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 Felt.co.nz. (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!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My creative space: custom orders...

This week my creative space has been filled with lots and lots of custom orders, specifically personalised Santa Sacks for Bay Bee Cino, and a range of children's aprons. I found fantastic little wooden utensils to go with them and hope they sell well for Christmas. I get Greta to hand make the appliques - aren't they gorgeous?

It's been a little hard to concentrate in the past 24 hours though, with all the tragic news about the miners and their families in Greymouth. We are sending them all our love - it's unbelievably horrible in what should be a happy, festive, family time. We are thinking of you all day and night. xo

(NB: for loads of other creative projects happening around NZ and Australia this weeek...head over to Kirsty's and play our regular Thursday bloggy crafty game.)

Giveaway and Freebie alert 3!

One of the coolest NZ blogs for crafty goodliness in my view is Megan at Mousehouse. Amazingly, Megan says she only started crafting a year ago - but she's one of the busiest workers around, with a fantastic range of free tutorials to follow. I recently made her Personalised Children's Photo Art- where you take a gorgeous photo of your child, and insert text, to create a kind of "time capsule" or memory photo. She was even kind enough to link back and show my version to her readers at the end of her blog post.

Right now Megan has the most gorgeous Christmas giveaways going that I have ever seen. While I desperately want it for myself, you should hop over and check it out too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freebie/ giveaway alert no 2!

As I promised in the weekend, as we don't have a crafty giveaway this month, I've decided to share with you the giveaways happening at our favourite blogs, online magazines and online stores, so you can see what we're reading, entering and buying...

In my first post it was a free downloadable alphabet poster promoted by online magazine Baby Bites, and a competition at Holly Chic Baby online store. This time I want to alert you to CoolCrib's groovy little baby shoes discount, and the competitions over on Kiwi Mummy blogs.

CoolCrib does the most amazing little soft shoes made from designer fabrics just like our creations. We recently entered an 'Amy Butler' project competition with other designer fabric lovers around the world together and lots of people commented on how much they loved CoolCrib's shoes. She has recently launched a new range in 100% organic cotton and has a groovy discount going where if you follow her on facebook you get 20% off. Yay! (I need to get a special 12-18 month size as my bubba is still bum-shuffling, not walking yet).

CoolCrib's shoes were also the prize up for grabs last week on Kiwi Mummy Blogs - the FANTASTIC blog site where all the mums in New Zealand contribute their posts and we all get to keep in touch with what happens in every day Kiwi families around the country. Maybe that's how we discovered you, and you discovered us. Either way, we love this site. This week the giveaway is for a gorgeous lap quilt from Vintage Mum/Modern Child, another blog we follow. Join up and maybe you'll win!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our last market of the year is tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow is OTLP's last market of 2010, before we take a summer break (read: both start new jobs!) and come back with new products next year.

We've been busy making Christmas goodies and we need to share them so come and see us at the Devonport Christmas Market tomorrow 10-3pm. There will be over 60 stall holders - I guarantee you'll love it!

Freebie alert...

When packing up the awesome Christmas giveaway prize for our winner Rochelle last week (see the picture here- so yummy scrummy!) it dawned on me that we don't have a giveaway set up for this month and December.

So I thought a cool way to end the year and thank you for your support reading our blog was to compile as many 'freebie' or giveaway alerts as I can - so you can find out more about the blogs we read, the websites we follow, the online magazines we love, and the crafters we deal with....let us know if you have good reading sites too!

The first 'freebie' alert is this awesome alphabet print picked out by my editor on Babybites this week: as you know we LOVE letters and typography around here and this is a very stylish free print you can download in a range of colours. The teal is making its way onto my baby's bedroom wall this weekend!

The first 'giveaway' alert I have to tell you about is over at Holly Chic Baby - my first retailer of the lily pads, and also the online store of my lovely sister-in-law, Keri. To enter you simply tell her on her facebook page which two products in her whole store that you'd like to win. You have until the end of the month! (PS, she still has some of my lily pads on there...last few!).

Another installment of freebies soon!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space - The best robot quilt in the universe

(Ok so this is actually my mum's creative space but she doesn't blog and I did kind of help with the design...)

I am very proud to show off to this beautiful quilt my mum has just finished for my son's first birthday. It is only her second quilt and her first applique project, and I love it!

The bedroom is still in progress as we recently moved house, but will have a robot and space theme - so cute for little boys (and ties in with Dad's Star Wars memorabilia too!) When we started looking for robot and space fabrics we couldn't find anything we really liked so mum decided she would have to design her own robots, how gorgeous are they?

Towards the end of the project we found this amazing space print with tiny spaceships and spacemen (from Cushla's in Devonport), which tied the appliques and the denim borders together.

For more cool projects, check out www.kootoyoo.com each Thursday.

p.s. If you have never had a look at www.spoonflower.com, it is an amazing site where you can design your own fabric (just like last week's Project Runway!) They now have heaps of robot prints after running a contest for them, link is here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poll: Babies wearing black clothes, do you like it?

Black clothes for baby are now easy to find in chic baby shops, style guides, on celebrity children and even in the mall... but we would like to know what you think!

*** Note: Poll closed - results were pretty evenly split! ***

I have some tiny black shirts that will be a new colour option for me appliqued Ts, and they are so cute, but I know dressing babies (or children for that matter) in black is not for everybody...

So how do I feel about it? I confess that apart from an occasional polka dot, I have never dressed my daughter in black (and she is almost 4), but have adored it on my son from birth. And to further confuse things, I have always loved her in grey, blue denim, navy and dark purple, it is just black that I can not get my head around (and no, my mother did not like me dressing in black, even as a teenager!)

(Pic: People.com)
Of course a few years ago we wouldn't have had the luxury of choosing, as baby clothes were pink or blue, with perhaps lemon and green for unisex options. Angelina Jolie dressing her first child, Maddox, in black was unusual in 2002, but would go unnoticed now. In fact Angelina usually wears black or white herself - do you think women dress their kids in colours they wear themselves?

I do admire black on little girls sometimes as it can look very smart, and to prove I am not a complete Nana, here are some gorgeous black girls clothes (from NZ labels Warnout and five6)... I think the key is to keep it looking young and fun.

p.s. Let's not forget that in New Zealand (all) black clothing has extra significance - I think there will be quite a few babies dressed in black in 2011!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carnival Chaos! Amazing fair at Michael Park Steiner School...

I've just realised that I forgot to blog about the Michael Park Steiner School Fair last weekend. It was a real highlight of the month for me - I have never been to such an amazing school fair before. There were literally thousands and thousands of people pouring into the school to share in their friendly, colourful, entertaining fair. From castle playgrounds to dragon's 'reading' dens, go-fish ponds, flag sellers, archery games, live music all day, Mexican food, coffee shops, craft stalls and vendors galore, the event was not to be missed!
Well done to my crafty colleagues Songbird Designs, Cotton Kiwi, Cat Taylor Design, Softearthart, Zippydoodah, Cuckoonest, Linen Tea, and Ruby in the Dust - fantastic stalls, all of you.

The venue itself was gorgeous. The school is made up of lots of little 'houses', with curved roofs and doorways - it's like a little village. As a Rudolf Steiner school they teach the importance of creativity and development of the child's character and spirit and it was so neat to watch the children perform on the stage and field - from singers to ballet dancers, just fantastic. When they drew the raffle, one of the prizes was jewellery from a young, funky local jeweller - wish I could remember his name. But he got up on stage and talked about how he was a Michael Park graduate and after he'd left school he'd opened his own jewellery shop. So clever.

For Miss Four, the top thing to rave about to the grandparents was the 'flag' seller. She was particularly in love with the rainbow silk streamers high on bamboo sticks. (Oh, and the lemonade popsicles).

For hubby, it was the super-cool "NZ" t-shirts by Kolektiv Design Studio.

For me, it was the Mexican food... Organic avacados and just-spicy bean mixtures cooked by an amazing team of parents, lashings of salad and corn chips and sour cream. And for dessert - meringes, cream and strawberries. Needless to say we have copied that menu for dinner this week already!!

Here's a few pictures of our On Top of a Lily Pad stall (OTLP equals me, Topography and our honourary member Lisa at Estella Rose). Lovely to meet you all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baby Bites Column: Kiddy Sings!

Babywearing has come full circle and is being enjoyed by a whole new generation of mums these days. Whether by sling, front pack, or mei-tai style wrap, babies are riding high and safe with a view of the world every place you go. There’s no better view for a little one than up at shoulder height! As a dedicated sling wearer myself, I am often asked by my four year old – “where’s my sling mum, for my dolly?”

So I had a big smile on my face when I saw these mini-sized slings from Furchin and Unido.

Furchin’s mei-tai sling is a mini version of their adult-sized baby carrier, but simplified by using a clip to secure the waist straps. Designed to fit most children from around 2-8 years, the waist straps are adjustable and the shoulder straps are 50cm long. Handmade from quality, hardwearing 100% cotton canvas, it’s totally machine washable.

Likewise Unido’s patterned and colourful child slings are made to order, and can made to match your adult-sized sling when you order yours. Their website has a fantastic function where you can literally mix and match their fabrics to choose your own unique combination. Creative and cool! Unido also has a great ‘resources’ page where you find links to the best babywearing websites in New Zealand, including Slingbabies, which has safety tips and full instructions on how to wear all types of baby carriers. Check them out today.
Read my original column on Kiddy Slings over at http://www.babybites.co.nz/ online magazine!
PS: Check out my other post on slings for the top five reasons you should try one - go on, it will change your life!

My Creative Space - Easy Tote Bag

I must have read 30 tote bag tutorials in the last couple of weeks but this one really caught my eye and so I have given it a try... I don't think I have the patience to ever make something as clever as Estella Rose's gorgeous bags or Aimee's Sew Inspired handbag, but I liked the idea of something plain I could applique, that could possibly come out good enough to be a gift...

Because it was my first try, I used material on hand instead of splurging, and I had a piece of denim approx 90cm x 40cm so that became the outer of the bag (folded in half lengthways). The lining is leftover fabric from when I made my husband a shirt many years ago. Colourfool's tutorial is very funny (the title is 'The Greatest Bag Tutorial EVER?') and absolutely written for beginners.

I had another piece of denim for a pocket and used The Longest Year's tutorial for tips. I have been trying to figure out a strawberry design in my head for a while and this is my first attempt at actually doing one, I was quite pleased with it.

So this is the finished product, I made the straps quite long for some reason but it is definitely a tote bag, yay!

We love taking turns doing Creative Space on Thursdays, you can see other people's at Kootoyoo.

p.s. During my 'research' I came across http://www.lazygirldesigns.com/, they sell patterns for gorgeous bags, the Lily Pocket Purse may have to be a future project...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where to find - Alphabet Posters!

You can tell from my label Topography that I am obsessed with letters and the alphabet, so my current mission for an alphabet poster will come as no surprise!

We recently moved house so I have lots of blank walls to figure out including two children's rooms and a lounge that needs some colour... I think alphabets as clever as these ones would also work in a 'grown-ups' space.

These are my favourites at the moment (clockwise from top left):

If you have any other suggestions please let me know!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Michael Park School Summer Fair!

This weekend we're off to the Michael Park School Summer Fair - apparently it's a huge family day popular all around Ellerslie, Remuera, Greenlane...a bit of an adventure for some North Shore girls.

Bring the kids, come jump on bouncy castles, and listen to live music all day!

My Creative Space - is my new creative space!

My 'Creative Space' blog game contribution this week isn't my latest crafty project, as per usual.

Instead, I wanted to share with you my new creative space - literally! I am super excited that now instead of having my sewing business equipment spread out over the floor, kitchen table and one half of the computer nook, I now have a dedicated workspace.

For months now I have trawled trademe looking for a hideaway computer 'armoire' - like a vintage styled freestanding wardrobe with doors where you can hide everything away. But I really wanted one that has a platform inside for a computer (aka my sewing machine and overlocker) that would slide and extend out, so my knees can go underneath. Finally I found one. This one is even better than I hoped for, because the doors slide into 'cavities' in the side, so you don't feel closed in, or lose the light.

I've sorted all my ribbons, threads, patterns, staple guns, brads, scrapbooking, everything I own that's to do with lily pad designs, and filed them in boxes. I've sorted my fabrics into baskets into the cupboards. And I've moved out of the dark computer nook and into the best light in the whole house - the corner of the living area leading out onto the deck. Now the girls can play around me while I sew. Bliss!!!!

Of course, my trusty pinboard had to come with me - as you know I'm obsessed by them. Attached to the back side, now there's no way little fingers can steal my contacts' businesscards, my magazine cut outs, etc! If your browser makes the top picture big enough, you can probably even spy my new 'mood board' hanging behind my machine...it's got my latest thoughts on my new Summer 2011 range, launching in a couple of weeks...
Next step - I want some cool handles - I'd quite like some big decorative Asian style handles - like the filigree circles you see on their ancient cabinets: can you help, does anyone know where to buy those?

To be inspired by a huge range of other crafty projects coming to life each Thursday, made by crafty people in NZ and Australia, visit the My Creative Space blog game at Kirsty's.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lori-lou's first birthday: fairground fun

Lori-Lou is officially our little ray of sunshine, so we had her first birthday party the other day, and themed it around the best type of childhood fun in the sun - playing at a old style fairground.

The bunting I'd made earlier set the scene, and I reused the image on her party invitations too.

We used an ice-cream machine to whip up 'soft serve' ice creams, which we served in little striped punnets, like in the olden days, with lashings of toppings like chocolate sauce, M and Ms, and fruit sticks like Mr Whippy uses. I downloaded some PDFs to make vintage pop corn boxes (as seen on Lil Magoolie a couple of months ago - I saved the idea) and we made club sandwiches too.

The cake was just a simple chocolate cake, but I dressed it up with fruit kebabs cut into flower shapes with cookie cutters to look like a flower bed. My four year old and I did it together the day before, so it was a stress free morning. She'd actually been the one to 'find' the idea of fruit kebabs from her preschooler's magazine, Sparkleworld. I just developed it into a cake idea....as well as the flower bed, we mixed coconut into the icing to make it look really 'grassy', like a field.

It was a lovely, laid back party without a stress in the world to organise. Lori-lou looked divine in a special rose covered party dress bought in Australia by her Nanny and smiled her whole way through it. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos as much as I enjoyed organising it :)
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