humming the disco classic…”You can’t stop the music…nobody can stop the music”…

. . . . .

As a result of all the fabric treasures I found at Cash Palace, I’m been in the midst of a little sewing mania. Last week I discovered these instructions for turning a shawl into a poncho with one seam and proceeded to madly stitch up all my pashminas. After all, as Noel Fielding once said, it’s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho…

. . . . .

The fossil I bought myself for my birthday a few months ago continues to live on my desk – I find myself holding it quite often during the day. It’s incredibly smooth and exquisitely beautiful. Oh, and 113 million years old…

…and translucent!

. . . . .

I popped into the MCA recently to view Khadim Ali’s The Arrival of Demons 2017, a site specific mural commissioned for the MCA foyer. It depicts imagery from Ali’s Afghan/Pakistani/Iranian upbringing, overlaid with eucalyptus leaves taken from the Aussie passport that Ali has held since 2015. It’s truly glorious – I particularly love the way he’s incorporated the steps into his artwork…

mca1

. . . . .

Finally, if you’re a Sydney foodie, you’ve probably heard about Yakitori Jin by now. This new Japanese eatery has (finally!) opened up in our neighbourhood and it’s been packed out since day one. And what else would you expect from a restaurant where you can order five chicken tails (bishops/parsons nose) on a stick?

Chef and owner Aki hard at work…

We’ve never been to Japan, but our friends who have tell us that it feels like eating in Tokyo. As a bonus, the food is delicious!

. . . . .

Hope you’re all having a wonderful month! ♥

Read Full Post »

Cash Palace Emporium in Leichhardt is closing down, and everything is 50% off the marked price. If you’re a lover of ethnic and vintage textiles, I highly recommend that you race over there as fast as you can. The small store is packed full of treasures, carefully selected by legendary owner, Elaine Townshend.

You might recall that I bought my kantha quilt coat there last year. It’s made from a vintage Indian quilt, which in turn had been handstitched from reclaimed saree fabric. It’s the ultimate in upcycling and I wore it constantly last winter…

There is a wide selection of clothing and semi-precious jewellery on offer…

One-off carpet bags, each constructed from hand quilted fabric…

I bought a vintage 1920’s formal kimono in stunning condition and turned it into a jacket and shawl…

In the back room there are fabrics, cushion covers, bedspreads, quilts, wall-hangings, shawls and more. I may have lost my head a little over these Japanese prints…

I’ve been sewing furoshiki cloths…

…and practising tying them. It’s an indulgent but joyous way to use up scrap vintage kimono silk…

I’ve had a run on juggling balls, so I’ve been sewing squillions more. I adore my friends – they’re always enthusiastic about anything I throw at them (no pun intended)…

Here’s my own personal set – fat origami cherubs made with scrap salvaged from a vintage child’s silk kimono…

. . . . .

Cash Palace will be open for another eight weeks, so if you’re in the area, do pop in and go treasure hunting. It’s a true family affair – Elaine’s son Luke and daughter Fleur are running the shop while she’s in India, and her granddaughters are often there helping out as well. Say hi for me if you pop in, I’ve been haunting the place!

Cash Palace Emporium
139 Catherine St
Leichhardt NSW
(02) 9569 5977

Read Full Post »

I know, I know…making juggling balls isn’t your usual Easter craft project, but I’ve had so much fun that I thought I’d share them with you anyway.

. . . . .

Start with three pieces of scrap fabric, each 10cm wide by 18cm long. Woven or jersey cottons work well.

Fold one piece of fabric in half, right sides together, and stitch along both sides to form a small bag…

Turn it right side out and poke out the corners…

Fill with 75g of rice, lentils or small beans…

Bring the seam lines together at the top to close…

Fold under a small seam allowance and pin…

Now either handstitch the opening closed with a small slip stitch OR carefully machine it closed, making sure not to run over any of the filling (a narrow machine foot helps here, as does making the bag from stretch fabric)…

Make a big bowl of these little pyramid sacks and leave them on the table for folks to play with. Small people love them and they’re relatively painless on impact (I’ve been throwing them at the boys to check).

There’s a lot of research to suggest that learning to juggle is good for your brain – I’m a bit rusty at the moment, but I’ve been practising hard!

Here’s my earlier post on juggling, and my video from 2014…

Have a fun Easter break!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: