Friday, December 25, 2009


Adult Magpie aka 'Mum'

Almost Adult Magpie aka 'Big Brother'

Juvenile Magpie aka 'Little Sister'

Juvenile Magpie aka 'Little Brother'

Big Brother again

A flock of magpies visits my parents house regularly to sing. The are very intelligent and curious birds and obviously very clever. They keep my parent's garden bug population down and keep other more destructive birds & mammals out of the garden.

Table Decorations

The finished table

Potato vine in pickling Jars

Iris Leaves in Jam jars

Its a tradition we have here in this particular house in the land down under the land down under, that I do the Christmas table. This can involved anything from flowers, to interesting balancing acts of pinecones or glass balls to a still life or installation art. This year I went all christmassy and put lots of sparkles and shiny things in red, white and green with lots of gold and silver. The white flowers are potato vine and the wide green leaves are iris leaves. All else is discovered/rescued from the back of cupboards, including the pickling and jam jars which provide an interesting contrast to the leaded crystal glasses and inherited silverware. Humble can be beautiful too.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Alexander the Christmas Beetle & I would like to wish everyone a very blessed & lovely Christmas filled with the peace, love & joy that comes from knowing the little one in the manger as saviour. May the year ahead be abundant with all good things and lots of making stuff.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Other Things I've been up to...

I'm on holiday in Australia for a few weeks seeing family and friends (but the making continues, albeit sporadically)

In a little shop in Daylesford called 'Purls Palace' I found these silk bundles from Morocco for just a few dollars. The grey one I'm planning on combining with some cotton for a bag or cardigan, while the cream ones I'm going to use to experiment with natural dyes. Purls Palace is a gem of a store with lots of interesting craft supplies, finished crafts and a selection of good books. I was planning on visiting a few places in Melbourne while we were there, but run out of time.

The Mr. and I recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and he brought me 5 presents, one for each year. One of them was this lovely box of bird stamps which I have been happily stamping on lots of things. The chaffinch and this cage above are my favourites.

We were in Melbourne for a few days and I did a little shopping. I'm still trying the no shopping thing, but discount designer dresses are too much for me to resist. I have managed to curb my shopping enormously this year though. My dress count is at 8 for the year, with 3 tshirts, 4 pairs of tights and 1 shirt totalling up my buying. I managed to make one dress and one skirt though and a bunch of crochet things, so not toooo bad (trying to justify myself!). (Did I mention that the dresses were silk?! Sooo lovely...)

Since I went on holiday I've been keeping a visual journal. Its been a long time since I drew everyday so I'm having fun. I've just been recording the interesting things we've seen as well as the ordinary and mundane everyday things. It will be a good reminder of this trip after I'm finished as well as being a good exercise to help me slow down!

Puffy scarf is made of New Zealand wool and alpaca that I brought on holiday in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia. I should be buying Australian wool, but this was too nice to resist. Its soft and just the nicest shade of green. The camera doesn't really capture the colour though, its more kermit green than grey green.

The 'Winner's Ribbon Brooches' are the result of a long tiring day, where I was wandering around a shopping center waiting to meet someone and happened upon a shop selling ribbon. This idea had been kicking around in my head for a while, just waiting for the right ribbon. These look good in groups or alone on bags or jackets and are quite unisex. The Mr. requested one for his backpack.

This ceramic birdy makes me almost as happy as real birds. Like the clouds, I wear this on a ribbon as a necklace. I made a lot of these and I will be making them into a mobile at a later date.

Detail of The Caterpillar

As things at work get stressful and I get tired, instead of taking a break and vegging out in front of the tv, I tend to make things at a furious pace. Getting home late one night I decided to make a necklace out of some wooden beads (getting their second use after becoming discoloured and sun damaged) and some old laddered stockings. The result I've nicknamed 'The Caterpillar' for its segmented body and many legs. Its somewhere between necklace and lion's mane when worn.

My First Doily

Too nice to simply put on a table, I wore the doily with an Alannah Hill silk flower to a wedding to make a simple fascinator

The Doily

Detail of the Doily

For my second tatted piece, I think this turned out quite well. Its a little uneven as my stitch tension leaves a lot to be desired and my picots are not all the same size, but I'm happy with it. I'm just glad I finally finished it as I've been working on this on and off since June.

Wild Horses

The horses are lovely, beauteous shoes. They fit well and the purple is just nice, not too lavender-y or too bright, but just nice. Happy shoes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sewn Necklace

I really like the idea of fabric necklaces. They interest me because I can experiment with different forms and techniques. This necklace is a made up of three ribbed knit strips which I plaited together and stitched at the ends. I think it turned out rather nicely. (Plus its really comfortable & light to wear!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sewing Made Easy

I saw this awesome dress online a few weeks ago by Take Off Your Clothes. It utilises ingeniously simple construction. Its simply two oversized t-shirts sewn together at the neckline. One forms the top half of the dress with its cowl neck, and the other forms the lower with the sleeves becoming pockets. Its so clever, yet so obvious, that its one of those things that you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself or no-one has done this sooner. I love the neckline and the pockets. All dresses should have pockets.

Rose-ringed Parakeet

He helpfully turns around so we can see his thin black and rose loral line

From the front you can see his bright red beak and his smart black mandible line.

This previous post has a picture of the female rose-ringed. She doesn't have the ring, she is all green with a red beak.

Scarlet-Backed Flowerpecker

If you peer into the centre of the picture you will see a little tiny bird with a red stripe down his back. This is the male scarlet-backed flowerpecker and its only about 8.5cm long. He enjoys starfruit seeds and flowers and hopping from branch to branch. This is a very elusive bird, I've only managed to get one photo of it, as by the time i take out the camera, he's gone. We've also seen his wife, a mostly brown bird with red wing tips, but not caught her on film yet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Of Clouds & Rabbits

Rabbit Silhouette Badge

Cloud Pendant

I recently brought a rabbit shaped punch for paper and having some textile markers around, I decided to experiment with using the punch to make stencils. The rabbit was stenciled onto a small circle of calico and I used a button-making kit to make a button of it. I made some into hair ties and this one I made into a brooch. I just glued the back on with some contact adhesive. The contact adhesive seems to stick well, though its a bit messy.

The cloud pendant is a cloud shape I got from mein and while the clay was still wet, I stamped my name onto it and punched a hole in it to hang it. The glaze is a double layer of blue underneath and white on top that gives it some beautiful colouration around the edges. I just use a piece of ribbon to wear it as the metal loop is too noisy! I also have a smaller cloud that I glazed with namako blue which I also wear with a ribbon. The two are too noisy to wear together, though they would look great!

Reduce Reuse Recycle: Wear

The 'D' Ring Belt Loops & Belt

The Belt helps to control the 'floofiness' though the skirt can float away if left unattended

How I'm wearing it: with grey tights, black singlet & cardigan, grey scarf and purple shoes (everything goes with purple shoes)

I finished the bag skirt on the weekend and it turned out just nice. It is floofy and in just the right way. The lining didn't work out as it made it stick out too much, so I'm just wearing it un-lined with tights. I used the 'D' rings of the bag straps for the belt loops which gives it a more utilitarian feel. The lining from two bags was reduced down to 4 rectangles which I sewed together and pleated at one edge before sewing the housing and adding the elastic. The belt is made of the two long base pieces of the bag. The outer lining I will make into another skirt later on. Its currently hibernating in a state of semi-finished-ness. I will be using the zippers and straps for that skirt and that may be a little more experimental...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I just ordered a pair of p
urple Dorothy shoes from The Horse, an Australian maker of organic, foot-conscious shoes. They don't ship to Singapore, so I've had them sent to my parents place in Australia where they await me when I arrive in a few weeks for Christmas. I like both their philosophy and their aesthetic. Many of our shoes don't really care for our feet or our environment. Here's what they say about themselves:

tHe Horse was born out of the praxis-gap of health care & the retail industry.

Disillusioned with blood, syringes & HD appliances, both Scott Hawkes & Gabrielle Glennie founded a friendship upon an ethical & organic vision of highest quality Italian leather for the fashioned gentleman, the discerning lady & the recalcitrant young.

Developing themselves as commited farriers, Gabrielle & Scott began shoeing the public with a prescription leather applied topically to the foot, an innovation taken from scott's research in health care.

However, after careful assessment and both feeling more could be done, Gabrielle complimented Scott’s original model with her own creative eclectic collective; thus producing tHe Horse: organic upholstery for the foot.

Based upon the idea of 'each feet personality',
tHe Horse wears & grooves in smiles & tears as your feet live,
birthing individual character.

I can't wait to see my shoes too, I think I may never take them off!

Card Making

Tracing paper Christmas Trees made by the mr. which I love (both the mr. and the trees!)

Sneak peek at this year's Christmas cards in progress

Its a tradition with me to make my own Christmas cards. I can't possibly buy gifts for everyone (and ensure that its not another white elephant gift thats not used), so I like to give cards. I find handmade ones more special and more personal. Each card is different due to being handmade and I make only a few of each type (as I prefer things to be unique). I like the slightly imperfect quality of the handmade, what the Japanese would call 'wabi sabi'. There is a beauty in that is held because of the flaws, not in-spite of them. I made some of the cards on handmade paper as well, so there really is a sense of making with the cards. In the paper, in the print, the artists hands are visible. Its not like the mass-produced card, where the precision of the machine cut and the sharpness of the printing are evident. The mass-produced is about speed, about minimum effort, a results-oriented product, precision and economics. The handmade is almost counter-cultural (in fact, it is counter-cultural). It makes little sense to spend hours making cards when you can buy them in under a minute. But I find a connection here with slowness. Here are slow cards for a season which should be marked with slowness. Slowness of spending time with family, of lingering over the dinner-table chatting, of making space for reconnection with the spirit.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

I just started a new project which is going to be a skirt made out of two recycled bags. I'm still halfway through unpicking all the seams and sorting them into their respective parts. I've been inspired by all the paper-bag style belted/gathered skirts that I've been seeing online. Its very fortunate that I have two bags as one wouldn't be enough to make a knee-length skirt with a gathered waist. Its also a good use of what were two rather unattractive bags which would otherwise be languishing in a cupboard somewhere. I'm going to use the inner liner as the outside and the outer for the inside as the outside has stitch marks. Plus the inner is lighter and will be 'floofier' (no, that's not really a word, I know) when I wear it. So wait and see. The white dress is in hibernation as I'm not entirely happy with the gathering I've done and I need to unpick some and add some darts and stuff and I've not been in the mood for this patient task.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lighting Show

Our lamp is the orange one, top left.

After a few late nights and an early morning, the mr. and I finished our lamp for the Unidentified Lighting Object submission. It turned out really well and a kind friend brought our lamp when it was auctioned off for charity. We hope someday to make some more for other friends and family. It makes a great childrens night-light with its warm glow and the multi-layer stories. You can watch the video of the interviews with the designers here. The photos above were taken by whiteunit who also took portraits of all the designers. The event was organised by a collective called When Lights Work. Their site has more images including this nice large one where you can see our lamp in more detail.

Mushroom Hunting

Recently this little birdy went shroom-hunting in the night. This picture was captured with only the glow of the streetlamp and a primitive digital camera but it turned out great. I tried to capture this from mouse-eye view and the ever popular rabbit-eye-view. If the angle looks like I was lying on the ground, its because I was!

mouse-eye view of the mushroom

rabbit eye view of the mushroom

Mushrooms make me happy too. I think its because of a childhood filled with stories of fairies and wonderlands where buildings were mushrooms...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Craft Goodies!

As Missus D was leaving she bestowed upon me a bounty of beads, wire and fastenings for making jewelery. This I plan to do soon, I think the little pink bows would make a very nice Christmas present for a few little girls I know (I just need to find some time!). There are a lot of beads though that wont go very far though, as I'm going to make them into some nice things for me!

Missus D was also kind enough to gift me one of her brooches, which is rather cute. I think its Japanese fabric and I really like the button in the centre. It goes nicely with lots of things (hint, hint!), you may want to check out her shop to get your own or maybe one for a friend? :) Its nearly Christmas...

My friend Mein was busy at MAAD (Market of Artists And Designers) recently with her letter press which I got to try on this vintage sketchbook.

I love the quality of the letter press print, the depth of the press really adds another dimension to the image.

A cacophony of greys


I think I brought this because it reminds me of a dress I wore as a very small child

The full Malacca bounty: beads, thread, clasps & cotton

I also forgot to post my Malacca Trip booty. We crafty colleagues chanced upon a couple of craft shops in Malacca and very nearly didn't make it back to the bus! There were many fabric shops, a beads and general crafting shop and a fabulous stationery shop all in the same street near to the Majestic Hotel which is a gorgeous place (and they serve nice cake, and have a really good dayspa!!). I managed to find three different shades of grey crochet thread (of course!), some beads (also grey!), antique brass coloured clasps and some cute cotton fabric.

Now, I just need to find a scrap of time somewhere...