Monday, 31 August 2009

Craft and kids

Things are heating up over at Northside Makers. We have people signing up as members and there are lots of ideas of what we want to achieve with the Collective (club). Our first Coffee and Craft was a lot of fun, but I am looking forward to meeting up with crafty mums in our Craft Mothers group. We just have to find a venue that serves good coffee, has a play space and doesn't mind us sticking around for an hour or two.

Natasha in Konstant Kaos creative space

How do you find time to fit in craft and kids? A lot of us are Work At Home Mums (WAHM) who supplement our crafty income with a part time job. Fitting in the work around the real work of running after a baby or toddler is trying at most times.

Fitting in sewing when my daughter couldn't roll or crawl was relatively easy. She would sit there in the bouncer and watch me as I crafted away, or sit outside my sewing room door and play with her toys. As she has gotten older, it has become more difficult and ever since she pulled the hot iron onto her foot last year, I have been even more paranoid about when and where I do my craft. 6 months of visits to the Royal Children's Burns unit has made me over protective of her.

So at the moment, my craft is squeezed into the times when I am not with her. At night when she is asleep or at her grandparents. I am looking forward to the time when she can craft with me.

Baking Bonanza

My blog entries have been few and far over the last few weeks, probably because it has been reporting and parent teacher interview season at my school. During these weeks there is not much baking that occurs ... so in order to be prepared for the baking bonanza that will occur next week here is my "to bake" list ...

  1. Chocolate Brownies, Annettee Piper from Under the Loupe lists a recipe that I think I might try.
  2. Gingerbread (Wo)men, I bought a cookie cutter and I want to do some for Tori's Birthday. They probably won't be as good as Cathies' cookies.
  3. Soda Scones, my dad's birthday is coming up and I bet he would love some of these. They are his favourite.
Do you have any baking recipes that I should try?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Adventures in Daylesford

We headed off for Daylesford quite early this morning, on a mission to check out the Overwrought security doors for the front of our house in Northcote. We had been meaning to order a security door for ages, but neither of us liked the idea of a door that made us feel like we were in a prison.

I stumbled across Overwrought when looking at a makers market homepage a while back. I liked the idea of the wren door and the shadows that it would cast down the hall way in the afternoons when the sun went down.

We headed off early, had the most yummy lunch at the Farmers Arms Hotel. I ordered their Beef Curry and Jasmine Rice. Absolutely delicious ....

Then drove up and checked out and ordered our gorgeous door (to be delivered in 4 - 6 weeks). We followed this with a stroll through 6 degree freezing Daylesford to check out the quirky antique and bric brac shops. Parked near one of the shops was this decrepid Morris Minor Series II sedan.

Complete with moss, spiders webs and weathered crap. But she was still running with new rego plates.

Makes me want to trundle around in my Morris some time this week.

Hoping that our next visit to Daylesford will coincide with their next Makers Market.

Japanese Baths Collingwood

I spent most of the day in a 42 degree bath in the Japanese Bath House in Collingwood with a group of girlfriends. I have not been to the Japanese Baths in Collingwood in ages.

If you have never been to the japanese baths, I highly recommend it. Yes you have to nude up, but the environment makes up for it. In this day in age of 3 minute showers, it was a guilty pleasure to scrub up and do a total body exfoliation and then sit in a 42 degree bath for an hour!

We also booked in for a half hour Shiatsu afterwards, but it wasn't enough (is it ever enough?) ... Afternoon tea was spent at Birdman on Gertrude Street followed by stroll down Smith Street and a visit to Smith Street Bazaar and incu8tor gallery.

Overall a relaxing day. Tomorrow we are hoping on a day trip to Daylesford.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Friday Finds: Wooden Toys

My daughters birthday is coming up, and so I thought I would do a search for some of the gorgeous wooden toys that are out there in etsy land. I love the idea of heirloom toys, wooden creations that can last for a while.

1. Mysterious Mushroom Puzzle by XylocopaDesign. I love mushrooms and this puzzle just looks so yummy.

2. Bowling Kitty set by KittyBBLove. A great game and I love the little carry bag that it comes in.

3. Wooden Water Bird set by YoureInspired. Classic wooden ducks, just gorgeous.

4. Paint your own family by gemmilou. What type of family would you paint if you had one of these?

5. Heirloom Block set by lilyandlou. These blocks just look gorgeous, better than the mass produced "made in china" blocks I seem to be seeing in shops.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Friday Finds: Notes and Cards

I had fun doing this weeks selection .. just like going shopping without spending the money really!

1. Spiders Web note cards by CardsandNotes

2. Halloween Invitiations by PivotalXpressions. Beky is a new kid on the block with some gorgeous designs for sale in her etsy shop.

3. Cat Hat Ladies by Ellen Morrow Arts. This store has the most gorgeous set of cards. Exquisite illustrations, my little girl went nuts over the Chicken and Rooster cards.

4. Tank Stationary by Snew. Be warned boys and girls, some of the snew stuff is a bit X-rated ... watch out for that excited dinosaur! According to my husband the Tank is a Russian T-55

5. Personalised Folded Notecards by saratams. I love the design of these, and I might get some for my daughter. They are so simple and elegant.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Profile: Jellibat

Not sure if you are aware of this wonderful etsy shop called Jellibat ...
I was fortunate enough to share a stall with her at the last Northcote Christmas Night Market. She makes the most wonderful soft toys and felt objects. She has just uploaded images of her latest creations mythological creatures: mermaid, kitsune, siren, medusa and selkie plush art dolls.

So go and take a look at her etsy shop, most of what she makes is unique and unlikely to be made in the same way again!

Pencil Case for Tori

In a month my little girl will turn two and I have no idea where the two years went since her birth. She is a real person now, talking, singing and of course displaying the famous Lawson temper!

Her Oma has been on at me to make her a pencil case. So tonight I grabbed some fabric I bought a few weeks back, some left over micro-cord and an old dodgy zip and voila!

Align Center

The pencil case has a strap that she can pull across to open or close. Inside there is matching lining as well!

I have uploaded some of my other pencil case designs to my etsy shop. Yipee!

Mum's Birthday

Mum had her birthday on the weekend and part of her present was a trashy novel cover made by Cravings Frocks.

I had seen her science cover at the markets and asked her to do a custom cover for me with the theme of History, as mum likes to read historial romance novels involving slaves .... I think she did a delightful job of creating a book cover that would hide the identify of her novel. And what novel did we buy to go in it? Devil of the Highlands of course (Mum being scottish ...).

Monday, 17 August 2009

Snooch aka Caramon

It has just passed a year since our lovely Boris passed away, our Russian Blue vagabond that we loved so well. I searched my blog to see if I had mentioned him and I hadn't :(

He was with us for just over 10 years, we opened our doors to him when he needed a home. The vet estimated that he was about 18 years old. He loved Anastasia and they got along so well. He was a slut and would give *everyone* lots of love whenever he could. It was quite obvious when he was deteriorating, his rapid decline happened over 4 weeks and he passed away in our arms on the kitchen floor.

So I had a shed a tear when my husband told me tonight that Snooch aka Caramon from Two Lumps passed away a few days ago. Pictures of snooch and the cartoon itself reminds me so much of Boris. It still feels surreal when I come home and I realise that he is not with us anymore, he was such a large part of our lives. I have a few more pictures of him on my livejournal scrapbook.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Friday Finds: Artwork

This week I have a lovely selection of finds ... we have far too many blank walls at our place. Lets see if we can change this!

1. Never forget to remember - Acrylic Painting by CaraLara

2. Catch a falling star by paintallnightstudios. Tori is fixated with Twinkle twinkle little star at the moment, I wonder if this is what she see's when she looks up at night?

3. African Tree by CallaghanArtGallery. I spent 10 minutes looking to see if we had a wall that would cope with this, unfortunately we don't. But there are lots of lovely pieces by this etsy seller.

4. Exploring the Deep Frontier by Purrr. I loved many of Purrr's paintings, but this one caught my eye.

5. Circus by Witchetty. Lots of lovely pieces in this shop, go and look!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

How do I earn my merit badges?

I stumbled across this cute site, goodEGG Industries, with the most gorgeous merit badges.

I have been Busy as a bee ... so I deserve one of these merit badges ... and I am proud as a peacock at what we have started with Northside Makers. And we are definitely going out on a limb!

Have a look-see around this site, there are so many lovely things.

Northside Makers Collective

A few weeks ago, after a disappointing market experience I got chatting with Jennie and the lovely Jay and we thought "we can do this"....

So started discussions over the possibility of a craft collective in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Initially we started talking about doing a not-for-profit market, encouraging crafters and the organisations that support them. But we found that we wanted to do so much more! As we did our homework, we discovered that if we become a not-for-profit association, then we could do so much more with the support of local government and community groups.

And so the adventure begins! We have been working hard over the last week to organise membership forms, market venues and a whole lot more. It will trickle out over the next few weeks as we finalise details, but we now have a web site and we are now pimping ourselves everywhere! So help us pimp!

Play me Design

When ever I find a new site that I really like, I spend a day or two crawling through the back posts .... Play me Design is one such site. Packed with lots of design finds and great examples of industrial design... I am going to add it to my blog roll!

I love this concept of the mouse trap box ... so cool. One of the things that have noticed about Konstant Kaos is that in order to "develop" a new product, I find that it has to have function. I am not a frivolous female, never have been, however I do like a bit of frou frou from time to time. But I am not the sort of crafter that will make eg. crochet brooches, even though I can quite easily ... so items have to have function. Does this make me a bad crafter?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Where can I get those roller skates?

I stumbled across this on another crafty web site ... too cute for words!

If you cannot see this YouTube Video, then click here.

Slow Cooking on the run ...

The slow cooker is always dragged out on days when I am on the run .. So what did I cook today? My version of a Beef and Guinness stew ...

  1. Put slowcooker on high, I like to put a cup of boiling water into the bottom to help it along.
  2. Pour glass of Guinness, take a mouthful
  3. Take beef and roughly chopped onion and seal in pan.
  4. Take another mouthful of Guinness
  5. Once sealed either add some beef stock or a stock cube just to give it more of a rich flavour, today I used an OXO cube. Crumble over cooked beef and deglaze with boiling water to create a rich sauce. If you use beef stock you don't need the boiling water.
  6. Check Guiness again to make sure it is ok ... another mouthful ...
  7. Once the meat is cooked off again, deglaze the pan with your chosen alcohol (ie, put a little bit in and use it to get all the nice burnt flavoursome bits off the bottom of the pan). Wine, Guinness, Brandy (nice with chicken), let the alcohol boil off. Generally a cup worth, the more alcohol the more it will taste a slight bit bitter once cooked.
  8. Drink left over Guinness
  9. Put meat into the slow cooker, put the beef on the bottom followed by carrots (roughly chopped) and then mushrooms and then if you want waxy potato's on the top. Floury potatoes explode if in the pot for this long. Tiny Tatters work well. Tonight we had the potatoes separately mashed with Dijon mustard.
  10. Serve with a glass of Guinness ;)
Tips and Hints
  • Kilkenny works equally well, less stouty
  • I personally like to seal my meat in a pan before adding to the slow cooker. Coating chicken in seasoned flour keeps it together when stiring at the end. Unsealed meat can taste a bit bland if not marinated.
  • I like to drown the ingredients in liquid and then boil it off at the end in a small saucepan. This prevents meat on the top of the cooker going a bit dry.
  • I generally set up the slow cooker in the morning after breakfast and then forget about it for 9 hours.
  • If you do bolognase sauce or chicken and mushroom it freezes really well. Re-heat and serve with pasta! From a large pack of chicken breasts from Aldi, we get 4 meals frozen in the little re-sealed bags.
Some good combinations:
  • Seasoned Chicken legs or cubes, a can or two of crushed tomatoes and a packed of Aldi sliced mushrooms.
  • Chicken Legs deglased in brandy, then red wine. Red onion and shallots for sweetness and carrots.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Roaming the City

I managed to steal a few hour on Saturday to visit Cravings Frocks in at Craft Hatch and stroll through the city for an hour or so.

Although the Craft Hatch stalls were tucked away in the City Library they were easy enough to find and an interesting selection of crafts were on display. The lovely Miss Jennie was there with her W Class Tram Cushions proudly on display. I believe it was a fabulous day for her!

Andreas dropped me in at Lonsdale Street and I found that one of my favourite shoe shops had closed it's doors :( Wandered through the retail sector to Flinders Lane. The barista at Brunetti's was interested in the Keep Cup and I ended up chatting to them about all things coffee and environmental ... and then I eventually wandered down to Craft Hatch.

On the way back I walked up back through Central Lane and there was a lovely four piece band playing. I should have gotten a card for future reference! Central Lane is very Melbourne; Graffiti, coffee, fashionista's and a busking band!

I managed to visit Studio Sale Level 2 of the Nicholas Building where Peta Pledger and Sew Your Own had tables of crafty goodness. Managed to get some material offcuts that will probably be made into a quilt at some point.

I then had a rare moment, I caught a tram home by myself with a book .... wow!

Now, after my Monday morning blog read and post, time for playgroup where hopefully Tori will wear herself out and sleep today ... lately she hasn't been wanting to sleep in the afternoons, which means that I get no sewing or crafting done when she is with me. At the moment she screaming around the back room on her tractor truck ...

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Craft Hatch

Off into the city this morning to take a look at Craft Hatch on at the City Library in Flinders Street. Jennie Barnes from Cravings Frocks will have her wonderful W Class Tram cushions for sale ... you must visit her!

Image via Cravings Frocks

Will be taking my enviro KeepCup for a spin to see how people respond to filling the plastic cup. I have to be home by 12.30, but hopefully time to visit a few shops and maybe even stick my head into Mattt Bags and Meet me at Mikes on the way home.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Friday Finds: Stamps

Inspired by Cravings Frocks gorgeous W Class handmade stamp by Two Cheese Please. This weeks friday finds are hand carved rubber stamps. Oh the patience!

Star Trek Communicator Stamp by the Nerd Nook has the geeky-ist range of stamps.

Hummingbird Stamp by Tommie77. Check out their cherry blossom and Origami designs.

Hello Owl Stamp Set by thestarbox. I am tempted to get this set because the stamps are so gorgeous and I can imagine Tori playing around with them.

Koi in Pond Bookplate by glazedmud. There are some lovely hand carved bookplates on this site including Twin Trees.

Popcorn set of rubber stamps ... make your own movie popcorn! by cup cake tree. This shop has lots of lovely little sets of stamps and I just want to buy them all!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Matt Bags on Gertrude, Fitzroy

I noticed as I drove to work this morning, that Mattt has opened a new studio and shop on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. How exciting! Matt makes hard wearing bags with gorgeous fabrics, sometimes even designed by him! He also uses yummy Ink & Spindle fabrics as well.

I tried to stop on the way home, but there was no parking ... but through the window I could see the industrial sewing machines going! How exciting! Gertrude Street really is becoming a hub of craftiness.

So just incase you don't want to search for the details ...

mattt studio & shop
13 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065

Edward VI Recreation

I stumbled across this site while looking for a pattern for a coif. Adventures in Costuming has documented her process of making a historical costume for her little boy, the result of course is quite gorgeous. I chucked at some of the development pictures in her blog, in particular the one of her son asleep on the changing table while she is fitting the costume.

Photo taken by Kerri Valkova

The last major costume I made was our Regency outfits. I made my husband sit through all 6 hours of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice series as I sewed his costume. In the end I had to get him to sew in the lining to his jacket as I was running out of time. Unfortunately I cannot fit into my dress, still carrying a bit more pudding since I had Tori, but my hubby fits into his and looks stunning in it!. For our next Regency event, I will have to make another dress (what a pity!).

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

My Gocco!

Finally got around to uploading my screen printed tops to etsy ... you know what they say, people can't buy my products if they don't know they are there. Rather than upload according to sizes, I did a general "this is the top" upload and ask people to conversation me to check on sizes.

I am quite proud of how they look, I have only done one in each size to see how they go. I still have some blank tops that I wanted to screen print for Made n Thornbury, but I am still deciding on the designs. I want to do a dinosaur one and a girly girl one. I still like the idea of doing them gender neutral, although most people assume that I have had a boy due to all the black in my work.

As for the base garment, I decided to go with the American Apparel brushed cotton tops. Tori had been given one after she was born and she grew out of it before she wore it out. I went for the high quality rather than the cheapness, which is why they are $30 each. Which I still think is an OK price for something that is lovingly hand screen printed ....

I used the borrowed Gocco machine (thanks Jane!) to do these. When I first spoke to the guys at Deans Art, they recommended using Permaset as the screen printing ink. But subsequent experimentation revealed that Derivan Screen Ink seemed to work better with the stencils. I buy the ink from Deans art in Brunswick as the Fitzroy store doesn't seem to have that type of ink.

Etsy Shop Update: Mini Totes

I've put up a few things on the site in the wake of the Sisters Market ... a few of my mini toes.

They are in my bags and totes section and I have priced them at $25 AUD or $20 USD. They are fully lined and the primary fabric is Black Cotton Drill. Hard wearing and washable.