Friday, August 29, 2008

The (late) friday letter....E....

Sorry for the late posting this week - it's not going to be a habit by any means. It's just that I'm away from home so am not quite as connected to the world wide web as usual. I'm at the snow and have become addicted to snowboarding - turns out I'm a bit of a natural! But enough about me....

Firstly, here's Jen's letter for this week. Fantastic composition! I really love it, though it does remind me that I live in a country with NO IKEA. Yep, you heard me.

Here's my letter for this week:

I took it in the town of Oamaru which is in the South Island of New Zealand. It's a town I've driven through before and classified as a shithole. Turns out there are hidden gems off the main road! The historic district is full of fantastic old stone buildings and on the night I was there I ran into a penguin! My first wild penguin encounter - very exciting.

There won't be a sunday project post this week (due to earlier mentioned snowboarding addiction) but I'll be back on track when I return home next week.

Until then....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Best in show....

So yesterday was the Christening and obviously, being the godmother, I had to look spectacular. I seem to have a lot of dark coloured clothes, which I thought might be a bit dreary, so I whipped up this brooch to lighten the mood. It was really quick to make and I just used fabric I already had. It does look a bit like a Best in Show ribbon, so I was referred to as the prize heifer a few times yesterday. Hey - at least it was a talking point!

Anyhoo, on the way to the Christening, we stopped at a shop & café called Port O’Call (alas, no website to link to) which is full of cutesy things. It’s possibly a bit too cute for my tastes, but perfect for a Christening present.

As a side note, I went in there a few weeks ago to find about 10 old ladies having cups of tea and slices of cake in the café. They were all dolled up in their finery - hats and gloves even, and looked gorgeous. The café serves tea in cute old teacups. Moving on….

While we were in there, the owner admired my new brooch and asked where I got it from. I told her I made it and she’s asked me to bring some in for her to sell! I have no idea how much for, or how much they’ll actually cost to make, but nonetheless, it was very flattering and it’ll be nice to have something out there in the public.

Until next Sunday (if not before)….

(Any Kiwi's out there, did you see the cover story in today's Sunday Star Times magazine? It's all about the crafty stuff happening in NZ. There was mention of Trixie Delicious and her fantastic ceramics. I've admired her stuff for a while and it's good to know she's doing well. A feature in Oprah's next issue of O magazine probably means she's going to be very busy indeed!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

The friday letter....J....

Hey, y'all. Well I'm recovering slowly (thanks for asking) though I've put my back out from coughing. In the words of Charlie Brown, good grief....

Anyhoo, welcome to a new project which I guess can be called the friday project. Or maybe it should be called the friday letter. Yeah, I like that.

So here's how it works: Jen from painted fish studio and I met via Jesse's swatch swap and are now embarking on a project together. I spotted the cool photos of signs on Jen's blog and after a bit of brainstorming we came up with the idea of posting a photo each Friday of a letter from a sign.

It should be interesting to see what we come up with. We live about 13000km's apart (that's about 8000 miles to you, Jen) - painted fish studio is in St Paul, Minnesota and the sunday project is in Napier, New Zealand. According to trusty Wikipedia, the city of St Paul has a population of about 300,000, while Napier has only 57,000. This concludes your geography lesson. Oh, and we're in different seasons which may add interest.

This week I've gone with a 'J' from one of my favourite signs near home. Truth be told, I'd like to sneak over to the abandoned hospital in the dead of night with a screwdriver and steal it, but my fear or authority stops me. Due to a time difference of 17 hours (or there abouts) we probably won't be the greatest at posting at the same time. I'll be first and once Jen's goes up, I'll add a link to it. And here it is! Ooh, i love it.

We hope you enjoy seeing what we find!

Until next post....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Please excuse the sunday project....

I seem to have the black lung, or something similar. I have been bed ridden for days, which has given me the opportunity to watch way too much of the Olympics, and in my fragile state I find that every trimph over adversity by an athlete renders me close to tears. Actually, every gold medal makes me well up, which I hope gives an indication of how much I'm suffering.

I have however, made a start on that whacky skirt idea I had after playing with the kiwifruit fabric. It's going to be quite a mammoth task, so don't hold your breath for the finished piece.

I still have some catch-up posts to do, and will endeavour to get back on track (with health and blogging) in the coming week.

Bear with me, trusty readers.
Until recovery....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Welcome to the post age (no. 1+2+3)....

A while back I mentioned that my friend Elly and I were starting a project which I'll refer to as the every second monday project.… Basically, we send each other a postcard every second Monday (who'd have thought?!) which we make ourselves. So far I've sent 4 postcards. I've received 2 of Elly's, with the third (and hopefully fourth) somewhere in transit between Australia and New Zealand. Let's take a look a her beautiful handiwork now!

This one reminds me of the fungi you find growing on trees in rainforests. Of course, she had to post it in an envelope to avoid damage, but now I've folded all the fungi out. From one side they're mainly red and from the other side, mainly orange. This is just my thing so I'm really impressed.

This one is beautiful. I'm not sure if you can tell, but Elly has cut watercolour paintings into thin strips and stuck them down. What I think is cute is that the postal service has added those fluoro orange lines to the postcard and they fit nicely in one of the strips of paper (Hmm, a bit tricky to see in this photo). Cute!

I'm patiently waiting on the third (and forth?) postcard to arrive. Elly and I both love getting real mail (who doesn't?!) so this has been heaps of fun. Unfortunately, we're both a bit tragic at posting on the correct day which I think we probably have to work on.

So, what are the 4 postcards that I sent? Well it would've been helpful for me to photograph them before I sent them. The first one was made using a swatch of mine from my screen printing project. I used one of the gold globs on grey and stitched it onto some card.

I did take a photo of the second one! And here it is:
I really love this one. It took me ages to do, as I had to cut out all the white squares and superglue them onto the card. I think there are about 150 of them. Plus I did the black borders twice (once before cutting them up and once after) because they weren't black enough after one coat. I really am a perfectionist sometimes. Unfortunately, it's not yet in Elly's posession. I had really convinced myself that I was under surveilance by border security who had (incorrectly) assumed that the numbers were some sort of a code. It wouldn't have helped that the message on the back looks something like:
41111 1114, 41111 11411 31135 1411 3121. 111 1411 111 1 3121. 111 8111 111 31111 41111 11 111 1111113111112 13113311 1111. 11 11 11 8111 1 311114 3131111? 4114 1141, 1118.
After spending 2 weeks blaming border security and getting REALLY worked up, I realised that I sent it to the wrong house number. Oops!

I've alerted Elly who is going to question her neighbour. I'm yet to hear if she's managed to get hold of this postcard or whether the neighbour threw it out. Either way, I was so impressed with it that it inspired me to do a painting (more on that later in the week).

My third postcard is probably also at the neighbours. I used a postcard from a boutique in town (a beautiful shop called Aroha Lamour which I can't afford to buy anything in) and did some stitching and painting. I'm not sure about the results, but I figured I should still send it. I'm keen to hear what Elly thinks of it.

The fourth postcard was sent 2 days ago (on schedule!). I'd love to give you a sneak peek, but that would ruin the surprise if Elly reads my blog and we can't have that. I loved the second postcard I did, but this one takes the cake. She's a beauty. Hopefully Elly thinks it's hideous and gives it back to me. Unlikely.

Perhaps I'll report on the postcards every 6 weeks or so – assuming we manage to get into a regular posting routine! I'll even try to remember to take photos before I post them!!

Until the next catch-up….

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ah, the sunday project....

So here I am - it's Sunday and I'm reporting on this week's project. Just as things should be....

Having said that, this week I managed to balls up two projects so yesterday afternoon I was ready to throw the whole sunday project thing in. Sewing can be so frustrating!! The first project I stuffed up was the one using Jesse's swatch in the post below. I'm really hoping I can rectify the situation. I think maybe we just need some time apart.

I caught up with my goddaughter-to-be on Thursday. Ok, that's not entirely true. I caught up with her parents. My goddaughter(-to-be) is only a couple of months old so she had some sleeping to do. She's very generous for such a little one. And she already knows me so well! She gave me a patchwork book for my birthday and some pieces of fabric. She's a little Irish lass (and I'm a dirty dingo) and we both find ourselves living here in this foreign land of Aotearoa. Fittingly, she bought me some fantastic Kiwiana fabrics as a tribute to our home away from homes, one of which I used in this week's project....

How cute are those kiwi fruit! The purple stripes have been in my box of fabric for years, along with the black seersucker and cream. Not a bad combo. I cut the fabrics into 5cm wide strips and machine stitched them together. It looked great! Then I thought I'd cut the resulting fabric into strips and sew them back together, ending up with a chequerboard effect. Anyone following? Unfortunately, it turns out my cutting and sewing skills aren't quite as accurate as I thought, and the squares weren't lining up. What to do, what to do? First I moped about a bit, then I decided that perhaps a more random approach would look ok. Here's what I ended up with:

I'm halfway through sewing all the strips together and am happy with how it's looking. When I'm done, I'll have about 60cm x 80cm I think. I'm not sure what I'll use it for. I'm having ideas of a really mental skirt with lace or netting underneath, and just using this as one panel. Ok, when I say that out loud (I take it blogging counts as 'out loud') it sounds pretty wack. Hmm, we'll see what happens. Incidentally, it's only in an embroidery hoop for the photo. I was feeling 'artistic'.

I still have some more catch up blogging to do and will try to get it done before next Sunday.

Until then....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hold the press! Another swatch!

Just a quick one tonight as my lovely Daniel is taking me out for a fancy dinner....

Today another swatch arrived from Jesse. It's one that I specifically wanted to do a swap for, as I have something in mind for this piece. I'm pretty excited to put it to use! I've got a few projects on the go, but I'll try to move this particular project up the list so you can see what it ends up as....
Until the next catch-up....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm a bag lady!

No post last night as I was at my wine appreciation class (pfft, as if I don't appreciate wine already). But check out my new handbag!

I can't say it's an original design by me. It's a Japanese design and is made from one piece of fabric. Ok, 2 pieces if you line it. My friend Elly made some of these bags for her clothing line a few years ago and I've basically picked apart mine to get the pattern. What a lie! - my mum picked it apart and drew the pattern for me - only because the bag's with her, 5500kms away from me. It was really easy to make and I'm thinking of adapting the design slightly to make a great grocery bag. Perhaps with some screen printing also. Yup, I'm thinking of Christmas presents already.

It was really good to get back on my sewing machine for this project. I have a second hand machine that I only bought a month or so ago. It's been a few years since I last did any sewing and I'm really enjoying it. So much so that I've started a rather large project.... but more of that in the coming weeks.

Anyhoo, I hear wine being poured in the kitchen, so I'd better go and appreciate it.
Until next catch-up....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy birthday to me....

In true self-indulgent Leo mode, I'm taking this opportunity to wish myself a happy birthday!

Furthermore, rather than post something along the lines of this week's catch-up theme, I'm just going to show off a wee detail of the cushion my momma gave me for my birthday....

Isn't it purdy! I am so taken by it that I've asked momma to track down a second one to keep it company. I can't wait to see the pair on some beautiful white bed linen. Adorable! Thanks ma!

Until the next (genuine) catch-up....

Monday, August 4, 2008

Welcome to catch-up week!

Good Lordy, how terrible I've been! But here I am, back again. Alas, Baby still isn't better, but I just have to resign myself to using the 'yuck' computer in the meantime. Truth be told, it's not the computer that bothers me, but the cold study it's in. Ho-hum.
Right, on with the show! Today I'm hoping to impress you with the beautiful swatches I've received!!

Well looky, looky. It's Jesse's swatch! Yes, I've shown it before, but as this is an exposé of swatches I really must show you again.
Ah, I love this one from Jason at artboxdiary. I spotted it here on his blog so made a special request. He says it was an unsuccessful print which he ended up liking, and I love it. And as a result I learned the Japanese phrase wabi-sabi. See? Swatch swaps can be educational!
Here's another one from Jason. I guess this is his 'professional' version of the lotus root print above, but that's just me speculating. I adore the colour, but I think the one above is still my favourite of his.

Ooh, what beautiful bunnies! This swatch is from Janine at Four Walls Design and I love it! I would love to see a giant piece of fabric printed with this pattern. I don't know what I'd do with it, maybe snuggle in the bunny goodness.
This ones from Oami Powers. Hold up! Can we just stop for a minute appreciate how cool that me is! Anyhoo, this block print is on really beautifully textured cotton, amd is so sweet (I'm trying to stop saying I 'love' everything.... but I do).

Here's another one from Oami which reminds me of alfalfa sprouts. Yum!! Which reminds me of growing them on the kitchen window sill as a child. Which makes me think I should do that again.
Check out these cool chairs from Dana at LeiLiLaLoo. They are so cool! Sometimes I try to think of really obscure things to work into a design and these chairs are a reminder that simple things can work the best. And they make me feel like sitting down.
Ooh, I am so happy with this swatch from Jen at paintedfishstudio. I spotted this swatch on Jesse's blog and was hoping I'd be getting the same fabric. It's another fabric with a beautiful texture. The colours haven't come out quite right (the red is actually more orange) but you get the idea.
Delicious red apples from Erika at mikodesign! I think this one is so sweet, and it looks so professional!

Yes, some of these swatches made mine feel a bit amateur, but I'm just starting out so hopefully I'm forgiven. All in all, I got some positive feedback from recipients of my swatches so I'm happy. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all these swatches. I was going to make a quilt but I'm not sure if I want to spread them over a few projects instead. Hmmm, we shall see...
Until the next catch-up....