Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in the other OTLP house...

Despite best laid plans, Christmas has once again turned into a last-minute rush in our house (not quite as organised as Aimee's loveliness, but yes that is some of her bunting!), somehow we got there in the end - these are my children's stockings that I finished late Wednesday night...

And after cutting many many stocking shapes lately, I have just cut these gift tags (inspired by Martha). I also had to share this gorgeous ornament I received from Crazy Crafter in one of the crafty Christmas swaps - learning to crochet is definitely my crafty New Year's resolution, I love it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MiniEco's festive scented playdough!

With three days til Christmas, I’m firmly ensconced at home with my kiddies, and ignoring the manic shops. With the shopping all done, it’s time for baking, and some last minute crafts. Why not combine the two? Check out these amazing scented play dough ideas with festive Christmas smells from MiniEco. As she says, where’s “smellovision” when you need it?
I have a particular love of Cranberry, just hoping it doesn't stain....Just need to make sure the one year old doesn't mistake it for real food!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas in the Lily Pad house....

Handmade Christmas: Door wreath, by me. NZ Flower Fairy Mini Stockings, by Greta. Handspun wool NZ Flower Fairies, bought from a lovely lady at the Willow Park Primary fair, mini tree bunting by me, purple trees by my wonderful friend Jaz and her girls, Xmas card keeper, mine, red filigree tree, flat pack kit from Spotlight, six Santa Sacks by me with help from my Mum, for my daughters, neices and nephews, and pink paper fairy by my amazing four year old.

Christmas in the Lily Pad Designs house is always special. Most notably, because my hubby and father in law were both born on Christmas Day. And now one of my closest friend's little girl has her birthday on Christmas too (Happy 2nd Birthday, Allie xoxo).

So officially three of my most favourite people in the world celebrate their special day on the same day the rest of us get presents too, and rather than hating the fact, my hubby is crazily into Christmas. Like, mad. If he could light our house outside in lights, and put a toy sleigh on the roof, he would. Instead we have lights for Africa inside. This year in particular, we are celebrating with a special 'hand made' Christmas, to celebrate our first Lily Pad Designs Christmas. I thought I would give you a sneak peak inside our house.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Unique Christmas shopping!

You have probably heard all about Unique Boutique by now, it is such a great concept that creator Tam de Haan has had her products featured in some of Australasia's top magazines and blogs. If you haven't browsed through the gorgeous yet, get cracking because there is still time to get some amazing things for Christmas.

Everything is exclusive in New Zealand, and many things have been designed especially for the site. Aimee and I are very proud to have worked on two very different projects that have co-incidently released at Unique Boutique at the same time (we are spooky like that sometimes...)

I have made these Christmas stockings, similar to my Topography Mini Stockings but approx 40cm from top corner to toe. They are lovely and soft with some padding to hold their shape, and feature fabric from some of our favourite designers like Michael Miller. There is very limited stock so if you would like to start a new family tradition, order now!

And if you are looking to really spoil someone at Christmas, now there are even more lily pads to choose from - how divine are they?

Aimee has designed the 'Vintage Boutique' collection exclusively for Unique Boutique, with four new lily pad looks in pinks, blues and a classy grey backing. What an amazing present for a mum who needs a burst of colour in her day (and yes, those beautiful fabrics are from top designer Amy Butler!)

Make sure too that you are following Unique Boutique on Facebook for all the news on new products and giveaways. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last Chance for Christmas Orders...

Because everything is custom-made, I have made this Monday (13th December) the deadline for Topography Christmas orders (both shirts and stockings). I have really enjoyed making them but it will be nice to have a break too! Available through or my Felt store.

The lily pad Christmas Card Keepers have almost sold out - the last one is on Mum Made here.

And if you are looking for a gorgeous yet practical gift for a small child, don't forget our lily pinnie aprons, great value at only $25 for a handmade gift that will last a long time (my daughter thrashes hers every day!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New lily pad Summer 2011 Collection: it's real!!

In the weekend we had an awesome day shooting the new imagery for the Summer 2011 Lily Pad pram liner collection. Natalie from Fox Fotography was amazing, she totally understand my 'vision' and style dream for the shots: REAL mums out and about with their kids, perhaps rushing, perhaps lazy-ing around, but tidy, clean, easy going, in trend and fashionable. And she has such a great warmth that the two little kiddie models didn't even cry or grumble for FIVE whole hours!!! (If you are a crafter or sewer, and are interested in getting some magazine style shots, or clean studio shots for your websites or Felt, I highly recommend her).

The lovely pregnant model is my bestie, doesn't she look gorgeous. The little boy is her darling Cooper, the baby is my little Loren, I'm the dark haired mum, and the spunky husband is my own hubby. We had an absolute BALL.

My clever hubbie has created a slideshow of the best shots, what do you think?

The new range of colours will be available from my retailers from early next week.

My creative space: princesses and castles

My creative space has been so crazy busy with my new Summer 2011 lily pad range (I will post some photos here later on today or tomorrow, but they are up on facebook now!).

So busy infact, that on the weekend my Miss Four and I decided to have a 'creative break' from being creative and redecorate her room. Now that's she's nearly ready for school, her tastes have changed a little and she's incredibly interested in fairy tales and understanding all the old stories like Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and the Princess and the Pea.

I recently finished a 'Fairy Tales' range of pinboards for one of my retailers, and she was really taken with the fabrics I used from Heather Ross' 'Far, far away II' collection - of the owl and the pussycat, and Rapunzel. We decided to make her a GIGANTIC pinboard using the pink Rapunzel fabric as the main feature. It's incredibly heavy, being made of a big piece of 1200mm MDF, so Daddy needs to work out a way to hang it yet!

Complementing the 'Princess in a Tower' theme, we've hung a gorgeous white netting canopy over her bed, and decorated the top railing of it with triangle-shaped bunting (like tower flags). I used the same idea as I did for her sister, with some free alphabetical downloads made to print.

Her dollhouse actually looks like a castle already (clever Daddy!).

The final touches will be some new bedding, I'm thinking of using this delicious pink pom pom fringing pictured above all over one side of a throw cushion, for some texture, and some lovely fabric with princess crowns on it for another cushion. Any other ideas?

For more creative spaces coming to life, visit everyone else playing our weekly bloggy game at Kirsty's.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby bites column: bright iDears for Xmas Wrapping

As you know around here we LOVE Christmas and Greta and I have dedicated the last two months to making crafty gifts. But if you are like me, half the fun of Christmas is in the wrapping, ribbons and card writing!!!

There’s nothing cooler than seeing your gift looking stylish with handmade cards, gift tags and wrapping paper. With this gorgeous selection I’ve gathered up you’ll be hovering around making sure the kids don’t rip the paper when they attack the sellotape, or screw up the tags in the rubbish pile!

First up – gift tags. I literally burst out laughing when I saw these “No Peeking” gift tags (see pic above) from iDearPapergoods. Super stylish for school kids and teenagers alike! Quirky and fun, they’re perfect for people who don’t take life too seriously and iDear also has a range of more traditional ones on her store at

Or here’s an idea for your littlies to give to Nana on Christmas morning which will no doubt be more popular than the gift attached. Beautiful ceramic gift tags from Mudbird NZ. Treat them carefully and they can double as Christmas decorations for the tree next year!

If you’re after free downloadable gift tags, check out the lovely designer selection by Creature Comforts here or here.

For handmade Christmas Cards, check out iDear’s range again: I love the “Have a bright Christmas” card featuring bright blue sunglasses, and the “Seasoned Greetings” card with old fashioned salt and pepper shakers!

Cupcake Cutie also has a lovely range for the little sweetie in your family – cupcake designs perfect for little girls.

And anyone would love receiving these heart-felt cards from Tinch Design Studio, which double as fridge magnets for the rest of the year, or check out her little birdie-themed 2010 Christmas card and matching gift tags design.

If you’re after a free downloadable card design, check out this early morning-inspired one by Designs from Val. Coffee is a must when up with the kids so early!

As for wrapping paper: while you’re looking at Tinch’s designs, you might notice her freebie – some colour-in-your-own wrapping paper! Too cute!

Other free DIY wrapping paper downloadables include this lovely range in traditional red and green spots or this range including duck egg blues and damasks from Mae in Australia, or this carved stamp wrapping idea spotted on Li'l Magoolie.

Have fun wrapping – I know I will this year!
To read my original column and other 'handmade heaven' columns on Baby Bites, visit

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Creative Space - What's new pussycat?

This week I had to quickly make a softie, so a sock animal seemed an obvious choice... I gave pussycat a sleepy face because sleeping all day seems like the best thing about being a cat.

It was a good excuse to try another pattern from the Sock and Glove book I bought after making my first ever softie, Mr Elephant. They even made friends!

So why the rush? I remembered the toy drive on Meet Me at Mike's, they collect handmade softies each Christmas for The Mirabel Foundation, an amazing Australian children's charity. So Pussycat has been posted to Melbourne, lucky kitty!

See what everyone else has been making this week on

p.s. We love sock monkeys & friends on this blog, check out this post   :)

New Zealand Handmade: Fruit Bowl Craft Jam

Check out our amazing friends from New Zealand Handmade joining together in the first 'Fruit Bowl Craft Jam' in Hawkes Bay - sounds amazing!
New Zealand Handmade: Fruit Bowl Craft Jam

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saved by the Snail Mail

There is nothing like a parcel in the mailbox to brighten up a crappy day, and yesterday I got three, all handmade! The Christmas swaps I signed up for are now in full swing - I better get mine to the post office...

My swap buddy through New Zealand Handmade is Amber, from the amazing blog MamaMoontime. Not only did she make this beautiful robin ornament, but also another felt bauble and... a handmade book with the story of Robin Red Breast! I don't think I have heard this story since I was little, it is so sweet. You can imagine how excited Miss 3 was as we unpacked everything, and although we don't have a tree up yet the ornaments had to hang on the wall right away (along with some of Aimee's Christmas bunting, so cute!).

There are five crafters in my group for the other ornament swap I'm doing and this is the first to arrive, from the lovely swap-organiser sew-funky. Lately I have been developing a little crochet obsession so I love this look! In real life it is a really pretty blue too. And look at the sewing on the address label! So crafty...

And finally, a gift to myself, I couldn't resist this personalised ring made from a vintage typewriter key, Etsy seller The Apple was a pleasure to deal with.

At OTLP we love snail mail, especially at Christmas - I can't wait to fill up my lily pad designs Christmas Card Keeper!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fabric trends for Summer/Spring 2011

It’s been an absolute delight researching the new fabric trends for the start of 2011. The colours are ‘yummy’, eyecatching and happy: and this is exactly the feeling they are trying to evoke.

The main thrust of the design aesthetic behind the new (Northern Hemisphere) Spring and the (Southern Hemisphere) Summer 2011 fashion and interior design fabric collections is still escapism from the drudgery of the global financial recession. We’re still looking for images, prints and colours that remind us of the happier times gone by.

For children’s fabrics, the key is providing them with ‘safe harbour’ from the outside world – so much like the second half of 2010, you’ll see more timeless, old fashioned, joyful colours and prints of animals like birds, dragonflies and butterflies, or old fashioned bicycles, unicycles, hot air balloons or trucks for boys.

However, it’s not just more of the same in fabrics – we’re looking at a fresh new palette of colours to brighten our days.


Pantone, the world’s foremost colour forecasting expert, has declared “Honeysuckle pink” the colour of the New Year in 2011. Turquoise, which was the 2010 colour of the year, is still in the ‘top 10’ palette for 2011, (see top of this post), which Pantone compiles from from all the designers' runway shows at New York Fashion Week in September each year (including our own Rebecca Taylor) . For 2011 the top palette includes minty greens (called peapod), teals, blues, purples, beeswax yellows, oranges and corals, paired with the basics of chocolate, russet, silver and oyster grey.

On the street, for us everyday mums, the new fashion trends translate to breezy kaftans and maxi dresses with flowing designs, paired with our everyday basics of khaki and brown seperates. You can particularly see these colour trends in the Country Road, Karen Walker and Max’s new collections I’ve gathered up and pasted here. Pantone’s comment was that designers have been mindful of consumers’ need for practicality and have offered options to “extend and embellish” our current wardrobes (hurrah!).

At the Dulux Colour Forecast Roadshow last week in Auckland, their global experts presented their paint colour forecast for 2011-2012, and mirrored the same colour trends for our homes. Absolutely fabulous New Zealand interior designer Sarah Kerr described them as luscious ‘heirloom colours’, noting in particular greens, smoky ink blues and purples coming through, paired with furniture in distressed finishes and a range of textured, natural upholstery materals. To show you what they both mean, check out these interior images from the latest US High Point Market report.

In children’s rooms, the most popular colour for both boys and girls is still blue, whether pale, turquoise or duck egg - or every blue tone in between.


Prints dominate new fabric collections this season. As Dulux’s colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr noted, “minimalism is so out”. The key trends are:

1) Traditional and vintage prints – our desire to reconnect with the past and with wholesome, authentic experiences continues, bringing us more vintage, damask, tapestry, baroque and now also lace-inspired designs. Karen Walker’s range (pictured) showcases this trend in particular. A new point of difference in this group of styles is a new geometric edge, credited to the phenomenon of the TV show Mad Men – there's a 70s, retro, ‘mad world’ nostalgia creeping in.

2) Exotic, Eastern adventures – often described as the ‘tribal’ trend, designers are looking towards travel and adventure in exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey for inspiration in pattern. Pantone says it is to “satisfy consumers' need to escape everyday challenges with intriguing color combinations that transport them to foreign lands.”

(NB: I’ve noticed an exciting mix of these two trends: tribal influences blurring traditional damask with the introduction of ‘ikat’ motifs – see the Country Road examples pictured further up here. )

3) Parisienne chic – bringing the nautical stripes and military focus of our recent winter forward into the new season, this trend of old style French influences focus on pinstripes, reds, blacks and whites, and also bring us “Heraldic symbols, fleur de lies, and quarterfoils fit for a castle on the Seine”, High Point says.

4) Botanicals – there’s a strong return to plant imagery, classical florals, water and bird imagery, mostly drawn by hand, so that they become less fussy images than in the past and more artistic. As well as owls, peacocks and birds in antique cages, butterflies, dragonflies, insects and fish come through strongly.

5) Old fashioned vehicles and play toys – timeless treasures and fairy tales continue to dominate prints for children or family rooms, and several speakers at the Dulux Roadshow pointed out the Union Jack image used particularly for little boys.


Our huge commitment to 100% cotton fabrics – both in terms of quality and the environment, continues. However leading designers are also including cotton/linen and hemp combinations (see Yardage Design for my favourite examples). In yarns, there’s a growing interest in crochet and Japanese amigurami patterns (see this cool post on lil magoolie ); while beautiful patterns in oil cloth are now being imported, for easy-wipe surfaces (see my column here). A sneak mention at a trend for next winter: flock geometrics, velvet and velveteen!!!


While I still adore Amy Butler and Heather Bailey’s textile designs, I’ve widened my heart to the whimsical fairy tale imagery of Heather Ross, the gentle sophisticated botanical and French designs of Patricia Bravo, and the stroppy vintage/boho delight of colours coming through from the amazing Anna Maria Horner. The amazing Japanese textile manufacturers such as Kokka and Echino particularly showcase the trend in prints for vehicles, old fashioned cameras and radio cassettes for kids too.

Check them all out and watch this space for how these designers have influenced my new lily pad pram liners Summer 2011 collection, launching at my retailers from mid December!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My mum-made effort on Mum Made

I had a lovely surprise this morning to wake up and see my Christmas Card Keeper featured in the front page image on Mum Made. It looks pretty cute with their flash website work inserting those photos and notes doesn't it! I love the design of this website, so outstanding!

I've started compiling a list of items in their store for Christmas presents, and will be going back tomorrow to see the new exclusive Christmas products Brenda tells me she's stocking..for your stockings!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mini Stocking Stuffers

My Mini Stockings have had lots of attention this week (at the Devonport Market and on the amazing Li'l Magoolie blog), so I thought I would put together some gift ideas for what to put in them (as always we would love your feedback so please feel free to add any other suggestions!).

I fell in love with Nut and Bee a few months ago and just made my first purchase - 'cute' is a serious understatement! Annette M Russell designs kawaii-style illustrations that often have a New Zealand twist - my daughter will be getting the native bird magnets in her stocking. There are 132 designs you can pick from for magnets (4 for US$6.50) or pin buttons (4 for US$4).

These finger-puppets are self-explanatory I think! $10 for the set from Kazzalblue.

Upcycled crayons are everywhere on Etsy but I haven't seen any in NZ lately, have you? As an alternative these Crayon Rocks look like fun, available at Bubbalooz from $9.90 for a bag of 8.

Songbird Designs has custom hair pins ($4 each) that can be made from your choice of 120 fabrics!

p.s. I have added listings to my Felt shop for Two Stockings ($22) and Three Stockings ($33) so it is easier to buy for all the kids at once  :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Babybites column: Lunchbox pretties!!

This week my BabyBites magazine column was a "DIY or Buy" special - something you can either give a go yourself, or buy from a local crafter and support the handmade community.

"Lunchbox pretties" explores reusable kids (or parents!) lunch bags. With reduce, reuse and recycle such an important lesson for our kids, I loved the idea of reusable fabric lunch bags banishing my piles of plastic snack bags the minute I heard about them. The most popular style being made by several handmade crafters are lunch bags made of vinyl – specifically, oil cloth, which is made from a vinyl material set onto cotton mesh and is durable and washable. Simply choose a colour or pattern for each child, reuse the bag at school each day, and teach them good habits about recycling and picking up their left overs off the mat!

More than just useful for sandwiches, you can use them for storing cut fruit; chips and crackers; biscuits; whatever you use plastic bags for usually.

This seems like a neat idea you can have a go at yourself. I found this incredibly simple tutorial on children’s television show Sticky TV’s website. Oil cloth is perfect for projects for young sewers because it doesn’t fray and doesn’t need hemming, so you can even get your child involved. To buy oil cloth you’ll need to visit a specialist fabric store – shop around because the price varies dramatically – or hunt out a bargain on Etsy or "Me Too Please" in Australia, and get it posted to you. Me Too Please is the online retail store of local importer BenElke, who not only sell Mexican oil cloth by the metre, but also make products made of oil cloth including lunchbags like the ones I've pictured here. Their lunchbags are handmade in a sheltered workshop for people with disabilities in Sydney, through the Endeavour Foundation, which makes their products even more meaningful to support.

Alternatively, if you'd like a bag with lots of features, you could buy a pattern, like this one from US designer Heather Bailey, or follow a fabric tutorial like the one here on Vintage Mum/Modern Baby and use a cotton outer and a nylon lining and velcro for the top.

If learning a new craft just seems too much, you can also buy them from local crafters: as mentioned check out Me Too Please, or Edan Rose in Australia (her lunch bags are pictured here and the colours are so yummy!) or ‘She Wears’ on (Although not lunchbags, one of my colleagues at the Devonport Craft Market, Cat Taylor Design, also makes gorgeous zip purses out of oil cloth- check them out too).

There’s still some debate about using plastic with storing foods, and the argument covers traditional cling film, zip lock bags, manufactured chippie packets… and even the types of laminated fabrics I’ve described above. So if you have concerns, 4Myearth is a new New Zealand owned and operated company that has sourced a special, highly technical fabric and is making lunch wraps and bags out of these. Check them out too!
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