Thursday, February 26, 2009

I like em' chunky.........

My pendants, that is.
The bigger, bulkier, bolder, and brighter........... the better. I once read a quote by fantastic mixed media jewellery designer, Ramona Solberg, where she stated, 'I'm a big girl, don't insult me by expecting me to wear something dainty."
I couldn't agree more.
I am, and always have been, a big girl. Those little itty bitty, gold diamond things would just get lost on me. Which is why, when I make pendants, they tend to be chunky.

When I first received the glass for my new pendants, I almost thought they were just too grand. But I made up a prototype, as I do with everything,to make sure glues hold, trims stay on, and most importantly that they pass the Finn test.
If I can go a day, of my nearly one year old son Finn, tugging, chewing and sucking on it, well.....then I know that they're made to last.
The amount of compliments on day one of testing, was all I needed to soldier on and produce a new range of chunky glass pendants.
I have only listed a few so far, but you can expect to see plenty more soon.

A button or two from buttonsbyloulou........

How insanely cute, are my new button rings.

I finally got some of buttonsbyloulou's fab little creations all of my own.
Luckily enough friends and family were given bobbies, bookmarks and hair ties that I bought from this fabulous Aussie seller at xmas, and I tell was sooooo hard to give them away and not keep them all for myself.
So when I saw Louise had updated her blog with a picture of all her new rings, I knew I had to have some. My hair's not really long enough for ponytails, and it's too thin to do any justice to bobbies, so rings were perfect.
I'm a cat lover and have such a bird thing too. I don't have birds, but love the sense of freedom, fun and frivolity they portray. So the cat and bird designs available were a first choice.But then I saw this quirky little house print, and low and behold it has already become my favourite ring to wear.

From babushkas, and spots, to robots and trucks, you'll absolutely love the world of button accessories on offer at buttonsbyloulou and at such affordable prices you'll always be tempted to go back for more.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So sweet...

A big thank you to Jan, for recommending that I be the recipient of this fabbo award, for my efforts in the bushfire appeal shop.
Proximidade is described as follows: This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement!Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!'The rules are: This blog award should be sent to your favorite eight bloggers and they, in turn should forward to eight of their favorites. You should include the text for Proximidade (above) in your announcement blog.

There are so many people that have come on board to help out with the shop, either lending time behind the scenes, donating goods or simply by purchasing any of the gorgeous things on offer.
Our real reward is the little bit of relief we can offer to the victims.
In the theme of things, I'm supposed to pass on this award to 8 bloggers, but I'd like to pass it on to the DUST team. There is more than 8 of them, and I couldn't exclude anyone.
The members of this group have really banded together to keep the oz bush fire appeal shop going strong. From the donations, the man hours and spreading the word in their blogs, their Etsy shops, and their workplace this team has made me so proud to be a part of it.
Check out all these great things still available to buy:

Closing down sale.........

Sadly the Bead yourself shop at 244 high street Northcote Vic, is CLOSING DOWN.

Good news, is that everything is dirt cheap. They are getting rid of the lot. Containers, displays, beads and findings. I got all my metal findings at 50% off, which worked out cheaper than the wholesalers.

And remember how I mentioned recently, that I wanted to fill little containers with all my vintage buttons, color coded, well the bead containers are going out for 20cents each.
They close for sure in March, but will close doors sooner if all the stock goes, so if you're after a bargain head over ASAP

A book for a buck............

Well, my shopping exploits this week, mostly entertained the notion of filling up the bookshelves. When it comes to books I'm a bit of a 'how to' person. Always buying books on how to build, create or make something. A lot of those sorts of books, are keepers. Ones you put on the shelf for a rainy day, jam packed with projects, and inspiration.
My first venture was to the new salvo's that opened up in Settlement rd, Thomastown. Who could pass up a book for only a buck or two. I got these fab books.
Quilts 2000, which is jam packed with over 630 quilts that were donated to raise funds for the 2000 paralympic games. I don't quilt.......yet. It's one of those things that does interest me though. Not so much your typical log cabin designs, but more the abstract, art quilts. I did get another quilting book called Art Quilt, which has some really out there pieces like this:
A lot of ideas that I'd like to incorporate into some art badges.
The last book is Art by Albrecht Durer, a fantastic collection of black and white line drawings and etchings. The op shop also delivered two new Australiana tea towels, adding to my Little collection of 20 odd, that will become handbags......soon.....I promise. and a wooden tray, to pop rings on for my market stalls, Yey.
Next stop on the Journey was the book grocer. Now, all hail YaYa (my mother in law) for uncovering this little gem. It's a fabbo book store at 263 high st Northcote, with books galore and a little cafe, to sit and read. Prices are capped at $6 for soft covers, and $10 for hardbacks. Half the proceeds on Saturday were going to the bushfire appeal, which was what lead us there on this fine day.
I nabbed.........some more 'how to' books, yes boring I know. But they have a huge selection of fiction too, for all lovers of a good read. My titles included, succeed in portrait photography, the non designers design book, small is the new big (remarkable business ideas) and the rough guide to blogging. I would have bought any one of these books at you typical retailer for $24.95 but I got them all for that price, so I was wrapt.

$10,000 in a week..........

This week hasn't been so much about me, for once.
Like many other fabulous dusters, I have been helping out with the Ozbushfireappeal. A shop that has been set up by the dust team to raise money for the bushfire appeal with all proceeds being donated to red cross.
Coordinated by Felicia fairy and vanilla pixie, the shop has exceeded all expectations, and at last count we were up to $10,000. That's so huge. People from all around the country, Australia and Overseas, have been donating items for sale. As well as purchasing.
7 of my parcels going out this week are to O.S destinations. So it's great to see that the Etsy community has pulled together as one, to support this cause.
The appeal will continue to run for a few weeks yet, so If you haven't dropped into the shop, head on over. Donations are still being accepted. Here's some of the goodies that I've nabbed so far. Gift tags from Percival road, smurf shorts and tote from JaEmart and girl/owl print by schmooks.
Truth be known, I've had products in my favourites from each of these sellers, so when they came up in the appeal shop, I was wrapped that I could get them and know that my money was going to such a great cause.
As a mum, who only works part time, I felt this was the perfect opportunity for me to contribute. I don't have a lot of spare cash. But I do have a lot of craft and jewellery that I've made, and if it can be making money for the appeal instead of sitting here dormant, Why wouldn't I contribute. Each $10 doesn't seem like much, but as you can see, it's all adding up.
This is the last item I have up for grabs in the oz bushfireappeal shop. A fabulous pen holder, adorned with vintage ladies of the sea. Thanks to everyone who has taken part so far. All your goodies are in the mail.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 6th in the 6th.............

Ive been tagged by two bloggers, rubyjo and shannon (rabbit & the duck). Shannon had a fabulous set up at the sisters market on the weekend. She was so confident, and well organised, can't believe it was her first time, well done.

The tag is to take part in the 6 by 6 game.
Choose the 6th image out of your 6th picture folder and blog it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same. So here goes.................

This is the 6th pic, in the 6th folder. My daughter Kierah. The 'Ki' in Finki. I think she was five in this photo. She's turning nine in a few weeks. How time flies.
From memory....we were playing dress ups. Getting ready for a lounge room theatrical presentation. Kierah is not one to care about hair styling, clips and pretty dresses. So that's how I remember that the outfit was dress ups, and not every day garb. The expression is saying. "If I have to have hairspray....I'll do it myself."
So independent so quickly. She still does plays for us, and even more so for the new audience she has in her 11 month old brother. I hope she doesn't grow out of it either. I love it that she's a little bit different, and just doesn't care. It's hard to maintain individuality in this big old world, or too find it even.

I tag, Lou, Melanie, Gillian, Erika, Leanne, and Carley to play too.

Market stall number two..........only just!

Well, what a weekend.........
Our second ever market was surprisingly successful.
Considering the treacherous weather conditions we almost cancelled. But I was hardly going to recoup my stall fee's by sitting at home on my butt. It was only fair to other stall holders that we show up and make the venue look full and inviting.

The organisers did stay close all day monitoring morale and customer flow, handing out water, and making the call, when to call it quits and go home. As it was, from 10-12 it was really busy, then nothing.......................
I stepped out onto the main road at 1 to see who was around and Sydney rd was a ghost town.
The immediate change in conditions from inside the air conditioned hall, to the gale forced oven winds outside was stifling. Standing there, I knew this was the hottest, most extreme weather I had experienced in my life.

I remember all to well the ash Wednesday fires. So many years ago. we sat out the front of our house on the porch holding ice buckets in front of the fan, with wet rags on our heads. The sky was a harrowing shade of black and red, and you could smell things burning with every breath.

On Saturday, standing there in 46 degree heat, feeling the oppressive hot wind smother me, I decided it was time to go home. I did the rounds, and bought a few things I had been eyeing off. You know I can't come home without supporting my fellow crafters. My proud purchases....................

We packed up happy that we made enough to cover expenses and then some, but dreaded loading up the car, a waiting sauna, that had been poaching in the sun for four hours. I carried our little fan, noticing the blades were still spinning from the wind pushing it's way through us.

The drive home was easy on the abandoned Rd's. A quick stop at Cole's for drinks, was marred by the fact that they had a power out, and were running on generators that were only keeping the fridges and registers running. So it was a quick in and out, in a dark, stuffy blurr.

When we arrived at Grandpa's to pick up Finn, the sky was blue, with a sweltering sun. A hot haze rising of every surface. It was a quick stay, but by the time we left and hopped back in the car, the sky had transformed itself to a thick red and grey cloud. Ty said it was dust.......but I knew that it was that same sky I saw as a 7 year old, full of peoples dreams and hopes going up in flames. You could sense it in the air.
We turned on the radio, and sure enough, fires were blazing in Whittlesea and Kinglake. Only 30 minutes away. Going home we did everything we could to keep the house cool, and prayed for the cool change. Watching the news with fascination, awe and fear, we listened to the horror stories and the growing death toll.
Only then did I think, that my best friend's property was at the back of Kinglake national park. I guess because her suburb is Arthur's creek, and that it's name hadn't come up on the news I didn't worry, but it was only 2 minutes away. So begun, the barrage of calls, to house, and mobiles to get in touch. Four hours later we still hadn't heard, so fear kicked in, and we just kept texting and waiting.
Finally a call.......that was all we needed.To hear her voice. She was safe. Trapped, but safe.

Surrounded by fires, and road blocks, they can't leave. Police have advised it's safer for them to stay. The fires are contained, but the journey out of town is dangerous, with falling trees, burning houses, smoke, charred cars and bodies littered along the roads.
I can't imagine the horror.
My hearts goes out to everyone who has been affected by the fires, and I hope like me you find it in your heart to contribute to any one of the appeals raising money for those who have lost so much.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A fab give away..........

I found the cutest mushroom screenprinted fabric today and even better.......they are giving away one printed quantity, 50 x 70 cm (19.5 x 27.5 inches) to somebody to make a project with.
To enter, visit thier blog, thea and sami blog leave a comment telling them what you would make with the fabric. How exciting! Entries close on Valentine's Day and the winner will be announced on February 15th. I know a lot of DUSTers! who could think of something great to do with it.

Wonderful ways, with polymer clay......

I love, love, love it when I see crafty delights that have managed to incorporate texture into a piece. I'm just such a sucker for it.

A pattern, print or texture will draw me in every time. I love to ponder the depth and the possibilities for how such a texture came to be......possibly the impression of an old spoon, the ripple of a glass vase, or the grain of some wood. When you look around, we are surrounded by so much texture, in nature and man made.
No doubt, it's why babies mouth everything, to feel the cold, hard, smooth marble, or the warm, fluffy cats tail! (Finn's favourite)

The perfect medium for capturing textural impressions of course is clay. Once you've done that forming it into an object of desire is where the creative journey begins.

Jibby and juna, have done just that, and definitely caught my eye with their fantastic clay creations, rich in texture, abundant in color and oozing creative genius.

I discovered jibby and juna's shop on Etsy whilst browsing the gift guides. The glass pendant I clicked on, took me away to thier wonderful display of rings, earrings and pendants. so cleverly created, with a wonderful combination of polymer clay, silver, glass and some original watercolors.

I nabbed this poppy ring quick smart, cause I just adore the combination of red and grey. I was so eager to receive my parcel and have to tell you it looks even better on my finger, than it does in the pic.
The work by Jibby and juna is a big step away from the days of old where clay was coiled into pots, or balled up into beads. There modern take on an age old medium, is definitely Worth checking out, and at such affordable prices you might find a piece or two that needs a new home.

To market, to market.....

On the drawing board this week has been the tedious task of labelling, packaging and working on product displays for my market stall this weekend.

I really enjoy the process of creating, but the rest of it........ well it's just so time consuming. I sometimes wish that someone else could step in and take over at the point of finishing a new piece, to follow through with the photo shoot, uploading, packaging and promotion. It's quite a commitment when deciding to sell your craft, as your think tank needs to expand beyond the product to encompass so much more.

This is only my second stall ever, so I'm still very new to the whole self promoting artist thing. The last one we did pre x-mas was such a blur of a day. We had stayed up so late the night before finalising things, even though I promised myself I wouldn't, so we were really tired.

It was almost like graduation....years of hard work all coming to a point where you don that robe step up to the podium, accept the recognition for all your hard work, then venture out into the real world, full of hope, talent and trepidation.
For me, it has been years. Years of procrastination.
I studied visual arts, dressmaking, fashion illustration, and adv dip eng tech. jewellery. Each time the schooling finished, there were always excuses..........ummm my drawings are not quite there yet, my products and ideas aren't original enough, nobody will like it!

15 years later, finally, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just take the plunge and get myself out there. Whats the worst that could happen......everybody hates it. Yeah maybe they will, but staying true to yourself in the face of adversity, is an achievement in it self.

Fortunately, my first market day was a great success. I did want to hide in the corner or be a fly on the wall, but I owned my shyness, and planted my feet firmly behind my little table, committed to being proud of my offerings. Knowing full well that I did my best.
It was such a buzz, and I just wanted to hug my first customer and do the happy dance, but I kept it cool......and waited till I got home to celebrate.

Even if we didn't sell a thing, for me it was such an achievement, to have a beginning middle and end to my little story. I have so many beginnings, so many........for once I just needed to follow through 100%. I created, put a price on it, stood behind it and sold with a smile. What a buzzzzz!

This time, now that I don't feel so sick to the stomach with fear, I look forward to meeting other sellers, and just relaxing a lot more. If your in the neighbourhood, don't be a stranger.

It's a fantastic market offering heaps of handmade goodies.Plenty of bags, jewelery, accessories, clothes, and household items. Located in the funky Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, it's close to trains and trams, making it super easy to get to.Surrounded by lots of great places to shop on Sydney rd, like savers, episode, spotlight and full of funky places to eat. This is a fab place to go for the afternoon. (forecast is hot,hot, bring bathers, to go swimming at the pools across the road, after shopping)

I know that as time goes on my products will change, and Finki may have a market stall that looks quite different to this Saturdays, but that is part of the story too, the chapter where I define my craft, and find my niche. I thought getting it out there was the end of my story, but seems it's just the beginning.