Tuesday 20 July 2010

show & tell - kirsty macafee

Each week Kirsty Macafee hosts the most amazing and popular blog meme 'My Creative Space' on her Kootoyoo blog. And each week a hundred or more bloggers join in to share their creative processes, their workspaces, their lives. This celebration of crafting is not just about the end product, sometimes its just about sharing new materials, processes, patterns or inspiration. Sometimes a work in progress might reappear each week until finished. It's about being creative in what ever way you want and getting and giving support, encouragement, advice and inspiration.

Unsurprisingly Kirsty's own creative space is always clever, beautiful and innovative. Looking through her blog recently I remembered so many of the projects, all of them interesting and fresh, from her repurposed blanket slippers and tv blanket, her enormous granny square shrug to the wonderful shared quilt project which she cites as her proudest achievement.

One of the things I was dying to know about Kirsty was the story behind her blog name Kootoyoo. So I was a bit embarrassed to find I've been mispronouncing it in my head all this time!

Kirsty has also been kind enough to share a recipe with us, a first for Show and Tell. Its one that I'm sure will be popular after (during) a long day crafting. I know its one I'm going to make and enjoy ;-)  Thanks again Kirsty for sharing yourself here, and for all the enjoyment and community you give us each week in your Creative Space!

Kirsty Macafee

Short description of your blog/style/work...
Usually short & to the point.  The blog is just a catalog really... of ideas, beginnings, makings & random other drivel.

I really enjoy the process, the actual making so there are litterings of in progress shots each week.

1. Why blog? How did you start?
I'd been reading blogs for a goodly long time & felt that maybe I had something to contribute.  I think that one day when I'm a grumpy old lady (rapidly losing my marbles) my kids might enjoy this little glimpse of my makings way back in 2007-2010 (& beyond?).
& of course I needed a pants kicking.  That was provided by Pip Lincolne to whom I will be eternally grateful.

The making of some really, truly amazing friends was entirely unexpected & the absolutely BEST thing to come out of the blog.

2. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
I guess I've learned a bit by absorption from family (immediate & extended) and from my cleverest of clever neighbour Vicki.  I probably picked up a bit swanning around the art department at school.  But I confess my love of the arts was really more a love of slacking off than actually creating anything worthwhile.

3. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I do have a space.  It adjoins the kitchen & contains the washing machine & laundry trough (which is handy).  I love it but I do tend to leave a Hansel & Gretel trail around the house.

I also love that my kitchen bench has become a craft space when friends come around.

4. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
My nickname is Koo.  Until I became a parent the only people who called me Kirsty were people who didn't like me, employed me or spoke of me in the third person.

I'm Koo to the people who know me best. 

It's kind of classic Aussie to do stuff like slam a whole lot of words together omit or replace letters and form something so bad it's good.  I love it when you see country properties named  "Sinkatinny Downs" & "Didyabringyagrogalong".  My Dad's farm is called "Billongaloo" because his wife's name is Lou.  I love a good Dad joke.

& really kootoyoo says it all.

5. Favourite medium to work in?
Hmmm... I'm such a craft leap frogger but I guess embroidery.  I love anything "by hand" though.  The machine is just a means to an end for me.

6. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I only work in 24 hour blocks & I'm terrible at promoting myself so my aspirations are pretty basic.  I like pottering around, I want someone to pay me to potter.  I don't think that's too much to hope for.

7. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
All or nothing.  Super neat and then completely out of control.  Messy until I can stand it no longer and then super neat again... it's a vicious cycle.

8. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own?
Brilliant antique scrappy quilt.  

9. Favourite food/recipe?
1/2 Lime cut into 8 pieces
1 Teaspoon brown sugar
60mls Vodka
60mls Ginger Beer

Muddle lime, brown sugar & vodka. Be careful not to overwork the lime or it will become bitter. Add the ginger beer & then serve over crushed ice.

I'll happily go without food but I really love a pretty drink.

10. Favourite colour?
A quick scan of the wardrobe would indicate it's still brown despite the brown granny disaster.

11. Star sign?

12. Favourite place, landscape?
I climbed to the top of Mt Gower [Lord Howe Island] with two superfit guys and the experience and subsequent view was really quite amazing.

13. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
If it's too hard... stop.  I packed the craft away for about 4 years when the kids were small.  Now I just try to focus on the hand stuff that keeps me part of the action.  Having my space off the family room & kitchen has certainly helped. BUT often the washing goes unfolded & the kids eat toast for dinner.  Oh & an iron should only ever be used for craft.  If you plan to iron a shirt or teatowel or jeans or undies (!) sling the flipping iron in the bin & get one of those mini clover ones.

14. Favourite artists?
As I said, my time in the art department was all about the slacking off.   I like people... if I know you & you're an artist/illustrator/maker/photographer then I'll love your work.

15. Favourite blog post/thing you've made/photo?
Just so enormously proud of that piece.  

16. Three words to describe you?
honest, real, obsessive

I'm crap at stuff like this so I asked The Date.  He was most unhelpful (& not entirely G rated).  I said "C'mon, something nice.".  To which he replied "How do you say nice things about yourself without sounding like a toss?" 

17. What do you like to do besides creating?
Running... far & long all by myself & chat, coffee, collect.


  1. So nice to read and find out some more about kirsty. I am so gald you asked about where kootoyoo came from and have always wondered how you say it.

  2. lovely, friendly & insightful....just like the lady in question I sauspect :)

  3. Um. Just as an aside, that caprioska recipe should come with some kind of warning.

    When I think K and Kootoyoo, it's always hand in hand with the 'Have a Crack' approach to the crafty.

  4. Kirst, I know you yet now I know much more about you! Thanks for the interview. It's great!

  5. lovely to find out a little more about our creative space hostess with the mostess!

  6. Caprioska recipe should come with a warning...

    was I really that bad??

  7. Fabulous interview. Kirsty's one of the best.

  8. Just need to let everyone know that the capiroska recipe should be approached WITH CAUTION, especially during crafting! The Lady in Question made me one in the course of a crafting sess. and I'm very surprised I didn't have to unpick everything afterwards.
    She is the business and not just because she knows how to pour a drink!

  9. Your embroidery works is something to be proud of. People can tell that you are a talented person because of the artistic discipline you had. By the way you have nice shot of Mt. Gower.

  10. Excellent interview - loved it!

  11. hahahaha i always thought kootoyoo meant some posh japanese crafty thing or something, hahahaha, love it! and i share your opinion on ironing - definately for craft only:)

  12. Thankyou. Loved reading this and really appreciate the non wanky answers.......and the honesty!

  13. Kirst is amazing , inspiring, funny and wonderful. This is a great interview.
    Kirsty is my biggest now-public craft crush. Her making just blows my mind.

  14. Kirsty is such an inspiring chick & she sure can mix a mean drink!

  15. The word "kootoyoo" seems to be like one of those optical illusions, obvious to some and not to others, I like tricky words. At least now I know what the koo bit is all about. Great interview I love reading these little insights.

  16. Ha ha ha - totally agree on the iron - I could not have put it better myself. Such a great read, and such a fabulous person! really enjoyed reading about Kirsty. :) fabulousness! xo

  17. Thank you for featuring one of my favorite bloggers!


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