Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

December 31, 2014

Happy new year

December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

March 13, 2012

As seen on this label

If there's one thing I love, its slightly silly labeling.

You know the sort don't you? The knife with the packaging that states : "Warning: Keep out of children" or the children's cough medicine that says "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication".

Yep, that makes me laugh.

And so did this.

I wonder what other gems their marketing department have come up with?

February 12, 2012


Here's a little project completed this weekend. Inspired by the new Colette Sewing Handbook and some favourite dressmaking blogs, I thought it might be fun to draw a personalised "croquis". A sort of virtual "paper doll" I can dress-up in my sewing projects.

Now, by definition a croquis is a quick and sketchy drawing of a live model. If truth be told though, there was nothing even remotely quick about creating my croquis. And there was a distinct lack of a model. I mean, have you ever seen Kate Moss looking like this in her undies? Didn't think so.

Anyway, following the Colette instructions, I created the croquis from a photo. Mr HB was appointed photographer. He took a one photo. Then another photo. And another one. And another. Apparently if you are lardy and have a double-chin, no matter how many photos are snapped, you will still look lardy with a double-chin. Darn.

Following the ill-fated photography session, I did some tracing and then scanned the outline from my photo. Then due to complete ineptitude, I ended up finalising the basic croquis using three different graphics editing applications. The result, as you can see, looks much like I used three completely different graphics editing applications.

Finally, I thought it might be amusing to "try on" some of the 78 garments that I have cut out and then not finished sewing. This one is from the top of the pile - Burda skirt 7531 View A in sand-coloured bengaline.

Please don't ask what happened to my hands. They've been left behind somewhere in one of three graphics editing applications. It appears one of my toes has also vanished.

If only it was that easy to lose the double-chin.

February 11, 2012

On a roll

Following this spot of Harry Potter toilet-paper roll craft, 5-year-old Bargy had a stroke of genuis: a bathroom emergency requiring 100 sheets of 2-ply.

Apparently we needed a Hagrid.

Activity from the delightful Lotta Magazine for Children
Contains art, craft, cooking, storytelling, creative writing, drawing, gardening, games,play & colouring. Ages 5 - 10.

October 11, 2011

The visitor

Don't mind me.
No please, I insist.
I know I look quite big*.
And close.
But just carry on.
As if I weren't here.
I'll ... uh ... be sitting quietly.
Minding my own business.
Yup, yup, yup.

Hey ... is that a sandwich you're eating?

* 52 centimetres

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 09, 2011


When I spied this thread at Open Drawer, I knew resistance was useless.

I quote from the packaging ...

This thread appears matt grey in ordinary diffuse light but flashes a luminous silver when viewed from the same direction as a light source. It is spectacular in low light or at night.

I wasn't sure why I needed it. Or what I would use it for.

All I knew was: Must. Have. Shiny. Object.

Sometime after the purchase of aforementioned thread, I remembered: I was about to make a coat (Jalie 2680 - Women's City Coat). And as you can see, this baby has a shedload of top-stitching.

Although the pattern instructions don't specifically recommend that said top-stitching should look spectacular in low light or at night ....

... I am sure that top-stitched seams flashing a luminous silver when viewed from the same direction as a light source will be a great asset.

Once I have finished the coat I will be able to go walking at night, secure in the knowledge that I will be visible from miles away.

Look out dear ... what's that in the headlights?
Why I do believe its a princess-seamed coat with wobbly top stitching.

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 08, 2011

Here's one I prepared earlier

Here is a little girl's skirt that I sewed a while ago*

I love this cute pattern - the "Insa skirt" - by Farbenmix. The design, with layering and ruching, reminds me of a princess skirt. It makes an excellent twirly party skirt.

The pattern is available individually or as part of the book "Sewing Clothes Kids Love" [Langdon & Pollehn, 2010 Creative Publishing International].

I've made this skirt once before using a dreamy pink fairy print, called the Sprites of Tillbrook. Regretably due to a lack of forethought about print placement, I decapitated some of said sprites.

I'm not sure about the wearer, but personally I still haven't recovered.

For this version I stuck with less risky Japanese sashiko stars in indigo and taupe. There's only just so much of a mess you can make with a bunch of stars.

* "A little while ago" may mean "10 months ago"

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 06, 2011

If you do wot I say ...

I just found this partly-penned gem. Clearly Argy has been putting his new-found writing skills into practice.

As Einstein so famously said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot."

I can only guess how this would have ended if Argy knew more words.

October 05, 2011

The one in which I mentioned the thread once, but I think I got away with it

Oooh ... lookee over here at all the pretty threads.

No, on second thought - if you don't live in Melbourne don't look at the overlocker threads. Quick ... avert your eyes. Pretend you never saw them.

And I'll be sure not to tell you that this little shop also has a wall ... yes a whole wall ... of zippers of every description. And beautiful interfacing for just $6 a metre.

Yep, I'm awfully glad you didn't see all that.

Anh Accessories Supply
407 Victoria Street

Richmond, Victoria

Open Monday - Saturday 9:00am - 5:30pm

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 04, 2011

A bolt of fabric

Earlier this year, when I made this bed cover as a gift, I learned a number of important things about fabric and bolts.

For example: I learned that you can't waltz into your local purveyor of fine fabrics and request 11 metres of their best. No siree.

Apparently your standard bolt in a patchwork store is liable to hold far less. And you will need to buy shorter pieces of different prints and do something called sewing to join them into a bed cover.

Just between you and I, I've heard that some people do this kind of thing just for fun. Sheesh, it takes all kinds, huh?

Prints by Tanya Whelan for Free Spirit - Delilah collection

But more importantly, I learned that a bolt is actually something your 4-year-old is liable to do whilst you are puzzling (in the aforementioned fabric store) over which prints go together and in what combination and quantity.

Yes, this sort of bolt compels you to run up and down the aisles, with eyes wide and bellowing your child's name like a fishwife.

The sort where other customers are liable to look and think ... Sheesh, it takes all kinds, huh?

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 03, 2011

From the more-is-more school of thought

A book of temporary tattoos.
A stealthy 4-year-old.

Four matching limbs.

Tatts a lot of body art.

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 02, 2011

Simplicity 2506 mouse ears

Recently it was "dress as your favourite book character" day at school. For the uninitiated this occassion is also known as send-your-mother-to-the-edge-of-madness-with-some-completely-outlandish-costume-request.

So when Argy announced he wanted to go as "The Gruffalo" with his terrible tusks and terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws, I had to do some quick thinking.

"Er yes, wow, that's a great choice" I said, all the while trying to fathom how to construct terrible tusks and teeth. But then a brainwave: "How about the Mouse?" I suggested, hopefully. "Isn't the Mouse the hero of the story?" Argy looked a little uncertain, but agreed.

I swung into action (before he could change his mind) and started rifling through my pattern collection. Mouse, mouse, mouse ... surely there must be something here. Sure enough, I found a pristine Simplicity 2506 - view D included a sort of hood with mouse ears. Excellent.

But my moment of triumph dissipated when I saw the words "Costumes for Toddlers".

Yes, there was no denying it: the pattern envelope clearly showed a bunch of smiling babies modelling the costumes. Bother. I looked back and forth between the pattern and 6-year-old Argy's well-above-average crown circumference. This was going to call for a little ingenuity.

I traced off the hood pattern pieces and then after taking a few flat pattern measurements, decided to employ an alteration technique called the LNA ("Large Noggin Adjustment"). The LNA (which is sometimes also referred in the trade as the "Big Head Spread"), involved slashing and adding extra real estate to all the pattern pieces making up the hood.

With the addition of a couple of darts, the fit was good and I was able to make up a snug mousy hood in brown fleece and beige tricot. I was quite pleased with the result. That is, except for a lingering doubt: when I changed the size of the hood, should I have graded up the mouse ears?

I soon knew the answer. On the morning of "dress as your favourite book character" Argy proudly wore his costume to school. "Hey ... look its a koala" yelled someone.

With my costume-making pride just a little dented, I tried to see the bight side. At least that's next year's costume sorted: Argy can go as Blinky Bill.

This post brought to you as part of Blogtoberfest - October's blogging festival.

October 01, 2011

/blôgˈtoʊbərˈfest/ (noun)

This poor craft blog. Its suffered months of neglect: no words, no pictures. Some 722 blog posts have been sitting about, gathering dust. The only visitors have been ones with unusual names like Viagra, Toilet Paper, Learn Spanish and Protein Powder (.. granted they do always stop and take the time to leave such thoughtful shopping recommendations).

Anyway, its time to pull up my socks and get writing again (although I am at a loss to explain how socks will help ... unless they are toe socks, because they like, totally help with typing).

To get back into the habit, I'm joining in with the an annual blogging event, Blogtoberfest. So I'll see you again soon .... I'll be the one in the stripey socks.

July 01, 2011


There's been a bit of a craft and writing hiatus in these here parts. Whoops. Something tells me its time to reorganise my priorities. Can you help? Let's close our eyes and repeat together: a tidy house is a sign of a wasted life; a tidy house is a sign of a wasted life.

Eyes open again? Good.

Last week (as the ironing accumulated, floor gathered dust and children went hungry) I managed to complete a small project. This is my entry for the "Hottie Cover Challenge Exhibition", which is a charitable initiative being run by retail gallery, Open Drawer. All money raised will be going to the Margaret Pratt Foundation.

Now to clarify, a hottie cover is something you put a hot water bottle into ... and not a handsome bloke from the front of a magazine. The latter was guessed by a hopeful family member. (Yes, I'm looking at you Argy and Bargy's auntie!)

My hot water bottle cover has been submitted as part of a large group entry, organised by the lovely Cam from Curlypops.

I jokingly told Cam I was going to do something a bit nanna. Sadly the only nanna-ish thing I could think to make was er, an actual nanna.

Anyway, here is Nanna sitting in a chair with a knee rug and her own hottie.

The front of the cover is osnaburg and the back is made up mystery blue and pink florals that caught my eye in Spotlight.

Nanna is a combination of dimensional applique, beading and free-motion machine stitching.

It was the first time I had tried "drawing" with a machine. This will come as no surprise to those of you who had already noticed that nanna has an unusually square nose and weirdly shaped feet. (Goodness gracious, lucky I wasn't trying to stitch that handsome bloke from the front of the magazine cover. Can you imagine what I might have done to a six pack?)

If you would like to see some absolutely beautiful examples of hottie covers - with not a square nose in sight - do try and pop into Open Drawer between now and 24 July. If you are out-of-town you can take a virtual tour of a selection of covers right here.

Hottie Cover Exhibition
1 - 24 July 2011
Open Draw
1156 Toorak Road

Exhibition opening
6 - 8pm Friday 1 July
All hotties are for sale with proceeds to the
Margaret Pratt Foundation

May 08, 2011

A birthday cake epilogue (or "Happy Mothers Day")

"I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids."
Source: Unknown

Its Mother's Day: the perfect day to write a little epilogue to the story of the Octonaut's birthday cake.

I received such lovely, generous comments to last week's birthday cake post, that I thought I ought to set the record a little straighter. Here, friends, is the reality ...
  • The cake was made with a commercial packet mix
  • The cake fell apart when I turned it out of the tin - who the heck gets a packet mix wrong?
  • I swore a lot made a polite exasperated sound
  • I made another packet mix cake
  • The bottom fell off the cake - what kind of clown gets two packet mixes wrong?
  • I ran out of packet mixes. More swearing.
  • I had to glue the cake back together with fondant icing - a shedload of icing.
  • There was a disproportionate (and unfavourable) cake-to-icing ratio

  • The Octonauts decorations were really tricky to construct. I am afflicted with sausage-fingers. I spilt purple food dye down a cupboard. I glared at anyone who approached the kitchen. I spent more time on the cake, than I did holding the party. I swore a lot.
  • I don't think anyone actually liked eating the cake. Even the small children. That's saying something .... small children will eat anything inanimate labelled cake.
  • Not long after the party finished, I found Bargy breaking all the Octonaut decorations into small pieces (Look mum, I made a jigsaw). They were only icing. But I cried anyway.
This has been a real blog post from a real mum. All the rest that you see here at Hoppo Bumpo is nice camera angles and the use of a thesaurus.

A very happy Mothers Day to all the mums out there. (Remember: smoke-and-mirrors are your friends.)

Liesl xx

April 30, 2011


Argy recently turned 6 and, as is our custom, placed a request for a special birthday cake. I held my breath. The Octonauts, he declared.

Whew. The Octonauts - a crew of storybook (and now animated) animals who roam the ocean and have adventures - are pretty cute. They would be fun to do.

But then Argy added the qualifier: the Octopod please, mum.

If you are unfamiliar with the Octonauts, may I present the four-armed, glass-domed under-water vehicle they call the Octopod.

Source: The Octonauts

Dear reader, is this a shape that really says cake to you?

Er, non?

After negotiations about the design (where its rumoured I resorted to half-truths about not having the right food colouring to make the Octopod) we decided upon some of the Octonaut characters and an underwater scene.

So we fashioned Captain Barnacles, Kwasi Cat and Peso Penguin (top photo) along with ...

... seaweed and coral ...

... and wee fish, stars and a 6 ...

... and came up with this instead.

Its not quite the Octopod, but Argy was very happy with it.

NB. If you're the gambling type, I'm opening the books and taking bets on possible 7th birthday cake requests: a watch mechanism; the planetary system; a Harrier jump jet; and Brighton Pavilion.

April 17, 2011


I had to run some errands in the city yesterday, so Argy came along and we made a bit of a day of it. After admiring the treasure-troves at Tessuti and Cake Deco, we spent some time exploring Melbourne's quirky city lanes.

My favourite was Presgrave Place (above) where we found this ramshackle red couch and art prints hung along the brick walls.

I would have felt quite at home in this alley, if it weren't for Argy standing holding his nose disdainfully: eeewwww ... who's making that awful stink mum? (Er, perhaps more like home than I thought).

In Hosier Place, Argy enjoyed blending into the surrounds. We spent ages admiring the amazing artwork. A lovely time had by all.

(Note to self: must remember to reiterate that crayon on walls at home does not fall within the bounds of street art).

April 16, 2011

Washi out

Please choose the correct response ...

This lovely new Japanese washi masking tape:
  1. is a unique craft and design product
  2. will have an abundance of creative and decorative uses
  3. will most likely have its life cut short (please refer Exhibit A, below)

Yes: two boys and a roll of (non-washi) masking tape. The elder completely taped to the chair.

I was forced to intervene at the end of this game, when I overheard Bargy saying to his older brother "Now Argy, you will have to be a brave boy".

I'll leave you to imagine where the scissors were poised.

MT masking tape
10 pack - pastels
10m x 15mm

February 07, 2011

Three cheers

It was five year-old Argy's first day at primary school today. He was very excited and it all went well. His younger brother - four year-old Bargy - starts kindergarten this Wednesday.

Some days the boys will be at school and kindergarten ... at the same time.

The house will be quiet won't it?



[Insert sound of clinking glasses, party tooters and marching band here]