My 2014: Movement and Shaking It Up

Hey!  It’s been almost a year since my last post, and even longer since I lost the habit of regular updates here.  It’s been too long!

I cut my hair, lost weight, and lately I like a pink or berry lip...

I cut my hair, lost weight, and lately I like a pink or berry lip…

I had to step away, blogging became too hard to maintain as I struggled with a physical illness and mental exhaustion.  After surgery, I found it difficult to get up and get better. I opted to take my time to let life settle before poking my head back out into the world of blogging and social media. Thanks so much for your words of support during that difficult time, your notes meant more to me than I can express.  My family and I faced a lot of changes this year, most of them very good!

The biggest change we made was a move from Brisbane to a quiet house in the country, in northern New South Wales.  We were offered a chance to rent/caretake this lovely property and jumped at the opportunity.  It’s been a fantastic move for all of us, we really needed a change.

My husband is working on landcare projects, planting gardens and writing papers.

I have a big, quiet sewing room all to myself, and my daughter loves that we’re just down the road from her beloved Nan and Grandpa.

The furriest change we made this year was adopting our first pet!  This is Arya, found at the RSPCA on Lila’s birthday.  Lila loved her at first sight. Arya turned out to be one of the sweetest kitties I’ve ever known! She creeps into the edges of my sewing pictures and videos, and I’m sure will be a regular around here.

3 Hours Past

Every day now, I wake up and look out over the trees outside my window and think to myself- Stephanie, now you really are 3 hours past the edge of the world!  Get back to blogging!  I did start an Instagram account, and it’s been a really fun way to keep in touch and share a little. I keep wanting to blog the way I used to before Cake Patterns took over my life- random thoughts, experiments, little projects, meditations in a quilt, design inspiration and art/fashion history.  But I wasn’t sure- can I do that?

Last week, I took Cake on the road and worked the Brisbane Quilt & Craft Show with Kylie from Voodoo Rabbit fabrics.  Every day, I talked to people about the sewing and taught hemming, v-neck binding, and buttonholes.  I caught up with friends in the bizz and old students, ooh’d and aaah’d over the Cake clothes proudly worn to the show.  I forgot how amazing it is to interact that way, the pure magic of putting a nifty technique into someone’s head and fingertips!  I missed that.  I missed you.

It’s time to blog again. I want to hear how you are, what you’re thinking about, and open up my creative universe like I used to.  You are all so inspiring and thought-provoking; your input always encourages me to dig deeper, try harder, and to see things from another perspective. If you’ve been reading for a while, you may find that 2014 changed me, but I hope you find it’s for the better.  I’m better.

This is my most recent project!  I brought this fabric home with me from the Show, I had to have it in my life.  I didn’t do anything special- folded the fabric in half with an invisible zip in one side, stitched the rest of it closed, and made tiny gusseted corners so it sits square.  Not too shabby for half an hours’ effort, I reckon.

Well, how are you?! What big things (or small ones) happened in your 2014? What was the last thing you stitched?


87 comments

  1. Wow! You live in paradise :) I’m in Sydney haha.
    Taking a break is sometimes so refreshing. I’ve been out of the blogging world for awhile too (had a baby). Finally starting to sew again though. Last thing I stitched was a doll baby carrier for my daughter do she can look like mummy.
    I look forward to reading more posts from you :)

      • Hey Sabine- thanks so much! :) we have some lovely new release we waiting in the wings but The Boss (Susan) wants me to wait til we have them allllll done before talking about them… ;) soon, soon.

    • Sydney is such a lovely city really, I like to say it looks to me like Seattle and Paris had a secret love child south of the Equator. ;) congratulations on your baby, wow!! And what a cool project, I bet the little girlie loves that. Lila carries around her dollies like that too.

  2. Welcome back Stephanie! I can’t believe you live in THAT gorgeous place, so envious! I love the way you wear your hair lately and can’t wait to see your new collection!

    • Hey Solange! Thanks! It’s nice here, husband and I were both country bred and while I love some things about the city, I’m loving the country so much more… Got your message, you really warmed my heart. :)

  3. I agree, you do live in paradise! I have been enjoying the Instagram posts of your new place, as I too started an Instagram account. It quickly started to take over my life ;-) so I am trying to limit myself these days! I am becoming more confident with my sewing and have recently bought an overlocker to help me along. Looking forward to reading more posts from you. So glad things are on the up. Oh and by the way you look fabulous!

    • Ah, funny how social media can do that…! I love cycling a photo through all the filters…. Oooooh congrats on the over locker, which one? Have you learned to thread it yet? That’s the key really, once you are used to that then there’s little the over locker can do to intimidate you and then you can overlock allll the things.. :). And thanks!

      • It’s a Janome, 2nd hand and at least 10 years old but barely looks used. Threading it was the first thing I did and surprisingly not as scary as I’d imagined. More fiddly than scary, I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. Have a wonderful Saturday, just going to bed here :-)

        • Ooooh those Janomes are good little workhorses, and I’m glad you’re on top of the threading! When I was learning them, the instructor kept cutting the threads and making me redo it til I could almost do it blindfolded like Marines assembling a gun in the movies lol… ;)

  4. Wellcome back! I am so happy to see you are bogging again. I did not realize how much I missed reading your post. Glad to see you are getting a foot hold on your health. I am currently going thru some health type issues myself and it feels quite daunting at times. I am looking forward to more inspiration coming from your side of the world.

  5. Hi Steph, welcome back! It truly is delightful to see you in this space again. (In the meantime, I have definitely enjoyed your IG updates.) I’m so happy for your new home and better health!! My biggest news is that I had a baby in June. He’s scrumptious. :) New baby means I’ve had to take a break from sewing. The last thing I sewed was a cap-sleeved striped sweater. I’ve got my eye on a couple of unfinished projects, including modifying a brown Red Velvet dress to have a front placket, so that I can nurse in it. :)

    • Hey Tanya! Eee eee eee! Congrats on the new baby, I was wondering when he’d be born! :) ooooh a front placket on an existing dress, that sounds like a good hack post…. You’re giving me ideas…!

  6. Your new home looks gorgeous, not just because of the view or the kitty! I definitely understand the need to take a break when you have health issues, and I remember how much I appreciated/enjoyed Instagram when I wasn’t up to full time blogging, but it’s nice if you can come back. But health comes first, so don’t feel obliged, even though it is a most welcome return :)

    • Thanks, Anna. As we moved in, our things just seemed to fit into this house in a way they never did in the old place. I can’t quite put my finger on it but like you said, it’s more than just the view… Thanks for the reminder about health. I’ve been thinking, wanting, plotting for a few months now, not quite sure if it was time but going to work the show really let me know it’s time to get back. I miss this so much, can’t wait to publish more 3hp posts!! :D

  7. Welcome Back, Stephanie!!! You don’t know how much you’ve been missed. Especially by me. I love your new place. It definitely looks like paradise. I look forward to seeing what creative delights you come up with.

  8. So glad you are back. And whole — physically and mentally (although there is Less of you physically!). You look wonderful and you sound strong and positive. Yay!!

    • Thanks, Sally… That Lessening is weird to me, I find it hard to understand… Like watching myself disappear. But- that’s done, I’m stronger all the time and am not allowed to put the weight back so here we are… :) and that’s just fine….

    • Thanks, Tilly Lou 62- I love the way your screen name rolls off the tongue… I hope you enjoy the little projects and what it I’ve been working on… :)

  9. Welcome back! Your new place looks amazing, and your kitty is adorable. It’s so nice to hear from you again. I made myself a Red Velvet dress, Carmine, and clutch for my birthday last weekend. It all looked pretty fab! :)

    • Thanks, Margo… :) kitty kitty is soooo softie, like a rabbit… Ooooh how exciting, you made a whole ensemble! Can i see pics?? Pleeeease?

  10. Hey! I don’t really have any news, but I wanted to say I’m supremely happy to hear from you again! I’ve almost sent you a message before, just to say hi, but I never did get there. I’m glad you decided to post, though! I can’t wait to hear more from you, even if it’s after a little while.

  11. Stephanie, I am glad you are feeling a bit better, I have missed your posts. Since I live in Ontario, Canada, these posts have given me a glimpse into an exotic (for me) locale. Please note, if you are blogging, make sure that it is not a chore/responsibility/stress for you. Please remember, we are basically penpals, with a mutual interest in sewing. Just keep yourself well and write as the spirit moves you. Nobody wants you to put yourself under stress because you think we expect it. We don’t. Take care and my best to you and your family. Karen

    Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:15:35 +0000 To: grumpykaren@hotmail.com

    • Hey Karen- thanks for being so understanding and caring. :) I’ll be careful, I’ve just really really missed this and my doctor said I should definitely get back to blogging with y’all, it’s always been such an overwhelmingly enlightening and positive experience from my end. I think about it exactly that way, like having a whole lot of fun penpals all over! Ooooh, if you like the exoticism, I think you’ll have fun with my summer posts… I’ve been working on learning the native wildlife and plants, and I think that’s going to definitely end up being a regular feature around here… There’s so many weird and lovely creatures just in my backyard…! (Like the bandicoot we accidentally caught in a feral cat trap, lol!)

  12. I’ve been wondering what happened to you! Very happy to see you back girl!! Love your new place and I wish you much happiness and tranquility there. Life is short always take lots of time to enjoy what you have! huggs

    • Oh… Well… Long story, lots of things, but it’s all good now… Good, but different. It’s just been one of “those” years, they happen sometimes. Thank you so much for your good wishes! *internet hugggs*

    • Bwahahahaha, I warned you once we started texting each other… I’ve been so grateful,for your friendship especially over the last few months, thank you so much for that. Can’t *wait* for y’all to visit and come sip ginger beers with us…and I know the tomatoes will be all ripe and delicious by then, if the wallabies don’t get them first…

  13. It’s Beautiful!!! How wonderful for your family! I barely recognized your little girl, she’s grown so much. However much you blog I’m glad your back and doing better!
    I’m moving at the end of the month but my Cabarita and Espresso patterns are tucked away with my sewing machines for easy access! :)
    Last things I’ve sewn are some Lola dresses. Warm for the coming winter.

    • Thanks, em!! Oh my, Lila is a Very Grown Up Girl now, she is reading chapter books and everything, just finished Matilda! We taught her to play scrabble and keep score, sometimes it’s hard to remember she’s only 6. Oh and she lost her two front teeth, just adorable as always.. Lol #besottedmotherhen. Good luck on your move, hope it all goes smoothly and I’ll have to look up those Lola dresses…!

  14. Hi Steph, YAY, you really are back in the blogging world! I am so lucky to have met you at the Fair; I think you are great :D My blog has been super neglected lately, but I do have a stash of things I need to post, and soon… I think finding cool people like you is what I need to get me back into it. BRB, clicking “follow”…

  15. I’m so glad to see a blog post from you. I’ve missed reading posts from you. I’ve been working on a quilt, for my son, that is taking forever. After this is done I’m sewing something for myself. Either an Hummingbird skirt or the Tiramisu dress.

    • Thanks, Ginger, I’m so excited to be back. Ooooh, a quilt! What’s the design/block? And yaaay sewing for yourself, I’m terrible about having fifteen projects on the go at once, but they do get done… Usually… Eventually.. ;)

  16. Hi Steph, It’s great to have you back… I must say that it has been exciting to watch Cake grow, but I have really missed watching you puzzle out sewing problems in this space. I could imagine the puzzling has been directed at your patterns more recently. I shouldn’t complain (; )) because I have benefitted from this when I sew up your patterns but I have missed seeing how your brain works in this space. I really enjoy the thinking of sewing and it would appear that you do to…
    It’s great to hear that your health issues are settling and that you have found a quieter place to recover and bloom again!!
    The last 2 months have been more about thinking about sewing than sewing itself for me… I am in the middle of a 2 month road trip in the US with my family – my husband and 3 kids. We had a fantastic month long adventure in an RV travelling up the Sierra Nevada from LA to Seattle through all the amazing national parks. We are now on the East coast catching up with family and enjoying a beautiful Vermont fall. There is a little bit of knitting going on and lots of planning for sewing when I return. I was lucky enough to see the Jane Stickle quilt in Bennington and the beautiful collection of quilts at the Shelburne Museum. I even saw some of your patterns for sale at Bolt in Portland!

    I hope this space continues to be as exciting and inspirational for you as it is for me!

    Take care
    Maryanne

    • Thanks, Maryanne, I really missed that kind of exploratory post, too… I’ve gone back and read some of them from eye ears ago and it’s almost creepy how much of that made it’s way into Cake. Ooooh that sounds like such a great trip, what a cool way to be together as a family and see the USA! Have you been blogging it, or just enjoying the journey?

  17. Oh, so glad to ‘see’ you again! Thank you for posting the link to the Spoon Theory, I had heard about it but had not read it yet. And yes, all true.

    Be healthy first. You must have heard the rule about putting your own oxygen mask on before your child’s; it applies to so many things but health would be the most important. Also glad to see you getting to see the good results from your patterns at sewing shows. You make good things happen.

    (yes, the s stands for stephanie)

    • The Spoon Theory has been a real help to me, it’s so frustrating to want to do All The Things and not be able to… But I’ve worked out a few things that help me fill my spoon drawer, and my husband is a really patient and supportive man, so I really can’t complain. :) thank you for the reminder, the oxygen mask metaphor is really apt. And thanks! I’ll remember that- I make good things happen. :)

  18. Welcome back to blogworld Stephanie. You are looking fabulous and as for the place you live in – wow! I have had a tough year. In August my mother passed away and everything feels sort of unresolved..but enough of all that.
    Best wishes for the continuation of Cake and I look forward to seeing what you do..

    • Thanks, Val. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and I hope you can find some peace on it soon. Or it might take a long time, and it’s all ok. *internet hugs* thanks so much! it’s kind of dreamy here, and I’m feeling loaded with creative energy, after such a long time of feeling empty… It’s good. Good things come back.

  19. Yay, Steph! I was just thinking about you this week and meaning to email you to see how you are. Glad to hear you’re well and OMG that house – can I come live there too, please? x

    • Hey Tilly- I’m the best health and brain space probably ever, it’s great. :) how are you doing? Big things, I read, you have a book?? Congrats!! I need to go stalk your blog and catch up.. :) if you ever find yourself in NSW, do please come on by. We have heaps of space.

  20. Hello again! I’m so glad you took the break you needed. Blogging is nice, but life is… well, life. And your new home. Wow. What a vista! It must be so peaceful for you and your family.

    • Hey Jen- are you the Jen I met at the show? :) thanks for commenting, and it’s s really nice to meet you… Chats like the one we had are what convinced me it’s time to blog again. Yes, it’s very peaceful, I’m so grateful for the silence, and all the trees… Cabarita beach is only a few minutes away, too… :)

  21. Welcome back. It’s good to take a break once in a while. If I lived with such gorgeous scenery, I’m not sure I’d find time to blog ;)

    • Hey Joy- how are you? I’ll have to go check out your blog… :) I did spend the first couple of months here just working on the gardening before the warm weather set in, hiking all over the place… But I’ve been talking to myself far too much, time to blog. :)

      • I’d love to hike in your neck of woods :) Some day…. I’ve slowed down a bit in the blogging department (ebb and flow, I guess). Fabric still calls my name…

  22. You live in a lovely place – it’s hard not to feel great when surrounded by such beauty. I lived on the North Coast of NSW when I was in high school – Grafton, Yamba & Lismore. Not quite as lovely as you’re spot. Welcome back to blogging (MissPiggyEats)

    • Oh! How neat! If you’re ever around here do let me know, I just met up with someone this weekend.. Lol, I think our social life has vastly improved since moving to the middle of nowhere.. And thanks for the sn-link-in, I get so confused sometimes with communications on different platforms. :) Yaaay, Back to Blogging!

    • Lol! It’s definitely a special part of the world, those lovely beaches so close, too. Heheh, if you’re ever in the area, just shoot me an email… ;)

    • Thanks, Fiona! I’ve been offline but definitely not idle, I should have something decent to show for myself in a couple of weeks lol. ;)

  23. Welcome back, Stephanie! Experiencing serious illness is its own education and renewed view of the world. I hope you feel great and enjoy your beautiful new home. Your creative life got a rest, a refreshment. I’ve been learning to teach sewing, enjoying students’ insights, and servicing lots of sewing machines. I inherited a beautiful knitting machine and currently work on stitching neat seams by machine. Enjoyed a class in bra sewing conducted by an instructor from the Beverly Johnson company (of Hamilton, Ontario), and finished one bra with plans for a second and improved one soon. I also have some stretch denim for new jeans for my husband and myself, and I am making aprons to auction for a benefit next month for the Ohio Food Bank. It’s so strange to live in an agricultural state that has so many hungry and poor people. My students are thrilled to learn how to do mending, as times seem to be getting harder. Congratulations on cleaning your sewing stashes, too; my sewing room is threatened by the crowding of the knitting machine, and too many boxes of fabric that should be stored elsewhere. Time to make some quilts and use up the scraps?

    • I agree… I’ll probably post a little more about things that happened later, but for right now I’m turbo-focused on getting out the little collection I’ve been working on all year and on re-connecting with everyone… :) But yes, drastic change of perspective, but really in the best way possible. Oooh teaching sewing! It’s kind of its own artform, apart from either sewing or teaching… I love it, always will… You’ve been so busy, I love the variety of your new interests! I hear that, about the incongruity of agriculture and food insecurity. Strange old world we’re living in, but at least we can do small things to help individuals, right?

      Oooh yes, quilts! Hehehe… I’ve been doing so much piecing… Ever paper piece? It’s a bit weird to learn, but I find it so much simpler especially for scrap piecing… I don’t cut out the shapes ahead of time, just make sure they’re bigger than the to-be-sewn bit and trim away the excess… ?

  24. Steph! It’s really good to “see” you here again. I do think that your health and your life should come first. I would also love it if there were some things popping up here, on whatever schedule works for you—things you’re making, and Cake updates, and whatever else you’d like. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing well!

    • Oooh good to see you too, Tasha! Thanks so much for being understanding and the reminder to be kind to myself… I had thought I’d update 3 hours past every day, but I think for now I’ll stick to Monday/Friday and when that gets easy, add in more days… :)

  25. It’s so great to have you back! I do follow you on Instagram, but I did miss your writing – your musings and your knowledge have always been very inspiring to me. I’m so glad to hear you’ve been well and my goodness does your home look incredible.

    • Thank you, that means a lot to me. I hope you like the other things I have coming up… Lots of musings, dear me. I’m drowning in inspiration lately.. :)

  26. Aw, I’m so glad to see you on here again. And even happier to hear that you’re healthy and happy! <3 I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts on various things again – they're always so interesting and insightful. :)

    I love the pictures of your new home! Such a stunning environment, I'll bet it's so calming and inspiring. I have to ask though, is that cowboy ironing board yours? I have what I call "the Man Bag" in a similar print, but with construction workers instead of cowboys, and I adore it (and have had so SO many offers to purchase it over the years)! But now I think I need to find more of that type of fabric to cover my entire ironing board, or make a sleeve roll/tailors ham! lol

    I haven't been sewing much of late (besides a dress for my cousin's wedding this past summer – a gorgeous coral raw silk version of Colettes Laurel), but oh have I been knitting up a storm! And crocheting! Both of which are so much easier to lug to my mining camp job for 2 week rotations. I did start up a new blog, because I felt like I outgrew the old one – Sewing on Pins was such a 'sewing' blog from a different time of my life, and I felt so guilty every time I posted something else. I'm still feeling my way around the new space, but I'm enjoying it more now.

    Okay, off to read your latest post! Welcome back to blogland, Steph!

  27. Hey Heather! Yaaay, so nice to “see” you again! Thank you so much. Thoughts on various things… well… ATM I’m really loving the Primus & The Chocolate Factory album (sooo creepy and fun), and also finding myself curiously attracted to crop tops… And watteau-pleated full shirt-dress skirts, but that’s an entirely different project…

    The cowboy printed ironing board is part of Kylie’s “road gear,” I was using her machines and things since I had to come up for the show. Voodoo Rabbit does a great job of sourcing cool, high quality, somewhat weird or macabre fabrics, I’m such an addict. That fabric is here: http://www.voodoorabbit.com.au/wranglers-vintage.html and I know she has several other male and female pinuppy type fabrics… She does ship overseas, based here in Oz..

    Crocheting! It’s like you’re reading my mind… I got into Amigurumi lately, and I’m a junkie now… Should have to post on that, it’s been delightful…

    Oh that’s cool, about progression and change. I will have to go have a good look around at your new space! :D

  28. Hi Steph,
    Great to see you’re doing so great. How exciting to move to an interesting new place. That sewing room looks fabulous. Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.
    Wait, let me rephrase that. I can totally wait to see what you’ve been up to tell us about it when you’re ready – no pressure :)


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