Sunday, December 11, 2011


1112 agapanthus 1
Originally uploaded by rooruu
After the purple-blue of November's jacarandas, it's December and agapanthus season. They're everywhere, undaunted by the rainy days we've been having, glorious purple-blue with bud after bud opening on each flowerhead.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Peak hour

1105 peak hour
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Peak hour from an upper storey window.

Taken with Instagram (iPhone app) - new filters/effects to play with!

Monday, May 09, 2011

1105 Remembering

1105 Remembering
Originally uploaded by rooruu
A friend's father has just died. It is so very strange and sad, the space where once he was, his sudden and absolute absence.

This piece by Raymond Carver will be on the funeral order of service.

A question for the living to ask, not only in relation to him, but to ourselves. Reminds me of Larkin's Arundel Poem/ 'what will survive of us is love'.

My friend's father knew he was beloved.

Friday, May 06, 2011

(posh) shopping trolley

1104 (posh) shopping trolley
Originally uploaded by rooruu
One of the local supermarkets has been undergoing renovations/extensions/improvement and has just replaced all the trolleys in one go. The new ones include this handy-dandy feature. I hadn't realised how I could have struggled so with flowers and baguettes.

On the downside, the 'improvements' have removed the useful nutritional information booklet in the fruit and veg dept, and also there the digital scales have been replaced with (no doubt designer-chosen) old-style suspended scales. A lot less accurate. Disappointed in those changes/choices.

Not sure that I have immense need of baguette and flower holders while undertaking the weekly shop....

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An embroidered life

It's a while since I made a quilt, or did craft of any kind, as I've been busy with work and other projects, but I'm playing about with some cross stitch and also just ordered an alphabet sampler kit from Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy/Rosy Little Things (whose writing I have always admired - hers was one of the first blogs I found, back in the day, and remains among my absolute favourites). 

Read her blog entry about it and see all the pictures here.  It's got great mad typography font letters; and I like the way with projects like this that you can toddle along, one letter at a time, seeing your progress and seeing bits finished as you go.  Her blog has the link to pre-order it, too; but if you want the kit you only have till May 10.  She says she will later have it as a downloadable pattern, but not till some time after the kits are sent in June.

Maybe it's the season drawing in.  Autumn and winter are good evening stitching times, imho.  Which is also amusing, because Alicia (being in the northern hemisphere and all) is thinking of this as an excellent summer sewing project. 

An embroidered life can happen any time.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Queen's Jubilee logos

Digging around for something else, this caught (and delighted) my eye:
Is the official logo for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 fun or what?  It was the winner in a design competition run by the iconic British TV program for kids, Blue Peter, and was designed by Katherine Dewar.

Compare the energy and charm of this with the logos for her previous jubilees:

which did come in assorted colourways/forms:

,,,but seriously, don't they make you yawn just a tad in comparison to Katherine Dewar's design?  A bit stuffy, a lot safe...

The Diamond Jubilee logo also comes in a Welsh version:
It's absolutely charming.  Has all the gear it needs: Union Jack, crown, fabulous diamonds, necessary text.  Read about the logo, the guidelines for using it and find downloadable files in various formats/sizes by clicking here.

Seeing the threee together also gives a neato snapshot of design styles and fashions over this period; no way anything as Establishment as the monarchy would have countenanced Katherine Dewar's design in 1977.

What do you think?

Image sources:
double jubilee logo
silver jubilee logo
white bg golden jubilee logo
diamond jubilee logos

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Retro dollhouse

Rather liked this modest residence amond the display of work/s at the Sydney Miniatures Fair:
Very sweet.

I had the fun of toddling around the show with one pal (who enjoyed her first visit to this event very much) and then chauffeuring an old hand at the show, the shopping sherpa herself, to Ikea (less than ten minutes away by car).  Because it's there, and it was lunchtime, and you only have to say IKEA to TSS and she sparkles.  Lovely to be able to share the fun of the fair with friends.

A few items from the show came home with me.  Will blog them later!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dollhouse bathroom in a cupboard

1104 miniature bath cupboard
Originally uploaded by rooruu
It's not only a suave double-level bathroom, but I love the reuse/reimagining of a cupboard.

One of the enjoyable discoveries of a day at the Sydney Miniatures and Doll House Fair today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

127 Hours

1104 127 Hours film
Originally uploaded by rooruu
Been meaning to see this for ages. Finally did. Harrowing in parts, but also very good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Royal wedding cross-stitch: QR code (quirky!)

Inspired by a QR code cross stitch sampler by Omega Chicken on Craftster - I found it on Mr X stitch here - I got to thinking about QR codes, and how their grid lends itself to cross stitch. (I'd been thinking about them in relation to their possibilities for work, and this took me sideways into stitching options).

OK, why not stitch a QR code royal wedding cross stitch?  Very 2011!  Bamboozle 'em proper in fifty years' time!

There is a recommended wording for royal wedding souvenirs.  Read all about it here.  The wording is:
To Commemorate the Marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, 29th April 2011


And that wording is represented by this QR code.  Really and truly.  I generated it using the free online QR code generator here.  Try this online QR code decoder if you wish to check my veracity:  If you have a smartphone, you can get free QR reader apps - just point your smartphone's camera at a QR code using the app, and bingo, up comes the information in the QR code.

If, at this point, you are wondering what the heck a QR code is, it's like a barcode but it can do more, convey more information than a number.  Read the Wikipedia entry here.  You'll see them around - the SMH sometimes uses them to link readers to further contents, and advertisers are jumping on the bandwagon.

The size of the QR code is influenced by the amount of content.  So just : Will + Kate looks like this:
(Generated that with the same QR code generator as above).

Will I get stitching myself?  Dunno.  But if you'd like to borrow the idea for your own personal use, you are welcome.  If you do, or you link to this entry, do leave a comment so I can follow your progress!



Monday, April 18, 2011

Will & Kate: Royal wedding samplers

I am intrigued to see how crafters are choosing to document the royal wedding - most particularly with cross stitch/embroidery.  There's a commitment of time involved, and the fact that people feel engaged enough (um, bad pun) to spend that time.  The social history of it interests me.

Having had a couple of other vintage royal samplers find their way to me (although I'm not exactly a rabid royalist - or republican, either: but social history, yes, I'm interested!), I went looking to see what's about in the royal wedding sampler/craft stakes - stuff to stitch and sew, rather than commemorative souvenirs to buy.  Some of these are free/downloadable patterns, some are commercial patterns and kits.  A snapshot of designers' responses to the challenge of this event.

If you plan to download/print/buy/sew any of these, I'd suggest getting in sooner rather than later, as after 29 April 2011 the interest in William and Kate's nuptials will likely wane; links may disappear, kits run out and not be replaced.

My utter favourite is this one:
Designed by Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch, it is a free pattern.  Find out more here, including the link to the free PDF.  I gather it was designed in response to a challenge from the Independent newspaper to young designers for something a bit quirky by way of royal wedding souvenirs.  See the entire collection of ideas by clicking here.  With Keep Calm and its many cousins and variants being so popular at present, this is a fun nod to a current trend.  The tag line at the bottom is about the royal wedding being brought to you in association with the coalition government - perhaps an allusion most clear to those in the UK/familiar with current UK politics (I know there is currently a coalition govt in the UK, but the finer nuances of this tag line escape me).

Kell Smurthwaite of Kincavel Crosses has designed a couple of free royal wedding sampler patterns.  She blogged about this one here; find a larger image of the graph here.

From the same designer, another free pattern for a smaller sampler.  Read about it here.

From the same designer (has she been busy or what??) this one, called Kind Hearts and Coronets:

It's also a freebie pattern.  Read about it and find the chart by clicking here.

I note, in passing, (is that a bad pun?) that a lot of samplers I've seen have been carefully avoiding the happy couple's formal initials: WC having Other Associations......

Another quick and simple vintage style initial sampler is this freebie from Sarah Lindfield of Craftymoo:

Read her blog entry about the design here.  See a finished version as an ornie (ornament) here.  She went with WK.....

Taking a moment out for knitting, which I don't do...Selling gangbusters, and a hoot to boot is Fiona Goble's Knit Your Own Royal Wedding book

Love the corgis! Available all sorts of places: if you're in Australia and can't find it easily, Book Depository (either or offer free shipping; or check at for other prices/sources).

Among the commercially available samplers is this tapestry in two colourways from Beth Russell of Designers Forum:

Find out more on her website by clicking here.

US-based The Sampler Girl has this design, referencing the charming randomness of vintage samplers:

Read her blog entry about it here.  Buy the e-pattern or a mailed version of the pattern, and read details of size etc by clicking here.  The ribbon at the bottom is a printed one she sourced from Etsy (she provides the link).

The UK cross stitch magazines have jumped on the bandwagon: one that seems to be turning up all over (and which cleverly includes the current Cool Britannia decor enthusiasm for Union Jacks and bunting) is this one in Cross Stitcher magazine issue 238 (not yet out in Australia, but you can find it on if you just can't wait).

Read about it here and here.  It was designed by Jacqui Pearce of Granny Knits.  You can buy the pattern from her here, or a kit (canvas, wool, chart etc) from her here.

If you like that pretty look but want something even simpler, Laura Howard of Bugs and Fishes designed this:

Click here for her free pattern and instructions.

Referencing the charming illustrations from children's books, Bustle and Sew has this royal wedding embroidery pattern:

It's available from this Etsy shop: listing link; shop link.  As an e-pattern, I'm sure if that listing is sold you can convo (converse with/contact) the seller to enquire about another one.  Found this via the Feeling Stitchy blog here.

Taking another slight detour, Makower in the UK have updated their Charles and Diana wedding fabric design into a William and Kate design, which they have produced as a limited edition in two colourways:

They sold 40,000 metres of the Charles and Diana fabric, so 'limited edition' means time rather than quantity, I would guess... Read more on the Makower site by clicking here.  It's for sale from quilt/fabric shops (esp. in the UK, I would guess; less likely to make it abroad) and from sellers on and likely .  There are etsy sellers using this to make bags/tea cosies etc.

Majesty magazine's shop offers this sampler from One Off designs - they got in early with an engagement version:

Click here for the shop page (the pattern offers engagement/wedding lettering).

You can see (and also buy) the wedding version from Sew Inspiring here.

Coats Crafts has a free downloadable pdf pattern for their wedding sampler:

Click here for more information and the PDF link.

The Royal School of Needlework has a whitework kit in their shop.

Sorry it's so blurry, but the pic's just tiny on their website.  Read all about it (and buy if you wish) here.

Florashell offer this coat of arms royal wedding sampler:

They sell through their website (click here) and also have this listed on  Chart only, or complete kits.

This design is from Mary Hickmott:

On her website you can order the chart, or kits with Belfast/aida.  Click here for the link.

On, seller cathduff52 is selling this blackwork design:

The item number is 170628849170 and she is selling multiple copies (of the same chart) at this item number.  Blackwork Royal Wedding Embroidery Chart is the item's title.

If blackwork's your thing, this is (yet another) free chart from Lady Kell of Kincavel, aka Kell Smurthwaite:

Click here for the blog entry and chart.  Unlike some of the others, this is a wedding sampler that could be adapted to other people.

DMC has a range of royal wedding samplers in kit form.

Read about the DMC kits here.

John Clayton Royal Collection has a pictorial cross stitch kit, rather than a sampler.

Find out more by clicking here.

Monica Solorio-Snow of the blog, Happy Zombie (unsupervised and armed with scissors!) has this colour-in style modern embroidery as a free pattern on her site:

Read more about here "Kiss Me Kate" design here.  PDF link is here.

Crafter News had this collage of royal wedding crafts:

Click here for the links to each of the crafts/designers/designs illustrated.

There are a few designs where I can only find images, not links to buy.  Some may be findable on eBay etc, or by you doing more creative googling than I have managed.  I'm putting them here to record the range/variety of items available.

Cross Stitch Collection magazine issue 195 includes a huge royal wedding souvenir cross stitch, another pictorial one:

An unknown magazine had this cushion design:

I think this one is also from a magazine pattern:

One keen stitcher blogging about her royal wedding sampler stitching is Linens and Royals.  Her projects include the One Off sampler and the John Clifton design.  Playing with Needles has an entry on royal wedding blogs here: and her needlework based on the Queen's coronation gown - together with extensive information in photos and text - is definitely worth reading.

If you know of any other Will and Kate/William and Catherine/ WC/WK/Royal Wedding samplers or stitcheries etc that I've missed, please leave a comment with linkydinks so folks reading this can follow and find more!

Is this the most comprehensive roundup of royal wedding samplers and patterns on the internet right now?


But it's fun to have recorded them.  For me, a number have really cliched fonts/lettering, and I wonder how they will wear over time.  There are classic design elements that don't date - coat of arms as a f''r'instance: but the silhouettes on the DMC design look cliched to me, as do their curlicues.  Given that I prefer vintage-style samplers, the hugely pictorial ones (like the John Clifton, or or the Cross Stitch Collection one) are less to my taste.  Partly, it's because when I've done cross-stitch, I avoid the patterns/designs that occupy every inch of the linen with a stitch: I like the white space (and it's faster to stitch up, too!).  To each their own: a friend of mine does astonishing, prize-winning cross stitches of the pictorial kind, which are beautiful.  I just know I wouldn't choose to sew them myself.



PS if you would like to boggle at the range of royal wedding souvenirs available, will enable you to boggle comprehensively.