Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Summer

I found such a wonderful picture book in the library yesterday, I thought I'd share it here. It's called 'Seasons' by the French comic book artist Blexbolex, and has been translated into English and published by the small NZ publishing company Gecko Press.

The book is beautiful on so many levels; the illustrations and use of text drew me to it at first, but there is so much more to it. The paper stock feels recycled, the screenprints have a soft, layered look to them, but my favourite part would have to be the words chosen to represent the cyclical nature of the seasons. Like in the real world, the changes between seasons are gradual, and this book tracks it over a few years. It not only shows physical changes, but also emotional associations with seasons and the passing of time. It transcends age, although I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more than the boys...

Whether your Christmas will be like these images above, or below, I hope you have a very restful break, full of wonderful blessings and filled with loved ones. Merry Christmas to you :)



PS: if you'd like to hear a bit more about this book, have a read over here; Melissa from Tiny Happy wrote about it a few months back. You can also see a promotional video with many images from the book here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 sleeps


Every year this time I wonder where the month has gone! Into making gifts for other people of course :) With all the markets now thankfully over, I can focus on my own family and friends' Christmas needs. I've still got a few things to sew up before Thursday night, but I thought I'd share with you my take on an Advent calendar I saw in the Your Home and Garden magazine a while back. They made a calendar with paper bags pegged to string and hung up on a wall, but I didn't like the logistics of that in our house, and just made do with the obvious. The bags are all pegged to the tree and the boys are amazingly good at remembering the date every day at afternoon tea time! I glued some numbers to the front and then put a couple of chocolates, candy canes or stickers into every bag. My kids are seriously going to suffer from lolly withdrawal symptoms in January!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Still going


This week I've been slowly working away at these little coin purse keyring pouches, and took a few photos today before sewing the sides together. This way you can get an idea of how the front and back fabrics look together. I've enlarged the pattern a bit to fit a cash card as well as coins, which was a great idea suggested by a clever customer the other day. These will be on my table on Sunday's Kraftbomb. This is always such a busy and exciting market, with people looking for last-minute gifts and stocking up on City's cupcakes before the holidays. Hope to see you there!


Colour therapy

There's a love fiesta on in my craft room. Before you get any ideas, it's only on fabric :) Gorgeous, hey. I've always loved these paper cuts (ok, any paper cuts really) and when I spotted this design on Spoonflower I just had to have it. It's part of a lovely collection by designer Samarra Khaja, or Sammy K, whose work is so fresh and colourful.
I've been thinking about getting my designs printed over on Spoonflower, but after reading of so many people's disappointment with the printed colours vs how it looks on screen, I followed some good advice and got a yard of RGB colours printed. This way I can choose my actual colours before I start the design on the computer. And here is part of that yard, slightly out of focus but still very, ahem, colourful.

I've noticed a few examples in the shops and online of printed Kraft paper, which has such a natural look and feel to it. Imagine my excitement when I discovered this wrapping paper in the Warehouse the other day. I was tempted to buy all the rolls in the shop, honestly; it's so charming and old-fashioned looking. I might just wrap everything in it this year: birthdays, baby showers, weddings, they all need some birds and baubles if you ask me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The fair


I've got a few photos to show you of my table at Saturday's Fair. Look at the shiny marble floors and beautifully dressed table in long black skirt. Very fancy! My talented neighbours Karen and Fred from Luxford St and I shared the space at the far end of the hall. Thanks to everyone who came round to say hi and get some Ruby in the Dust goodies; I'm pleased to say I have one keyring pouch left and am busy working on 15 more for Kraftbomb this Sunday. So much for no more sewing before Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

To the fair


As you might already know, the Auckland Art and Craft Fair is on tomorrow. If you happen to stop by and I'm not coherent or looking like I might do with a lie-down under the table, please excuse me. It's because this week in my little sweatshop I've made about 20 of these pouches, 10 keyring pouches, 12 patchwork cards, two big linen tote bags, knitted a little bunny and packed 16 felt kits. Hopefully this is the last big sewing session before I start making my own Christmas presents...

Anyway, this pouch, complete with its own applique pocket, will be on my table tomorrow at the Aotea Centre. The Fair starts at 11 and runs until 4, which gives everyone enough time to do some Christmas shopping before heading out to a barbecue or in my case, our 11th wedding anniversary dinner! Come say hi if you're there :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Handmade


I'm very excited to tell you about my plans for June next year. Yes, it's very far away, I know. But I've already got my whole Queen's Birthday weekend planned: I'll be teaching! In what feels like a previous life from long long ago, I used to teach. As you might have noticed from all the tutorials on this blog, I've still got a bit of that in me. So when I was approached by a nice lady at Craft 2.0 in October about teaching a workshop at Handmade, I was very interested.


Handmade will be held in Wellington and is going to be a multi-stream event with workshops and master-classes in different streams, all teaching handmade skills. I'm going to teach two workshops: Take one pillowcase, which will take you through a few projects using upcycled pillowcases, and Making a cloth art doll, which will be a double-length workshop teaching you how to make one of my dolls. I will be joined by such crafty superstars as Melissa from Tiny Happy, Belinda from Blendy Knits and Heike from Minu, who will be teaching their respective skills of sewing, knitting and printmaking.
And as a bonus, it looks like my classes are starting later in the day, which gives me two mornings free for walking around (or maybe being blown around) Wellington! Great for a girl who just can't get enough of the place :)

Keys


I'm still using up small pieces of embroidery; today I made tiny coin purse keyrings for my table at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair this weekend. Better get back to it...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Origami

Last night was so much fun at the First Thursdays market! The crowd was very arty and the vibe was great with music and general K'Rd quirkiness. It really reminded me of the old Craftwerk market which was also held in St Kevin's Arcade and was where I cut my craft market teeth way back in '08. In fact, the market went so well last night that I'll be busy sewing deep into the night this week, getting ready for the Auckland Art and Craft Fair next Saturday. I was making some more pouches today, and had to snap these little cut-off ends. I love the way the folded fabric looks like origami duck beaks. Quack!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Thursdays

I almost forgot to post about my next market, this Thursday night and appropriately called First Thursdays. The event covers a few venues across K'Rd and sounds like a great night out in Auckland: music, art, and of course craft, at the market in St Kevin's Arcade. The market
runs between 6 and 9, and there will be some awesome crafters and makers. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pohutukawa

We had our annual pre-Christmas camping with friends this weekend, and it was fantastic as usual. I think the Muriwai ARC camp ground is one of Auckland's best kept secrets.

The pohutukawas are in flower already. For those of you who aren't from NZ, these are also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

This was the view from inside our tent, to the communal (pohutukawa) tree outside. Everything was done in and under this tree; climbing, sleeping, eating, secret Santa, you name it.

Craig took his climbing kit, and all the kids had a turn being belayed right to the top. Here's Daniel...


and Joshua:


And an adult in need of a nap:


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Drumroll...

And the winner of the Felt Heart Kit is Clare from Green Valley Crafts! Congratulations!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Patchwork

I've always loved the idea of making a big patchwork quilt, but I can't see myself actually finding the time or being motivated enough to keep going. For this reason, I like small projects that give me the satisfaction of putting different fabrics and colours together, and completing it there and then. This week, I've been doing just that.
These patchwork cards have been so much fun to put together. It was very therapeutic to cut all the little squares, line them up after spending a great deal of time getting the combinations just right, and then sew them onto the cards. The inspiration came from the book Applique your way by Kayte Terry. Being the hoarder that I am, I find it hard to throw out even the tiniest piece of vintage embroidery, so all my offcuts went into this.
From there I had to go bigger, and made these patchwork zip pouches. They're a very modest attempt at patchwork, I know, but it was enough for me to see the backing fabric on the same side as the lovely embroidery I use on the front. I often spend so much time deciding on the perfect colour combinations for these pouches, and when they're made up, you don't even know what the back looks like! This pouch is loosely based on one from the wonderful book I heart patchwork, but I didn't have the time for all the little squares in the original.

These will be on my Kraftbomb table on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to going, because I missed last month's.

By the way, if you haven't entered the giveaway yet, you can do so until Sunday. I totally forgot about our camping weekend, and I won't be near a computer on Friday night. More like in a tent by the sea with good friends and fish-and-chips for dinner. Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ragamuffins

If I was a gorgeous little dress, or even a rebound Little Golden Book, this is where I'd like to wait for somebody to take me home with them: This beautiful retail space is called Ragamuffins, a new high-end kidswear store in Cambridge catering to the 0-5 market. Isn't it just gorgeous? This is the only place in Cambridge where you can buy a little bit of Ruby in the Dust, which makes it even more special, if you ask me :) It's also another reason to go shopping in Cambridge next time we're there, apart from the antique shops and Kate Fitzpatrick!

You'll find them at 32 Victoria Street, Cambridge. Would you believe this used to be a Chinese restaurant? Great improvement, judging from the Google Street View photo of the previous place!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pillowcase

A while back I posted a picture of a little stack of fabrics and trims in my WIP pile. Today I am pleased to reveal what that has become...
It's a tote bag made from a lovely pillowcase I found at the Sallies. I wrote a bag tutorial for the latest Extra-Curricular magazine, which I got in the mail today. As usual, it's full of interesting people, stunning design, and this time there's even a tiny little activity book with 8 tutorials, including mine. You might also notice my name in the article on craft blogging, which was written by Anissa Ljanta.

The bag has already seen much use, and is perfect for togs and towels or a picnic rug and hats. I hope you try making one too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A hearty giveaway




So have you started making any Christmas decorations? If not, don't fear, I can help. I think it's about time for a little giveaway, to get into the Christmas spirit and to thank you for coming round here and liking me on Facebook. I'm giving away a Felt Heart Kit, which makes 6 heart decorations. You don't need fancy stitching skills to make them; good old running stitch works just as well as blanket stitch.

Anyone can enter, just tell me which was your favourite book this year, ficion or non. Remember to make sure I can contact you. And to say thank you for your support, blog followers and FB likers can get 2 entries each, just mention it in your comment. I'll announce the winner next Friday night, NZ time. Good luck!

Facelift

I've been playing around with my blog over the last couple of days and now I think I'm happy with it. The new header is something I created way back when I first opened my Etsy shop, and I never got round to using it. Things were looking a bit boring around here, so I went looking for it and now I think my blog looks all sparkly and new.

Speaking of sparkly and new, my sister-in-law and great friend Lesley, has started her own blog. She's very creative and full of great ideas, plus a very eloquent lady, so I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Finding Time. Welcome to the blog world, Lesley!


Finally, I have a couple of satchels left over from my previous market, and because there's no space on my Kraftbomb table, they're now in my Etsy shop. They're nice and sturdy, made of denim and upcycled belts (this one's a yellow karate belt) with my print on the flap. Best part is that they're lined with a scotchguarded fabric, so should stay nice and clean!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Loose ends

This week has been a bit disjointed as I've been taking a breather before the next Big Sew for the December markets. That's my excuse for this terribly random post anyway :)

Item number one: My journals and mirrors are now available on Foxes, where I hope they will feel all smart and fancy next to the beautiful designer dresses, lovely stationary and other foxy things.

Number two: I have put the Neighbourhood Really Fat Quarters on Etsy. Fly my pretties!

Number three: After two years of being a careful Flickr user, I reached the 200 free photos-limit and now I'm a pro. I'm still busy (and will be for a while) organising and adding my photos, but it's looking nice and colourful over there already. Feel free to have a browse!
Item number four: I made myself finish this top the other day, so as not to be the laziest member of the Clothes for Mum Challenge. Consider it a muslin as I'm really planning on making another one in a black and white stripe; I don't know what I was thinking using this colour which does not flatter my complexion at all... It's New Look 6838 and not a great pattern. It was huge and I had to take it in significantly, and next time I won't bother with the back seam. Still, I like the fit now it's customised, and the neckline is lovely.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A thneed

I got a couple of signs from the knitting gods today; they wanted me to buy the Dummies guide to knitting for $1 at the library and then sent me to the op shop to pick up the Mattel KnitMagic (circa 1974, still in box, complete with original day-glo orange yarn). Glorious.

I had a couple of very enthusiastic helpers, who took turns knitting a wrist warmer.


Then Daniel really got the bug, and patiently cranked the handle for about 30 minutes. When he unraveled the tube from under the machine, he exclaimed 'I've knitted a thneed!'. He was so excited. Now that I'm armed with the instructions and we know how to cast on and off properly, I can imagine there'll be a few of them under our Christmas tree, so watch out Webb and Hugo family! Of course you know a thneed is a fine thing everyone needs.

PS: Saturday was really great; the kids had a wonderful time and my stall was pretty busy, so thanks to everyone who came by to say hello or buy a little something :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Covered

I'm trying very hard to make up for lost sewing time this week. I have a market on this Saturday and I've been making lots of childrens' products: tails, crowns, little bags and cushion covers from my fabric. Here's one; they're backed with contrasting fabric and close with an invisible zip. Tomorrow I have a whole day of sewing and I'm sure tomorrow night will be a late one.

I'm really looking forward to the fair as I've heard great things about it, so if you're around, bring the kids and make a day of it. It's at the Michael Park School in Ellerslie, 55 Amy St; between 9.30 and 3. It's a Rudolf Steiner school and sounds like a wonderful place to look for handmade products, gifts, baking, and fun stuff for children. Click here if you need directions or more information.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Acquisitions

As promised, here's the post where I show you all the loot I got in Wellington. When you have children, shopping is always done in a rush between morning tea and lunch, toilet stops and tantrums. That's the case for me anyway. You can imagine my delight when I could spend some time actually trying on clothes and buying breakable things without the fear of them breaking on the way to the car.

The first purchase was for our little niece Carly who has just turned four. I can imagine that a little doll in a matchbox would be absolute heaven to a little girl; especially if she's read this book. Maybe that will be Carly's Christmas present... It was so nice to catch up with Shelley from Sweet William, where I bought the book and doll, and meet her very talented sister Paula, the illustrator behind their magical creations.

I obsessed over this bird, which I saw on Friday night and had to buy first thing the next morning. It has the most perfect shape and matte glaze, and reminds me of a polished pebble. I bought it from Sarah Wigley, who is new to craft markets and doesn't have a blog yet. If you are interested in contacting her, just email me and I can pass on her details.

Because it was so cold over the weekend, Craig and I spent Sunday morning trawling the Cuba Street shops looking for scarves and jackets (no, make that singular, my husband bought shorts!). We wandered into a shop and walked out with this jacket. It's leather and made out of old leather coats which are sewn into more modern designs in Thailand. What a great idea; there must be so many unloved old leather coats left over from the 60s!


Finally, we even managed a little op shop visit before we left for the airport on Monday morning. I found this beautiful crochet pillowcase in the Sallies. Maybe I'll learn to crochet one day and then I can make it a partner...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crafty 2.0

Craig and I returned from a wonderful long weekend in Wellington this afternoon. We left on Friday from a balmy Auckland and despite reading the weather forecast that morning, I was totally unprepared for the cold wind that greeted us on the other side. It felt like we'd gone back in time and it was winter again!

Here we are at my table at Craft 2.0 on Friday night, and a few close-ups of my table in the following photos.


The market was fantastic fun; I met so many new people and caught up with some old friends, had great feedback about my work and made some good new connections. And of course I made a bit of money too, which is great considering I've spent almost everything in my craft account on materials for the next couple of months! Thanks to everyone who came by my table for a chat or a purchase, and thanks to Sue for organising another very successful market.
I ran out of light today, so I'll do a post tomorrow with some photos of the treasures I brought back. There's something old, something new and something new made out of something old.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Printed v2

Introducing the new and improved 'In the neighbourhood' screenprint, available in deep red, grass green and teal. Visit the cutest neighbourhoood filled with houses, snails, cats, birds and bunting. It's available as panels about 70 cm wide x 60cm high, and printed on a very fine linen, a slightly heavier linen and quilting-weight cotton. I won't have time to make anything out of it before Saturday, so these will be available on my table as Really Fat Quarters. I'll add a few to my shop next week, but for now, it's over and out until early November. Have a great weekend; I know I will!