Friday, June 27, 2008

Longest R & D phase ever

I've been having some huge blog absences lately - basically same old story of juggling lots of things, yadda yadda. You've heard it here before ;)

One thing I've been working on steadily is my clutch purse design. It's been quite a lot of work to get it perfect - not enough interfacing, interfacing like cardboard, interfacing too heavy, interfacing+wadding too bulky, magnetic clip not reinforced enough, corners too rounded ... until finally I got it right.

And I couldn't have done it without some fantastic advice from the very wonderful Nicole Mallalieu! After much encouragement from Pip I finally got around to visiting Nicole in her studio. And she was so nice! I didn't expect to come away with so much know how (really I should have been paying for a class to get this information) and it was all really valuable advice. Nicole is a self professed perfectionist and my 5 prototype clutches is pretty standard for her. If for some crazy reason you haven't heard of Nikki yet, hop over to her online shop & blog. All the bag making supplies you need, tutorials, classes - a one stop shop :)

A stack of prototypes (yep the wooden feature panel is still in the works :) )

I wasn't very happy with the idea of my clutch purses needing to be clutched. I like my bags to be hands free. So some nice sturdy removable wrist straps needed to be developed :)

Making the wrist straps with a double headed rivet to join together all those layers. My machine was never going to get through all that.

Anyway I've popped a few up in my shop to see if they were worth all this hard work :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good girl, Frankie

I finally opened my copy of Frankie on the couch last night, and boy did they hit the nail on the head with their features of a whole bunch of my favouritest people and things:

Shannon from Auntie Cookie!

Stickmeon by Deanna

Softies for Mirabel, courtesy of Meet Me at Mikes!

My all time favourite TV show! I already got my DVD box set a few months ago :)

And last but not least, a whole double page spread about Authur's Circus! Just around the corner from my place! Isn't little Arthur cute??

Congrats girls!! Much deserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday's lineup

I managed to eek out what little sunshine came into our living room this morning in order to finally take these photos. New fabrics to appear in the shop on Monday!

Firstly, Houses & Bicycles in lots of colourways:

Houses & Bicycles in Teal on cream

Houses & Bicycles in Robins Egg Blue on cream

Houses & Bicycles in Oranges on cream

Houses & Bicycles in Chocolate on seed

And some old favourites:

Birch Forest in Robins Egg Blue on cream

Birch Forest in Gold on cream

in Robins Egg Blue on cream

Riverside Adventures in Gold on cream

I'll be popping this lot up into the shop at about 10:00am Monday 23rd. It's a very whimsy themed update I reckon.

Oh - quick question! The houses print is available full width for once! Do you want it available in both full and half width?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quilt in progress

Aww you guys were all very sweet with your nice words about my simple quilt! As a result I was very inspired to keep on working on it today (sometimes when I should have been working). I got the whole top finished - yay!

Jenaveve asked if I could show some work-in-progress shots, so here they are:

Sewing together strips of squares. See the tiny, featherweight old machine I work on every day? I'm not sure how it will handle the quilting part but I reckon it sends a good message to the "oh but my tools aren't good enough!" style procrastinators out there ;)

Strips of squares laid out on the couch

Strips of squares after ironing the seams flat

Sewing the strips together - the squares actually lined up! Mostly...

Back of the quilt-top, seams ironed flat. I actually really like the colours here - all shades of natural/cream linen with bits of colour in between :)

Yay quilt top finished!

Experimenting with different backing and binding options...

Another option (hello... is that new fabric??? More on that tomorrow!)

And that's all so far! Don't be surprised if I totally run out of steam and there's no more updates for a few weeks ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quilt To Be

Another crafty project I've been working on after hours - my very first quilt!

Here are all my squares laid out, after much rearranging:

I know these night-time photos are totally unworthy of this blog but I couldn't wait till morning - there's a limit to how long I can get away with consuming the living room floor with my layout ;)

I decided to keep it simple because it's my first, but I wish I could have done something more interesting like these quilts that Cicada Daydream just posted about. Gorgeous! Oh well, next time...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Experiments with clutches

Lately I've found it really hard to just 'stop' in the evenings. After juggling what feels like a million web, textile and graphic design projects during the day, come the evening and I just have to keep on going.

My recent focus has been making clutches. I've been wanting to make these for ages and I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to it:

Some of these will be available at Bamakko shortly, and I'll pop some other ones up in my shop soon.

Also, I've been prototyping another clutch design idea, with the help of these guys. Here's an initial prototype just made with MDF:

So exciting to see one of my designs cut out of something!! I've adjusted the design slightly and we need to source some nice plywood/vaneer, and then they'll be up for sale too - yay :)

I'd love to find a neat way to add an optional purse chain to the clutch... something that can be tucked away or removed if not needed. I like my bags to be hands free :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

more city love

Thanks to everyone who gave their input on my Gocco woes. Lots of good suggestions there. I think it might have been a combination of things - ink, fabric texture ... frustration ;)

I'm sure some people reading this blog are getting kind of sick of my hometown adoration, but whenever I'm doodling and feel like experimenting with a new style, it's always Melbourne related stuff that pops into my head.

I've always wanted to try this hand-drawn-fancy-lettering look that I've seen around the traps, and got my inspiration from this fantastic Dover book we happened to have on the shelf: "Bizarre & Ornamental Alphabets".

Fun fun. Okay back to enjoying the long weekend :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

craft project disappointment #2

I wish I had better photos to illustrate my point here, but...

Here is a picture of two table lamps, made from custom frames that I ordered in:

Which one do you think was made from special, expensive, adhesive backed card specifically designed for making lampshades?

Which one was made using plain white polyproylene?

It's hard to see here (taking photos of lighting is haaaard), but the one on the left glows a hideous orange colour, no matter what the fabric or bulb is. The one on the right is perfect. You'd be forgiven for thinking the perfect one was made with the fancy card. But oh no - that would be the ugly orange one.

I think I've had it up to my ears with H***works now. Not only are they badly located and the staff are often rude, but they also sell an expensive and inferior product. I spent $70 on this stuff only to find it was really crap.

Lesson learnt - stick to what you know works well, even if it is a bit more fiddly.

That all said, I'm really happy with how the good one turned out. Exactly how I pictured it in my mind. I'm going to make a few more to sell ... somewhere.

craft project disappointment #1

Yep, #1. I have had two big craft project disappointments this week, both due to supplies that just don't live up to their expectations. Here's the first:

Gocco printed twill tape:

I've had this plan for ages to gocco print or stamp some twill tape with cute designs to sell in my shop. I decided that gocco printing would give the best results, so I bought some gocco fabric stamp ink online.

So disappointing. For ink that's especially designed for the gocco and high mesh screens, it was way too runny and bled heaps, and impossible to get a consistent print. The same design printed with paper inks was crisp and perfect. It might not look so obvious in the pic, but here's the original illustration for comparison purposes:

Freshly made screen ink blocked and ready to go.

Any suggestions of what I might have been doing wrong? I tried both stamping and squeegeeing but no success :(

I think I might try again with a rubber stamp.

#2 to come soon...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hello Winter

So begins what I must say is the most difficult season of the year for me.

On hot days when everyone else is sweltering I am fine, but give me a cold day and I struggle. Mainly when indoors, though. Although the weather doesn't get all that cold here in Australia, the main problem is that our houses often aren't very well insulated and we don't always have very good heating. Eg when it's 14 degrees outside, it's 14 degrees inside too. Wake up in the morning and OMG. Brrrrrr.

That said I do love rugging up in scarf and gloves and hat and boots and sitting in cosy cafes watching the weather outside :)

P.S. - thanks so much everyone for your valuable feedback on the houses print! I received some colour samples back today and they look great. I'm so happy about this one :) And it will be available FULL WIDTH for once! That's around 140cm of printy width goodness. Yay!!