Wednesday, December 2, 2009

{ knee deep in christmas tags }

I've been measuring and cutting and pasting and playing with ribbon etc putting together a little stockpile of Christmas gift tags for my stall on Sunday at the Eveleigh market.

Drop by and say hi if you're in the neighbourhood.

Monday, November 30, 2009

{ virtual market }

Looking for some handmade goodness for Christmas this year?

Hop over to the current Poppytalk virtual market to check out lots of wonderful Christmas gift ideas including some goodies from yours truly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

{ thoughts on what to wear to a concert }

Between support acts at the Pearl Jam gig on Sunday (Liam Finn was awesome), I got to people watching and it was pretty amazing to see what people were wearing on a 40+ degree afternoon/night. I've never been convinced that there is a ever a place for high heals at a gig and I continue to stand by that.

I'd like to take the thought out of what to wear by making it mandatory that all concert goers must wear what they wore the first time they saw the band. I thought back to my first PJ gig and while I can't remember exactly what I was wearing, the date gives me some clues - 14 March 1995.

Probably a band t-shirt (Alice In Chains? Soundgarden?), possibly Levi 501's, definitely my black Doc Martens. Or perhaps a baby doll dress, black leggings and black Doc Martens. The one constant during that time were my Docs (I still remember thinking that if I ever got married I would wear them to my wedding - still a bit sad I didn't carry through on that one!) so I know for sure I would have worn them that night.

What were your must wear staples in 1995?

{ one of the (many) signs of aging }

Thankfulness upon opening tickets for Pearl Jam gig that we had seats and not general admission standing! Yep, gettin' old.

But even after all these years it's still possible to go to a gig and have it rate in your all time top 5 - good times!

Friday, November 13, 2009

{ time zapper }

I found a brilliant iphone app last night and it's been zapping all my spare time since then. It's called CameraBag and it has a range of special effects to apply to your photos. Here's a couple I've done, many more to come I'm sure!

1 Helga 2 Instant 3 Fisheye 4 1974

Saturday, November 7, 2009

{ more papercutting }

My most most ambitious papercut to date.

Gift for our friends wedding yesterday, hope they like it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

{ tag ... you're it }

I've long liked paper cuts but I've only just started playing with doing it myself. I've started on a small scale with gift tags.

It's a fun process staring from the design to cutting to gluing to my favourite part of the gift tags selecting the ribbons from my stash!

I've had some repeat buyers in my store already (the best feedback of all!) and they got great responses at a market I participated in earlier in the month.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

{ sunday stash }

Fabric fresh to me as of just yesterday. Spent a lovely morning with this crafty birthday girl: garage sale/pop up shop, breakfast, fabric shop followed by another fabric shop - good times!

More about Sunday Stash here

Sunday, September 27, 2009

{ craft cupboard disaster ... averted }

I've never been entirely happy with how I was storing my fabrics and other crafty bits and pieces. I've got a great set-up for my paper obsession, I'll share that sometime soon, but my sewing related stuff - not so much.

Last weekend I was doing something or other and heard an almighty crash. Here's what I faced with when I opened the craft cupboard door:

Hmm, a complete mess. I'd been making do with one of those hanging shelf things but the weight got too much and it snapped off. I spent a large part of the week wondering what I was going to do with it. Should I get another one - cheap, and it did actually last a number of years but I never loved it. So I was checking out Ikea, nothing there that suited, when the Howard's Storage World catalogue landed in our mail box. Talk about perfect timing.

So my afternoon (actually more of my afternoon than I had anticipated) was spent getting everything out, culling (not as much as I possibly should have), building the new shelves (that took a bit longer too since I put the first shelf in upside down and had to start again!) and then finally stacking it.

I'm pretty happy with the end result but the process did pose a question - how should I stack my fabric? By colour, by weight, by design? What do you do? I'd love to hear, photos would be even better so send me a link to your stash if you have one.

Some photos of my helper today ... okay maybe not helper, more of a hindrance but good company none the less!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

{ sunday stash }

I love text in fabric. Another of my haul from Japan.

Monday, September 7, 2009

{ road trip }

A quick trip down to the 'Berra on Saturday. It's always interesting to visit the city you grew up in isn't it? There are little changes but really not too much changes and perhaps that's for the best. Canberra was a great place to grow up in, lots of fresh air, open spaces, pretty amazing facilities and as I got older only 3 1/2 hours drive from Sydney!

Something I don't remember noticing in such profusion when I lived there were all the beautiful blossom trees. Looks like the upcoming week might see them at their peak.

Why go all that way for the day? Just had to welcome little CT to the world in person. Just 9 days old when we saw him - cute!!

Beautiful colours in the sky as we drove home (yes, we did spend more time driving than in Canberra but it was worth it!).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

{ sunday stash }

Aww, cute little sheep!

Another Tokyo purchase earlier in the year. It's a lovely weight fabric, should be perfect for some projects I'm hoping to have for sale in the next month or so - stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

{ i have no idea what to expect }

I'll be offline for a couple of days, off to Seoul in the morning for a work conference. Seoul has never been on my radar and I'll have very little time, but I'm curious to see what it's like.

Fly all day tomorrow, conference Saturday and then finally some free time on Sunday until 4pm when we head back to the airport, overnight flight and straight back to the office Monday morning - told you it was another quick trip! Fingers crossed to the jet lag gods for an awesome sleep on the way home.

Will post some photos next week in case anyone else is curious like me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

{ sunday stash }

Some traditional Japanese fabrics purchased in Tokyo earlier in the year.

Join the Sunday Stash gang here

Monday, August 10, 2009

{ unique shopping experiences }

What have been your most memorable shopping experiences? I bet it’s not the rabbit run of Ikea on a Saturday lunchtime. Thinking back, my most memorable have been either coming away with an incredible bargain or when what I was browsing has been unique, well made and well presented.

I had two real shopping highlights in Barcelona recently. First, I was wandering down an alley in the old part of town. There really weren’t many shops around at all in fact, I was really just enjoying the wandering.

Up ahead I noticed a small pot plant out the front of a door and a warm and inviting light emanating from within. Stepping inside I was blown away to find the most amazing softies store! It was just wonderful. What I loved was the creator had her desk in the corner of the store, so the shop was also her studio. I’m kicking myself for not taking down the name of the store or checking if she has an online presence as well.

On the same day I also stumbled across a fantastic jewellery store. You could tell that they were displaying the work of many designers but what made the store unique was that this shop keeper was also creating! At the back of the store I could see different types of equipment so this too was a studio as well as a shopfront. Some sort of jewellery makers collective I imagine – fantastic!

Had to make a purchase – this fabulous ring:

The bands of colour are a type of elastic which you mix and match to suit, I’m enjoying it immensely.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

{ sunday stash - tessuti spots }

Decided to join in on the Sunday Stash - you can too, join here

I've been covering buttons with the orange fabric, very cute. Decided I better get another half a metre while still in stock. The white one was an impulse buy, I find it very difficult to go past spots at the best of times but when it's on sale? Impossible!

Monday, August 3, 2009

{ down to work }

After my couple of days wandering Barcelona, the reason for my being there came to pass. Saturday morning was our conference but really it's a morning of entertainment, there's little to no work to be done.

I've mentioned previously that in the lead up to Global there's lots of debate about who would be the guest speaker at the conference. We've had Lance Armstrong and Bob Geldoff in recent years but it is really all guess work beforehand as it's all kept top secret. During the festivities some flamenco dancers came out on stage and I was thinking, nice a bit of the local culture but from behind them appeared someone in a cape and jeans - weird! Well, it was actually the entrance for the Virgin Group head honcho Sir Richard Branson.

Small selection of the 1500 or so of us

He had a pretty responsive crowd with travel agents filling the room, but even so I was a little surprised to hear some notes of nervousness in his voice. It was an interesting chat but in that setting he's not the most charismatic orator (not that I would even get in front of a group of 100 let along 1500, I do keep it in perspective!).

The highlight for me was the emcee. In the past it's been staff that have done it but this year we got a professional, and what a professional - Lenny Henry. He was awesome! So funny and brilliant at keeping things moving and interesting.

Sorry about the poor photo, my little camera doesn't do indoors at a distance!

We finished up at the convention centre at about midday (told you it wasn't an exactly taxing conference!) and I headed into town with a group to hit Zara. There are so many outlets it's just insane. I came out of one store, walked past 3 shops and there was another Zara outlet! The specials in all shops were brilliant, none of this 30% or 40% we get here in Australia, most was at least 50% off with many shops 75% off. How can you say no to a $6, good quality, t-shirt?

We had a lunch of tapas, paella and sangria for lunch - yum!

Back for a nap and quick change before the formalities of the evening Ball. Lenny Henry hosted again which was a godsend because we needed something to lighten the 4 hours (yes 4 hours) of awards! It got pretty tedious, I have to admit.

Entertainment was another pre-Ball conversation point. Previously we've had Jet, Shaggy, Ronan Keating - very eclectic and some hits and some misses. A number of people had been scouring online for what bands were in or around Spain that week and there was some serious odds on the Kaiser Chiefs and Snow Patrol, either of which I would have been very happy with, so there was a general huh? when the stage was revealed. It took some working out before we discovered it was DJ's Groove Armada. Kind of went over my head, I'd heard of them but had to do some internet searching on my return to find out who they were - whoops. Sorry for the Groove Armada fans out there that are just embarrassed for me not knowing them!

Yes, we were sat behind South Africa!

Friday, July 31, 2009

{ B E S T }

I'm part of a the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team - BEST - and we're holding a virtual BBQ Scavenger Hunt this weekend, August 1-3. The winner gets a $30 gift certificate! All you need to do is browse the amazing offerings at 18 participating shops, locate hidden items and submit your finds to enter. You also get a chance to win for each purchase you make during the event.

Check our this post on our book team blog for details:

Most of the team members are in the Northern Hemisphere but with the beautiful weather in Sydney at the moment, it's not too much of a stretch to dream of summer BBQ's.

Here's a selection of some lovely books made by my team mates (note, these aren't necessarily the participants in the scavenger hunt!):

Monday, July 27, 2009

{ walking the streets }

I spent my days in Barcelona wandering, it's a really great city to do this particularly in the old town. Often I did this on my own but I did do two walking tours which were wonderful. They went for 2 - 2 1/2 hours each which is the perfect time for a tour I think. Enough time to learn lots but not too long to get bored.

I just booked the tours through the Tourist Information Centre in town my first day. The company I went with are called 'Barcelona Walks' and they have 5 different walking tours. The two I did were:

"Gotic - Stroll through Barcelona's Gothic Quarter where past and present meet and discover the charm of its streets, squares, hidden corners and hundred-year-old buildings.

Gourmet - Enjoy a flavour-filled journey through the old town and discover Barcelona's gastronomic culture. During this walk you will find out about the history of Barcelona's cuisine as well as some of its flagship shops and food outlets, and sample some of their produce."

There's nothing quite like having days of unstructured time in a different city - no working, washing, cooking, cleaning to think about (let alone do), just days full of time to do whatever the mood strikes. One day I sat in a park in the sun watching the world go by for about 3 hours - wonderful!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

{ en route }

I’m back after a wonderful week in Barcelona, arriving at my hotel 42 hours after leaving Sydney! I travelled British Airways via London and had a 12 hour transit there. Long transits are usually a pain but I took this as a wonderful opportunity to wander London for a couple of hours.

Flying is the only time when I'm grateful for being short! Infrequently on work trips I'm lucky enough to travel in Business Class, but the vast majority of times I travel I'm in Economy. I can't imagine what it would be like being really tall and squashed into an Economy seat all the way to Europe. Even short distances must be a nightmare.

It’s about an hour each way from Heathrow on the Tube so I had about 6 hours after travel and re-check in time.

My first stop was breakfast – Club Sandwich from Pret a Manger! Probably a strange choice in most peoples minds, but I love these sandwiches - the bacon is insane!

Went initially to Covent Garden but was a bit early for the shops so wandered around, through Soho, Tottenham Court Rd up to Oxford Street. Not completely knowing my way between these points, I just walked down whatever street looked interesting.

I must say, the shops in Oxford St have really deteriorated. Not that they were ever all that good I guess (mostly chain stores), but it now seems really run down and cheap.

From there I made for Liberty. What a beautiful looking storefront! I was kind of surprised how little fabric there was. The floors were filled mostly with bags, cosmetics, jewellery, homewares and even carpets! I did eventually find the fabric and made some purchases. I’m not really a traditional floral pattern kind of girl so the fabrics I bought weren’t actually Liberty but it was a nice shopping experience.

Fish and chips for lunch in a pub and some more wandering before heading to the airport and onward to Barcelona.

Friday, July 10, 2009

{ barcelona bound }

Every year the company I work for holds it's 'Global Gathering'. It's a celebration and recognition of high achievers for the previous 12 months. They really go all out with a brilliant party somewhere in the world and this year it's Barcelona. I'm lucky enough to be attending as the representative of my team as we were the most improved shop in our area. I head off on Monday afternoon, spend Tuesday in London and then the rest of the week in Barcelona.

Each year there's lots of pre-talk and guesses as to who our guest speaker will be at the conference that's held during the day on the Saturday. Last year in Honolulu we had Lance Armstrong and in Dublin the year before it was Bob Geldof! The main money is on a European as there seems to be a pattern of having a local, possibly a Spaniard but who could it be? All will be revealed in a little over a week.

A couple of years ago my husband and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks travelling through Spain however we didn't make it to Barcelona so it will be all new to me.

I've been super busy at work and only found out a week ago that we made the cut, so I haven't had any time to research and plan my days in Barcelona. Once I give it a couple of minutes thought, I'm know filling the day on London will be NO problem, but do you have suggestions for either city? I'd love to hear them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

{ custom order + a new design }

Very proud of myself - finally remembered to take some snaps of a just completed custom order. A friend picked up a fabulous holder for the recipes you accumulate from magazines, friends and family, etc that usually end up in a pile somewhere. Upon seeing it I thought to myself - ‘I can make that’ in the true fashion of crafters the world over.

The process for new designs is a fairly consistent process for me. I think through the technical aspects of what’s needed (measurements, etc) then have a first go. I make a few more with modifications as necessary and farm those out to close friends or my mum to put into use and give me feedback on anything that needs altering.

A final run past the in-house quality control supervisor:

And then all things go.

The first version of my recipe holder went as a birthday present to my friend and then she ordered this one for a relative.

I thought this paper was spot on for a recipe holder and I have another couple in my paper draw that will be excellent too. I haven’t yet worked out pricing so once that’s done I can get a few made and in my Etsy store for sale.

Of course there has to be a link to Japan and for this one it’s the plastic sleeves inside. I haven’t been able to find good quality ones here at a reasonable price but I found them in Tokyu Hands - no wonder I was over my luggage limits coming home!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

{ new book }

At some point I'll move on from my current Japan obsession, but until then here's a book I made out of a manga comic picked up over there:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

{ whirlwind japan trip day 4 }

The pace of the last few days caught up with me a bit on our final day and I really didn’t get as much done as I could have. A later start today with a group of us heading to Shinjuku for some retail therapy and lunch.

I left the group after lunch to head to Okadaya again and thankfully the sign on the shutters yesterday must have said closed for that day only because, thankfully, all was a go today.

I was pretty restrained as I had purchased so much fabric just 2 months prior but still managed to come away with 10 metres of fabric. This time it’s not all for me as a friend sews beautiful clothes for her daughter so I picked up a small selection of fabrics for them to play with. It’s fun trying to find prints you think others will like, but I felt a certain degree of self-imposed pressure too - I hope they like them. Oh well, even if not the thought was there!

Really should then have set out for Fabric Town but I was too tired and headed back to the hotel for a brief time before heading for the airport and on the overnight flight home. We were very spoilt by JAL and were treated to Business Class on our return. A quick shower at home on arrival and straight back to the office - did the last 4 days really happen???

A random photo, but how awesome is this guys hair?! I'm pretty sure if I stood next to him, his hair alone would be taller than me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

{ whirlwind japan trip day 3 }

Today was my designated shopping day. I started in Harajuku, with mixed success on my list:

CROSS - Harajuku girls (I think they’ve moved to somewhere else for their Sunday showings)

CROSS - Kit Kats in awesome glass jars in vending machines as I found in this area last trip

TICK - great purchases at the MOMA Design Store and Kiddyland

TICK - delicious lunch at the hole in the wall restaurant we found last trip.

Then to Shibuya for stationary purchases at Loft and clothes, stationary and storage purchases at Muji (am I the only person who comes home from trips with storage contaniners for in the bathroom cabinets at home??).

Finally to Shinjuku for paper and stationary purchases at Tokyu Hands, craft book looking but no purchases at Kinokuniya, a special request purchased in heavy metal CD heaven at Disc Union and finally time for Okadaya fabric store.

Unfortunately shutters down and a sign on them that of course I couldn’t understand! Most stores are open on Sundays, in fact if they’re going to close it’s more likely a Monday they do so, so I was worried the sign was saying the store had closed for good.

Back to the hotel for a gorgeous hosted dinner. The 2 hotels we stayed at on this trip really went above and beyond in looking after us. If your budget can stretch to it, I can highly recommend the ANA Intercontinental and The Strings Intercontinental.

And finally,

TICK - karaoke!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

{ whirlwind Japan trip day 2 }

DAY 2: A choice of tours had been arranged for day 2 of our trip. As I was a very last minute ring-in to replace a colleague, I had to do the tour he selected which was a day trip to Mt Fuji-Hakone. I don't mind organised tours but I tend to prefer half day ones as the full day ones can be pretty exhausting.

This one started at 8am and we didn't return until about 7.15pm so certainly a full day.

In the bus first off and a couple of hours on the road to the visitors centre for a quick stop and then on to Station 5 which I think is the highest you can drive to.

The best time to see Mt Fuji is in the winter as most of the rest of the year it's covered in cloud - or being shy as our guide said. Here's the view we had:

Mmmm...I promise the top of the mountain is there somewhere! We had a little bit of snow where we got off for a quick wander around the gift shops and some snacks to warm us up:

Back in the bus and down the mountain for lunch:

Back in the bus and off to the lake, through another gift shop and onto a boat for a very quick 15 min cruise up to another area. Past some more gift shops (yes, a theme appearing here) and up into a gondola thing up another mountain (not Mt Fuji). Unfortunately not the best day for this type of mountaintop viewing:

A quick turnaround and back down the mountain where we luckily had another 30 mins or so to wander the gift shops - hooray!

Back in the bus and onto a nearby town to catch the Shinkansen train (bullet train, but the local one, not the SUPER fast one - although that did zoom through the station while we were there and it was incredibly FAST!).

A super quick change of clothes and off to another hotel for site inspection and hosted dinner. We had planned on hitting karaoke after dinner but were all too tired from the day.

Phew - exhausted!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

{ whirlwind Japan trip day 1 }

DAY 1: Departed Sydney 0820 Friday and landed Tokyo Friday evening at 1700 local time. A great flight with JAL and lucky enough to be in Premium Economy. Not a cabin they sell from Australia, but rather one they keep for high status Frequent Flyers etc.

Our hotel was the ANA Intercontinental Tokyo in Aksaka. A fairly quiet area after the business day but a wonderful hotel with good sized rooms (not that common in Japan). After a quick freshen up, hotel staff showed us through a couple of suites and the top of the line room as well - man that's how the other half live and my only chance of ever seeing rooms like these are on trips like this!

After the site inspection the hotel staff hosted the most AMAZING dinner. I can't believe it but I left my camera in my room so unfortunately no photos to show but I did take a souvenir copy of the menu:

Zensai (assorted appetizer)
Suimono (clear soup)
Beef shabushaba hot pot (beef, pot herb mustard, enoki mushroom, rice cake)
Yakizakana Igrilled silver cod)
Tempura (prawn, white fish, three kinds of vegetable)
Gohan (mixed tempura topped on rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles)
Green tea icecream

I'm not a very adventurous eater day to day, but when I'm given an opportunity to taste such unusual and amazing looking food I give it a good go! The hot pot was sensational. Super finely shaved meat that you barely touch through the boiling water in front of you to cook - yum!

I REALLY wish I had photos to share!

Due to none, here's another fantastic ad in the subway: