My Dad's not well so I'm up north helping out which left Mr Flowerpress running the Halloween cake stall at school tonight. He just emailled me these pics of his and Miss A's cupcake contributions (the cats and bats) and some of the other cakes and I had to share. How wonderfully creepy!
Oh dear, I'm sure some of you are returning this week to see the progress on my softie. As is often the case round here the best laid plans were derailed by more pressing matters. I did get time for some creativity, Mr F and I had a printing session yesterday afternoon to make some more of the denim cushions, last month's tiny print run are sold out already and I don't even have one on my couch! We also printed some tote bags that have been waiting for some attention for some time.
For loads of creative inspiration head to Kirsty's
There is a large mulberry tree that overhangs the path leading up to school and every year a crowd of small people are to be found below trying to reach that perfect mulberry which is always just out of reach. This handful made it home and was added to smoothies.
Before I went on holiday I sent out an order of RickRack fabric to the lovely Justine. She told me she was going to make a skirt from it, but that her project pile was so high that it might take a while. Last night she emailled me this picture of the fantastic finished skirt. Isn't she clever! To see more of her cleverness including some beautiful Oliver + S pattern sewing and some fantastic fabrics have a look at Justine's Flickr site here. Thanks for sharing Justine :-)
The last of these ruby red pictures shows the new larger Ruby Slippers print in a Ribba frame, bought at Ikea on Saturday for $10. It was so simple to put together, the print size fits perfectly into the frame without any trimming. It took me a minute to do!
Its sitting on my lovely new sideboard bought on Ebay last week after months of searching. By coincidence the perfect sideboard came up close by and is an exact match of this one which I fell in love with last year when we stayed at our friends' house. More pics soon.
I'm very happy to announce a new Flower Press stockist today, Earthgirl fabrics. This lovely online fabric store is a one stop shop where you can browse and buy indie Designer screenprint fabrics from people like Ink & Spindle, Kristen Doran and Thea & Sami, alongside international fabric names like Oliver + S, Nani Iro and Heather Ross (see my wishlist selection above). As well as that you can buy from a great selection of patterns and kits and quirky woven ribbon. As I said, a one stop shop and quite a unique and wonderful collection. Browse the new products in her shop (if you dare!) to see what I mean.
And in great news for everyone who missed out on prizes in my Giveaway, Annabel (the Earthgirl herself) is generously giving away two fat quarters of RickRack fabric, one on her Earthgirl blog and one on Facebook.
p.s. While I'm talking independent Australian designers I'd like to thank Amy from Badskirt for the wonderful list she posted the other day of Australian screenprinted textile designers, the most comprehensive list I've seen for a while which had a couple of names that were new to me too. I'm so tickled that she included my name alongside this amazing bunch, what a wealth of talent we are blessed with here!
p.p.s. If you are reading this in a reader you really must come and see my new blog banner, button lovers I warn you will be jealous!
Such a lovely bunch of entries in my choose your own adventure Giveaway, thank you all! Apologies for this late post but I had such a lovely busy weekend, lunch with some lovely girls started with breakfast at a friend's, a long lazy yum cha lunch and then coffee and cake at another friend's café.
In the Giveaway, the Red Filigree/Strawberry Red Rick Rack was clear favourite with 19 votes, though the Bottle/Aqua combo was a close second and all six combinations had their fans :-)
I would love to send prizes to everyone but Mr Random Generator has picked just one winner, number 41 which is Belinda! Belinda could you contact me with your address and I'll send out your prize, Belinda chose the Rose Chrysanthemum/Red RickRack combination :-)
The other day wandering around the creative spaces of others I came across some yummy looking biscuits and a beautiful crochet flower (amongst many other things!). By coincidence both bloggers, in response to my questions, generously shared their secrets with me and the blog world. Look here for Luisa's vanilla biscuit recipe (faithfully reproduced by the boys and I over the weekend, above, yum!) and Christina's crochet flowers pattern (this is her photo here, you know what a dyslexic crocheter I am!). Thanks you both so much for sharing.
I've never made a softie before, but I'm determined to join in this year's Softies for Mirabel, such a wonderful cause. I'm sewing without a pattern, just playing around and this is as far as I've got! And yes the minute I'd finished these denim mary janes I was thinking I should have done them in red! I'm not sure what the rest of this person looks like but hopefully it will come to me :-)
Thanks again for all your lovely comments on the Mix 'n Match Giveaway, its been fascinating to see your choices, come and enter if you haven't - its still open until Saturday, and thanks also for the support for Tiel's wonderful Show & Tell interview.
To see some more creative types I'm off now to Kirsty's.
Though I'd long admired Tiel Seivl-Keever's design work which I'd seen in my online travels I only discovered her blog and fine art quite recently by following a link one day from Geninne's Art Blog.
Discovering Tiel's work was a wonderful surprise, I was immediately attracted to her sense of design, her wonderful colour palette and her beautiful photography. Soon after I fell in love with a small painting of hers and (after just a short while stalking it!) I bought it. I'm so glad that I did, it lives on my mantlepiece and makes me smile every time I pass.
Like many of us Tiel is a juggler trying to fit her creative life around her family and work life and she's very honest about the struggle. I love all her answers to the Show & Tell questions and there were some real moments of identification for me - her method of organisation, which sounds a lot like mine, and the revelation of where she takes her photos. Not on the kitchen bench, like me, but close!
Some of you will know Tiel's work well, I know you'll enjoy this look into her life and work. Some of you will know her ABCme and illustration work but like me are new to her painting. I hope that for some others her blog and art will be a wonderful surprise! As always I wish I could post more of it here, her work is so diverse, so do follow the links to see more. And have a look over at her Etsy shop where she's having a sale.
Don't forget to join my GIVEAWAY while you're here, thanks for all the lovely comments left so far, they helped me survive a particularly stressful day yesterday with assorted email troubles and my Dad in the hospital. (He's better now.)
1. Why blog? How did you start?
I started blogging in 2006. I think the first blog that I became aware of, and liked, was hop skip jump. One click here, and another there and before I knew it I realized that there were like-minded people writing about all this cool stuff and making beautiful things. The process of keeping a blog has helped keep me sane I think. It’s a little like a visual diary online.
2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
Self taught and trained. I have a fine arts degree and majored in printmaking. Somewhere between then and now I stumbled into graphic design, did a few courses here and there, and taught design and arts at universities and TAFES. I’m very keen to do some kind of practical arts related course again.
3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
Kitchen table, dining room table, verandah table, studio and any given wall and floor space available. I have a very understanding family. I take photos of my work in the bathroom, so even that has my stuff in it.
4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
tsk tsk. My initials. Surprisingly it can take people a long time to work that out.
5. Favourite medium to work in?
Ink. Paper. Wood. That’s three… I could list more.
6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I would love to work with ceramics. I use my sewing machine and fabrics a lot too and really want to explore these areas more.
7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Somewhere in between. I’m a piler... but I like to think that the piles are extremely organised. It is hard working from home sometimes and having the socks and undies pile next to the bills, next to the works on paper.
8. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own?
That’s too hard. I once did a swap with Geninne Zlatkis. I gave her a painting and she gave me a beautiful porcelain mobile (above). I think I have a soft spot of ceramics… mostly because I just haven’t attempted anything like that.
9. Favourite food?
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Love Japanese food. My mother in law’s homemade gnocchi. There is no recipe... it’s all about the spuds and how it feels in your hands… I’m still mastering it after 19 years. Black tea, freshly squeezed juice and Champagne… not all at once.
10. Favourite colour?
Depends on the day and mood I’m in, or the season. I’m drawn to muted, earthy colours. Hate bright loud colours.
11. Star sign?
Taurus. And an Ox in the Chinese horoscope. And I have to say I’m really stubborn and like to plod along.
12. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
The Australian countryside really offers a diverse range of elements that I find really inspiring. I’m very keen to go to Tasmania at the moment. I’m drawn to rainforests and mountains more than say the beach. Italy is so beautiful. My children have Italian heritage so I’d like to pack it all in and live there for awhile.
13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
No. But if someone has any, please tell me. Perhaps it is about keeping the balance between them all... it is the bane of my life right now trying to keep my mind happy, my heart and the rest of the family happy too. I’m getting better at accepting that there are days, even weeks, where I won’t achieve my goals, because life offers disruptions that can’t be ignored.
14. Favourite artists?
It is always changing. We have some original paintings from Becky Blair and Rosetta Santucci. Current mix of favs include, Emily Barletta. Maxine Sutton, Marian Bijlenga, Julie Paterson, Emma Walker. Also love jewellery designers Nervous System and Ari Athans.
15. Favourite blog post?
I’ve never thought about a favourite post... sometimes I’m tempted to delete some posts. But I stop only because it really is a record of my days. One day I’ll be glad to look back at them and remember things I’ve forgotten.
16. Three words to describe you?
QUIET (but not shy). DETERMINED. HONEST ( I despise fake personalities).
17. What do you like to do besides creating?
I love cooking. Hate baking. Enjoy eating out. Seeing live music. Playing card games with the kids.
Choose your own adventure! To celebrate my third bloggy, etsy, flickr anniversaries coming up this month and next I'm having a "ChooseYourOwn" Giveaway. I'm giving away one tea towel and one FQ of fabric and I thought it might be kind of nice to let you choose your own colours!
The Giveaway is a thank you to all you lovely people for visiting, reading, commenting and generally just being wonderful, and for your great support of the Show & Tell series this year.
To enter, its very simple, choose your favourite colour tea towel - Rose, Red or Bottle Green and choose either the Strawberry or Aqua RickRack Fat Quarter. Then leave a comment telling me which ones you want! Just say something like Bottle/Aqua or Rose/Red...
The winner will win their choices sent anywhere in the world. Entry open to all my lovely readers. Winner chosen Saturday my time (Friday in the Northern Hemisphere).
Don't forget tomorrow I'm posting this month's Show & Tell, I think you'll be surprised!
Just a quick note, my email was playing up because my inbox was full (aaagh!). Hopefully its working now so if you tried to email me and it bounced back please try again it seems to be working :-)
Last week we stayed a few days in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. Though we often drive through the mountains its been a while since we stopped and took advantage of this most beautiful part of the world.
Its not a cliché to say that the views at Govett's Leap and Echo Point are breathtaking. They literally stop you in your tracks, the wide vista with steep cliffs dropping away to large valleys lined with trees. And all takes on a blue haze, which gives the mountains their name.
Our first walk down to the bottom of Govett's Leap waterfall was along one of these sheer cliffs, staircases carved into the rock and all damp and slippery from the rain. The range of beautiful wildflowers kept me entranced along the way.
Coming back up was tough going (for the grown ups). We weren't surprised to read at the top that the track was graded hard, steep and rough! Not sure how we missed that on setting out. I'm so glad we did it though, it was just magical.
Don't you love these insect eating Droseras (last two photos), the forked one and the red one, they look like Dr Seuss plants! More flowers on my Flickr.
A few people asked for Zinnia prints after I shared them last week :-) They are now in the Madeit shop. Printed on A4 they can be trimmed to A5 size (top) for framing or left with a larger border. Miss A wants one too, framed for her room to match the turquoise walls she has planned. (It will be on Etsy later too, just email me if you're international).
Also new are Giclee print Ruby Slippers in regular and the all new BIG print size (yes, its really cool)!!! Its been a while coming, but with the sad loss of the Gocco printer its finally time to change over. Luckily the quality is fantastic and virtually identical to the original. Apologies for the bad photos but the colour of shoes is almost impossible to capture.
The first BIG print is headed for little Ruby's room, just in time for Ruby's arrival in December :-)
I'm going to post about our blue mountains trip later but I couldn't wait to share these waratah photos. How stunning is this flower! The first two are of a wild plant and the last I snapped in someone's front garden at Echo Point.
We got back last night. Not a long time away but such a fun time. But more on that later...
I got back to find this beautiful feature on Etsy's blog The Storque. Photographer Teri Lyn Fisher was Guest Curator and talks about using special pieces to style her food photography. And she's named my Chalk Filigree tea towel as one of the featured props! I adore all the wonderful Etsy wares she's chosen and feel very honoured that she's included my tea towel in her list.
I have such great admiration for stylists. All of us who shoot our own photos for online shops and blogs know how very hard it is. And the irony is that looking simple, easy and natural is the thing you are really aiming for! For wonderful inspiration and some great interiors have a look at Teri's wonderful Fish Food blog and online portfolio. Oh and when you're done go and drool over all the beautiful ceramics and linens in her Storque piece, such beautiful simplicity.
The last few summers one of our neighbours has been growing a beautiful mix of zinnias in their front yard. We pass the garden on our walk to school every day and I always delight in the beautiful flower shapes and great mix of colours. I even started making some patterns a while ago with the zinnias as inspiration!
I've been keeping an eye out for zinnia seedlings at the nursery for just as long, but I've had no luck, they never seem to have them. So this year I got organised. I went on Ebay and bought some zinnia seeds. And yes after waiting so long I got slightly carried away with all the pretty pictures and ended up with six different zinnia seed varieties! I chose some with names like Envy a beautiful green flower, Polar Bear a full white zinnia, Pastel Dreams with beautiful muted colours and my favourite, Violet Queen, the big double flower on the right.
I sowed six punnets of seeds yesterday, one of each type and I still have quite a few seeds left over so I thought I might make up some lucky dip packets and give them away to local readers. So if you want some zinnia seeds just email me your address (email address top left) and I'll pop a few seeds in the mail next week when I get back. I think I can make up at least five packets to give away with 10 or so seeds in each, a mix of all the flowers above.
I'm so ready for this long weekend. I've been trying to juggle school holidays with a million other things, including sewing these cushions for a shop order (don't you love this pattern on denim, I think I need one for my place!). Which means I've been distracted and in constant motion all week.
This weekend my brother and his family are in town, on a quick visit from up north, way up north. Which means yum cha lunch tomorrow, lots of food and talk and tea.
And next week we are taking some days away for some bush walking and board games. I cannot wait, I need a break. I need to stop and look around and think.
(Thanks for all the nice words about our little skirt, so easy to make, I hope we've inspired a few more!)