Friday, 30 April 2010

freshly found


A little while ago I saw these handmade candle jar covers on the always inspiring blog Freshly Found. I am always delighted by Denise's crafting, she reuses and repurposes with such flair and imagination and humour. (And she's a real sweetie too.)
I asked her if I could buy two of them, and she sent these to me, unfortunately the Peanut Butter jars they are made for were too heavy for the trip from South Africa but I find they fit a range of my extensive jar collection just as well (love a good jar!).
The other night I put some tea lights in the jars and lit them up. And you can see for yourself how beautiful they are, and what a perfect light they throw. The crochet is exquisite, and different on each.
What a simple but clever idea!
Visit Denise's blog how she has transformed bottles and bowls with the same technique. While you're there see her paper folding, and her cushion covers, and her sari bags and necklaces. Or go to her new online shop Freshly Found boutique and get something beautiful for yourself (like the wonderful beaded bag below). I can't see the covers listed but I'm sure if you emailled her...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

numbers

A couple of Flower Press counters are about to click over really soon. It's funny how these arbitrary round figures mean so much to me, but they do. They mark achievements with my small business, which continues to thrive despite often being relegated to last place in the priority list!

The first milestone is the 500 mark in Etsy sales! Wow, I've been looking forward to this one. I hit 350 sales at the end of September so 400 and 450 must have passed in the blur that was Christmas. 500! That's a lot of parcels, a lot of handwritten notes, lots of emails, lots of lovely feedback!

My Etsy hearts have been building up slowly too since I began in late 2007. They currently sit at 1982 after getting a boost from this beautiful front page yesterday, I'm looking forward to seeing it roll over to 2000, hopefully in the next week or two.  (The treasury was made by my friend Kristina too, which makes it extra special, and made on Treasury East which you should visit if you haven't been.)

If you are on my mailing list, look out for a special offer coming soon to celebrate all these wonderful numbers. I've got a new print soon too, its nearly ready. So stay tuned. (And if you want to join my list to be in on special deals etc in my very occasional emails, just send me your address - my email address is in my profile).

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

gadgets, widgets, gizmos and apps


I do love a good gadget, widget and gizmo! And just at the moment they seem to be everywhere. Here are some of my current favourites:

Etsy Picclick
I saw this great visual Etsy search site on how about orange the other day. You put in a search term and almost instantaneously a hundred thumbnails pop up, to do with your search term. Perfect for looking for a specific something, but pretty dangerous for browsing, I must admit I bought some vintage cookie cutters the first time I looked at it!

Treasury East
This new feature on Etsy lets you make new, permanent Etsy treasuries that you can favourite and comment on and don't expire! And you don't have to wait to make them. Discovered via inaluxe.

Hipstamatic and iPhone apps
Mr Flowerpress has a new iPhone (which I talked the phone company into stumping up for). In a case of perfect timing it arrived the morning of his birthday. Totally cool and groovy (insert real hip words here) we are still discovering the best apps but Hipstamatic (via hyena in petticoats), Flight Control and Doodlejump are keeping us amused at the moment. Hipstamatic photo above.

Flag counter
A while ago I posted about the amazing world of people visiting my blog, which I'd seen via statcounter. The other day I saw and added this great new widget (on someone's blog, can't remember) that counts and displays flags of visitors (see mine at the bottom of the page). My boys have memorised all the flags of the world from a poster they have (they are a great help with the Good Weekend quiz) and are mighty impressed each time I add a new one, I'm up to 76 countries so far!

Ravelry and My Sewing Circle
Even for basic knitters like me the Ravelry site is an amazing reference source. You can browse patterns, yarns, see photos and feedback for both, or ask questions in the forums (I have!) The other day I saw this new site My Sewing Circle (on soozs blog) which promises to do the same for sewers. Its new so doesn't have the same resources as Ravelry but if the community gets behind it it will be great.

New templates in Blogger
I haven't quite had a chance to explore this fully but you can now have more freedom in the layout of your blogger template through the new draft Blogger dashboard. Go to the dashboard, sign in to Draft Blogger dashboard and then click on layout. There is a new menu at the top for the Template Designer app. I haven't taken the plunge, need to experiment more with a draft page before I commit my blog to a new design, but I love that you can.

Slideoo
Seen on colour + sound this neat widget puts your Flickr photos in a slidey slideshow (below) move the slider along the bottom to move horizontally through the pics. (Not sure this works in google reader so you might have to look on the blog.)

That's it, the ones I can remember anyway! Do you know any more?

p.s. Thanks again for all the support for the Show & Tell feature. Kylie is still away but I know she'll be really touched by all your lovely comments and feedback!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

show & tell - kylie hunt


The subtitle of Kylie Hunt's blog 3 Sheets is "paper, felt, fabric, wood blocks, screenprinting, paint, info". I love it! It goes some way in reflecting her wide ranging interests and enthusiasm for many crafts, artists, art and media. She has two blogs and they are both filled with art, much of it innovative, cutting edge and interesting, not least her own - so her favourite artists list is another I intend to read up on.

A talented artist as well she uses many different materials to express herself. Personally I'm captivated by her embroidered brooches (above) which are so unique and beautifully crafted - each are little works of art. Kylie shared her process on her blog recently as she worked on her screenprinted contribution to a bloggy tea towel swap. The result is beautiful and I found it so interesting to see how she got to the final result.

Anyway, I'm sure many of you know Kylie already from her lovely generous presence in our online community so please make her welcome :-)

name
Kylie Hunt
location
Brisbane
blogs
3 Sheets
http://kylie-3sheets.blogspot.com/
Scissors + Paper Rock!
http://scissorsandpaperrock.blogspot.com/
shop
http://www.zibbet.com/3Sheets (currently in hiatus)
flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39078331@N05/

Short description of your blog/style/work

3 Sheets is a craft blog where I show the pieces I’m working on and the work of other people whom I find inspirational.

1. Why blog? How did you start?

I began by reading other craft blogs. I’d been making things for a while but didn’t really have any friends who were into this sort of thing. At first, I just wanted to document what I was doing and share ideas and projects with others who were interested. Then, I found this incredibly supportive community out there that I enjoyed being a part of.

2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
Mostly self-taught.

3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
‘Studio’ is a magical word for me at the moment. I dream of having all my tools and materials in one light airy space. In reality, it’s a desk with computer and scanner/printer in a study I share with my husband, a dining table where all the sewing, screenprinting etc is done, and a tiny room that is crammed full of fabric and other materials that I use to make things.
 

4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
There was a fabulous window display at Selfridges in London a few years ago where they took sayings and reinterpreted them with products for sale in the store. One of them was “Three Sheets to the Wind”. I’ve always loved this expression and shortened it to 3 sheets to cut down on suggestions of inebriation… They’re not true, I swear!


5. Favourite medium to work in?
This is a hard one. When I’m feeling down I always think of that saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” because I find it so hard to settle on one medium. I began as a painter, then I worked with collage, and from there it all just blossomed out to include dressmaking, screenprinting, felt, crochet etc. My favourite changes depending on what has inspired me that week. I really need to settle…

6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I want to learn how to take myself seriously. It’s difficult for me to value what I do because it’s always been a hobby. I don’t want it to necessarily be a business because I think all the love would go out of it then. There has to be some middle ground… I’m hoping there is anyway.

7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Both. I need order in my life so that I can create. The rest of my house is kept reasonably tidy but my craft room is always a nightmare… funny thing is that I know just where everything is in that chaos ;)


A collection of handmade brooches are amongst Kylie's favourite things.

8. Favourite handmade item you own?
I have so many that I cherish. I have a fabulous collection of brooches that others have made and I love wearing clothes I’ve made myself. At the moment I’m in love with my crocheted glass cover from M*.

9. Favourite food/recipe?
I’m not really a foodie type of person. I do love mangoes and sushi though… and coffee :-)


10. Favourite colour?
Black, navy and grey in clothing and colourful shoes.

11. Star sign?
Pisces

12. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
I love London. I’m lucky enough to visit there every year because of my husband’s work.

13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
From what I’ve read on other blogs, I am a terrible mother. I’ve never been a very mumsy-mum and have always encouraged my daughters to be independent self-starter types. For example, on school holidays I begin the day by saying to my girls ‘This is what I’m doing today, what are you going to do?’ Thankfully, my husband likes getting them out of the house for activities like bike-riding etc.

14. Favourite artists?
There are so many. Generally, I’m an early 20th century girl – particularly the women artists like Sonia Delaunay, textile artists like Lucienne Day and designers like Eileen Gray and Charlotte Perriand. Oh, and photographers! There are too many to list. I’m very taken with a few ceramicists at the moment, like Brisbane-girl Kylie Johnson. I love the work of fashion designers – they’re artists to me - and I try to buy the couture magazines whenever I see them… the inspiration there is just amazing. Architecture too. I feel like I’ve left so much out… This is a very hard question! ;)

15. Three words to describe you?
Dreamer. Perfectionist. Forgetful.

16. What do you like to do besides creating?
I love walking, skiing and travelling with my husband and daughters.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

magic beach


I'm back. Our five days away have done their magic. What a brilliant time we had. The weather was peachy and we swam everyday, snorkelling off the white sand beaches amongst schools of fish, big blue groper, squadrons of little squid and, on the last day, dolphins fishing and cruising 50 metres from us.

We fished and ate our catch, played soccer and practised our running on the sand, walked in the bush, looked in rockpools and and put a jigsaw back together, racing to put the last pieces in before we left. I left with a big bag of craft/art materials and managed only about twenty rows of knitting!

This favourite place that we have been coming to for seven or so years always reminds me of one of my favourite children's books, Magic Beach by the wonderful Alison Lester. I have read this so many times to my kids and given it to lots of new babies - the rhythm often plays in my head as I walk along the sand.

At our beach,
at our magic beach,
we swim in the sparkling sea,
surfing and splashing
and jumping the waves,
shrieking and laughing with glee.

At our beach,
at our magic beach,
we walk when it's cloudy and grey,
looking for driftwood,
feathers and shells
washed up on the edge of the bay.

Please come back on Tuesday to share Show & Tell interview number three!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

bulbs



Last month I logged on to Garden Express (a local mail order plant store) to cash in the birthday gift voucher my sweet brother had given me back in December. It was so much fun having all that money to spend and I took advantage of it to get some wishlist items I've been ogling for years. The huge alliums are something I've always wanted to grow, as are the nodding heads of Nectaroscordum (Mediterranean bells). I've never seen them in real life and I'm just hoping they will like it here and flower.

And then, because I was there, I must admit I spent slightly more adding some pure indulgences like all these amazing parrot tulips. I'm pretty sure they will make just one flowering here in temperate Sydney but it will be great while it lasts. They've gone in the fridge till winter. The hyacinths are an old love, one of my Mum's favourite flowers and I bought some extras to send to her. They are in the fridge too pretending its winter. I also bought these two colour muscari that I'd seen in books. I love the contrast of the light topknots, and muscari are one of the few bulbs that return in my garden.

A big thank you to everyone for the lovely comments you left about my pincushion and needlebook! You guys are so wonderful :-)

I'm off on holidays on Tuesday and I might not get to post again before then. Have a great week. We'll be at the beach, bushwalking and putting jigsaws back together - important stuff like that! Can't wait!

Make sure you come back Tuesday week for another round of Show & Tell. You're going to love it!

p.s. And if you get a chance watch this very cute video I got sent through the week. It made me smile.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

pincushion swap




My pincushion for the Foxs Lane Pincushion swap goes in the mail tomorrow. Oh, I've been biting my fingernails over this one. I've actually never been in a large organised swap before, especially one like this which requires sewing skills!

I can't wait to share who my swap partner is, let's just say it was a bit of a surprise when I got that email ;-) The lovely Kate who organised it all was very encouraging though. So after a little (lots) of googling and some (lots) of pondering I settled on a couple of styles that I liked and pulled out the fabric stash, every last thread of it.

I decided I wanted to combine some different types of fabric for my partner - for a start I knew I wanted a bit of Flower Press in there, and I certainly wanted some vintage which my swap partner and I both love. Lastly I couldn't go past some linen which is one of my favourite things. I just love to see it in combination with other fabrics (which is why I loved the pincushion I got from Andi at Patchandi so much! See down the bottom isn't it great!)

There was a bit of experimentation. I'd just got my new Janome and it was the perfect first project. And I was having so much fun I made a little needlebook to go with. I made the design for this up as I went along and I love the way it turned out, with the little button tag and pocket. I might make a few more and play around with the pockets and things.

I (really really) hope my swap partner likes this little set. They are made with lots of care and thought and I found the idea of sewing for someone else a great incentive and inspiration. Its a little scary to start with but I think I might just swap again some time!


Patchandi's beautiful pincushion arrived so quickly I was really surprised! I really love her choice of fabrics, red and linen - how perfect! And how nice is that contrasting ribbon. I have it in blue but might have to get some red!

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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

socks



I blame the lady at Spotlight for this project, which is way beyond my limited knitting skills. There I was quietly looking for cable needles for a bit of Easter knitting when she pointed out there was 20% off the already discounted balls of sock yarn, and that they come with a sock pattern on the label. I might just have mentioned something about sock knitting but she really should have checked my knitting credentials first.

As it turned out it took me three goes to get the sock cast on so that I was happy with it. The first time I somehow managed to have the yarn coming through the middle of the needles and quickly worked out that was going to get very old very soon! But after that I sort of got into the swing of it - I rounded the heel yesterday (the pattern and I disagree on stitch numbers, even after I frogged and redid the heel but it looks OK!). Now I just have the toe and the mysterious Kitchener stitch to negotiate and I'm done (famous last words?). My biggest problem is dropped stitches while I juggle the double pointed needles, but I am getting to be a dab hand at rescueing them with my trusty crochet hook.

Thank heavens for the wonderful internet and all the amazing crafting resources to be found there. My old favourite the wonderful Knitting Help site has taught me most of my skills beyond knit and purl. And I can't imagine how I would have worked out how to pick up the stitches on the heel gusset if not for the very talented lady who hosts the site and her wonderful videos.

Monday, 5 April 2010

easter daisies...


and friends, including the delightful, if unfortunately named, toad lily. Hope everyone had a peaceful time over Easter.

Friday, 2 April 2010

two four one


My clever brother realised the day J and D were born that their birthdate made a neat observation on our luck at getting a 'two for one' deal on babies that day (in Australia its written 2/4/01). And it still comes in handy to remember the date when I'm filling out forms :-)
We feel very blessed to have these two delightful boys in our lives. And even their big sister is pretty happy about it most of the time. Miss A was only three when she suddenly got not one but two baby brothers hogging all the attention. Though I must say as much energy and love was expended making sure she never felt left out as there was showering our little newborns in cuddles. We just gave up on sleep instead!


The last couple of years the boys have been in different classes. That way they get their own teacher and don't have to share their stories, days, parent teacher interviews.
It does mean though on their birthday that there are rather more cupcakes to bake. We made 61 this year (to include their teachers). It took three cake packets, three borrowed muffin trays and double icing quantities. And then a lot of tupperware to get it up to school! Worth it though. The baby marshmallows were a last minute thought but they tasted so nice, sort of fudgy on top of the cake. Mr D had yellow and Mr J requested blue.
Happy Birthday darling boys!