Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This wee guy now lives with a lovely new family in Wellington. He's made from lovely thick wool felt from the local Sallies, and little bits of black and white lawn.
He's the second soft toy I've attempted. I have an idea for another, but smaller one, in the back of my mind. Now, could someone I know please have a baby so I can make it for them?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Our washing machine broke down. Because we live in THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, the new parts it needed took forever to get here, so I had to get crafty. I churned out little pants (great opportunity to test my newly drafted pattern), and this jacket. I've made, oh, one billion of these, but because I never make the same one twice, they're always a satisfying wee project. This one is made from two layers of good ol' cotton knit that was very generously donated to me by my Aunty Karen. Now that we have a functioning washing machine again*, it has washed really well, plus it looks super comfortable.
*Our washing machine works now because we shelled out $1000 for a new one. Turns out the guy trying fix our old one couldn't fix it, even with new parts. He was kind enough to take long enough for ALL MY LIFE to pass, and $200, before telling us though.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So far this month we have had family staying for a week, various friends staying, friends to visit in Dunedin, going to Dunedin for Jules to be on the telly, me working full-time at the baby store while Dagmar is in Europe, a terrible tummy bug, and a job interview for me... crikey. I never knew my life was quite this frantic until I started to sit down each evening and think about the day I'd had.
Glad we moved to the country to enjoy the quiet life...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Working in a baby store makes me nostalgic for the days when Remy was first born.
God knows why. I was so sleep deprived that I barely knew which way up to hold him.
But there is something about how completely snuggly and milky and delicious new-born babies are. I think that's what makes me want to steal them when they come into the shop.
Friday, October 17, 2008
My mum gets Selvedge, a fabulous magazines for us creative, fabric-loving types. There's no way I could possibly afford it - without a subscription, they're 20 quid a pop. Excuse my back-of-an-envelope maths, but I calculate that with the New Zealand dollar the way it is at the moment, that's about 20 kazillion bazillion dollars each. Maybe you know of a cheaper way to get them?
Just check out the covers - pure art in themselves. I want!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
It was another booming day in the shop. God I'm having such fun there. I am a little worried that I will come out of four weeks of full-time work with NO money though... I want to buy everything in the shop myself. Every single thing. Actually, funny story, a woman was in the shop looking for a gift for a newborn and I was showing her different options. After about 5 minutes of showing her absolutely every single thing (she was hard to please), she looked at me and said 'you're very excited about this'. Hahahaha! Yes, I am very excited by super cute teeny tiny baby things. Thanks for noticing. Now buy something very expensive and really make my day.
Talking of exciting things, follow this link to see my darling partner Jules on telly this morning. He's the one in the black t-shirt printed with what could be mistaken for green breasts, but what is actually two wine glasses.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I also managed to get to 7 Poems, an exhibition of Colin McCahon at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Wonderful!
As of tomorrow morning, I'm going to be looking after The Frog Prince while Dagmar, the owner, is in Europe. Wooohhooo! All the fun of being surrounded by pretty, pretty things all day and pretending I own a shop without the responsibility of paying the bills. This means you can expect me to up-sell myself by using words like 'embedded' when I am slacking off and posting from the shop. Actually, I should find out if Dagmar reads my blog...
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sometimes I feel very lucky to live here in Oamaru; I have opportunities here that I could never have in the city. I've started doing some voluntary work at Forrester Gallery. It's such great fun. The building is amazing and the staff are my kind of people. I feel understood by them. I joked the other day about being a pinky, liberal, latte-sipping, chardonnay-drinking leftie and they laughed. Around here, that sort of comment would usually be reason to get out the raging mob with pitchforks. Maybe I exaggerate a little. I don't actually like chardonnay.
*A real rat, not the lothario kind. By the way, I have PTSD from seeing that effing rat. It was the size of a hamster. Ugh.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I'm taking total advantage of my grandparents this week while they visit. Grandad has been on gardening duties (photos to follow because the work he has done has to be seen to be believed - this man doesn't just have green fingers; he has MAGIC fingers), and Nana has been on sewing detail.
Aaaaaaages ago, I picked up two lots of pure wool fabric from one of the local op shops but, true to form, had no idea what I was going to do with them. Then I found a cute, cute, cute patten for a toy rabbit. Never having made a toy, I was pleased when I got most of the way through two of them by myself, but I stumbled when it came to stuffing them and putting them together.
Nana is a wizz at this sort of thing so, hopefully, these poor little dismembered rabbits will be whole rabbits in no time at all.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Where it all began...
So, craft is now cool. Officially. Sunday Star Times magazine says so in an article featured on Sunday titled “Craft Attack”. They also ask the (assumedly rhetorical) question “one wonders if the phenomenon is rolling out New Zealand-wide, or whether it is a peculiarly inner-city Aucklo-Centric endeavour.”
SueTyler fought back with the details of the non-Auck-centric NZ craft scene... being that she was actually there I’m gonna go with her story over the Auckland-ass-kissing journalist who wrote the Sunday magazine piece. There’s now also a facebook group entitled ‘Craft exists beyond the Bombay hills.’ Take that Sunday Star Times – we have a Facebook Group.
I will end my bitching there and instead focus on the positives, highlight some uber-cool-very-much-not-Auckland crafty types. Types who have been there for many a year, and are doing quite well for themselves despite *gasp* *shock* *horror* not living in Auckland. In fact, these crafty types are often living in rural settings... working from the comforts of their homes... selling stuff online and in local markets. It’s ideal really.
First up we have the gorgeous Agnes Coy. Alison has been working from her home studio in the Wairarapa (a map is linked for Aucklanders... very much South of the Bombays) and selling at the various markets that run in local towns around the place. Alison makes a whole bunch of things to wear and carry as well as stuff for around your home. I am particularly enamoured with her hand embroidered bird pillows.
Next up is our very own Megan Rose with her beautiful couture-for-kids. She’s now stocked in quite a few ‘baby boutiques’ and is someone who is doing well by valuing her creations – something very rare in the NZ craft scene. She’s working from the middle of nowhere in the South Island. Oamaru, I believe the locals call it. I’m pretty damn proud of her for doing so well with her beautifully made little people fashion and can definitely see fancy schmancy types falling all over themselves to get hold of a Van Rose piece.
Another Wairarapa girl, Janelle is making her mark by funking up abandoned knits under the label HeartFelt. She scours second hand shops and is sent things from far and wide to upcycle: dyeing pure wool items and embellishing with felt and perfectly made stitches. Her designs are largely NZ-inspired and she escapes the tackiness that is often present with Kiwiana type products. I love love love the kowhai that graces some of the knitted garments and I am so glad that where she can, Janelle dyes them such gorgeous bright colours.
I can safely say that Rhiannon of Toast clothing is a leader in the NZ craft scene as she’s been doing her thang for quite a while now in various New Zealand towns, none of which is Auckland ;) If I have done my stalking correctly, she began Toast clothing in the markets in and around Nelson a few years ago. Since then she’s moved to Whakatane and has continued selling, mostly online. Her appliqué patches are absolutely intricate and her fashion design pretty damn cool. I’ve not been able to resist clicking the ‘purchase’ button many a time when visiting her shop... so beware.
All these crafters give priority to the environment; each recycling materials in some way, working with vintage and second hand fabrics and items. They are all really supportive of fellow crafters and are absolutely gorgeous people as well. These women were involved in the crafty scene long before it was the focus of Sunday Magazine and I imagine will still be long after the ‘cool kids’ have moved on to the next best thing, or perhaps they’ll pre-empt it.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I love this pattern. For the life of me I can't think of where it's from... Maybe my nana's stash? Anyway, it's a very, very simple pattern that even I can't mess up, even with all the adjustments I need to make for my height, sway back, boobs... I shan't go on.
This is the fabric I'm going to use. It's vintage fabric from a lovely little shop in Timaru.
There will be more photos to follow. While I'm nervous that there will be a repeat of the dreaded sack dress, I figure that my blog can't be a place where I only show what works. Where would be the fun in that?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Katy has many advantages as a friend but two in particular meant we were destined to be BFF: she was brand new so the matrons didn't know her as well as they knew me; and she has an innocent, darling little face.
All of my very favourite memories of school involve Katy. Mostly they involve Katy and me trying to break out of the hostel (see the two points above). One day I'll share some of those stories with you, but right now Katy is going to share a story of her own.
A couple of weeks ago I started cutting our enormously overgrown front hedge. Said hedge borders our little front yard on three sides.
The first day I spent quite a long time hacking the front and the side that borders our path to the back of the house. After fours hours I got it down to a decent size but it looked completely bald at the end of it. I was a bit worried that I'd killed it.
But after a couple of weeks it started to grow back in much more of a hedge shape.
Having discovered that I probably wasn't going to kill it, I started on the side that borders with the neighbours.
Initially I just trimmed along it. But the top had given up on being hedge and started being trees. It looked kind of ridiculous. So I got a chair and started cutting a couple of feet off the top. I figured I wasn't encroaching too much on the neighbours if I only cut to the middle of the hedge. Which of course looked even more ridiculous. Our half being nice and neat and two foot shorter. Too make it more irritating the top section was long supple branches. So as soon as I cut my side the branches on the neighbours' side started drooping back to my side. I decided that that was sufficient justification to half climb into the hedge and cut the top section of the neighbours' side. All the time I was delicately pulling the cut branches back onto my side (in the vague hope that they might not notice). Then there were some sneaky branches that were growing up the neighbours side of the hedge that sprung up higher than the top. So then I was almost inside the hedge, cutting the offending branches... and feeling terribly naughty. But I still couldn't get it looking respectable.
Finally one of the neighbours came home. The house is divided into four flats. The person who came home lives on the first floor nowhere near the hedge... and is Thai and doesn't speak a lot of English. Which was perfect. I said 'can I just pop over to your side and neaten up the top of the hedge?', indicating with my hands. She said 'yes', and scuttled inside.
That was enough for me. I picked up my chair and took it into the neighbours' yard and started trimming the top. I went over to the other side of the road to have a look, but from there all that was obvious was the enormous unchecked branches growing into their yard, making our nice neat side look bald.
I thought 'I'm sure they won't notice if I just neaten it up a little'. I started cutting back their side a little... and a little more... and a little more. I couldn't stop. I felt so naughty. But it felt fabulous. Eventually I was standing there knee-deep in hedge cuttings. I furtively put them in a tarp and dragged them back to my yard to hide the evidence in the vain hope that they wouldn't notice that half their hedge had disappeared.
And now I'm wondering if I have a bit of a hedge problem. I've started eyeing up other peoples hedges. Imagining what I could do to them. Do you think there's a ten step group? Obsessive hedge cutters anonymous?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
All I can say is I know some of you are attempting Sober October. Let me know how that works out won't you?
*For the record, the answers are: yes; yes; and yes quite probably.