Thursday 30 June 2011

my creative space - cardigan!

mulberry tea
mulberry tea
mulberry tea
suse's soap

My Mulberry Tea Leaves is almost finished! I can't believe I knitted a whole cardigan :-) Ravelled here.
All that's left is the weaving in, blocking and finding the right buttons. I thought I had the right buttons but the buttonholes are quite small so I need to look again.
Also I need some advice on blocking from all you experienced knitters. I've never done it so I need some hints.
(Sorry about the colour, the dark day and this particular purply maroon makes this so hard to capture.)
A million thanks to Suse, who helped me find the right wool, the right pattern and helped me sort the button bands. And who sent me this lovely soap in a swap for some RickRack fabric she used in her beautiful quilt. I love this soap so much I am definitely going to have a try at making my own.
Here for lots of other clever clogs.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

my swap brooch!

my brooch
my brooch swap bootiemy brooch swap bootie
my brooch swap bootieBird Houses / 20071230.10D.46705 / SML
In all the excitement and organisation of the Brooch Swap I sort of forgot that I was part of it, and that I'd be getting a brooch too, so when my partner Jenny emailled that she'd sent my brooch it was a nice surprise. That was a while ago, Jenny's in Scotland so my little parcel has had to fight its way through ash clouds and queues to get to me. It arrived today though, and wow, was it worth the wait!

The photos speak for themselves, how wonderful is this brooch, and the wall hanging that Jenny has included. I just think she's so clever! Inspired by this photo from my Flickr favourites (at bottom) the little bird house brooch sits on the most wonderful applique hanging with a beautifully detailed tree trunk and bright pink blossoms. "Subirdia" as Jenny calls it, amazing!

Even better, along with so many of you Jenny says that the swap has inspired lots of creative "goodness" in her work. To see more of her wonderful creativity go and visit her blog and keep an eye on her Etsy shop for more wonderful pieces that you can make your own.

Thank you too Jenny for taking on swapping with the organiser of said swap. We all know that's an extra level of pressure!

And no, I haven't forgotten the montage post, I'm just waiting for a few more brooches to find their way to their new homes, slowed by postal strikes and ash clouds and other such things. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday 23 June 2011

my creative space - sunprints

sunprint brooch
Along with my solar dyeing I've been having fun experimenting with fabric sunprints lately, inspired by Mary from Mary & Patch's experiments which she shared on our creative space a couple of weeks ago. If you are interested in having a go she has really clear directions on how to make these graphic prints.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I'm having lots of fun playing, including sewing this piece above for a brooch.

p.s. I did my first dying with a lamp as it was dark and rainy, and I prefer the silk paint on the right, the other separates on my cloth.

Thanks as always to Kirsty for giving us this space to share.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Madeit Picks

Madeit Picks

Its all happening around here this week! I got an email the other day asking if I'd like to be one of this week's Pick Editors on Madeit. Which means my favourites are being featured here all week:

Come on down and see my choices, you may even recognise some makers over there! Visit my Madeit shop while you're there. My new favourite way to browse after clicking through all the lovely newsletter features is to click on the new button to see all the freshly made stuff.

In giveaway news the winner of the Grant Dress Up Dolls is, drum roll please, the lovely Kate Henderson of two little banshees. Send me your address again please Kate so I can put Lilly in the mail!

Tuesday 21 June 2011

show & tell - sarah fielke

In the quilting world Sydney blogger Sarah Fielke needs no introduction. As co-author of the two marvellous and bestselling Material Obsession books and more recently her first solo book From Little Things, she has long inspired crafty types with her beautiful and intricate quilt patterns. Her work also often features in craft magazines and she further shares her skills by teaching both locally and internationally.

More recently Sarah has moved into fabric design with the release of her first collection also named From Little Things, and a second collection which launches later this year.

Despite her large following, Sarah Fielke's blog The Last Piece always reads to me as a personal blog, and that's one of the things I really like about it. She talks about her life here in Sydney with her husband and two sons alongside stories from her local and international teaching and frequent overseas trips to quilt shows. Sarah is an enthusiastic and generous member of the online craft community.

For those of us not lucky enough to learn from Sarah in person, the good news is that this year sees the launch of a range of downloadable online classes on her website. Read more about Sarah and her plans and which of those wonderful quilts is her favourite below! Thanks Sarah :-)

Sarah Fielke
Sydney, Australia

1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
I'm a quilter, first and foremost. A designer second and an author third. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy writing my books because I LOVE it, but I have to make the quilts to write the books! My quilts are cheerful and fun, whimisical and playful. I make traditional quilts with modern twists, but I don't like the label of "Modern Quilter". My fabric designs are in clear, bright colours with hand drawn images.

2. Why blog? How did you start?
I started blogging when I decided that my old shop, Material Obsession, needed a blog about seven years ago. I had no idea what I was doing and my business partner thought I was nuts, but my husband had been doing all this research about blogs and he was adamant we needed one! So the MO blog started and I blogged there until I left in 2009, and then started my own blog, The Last Piece. It's a great way to keep in contact with people and let quilters know what you're up to.

3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
My mother taught me to sew when I was very little. She taught me patchwork and embroidery and general sewing. When I got older I read so many books about quilting and taught myself along the way.

4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I have a beautiful studio that we just fitted out during our recent renovation, with an office off it. It's not very big but it's all mine. A lot of the pictures in my new book, Quilting: from little things, are taken in the studio and in my office.
Fruit Tingles in Progress!

5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I liked 'The Last Piece' because it meant a few different things - the last piece of the puzzle, the last piece you cut or sew and then the quilt is finished, that last piece of fabric you just had to have!

6. Favourite media to work in?
Fabric. Always fabric.

7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I have a load of things in the hopper as always. I've started writing my fourth book, and my second range of fabric for Lecien, Japan will be released at Fall Market in Houston this year. Ambitions? I would love to do more overseas teaching... I would love to teach at AQC in Melbourne! And there's always another quilt I have to try.
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
A little of both. I make huge messes in my studio but I like to have everything orderly so they usually only last a few days and then I have to clean them up. I'm not obsessively tidy in my house but I don't like it to be a mess so we tend to have big clean ups of everyones "junk" every few days.

9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Wow.... this changes a lot, but my Twitter friend Belle just made me a beautiful pincushion embroidered with motifs from my fabric range to say thank you for some fabric I sent her, and one of my students, Peta, crocheted me an apple jacket last week (so cute!), so at the moment those are my favourites!
10. Favourite food/recipe?
Another hard one!! I LOVE cooking, I have a huge kitchen and I'm always in it.... my favourite overall thing to eat though would be pasta with crab, garlic and chilli.

11. Favourite colour?

12. Star sign?
Cancer (me!)
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
My favourite place in the whole world is the top end of the Northern Beaches of Sydney (specifically Whale Beach). The sandstone and the colours in the water, in summer or winter. It always amazes me that such a beautiful place exists right next to a big city like Sydney

14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
Don't sweat the small stuff. Life is too short and your family comes first, no matter how exciting the opportunity. Make time for yourself, crafting and creating are forms of looking after yourself and you should treat it that way.
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
I have a passion for painting and my favourite artists are Brett Whiteley, John Olsen and Ben Quilty. My favourite writers at the moment are John
Irving, Tony Horwitz and Margaret Atwood. I have huge respect for and am inspired by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran, Nancy Crowe and Ingrid Press. I love looking at the creative whitterings of Rita at Red Pepper Quilts, Katy at I'm a Ginger Monkey and Amy at Mrs Schmenkman Quilts. My favourite crafty readings are Fat Quarterly, Quilter's Newsletter and the new mag, Mollie Makes - and any book about antique quilts I can get my hands on.

16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
That's such a difficult thing to answer because often the last thing I made is the current favourite. I think though that The Maple Leaf Rag,
which is in Material Obsession Two, would be my favourite quilt. It is full of fabrics from friends and students and bits and pieces of all my old quilts too. I love it, it hangs on the wall behind my bed. Apart from that I think the thing I am proudest of is my new book, Quilting: from little things. It's my first book on my own, I love every quilt and every word in it and I am so thrilled with the response it's getting from readers.

17. Three words to describe yourself?
Creative, opinionated, passionate

18. What do you like to do besides creating?
I like to cook and read. I like watching my kids play sport, and hanging out with them playing games and cooking. I like teasing my husband and walking my dog. And playing golf very badly, can't forget that!


Monday 20 June 2011

monday monday

solar dyeing
solar dyeing

I've been trying to get in here to post today but lots of good stuff and nice emails have been distracting me till now. A nice way to start the week.

I wanted to remind you though that June's Show & Tell interview is going up tomorrow! One small hint, she's someone a little bit famous in the local and international crafting scene and I know you're going to love reading more about her and her work.

Thanks to everyone who has been emailling about the Brooch Swap. There's been so much great feedback and goodwill inspired by this project. I can't wait to share more when its finished and all those brooches have found their new owners. Nin complimented me on striking a balance between keeping everyone in touch and not too much of the Drill Sergeant, which I was happy to hear! My big hope now is that everyone comes through with the goods. Please don't forget, last posting day is tomorrow!!

Here's another sneak peek. All the natural dyeing on the interwebs has me inspired and I couldn't resist starting some jars full of natural stuffs, which may or may not end up producing dye colours on the scraps of linen I've started feeding into them. They look pretty on the window ledge anyway, and that's enough for me. I love the preserved beauty of these eucalyptus flower heads!

The mermaid giveaway ends Wednesday, so don't forget to pop in and like me on facebook to enter. I'm feeling much less lonely over there now!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

my creative space - blue wren


wren sketch

Like many people involved in the brooch swap, I thought long and hard about my brooch, I dithered, I stressed, I changed my mind a few times! But I've done swaps before and I think that the pressure is part of the process and often comes with big jolts of inspiration, experimentation and new skills.

I set last weekend as my deadline and starting making a few different prototypes but soon settled on this design, modelled on my great friend, the little blue wren. We have a wren family who live close and visit every day. Mr Blue Wren (above, photo from here) likes to sit up high and sing his little heart out while his delicate fawn coloured family bounce their way around the yard eating bugs, bathing and chattering. Occasionally they drop in on the back deck to check the dog's bowl, and sometimes sneak in our back door to look for something better. I just love them.

Though I haven't done much with felt before the graphic wren was easy to convert, I traced a photo roughly to get the shapes then printed out the pattern above and cut pieces which I layered up on a felt backing. I actually used a little pva glue to hold them in place and then sewed each colour firmly with matching cotton.

My brooch goes in the mail tomorrow, with some little extras I'll keep as a surprise for my swap partner! If you want to use the pattern to make your own wren (for personal use only) I've included it above. Check out all the other creatives here.

And if you missed it yesterday I'm having a giveaway below, to celebrate my new Flower Press facebook page.

dress up dolls giveaway

grant projects
grant projects
grant dress up dolls
I've recently started working with the lovely folks at Grant Studios, dreaming up tutorials using their great craft resources and paper stocks. Do you remember the sneak peeks I gave in my creative space a few weeks ago? These were for projects designed for the Grant website, you can see them here along with some other great paper projects designed by a few familiar crafty types!

The first two projects published are inspired by Grant's wonderful Dress Up Dolls kits from their Studio Girl range. As I've said before, I'm a big fan of craft for kids and these simple kits are perfect beginner projects for little people.

The four kits come with a cute cloth dolly to dress as a princess, fairy, mermaid or ballerina. Its lots of fun (even for big kids like me!) and what I like about these kits is that all the fabrics and beads and sparkles are supplied, there's no extra to buy or find. And the instructions are simple enough for bigger kids to try on their own.

For those days when the dolly is tired of her princess clothes and wants to catch up at the park with friends I've designed a simple tutorial which shows how you can make your own outfits. And I couldn't resist the idea of being able to change the dolls' hair colour and styles too, so there's another tutorial that shows how to do that. Both of my projects could be made easily with fabrics and yarn offcuts you have in your stash.

But best of all - Grant have been nice enough to send me Lilly, the mermaid doll, for a giveaway, isn't she cute! A winner will be chosen from all the 'like'-ers of the new Flower Press page on Facebook. (p.s. this isn't a sponsored post, apart from the prize which I asked Grant to donate.)

Thanks to everyone who has already visited and made me feel so welcome - you're already in the draw. Its been really nice to find so many friends there.
The giveaway ends next Wednesday the 22nd (Show & Tell and Brooch deadline is on Tuesday!) so pop over now and say hi for a chance to win. Oh, and if you come back tomorrow, I've finally finished my brooch and just need to take some pics before I send it. How is yours going?

Saturday 11 June 2011

facebook page

After a bit of encouragement I've just sat down to finally set up a facebook page for Flower Press.

Being a business page I'm not sure if I can have actual facebook friends (does anyone know?) but I do know that other people can 'like' Flower Press, so if you are passing my way and drop by I would love it if you would do just that. I have no likes and no friends yet so come and be the first (please)!

In return I'm planning a fabulous giveaway for all my lovely likers next week! I can't tell you just what yet but it has something to do with this.

While I'm at it I've joined Pinterest too. A bit mad but I've watched as lots of bloggers rave about this site over the past few months. I'm just hoping it doesn't swallow too much time but is a way to bookmark the wonderful things I come across on the net. So far I'm collecting my favourite botanic, vintage fabric, wallpaper, books, art, type and of course brooch inspiration on different boards! A great way to get a better idea of what you like and your style I think.

If you are pinteresting, or facebooking I'd love it if you leave your links in the comments so I can come and say hi!

Thanks to all the brooch swappers sharing their amazing work. The list will remain up for a good while yet, so keep adding your links and checking back to see what others are making.

Friday 10 June 2011

More brooches!

As promised here's another link list to share your posts about brooches, made, received or still in progress. Thanks to all the people who shared last time. There were over 1100 link views last time we shared! So its a great way to meet other swappers and show your work.
Its been really inspiring for me to see all the amazing brooches coming out of the swap, and even more fun now they've started arriving at their destinations. Check out the Flickr group here.

This link will stay open till June 26th, which is five days after the swap deadline.

For all those who haven't sent your brooch you have ten days to finish and send it!

I haven't heard from anyone so I'm presuming we're all on track to get our brooches finished. Which is great :-)

Add your link below:

Thursday 9 June 2011

my creative space - hottie challenge

finished hottie
My creative space this week has been consumed with finishing  my hottie challenge cover.

This cover would be a great scrap buster project and was the perfect way to play with my red polka dot collection and some flower press offcuts. I've put together a little how-to of the lettered panel below which gives measurements for anyone who wants a hot-hot-hottie of their own. The letters are made simply with strips of patterned fabric all the same 1¼ inch width filled with linen strips which are cut in two widths, 1½ or 1¾ inches. Cut all your lengths first and then follow the cutting guide to quickly cut them down for the pieces.  Click on the image to see it larger.

I then made up each letter following the order below, sewed the letters together to make the word HOT, pressing seams towards the linen side.
I then sewed the three HOTs together. I like the roughness of my way but of course you could easily make it all more precise with some pins and more careful pressing and sewing, or perhaps sewing the strips vertically.

If anyone has questions about the construction of the rest just email me. Basically its a simple sandwich of front, lining and back opening pieces sewn right sides in. The back is two overlapping pieces with the top one innermost and edged with patterned binding. Sew around the side and bottom edges, leaving a space at the top for the hottie lid. Turn the cover right sides out through the back flaps and sew a simple binding around the lid opening.

hottie tute

I'll be putting up another linky list tomorrow for everyone who wants to share their brooch making. It will be up for a while so you can keep adding. We have a long weekend here this week and top of my list is making my brooch!

p.s. I'm sitting here on the couch with a croaky boy dressed in flannelette pyjamas snuggled up against me, smelling faintly of butter menthols and blackcurrant medicine :-)

More creatives here.

Thursday 2 June 2011

my creative space - hothothot

hottie challenge
hottie challenge
hottie challenge

This design for the Hottie Challenge was one of those late night light bulbs, drawn on the back of an envelope and then whipped up the next day without pins or pressing. Luckily I was actually hoping for and ready to embrace the ensuing wonk! Serious quilters look away now. Its sort of inspired by Denise Schmidt's beautiful Proverbial Quilt which I love.
Its pretty much the right dimensions too, thanks to a quick layout in illustrator and actually remembering to add 1/4 inch seams all round (I surprised myself!).
Mr flowerpress is a fan and reckons I'm going to have to make another for home so its lucky I made notes along the way. We don't do hotties here so it will be modified to become a wheatbag cover.

Once I work out how to do the rest of the cover I might actually write up a simple pattern with measurements if anyone wants to try making their own, what do you think?

More creatives, and maybe even more hotties here.

Wednesday 1 June 2011



Screen shot 2011-06-01 at 10.19.06 AM
Screen shot 2011-06-01 at 9.49.17 AM

Its taken a while to come together, but with the launch yesterday of the wonderful new Boxed website Flower Press wares are now available in the Middle East! As founder Sarah Saleh says here:

“Back in 2008, while I was working as a wedding planner at a renowned events company in Dubai, UAE, I was always on the hunt to find a one stop shop for modern and custom-made products. Unfortunately that wish never came true even in the glamorous city of Dubai,”

“When I moved to live in Bahrain, and being away from the ever busy city of Dubai, I had the time to come up with this exciting store concept and bring together many designers under one roof. And, as I kept going, I sensed the enthusiasm of the designers and the need for such a platform.

“‘Boxed’ now is on a mission to support independent designers from around the globe, and offers a hand to all artisans working in developing countries to help sustain their livelihoods and increase their earnings."

I'm proud to be sharing space with the amazing designers and pieces that lovely Sarah has curated on the site, including sculpture from Mitsy (Artmind) from Belgium and  Element Clay in the US, Joug Design lighting from NZ (above, on my wishlist since I saw their designs on Boxed), wool and leather ipad covers from Pack and Smooch in Germany and plushies from Leilaloo in France. A truly international site!

p.s. thanks for your support and comments yesterday. There's still time to sign the petition.