Libby's Lifestyle.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Aprons and greeters.

It's the crazy time of year. Christmas, holidays, family. I've been to Far North Queensland and caught up with Miss Betty and, while I've been away, my aprons have been starting the revolution in Newcastle. It's apron mania in the coal city just to my north.

On my short break in Newcastle, I happened across a wonderful shop brim full with handmade goodness, Alie Jane Travel Accessories & Design. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied fabric in a shop window, interesting fabric, really interesting fabric. I headed across the Mall to the window and that's how it all began.

As I was paying, I mentioned that I was going to make aprons with this amazing fabric. Matilda, the owner of Alie Jane, said she always had people after aprons and to send her a photo.

Well, I didn't because … well, I thought maybe she was just being friendly. As people are. But I did start following her on Facebook and Instagram.

And that's really how it all began.

On Facebook, Matilda put out a call for apron makers/ designers and I thought, what the heck. She can only say no. So, I emailed her a link to my Etsy shop … and that IS how it all began.

Apron mania.

The revolution.

And I've been sewing aprons ever since!

Caravan aprons.

VW Kombi aprons.

Old style baking aprons.

Elephant aprons. Not for elephants, just with them on the fabric. Although, now, there's a thought.



sewing. Aprons.

Even a custom order for a man's apron which my visiting niece, Number 3, helped me to design.

Packing them up

 and posting them off

to the coal city to the north.

And then replenishing my Etsy shop apron supply which I had pilfered to keep up with demand.

So, it's seems the revolution has begun. 

I can't cook without wearing an apron. It's the first thing I grab. I always fear those nasty tomato sauce stains, oil spots, fat splats.

And where do you wipe your hands if you're not wearing an apron??

But you know what else was so good about discovering Alie Jane in Newcastle? Meeting Clyde, the Store Greeter, even if he was napping on a friend's lap at the time.

Yes, even this small vibrant shop in the Mall has a Greeter. An extra expense, but well worth the investment.

Clyde. A gallolloping, smiley faced, rescue dog who steals your heart before you know it.

Check out Alie Jane's Instagram or Facebook feed to see his gorgeous face.

And Clyde got me thinking … when did Store Greeters become de rigueur?

Have you noticed? They're everywhere.

Banks, Target, K Mart.

"Good morning. Welcome to Target. Would you like out latest specials brochure?"

When did it happen? When did they sneak into our daily lives? Silently, quietly.

I don't know that I need to be greeted at every store entrance. Do you?

I know some of them are Security Guards in disguise. Oh yes ... my great-nephew is one.

"Good morning. Welcome to Kmart. Take anything and I'll have you arrested in a nano-second."

I know the theory says that you're less likely to shoplift if you've made personal contact with an employee. I know all that. 

But, I don't shop lift AND I don't need to be greeted continuously, ne-ver end-ing-ly, i.n.c.e.s.s.a.n.t.l.y at EVERY store.

But Clyde, well he's different. 

Gorgeous, handsome, heart melting.

Store Greeters like Clyde should be compulsory.

What do you think about Store Greeters?

And aprons, do you wear one?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Photography … another week closer to Christmas.

Not long now until the red-coated-bearded-one arrives. The everyday goes on, but excitement mounts. Life is busy, very busy. Gathering in outdoor cushions as the storms threaten. Sewing. Cooking. Snapping photos. Life's good.

It's hard to believe that these storms are so regular. EVERY afternoon. Black, threatening, loud. Yet, they continue to come.

Yesterday, one even came at lunch time. Obviously, its clock was out of sync.

And with them drenching rain and the odd bits of hail. So predictable. Quick moving. Heading into the city where they sometimes become even more destructive.

But the rain brings growth in the simplest ways. Seeds on grasses.

Flowers (and bees) on native bushes.

This week, I've been sewing.

Lots. And lots … of aprons heading north for sale in Newcastle at Alie Jane.

My niece came to visit. Together, we made slice. Apricot jam and coconut slice. Yum.

And went for walks to see the Christmas lights … next door.

I've been crocheting too. In black this time.

But my little companion is bored.

This is his "Please get off the computer mum; I'm sooooo bored" pose.

What's the weather like at your place?

Have you started the countdown to Christmas?

Are you excited, waiting for the red-coated-bearded-one?

There'll be no blog post from me this Friday.


I'll be in Far North Queensland visiting Miss Betty before Christmas arrives.

Remember Miss Betty? You can read about visiting her here, here, here and here.

But I'll be back next Tuesday with FNQ photos.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Newcastle … a weekend away.

Newcastle, just under three hours north of Sydney, was the destination. A city, I had heard, with a funky vibe and a rejuvenated heart. 

A weekend away. The ocean. Oh, how I miss the Pacific. 

Previously I had only driven through the outskirts of Newcastle on the way south to the bigger smoke. It had not been a destination before, but here we were, MLP and I, weekend-ing in Newcastle. We started at the ocean, because MLP knows how my heart bleeds to see the ocean. Our current abode means a morning walk on the beach is not even the remotest possibility. I have never lived, long term, so far from my sparkling Pacific.

Shoal Bay for breakfast. And the ocean. Crystal clear and so enticing.

Then around the corner, along a bush track, Spring blooms,

and orange eucalyptus gums

down a wooden pathway

onto a secluded cove

and feet into the ocean, the glistening Pacific,

for the first time in ages.

But I am full of a head cold and, as much as I want to swim, I don't. 

Next time. Definitely, next time.

So we head off in search of coffee and find the old Customs House.

What a majestic building. Now the Customs House Hotel.

A shaded verandah.

Our spot for coffee and treats.

We wander a little further via Timeless Textiles gallery with fibre and fabric arts that set my heart a flutter, particularly this work by Judy Hooworth. I know my sister will looovve this piece.

Look at the detail of that quilting. Be still my heart.

Then past streets that disappear into the sky, San Francisco style.

On to Hunter Street and its Mall filled with independent retailers, so much more intriguing than your average shopping centre.

Quirky, funky, retro, cool; all the things I love.


How could you get bored in this vibrant city?

Be as random as you like.

We lunched with this guy.

In Cazador, a busy coffee shop come tapas bar.

A back wall covered in old doors. Love it.

Or a Mall view from cow hide stools.

And I found Alie Jane Travel Accessories and Design … and fabric … and handmade wonders … and the friendliest dog, Clyde, … and his friendliest owner. 

Sorry, I was too busy looking to take photos. Oh, and buying fabric to make aprons. Next time. Definitely, next time.

By the way, if you didn't already know, my aprons are now available for purchase from Alie Jane and also from my Etsy shop. Shameless self promotion. Sorry.

Later in the afternoon, we moved over to the bustling pub and restaurant district on the Hunter River and watched the boats/ships do their thing.

Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. The passing traffic is fascinating to watch. Coal carriers, fishing boats, tugs, pilot boats, teeny tiny sailing craft all manoeuvre their way up, down, across the Hunter. Amazing.

And then came the mother of all electrical storms. Nature's own light and sound show. Free and just as the sun was setting.

The crowds were impressed. Very impressed. But also very wary. A young surfer had been killed by lightning on a beach near here not long ago.

So, what do you think?

Been to Newcastle lately?

Adding it to your must visit list.