Well that was a big week. Lots of sickness, end of year exams and assignments for Mr F, work, sewing orders, parcels, parties and family stuff, and some exciting news about our darling A.
During a big weekend at Schools Spectacular Miss A found out she'd been voted a prefect by the school body for next year. Her high school is a middle school and she'll go to another campus for her last two years, so its a chance for earlier years, the Year 10s to have leadership roles. Its one of the things we love about our school.
Then on Tuesday I was out at a double 40th birthday lunch with some of my very favourite ladies when she rang me with big news... she has been elected girl School Captain by all the prefects and nominees!!!!
Wow, we are so surprised and delighted! I don't talk about the kids much here but you know she is such a lovely person and this is such a milestone I couldn't let it pass without a post, and without telling you guys, my bloggy mates our wonderful news :-)
Its no secret I love a bit of floral! I especially love those bold sixties and seventies flower designs you see on vintage sheets and pillowcases. I love the riot of mixed flowers, the detailled linework and the great colours.
You might remember this design, its one I doodled quite a while ago and its the wallpaper on my phone. I always get compliments on the design and its a favourite of mine too so in my spare time I've been working on expanding it and cleaning it up.
Its still black and white, I like to get the linework sorted before I play with colour (though I had a play here!). But I also love the graphic quality of black and white. Here's another pattern I've been playing with, I'm calling it snake because it reminds me of the patterns on the diamond python snake of the north coast.
I've been seeing lots of people posting about website Society 6. I went and had a look and its a site where you can upload designs which other people can order in a number of mediums, art prints, phone cases, t-shirts and now cushions.
The other day they were having a free shipping offer (they seem to have very regular discounts) and as my flower press account was already set up I jumped at the chance to see this seventies floral design in print and check the quality of the products.
The prices seem really reasonable to me so I'm hoping they look as good in real life. Has anyone ordered from them before? If you are after some designer onlines for Christmas presents this looks like a good place to start. Especially with free shipping!
Occasionally I look around and realise I have a new colour crush I wasn't completely aware of. A few recent purchases are flowering all at once in my garden and it seems this deep dark winey pink is a new favourite. Here's a snippet from last night's Schools Spectacular too which fits the theme.
Its quite easy (but it helps if you clip the curved seams before! you turn it inside out).
This bag is made with my own Prism block print and lined with Flower Press RickRack fabric in aqua. I've put a little pocket in the blue which will fit my phone perfectly. And I've topsewn with a different colour to the bobbin (woohoo!)
This is not the last version I will make of this pattern, though I might just fiddle with it a bit now I know how its made.
I'm scraping in late for my creative space, so go check out the organised people here.
I've been sewing more clothes for myself this year, I like the idea of bypassing the chain stores and having unique one off clothes in interesting and flattering designs. I've been inspired by the blog world which is great at seeking out the really great patterns and making them all different ways so you get a great idea of how they look.
A little while ago I came across indie designer Megan Nielsen via a blog mention. Her brand is quickly becoming an internet favourite for her cute, classic designs. Although new to the pattern world, Megan was a fashion designer before she started selling patterns and many of the designs are based on her previous collections. Her range also includes fashion friendly maternity patterns.
I tracked down Megan's website and bought two of her patterns (Banksia blouse and Darling Ranges dress). I was surprised and pleased to find out she's an Aussie girl. At the time she was living in the US but soon after Megan and family pulled up sticks and came back to live in their hometown of Perth. Since she's been back she's celebrated her one year pattern company anniversary and released two new patterns.
If you haven't read Megan's blog you are in for a treat. One of my very favourite things about her is her generous knowledge sharing. She has done really detailed sewalongs for both the patterns I have, going through the techniques and also explaining how to modify the designs, lengthening, shortening, adding, subtracting and moving sleeves, darts, collars and plackets. She also talks about pressing fabrics, modifying kid's clothes, hemming, machines, threads, fabrics... in short everything to do with sewing clothes.
I can't wait to see the new patterns ahead for Megan. I love her style and I love her generosity when it comes to helping new sewers. Megan is the final Show & Teller for this year, the third year in the series, she is lucky number 30! If you haven't caught up with other interviews you can find them all via the page link above. But in the meantime, read on, thanks again Megan!
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
Hi there! My name is Megan Nielsen, and I’m a designer. I have a line of clothing and sewing patterns, and I like pretty things. My blog is my design diary – the place where I catalog all the things I design, how I wear them, and lots of DIY tips and tutorials.
2.Why blog? How did you start?
I really love blogging! I started blogging a few years ago, at a time when I was far away from family and friends in a new country. I really missed sharing what I had been designing, so I started a blog as a place to catalog all the things I made. I’ve been pretty obsessed since then!
I’m mostly self taught. When i was about 10/11 I was really dissatisfied with my Barbie’s wardrobe (yes, I still played with Barbies when i was 11, don’t pretend you didn’t too he he), so i started cutting up my own clothing and handsewing outfits for her. When my mom realised I was interested in sewing she gave me a sewing machine (a vintage Elna, that was actually her first sewing machine too!), taught me the basics and then and helped me sew my very first piece of clothing – a wrap skirt! I’ve been addicted ever since :)
As the years progressed I wanted to know more and more, so I began studying pattern drafting and fashion design texts in my spare time. I love learning and I think I’ll be adding to my skills for the rest of my life.
4.Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I’m lucky enough to have a designated work space. Since my brand takes up so much of our time, we converted one of our spare rooms into my workspace. It works really well because I can work from home and I have everything I need at my fingertips.
5.Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
My shop name is my name! To be honest, when I was deciding what to call my brand I realised very quickly how fickle I was – so I chose the only name I couldn’t possibly get tired of – the name I had been stuck with my entire life!
6.Favourite media/style to work in?
My favourite medium is definitely fabric! I’m an apparel designer – so I always go to that. Within that, I’m a silk superfan – I would spend all my money on silk if I could.
7.Ambitions/future directions/future projects you'd like to try?
In the future I’m mainly focused on releasing more sewing patterns linked to my clothing line. It’s been so wonderful to witness people making my designs!
8.Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Hahaha well I’m a bit of a combination actually! When it comes to my home, I’m very neat and organized – I like everything perfect all the time. When it comes to my workspace I’m definitely “creatively messy” It’s very rare that my studio be tidy and when it is I parade around it telling everyone I know hehehe.
9.Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Oh gosh. That’s hard!! I think right now my favourite handmade item is a pile of candlewicking panels that my Ouma made when she was still with us – I plan on making them into a nice big quilt that I can use and remember her by.
I’m a kid at heart I guess – my favourite food is Mac and Cheese and probably always will be!
Pink! Is that too girl??
Oh gosh – I think I’m a Scorpio?
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
My favourite place is the Swan Valley in WA – it’s my absolute favourite for going and getting inspired. To me its just the most beautiful place.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
That’s always a hard one isn’t it? Honestly, I’m not sure I’m particularly good at juggling it all J I tend to focus on my kids and home during the day, and I work, work, work during nap times and at night. I tend to run on a base level of tiredness – but I tell myself it’s for a short time hehe.
15. Favourite designers, artists, artisans, crafters etc?
My favourite indie designer is Merl Kinzie – she makes the most ridiculously awesome jewellery ever and I am developing quite the collection of it. Added to that she is such a sweet wonderful person!
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
It tends to vary pretty regularly – but my current favourite thing I’ve made is this crop top.
17. Three words to describe yourself?
Happy, bubbly, friendly (basically if I meet you I WILL hug you, no exceptions, sorry).
18. What do you like to do besides creating?
I really really love to read! Its something I don’t get a lot of time to do – but when I get a spare moment to curl up with a book, I just adore it. Such a luxury for me.
My mum sent me this link this morning and I had to share it, I love simple kooky stuff like this. Have you seen the videos on how to peel an egg? Check out this one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rch4d9g3ZA4
What I really dropped in to say is that the last Show & Tell for the year is on tomorrow. In all the sale and giveaway excitement last week I forgot to tell you that I have a wonderful interview lined up with a really talented and sweet blogger for Tuesday. Think patterns! (and that's your only hint!). I've been looking forward to this one so don't forget to drop in.
Meanwhile the Flower Press Fifth Birthday Sale is on till tomorrow. A chance to start your Christmas shopping with some handmade bargains. I think I'm going to start mine this week with some online shopping too.
I made a start on my Honey Cowl this week, using my lovely Classy Cashmere mix yarn from Zigo Zago. Its nice to have a simple project to pick up, I do love the meditation of knitting, so calming.
I also made this spur of the moment top (Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835). I whipped it up in a couple of hours using some bright polka dot fabric I'd actually bought for binding a quilt! The fabric wasn't big enough but I turned the sleeves sideways, made them shorter and it all sort of came together. Its bright ;-)
I picked up another pattern and more fabric at the Spotlight sale, I just went to buy cotton tape for Marble Bags, but you know how it is!
Sizing continues to be my biggest issue, I'd love a better idea of how size and ease and my shape are best calculated. Perhaps its only experience that will give me that though. I seem to cut too big, knowing I can go smaller but not larger. Add in the American and European sizes, and inches and centimetres and... aaagh. Its the bit I really dread about making clothes.
Most importantly though I'd like to announce the two winners of the Zigo Zago giveaway, chosen by random.org:
Deep Seaflower and PomPom Quarterly magazine
Tania from Ivy Nest who said:
"Oooh look at all that yummy yarn. Quite liking the Sea Flower, being partial to all things blue. I must hop over to that site. Citronille patterns as well as all that yarn? Sounds like my kind of shop :)"
Jenni from Baa Me Knits who said:
"I'm an earthy girl so I would have to pick the Cocoa Kiss and I would make The Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia on Ravelry :-)"
Could you both please contact me with your address details.
I want to thank Alex again for such a wonderful giveaway. Don't forget that she has a 10% discount in her shop for flower press readers, just put the code Flowerpress in at checkout.
Oh and today I've been taking some photos for the Flower Press SALE which will finally start tomorrow. Promise!
Lots to see in the garden this month and I keep finding myself out there checking on how things are growing, marvelling at all the changes.
The Thompson Seedless grape I planted four years ago finally has grapes forming on it! I really thought it had died and it was only through luck we didn't pull it out. We removed the big self sown weed tree next to it last year, removed concrete at its base and improved the soil which must be why its finally happy.
The leaf cutter bees who usually harvest my rose leaves for lids for their nests are obviously fans of this Vietnamese mint which has a wonderful pattern to it now. I love the serried rows of baby tomatoes forming too, both planted and self seeded. I'm starting to eat the early ripeners and hoping we'll have loads of fruit soon.
I harvested some of my homegrown garlic this week, its small but perfectly formed and looks so pretty hanging up. Hopefully I can improve my results next year, I need to get it in earlier, but its making me very happy.
Also making me happy is the fact that after buying and losing two packets of borage seeds in former years (?) I finally flowered a plant grown from seed, what a wonderful blue! As are the cornflowers which actually came from a swap packet marked poppies. A nice piece of serendipity as I'm a big fan of cornflowers.
Speaking of colour we are so organised as to have colour coordinated katydids on the Rosette Delizy rose. And look, more frog's eggs in this low water pot hidden in the leaf litter. (Do you remember my big surprise last year!)
Thank you so much my friends for all your well wishes on my 5th blog anniversary :-) Today is the fifth anniversary of the first sale in my flower press shop. In a wonderful coincidence it is also the day of the 800th sale. There have been lots of sales outside the shop and in other venues but I like the synchronicity, don't you?!