Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Find: 3 Girls + a Goat

Bird Series Gift Card - Winter White

Gift Cards + Envelopes - Coral Red, Passion Flower, Pink Petals and Sea Jelly Pink

Mint, Ice, Dogwood Blue + Lime and Lemon Filigree

Recycle Design Envelopes + Cards

Oh, do I have a treat for you today! I know you're excited, fellow-worshippers at the altar of paper... Pray, contain thyselves and be ready for the gorgeousness that is 3 Girls + a Goat stationery. Luscious paper stock that has been hand printed and embossed, hand constructed and stamped... these are truly beautiful paper goods, lovingly fashioned for maximum impact and enjoyment. Can't you just see these lovelies on your gifts? It's the kind of product that begs to be touched, all those delicious bumps and swirls!
Brisbane architect, Steffen Tuck, is the talented designer and artisan of these goodies. She began making her paper products through a desire to recycle the multitude of magazines around her house - her Recycle Design cards and envelopes are still a main feature of her paper work. From there, she began creating more detailed and crafted gift pieces. The idea behind them came from not wanting to hide a beautiful card in an envelope (cute, hey?)... So, she reversed the order and created beautifully decorated envelopes to carry the simple white cards! So unique and such a fabulous idea, don't you think?
There isn't a blog as yet (I'm told it will happen one day!) but you can find Steffen's beautiful pieces at her Etsy Store here and there's even a Made.It Store here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Creative Space - Helping Friends

My Creative Space isn't actually my work this week. This is the screenprinting work of our friend Michael and he popped over to get some help with finishing off this huge piece of fabric. I finished off the edges and sewed a loop at the top so it can be used as a curtain. Hardly creative, but hey it was nice to be able to help. Don't you just love the patterning he's created? I'm still working away on sewing my Green Bags and have been making a few more brooches.

For more creative spaces or to play along yourself, visit Kirsty's here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inspiration: Basque Architecture

Many years ago now... my eldest daughter was one and a half I think, so eleven years ago now... when we were still living in London and we went for a trip to Bilbao in Spain to see the new Guggenheim. It had only just opened and we were mesmerised by its beauty and totally charmed by the then-untouched city of Bilbao. Unfortunately, we haven't been back since but I imagine Bilbao has become much more of a metropolis (or at least more used to tourists!) So, I was delighted when I came across this story in one of the architecture newsletters about the new Basque Health Department Headquarters in Bilbao. Isn't it divine? I'm not an architect but I do so love architecture and find it eternally inspiring. What I'd really like to do is to create similar patterning on my brooches... maybe a 3-D bubble not unlike the formation at the top of the building. I love that this city has continued to embrace such a brave architectural frontier. The architects are Coll-Barreu Arquitectos and you can find them here for more info about the building.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

and another...

Caravan love

I've just been leafing through the August issue of World of Interiors and came across this gorgeous and impossibly romantic Vickers Caravan, circa 1977.... are you in love? I am :) What is it about these intimate spaces that attract us? I see my youngest daughter still making cubby houses under desks with blankets etc and recognise that same need. Is it Virgina Woolf's room of one's own? It must be some romantic yearning in the psyche... it's certainly common enough for the owners of this caravan to make a nice living out of renting it in its Cornwall resting place. ;) I just love all the finishing touches - so cute! Did you see the Charles + Diana mug in the cabinet?! There's even a fireplace! You can find this little beauty here for more info.

Click on the photos to see them super-size!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inspiration: Laura Foster Nicholson

Big Green Barn #2

Above is the divine tapestry work of Laura Foster Nicholson. I am so inspired by her bold, contemporary weaving. Originally from Chicago, Nicholson moved to Indiana looking for a "simpler life" in which to concentrate on her artwork. Her Barn series of tapestries were completed quickly after the move. Don't they just take your breath away? So visually bold with a pared-down simplicity. As Nicholson herself said, "when a place is brand new to my eyes, I feel I can see with extraordinary clarity and know it won't be too long before these sharp novel sights become everyday custom and I lose that x-ray vision". Her work graces galleries all over the world but she also sells her own ribbon creations, often featuring the minutae of the farm. What I love about her work is how it seems to deal with both the large and small things of life. There are quite a few places you can see her work on the Net. Firstly, there is her eponymous blog, Laura Foster Nicholson, and then a second blog, LFN Textiles. There is also an online store for her ribbon collection here and an Etsy store here.


Yet another paper + felt brooch. This one's a lot more stylised than the others. I like it but I'm not sure... Not fishing for compliments, just wondering what you really think.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stash: Fabric #3

My fabric stash this week is a hand-me-down from my mum, a skirt she had made for herself as a young slip of a thing after saving forever to buy this coveted French fabric (she tells me)... So young and so slip was she that she actually offered it to me suggesting my daughter might like it! No no no, dear mother... children don't get vintage 1960s French fabric with hand-embroidered and raffia trimmings! One day I'll work out a way to actually make something out of it but for now I just love looking at it! :) Have a lovely Sunday!

More Sunday Stashes can be found here and there's a Flickr group for Stashes here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do you remember these?

I'm having a trip down memory lane today. I couldn't believe it when I found these vintage Old Maid cards on the Net... we used to have a set just like this when I was a child! I can't describe the feeling when I saw them,... the nearest I can get to it is that it's like meeting an old friend (ie one you got on well with of course!) It's my partner's birthday and these occasions always set me looking back over the years we've had together. This morning, though, I've gone back even further in my memory to my childhood... go figure, hey? Anyway, we still feel very young at heart even though we're both 42 now (he's no longer my toy boy as of today!) Happy Birthday Kevin! (I know, Kylie + Kevin - no Neighbours jokes please!)

If you'd like to see the whole set, you can find them on this Flickr Set. I found them via here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eek! I can't believe it!

I've just discovered that the lovely Irene of Bloesem fame has featured my brooches on her blog! How wild is that?! I keep clicking on her site to make sure they're still there! ;) Have a look... I think they're still there...!

My Creative Space - Green Bags

I've been co-opted into earning my keep this week... making green bags for my partner's business :) I'd printed up some Ikea fabric with text at the beginning of the year - we were going to use it as a curtain in the shop but then decided the effect was too heavy. So, what to do with all this fabric printed up with funny little sayings...? Green bags! I think they're going to be pretty cool. So, one down... who knows how many to go! ;)

You can see other Creative Spaces by visiting Kirsty's here.

* Sorry, I should have mentioned that my partner is an optometrist + the "funny little saying" you can see here is actually the registered trademark for our optom practice... there are other funny sayings though!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

40th anniversary

I've just been listening to the live recordings of the first Moon landing from 40 years ago on Radio National and I was incredibly moved. I actually cried! I was 2 years old when this happened, so no real memories were twigged or anything like that... Why is it such a moving moment still today do you think? Just so very special - maybe it's the spirit of the occasion; the thrill of going beyond our boundaries? I just love it :)

Two more...

I've finished two more brooches. It was totally unintentional, but I love how the top one looks like a little caravan! :)

My first swap!

Look at the gorgeousness I've just received in the mail! The lovely Christina from A Little Bird Told Me has sent me a package full of the most wonderful crafty bits: fabric, hand-printed cards and felt, a vintage tourist postcard set and the most gorgeous fabric carry case, just perfect for bits and bobs :) ...and all she got was a brooch! I'm feeling there's a bit of inequity here, Christina! Thank you so much!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Revolution in the Recession

I live in a Murdoch-monopoly city so in this household we buy in our information from out-of-town ;) One of the newspapers we love is the Guardian Weekly - all the best bits from the Guardian newspaper in the UK compiled into a weekly paper, presumably for the expats here in Australia. It's always a treat and we really look forward to it.
This week's edition has a wonderful article by Deputy Comments Editor, Libby Brooks, called Revolution in the Recession. It's all about the craft revival and a cracking good read as always!...
Brooks' commentary on the broader do-it-yourself movement links in to the proliferation of craft communities in the UK. Workshop spaces for sewing, knitting and crochet like the Cast Off Knitting Club and Prick Your Finger in London are actually echoed around the globe (well, the privileged parts of our world). In Australia, there's the ever-fabulous Meet Me at Mike's of course, but many others have started to pop up too - we even have a great space just down the street from us called Tangled Yarns.
Apparently, this has become such a phenomenon that the thinktank Demos has published a collection of essays examining what US arts writer Bill Ivey has coined "expressive life". I really love this term - it's at the heart of everything we do as crafters, don't you think? Behind the reasons - which may be economic or social or whatever - we have a need to express ourselves as separate from cogs in the machine.
Obvious links have been made to the post-Industrial Revolution age when the Arts and Craft Movement saw an embracing of hands-on crafts. Then, as now, the ideology seems to be a respect for nature (environmental concerns have played a large part in our times), the dignity of labour (our concerns about sweat-shop labour in particular), the importance of long-garnered skills (our valuing of handmade over the mass-produced) and access to beauty for all (accessibility to pieces of beauty in the age of over-priced consumerism). As Brooks observes, the reasons are obvious:

"We are producers frustrated with never seeing the end product of our efforts; consumers weary of being bullied into buying stuff we don't need, that is badly made or doesn't fit; and would-be creators waking up to the fact that inspiration exists beyond the Sunday style supplements."

I also love the way that Brooks has highlighted craft's revolt against our internet-instant-gratification times. What we do is a slow pursuit and there is a very satisfying meditative nature to all the things that we produce. There's a wonderful quote from Richard Sennett's book The Craftsman defining craft as "the doing of good work for its own sake". Again, this comes back to craft as the "expressive life" that seems to be indelibly intertwined with self-respect through a striving for competence and meaningful engagement.
Now, before I lose you entirely with my very very long post today.... there's one more point made in this article which is my absolute favourite: craft is egalitarian.... in our consumerist times where the haves and the have-nots are so wildly exposed to the judgement of others, Brooks zeroes right in on what I find the most satisfying about craft...

"Craft reminds us of the significance of quality of outcome rather than of opportunity. Everyone shares the capacity to develop a skill, based on decent teaching, application and time - not raw talent."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stash: Fabric #2

I was very naughty this week - I added to my collection of vintage fabrics, found at this lovely site. They are all 1950s fabrics and I'm positively itching to make something with them! It takes a lot of thinking, though - something that I'll want to wear for many years to come. I can just see a cute summer top out of the last one ;) What's your stash? You can find more Sunday Stashers here and there's a Flickr group too here... Feel free to join us! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Sport

I was a soccer mum this morning :) It was so cool - miss L's team actually played a draw (our best result so far!) A nice reward for all the character building games we've had to date ;) Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Find: Uroko House

This is just too cute. I would have loved this as a child! (Who am I kidding - I'd love this now!) This gorgeous kids bedroom structure is by a Japanese firm called Point Architects and it's called Uroko House. Such a fabulous idea! Imagine all the blankets you'd have available in the house because they weren't being used to create cubby-houses under tables etc! :) Felt shingles on the roof of an igloo-like structure with shelves for books and all kinds of toys and treasures... I am in love :) You can see the original concept at Point Architects here. There's also a Flickr set of someone's house renovation where they show the Uroko House being constructed. Many thanks to this lovely blog for leading me to it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Creative Space - Paper brooches

All other projects were dropped this week as I became obsessed with layering and playing with contrasting materials, and these little babies are the result. They're basically just paper and felt with machine and hand stitching. What I love about them, though, is the contrast in textures. The paper is a bin-find from an architect's office - super high quality archival tracing paper that won't yellow or go brittle with age. It has this incredibly smooth almost plastic texture and was gorgeous to sew because it didn't split. The felt is so furry in comparison and softens the hard-edge feel I think. The big challenge for me, though, was just letting spontaneous shapes emerge. I actually concentrated on not planning them... (but yeah, I know, they still look anal-retentive!) Anyway, I don't care - I had fun! Hope you like them :) More Creative Spaces can be found at Kirsty's here.

Oh, and this gorgeous linen I bought from Thea here (I do plan to actually make something with it, Thea, but it's such a lovely background too, I couldn't resist!)