Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Creative Space

Oh, I am loving my time out in the studio these days.  When I finally get out there, it's usually after 8 -- but lo and behold, there's still a hint of daylight in the sky.  The air smells fresh, and all is peaceful and quiet.  A few friendly hedgehogs poke around on the borders of the yard.    I've been on a bit of a podcast blitz as well.  I've been listening to episode after episode of This American Life.  Have you heard of it?  It's classified as a radio journal and the premise is that every week a theme is chosen and stories that are variants on that theme are explored.  Quite simply, it's brilliant.  I often stay out in the studio after I'm done working just so that I can finish listening to an episode.  I'm sure all of you mamas out there (stay-at-home or otherwise) appreciate what I mean when I say that I crave social and cultural stimulation.  TAL (among a few other podcasts, like Radio Lab) help provide that for me.  If you haven't yet had the pleasure of listening, find This American Life here, and Radio Lab here.  You can stream all of the programs directly from the sites.  Working in the studio + listening to a podcast is for me, multitasking in the best way.

Anyway.  Here's what I've been up to:  Lots of prints, including some very satisfying new mosaics (each of which is one-of-a-kind.)  Still building up stock though unfortunately, I won't be at the Nelson Market this Saturday.  My stall-mate has had something important come up, so we're aiming for next Saturday, November 6th instead.

I have the pleasure of playing along with Kootoyoo today.  If you have the time, check out many other creatives and their spaces here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Checking in.....

Okay, I admit it: I've totally fallen off the wagon with Blogtoberfest.  On the plus side, my work in the studio has been prolific and I'm feeling fantastic about the output.  This is what it comes down to: something's got to give.  I have two little sleepless wonders  -- one of whom, thanks to daylight savings, prefers to get up at dawn with the birds, and isn't in bed for the night until about 8pm, and the other who wakes several times in between.  When I have so little time and energy to work, the studio wins over the computer hands down.   Also, it's beautiful outside and I've been preferring to spend any other leisure time I can muster going for walks or playing outdoors.

I doubt that the point of Blogtoberfest was to turn me against blogging, but the pressure to sit down every day and post has made it a chore.  So, in the interest of my sanity, and to preserve my good feelings about blogging, I hereby discharge myself from Blogtoberfest.  Like someone who jumps into a marathon without training or foresight, I've totally hit a wall.  I feel a bit guilty for letting go of my commitment, but I'm telling myself that it's fine -- it's my blog and I get to decide what's best. 

To keep things from being too gloomy and boring, here's a picture of a rainbow (refracted by a glass of water in my window) in the dishwashing bubbles.  Totally mundane, but pretty all the same. 

Congratulations again to Beck, winner of the giveaway!   I'll probably be posting again sooner than I expect.....once the pressure is off, I'm sure I'll be teeming with ideas and enthusiasm for this space.  Until then..... xx

Saturday, October 23, 2010

And The Winner Is.....!

So, I just visited and put in the variables between 1 and 15, and wouldn't you know it picked number 15!  True randomness always surprises me.  BECK of Dandelion is the winner of Kari Chapin's The Handmade MarketplaceCongratulations Beck!  If you see this post, please email your details to me at  Otherwise I'll be in touch and will post your parcel off to you ASAP.

As for the rest of you, don't despair!  I have another copy of Kari's book tucked away for a future giveaway.  Luck and random selection may shine on you yet.  A huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered; your tips were so brilliant, I think I'll dedicate an entire post to them tomorrow sometime in the future (too many break-of-dawn awakenings, sleepless nights and full days here recently; I think I just have to let go of daily posting for now.)  See you then.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Felt like Friday....

It was just too easy getting this "For the Kids" showcase together -- so many amazing things for babies and bigger children in the pages of Felt.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Creative Space

In my creative space this week, I'm gearing up for my second attempt at the Nelson Saturday Market on October 30th.  Fingers crossed for better weather this time....

Just building up some stock.  A few of the organic baby tees and lots of organic sleep sacks and blankets.  It's nice to focus on prints again after taking a break for a few weeks....

And speaking of breaks, I think I'll definitely be taking a bit of a blogging hiatus after this whole Blogtoberfest shenanigan is over.  You may be able to tell by my erratic posting this week -- I'm getting a little burned out.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I'm more of a when-the-mood-strikes sort of blogger than an every-day sort of bloggger.  Which is a valuable thing to know about oneself, I guess.

At any rate, I'll do my best to push though the wall and finish what I set out to do.  One bright spot in my immediate blogging future will be picking the winner for my Handmade Marketplace giveaway!  Stop by and enter here if you haven't yet.  (And thank you to those of you who have.  You guys are one clever bunch -- I'm loving your tips.)

And finally.....If you have the time, it's well worth checking out the lovely Kootoyoo to find many other creatives and their spaces.  Always a pleasure....

Wordless Wednesday (ish)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good To Be Reminded

A few months ago, I read a post on one of my favorite blogs, Simple Mom, called "Use the Good Stuff."  It's something I've thought of often since.  The post describes something I'm sure many of us do -- fail to use our favorite things because they're so precious that we're holding out for a perfect occasion worthy of their specialness.  I do this with all sorts of things -- my favorite perfume, nice sweaters, jewelery, cups, kids' clothing, even food.  Why is it that the stuff I love the most is the least used?  What am I waiting for?  It seems especially ridiculous with something like my daughter's dresses -- she'll only fit into them for a matter of months anyway, why not get as much use out of my favorite ones as possible?  Since reading the post and recognizing in myself this habit of pleasure-hoarding, I've made a conscious effort to use the things I love.  I certainly don't want to look back and wish I had.....

At any rate, it's a fabulous post (and Simple Mom is a fabulous blog.)  If you have the time to read it, find the post here.

Another good bloggy reminder was in a post I read yesterday on Kitchen Stewardship called, "Seeking Simplicity: Child's Play is a Job Well Done."  The post discusses how games children used to play stemmed from real-life activities, and that as a culture, we've removed play from life-skills.  Giving my children real dough to play with (not only play-doh) or allowing them their own (safe) cleaning and gardening tools will set them up for being comfortable with real-life tasks down the road.  I include my kids in gardening, cleaning and baking as often as possible and as they get older I want to provide more expansive opportunities for them to play at "work," even when it takes longer, creates a bit of a mess, or requires patient supervision and direction.    It's simply a mental shift from "this is a grown-up activity" to "let's find a way for you to participate too...."

And finally, I'm loving the tips that readers are leaving in the comments section of the giveaway.  I've already put one into action!  Lou from Seaside Siblings wrote:  My tip: tie buffers to your crawling baby's knees, so they polish the floor for you... just joking. Um, I think my best tip is to leave a little jar on your toilet windowsill, with a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil and a little water in it. Will keep toilet smelling lovely and fresh all week.  I love this one!  I use lavender all over the house -- for cleaning, in the bath, on my pillow -- but for some reason this use had never occurred to me.  This morning, I put a vintage glass on the windowsill with about 10 drops of lavender oil and a little water.  A great way to make a little nicer an oft-neglected space.  Thanks, Lou.

(Yup, that's my toilet!  On my blog for the world to see.  Who would have thought?)

I know I keep bringing up the giveaway, but please do stop by and leave a favorite tip if you haven't yet.  Entries will end Saturday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

At My House....

 ....we've been extra busy.  My husband and I have some big news (no, we're not pregnant)....we're in the process of buying a gardening/landscaping business!  This is the first time we've undertaken anything like this, so it's a really exciting step to take.  You know, mildly terrifying, but mostly exciting.

As part of the whole business-buying experience, we've been treking to lawyers, the tax department, banks, business advisors - - the lot.  And of course the kids have been making the same rounds.  We've learned which toys to bring with us, how to switch off taking notes/racing after an errant and stair-bound baby, and that the folks at the law office are pretty understanding if a wayward pen ends up meeting a wide and tempting expanse of desk.  Truly, the kids have been troopers -- they've done as well as any one- and three- year old could be expected to after so much time spent with serious and distracted adults.

Because tensions have sometimes run high (who me, stress?) I've found that we've had a need for a bit of extra playtime recently.  Running around, bouncing on beds, tickling, and just giving in to total silliness and mayhem.

So good to let off some steam and play!

And speaking of's my pleasure to play along with the Buttons by Lou Lou blog.  If you have the time, it's lovely to go visiting and see what everyone else is up to at their homes today....

PS,  I'm giving away a copy of Kari Chapin's The Handmade Marketplace.  Find out more here.

PPS, for a few more days, everything still 15-20% off in my shop.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Sunday

 This Sunday, I'm feeling grateful for:

:: The dusky light as I walked out to my studio this evening.  And the way the studio retained the day's heat so that even as it got a bit chilly outside, I was warm and snug in my little room.

:: An episode of family tickle-time this afternoon.  That sort of breathless, snorting, long laughter is such a balm....

:: The chance to go running when the clouds cleared.  If I get out even once or twice a week, I'm feeling happy.

:: Completing the tasks of organizing the junk drawer, the bathroom cabinet, and sorting the toy boxes by type.  Sisyphean?  Perhaps, but it still feels good.  And lo and behold, my 3 year old asking "What else can we organize?"  Truly.

:: The outrageous blossoming that is happening everywhere outside.  Spring, spring, spring!

Hope you have had a weekend filled with small happinesses also.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Give Give Giveaway: "The Handmade Marketplace"

I've been planning this giveaway for some time -- I'm so excited.  101 readers on the blog, and nearly 150 likers on Facebook.  Yay!  Here are the giveaway guidelines:

:: Giveaway comments will close one week from tonight, around 8 pm New Zealand time on the 23rd of October.  The winner will be chosen courtesy of

:: I'm happy to send anywhere!  International readers most welcome.

:: Please be a Facebook liker and/or follower of the blog to leave a comment.

:: To make it interesting, I'm asking that you include your favorite arty/domestic/life tip in your comment.  For instance, I've recently discovered that you can use really fine-grain sandpaper to get rid of pilling on sweaters.  Awesome!  I'm sure all you brilliant folk out there have a lot to teach me (and each other for that matter.)

:: I won't respond to any of the comments in the comments section because it throws off the numbers for the ol' random number generator.  But please know that I'm reading and appreciating every one.  I'll choose a few of the most interesting and handy tips to publish on the blog when I announce the winner.

So, what am I giving away?

An autographed copy (new) of Kari Chapin's The Handmade Marketplace.  Such a great book -- I was given this as a birthday gift by my sister last April, and I found it so helpful that I bought a couple of extra copies when I traveled to Portland in August.  Kari Chapin had recently done a reading at Powell's Books, so it was a bonus to find that they had a stack of autographed copies.

Thank you thank you thank you, readers and likers.  I so appreciate your support.

Good luck! 

Felt like, Saturday

Arg, I've missed a day in my Blogtoberfest quest.  In lieu of time in front of the computer yesterday, my husband and I enjoyed an "in-house" date night following the Nelson Masked Parade.  It was well worth it....Imagine, a whole conversation, uninterrupted!   So, I'll cheat a bit and squeeze in an extra post over the weekend -- here's the first: a lovely "Freshen-Up" Felt showcase - - items that feel like spring to me.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Creative Space

I won't hold back:  I'm feeling really proud of myself.  Know why?  I followed a sewing pattern!   I did everything -- the measuring, the finishing of edges, the pocket.  Everything!  I know it probably doesn't sound like a big deal to you veteran craftsters, but for me, this was huge.  I only figured out how to thread my sewing machine about a year ago and during my short history of sewing I've mostly had what a friend described as a "rip sh*t and bust" attitude toward projects.  I am both impatient and very stubborn.  I'll finish a project no matter what (and usually as quickly as possible) even if it's a total disaster.  Funny, the contrast between my take on sewing and my approach to print-making (where I'm incredibly slow and detail-oriented.)  Anyway, using a pattern and actually reading the directions took a little while, but hey -- look!  Something we can actually use!  And it (probably, hopefully) won't disintegrate in the wash!  Who would have thought?

This is the "Simple Dress" out of Lotta Jansdotter's lovely Simple Sewing for Baby.  Next, "Simple Pants."  There's no stopping me now.

(Full disclosure -- this is actually the second time I managed to follow a pattern.  The first was a few days ago, with a much simpler pot-holder pattern:

On the left, my own version, sans pattern.  On the right, pattern followed -- this little comparison was enough to convert me.)

What else?  I've done some work refurbishing a child's art desk that I found the same day I found the doll's house at the flea market.  The two cost $20, combined.  I do love the flea market -- and clearly it loves me back.

And finally, some baking.

Pumpkin ginger cake,  Anzac biscuits, and no-knead bread -- our starchy mainstays of the moment.

 Do pop over and see Kirtsy at Kootoyoo to find many more creatives and their spaces.  Just follow the link here.

PS Everything is still on sale in my shop....  Take a gander here if you like.

PPS  100 readers, yay!  Giveaway coming over the weekend.