The Halloween Carnival is a grand tradition at our primary school. The whole school comes together for a night of rides and food, music and fun. Its always fun dressing up. The boys chose this year to go as a mad professor and a mummy, while Mr F and I drew on our zombie eyes and some skull jewellery and joined in the fun. We had cake stall duty again this year and as usual everyone did us proud with spooky cupcakes, slices and biscuits. Don't you love those fingers! The nails are almonds covered in food colouring. Oh and Master J came runner up for the pumpkin comp! I don't have a photo of his spooky ghost carving though, this is Master D's pumpkin face.
Before the carnival we joined in another community event, Mr J's wind ensemble played to open a rally for the Inner West Greenway, a public space project our community was promised last year (after ten years of lobbying) but which has been abandoned by the new government.
This corridor will run along the light rail extension which passes by our house. It will be a mixed use bike and pathway along the canal through reclaimed bush, a haven of biodiversity in the inner city. This Greenway already exists behind our house, across the canal. Over the years we've seen kingfishers and black cockatoos along our stretch of bush and we know how fantastic this space is. How wonderful if they can join it up to make a path that runs through the city. We use this green path to walk to school every day and we cherish it.
I'm not a big fan of the way the technology cycle makes products 'obsolete', even while they're still working. Because of that I've always held on to my dodgy phones long after they were superseded. This week though I've joined the rest of the world and got an iPhone. Mr F has had one for years but there's something very satisfying about having my own and filling it with my favourite things.
While I'm getting sorted I've updated my computer to the new Lion OS X and upgraded iPhoto too. I'm getting my head around iCloud and generally trying to make everything play happily together. Sort of a digital spring cleaning. I signed up for Instagram too (user name flowerpress) which I think I'll like. On first impressions its really making me jealous of Kate's caravan adventure and in particular her Monkey Mia visit!
These are amazing times we live in, with amazing technology jumps every day. I wonder where its going. One of the things I like about our online community of craft bloggers is that respect is given to both old and new. Most are tech savvy people making the most of all the new digital age offers, like greater opportunities to access information, politics, news, knowledge and beauty, and to share it. But there is also respect for the analogue, the traditional handmade skills of cooking, knitting, sewing, making art, printing fabric, gardening and other good old fashioned stuff like thrifting, recycling and natural products.
These pics are from the iPhone, gotta love that camera, its so easy to use. I'm looking forward to recording more things out and about.
I think it was lovely Kate who initially put the idea in my head to print my Filigree design as a fabric panel. Like most things around here its taken a couple of years to go from drawing board to reality but here they are at last!
I've only got a couple of each colour of these in the shop, I'm keeping two for myself, but if they are popular they will return.
The panel would look great as cushions, pouches, totes, quilts, all of which I've sewn using this design but on thicker tea towel linen before.
This fabric is a wonderful unbleached linen/cotton blend with water based white or red ink. It has a lovely feel, the texture of linen with the washability and non creasing qualities of cotton and a great weight. They are in the shop now.
I've got some other designs nearly ready to produce in the same way and here's hoping they don't take quite as long to arrive!
Happy weekend friends. The warm weather has arrived with a bang in Sydney this past couple of days and I'm looking forward to summery evenings outside.
Bought this punnet of gerbera seedlings ages ago. I then left the poor things potbound and neglected before finally planting them into one of my lovely vintage concrete pots. This week they've started flowering and when I took this photo yesterday I was suddenly struck by the resemblance the picture has to my work in progress pattern design from back here. hmm?! Someone trying to tell me to get my act together and finish this big floral print?!
More at the home of Our Creative Space
Rebeka Walker, or Beck to her friends, is the author of the Dandelion blog, which centres on life in the wonderfully picturesque house and garden where she lives with her husband and children, in beautiful Daylesford, country Victoria. As a mother of five, I loved hearing what Beck has to say about juggling the different parts of her life in the interview below. She talks of humour, about creativity and about sharing that creativity with her kids. Words of wisdom.
That's one of the things I love about her blog, she puts her feelings into words, about important stuff like life, family, friendship, creativity and love. Her blog documents the treasure in the everyday, the good bits but also the bad, the ups and downs of life.
Beck is crafty too, amongst other things she makes and sells the most beautiful bunny softies. These beautiful creatures are like Beatrix Potter characters come to life. I'm sure each one is treasured in its new home, dressed in its tiny knitted cardigan with its long soft ears.
Beck and I have been playing Words with Friends (electronic scrabble) for a few months now. And while we missed out on a recent chance to meet in person, I'm sure we will one day. Until then I'm sure she will continue to surprise me with those triple word scores!
We live different lives in many ways, with Beck in rural Victoria and me in inner city Sydney, but we have a lot in common too it seems. I'm sure you'll find some familiar too, so if you haven't seen her beautiful Dandelion blog why don't you go and visit now.
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
My blog is really about my every day life, my family, photography, ideas and thoughts.
2. Why blog? How did you start?
Dandelion began as a way to connect with other crafty people and to record our family life. I’ve continued to blog as I really enjoy the friendships I’ve made in blog land, the chance to explore ideas about parenting & life and the wonderful visual diary that it is. I like the way my blog allows me to process my thoughts in words and illustrate them with photo’s. I also love the amazing & thoughtful comments that I often receive and the truly beautiful people I have met along the way.
3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
My grandmother, Nan, was a great sewer and creator and she was s big influence on me & taught me a lot. We would spend ages on projects like making dolls and toys and clothes when I was little. These are such treasured memories. My dad is an artist and my mum is also very creative, she has an amazing sense of colour. Growing up in a house filled with art & craft has given me a real appreciation for the visual. Every where I look I see something beautiful and unique, whether it’s the landscape, a child’s drawing, the sky or the changing seasons.
4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
When I’m making bunnies or quilts I usually sit at my sewing table, which looks out over our garden. (I like to watch our ducks and chooks out the window.) For cutting out and other bigger projects the kitchen table is the go! It’s usually also covered with the kid’s own projects so I sometimes (always) have to fight for space.
5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I’ve always found dandelions so whimsical & pretty, they remind me of childhood, of wishes and dreams.
6. Favourite media to work in?
I love fabric and photography. Vintage linen is a big favourite as it is so adaptable and soft. I make my bunnies out of alpaca blanket offcuts, it is a lovely, honest fabric to work with. I’m also a keen photographer, I love to capture the mood of the day, the big sky, animals & nature, and of course my kids.
7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I’d like to become a better sewer. Being mainly self taught I don’t have a lot of technical know how. There are many other things crafts I’d like to learn or get better at. Shame there is only so many hours in the day!
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Hmmm…that’s easy, creatively messy!
9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
That’s a tough one. At the moment I’d say it would be a painting I bought earlier this year of three dogs. A local artist painted it and I adore it for it’s sweet sense of humanity and tenderness. And the colours, it’s just so beautiful and makes me stop and think, and smile.
10. Favourite food/recipe?
How to choose?! So many! I love pasta, especially gnocchi. And I’m also a keen baker so this weeks fave has been mars bar slice. Oh my, too good!
11. Favourite colour?
Can I have five? Red, pink, blue, purple and green. That’s just plain greedy isn’t it?
12. Star sign?
Gemini. Yep, not a popular star sign but us Gemini’s know we are ok.
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
I love country Victoria. The rolling hills, dense bush, creeks, potato fields, old buildings, sense of history, the blue sky dotted with clouds and the amazing little towns. I also love the beach, Australia has so many beautiful parts, I’d love to see more of it with our family.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
A sense of humour is a must! No real tricks but I do think it helps if you make creating a part of every day life. Kids watch and learn and for them self-expression through creativity is normal and fun. All my kids love to make things and although this means we have a messy house, I encourage them and always love to see what amazing things they create.
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
Joy Hester, Mirka Mora, Jess from Teddy Bears Wednesday, Bridget Bodenham, and so many of the great blog land crafters!
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
I love the vintage fabric rainbow snake I made for Rosie. It’s massive and crazy and looks ace on her bed. And I like some of the poetry I wrote while at uni. Without a doubt the best thing I have done though, is to have my five kids. Being a mum to them is the best thing ever!
17. Three words to describe yourself?
Enthusiastic, loving, cheerful
18. What do you like to do besides creating?
I like to read. It’s my way of relaxing, I love to escape into another world. I also like walking in the bush, having one on one time with my kids, a weekend away with my Honey, dinner out with girl friends, spending time with my mum, music, dancing, playing Words With Friends, movies and having a good laugh!
Thank you all you wonderful people for welcoming and celebrating my new fabrics on Thursday. I am so lucky to have friends who give me such great feedback and cheer me on. It means a lot. And thanks to everyone who ordered fabric, I can't wait to see what you make from it!
In the process of pulling down the attic ladder that day I smashed my thumb quite badly but also it turned out later, strained my shoulder as well. Ow, it really hurts! I woke up the next day quite crippled with the pain and even now, a couple of days later I can't lift my arm.
It doesn't help that today was the school Gardening Bee I've helped organise, though turns out I can weed quite well with my left hand and with all the wonderful helpers who turned up we got a lot accomplished.
The children have been helping distract me with food. Mr D made wonderful crackers with this recipe, and we experimented with shapes and seeds. As you can imagine they lasted all of about five minutes last night, when served with dip and toppings.
Ms A the family baker had a taste for coconut this afternoon and she's whipped up these cupcakes from a Martha Stewart recipe but with a butter, icing, coconut milk frosting and coconut shavings.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that all we think about is food round here, but its not quite true! We had takeaway pizza on Friday when family dropped in as we all had other things on and came together late, so fast food was perfect. As always it was the company that was the important part. Does that sound hokey? A bit but I love those family dinners, lots of laugh and gossip and love.
I discovered the masterpiece in the bottom photo after my lunchers had left on Wednesday. Mr 3 had made this beautiful portrait of our dog Pippie, with a bit of help from his Mum. Have you seen these blackboard panels at Bunnings. We were so happy when we discovered them but you might not have seen them, they are a bit hidden away. They cost about $20 and though this one is out in the weather behind our sandpit they last a few years, when it warps too badly we just unscrew it and replace.
p.s. Show & Tell is back Tuesday for the second last instalment of the year. Another blogger I really admire, and she's not bad at word games too! But that's your only clue.
On Monday I got this long awaited parcel full of fabric. Here at last are my Marble and other Toy Box series designs printed by Spoonflower and for sale in my Etsy shop. I'm so proud to be offering these fabrics, I think they make a great option for boys or girls prints, something that's often missing in modern quilting fabrics.
I've got a few more designs in this series and other base colours which I will be making available in the future so you can mix and match. There's one new design I'll share next week that's become a favourite. I can't wait to have them all and make a quilt for my boys!
All this series, which I'm calling Toy Box, are based around the same great primary colour palette so they coordinate and contrast with each other and with other fabrics, toys, walls and linen.
These fabrics are beautifully printed on lovely quilting cotton. The colours are vibrant and wonderfully true to the artwork. The Spoonflower process has been improving all the time and I'm really delighted with the quality of this fabric.
I've put some fat quarters in my shop. Contact me if you want a larger cut, I have just a few metres of each though so get in quick. One of my friends was trying to steal the marble fabric yesterday to make a duvet cover for her son!
I think the hundreds & thousands dot would make a great dress with a white lace trim.
Best of all, as an introductory offer I'm giving Australian buyers FREE POSTAGE and reduced postage for Everyone Else! Can't wait to see what you make with this :-)
I seem to have been away from the blog a bit recently, first with the holidays, and having family in town, and now that the kids are back at school I'm racing to catch up. Suddenly we've hit that mad part of the year when things seem to get busier, and every time you turn around another week has flashed past.
I had lots of Flower Press to catch up with on Monday including three big parcels, one of which I'm dying to share tomorrow.
Today though I pushed all that to one side and had a few of my friends over for lunch. I bought some bunches of flowers to celebrate my clean house, but my favourite was this posy of sweet peas and primulas that my friend Marg brought from her garden. They have that beautiful old fashioned scent which you can smell across the room.
Marg has turned her small front garden into a vegie patch with flowers interwoven between crops, its so beautiful and always has something growing, I love it and I can't help thinking we should all have these productive cottage patches.
Some images from Nyapanyapa's Birrka' exhibition opening we went to last night at the Roslyn Oxley gallery. More of her beautiful paintings here.
Thanks for all the lovely comments, a bit more information for those who are interested, Nyapanyapa is a Yolgnu (north east Arnhem land) Aboriginal artist and her paintings are made with ochre on bark.
A while ago I told you about my Flower Press wares being sold through Boxed, a beautiful homewares and art site run by Sarah Saleh out of Bahrain. Sarah has been sweet enough to make me a featured designer this month, you can read some more about my inspirations and ideas here.
However the creative in my space this week is all other peoples', my brother and his family are in town and his gallery has an exhibition opening tonight. And on Tuesday night we made it back in time to help celebrate the launch of this beautiful new book 'Once there was a boy', by Dub Leffler, at our local, Shearer's Bookshop in Leichhardt. This book is so delightful, not only for its beautiful pictures but for the lovely story which brought tears to my eyes. Our friend Momo (age nine) gave a reading of her uncle Dub's book which was an added treat. I love this book, check out this video for more peeks inside.
We did make our escape the other day, though as predicted the weather gods weren't playing nice. The rain was driving down and the winds were wild as we packed the car and left our snug little house to hit the road. Mr F and I raised an eyebrow to each other more than once, and wondered if we weren't completely mad! But there's nothing like a road trip with just the five of us, and it was all completely worth it... if only for the uncontrollable giggles we all had at dinner the first night at the Chinese restaurant, loved that!
We spent a fair bit of time that first day facing into the wind as it tried to blow us away braving the elements so it was nice to give up at last and hide away in our motel room snuggled in together with books and magazines. I bought these two mags which are my current favourites and finished reading 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring' while I was away too. Its very evocative, I can see why they made a movie of it. Must see it some time.
There was of course some op shopping while we were away and I found some more vintage sheets for my collection and a little milk glass vase. There was a bit of proper shopping too which is how I fell in love with this little painting and brought it home, its by Lolita Hamilton. I just love that its going to remind me of these stormy days hanging out with my gang.
On our second day the sun shone and we went south to Kiama and saw the big blowhole and the one we liked even more - the little blowhole. With the pumping surf it was spraying water 100 feet into the air.
Today on the way home we went up into the foothills of the escarpment near Thirroul and visited a sculpture garden in the rainforest, there should be more sculpture gardens in the world, what a great way to see this sort of work.