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!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Due to a muddle of my own making I am not at the markets for a couple of week-ends and as a result have the time for a few special projects, as well as some fun - such as going shopping with brisStyle ! All these spring flowers faves are available from the etsy store links for these brisStylettes.

Super-useful pocket mirror from designs of the heart

Cute insulated lunch bag from bontons

Fabulous firework flowers purse from Sybella Boutique

pretty brooch card from alipink

Happy spring Saturday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hair today...

Hair-dresser day!

I am off to spend the morning with Breah, Alyssia, Violetta, and Cinnamon (at La Moda), which is something I've done consistently for years, ever since I stopped being someone who didn't have a regular hair stylist and thought the whole dependancy cycle ridiculous. Then I found out Breah did my hair better than anyone else - cut it, coloured it, styled it - and I became hopelessly dependant.

Anyone who grew up with frizzy hair will empathise...anyone who grew up with frizzy hair through the Sandy Shaw/Maryanne Faithfull/Jean Shrimpton era will now have their own Breah, a GHD, and quite probably a keratin treatment thing happening. Like me.

Style Me Vintage: Hair: Easy Step-by-Step Techniques for Creating Classic Hairstyles 

This is a lovely book that I saw at Mary Ryan's at Milton a few weeks ago, which I want to go back to buy. Not that I want to replicate a Lucille Ball poodle do, but we're watching series 4 of Mad Men on DVD at the moment and you do start to hanker for french rolls and go with accepting a more mature body shape and concentrating energy on finding a look to flatter! garments and great make-up might be the way to go...

mad men season 2

wimcee will be at St Mary's, Kangaroo Point, again this Saturday, from 10 am until 2 pm, for 'The Sounds of Music' Festival in the church which will celebrate St Mary's birthday. Market stalls, including Gino and his fruit and vegies, will be dotted around the grounds of the lovely church, and as usual proceeds from site fees etc. will go to the church's restoration fund. 

I'll be the one with the fresh cut and colour.