Japanese Patterns - How to

Just a quick one from me. Have this morning found a fantastic blog that has a series of posts about how to read Japanese sewing books and patterns.  Includes how to deal with the freaky 'all pattern pieces overlayed on each other on one page'  and also has english translations for the characters so you can work out what they are talking about with sizing and piecing etc. Fantastic.  I havent gone through the rest of her blog yet - will slowly do that later but its called "Label Free" and the japanese sewing posts are HERE.

(picture is from THIS BOOK)

Im in love again

OMG have spent WAY too much time reading blogs today.  Ive gotten caught in the vortex of so many fantastic blogs about fabric, and craft and drawing and softies and and and.... good thing Im having a quiet day I guess.

I have fallen in love again though. First it was Amy Butler (and of course, still is), but now Ive found Lila Tueller - and in specific her new range coming out in January - Eden (see photo left above). I think its the colours as much as the swirls and the birds.  I cant wait to get my hands on some and make...Oooh, handbags, and a top and just some of it framed for the wall.....she has some pretty patterns too which I may avail myself of too once I work out if they make them big enough for me...she lists them down the side of her blog towards the bottom and you can buy them HERE (Im sure they are stocked somewhere here in Australia too). I want the funky peasant top especially (photo right) and the calista skirt.

Do Australians make these sorts of fabrics? Or are we totally caught up in the screen printing on natural fabric type styles. Which I also love of course.  But does anyone do gorgeous layered colours like this?

What a Fantastic Way to Wake Up!

Ive had a fantastic surprise this morning!  And Im very excited.  My morning ritual is normally, get up, grab a coffee (or in this case get handed one by Helen), pull up my emails and slowly wake up.  I woke up with a bang this morning.  There was an email saying Ive won 3 Amy Butler Patterns from a competition I entered on WhipUp.net.  If you dont already follow this site you really need to head on over there. Its a fantastic site! So much information, tutorials, interviews. Ive even enjoyed their adverts down their side bar and found some great shops through that.
Now I have to have a think about which bag I want to make first...and which fabric...ooh this is going to be so much fun.

Ooh, and I found a nice way of packaging things too.

More Owls....

OK so this is going to seem a little random but...thats me. Im a little random sometimes.  I was using the trusty "next blog" button in blogger and came to a site that has Owls in it. But not normal owls....no. TATTOO OWLS.  Who knew there were people out there that did that. And some of them are just beautiful. 
I personally wouldnt wear a tattoo that big, but you HAVE to appreciate the artwork that goes into these things. Fascinating.
Anyway, if youre interested, go have a look....

Apple Tablet - what fun that sounds like

OK so Im a bit of a technology geek in a lot of ways and at the moment Im a little bit excited about the Apple Tablet. WTF?  Well, from what I have read it will be like an iphone or ipod touch except larger. And its being designed more with the idea of being able to read things on it. So for example you would have an ebook version of whatever it is that you were reading and youd read it on the screen of this tablet rather than turning the pages. You can see details of it here.
So why am I excited about this?  Because if I had one of these, I can be more like someone like Star Trek.  Ive always wanted one of those 'pads' that they always get around with (particularly in Voyager) reading and stuff. I think it would be fab for reading in bed and on the bus etc. Especially fab for reading blogs which we all do quite a lot. The iphone screen is just not quite big enough - I guess cause its designed to be a phone primarily.  So what do YOU think?


Ive had a nice day crafting. Or sewing I probably should say.  Wanna see what I made?

Yes I know it looks like the dismembered leg of a pair of PJs. Its a plastic bag holder of course.  I needed to test the Sewing Machine and we needed a plastic bag holder. Amazing what you can do with a brand new teatowel isnt it?

Somehow it doesnt look as bad on the wall as that photo makes it look.

So was that it? Well, yes and no. Yes it was the only thing I made. No in that I also prepared to make a wallet/purse.  Im taking two patterns and modifying them to be what I want so Im mocking it up in paper first. What? Its what we do for marketing print jobs and also for development plans for buildings - make a pretend version of it.  I couldnt see why it wouldnt work for a sewing pattern too! And it has. And I would have gotten further with the actual making but I had forgotten to pre wash the fabric and I dont have a zip. 

So anyway....go check out Thea and Sami (see previous blog). Or any of the blogs Im following. They are all much craftyer than me right now.

And so I begin... plus Thea and Sami studio visit

Today I plan to actually start MAKING something. Ive been doing a lot of reading and scribbling in my sketch book, but today Im pulling out the sewing machine to see if it actually works. I cant see why it wouldnt, other than maybe it might need a bit of oil or something...

But before I do that, I will tell you all about my visit to Thea and Sami on Saturday. Thea makes and designs gorgeous fabrics using organic fabrics and eco conscious inks.  She was holding an open day on Saturday so I dragged poor Helen out to Capalaba to see.  I am particularly fascinated by fabric design and print at the moment so when I saw her blog saying she was having an open day...well I couldnt resist.

And Im so glad that I went!  She has a smallish factory space that was perfectly set up to do her screen printing. I didnt take the camera damn it so Im going to steal some photos from a professional photographer who was coming along to see as well - Catherine Lowe (thats her photo with her beautiful little baby).  If youre looking for a photographer, seriously, check this lady out. She is extremely talented. Ive already passed her name on to a friend who is getting married next year. You can see all the photos that she took from Thea's here.

When we were there Thea and Voyt did a demonstration of how they actually print the designs onto the fabric (the photo up the top). They made it look so very easy, but Im guessing it takes a bit of practice.  Thea was also selling a certain amount of her fabrics and of course I just HAD to have some.

OK so this is a piece of organic linen with one of Thea's prints in a beautiful rich red. Im planning to make cushions for the couch - thats why Ive photographed it on the couch. Sorry its a crap photo but you get the idea.

This the fabric in more detail. Isnt it just beautiful.  You want some? Check out her online Store. I didnt think about it in detail when I bought the fabric, but I think Im going to have to go back to her to get some of the fabric in its unprinted state so that I can complete the cushions. Its such beautiful fabric! I just have to ask her which fabric it is - I think its the mocha organic cotton. No, actually I think its unbleached Linen.

I also bought a sample pack of her Fretwork pattern. The pack came with the gorgeous red again and the same pattern in a very vibrant purple - the photo looks more blue but trust me this is a rich vivid purple. The red is destined to be a wallet/purse for me, but the purple...I have no idea. So in my tiny stash it goes.

Helen and I spent probably about a half hour talking to Thea, shes a fascinating person. And so very passionate about not only her design and printing work, but also about the sustainability and organics of the industry. Shes very against chemicals - the inks she uses are water based and non toxic. She uses practically no water in her processes and her wastage of the ink itself is also minimal. 

Helen doesnt do any of the actual crafting things with me - she CAN, shes actually a really talented seamstress, but it doesnt interest her at the moment so she doesnt. Shes the true artist though, so she is more into the design process. (not like me, I cant actually draw. I need a PC to be able to create anything)  And speaking with Thea and going through the screenprinting process - thats more where she is at!  Shes been gathering all this information about screen printing and hand printing - shes leaning more to the t-shirt design I think, but the fabric is still interesting to her.  And discussing with Thea about the eco side of the process was really good because Helen is very eco conscious.

All in all, it was a really nice way to spend an hour or so.  I believe Thea will be doing it again in January or February so follow her blog and she will let you know. She is also going to be doing screenprinting lessons sometime around then too - Im really excited about that one. Check her website for details and Im sure she will post it on her blog too.

Well Im off to do some sewing.  Funny, I think my glass studio is getting offended. I havent set foot in there for weeks - Im off on this whole design/fabric/sewing thing instead.  My poor little lampworked beads....

Oh, and did you notice the change in the blog design? Not my own I have to say, I havent had time, but I really like this one.  Especially since I think the name of our business and blog will be something different so this blog will stop at that point...maybe....

A giveaway....

OK I know I said I was going to bed. But I just had to let yáll know about this giveaway, its just too darling.

Rocknwrap is giving away a piece of her beautiful jewellery (example shown left).  Entries close on the 20th, so jump on over quickly, have a read, have a drool and enter the competition like me.

While you are there check out her gorgeous etsy sthttp://www.etsy.com/shop/rocknwrapore...great Christmas gift ideas! And shes a Brisbane-ite too!

mmmm ... pie...

Today I have a really bad headache so I am heading back to bed.

But I will leave you with this picture of a gorgeous Apple and Rhubarb Pie that one of my best friends (Renee) made last weekend.  How gorgeous is that pie?  And she made the entire thing from scratch. Including the pastry.  Tasted even better than it looks!

OK Im off, but tomorrow (hopefully) I will tell you all about my visit to an open studio of Thea and Sami on Saturday - fascinating. Thea is one extremely talented Lady! I even managed to gain some fabric for my stash.....though it wont be stash for long. I have plans you see....

Im in awe

Today I came across a very talented lady called Sandra from somewhere in Melbourne who has a fantastic blog and shop called Pepperberry and co. She makes wonderful paper products and also things like passport holders (yes I can see the irony of that as I type it. I didnt even know she made them until I went just now to see what was in her etsy shop that was not paper)

Anyway, a few days ago, she posted a little bit about herself, and her battle with depression.  I have read it and feel awed that this lady would share her pain and frustration with us in such an eloquent way.

I too of course suffer from an almost identical debilitation. If you wonder what I mean, then please read the above post. I simply could not have explained it better myself. I had a complete breakdown in June/July of 2006 - it took much medication, effort on behalf of my Psych, my beloved Helen and my Furry son Thomas, and old mother time to get me back to some semblance of 'normal'. I probably wasnt actually 'well', until the start of 2008.

For reasons unknown to me I am again in a similar position (for about 5 weeks now). However along with the depression is an unbearable agitation and anxiety. This is why I have thrown myself into the creative side of my life. Desperately trying to drag myself out of bed and keep moving - or rather at the moment, madly trying to do 50 things at once and not settling on any one thing. The craft/fabric design/art gives me a focus.

I dream I could actually make some sort of business from my passion so that I would not have to slog on in corporate life. This remains to be seen. Especially when, while I am running around madly obsessing about everything crafty, arty etc, its actually very hard for me to stick at doing one thing more than an hour or so. Certainly not the way to try to run a home business. I guess a 'normal' office is a little more structured and it can be a little easier - also because someone else is relying on me seems to motivate me too.

But not knowing what is going to spook me is hard. I can calmly discuss work and the work environment with friends and suddenly something will trigger and Im having a panic attack about work. Or walking out the door. I can be happily in a shop looking at things I love, when my brain will snap and I have to leave before I run around screaming or sit in a corner crying. And I can find no rhyme or reason to it just yet.

So this blog is part of my therapy I have decided. And that is why I am writing it regardless of how many people read it (or dont). An online diary of sorts and a way of me putting a little of me into the ether. So Im not fogotten. So I dont dissapear like I feel I am doing. And maybe, just maybe, if I need it, to remind myself of what my personality really is, if I start to lose myself again.

Let me give you a picture to make this at least look pretty. This is a picture of Thomas and I having lunch in the park a few weeks ago. A puppy grin is just a joyful cheering thing isnt it?


I found this gorgeous picture in a japanese ladies' blog. Ive no idea what she is saying (and her english blog is sparce and intermittent), but how gorgeous is that kitty?

Bird on a Wire

OK so, a couple of blogs ago I mentioned some bird on a wire fabric. I have purchased this to make something for a friend. Guess I can say here cause noone else is reading this....(so why am I posting...yeah still mulling that one over). Anyway, its a passport cover/holder I will be making for her.

I have the pattern and I think I have the fabric. She was with me when I purchased the bird on a wire fabric. And I got the previously mentioned Gingko blossom fabric to be the inside detail.

When we bought the fabric it was from a stall at the Finders Keepers Markets. We had a ball at the markets. All the fantastic stalls and there was music and food and coffee out on the lawn. It was held at the Old Brisbane Museum which is an absolutely gorgeous old building.  Anyway, we bought this fabric from a stall holder called Red Seeds . But what I didnt know at the time was it wasnt actually their fabric. The fabric is actually from another designer called Pippijoe. (+ her blog) Not that it matters of course.  It was only that I didnt realise this until we went to the Brisbane Portside markets yesterday and a different stall holder again had the same fabric however it was bundled with the designers name. I thought that the designers only sold their own fabric but having been to a number of markets and blogs now I understand that they kinda sell each others fabrics. Which is fair enough if you ask me. Wider distribution is a good thing. Id never have found that fabric nor the designer if they didnt do that.

So basically all of that was a gratuitous way of giving you links to the people involved. I will show you the holder when Ive made it. I want to do a trial run with some plain cheap fabric first. I still dont know if the sewing machine works....

9 November 2009

Can I just say before I begin, I hate having to think up a blog title. So sometimes (like today), Im just not going to. So there.

Its real quiet here in Brisbane today. Its overcast and grey like its going to rain any moment. Its cool, and while it appears to be windy when I look out the window (erk I need to mow the lawn), its very still inside the house here. The wind is not making any noise on the windows or anything. All of the neighbours appear to have run away because there isnt any noise from them either. No dogs, no cars, nothing.  I was beginnning to wonder if I had gone deaf but I can hear my laptop humming, and my keys clicking as I type.  Its a sleepy snuggly kinda of day. Even Thomas is asleep on the (as yet unmade) bed ignoring me.
Ive been thinking this morning (as you do), and wondered about blogs. Me and blogs specifically. Like, why am I even writing this particular blog? Im absolutely certain that noone except me is coming here. So why not just write in a diary? Why on earth throw all of this out there to the ether?

And how would someone even find this blog? I would imagine it would have to be pretty random to find it. Its linked from moonshinedesign.com.au of course. But noone ever goes in there because I havent touched it in wow, over a year. So why would anyone go there? And thus, noone would come here.

So that begs the question, if I WANTED someone to read this, how would I open that up? Comment on other blogs. Drive traffic somehow.  But do I actually want anyone to read any of this? Why am I doing it?

Me and Owls

OK so I seriously have this thing for owls at the moment. Since....Oh maybe about 3 or 4 years now. But recently it seems that the craft world is just pandering to my obsession and so Im going crazy. Remember my last post about the Saffron Craig fabric that Bettsy Kingston was giving away? With the Koala and the OwlSoftie? WELL....

I was in Funky Fabrics Monday (as you do), (No... seriously, if youre in brisbane you SHOULD. Oh and of course they have it all online as well) and they had on display the fabric with the Owl and Koala softie. So of course I just HAD to have it. Yes Im off work at the moment and that means my finances are in dissarray. But I couldnt go past it. I had to have my own.

Of course I have to make him up now. And I forgot to buy stuffing....but thats a minor problem right?

While I was in there I also bought some other fabric by Saffron Craig - Red Gingko flower.  It was actually just a fluke that it was her fabric I chose again. It just worked for what I wanted it for (more on that later - its for a present so I dont want to give the surprise away...not that I think anyone but myself is actually reading this blog right at the moment).  Anyway, this fabric is just gorgeous (see photo) and will go perfectly on the other side of the birds on a wire fabric I bought.

Birds on a wire you say....whats that?  Youll have to come back later to find out...... grin.

And Yes someday soon I will actually make this blog look good. But right now Im not sure if I will stay on this address or not so I dont want to spend the time on THIS blog, if my other blog is going to be what I use all the time....more on THAT too later.