Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bless you



Two sleeps until Christmas! We've done the last food and gift shopping, made the gingerbread house and tomorrow will just be spent wrapping gifts and catching up with some friends.

So all I have left to do is to thank you for coming here this year, leaving your lovely comments and for being such a wonderfully supportive blogging community. It's been a great year for me and Ruby in the Dust, and whether you've supported my business, left a comment, been a friend or just read my thoughts on this blog, I want to wish you the best for Christmas and the New Year. See you in 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The tree

Congratulations to Sarah from CottonKiwi who won the giveaway! Sarah's favourite tree also turns out to be one of my absolute favourites, especially this time of year.

The acacia is such an unassuming tree for most of the year, just minding its own business with big old thorns and tiny leaves, but around December it blossoms into something quite amazing. The flowers are small and round (a bit like a wattle's), but what makes it even more special is the fragrance. It's hard to describe, but to me it just smells of Christmas. The closest equivalent here in NZ has to be the silk tree; bury your face in the flowers and you can get an idea. To me it smells of happy days spent in the sun, eating watermelon, camping by the river. Of a home and family far away.

Friday, December 18, 2009

To have everything

It was our 10th wedding anniversary last week, and I had such a hard time thinking of the right gift for Craig. Thank goodness for Rob Ryan and Olivia Coote is all I can say. The words are from a paper cut by Mr Ryan (follow the link), and the maps were repurposed by Olivia.

The story: about 13 years ago Craig and I met in Cornwall, travelled to Egypt and worked in Scotland. We literally had nothing, just our little tent, camping stove and each other. Aaaah...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taking photos

I had a few spare minutes today to take some photos for my shop update on Felt. I thought I might share my version of a light box that I use as a background for photographing smaller items.


The idea with a light box is to have a seamless background that makes the most of the available light by bouncing it off the sides of the box. I use a presentation folder you can get from all the large stationary shops; it folds nice and flat when not in use. I prefer to use a light coloured background to white; I think it shows off my work better. I use a large A2 sheet of card which I just pin to the presentation folder and there you go, I've got myself a nice background no matter how messy my work table is! Etsy has some very useful basic photography tips in their Storque articles, have a look at this one for ideas on how to best photograph jewellery.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A winner and another giveaway

Before I get down to business, just have a look at the pohutukawa tree we camped under this weekend... It's such a magnificent tree and has a very real presence, not only providing shade for us all, but also a wonderful place for the kids to explore and play make-believe games in.


I pulled a name from a bag last night, and the winner is... Little Miss Flossie. Congratulations!! I really enjoyed all those movie choices; a few of them are already on my list of favourites, like Delicatessen, Baghdad Cafe and Juno. I'll keep your list for when I'm going to the video shop again; I'm always at a loss in there.

My next garage sale giveaway contains these goodies: one pocket mirror featuring Heidi, 4 vintage kid's book stickers and 4 covered embroidered buttons. The mirror and the buttons are seconds, just not as perfect as I would like for selling, but still in great useable condition for yourself. Today's topic is 'what's your favourite tree'. I'll give you until this Sunday night 8pm (NZ time) again. Remember to leave your email address if you don't have a Blogger account and good luck!




Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting close...

I can't believe how Christmas always seems to sneak up on me, even though I started thinking about and planning for it around May this year! (It was really just the bird kits, I'm not really that organised...). We're taking a bit of time this weekend to go camping with a few friends, no I'm lying, quite a lot of our friends. It's an annual event and so much fun to get a camping trip in before Christmas.
Before I go I just want to share the last couple of ornaments I received this week, both decorated with buttons. The lavender-filled heart is from Amy and the button wreath is from Nicola in Dunedin. I've really enjoyed this swap; it's so great to look forward to those little parcels in the mailbox.
Finally, I made these stars for a friend who bought some felt birds from me last Christmas. Who knows, you might be able to make your own next year...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Garage sale giveaway


I've been planning this giveaway for a couple of days now and guess what; I just won a giveaway on Ribbons and Pom Poms! So I want to pass on the favour to somebody else...
I just went through my boxes the other day and discovered a few things that are slightly damaged or that have just been sitting around long enough for me to get a bit tired of it. In this giveaway are two peg dolls (in perfect working order :), a small rebound notebook (not making any more; I sold my binder) and a poppy vintage embroidery brooch. The brooch is damaged on the back: good enough to wear yourself but not to give away as a gift. To win I want you to leave a comment here: name your all-time favourite movie. Hard work, I know! I'll give you until next Sunday, 8pm NZ time. Remember to make sure I can contact you (if you don't have a Blogger account, leave your email address).
I think I might fit in a couple more giveaways before Christmas, so come back next week for the second installment...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Keep your cards

I was so excited to get my latest copy of World Sweet World today. At the start of the year I played around with some old Christmas cards, making some gift tags and bunting. I sent the idea in to Hannah and almost forgot about it until about a month ago, when she said they were going to use it. And now it's on the 'Quick and Easy' page, yes! So keep your beautiful cards and try out my quick and easy ideas :) You can read it here, just zoom in at the bottom of the Scribd page:
cardswsw

Some more Christmas

This handmade ornament swap is so fantastic, look what I got this week: a little mushroom wreath from Sarah at Songbird Designs, a Hippety Hoppity pudding bunny from Jessica at BamBamCreative and a couple of handmade silk birdies from Cambodia (that's not part of the swap, just a gift from a lovely customer). Score!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank you...


...for all your thoughtful, encouraging words after my post the other day. It's so great to be part of a communtity of bloggers and -readers who listen and share their ideas and experiences so freely.

As you can see I wasn't too upset by those ladies: here's some more of my destruction, on its way to Emma in Wellington.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fruit

Do you know what flower this is? I don't think I've ever seen (or noticed) it before. It looks so much like a pohutukawa, doesn't it? The clue is in the title; scroll down if you still don't know.
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Far enough?
It's a feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana)! If you're not from NZ or South America, find out more about it here. It's a delicious fruit that reminds me of the taste of a guava, perfect for stewing or having feijoa feasts (just eating too much of it in one sitting, like my boys like to do!).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Production line and a rant

I've been busy getting some felt bird kits ready for Kraftbomb tomorrow; ran out of light and only managed this photo today. This week has been crazy busy, but thankfully I have a lot of new mirrors and brooches to show for it.
I'm really looking forward to Kraftbomb tomorrow. No offence to all the other craft markets out there, but K'bomb is still the bomb. It really feels like home to me, and the market-goers there seem to understand what I do. I've had some interesting comments this month, most notably from a couple of ladies who told me that I destroy embroidery. Now you know I don't, and I know that too, but it's a shame they saw it that way. Just for the record, I really really love embroidered fabric, and respect the skilled (and not-so-very-skilled) women who created it. I am merely using it in a more modern and appropriate way so that we can enjoy it on a daily basis and not keep it in the moth balls in the linen cupboard. There, I said it. I feel much better now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meet Miss Greta

I haven't had a chance to write about Saturday's Crafternoon Tea Market yet, I've been too busy with Christmas trees and all. If you haven't heard about it yet, it's a brand-spanking new craft market in Kingsland. Only 2 months old, but it's got great potential: it's in a really awesome location and it has very talented vendors. One of these is Jenny from Softings Repurposed, who makes beautiful dolls with hand-painted faces and fantastic outfits. Since I've been too busy to make any dolls for ages now, I had to have Miss Greta, who flirted with me from across the room. Wouldn't you fall for this stylish lady too?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Early Christmas


Christmas arrived in the mailbox today, so I thought we might as well have it in the house too. I got my first Christmas ornament from the swap; it came from Emily from Christchurch. It's a lovely little hand-felted star, made from merino and silk, and looks great on our tree.
I put up our very realistic-looking (fake) Christmas tree, and left the boys to decorate it. They loved it, and kept singing things like 'It's not really Christmas yet, falalala-lalala'. Daniel took his job very seriously and wouldn't look up for any photos, and Joshua created an interesting little corner of decorations at the back of the tree. It's so easy to get stressed out with shopping and plans this time of the year, but these boys really put the perspective back for me today...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pleased to meet you...

The Extra-Curricular launch last night was fun; I'm so glad I could go. I ate my fair share of cupcakes, caught up with a few of my crafty friends plus I managed to get numbers 2, 3 and 4 of 500; Kylie of Skipapple got number 1! I'm so honoured to be in the very first issue of what looks like the next big indie publication, and to be in such illustrious company as Melissa from Tiny Happy, the Kraftbomb ladies, Rachelle from Birdspoke, and so many more talented people. Well done Ellie; it's a gorgeous wee magazine and your hard work has really paid off. Just in case you can't get your own copy, I've got the PDF of my little article; you can read it here. But I strongly recommend getting one, there's a lot of very inspiring people in there...

ps: you can enlarge the page at the bottom if you want to read the article :)

Extracurricular magazine

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Extra-curricular launch

I'm so excited to be going to the launch of a new independent magazine tomorrow night, put together by my friend Ellie Smith. It's a real labour of love, with Ellie doing most or all of the writing, photographing, designing, marketing and who knows what else is involved in such a big project. The magazine is called Extra-curricular, and is for and about creative people who do their projects in their spare time, like after work, when the kids are in bed, that sort of thing. Here's the gorgeous cover, featuring one of Ellie's woodland illustrations. And if you squint a bit and look in the second line, you might see the words 'ruby in the dust' too. Obviously I'm a bit biased, but I can't wait to get my hands on a copy tomorrow!
The launch is on at 7pm this Thurdsay at DOC, 352 K' Rd, Auckland; everybody's welcome!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm in Wellington and Australia!

Ok, I'm really in Auckland, you've got me. But my products have found their way into some lovely new places.

'Emma' is a gorgeous little shop in Berhampore, close to Island Bay in Wellington, where fashion designer Emma Wallace has her new workroom with a little shop selling some of her own pieces and some crafty treasures. Among these treasures you will find my brooches, mirrors, pouches and journals, yay! The address is 476 Adelaide Rd, Berhampore. I really like her clothes and I think my work will feel right at home there.

Muddkids is an Australian site selling organic baby wear and fair trade gifts, and now also my very sustainably-made journals. The ladies at Muddkids are very good at promoting their goods, and I've had a couple of write-ups so far, including this one today. Thanks Amy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Collections: Buckles

If you've been here for a while, you might know that I'm quite partial to a bit of op shopping. Which is where I find most of my craft supplies and collect all sorts of odds and ends along the way. I thought I might do a few posts about my collections, just for fun.
Today's collection is buckles. I wish I knew more about these, all I can say for sure is that the tiny blue one is made of glass, the huge black one is painted wood and the others from some type of plastic, possibly cellulose acetate (like the top left green buckle and that blue one on the right; they have a flecked, iridescent effect). I'd say they're from the 40's, I can just imagine the women dressing up their simple war-time outfits with these snazzy accessories.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ovals

It's been a very busy week for me, and I finally have something to show for it. I got some new journals bound, made a new batch of brooches and mirrors and sewed maaaany little zip pouches. Here are the brooches:
and, ta-da! Some ovals...
These are new for me, and dare I say it, the world? You saw them here first. When my camera batteries are charged, I'll list a couple on Toggle, the rest you'll have to come and get from me tomorrow at the last Devonport market for the year (for me at least).
I've also got a Felt shop now (hoping a NZ version of Etsy will be more successful for me...); you can buy the felt birds there. Gotta go, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inspiration

When I first started collecting embroidery I used to leave all the applique pieces in the pile, thinking they weren't good enough. For some reason I thought they were machine embroidered, but when I started loking at them more carefully, I realised that the tiny stitches were actually done by hand. Now that they've proven themselves 'worthy', they've become a source of inspiration.
I wanted to create some attractive small brooch cards that I can mount my embroidered brooches on, and after Lucky Penny last week I had a brain wave. Why not create a frame like some of the applique cloths often have, and use some nice fresh colours that work well with the fabrics I use. Why not? Because it could have taken me 2 weeks to figure out how, so I enlisted the help of my friend Nonnie who executed my idea beautifully. Now I'm just about ready for a big mirror and brooch making day on Friday...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lined cane-handled bag Tutorial

Quite some time ago I made myself a new bag and it was so easy to make (yet confusing to figure out how to), that I thought I'd share the process. So I've finally had enough time (plus a good reason) to make one, and you can follow along and make your own. Here's the new one, a nappy bag for my friend Shannon, who is too busy getting ready for her new baby this week to read blogs, I hope :)


You can follow the tutorial here, of if you can't be bothered adding the lining, just follow these easy steps on Little Birdie Secrets.

Cane Handle Bag Tut

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stars

Yesterday the boys and I enjoyed a spot of baking (my idea) and toilet training (Joshua's). The first one went very well; that's all I'll say on that subject.


These cookies are really good and so easy to make, they're my new favourite basic bikkie. I found the recipe in an advertising feature in an old Donna Hay mag:

Brown Sugar Cookies

Process 125g chopped cold butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups plain flour in a food processor until it looks like dry breadcrumbs. Add one egg and process until mixture just comes together. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead gently. Wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour, roll out to 3mm thick and cut shapes. Decorate if you wish (I used Smarties). Bake at 180C for 8-10 mins or until golden. Makes approx 40.


Now for something completely different; I guess we could call it an ad break: I took some new journals to my friends over at endemic last week, and they're now up for sale. You can find them here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Real treasure

On my op shop travels in the last few weeks I've managed to find some pretty amazing things and tonight's show and tell involves two of these.

This embroidered cushion cover was done in cotton on rough linen, and is so beautiful. Maybe it's the intensity of the colour, but I just couldn't get a shot that does it justice. It's deep red and very detailed for something done on such a large scale. I wonder where it was made, and how long ago. It looks very Eastern-European to me; in that lovely bohemian folk art style they do so well. I'm looking for a cushion to fit so it can find a home on our couch.
My second find was accidental like most good things; I almost missed it in the pile of books in the corner of a shop. It's called 'Marko lives in Yugoslavia' by Anna Riwin-Brick and Astrid Lindgren. It was the name Astrid Lindgren on the cover that grabbed my attention. (I hope my boys like reading her books out loud to each other one day, just like my sisters and I did...) Anyway, it's such a fun little story about a boy and his brother, and their search for their little pig and all the exciting things that can happen in one day in Macedonia in the early sixties. The photos are really special; they feel so natural and unposed, and you get the impression that the people in them were really just going about their normal day when the photographer happened to walk by.

There were a heap of other titles in the same series (Children Everywhere) printed on the back and so I decided that this would be the start of a great collection. I've already managed to get the second one on Trade Me, called 'Kuma is a Maori Girl' (by Dennis Hodgson and Pat Lawson) and I'm equally impressed. Kuma lives in Auckland, and goes to visit her family in Rotorua and discovers the more traditional Maori way of life they have down there.
These books must be quite collectible; in my Google search on the first one I found a book dealer selling it for US$80 (!) and Kuma is also normally quite expensive on Trade Me. But you know I'd never spend that much, hey ;)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Out East

I travelled to East Auckland yesterday, and spent most of the day in various op shops getting some more embroidery and books. My trip was carefully planned, with the help of this map put together by my friend Deb. My first stop was in Howick, at the Uxbridge Arts Centre where I went to see my felt birds in the shop. It's a lovely little store attached to the Arts Centre and cafe where they stock some quality jewellery, crafts and art. It looks like a very active centre, with exhibitions and classes in printmaking, felting, jewellery design and many other artforms. I took some photos, but they didn't come out great, but here are my bird kits:
And some very well-designed and -made softies called Callumari Monstas.
After Uxbridge, I hit the op shops, and it turned out to be quite worth-while. Except for Otahuhu. Can't think of much to say about Otahuhu.
Now I have to get ready for tomorrow's Devonport Craft Market; see you there!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Treasure





I made it onto two Etsy Treasuries this week, thanks to my talented friends Cat and Sarah. That's about the most exciting thing that's ever happened for me on Etsy, apart from that single sale I made a year ago... but that's another story.