Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Twas the Night before Christmas, and time to take stock...

Mum and Dad
I've been feeling so blessed this year.

My big boys are all finding their paths in adult life, my parents have stayed in excellent health as they both turn 80, Terrific Trev is mellowing and enjoying life more than he has allowed himself to for years!, and I've had the most wonderful time all year ignoring housework and exploring creative avenues in all sort of directions.

small Harry
I've met great people through the markets, both fellow marketeers and also wonderful marketers. I have had good times with old friends and spent wonderful moments with my sister, brother-in-law and their children when they visited. I nursed new great-nephew Harry within hours of his birth - how special does that feel! - and spent time with all of Trevor's wonderful family, including my first visit to his home city, Adelaide, where his 90+ year old Dad still lives. Life is pretty sweet, and I really do feel privileged to be able to say just that.
when my sister came out to visit

Thank-you, dear followers of this blog, for keeping up with my ramblings this year! Have very happy Christmases and stay safe and healthy for 2012!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A twilight affair

"The city" is a pretty magic place in the nights leading up to Christmas...somewhere I took my boys when they were little to see the lights, the giant Christmas tree in the square, and the Myer windows, and it's where my own parents also took me and my brother and sister when we were small, for much the same purpose.

Debra Lidster's photo of the Myer Christmas windows

It's great fun to be part of the Christmas events with the Christmas BrisStyle indie Twilight Market this coming Friday night...not just about offering our hand-made goodies for sale as stocking fillers and presents for under the tree in a world where we all have to search harder and harder to find something a bit unusual, a bit special.

It's also about sharing the buzz with the city workers, the families come to see the lights and the tree, those starting out their Friday night festivities, those on their way to pick up trains or buses to get home...the chat is always interesting and stimulating and we all love talking to people who are interested in what we do and why we do it in the happy crafting collective world that's BrisStyle. And the many others we've got to know - the customers, the suppliers, those from allied fields, the extended families, the new babies, those who have faced illness, even a few we've lost along the way. The hand-made world is like a very large, disparate family and I feel very blessed to be part of it.

In BrisStyle we have a little band of special, special people who dedicate a great chunk of their "spare" hours to organising and promoting us and what we do - arranging markets and seminars and workshops, liaising with government agencies and business organisations, supplying us with all sorts of info and suggestions to help us all along our chosen paths, and at the same time still trying to find the time to ply their own crafts.

Peppermint Magazine's photo of a BrisStyle indie Twilight Market in full swing.

So if you are local, come and visit us in King George Square from 5 p.m.  - have a chat, and by all means look around at our wares for some Christmas shopping that's outside the parameters of normal retail shopping. Look forward to seeing you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Christmas Carol

The St Augustine's Christmas Community Carols is something I used to do with my boys when they were little enough to go bathed and in their pj's, ready for bed straight after we'd headed for home via a quick viewing of the city lights from Bartley's Hill. Grandma came too, and we feasted on sausage sizzle, were directed in song by the legendary Hugh Cornish, and all waved around real live candles, stubby ones with little cardboard collars to protect small hands from hot wax, without burning down the church or the congregation.

Which suggests the singing went on inside that magnificent old building, but in fact we were gathered on rugs in the equally magnificent grounds of the church.

Not sure how much the boys enjoyed the carolling, but they had a lot of fun being boisterous around the trees and bushes and flower beds in the late spring twilight, and Mum and I did the singing, which we love!

Last year I went back with my market goods to support a brisStyle twilight market extension of the carols. I had such an enjoyable time of it - everyone who I spoke to was cheery, if rather hot and sweaty, and many good parents and grand-parents, having watched children performing in school choirs, and fed children sizzled sausages, wandered into the hall for a browse and some comparative calm, leaving their young to be boisterous amongst the trees and bushes outside. No stubby candles these days, but most things don't change all that much.

Wimcee will be at St A.'s this coming Friday night again (25/11) for the Racecourse Road community carol service/sausage sizzle/twilight market - can't wait! If you are local, and especially if  you have children, come along and share the festive cheer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Love hats! Rarely wear them - hate hat hair almost as much as I love hats - but love hats, head-dresses, wreaths, crowns, tiaras, head scarves, and wonderful Audrey-esque hair-do's.

Think that I must have got this from my Dad, who tends to grace the suburbs wearing a straw boater in summer and a large felt fedora in winter. He has an extensive collection: can at a moment's notice produce anything from a fez to a deer-stalker. And he and Mum have always loved a good dress-up first exposure to the press came as a grubby faced babe-in-arms cradled by an Arts Ball bound bambi look-alike mother (why? still remember the feel of the foamie antlers of her costume but have never understood the reasoning.) Really doing a far better impersonation of a deer caught in the head-lights than my glamourous Mum I made it into the Sunday papers in the days when there wasn't a great deal going on in Brisbane, obviously. Maybe hence Dad's predilection for the deer-stalker? Moving right along...

Gail Davis as the original female super-hero
I was many things out of the dress-up cupboard, but my favourite alter-ego of all was Annie get-your-gun Oakley. I had the fringed vest, the cute skirt, the cowb'y hat, and the six-shooters, with holsters, to match, and stalked around the flower beds of our family home shooting imaginary baddies for hours at a time. How healthy is that! We're talking early 60's here, when the world was in love with the USA, Disney ruled the hearts and minds of Australia's young, and we could all sing the theme song of Davy, Davy Crocket, king of the wild frontier, without have any idea where the wild frontier was, or even what it was.

This early love affair with a happier period of American influence lead me to make a number of stylised wig-wams to sell at market, and from there, naturally, to papooses and feather head-dresses. And of course, best fun of all has been the feather head-dresses...they take a disproportionate amount of time, but are much, much fun to make.
Annie's put her side-arm to bed long ago, but then I always actually preferred the more colourful side playing Cowboys and Indians on the state school oval at lunch-time, and bows and arrows are so Robin Hood (with the Richard Greene American accent) after all

Wimcee will have a full compliment of feather head-dresses (plus lots more) at the Mathilda's Christmas Market tomorrow (19/11) at Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BiECO - the green BrisStyle market.

Of all the wonderful markets that the BrisStyle collective holds through the year - all hand-made, all local...not sure where else in Brissy-land you find that combination of wonderfulness - of them all, my favourite is the BiECO: the BrisStyle indie Eco market.  

This only happens once a year, and this is only the third ever. This year the green and leafy grounds and hall of St Augustine's church at Ascot will be bursting with recycled, upcycled, repurposed, and vintage wonderfulness, as well as take-and-make kits, demonstrations, workshops, seconds sales, and supplies.

There is a lovely, laid-back vibe that attaches itself to the BiECO that speaks to the once-upon-a-time hippie in me; and because it has different criteria the BiECO is a market in a class of its own...this is less little girls' skirts and Amy Butler-esque hand-bags, and more quiet forrest coloured boiled wool, the dinky-di retro-ness of old linens, op-shop collectables, re-worked memorabilia, and Melanie's superb vintage kimono silks and crepes.

my journal cover with brooch

Come and visit us on Saturday, 12th November, from 9am until 2 pm.

Throw pillow Vintage Linen OOAK Tea Towel Repurposed  Western Australia  Map of Goldfields Cushion Pillow
vintage fabric cushion from Collecting Feathers
upcycled and pre-loved
Chicks In Pink  - hot pink and aqua  - crotchet rosette brooch
pre-loved wardrobe gems from Ruby2gogo

The Lucky Puppy
memorabilia notebooks from Meggy Green

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day and Night, Night and Day...

This Friday night sees the staging of another BrisStyle indie Twilight Market in King George Square, Brisbane - fingers and toes crossed for a perfect Brissy-style balmy spring evening under the non-daylight-saved stars! Something a little dia de los muertos about this one too, being just around the chronological corner from Halloween. (If day-of-the-dead over-the-top calavera-chic tickles your fancy, take a stroll and visit the Crafty Chika here, or Calaverita Mexicana here.)

Day of the Dead Altar- A Signed 5x7 Fine Art Photograph-  Let's Celebrate
This print for sale from etsy here: Mariposerfuerte

see more of Carmen here: chica chica boom chic

Things Latino - a la Carmen Miranda and Frida Kahlo - have always had a fascination for me...all that colour and pattern, the symbolism and multi-cultural references, the whole outrageously, joyously, ketch-chi kit-and-kaboodle!

Iconic Frida

So wiggle on down town to King George Square this Friday night - I'll be doing my bit for the festive vibe with lots of new bags, aprons, headwear, childrens' wear, soft toys and accessories,  plus a couple of recycled and upcycled pieces for grown-up chicas! (boom-boom)

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Going shopping with etsy, browsing the mother and child sweetness that will be reflected at the ALL hand-made BrisStyle indie Mother and Child market happening next week-end in Brisbane.

From divine hat designs

                         From BrisStyle's Rod 'n' Lil
From Summerlee808

From GallerieAnais

               Go shopping
               with other BrisStylers here!

From BrisStyle's Bubba Chenille 
Have a great week-end!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My creative space...fab felt flowers.

I felt like I'd returned to my roots this week (former teacher, former mother of youngsters, former volunteer instructor at school art lessons) taking a school holiday workshop at piece together sewing studio for children 8 and older in embellishment making.

We had a lot of fun and they made some beautiful hair slides and brooches to take home - really lovely stuff and so creative in their choices (right from the start we did a sort of musical chairs thing as they settled on which colour they wanted their piece of felt to be).

We made several different fabric pieces, but the felt flowers was least's a simple activity, only required some hand sewing, a few stitches, but looks so professional when sewn onto a hair slide and worn over a pony tail!

First step is to draw five identical flower shapes onto a piece of felt,
using a cardboard template of a simple flower shape
Place one of the pieces flat on the work top and folding the second piece,
lay it on top of the first. Hold them lightly at the central point.

Repeat with each of the flower shapes, laying each
at right angles with the previous folded shape.

With all five pieces in place, now secure
the 'petals' with pins.

Using embroidery thread and an embroidery
needle, sew a few stitches through the centre
point, making sure to catch all segments to secure.

Finally, remove pins and sew a button or two over
the central stitches. Finish with a knot at the back.
Attach the flower to a blank hair slide, hair band,
brooch back, or even a large safety pin.
Good fun. Looking forward very much to taking a workshop, 'Rags to Roses' under the auspices of the Brisbane City Council Art Bites programme, in November. The emphasis will be on recycled materials, and the workshop will take place at BrisStyle's indie Eco Market.

The BiECO is an annual event - this year it will feature not only recycled, eco-friendly and vintage wares, but also craft supplies and kits, and workshops - everything to encourage and inspire handcraftiness! The workshops are free, but participants need to book through qtix to ensure a spot.

Handicraftiness abounds these days - go here to get a zillion other bites of inspiration from crafty folk!

Have creative times!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eye of the storm!

My beloved Nanna was a great believer in the short break long before they dedicated magazines and newspaper lift-outs to the concept. Not long before she died I took her, at Mum's instigation, for a short break at The Boolarong. This was a bit of a landmark hotel at Mooloolabah - the restaurant made a whole cuisine style out of fresh fruit, put together with lashings of cream, icecream, and synthetic fruit sauces. How bizarre!

Dance floor at the 'Boolarong' Alexandra Headland, ca 1962 [picture]

This was in the days  (70's) when the greater part of the adult population still regarded fresh fruit and veg as slightly suspicious, suggestively primitive - my other grandmother had a habit of stewing the colour out of any edible vegetation before she would serve it up for human consumption, for example. Nanna, who'd grown up in Western Queensland, and who with my grandfather ate the rather stringy mangoes harvested from their own garden, as well as gooseberries and mulberries, and Queensland nuts (later know as macadamias - hah!), had no such reservations, but it was uncommon to find anywhere commercially serving up fresh fruit until a little more recently.

The short break is allegedly as good as a long break, only less disruptive and less expensive. The dashing Trevor is not good at restful and restorative holidaying I suspect; we only seem to do short breaks, or the one wonderful and exhausting longer trip to see my sister in London last year. What I miss in longevity of holiday he does see is made up for in quality...lovely restaurant dining; long, leisurely buffet brekkies; I'm sent off to the day spa for something wonderfully rejuvenating. It is a treat, and it IS (probably) almost as good as a week's time out.

We spent this week-end just past on one such mini-break, celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary. And it was lovely. The eye in the storm at this time of year - I have almost no market-free week-ends between now and Christmas, and they start to double up in November, so it does get a bit frenetic, if not plain frantic.
New Hilton, Surfers Paradise, 'FIX' bar

Tomorrow I'm taking a group of kids aged 8 upwards in an embellishment workshop at Tammy's 'piece together' sewing studio. She also has some special hand-made items for sale, and the studio itself is worth checking out...maybe some early Christmas shopping, or even gift-vouchers for sessions next year? And set in the Woolloongabba Antiques precinct there are plenty of other interesting retailers to browse, and some superlative lunching or snacking to be had nearby.

Have interesting and productive weeks!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My creative space: bags of bags!

I love making bags because it's the ultimate functional art-craft - part blank canvas, part utility, and often quite clever the way the bits fit together and offer little surprise pockets. It's a way for me to mix up fabrics - always an amazement as to what can work together - or indulge in a little applique or patchworkery, while, hopefully, avoiding anything too derivative.

And then there are bag charms! So much fun! Embroidered felt shapes, stuffed fabric hearts, tassels and pom-poms, key ring fobs, bracelets and beads...

I have recycled favourite dresses that no longer fit into bags; or used opshop finds, including jumpers and tablecloths - lots and lots of potential for repurpose and reuse. Other times I have used my most highly prized new fabric finds, as a bag tends to showcase in a way a garment won't.

I make collaged pouches inspired by the work of Japanese collage artists - Hanasho Flower and Art at West End stock these now and I'm so happy they've found a stage that suits their smallness and intricacy. Early in the year I participated in the Reincarnated Kimono Project at Hansho and made five quite different bag-like constructions using pieces of a vintage kimono as the basis for each and exploring different aspects and qualities of the fabric, and again mixing it up - with modern Japanese fabrics and vintage Western fabrics, some applique, some patchwork, some embroidery...

Little 'happy bags' are another favourite of mine - they're small enough for young girls to enjoy and I can match them to dresses or skirts that I'm making, but not so much so that they're not equally fun as a stand-alone acquisition. And they equally lend themselves to beautiful, sombre pieces of silk print and emerge with exquisite dignity as an understated grown-up evening purse.

This is my most recently finished piece of art-craft...okay, just another bag, let's not go over-board, but so much pleasure to work with the echino prints and such a delight to find the bits and pieces - crocheted flower, floral print lining - to complete the picture, out of my chaotic workspace.

Next year I'm contributing to another exhibition, using fabric construction and possibly some conventional artwork as well (family cheers)...more soon on that note.

Visit some other very creative space inhabitees here

Enjoy the rest of your busy weeks!