Tuesday, 18 December 2007

More handmade & Cookie Christmas

Things are going along, slowly, but so far I've stuck to the handmade for Christmas theme. Am sure I'll stray as I run out of time (um, that'll be pretty soon), but so far it's been fun and rather satisfying. Now just have to hope the recipients dig 'em too!

On the left is one of a batch of singlets I screen printed, to go with the first set of sewn pj shorts (taken from the Amy Butler Lounge Pants pattern but shortened - super comfortable and with a neat drawstring to hold them up).

And I discovered the joy of the crafty swap the other day, following a brilliant suggestion from Aunty Cookie. She sent a wonderful pack of fabric samples, cards and more, along with a Cookie doll (which I loooove most of all). Here she is, hanging up in our window along with the only Christmas decorations in our place - some suction cap-stuck baubles. She looks so cute there, I love looking up at her. Thanks Shannon, enjoy your holiday :)

Friday, 14 December 2007

Handmade Christmas 2

OK, I'm slowly moving along with my handmade Christmas gift making, and here's the first half of the second batch of gifts - more cushions.

Have been pondering what to put on the cushion covers for aaages, but inspiration hit when I was in the country a little while back and found a most beautiful leaf.

They're two-colour - a yellowy-green for the larger leaves, and a grey for the smaller leaves. I'm thinking the next batch will be maroon and grey. It's a little hard to see in these photos, so here's another pic to get an idea of what they look like close up.

Now I just have to hope the recipients don't look here and see their "surprise" gift!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Handmade Christmas 1

I'm starting to feel, um, a little behind in my Christmas preparation, but today I completed handmade gift number one. Not sure if a gift for a dog actually counts, though...

The pic is an outline of my parents' dog, Emma, screen printed onto a cushion for her basket. Hope it doesn't freak her out! And here's the obligatory dog snap -

She's rather shagging in this old snap, and is wearing a tshirt that me or my sister wore as kids. Aww.

And was reminded on the weekend that it really, well and truly is summer here -

Wow, cherries are amazing. As are strawberries and pretty much every other summer fruit. And not a single one of them was picked by me, which made them taste even better!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

More for Mikes

Took this batch of stuff over to Mikes Fitzroy the other day, complete with custom-made paper bag (with Akzidenz type on the outside). The bag is super wonky (I really should have used a ruler from the outset) but did the job!

And here's a close up of the loot -

This is a behind shot of the elephants, complete with new hang tags. And the middle one - with blue and brown - is now sitting in the Mikes Fitzroy Christmas window. Yay!

And there is the batch of lavender bags with tags.

It's always nice seeing everything finally finished off, tagged and ready to go - that alone always makes it all feel worthwhile. And funnily enough two people I know bought my stuff at Mikes shopping night the other night (that's definitely a novelty for me!) Wooh!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Saturday & Sunday

Whew, had a fun crazy weekend. On Saturday morning I found out that Idlewild Press, a letterpress studio based in the Nicholas Building in downtown Melbourne, was having having an open day that day. How exciting! It's a one-person studio run by Carolyn Fraser of the Girlprinter blog. I went and had a look and as expected, the space is beautiful and the equiptment and type drawers and type pieces and various pieces of paraphernalia were just asking to be photographed.

I had to stop myself by only buying this set of cards - so sweet - but could have bought everything

While trying to find my way out from the sixth floor of the Nicholas Buidling I stumbled upon this great shop called Buttonmania, that just happened to be having its twice-yearly button sale. I got a handful of great looking buttons along with these great old knitting patterns.

Melbourne Design Market was excellent, as ever, and picked up a few great things including some coasters by Lightly, some earings (which punch out, how fun) by Limedrop, and a beautiful vase.

And stitching at Mikes was fun. Here's a before and during shot. The glass of bubbly explains the slight wonkiness in the pole!

Friday, 30 November 2007

Design Market & Stitching

Yes, the Design Market (no longer the ReadyMade Market, possibly because of my favourite magazine) is back on Sunday (Fed Sq carpark) and I am hoping to get there early so it won't be so crowded (this plan never works as everyone else has the same idea!) Oh well, should be fun for some pre-Christmas shopping & getting out early on a Sunday morning.

And no, the photo above is not an indication of what it is like in Melbourne at the moment - it was taken pre-name change in winter last year, hence the grey sky. That seems a long way from today's 28 or 29 degree heat.

And on Sunday night I'm going to my first stitching night at Mikes - should be exciting. Rather than go for some cutesy thing (which was tempting), my stitching will be of a light pole and electricity wires (I made a line drawing from a photo I took). Yes, definitely not cutesy but the kind of thing I find interesting to look at.

Whether it works for stitching is another thing, but there's only one way to find out. Not sure how many colours to use but think I'll stick to just a couple. Can't wait, bring on the cupcakes.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Mikes Mirabel Softies & Elephants

Look what I discovered today -

Yes, the softies for Mirabel have been 'installed' and look so great. I was only outside the shop for a couple of minutes, and EVERYONE walking past stopped to look an oh-ed and ah-ed. So impressive and great to have been a part of. Good one Pip! And they'll be there for just one week before heading to their new homes. And there are more photos here and here.

And I got through another batch of elephants today. Well, almost. They still need to be stuffed and stitched up, but nearly there. Whew. Some are bound for Mikes soon, and some for the many babies that I know who've been born lately.

And a find for today -

Not a bad find, all for $1 at Industria in Fitzroy. Like everything from Industria, these have an untold history - they're not shiny new buttons but seem to be used and a little scuffed. They're all the same otherwise - utilitarian and puposeful-looking.

Thursday, 22 November 2007


As I'm sick at the moment (for about the fifth time this year - what is going on?) I have spent way too much time looking at my old handkerchiefs - yep, I've still got some classics from my late '70s/early '80s childhood. I'm not sure how hard it is to get a good hankie these days (no tartan or old lady patterns for me) so decided to make some of my own.

I've since decided the negative and positive are the wrong way around, as you don't really want to be blowing you nose onto a slab of ink, but am happy with how it's coming along (the pic is taken from a page of a book I designed for a project earlier this year - it's a giraffe eating leaves from a tree, in case you can't tell).

And working on this has reminded me why it's so fun but also challenging working on 'real' things (as opposed to clicking away at pretend things on a computer) - fabrics don't sit straight, they fold and move when you don't want them to, inks have a thickness (I need to play around with getting them thinner, so it doesn't resemble flattened puffy paint!), mixing colours is a time consuming process, and they look different when applied to fabric. Etc etc. But these are all the things that make it interesting, and is great when it works out how you want.

So it's almost back to the drawing board for me, I need to add a second colour (the falling leaf is suppposed to be maroon) - happy days.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

I love the mailman

Two great things arrived in the mail today -

More Kirin Notebook fabric, this time the new cotton/linen blend, and it is even more beautiful in real life. Of course, I now wish I'd bought more but it is well and truly sold out now, boo hoo.

And this chair -

It was designed in 1950 and is now made with "an eco-friendly polypropylene material" and has maple legs. I've had my eye on it for quite a while (after all you really NEED a comfortable chair for sewing) and now want more. Think I'll need more space before considering that, though - can you see how small my sewing corner is?!

A Mirabel Cat Softie

And here's my second Mirabel Softie - the before and after shots. It's a cat, in case you can't tell, from a pattern by Amy Butler that I found a couple of years ago. The original is quite big (like a pillow) so I reduced it by about 50% so it can be easily carried around.

And I just realised why I don't usually make things from patterns - I'm not very good at it and don't follow instructions, hence the face is the wrong way around (compared to what is on the pattern). Oh well, no one will ever know!

There's actually quite a few interesting (and free)
patterns on the Amy Butler site - it's worth a look, especially if you're taking part in the Handmade Pledge this festive season. And while we're on the subject of handmade, Sew, Mama, Sew has some hints of what to make on the Handmade Holidays: 30 Days of Gifts to Sew special on its blog.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Wonky Ladies

I got my ears re-pierced a little while back but then when I went out hunting for earings I found it hard to find any that I particularly liked. So, for something different I tried making some earings the other day.

The front & right hand side ones are studs with cameo ladies (peach & white and black & white). Off to the left are some that are slightly more complicated - some really nice black beads (that are heavy and shiny and almost glass-like and non-uniform and quite interesting) that hang from hook earings.

After a bit of testing, including different glue (next time I'll go straight to the superglue, but will be more wary of NOT sticking my fingers together!) and getting the wire bent in the right way, I had a heap of new earings to chose from (there are lots more different ones too). Fun and very practical! Think I might invest in some needle nose pliers next...

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Screening, cutting, sewing, filling

OK, so I haven't got around to the sewing, filling for most of them ... where does the time go? But I did get around to doing some screen printing the other day - just some test prints on a couple of different types of cotton/linen - and now am waiting for the time to whip up some more lavender bags for gifts (and you can never have too many yourself!)

Just one got sewn up. The colours look crazy here 'cause of the terrible photo!

Haven't had time for much for than thinking about what I'll do next, which will involve a cat softie for Mirabel. (I hope there'll be at least one...) and some more elephants, and and and...

Monday, 12 November 2007

Ohh, this could be dangerous....

I usually have to build myself up for a trip to Patchwork on Central Park ... so much fabric, so much fun, but I don't want to overindulge. Well, it's been a while and this might just be a good enough reason for a trip across town for fabric re-stocking.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Draught crazy

Have just completed a new batch of draught stoppers following requests from friends (and friends of friends). They take a bit of fiddling around to get the inserts to fit the covers snugly, but I got there in the end (I also made inserts - which are filled with rice - then the covers, so the covers can be washed). My main reason for making them in the first place is that I wanted something that can easily be stowed away, so they needed to have a sturdy hang tag (the bit sticking out at the end!).

After the first attempt with just the one fabric (the top in the second snap) I decided to play around a bit with mixing up fabrics, and sacrificed the excellent Kirin Notebook Birch, which I'd yet to find a use for.
The other (top) part is made with some offcuts of my 'Akzidenz' screen printed fabric (in pale blue).

I love the Birch fabric and am glad I got to use the full length of it - you can only fully appreciate it when you see the full length. Am not 100% convinced my fabric 'matches' the birch, but it will have to do now!Am now looking forward to my next project ... but will this chunky felt be best put to use as a laptop cover (sturdy) or some slippers (chunky and soft)?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

You gotta start somewhere

OK, so it's taken a while (yes, years), a lot of thinking and I'm still not sure about it, but here goes. I woke up before 6am today full of ideas, couldn't think for all the ideas swirling around. So I got up. And after ticking a few things off my list of things to do, I decided to add another before going to work. Yes, I've procrastinated long enough and now figure I should just try it out. Blogging. Damn blogging - I spend enough time on Bloglines, do I really need to add to that time by creating my own? Hmm, maybe it won't last, but guess I'll give it a try.

So here I go. Here's one of the things I've done in the last couple of days - from flat to 3D:

Some of the elephants are for an order, and the rest are for Softies for Mirabel organised by Mike's. I'm really glad to be involved - I usually like to buy stuff to stick under a charity christmas tree, but feel much better about making something! And I'm not alone.

That'll do for now, but just wanted to say thanks to Lara for being an inspiration. I just had a flick through some of the older posts on her blog and it's great to see how much she's achieved since then. And always there's something new! Hopefully the motivation factor for me will improve if I stick to this!

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