Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fondness for Japanese things

Today I caught the tram into the city and found myself sitting opposite a sweet looking japanese girl who appeared to be in Melbourne on holidays. She was clutching a map of the CBD in her hands and she was teary. The poor girl - I couldn't pull my attention away. The guy beside me must have been giving her directions because he showed her where we were on the map one last time before he got off. For a little while I wondered what to do - all I could think about was why she might be crying and wishing I could reach out and ask her if she was ok.

In the end I just asked her where she was heading and helped her get to Bourke Street. I asked her where she was from - Tokyo. I said I'd love to visit Japan and that it's very beautiful, and she replied in limited English - yes ... but Japanese people are so ... busy, and Australian people (she paused and searched for words) "...their hearts are very peaceful".

What a beautiful Japanese way to say it.

And in keeping with my fondness for all things from that country, a pattern inspired by a Japanese pine forest illustration:

Still trying to figure out the right colours for it though.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

some more serious stuff

Hola! A couple of interesting things I've come across recently.

Firstly, if you're interested in taking action re climate change, sign this petition at They're after 250,000 signatures 'to show our elected representatives we're serious'. By signing it you're simply saying "I want my government to take sweeping action to dramatically cut greenhouse pollution, shift to clean energy and solve the climate crisis now." It looks good. Do it. It takes two seconds.

Secondly, I've been doing a bit of rummaging around the Forums and Guidelines of Flickr, and there's some interesting rules that you might not be aware of:

1) "...Flickr is for photos. With some exceptions, it's OK to post other images, but if the majority of your photostream contains content other than photographs (like illustrations, screenshots, diagrams, etc.) it's very likely that your account will be marked Not in Public Site Areas (NIPSA). NIPSA means your photos won't show up in photo searches, but they will still be visible in your pages, your groups and contacts."

I did a bit more research into this, and found that even taking photographs of your art/craft isn't deemed proper use either, and could also cause your site to be marked NIPSA.

2) "
Flickr is for personal use only. If you sell products, services or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account."

This seemed like a bit of a vague umbrella statement, so I did some more research into this also. Turns out it's okay to link to your shop in your profile, but it's not ok to have links to your shop within the CAPTION of your photos. I couldn't get an 100% straight answer on this one, but I'd recommend not even mentioning your shop in the caption. Saying "available in my shop" is going to look very much like you're using Flickr as a sort of catalogue, especially if lots of your photos say this.

Interested to hear if anybody else has a different take on these, or know of some more subtle "no-no's".

Monday, October 23, 2006

I sold something!

Yaaaay, I sold my first thing on etsy today!! One of the blue dot necklaces to the lovely Marnie of Felt Up Design. Thanks again Marnie:)

I've been dilly dallying over whether or not to submit some patterns to Rag & Bone Bindery's call for submissions. I read what they're after and it seems they want patterns that have 'no obvious repeats' when covering a book. Which, looking back over all of my patterns, is a requirement that very few of mine suit.

However, I think I'm gunna give it a go. I might be able to scale some of them up, and i'll add this newbie into the mix:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New Friends, and where to put them

This week our apartment has some new friends! Firstly the three Ashley G prints, which I managed to frame nicely for a grand total of $10 all up - yay for dodgy little $2 shops on Smith St! Yeah I know, they deserve a bit more attention than that, but it's an effective short term solution until one day we have some better wall space.

Our second new friend is a living one! Don't get too excited, this little friend only needs to be fed once every month. It's the cutest little Golden Jade tree, and I confess, I'm a little overly obsessed with it at the moment. I picked it up from the Vic Market today after spotting it when doing the groceries last week.

We'd been talking about getting a Jade tree for awhile, and when I saw it I knew it was perfect. It's so bonsai-ish and seriously looks like a quirky illustrated version of a tree! Yay! Although unfortunately, when I brought it home it wasn't what Pete had pictured in his mind at all. Turns out we were thinking about two quite different plants. I blame Google image search :)

Look at that stumpy little trunk!

sorry for all the pics. I couldn't seem to adequately capture it's cuteness in a single photo.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

etsy shop finally open!!

The moment has finally arrived - I've put some items up in my etsy shop!! I was motivated in part by Jessica Lim of
Modamuse, who has offered to have some of my items up in the upcoming Modamuse shop. How exciting!!

So I had to take that final, scary step and decide on some prices. It's hard! Very reminiscent of trying to decide on my hourly rate for web design back when I was a newbie. I really don't want to charge too much, but don't want to undersell myself either. Each of the pieces takes at least an hour to put together including the printed packaging, so I tried to base it on that. I asked around and got a few suggestions, and sort of averaged them out. But at the end of the day I'm still charging more than a lot of people of etsy, which is a worry.

Anyway any feedback or suggestions would be much appreciated. Note that all prices on Etsy are in US dollars but they don't actually stipulate that (which is a concern amongst lots of non US sellers).

the shop is here! -->

stuff for sale so far :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

back to work

hmmm, I've got that post-holidays back-at-work blues. It's times like these that I'm markedly aware of the sort-of 'wrongness' of working from home alone, all day every day. I know i'll get back into the swing of things and before long it'll just feel like normal again... but is that really a good thing? to get used to something that's not-quite-right? Anyway not to worry, after my big client jobs are finished I'm going to start actively contacting studios for some part time/contract work.

In good news, my Ashley G prints arrived and they look great. I just need to find some of those simple borderless clippy frames to frame them. Does anyone know where I could find them??

No crafty photos today, so here's some shots of a cute, lichen covered birdbath at Pete's parents' place in Ballarat :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bookbinding with a sea view

Back in Melbourne today! Pete and I just got back from a short trip to Ballarat (to visit his folks) and then on to Fairhaven near the beach where we stayed a few nights and did bookbinding.

And what crazy weather we had. The first two evenings in Fairhaven were spent huddled round a roaring fire heater, and I could barely sleep for the cold. Then the next two days the temperature hit 30 and 36 C (86 and 97 F). 'Hottest October day in 90 years' they said on the news. We tried to cool down with a swim at the beach, but there was a very strong wind that whipped sand on our legs and the water was still freezing from winter which made our feet numb. We had fun anyway.

Anyway, our bookbinding project was a complete success! Photos and more details below:

My first book :)

I stuck a little envelope on the back enpaper for storing little bits and pieces (and to cover up a bubble, hehe).

I made three books all up - one A6 size and the other two about A7 - tiny but so fun to construct! And they only need about 5 sheets of A3 paper to make :)

Pete found a whole bunch of great tutorials online about how to do bookbinding. The ones that I followed (kind of mish-mashed their processes together) are:

Dave's bookbinding tutorial - easy to follow, good pictures
'Binding books' - lots of details photos

'How to make a simple hardcover book' - good diagram on binding signatures together
The Evilrooster Bookweb - heaps of info on different techniques and handy equipment you can make

The Evilrooster site had instructions on how to make a book press and stitching frame in one unit. You don't really need either of these, but they make life heaps easier. Here's the one we made, with me half way through stitiching my signatures together (note: the 'sea view' is in the background - it got washed out in the photo but it's there, honest!)

Signatures all stitched together, aka the 'book block'.

Petey stitching his signatures together by lamplight :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gocco Tute! Printing pattern repeat (again)

I know I've posted a demonstration of this before, but since my shiny new Gocco 'Stamp' came in the mail, I've found a much nicer, cleaner way to print properly aligned pattern repeats onto fabric + paper. And it's good to show the Stamp in action too. Contrary to my previous posts, it is actually a very handy tool to have.

Here's mister Stamp.

The stamp has a spongey base that's slightly sticky, so your screen sticks to it. The design on the screen is a pattern tile that interlocks with itself, to form an endlessly repeating pattern.

Here's my piece of paper with a couple of prints already on it. Sitting on top is my polyprop 'registration plate' with the design printed on it also. The registration plate is cut to be the same size/shape as my B6 screen, (plus a little bit extra at the top and bottom - i'll explain that later). The print onto the registration plate was done with the plate+screen perfectly aligned.

Okay so here's the stamp sitting on the paper, or should I say above the paper. The curved clippy things on the side make it so the screen 'floats' there until you push it down. Directly underneath the stamp is my registration plate. The top and bottom of the plate line up with the clippy things because of that extra little bit of height I added.

Once the registration plate is slid out from underneath, Stamp! My hand looks weird and huuuge in this shot!

The final print. The alignment is much better than my previous method - yay :)

For anyone wanting to print free of the Gocco machine I highly recommend the Stamp. You can get with or without the 'Stamp Kit for Cloth', nice and cheaply from Welsh Products for $36.50 USD. They're not sold anywhere in Australia unfortunately.

Hope this comes in handy for someone out there :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes :) Pete and I are spending the first week of our holidays just grounding ourselves before we head down to the beach. This means hanging out in the city, enjoying the art & craft supplies that Melbourne has to offer, and Pete getting ahead on a little bit of freelance. It might sound a little bit too 'worky' for a holiday, but sitting on the floor doing crafty stuff is what we love doing when we actually have spare time.

This holiday's project is bookbinding. Pete's found some awesome online tutorials on various bookbinding methods, and some vintagey book covers at a secondhand book shop to rebind with blank paper.

We weren't sure where to go for bookbinding supplies (none of the stores actively advertised it), but we found some great stuff at Melbourne Etching Supplies (go figure) and Melbourne Artist's Supplies (Little LaTrobe St). Here's what we got:

From left to right: headbanding (the decorative stripy stuff you see when you look down at the binding from above), a bone folder, binding needles, binding thread, a nice new stanley knife, binding ribbon, an awl (for making clean holes through which the binding thread goes), flexible binding glue.

If we get good at it I might post a simple tute if anyone's interested. A lot of the things above are nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hello! Hope everyone had a great weekend - it was soooo warm and sunny here, which was extra nice because Sunday was my birthday. Now I'm 25! There's something strangely significant about that number. Like it's the end of one era and start of another. I know it sounds silly, but it makes me realise that I'm not going to feel 'young' forever, and is motivating me to really try and figure out what I want to do with my creative career.

Anyway, I might be a bit quiet on the blog front over the next couple of weeks - Pete and I have taken two weeks off work to do whatever we like with. Feeling a million times more relaxed already.

Lots of jewellery making has been going on and I should be able to post photos soon. I'd like to start putting things up on Etsy but first I need to figure out if I can get away with posting things as 'Letter' post rather than 'Parcel' post. Huge price difference, but 'Letters' have to be less than 20mm thick.

Okay, time go do some chillaxing :)