We had an information evening last night at the boys primary school. One of the teachers spoke about the school 'rules' which are contained in the phrases above - Be Kind, Work Hard, Have Fun! I think its such a great way of looking at things and the words have been echoing in my mind ever since, lit up in colour like this!
Happy weekend everyone. Thank you for all your lovely comments and emails this week. Welcome to new and old followers and subscribers and thank you to all the wonderful blogs who link their blog rolls this way.
For the first time this week I can feel autumn in the air. I love autumn but I'm always sorry to see summer leaving. Its been so horribly hot and sticky recently though I'm enjoying the cooler nights especially.
My creative space is full of ideas but I can't seem to completely settle to anything. This parcel of barkcloth didn't help matters, but I couldn't resist these when I saw them. The grey and red will become cushions, the japanese dolls a skirt perhaps.
I did make jam again, my third batch this summer. The apricot jam was so delicious, I'm wishing I'd made more while they were around, this batch is plum.
It must be colder because I'm also thinking again about this quilt, and trying to work out how to make it with my limited skills! I'm thinking exact measurements might help take some of the guess work out. We'll see!
More creative space, and some fabulous quiltaction at Kirsty's.
Thanks for all the nice comments about Kate's Show & Tell and thanks also for the feedback on my paper pots. I mentioned that there was a way to make them without the expensive wooden form. For all those who were interested here's a quick tutorial to make these biodegradable pots using a glass jar. These are the steps:
1. Choose a jar with straight or parallel sides, you could use a glass or even a tin can but make sure the sides are dead straight not tapered or it will be hard to roll. For me a large Vegemite jar proved to be the closest match for the wooden potmaker. I'm using sheets of paper from a tabloid format paper or a liftout from a broadsheet. Take a spread that's folded in half (it needs to be double thickness at least) and rip pieces about 15cm/5 inches wide along the full depth (about 28cm/11"). I can make three pieces from one, leaving a small remainder at the end.
2. Roll it around the jar till the ends meet and secure with sticky tape.
3. Fold under the overlapping bottom edges. You might need to experiment to get the right length of paper to fold under, it should overlap but not come past the pot edge. Push the jar down on a solid surface to compact the bottom. The wooden potmaker I have has a slightly indented edge which gives a natural seal to the pot but for the jar version I used another piece of sticky tape to make sure this stays flat.
4. Fill with soil and pot on your seedling, take a cutting or sow some seeds!
By luck I found this piece of left over wrapping paper the perfect size and made up another pot with the wrap on the outside. A nice way to pass on a cutting, some flower seeds, a herb plant or a strawberry plant baby, team it with a colourful icecream stick ($2 shop for these) and you have a simple present. The wrap will warp and discolour after a while from watering but they still look cute. Don't handle these pots too much when wet or they might rip, but when they are dry they are surprisingly strong, I had a few which lasted months until they got planted out.
Oh and one of those waxed flat vegie box/trays make a great seed tray to hold the pots and move them round the garden.
I think I've told you before that our primary school holds a big autumn fair each year to raise money. Its an amazing undertaking, with rides and CWA baking competitions, food, handicrafts, books, concerts... This will be the third year its been held.
I help run the gardening committee at school which does working bees during the year to look after the plants and trees and lawns. Each year of the last three years we've had a stall at the fair selling plants, seeds, gardening supplies and having a big raffle.
I'm cheating a bit because these photos are from last year's stall stock but this is what I'm doing today, using my great paper pot maker to make up small plant pots and potting out the seedlings we've bought to grow on for the fair.
Some friends and I went out to one of the big nurseries last week and bought lots of herb and flower seedlings. We potted up heaps but then got a bit distracted by lunch! So there are still lots to do, and today is the day. My paper pot maker from Remo was quite expensive but I've seen people make these pots with a glass instead. I'll show you how one day. I love that the pots are biodegradable and you can even just put the whole thing plant and pot in the ground. So with paddle pop sticks (is that a very Australian name!) for labels they are very earth friendly.
It is a mark of Kate Henderson's skills that I wasn't surprised to read that she made her first quilt at age sixteen. Or that by the same age she was making and selling her beautiful softie toys to shops. As modest as she is talented, Kate's mastery of several different crafts has long been a source of wonder to me as I struggle along just adequately with a few!
She not only designs and makes quilts and softies, she also sews lots of other things including clothes and bags. She dyes, spins, knits and sells her own wool and is also a keen cook and gardener.
Kate's work has featured in books and magazines including the Softies series from Penguin, and she has two successful shops on Etsy (both wickedly named for her three beautiful girls!).
As well, Kate is another mother of twins which in my eyes makes all those accomplishments even more impressive (I'm a bit biased). When we first met over the interwebs we exchanged the knowing look of those who have been blessed with more than one baby at once and bonded immediately. In fact she credits the craft for keeping her sane in those early years. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate to that :-)
Kate lives in Bridgetown, Western Australia, she's our first W.A. Show & Teller, and the first for 2011, so please make her very welcome.
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
I mainly sew, but I also dye wool, knit and spin.
2. Why blog? How did you start?
I discovered blogs after my twins were born in 2005. I hardly left the house for the first 6 months of their lives and finding the craft community online really did save my sanity. I started my blog at the end of 2005 thinking it was a great way for family to see what I was up to and pictures of the girls.
I have never been good at keeping journals or diaries, but I like to keep track of what I have done and blogging is a great way to do it.
3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
My Grandmother was a wonderful sewer and when we visited she used to give us all her scraps, her scissors and needles and thread and we used to make dolls clothes. Then when I was 12 someone showed me how to make elastic top shorts on an old sewing machine my Mum had (but never used - sewing is not her thing). I worked out how to read sewing patterns and pretty soon I was making a lot of my own clothes. I started making toys when I was about 16 and sold them in a shop in Perth. I think I made my first quilt the same year, it was a log cabin. I remember tracing shapes and cutting it out with scissors. I was so relieved later on to discover rotary cutters and mats.
4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I am really lucky, we moved house a year ago and we bought one with enough room so I can have my own room. I am not the cleanest and tidiest person when I sew so it is wonderful to be able to shut the door on all the mess. It also means I can sew at night or early in the morning and not disturb anyone.
5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I picked 'never enough hours' when I started my blog as there never seemed to be enough time for anything when the twins were babies. When I started to sell things I chose Two Little Banshees as that is what we always referred to the girls as when they were little. I chose One Fat Slug for my yarn dyeing business as that is my youngest daughter's nickname as she really did grow fast as a baby - like a little slug.
6. Favourite media to work in?
Cotton, wool or silk.
7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I'll try anything. I haven't crocheted for years, but I feel the need to make a blanket and I need to get the gocco out again.
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
I'd love to be amazingly organised and have a place for everything, but it is never going to happen. When I am making toys or quilts I need to tip lots of fabrics on the floor and then pick out the ones I need.
9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Some beautiful doilies crocheted by my great grandmother.
I taught for 5 years in remote parts of WA. I love the desert and love the colours and the landforms. I spent a week in a beach shack in Jamaica once and often dream about escaping there again.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
Gosh I think I am the last person you should ask, it can kind of be a disaster around here at times. I do have a really supportive husband and without him I wouldn't get anything done.
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
Too many to name, there are so many amazing people who have inspired me.
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
Probably whatever I did last. I love it more when my girls love what I have made, when they want to drag a toy everywhere they go or wear something I have made them.
17. What do you like to do besides creating?
Hang out with the girls while we read, cook and garden.
Thank you everyone for all your kind words about my new Tulips pattern. I was really touched to have such a lovely bunch of comments and encouragement, I felt very blessed.
It seems red was as popular as ever, though some of the other colours had their admirers. I spent time today quickly scanning in some linen so I could see what those colours would look like printed on my favourite fabric. I like it, I hope you do too!
I also popped back in today because I forgot to tell you something really important - the Show & Tell series kicks off again for 2011 next Tuesday!!
Make sure you tune in then to meet another wonderfully talented interviewee. I'm trying to think of a hint to give you that won't give it away, but my brain is too tired on this Friday afternoon! You will just have to come back to see.
Don't forget if you have any suggestions for bloggers you would like to see in this space, then please email me. I still have a wish list as long as my arm which grows daily as I discover more and more wonderful bloggers but there are sure to be some I haven't found yet. Please don't be shy in pointing them out.
One of my new year's resolutions is to make and post a lot more patterns here this year and here's the first. This new tulip design arrived in my mind fully formed the other day, and went straight down on paper and then into illustrator just as I imagined it. I love it when that happens :-) There are a couple of things I might change, and I can't work out which colour I like... And those daisies? I like the way they break up the space, what do you think?
I saw this video yesterday on the Wren Handmade blog and just had to share it. The skill involved in making these wooden printing blocks is obvious and even more awe inspiring when you see them in person, I have a small collection that I treasure.
But to see the process and watch the printing, well that is just magic! I know many of you will be just as excited as me to see the method, though its fascinating if you print or not.
Do you remember last year when we put in our new pond? Its not quite a year yet but it has settled in really well and this warm growing season seems to have seasoned it. The fish are thriving and yesterday I was buzzed by a large dragonfly drinking from the surface, it was like a mini waterbombing helicopter zooming up and down and doing little manouevres in the air. Last week I saw a water spider walk blithely across the pond surface, how clever! A local wattle bird thinks we installed it for his use, he has taken to having his weekly bath, five quick plunges, in its waters.
I love that we have created a little ecosystem in our garden by being organic and growing lots of flowering plants, and also by having water around the place. Five years ago when we moved here this garden was patchy lawn, with a cement path and a huge hills hoist in the very middle of the garden. There wasn't much nature back then except snails and ants.
As well as the pond we have a few actual bird baths, really important in this hot weather, and every week we have regular groups coming through in noisy gangs - bulbuls, silver eyes, New Holland honeyeaters, a stately pigeon couple and more, I once counted 11 different species of bird in the garden. We even had a kingfisher visit late last year, he sat in a tree for a while and looked down on our pond. We counted our goldfish after the kingfisher left but they were all there! Not bad for the inner city, though we are lucky enough to back on to a tidal canal and narrow bush corridor.
If you don't have water in the garden I can't recommend it more. Even something as simple as a shallow pot will bring you new visitors. I've made them with wide shallow plant pots (without holes!) and with a large rock or gravel at the bottom so the birds can stand. Remember to put them amongst foliage to give the little birds some protection and also somewhere to wait their turn and heckle!
Last night Mr F called me out into the warm night air and we stood in silence listening to a new sound, the bop....bop....bop....bop.... conversation between two frogs, calling to each other across the garden. Both were sitting in water pots at ground level and I managed to capture this portrait, I think its Mr Frog, isn't he beautiful?
Its commonly agreed in my family that my prominent craft gene was inherited from my Dad and my maternal grandmother. My brother and sister missed out, they aren't compelled like me to always be making stuff. And while all my kids have the artistic gene it is Miss A who has been stockpiling buttons, beads and pretty paper since she was tiny, making them into pictures, sculptures, dolls clothes, necklaces etc. She has it bad!
My beautiful niece, who turns 9 on Sunday, is also a maker. She rises early to craft cardboard castles, chocolate cake and dressups. She has the bug. Sadly she doesn't live close enough that I can craft with her, so I thought the next best thing would be a sewing/knitting kit made with love, in a little lined pouch/bag whipped up in the 40 degree heat we've been having round here. Made with a postal deadline I didn't get a great picture of it, but you get the idea. It is finished with my first machine buttonhole on the newish Janome. Yay! I feel a bit like a craft pusher but I know she'll love it and I can't wait to see what she makes.
Do you have the crafty gene? Who did you inherit it from and have you passed it on?!