Thursday, March 31, 2011


I am not a massive fan of shopping centres - I avoid them if I can but today I required the services of a same-day engraver. Because I am unorganised. And forgetful. So there was only one choice - spend 30 minutes in the car to get to the nearest shopping centre with said engraver. I admit I did this grumpily. Possibly even petulantly. sigh. Whilst I was waiting for the exorbitantly priced engraving to take place, I eye-spied  a bunch of Pensioners lurking about a stall in the middle of the mall. In my experience, it is often a good idea to check out things that interest Pensioners because they are a canny lot and know a bargain when they see one. I elbowed my way through the pack ( these Pensioners were jolly tough and were immune to gentle throat clearing coupled with"excuse me'") So glad I did, for it seems a local library felt the need to divest itself of some books. One of the Pensioners thrust one of those green type shopping bags at me and said "Here fill it up for $5". I couldn't believe my ears but I knew she was an Official Friend of the Library because that is what her handmade name tag said in all its glitter-glue glory! Well I didn't need to be told twice and I jumped right into the fray and 2 laps of the table and one crushed toe latter ( never underestimate the crushing power of orthopedic footwear!) I had a bag so full I could barely lift it! This is my stack ...

Oh my - if only it was holiday time - I could slouch about and read them all - one after the other. Alas I will have to wait a few weeks. I love this one called yilpinji . It is full of Aboriginal stories and art about love.

Now I have to admit I am not much of a gardener and frankly the only reason I would buy a gardening book would be if it had "gin" in the title. Or came with a bottle of Gin. Or Tequila.

This week at Uni we had the good fortune to have a squizz at an amazing fossil replica.

It was really beautiful and the technology that was developed to capture it is also quite remarkable. One of the books I found today is about Fossil Invertebrates and has lots of cool pics like this one :

I also found this amazing book on piercing and body decoration. The photos are awesome and catalogue piercing as ornamentation along geo-cultural lines as well as contrasting contemporary piercing with traditional piercings. Check out these pics:

A Masai woman from Kenya with massively stretched piercings.

 This bloke has 137 body and facial piercings - can you imagine the racket when he goes through the detector thingy at the airport?!

I still have trouble sleeping on the side that has a stud piercing in my upper ear - I can't imagine  trying to find a comfy spot with all of these. I think on Festive occasions it would be very tempting to weave all those loops with colourful ribbons though ...
What an amazing assortment of books huh? So now I feel less begrudging about having had to make the journey. My toe is still sore though - damn  Ramboesque Pensioners!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paper Bunting - how-to.

I have had a few questions about the paper bunting I posted over in Flea Market Finds and I have decided the best way to address them is to pop a little "how-to" here.

You will need : old books you are willing to cut up
                        a glue stick
                        pencil and ruler
                        scrap card to make a triangle template
                        string or thread to hang the bunting
                        (if you have a bone-folder they are very handy but a fingernail
                          will also work!)

Step 1. Create a triangle template. At its longest point it should be the length of your page when the page is folded in half. Mine is about 4.5cms across and 5.5 cms long but yours can be whatever size you like - depending on the size of the book pages you are using.

Step 2. Fold your page in half lengthways and crease it with your bone folder (or fingernail!)

Step3. Place your template on the folded page so that the widest part (the non-pointy bit!) lies against the crease and trace as many triangles as will fit onto your page.

You will end up with something that looks like this :

Step 4. Pause for a cup of tea if necessary. If not, cut out the triangles.

When you open them up, they will look like this :

It is a good idea to refold and recrease them to get a sharp edge - use the bone-folder or fingernail method!

(you will also have a bunch of single triangles that you can use for other projects!)

Step 5. Open up the folded triangles and apply glue all over one half.

Step 6. Cut a length of string or cotton the length you want your bunting to finish up. Starting at one end and leaving enough string to create a loop or tie onto things,  lay the string along the crease in the triangle.

Step 7. Fold the triangle in half again, capturing the string inside. Press all over with fingertips or the bone-folder to ensure excellent stick-togetherness.

Step 8. Repeat as many times as necessary to create the length desired. I leave a gap of about 2cms between each triangle but that could vary depending on the size of your triangle - just see what looks best! Then decorate as desired - small stamps are nice or you might like to cut out images/ doileys/shapes to stick on. If your text has some pictures you could colour them in for another look.

Step 9. Hang up your bunting, boil the kettle for a cuppa and sit back and bask in the wonderment that is your creative ability to create such a lovely thing! Have fun!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flea Market Finds

After a lovely twirl around our local Farmers Market ...

with a basket brimming with fresh goodies ...

 I paid a quick visit to one of my favourite op-shops and was rewarded with this little gem ...

It is a sweet dove-grey Meakin jug and it looks just perfect holding these blooms - rescued after the rain ...

I also turned up a couple of Agatha Christie paperbacks, a book on typography and some linen tea-towels. A very nice Saturday morning haul! Earlier this week I continued using up a very dilapidated copy of Alice in Wonderland to make some tiny bunting.

The stamp in the middle is a wee hand-carved one that my eldest daughter bought for me at a Sydney market some time ago - isn't it cute? Pop over to Sophie's to see what she and the rest of the gang have been collecting this week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mad March

I feel as if I have not been keeping up with things lately. Perhaps I am getting lazy in my middle years? Hhmm. I have had a little recap of what has been happening here during Mad March and maybe lazy is the wrong adjective! There has been an abundance of Birthday Celebrations, some of them for significant Birthdays like 21sts and the big 5-0h too. So that means costumes and gifts to make, food to prepare and bunting to sew - and champagne to wash it all down!

Just one more 21st party and that will be March done!

There have been two average sized assignments to research and write for Uni ..

Yes it is true - I still write my essays in long-hand first!

I have put together a small body of work ( a dozen pieces I think) for a show with a fellow student - some pieces like these ...

And I also designed and made some fabo jewels for a Year 12 Formal - big and shiny was the request ...

Dangly, dangly ear-rings to match the dress...

and a cuff to go with ...

 Yeah - big and shiny are two of my favourite things - except when it comes to noses - I prefer them on the smaller side. I used a lot of lovely Swarovski crystal in Golden Shadow - mmmmmm - shineeeeee!
I have also been playing here:

I spend two days a week at Uni and they feel like long days now because it is dark when I leave home. Plus there is the usual "Mum" stuff of dealing with broken hearts, tricky work situations and Year 12 workload and there seems to be an expectation that there will be food in the house and the occasional load of washing done. And shirt and tie shopping for aforementioned Formal. And an appearance at the last ever school sports day for this family (yay!). I haven't replanted the herb pots or rung my niece or tidied my studio but I have managed the odd conversation with the ManBeast even though it is Vintage time and he is rarely sighted.
Crap, it is no wonder I haven't had time to shave my legs!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What happens when ...

.. you are meant to be writing a 750 word intro for a research paper and your brain refuses to co-operate? Well I will tell you what happens - sewing - that's what!

Add a falling-apart paperback and some watercolours and you have some sweet little gift bags - just right for the mad birthday month of March!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Time to join in the fun over at Sophie's. I had a lovely forage around a local antique store on Saturday morning - it was a reward I gave myself for writing an Art History essay! Looksee what I got - all tucked up in neat little bags that the store owner folds out of odd bits of paper - not a drop of glue is used!

Loads of deliciousness inside ...
These little beauties are old boot buttons - I think they will make adorable clasps for vintage jewellery.

I can see this button becoming a model for a mold that I can cast pewter into.

A few more "ancestors" - they look like a lively bunch!
Who could resist this sweet face?

The quality of the picture is not great but the spirit of friendship is clear in this image so I just had to bring it on home. These gals look like they know how to have a good time.

And what would a visit to the antique store be without finding some little keys? Disappointing is what it would be! I am delighted that I found these ones 'cos they are just the right size to include in all sorts of jewellery.

I feel my essay writing efforts were well rewarded and I headed home with a renewed sense of purpose. Ok, so that lasted as long as it took to make a cuppa and settle in front of a dvd but hey, I am still feeling righteous!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Can a pillowcase be inspirational?

I am doing an elective subject called "Mining the Museum". Now, museums are great fun for someone like me who likes to collect stuff and would love to have their very Victorian Cabinet of Curiousity. There are plenty of contemporary artists out there who are inspired by the stuff in museums and the way it is arranged. Mark Dion springs to mind. If you have time you might like to check him out on YouTube too - you will find him a pretty interesting and energetic kinda guy. So whilst this subject has given me the excuse (who needs one?) to head off to a couple of different museums and listen to some really interesting lectures, so far all I have done is daydream about collections and taxonomy - which is a fancy way of saying "classifying stuff". No harm in that but I am not making much headway with the practical requirements of the course! I feel however, that is all about to change - and I owe it all to a humble pillowcase. You see today I found a single, lonesome pillowcase in the oppie ...

It has all these lovely specimen-like drawings - the sort you might have found in a botanical book. It spoke to me of early pioneers and collectors who painstakingly documented their botanical finds. A few flicks of the scissors and a turn around the trusty Singer and a transformation took place ...

Now it is a lovely A4 size journal cover that seems completely appropriate for the subject at hand. All I have to do is fill it up with clever ruminations, illustrations and some research - easy-peasy! Not! My hope is that this lovely cover will inspire me every time I look at it and the work will just flow - as a theory it has some merit ...