Thursday, 8 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...there is STUFF everywhere

Time is an amazing construct. It is quantified by the number of times a atom vibrates. Yet, it has a qualitative measure for example when you are bored or doing something awfully mundane it drags and drags. Whereas, when it's December time flies and before you know it it is two weeks before Christmas and there are things that need to be made for the market stall, the car needs to be serviced, start thinking presents for family and friends to about and then there is the Christmas cards. OMG the Christmas Cards! For about 10 years I have been making my own cards by hand. The designs range from various incarnations of Christmas trees, baubles, doves, and stars. This year I thought I would revisit a Christmas stamp of a bare tree. The last time I used this design I sewed onto the card red and green sequins to represent baubles on the tree. This year I went with holly.

Several months ago when Christmas decorations were first coming out, so probably around October, I found these cute little holly die cuts. Snap! these will be great on cards with the tree stamp. So with a bit of fiddling around with stamping and sewing on holly leaves then playing around with paper holly berries, I finally came up with the following design.

Each card had a tree stamped on, then with the additional help of a holly punch, more leaves were made. The additional leaves were glued then stitched in place. The same holes used for sewing on the leaves were then used to sew three glass seed beads on. On the inside a flyleaf of paper was glued along one edge to protect the cotton holding it together on the wrong side.

This stamp is readily available so if you read this and find it a great idea for your next cards, I'd love to see them. Please respect my creations and not copy it directly.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Off to Bungendore we go

As part of the slow plan for crochet and knitting to take over the world,  Oliver and Madge brooches and bibs can now be purchased in Bungendore. Trish Creegan, of the Station Shops at Bungendore fame, has opened one of the rooms as a regional designer maker gallery. The Station Shops have been revamped and now have a lovely collection of french inspired homewares including linen by Linum, furniture, decor pieces, jewellery and scarfs (my favourite) and of course things for the little ones too toys and decor. Women worry no more about your partner's disgruntled 'do I have to go?', there is a men's creche at the Station Shops to occupy them while you wander and observe.

First little launch into Bungendore
 So off I trotted to the Station Shops with 10 brooches and 12 bibs in tow. I wasn't quick enough to get my tea cosies in the gallery.Oh well, you snooze you loose.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Oh, the Let the Market's Begin

Summer is around the corner, as so to is the nice weather and an opportunity to pedal my handmade wares. I thought I would start to think abour re introducing the Oliver and Madge range of goodies first to the local markets. So Oliver and Madge have been appearing at the Queanbeyan Sunset Markets on the first and third Fridays of the month. It is held in the space between the Council Chambers and the Conference Centre in Crawford streets and runs from 5-8 pm. There are all sorts of treats for your eyes and your tummy, including wine to taste. This time I have decided to run with the tea cosies, applique bibs and crocheted brooches. Little bit of boasting now; All of the little goodies are designed and made by myself with quality cottons and wools, they can all survive being machine washed (discovered serendipitously).

First Market, and very glad to be out of the hot sun

Pretty little tea cosies, guarded by Oliver the doorstop

Monday, 3 October 2011

Handmade Convention

Yippee the The Handmade Market is on over two days in the convention centre. What a great plan for the weekend to combine the pretty flowers of floriade with the short stroll to Handmade Market, perfect. Saturday came and alas it was yet another dull, dreary and cold Canberra day, best spent indoors. So Floriade was put on the things to do on a sunny day list and I rugged myself up and headed over to the Convention Centre to get some inspiration and see what's around in the making things world.

There were so many pretty and lovely things, so here is a quick snapshot of some of my favourites.

  •  Jenna Appleton   contemporary jewellery from Sydney is just devine. Check out her blog she has some fantastic silver jewellery that she uses etching to get such fine detail. I was so impressed I am the proud owner of  a pair of silver studs with a morrocan inspired pattern. There isn't a picture on her website or etsy of them, so I will put it on my list of photo's to take so I can show them off here. In the meantime, here are a couple of her designs. 


  • I was very pleased to find out that billy mac clothing not only have really cool t shirts for kiddies, including my favourite with a doily printed on front, they also make adults size t shirts to order. Yippee

  • Ahh toadstools, my theses are adorable. Have a look at Gifts Created at some of their others cute tlittle things, including the snails and a rain cloud mobile. In having a futher look see, you can purchase the pdf pattern for the toadstool 

  • I also have a love of paper and paper cuts, so I was like a kid in a candy store when I spotted the beautiful papercuts of Almond Tree Designs. Unfortunately these photo's dont give a great representation of how delicate and beautiful they are. Check out there stuff on their website

  • Its always good to see the master chef famous wares of Rachelle and her zipper brooch and new liberty brooches. Her beautiful wares can be found at Prim and Pretty etsy's site and associated blog

    • cardog designs had all of these cool jewellery insipired by retro objects like bakelite discs, japanese glass and bright plastics. I love the paisley designs used with the japanese glass

    I know there are so many pretty things. 
    • The last one I would like to share with you is from a woman who is making clutches under the name of Chloe & Viscount. These clutches are made of hand made screen printed cotton. At present her etsy site doesn't have any wares to purchase, however she can be found on facebook.

    So if you get time, check some of these very talented craft artisans and there fantastic wares.


    Monday, 26 September 2011

    Lovely drive in the Country

    What better way to spend a Monday than a drive in the country up to Bowral. And so the plans were made on Sunday for mum to drive down to Bowral, and for me to drive up. We'll both arrive around the planned time, call each other, decide on meeting point and start the day with  the first coffee. From there we'll check out the antique and home ware shops. Great! Love this Monday.

    Woke up this morning to an unfortunate overcast, windy and overall chilly day. Not really the best kind of day for a country drive. Oh well, it's more about seeing mum, and hey we'll just have more coffee and cake...yum! Of I set for Bowral, arriving nicely near our planned time, called mum to find out where she had parked. Yeah well, about that, mum had run into a spot of traffic. Not to worry, I'll make myself comfortable in a coffee shop. I walked around a bit and nothing really had enough room inside, until I walked into Wild Food, Heath Food Market. Wow yummy yum yum!! They have a breakfast degustation, great for when you can't decide on what to eat and you haven't eaten for say um, a week. Anyway, long story short, mum gets stuck in traffic, i had way too much coffee waiting, we had more food, we starting our walk and I ran into a friend from a long time back.

    Walking down the street, on recommendation from my friend, we walked into Three Wise Monkeys. The Three Wise Monkeys is a refreshing change the shops we had passed. It is like this shop is more at home in King Street in Newtown, with its beautiful, bright and vibrant jewellery, homewares and toys from countries far and wide. Wow! The first thing that struck me was this great display of colourful barbushka dolls.

    After adoring the many bright wares in Three Wise Monkeys, we wandered further down the road to Dirty Jane's Emporium. Ahh what a gem!  I am as excited as Wallace gets with his love of cheese... cheese Grommet cheese. Anyway, rather than make obscure metaphors here are some photos of wares that people are selling there.

    I found these little felt egg cosies in one of the stores, really excited and ready to purchase. Yeah, its the only item in the whole shop that was not for sale.

    Here's a cute little children's folding table set. Probably not capable of holding a child given that the tag say's "Great as a prop".

    The stall down the end of the emporium struck mum's attention first, we both were perplexed with the white basket of dolls that have the shape of large paint brushes. With closer looks, the stall was full of amazing curiosities like a pottery doctor shapped bag used to warm a bed.

    And above the cabinet. Time was starting to run out, so we quickly whipped around the rest and I found this fabulous chair.

    We said our goodbyes and pledged to catch up more often, maybe next time in Berrima. And drove away as the sun came through the clouds.

    Sunday, 25 September 2011

    Fine then, I'll make a paperdoll, I know that'll work

    After the somewhat disappointing results of the blue scarf, I was determine to make something that works and looks pretty. So out came the newly purchased french craft company's Japanese paper dolls targeted at 8-14 yo (they came from Childplay Toys in Woden). Surely these will satisfy my need for successful outcome, I can do these, I'm way older than 14.

    So the box was opened, and the sheet containing Uchiwa was chosen because she had a lovely paper fan. Being the control freak that I am, the instructions were read first. Read is a loose term, as the instructions are pictures...must be a European thing as they were as easy to follow as Ikea instructions.

    If you look closely at the above picture, you may find that the arms become rather curved. They look really cool, except when you try to glue them onto a smooth surface. There is a technical difficulty with the gluing a curved arm to a smooth body, there is just too much air  in between. Hmm the easy outcome activity option is starting to fail. So, how do I put something in the space? My first thought is that great double sided foam. Yeah that would be great if I had some....people who know me and my collection of craft things would be surprised to hear that I don't have something. Anyway, back to the problem at hand, well arm (yes I know bad pun). How about quilling, yeah I can put a little paper quill in between and it can be the spacer. Great! 

    So with some major findling, with card, then paper quils and glueing in the right space the arms were attached. All now that was needed is the hair, and voila a French Japanese Paper doll.

    Soon after finishing the doll, my dear flat mate returned home. After some idel chit chat I told her about the little doll and how much a craft genius I was by using quilling to put the arms on. Her response, Why didn't you use a glue gun... Don't you just hate a smarty pants!

    When what you have in your mind is not what gets created

    Grrrr, alas today I finished a thin scarf that I anticipated would look differently. It has been a project that I have been playing with for a while now. It started, as most projects of mine do, with a beautiful ball of wool. This time with a lovely blue and indigo graduated fine sock wool. Usually wool this fine gets used in crocheting little delicate things, but I thought I would whip out the fine needles and create a long thin scarf.

    First attempt was the usual way, cast on number of stitches for width of the scarf and knit like crazy for the length. After about 15 rows, I noticed that with the needles I was using and the tension I was knitting at, the end started to curl....mmm. Maybe this curl would be better along the length of the scarf.  So all was undone and the second attempt started with casting on the number of stitches needed for the length of the scarf.

    Second attempt involved mucking around with length of scarf and tension. So for a scarf of 120 cm length, with 30 stitches per 10cm, I began to cast on 360 stitches. Yep, it was an interesting experience loosing count and re counting all those stitches. Now I remember why I don't tend to play with creating jumpers.

    Circular needles were a must for all those stitches

    Great! looking good, it was curling in the right direction, all I had to do now was continue knitting till I got a thickness of around 10cm (remember skinny scarf). Width achieved the casting off begins.

    Ahh, yeah well probably should have kept on knitting given the curl
     Oh well, too much curl, it can happen to the best of us. Maybe I can block it and iron and see how that goes.


      Tried that, no success, still curling badly.That's OK, i'll try to felt it, that will hopefully calm it down a bit.

    Yeah well, if I knitted it in green it would be a fabulous snake like scarf.

    In a last ditch attempt to make it look remotely like I had planned, it's back to the needles again. This time using the first approach of stiches wide and rows in length. Then sew them together. Hopefully  this will work like joining paper and the two curl will counter balance.

    Stay tuned for whether the third attempt works or whether it becomes a member of the graveyard of lost crafts.

    Tuesday, 20 September 2011


    Since blogs were created, I always wondered what makes someone write a blog? Is it because you have a cool product/service and want to sell it via social media, or you want to connect to the world, or you live far away from friends and family and its an easy way to communicate, or you find the restrictions of the 140 (?) characters of Twitter to confining for your verse, or and  the list goes on... I suppose there are probably as many reasons as there are blogs. So when my lovely dear friend and flat mate announced that she was going to create a blog for her uni assignment I couldn't help but be swept up in the curiosity and excitement.  Oh, in the spirit of connectedness her blog is Brian and Betty Go check it out, its a fun and humorous look at the adventures of a gnome called Brian and a babushka doll called Betty, two cultural commentators for the Canberra Region.

    Oliver and Madge has been a name I have used for a couple of years now. For a while now I have been on and off again selling my little wares at local markets. They are such a blast! The trick is, as many market store holders can attest to, is avoiding spending more than you earn. Yeah well, lets just say I'm working on that one, and that my day job employer doesn't need to start a recruitment drive anytime soon. I've had a table at a small market in Queanbeyan, a couple of childcare fetes, and Gorman House Markets. With the warmer weather and Christmas fast approaching I'm sure I will become inspired to take these wares to the local markets. I'll keep you posted on where I may pop up next. Check out the tea cosies on 'Anyone for a cup of tea?' page.

    Oh and I cant help myself, here is a picture of the fatty boom bah Oliver checking out the new square hat box that stores the Oliver and Madge wares.