Monday, May 27, 2013


Before I get too busy getting ready for Handmade this weekend (!), I just want to show you what I've been up to the last couple of weeks. Background: when I got my new computer last year, I also got Adobe Illustrator and have been teaching myself new things as I need it.  I've really come to like the programme and use it a lot.  When I heard about a Skillshare course taught by the brilliant illustrator Brad Woodard, I just had to enroll. It's called 'Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator'  and for our project we had to copy a print ad.  The idea is of course to learn new techniques from great art, not to rip anybody off. I wish I knew who the illustrator behind this beautiful Anthology cover is, because I'd love to buy them a cup of coffee:

I chose this picture because I could see that I would learn how to do gradients, texture and work with shapes. I really enjoyed the process and the challenge of getting my lines to match the texture of those in the original, use fonts that have the same feel, generally do the right thing by the beautiful artwork. The biggest obstacle was the masthead font. I wasn't going to buy it just for this exercise, so to save myself $60 I traced it by mostly using the pen tool. If you're not familiar with digital illustration, believe me when I say it was quite painful. Worse than getting a tattoo, in fact. Anyway, here it is; my version of the most gorgeous Christmassy picture on the interweb.  If you're interested in the process, you can read more about how I went about it on my project page. While you're there, have a look at all the other amazing projects.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Handmade 2013: an update

There's been a change to the programme at Handmade 2013 and I'm pleased to tell you about my new class: Applique and Print a T-shirt (scroll down the STITCH page to find it).  In this 2h workshop I'll show you how to decorate a t-shirt with fabric paint, thread and fabric.  We'll be using different techniques like stencilling, reverse applique, beading and embroidery.  When you do this type of applique on a knit fabric, you end up with a very strong, stretchy fabric that works perfectly for t-shirts. The feather shape above is one of the designs you could work with, but there will be more designs to choose from. 

While we will be working with knits, these techniques are also easily transferred to fabric like felt or wovens.  I made this day-glo example using felt after finding inspiration in some Golden Hands magazines from the 70's; can you tell?

Here is the class description; as you can see you only need to bring a few things along as I'll provide the freezer paper, embroidery thread, beads, buttons, fabric paint, brushes and extra fabric. I hope to see some of my lovely blog readers there :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Big days

May is always one of those months for us; a bit like November when you need to think of a million things at the same time to make sure you come through December in one piece. First Daniel turned 8, four days later Joshua turned 6, then Mother's Day, then me. I just turned 40 on Tuesday.  Funny how the 40 you remember your parents turning isn't anything like the 40 of today. This isn't middle age, for sure. I feel just the same as I did at 26, but to be honest I'm not so eager to please everyone any more. I am very happy with who I am and what I'm doing.  I have a wonderful family, friends and a community I'm part of. Life is good to us. 

I wanted to mark this place in my life, and chose the image of a bluebird for my arm.  It symbolises the happiness I feel and at the same time references the beautiful vintage embroidery I love so much. This design is a vintage embroidery transfer that I saw online and took to my talented friend Karla from the Genuine Hustle Tattoo Shop in Takapuna. She is a great artist and did a wonderful job with it.  Getting something this permanent done isn't for everyone, but to me it's a special reminder of a special time in my life. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Today I have something nice to show you: my new studio! A while ago I started thinking about having a bit more space, both for my work and in our house. The boys are getting bigger and they're ready to have their own rooms; and when I get new supplies for my embroidery kits, the boxes clutter up my workroom so much I can't even get in the door. Thankfully a local shared studio space came up and I was lucky enough to hear about it early on.  I moved in on Sunday and while there is still a lot to do both in the studio and in my old room, I'm glad to report that it's been a great first week. The most amazing part of this space is the shelving Craig put up for me. I am very untidy when I work, and it's great to be able to pull out everything I need and then put it all back again. I know! 

I took some photos today, but might put up another post in a few weeks. I can assure you there won't be any empty shelves; there's still so much to bring in. 

Paying rent is new to me and it fills me with a bit of dread, so expect some new Etsy listings soon. I'm dying to do a bit of sewing; I can see some zip pouches on the horizon... I'm also thinking of running some tiny (3-4 people tiny) workshops; let me know if there's anything you'd like to learn :)